History lessons on sham justice

Blogging friend Brosephus doesn’t post daily, and in fact today’s post is his first this year, but when he does post, his words are memorable and wise. In today’s post, he compares what is happening in the impeachment trial to certain events in the 1960s … history does repeat itself. Take a close look at the picture at the top of his post – it captures this moment in our history perfectly. Thank you, Brosephus, for this prophetic post.

The Mind of Brosephus

It’s my first post of 2020, and I have a ton of stuff on my mind. We’re only 23 days into the new year, and I’ve already hit life highs and lows that will be hard, if not impossible, to surpass. This post, however, isn’t about me or my personal life. This post is about what America is about to experience and to question how Americans will respond in return.

As we know, the impeachment trial of Donald Trump is underway in the Senate as I type. As some have prognosticators have pronounced, most Americans know “the fix” is in the works to acquit Trump for his crimes. Indeed, there may not be much that we Americans can do to stop the acquittal, but there is a lot we can do as a result.

I chose the cartoon at the top for an explicit reason. There are many of us…

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♫ Send In The Clowns ♫

Although I have not watched much of the impeachment trial, I have read various analyses and watched a few clips.  Yesterday afternoon, I wrote my thoughts on what I have alternately referred to as a dog-and-pony show, and a three-ring-circus.  With that in mind, I thought this song, or at least the title of it, perfectly appropriate for tonight.

This is a song written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 musical A Little Night Music, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night. It is a ballad from Act Two, in which the character Desirée reflects on the ironies and disappointments of her life.

The “clowns” in the title do not refer to circus clowns. Instead, they symbolize fools, as Sondheim explains …

“I get a lot of letters over the years asking what the title means and what the song’s about; I never thought it would be in any way esoteric. I wanted to use theatrical imagery in the song, because she’s an actress, but it’s not supposed to be a circus.  It’s a theater reference meaning “if the show isn’t going well, let’s send in the clowns”; in other words, “let’s do the jokes.” I always want to know, when I’m writing a song, what the end is going to be, so “Send in the Clowns” didn’t settle in until I got the notion, “Don’t bother, they’re here”, which means that “We are the fools.”  As I think of it now, the song could have been called “Send in the Fools”. I knew I was writing a song in which Desirée is saying, “aren’t we foolish” or “aren’t we fools?” Well, a synonym for fools is clowns, but “Send in the Fools” doesn’t have the same ring to it.”

Clowns … fools … either one works equally well in Washington tonight.

Send in the Clowns
Judy Collins

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air,
Where are the clowns?

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can’t move,
Where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns?

Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines
No one is there

Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear
I thought that you’d want what I want
Sorry, my dear!
But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here

Isn’t it rich?
Isn’t it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career
But where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns
Well, maybe next year

Songwriters: Stephen Sondheim
Send in the Clowns lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

And Then There Were Two … More … Snarky Snippets

I have just two bits of snark … well, actually I have around 15, but I won’t make you listen to them all …


Remember when almost immediately after moving into the White House, Trump initiated a travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslin nations?  The courts struck it down almost as quickly as he initiated it, and after much back and forth, he got some watered-down version of it.  Well, now he is considering another travel ban, this one expected to be implemented next Monday, to mark the 3-year anniversary of his original travel ban.  I am thoroughly confused by the countries he intends to include in this ban:

  • Belarus
  • Myanmar (also known as Burma)
  • Eritrea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania

I can see not one shred of justification for banning people coming from a single one of those nations, can you?  However, it is interesting to note that four of those countries are African nations.  Hmmm … nah, surely fair and equitable Trump wouldn’t discriminate based on something like skin colour … would he?  Yes, of course he would, and my guess is that for those four nations, that is precisely his reason.

I have read no less than 7 articles on this topic, trying to get a feel for the method behind the madness.  One article promised …

Trump’s call to dramatically expand the travel ban, explained

… but it lied … it explained nothing that I didn’t already know from the other articles.  Now, back in 2018, the Supreme Court affirmed that Trump has broad authority to restrict immigration where national security demands it. But to the best of anyone’s knowledge, these countries do not pose any threat to national security.  Every time somebody in Trump’s cadre mentions the threat of terrorism from the outside, I want to scream, for the terrorism we have experienced in the last several years has been domestic terrorism … homegrown nutcases.

So, I still puzzle over the connection of these seven nations, and why on earth he wishes to ban people coming to the U.S. from those countries.  I also, at this point, puzzle over why anybody from any other nation would even want to come to the U.S.  Take my word for it, folks … if you don’t have a good reason, you’d be better off going to almost anywhere but here!

It is interesting to note, however, that other, similar nations … nations where Trump, Inc. has businesses, say hotels, golf courses and the like … nations like Turkey, Egypt, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Suadi Arabia are never mentioned in talk of a travel ban.  Hmmmmm …

This has largely flown under the radar, in the shadow of the impeachment trial and Trump’s trip to Davos, but I think it bears watching.


Yesterday, our friend Scott (sklawlor) sent me an article about a proposed bill in the Kentucky State Legislature, Senate Bill 89 that would give police new powers to stop people on the street and demand that they identify themselves and explain their actions, rather like New York’s stop-and-frisk laws that ended two years ago.  The program was highly discriminatory, with officers stopping disproportionately larger numbers of African-Americans and Hispanics than others.

By the end of the day, the Kentucky Senate bill had been withdrawn, but it left a bad taste in my mouth and disturbed both Scott and me that after the experience with stop-and-frisk in New York, any lawmakers would even consider such legislation.  So, I did a bit of digging … and … I was truly shocked to find that no less than 24 states … nearly half the states in the nation … have some form of “stop-and-identify” statutes!  So, in the following states, if you are walking down the street, you can be stopped by a police officer and forced to show identification and explain why you are walking down the bloody street!

Arizona Ari. Rev. Stat. Tit. 13, §2412 (enacted 2005) & Tit. 28, §1595
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. [1]§ 5-71-213 – Loitering
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-3-103(1)
Delaware Del. Code Ann., Tit. 11, §§1902, 1321(6)
Florida Fla. Stat. §901.151 (Stop and Frisk Law); §856.021(2) (loitering and prowling)
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. §16-11-36(b) (loitering)
Illinois Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 725, §5/107-14
Indiana Indiana Code §34-28-5-3.5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2402(1)
Louisiana La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann., Art. 215.1(A); La. Rev. Stat. 14:108(B)(1)(c)
Missouri (Kansas City Only) Mo. Rev. Stat. §84.710(2)
Montana Mont. Code Ann. §46-5-401
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §29-829
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §171.123
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §594:2, §644:6
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. §30-22-3
New York N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law Laws of New York → CPL §140.50 (requires suspicion of crime)
North Carolina State v Friend + N.C. Gen.Stat. § 14–223
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code §29-29-21 (PDF)
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code §2921.29 (enacted 2006)
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §12-7-1
Utah Utah Code Ann. §77-7-15
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann., Tit. 24, §1983
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §968.24

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.  After one lawsuit, Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, made its way to the Supreme Court in 2003, the Court upheld the legality of officers stopping people so long as there was “reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement”.  Well, that’s probably fair enough … if you’re skin is pale and you speak flawless English.  But if you are black or brown, or speak with an accent … how fair do you suppose it is?

An August 16, 2019 article in the Los Angeles Times says that getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America.

My friend Rob, an African-American, told me a couple of years ago that about half the time he drives downtown, he is pulled over for no reason or some minor reason … something a white person almost certainly would not have been pulled over for.  His son has been stopped more in the few short years he’s been driving than I have been in my entire lifetime.  After the blatant racism that has resulted in killings of unarmed black men by police – Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddy Gray and more – do you trust police to act only when there is “probable cause”?

I don’t.


Okay friends … now that I’ve given you something to frown about, let me finish by giving you something to laugh at … well, sort of anyway.

Good People Doing Good Things — Everyday People

I didn’t have to look far before finding some good people this week …


We’ve all heard of the huge bushfires that are engulfing Australia and the loss of wildlife.  Last I heard, it was estimated that some one billion animals had died.  Owen Colley, a 6-year-old from Hingham, Massachusetts, was upset to learn about the Australian bushfires two weeks ago, his mom Caitlin Colley said. He asked if any animals had been hurt in the fire and his mom said yes.

Quiet, he left the room and drew a picture of a kangaroo, a koala and a dingo in the rain. The picture represented his wish for Australia, a wish for rain and wildfire relief, his mom said.

“It was really the first time Owen had made a wish for something other than Lego or something other than himself. We asked him if he wanted to help and … together we came up with this. We could make some clay koalas and give them in response to donations from friends and family.”

Owen-Colley Owen started making little gray koalas out of clay and his parents set up a way for people to donate to Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a wildlife rescue group in New South Wales. The Colley family is sending one of Owen’s koalas to each person who donates $50 or more. So far, he’s made about 55 clay koalas.clay-koalasAs of last Thursday, Owen has raised more than $100,000 for the rescue group in just a few weeks, his mom said. It started with $1,000 in donations via Venmo in an Instagram post, which was their fundraising goal. It got so big that the family launched a GoFundMe campaign.

A little thing by a little guy with a big heart.


Rayden Jones is a pizza delivery driver for Happy’s Pizza in Port Huron, Michigan.  One day last week, he was delivering some pizzas to a local school, and when he returned to his car … it was gone!  His means of earning a living … gone!

Turns out, a woman with a mental condition had stolen Rayden’s car and gone for a joy ride.  Shortly, a man named Kevin Lindke was driving home from work when he saw a swerving car take the wrong ramp onto a freeway. Lindke dialed 911 as he followed the car and described the situation to police dispatchers.

The woman who stole the automobile eventually smashed into another vehicle before abandoning the totally-wrecked car on the side of the road. She took off running with Lindke in hot pursuit.  After catching up to her, Lindke convinced her to stay and wait for police.

The next morning, in a follow up call with the police, Kevin learned who the car belonged to.  As it happened, Kevin was preparing to sell his minivan … but instead, he gave it to Rayden!  Take a look …

Again … a small thing to Kevin maybe, but a huge thing for Rayden.


Jessica Benzakein entered the foster care program when she was twelve years old and remained in the system until she turned 18 and was no longer eligible.

Benzakein spent many holidays as a young woman wishing for a family—so when she finally had a house of her own in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she decided to open her heart and home to foster kids and siblings who were enduring the same struggles she had as a child.  About five years ago, she took in six boys — siblings Will, 17, Carter, 14, Sidney, 13, and Buddy, 8, and brothers Kendrich, 6, and T.J., 4. Jessica-kidsThe boys instantly became close with Benzakein’s biological children, Eli, 14, and Brenna, 9, whom she shares with her ex-husband, and they became one big (really big) happy family.

But, with the uncertainties of the foster care system, and Will nearing the age where he would be taken off the foster care rolls, Jessica decided to make certain the children would never be separated, would always have a ‘forever home’, and on Friday, January 3rd, she completed the adoption of all six boys! Jessica-kids-2

“Everybody tells me how lucky these kids are and what a good thing I did. But … I’m going to cry … they grounded me. I went through my 20s thinking I didn’t really need a family. But I did.”


Okay, folks, I had another ‘good people’, but I am short on time tonight, as I’m running behind on the next stage of mine and Jeff’s project, which I need to send him later today.  There’s always next Wednesday!  Meanwhile, remember to be one of those good people, okay?

Snarky Snippets Hot Off The Press!

Yesterday I had a bad case of mind bounce … it happens every so often … and the best I could do was an afternoon re-blog.  Today, however, I am back on my game and filled with snark!  Here are just a few of the things flying about on my radar today.


He should have stayed home …

Every time Trump is allowed to travel abroad and attend international conferences or events, I cringe.  Not because I fear he will embarrass us … there is never a doubt but that he will … but because I wonder how much long-term damage he will do to our relationships with the rest of the world, how much more he will tarnish the image of the U.S. in the eyes of the world.

This week, he is in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.  This year’s forum is focusing on seven themes: Fairer economies, better business, healthy futures, future of work, tech for good, beyond geopolitics and how to save the planet. Young climate activists and school strikers from around the world will be present at the event to put pressure on world leaders over that last theme.  In my opinion, that last one is about the only one that really matters, for if we do not address climate change, none of the rest will be required 100 years from now.

But, of course, Donald Trump feels differently.  He boasted that his support for the coal and oil industries meant the US was self-sufficient in energy.  He attacked climate activists …

“To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the errors of yesterday’s fortune tellers and we have them and I have them and they want to see us do badly, but we don’t let that happen.”

Greta Thunberg, who was also invited and is attending the forum, was apparently one of those “perennial prophets of doom” to whom he referred, as he later said he didn’t know much about her other than that she seemed “very angry”.  She’s not the only one!

Beyond that, he tooted his horn a lot, bragging about the economy, about trade deals, even claiming he would soon be making a “very good deal” with Boris Johnson of the UK, and even had the unmitigated gall to claim proudly that the U.S. is the #1 producer of oil and natural gas – definitely not a boast-worthy claim, whether true or not.

Then, of course, he was asked about his impeachment, and he used the opportunity to whine …

“It’s just a hoax. It’s a witch hunt that’s been going on for years, and frankly, it’s disgraceful.”

Oh, and he also claimed that he and his minions are preparing another “middle-class tax cut”, that he will announce details in 90 days, but that he will only enact it if he is re-elected, the republicans gain control of the House, and hold the Senate.  Well duh … that’s the only way he’ll get any legislation passed, but … ain’t gonna happen, Donnie boy!  And, his last so-called middle-class tax cut actually hurt the middle class and gave the tax cuts to the wealthy 1% and corporations, many of whom pay less in taxes than you or I do.

So, once again, We the People ask forgiveness of our friends across the pond, for the abomination we unleashed on the world in 2016.  Sigh.


And in other news …

Kellyanne said WHAT???

Trump’s mouthpiece, Kellyanne Conway, once again opened her rather large mouth … a mouth that seems to be completely detached from anything remotely resembling a brain.  It was during a news conference yesterday, Martin Luther King Day, and Kellyanne was asked why Trump’s public schedule of events on Monday did not include any functions meant to commemorate Dr. King.

kellyanne“The president … agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and agreed with for many years, including unity and equality. And he’s not the one trying to tear the country apart through an impeachment process and a lack of substance that really is very shameful at this point. I don’t think it was within Dr. King’s vision to have Americans dragged through a process where the president is not going to be removed from office, is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes or misdemeanors.”

Somebody really needs to shut this woman up, for she knows not what she says … she just opens her mouth and out comes stupid.


The hovering dentist

Dr. Seth Lookhart is was a dentist in Anchorage, Alaska.  One of his patients was a woman named Veronica Wilhelm, who one day needed a tooth extracted.  Simple procedure, right?  Well … Dr. Lockhart performed the procedure … while on a hoverboard!  But wait … that’s not even the worst of it!

First, he sedated Ms. Wilhelm, filmed himself extracting the tooth while on his hoverboard, and … wait for it … sent the video clip to at least eight of his friends!

Turns out this wasn’t his only crime, for he has been billing Medicaid for types of expensive sedation not typically covered by private insurance.  His misdemeanor medical assistance fraud offenses carry a possible sentence of up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $25,000 and he could be ordered to return funds to the state of Alaska Medicaid program and his former business partners.


Okay, folks, that’s all I’ve got for today … time to go look in on the impeachment trial …

I Have A Dream …

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday in the United States.  I first wrote this tribute to Dr. King in 2017, and each year I reprise it, with slight changes or minor additions, for I find that it still says exactly what I wish to say.  I am posting it a day ahead this year, for a few reasons, the main one being that I don’t wish it to be overshadowed by the white supremacist/gun rally that will be taking place in Virginia tomorrow.  Dr. King’s memory deserves better than that.  So please, take just a minute to, if nothing else, listen once again to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  In these troubled times, it is good to be reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” 

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

mlk-3Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929.  He would have been 91 years old last Wednesday, had he lived. On this day, we celebrate not only his life, but also his legacy. Martin Luther King Day celebrates not only Dr. King, but the movement he inspired and all those who helped move forward the notion of equal rights for ALL races, all those who worked tirelessly during the civil rights era of the 1960s, as well as those who are continuing the good fight even in this, the year 2020.

Dr. King, along with President John F. Kennedy, was the most moving speaker I have ever heard.  To this day, I cannot listen to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech without tears filling my eyes.  If you haven’t heard it for a while, take a few minutes to watch/listen … I promise it will be worth your time.

This post is both a commemoration and a plea for us to carry on the work that was only begun, not yet finished, more than five decades ago.  Today we should remember some of the great heroes of the civil rights movement, those who worked tirelessly, some who gave their lives, that we could all live in peace and harmony someday: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Roy Innes, Medgar Evers, Booker T. Washington, John Lewis, Percy Julian, Marcus Garvey, Desmond Tutu, E.D. Nixon, James Meredith, and so many more.  I am willing to bet there are some on this list of whom you’ve never heard, or perhaps recognize the name but not the accomplishments. If you’re interested, you can find brief biographies of each of these and more at Biography.com .

Yet, while we celebrate the achievements of Dr. King and the others, there is still much to be done. Just look around you, read the news each day. Think about these statistics:

  • More than one in five black families live in households that are food insecure, compared to one in ten white families
  • Almost four in ten black children live in a household in poverty, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Among prime-age adults (ages 25 to 54), about one in five black men are not in the labor force, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Although blacks and whites use marijuana at approximately the same rate, blacks are over 3 and a half times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession
  • For every dollar earned by a white worker, a black worker only makes 74 cents
  • Black families are twice as likely as whites to live in substandard housing conditions
  • Black college graduates now have twice the amount of debt as white college graduates
  • The likelihood of a black woman born in 2001 being imprisoned over the course of her lifetime is one in 18, compared to 1 in 111 for a white woman
  • Similarly, the likelihood of a black man being imprisoned is 1 in 3, compared to 1 in 17 for a white man
  • Of black children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, about half of them will still be there as adults, compared to less than one-quarter of white children

Data courtesy of the Brookings Institute – for charts and supporting details of above date, please click on link. 

And of course the above data does not even touch upon the recent spate of hate crimes, racial profiling, and police shootings against African-Americans.  There is still much of Dr. King’s work to be accomplished. But who is left to do this work?  Most of the leaders of yore are long since gone. There are still noble and courageous people out there carrying on the programs and works of Dr. King and the others, but their voices are perhaps not as loud, and there are none so charismatic as the late Dr. King.

In the current environment of racial divisiveness, we need more than ever to carry on what Dr. King only started. Instead, the past three years have found our nation backtracking on civil and human rights in a number of areas, ranging from discriminatory travel bans against Muslims to turning a federal blind eye to intentionally racially discriminatory state voter-suppression schemes, to opposing protections for transgender people, to inhumanely separating children from families seeking to enter the country.  I think Dr. King would be appalled if he returned to visit today.

In a speech on April 12th, 1850, then-Senator and future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis said:

“This Government was not founded by negroes nor for negroes, but by white men for white men.” [1]

That was wrong then, it is wrong today, and it will always be wrong.  That is what Dr. Martin Luther King fought against, that is what I rail and sometimes rant against, that is why we need activists and groups dedicated to fighting for equality for all people … today, tomorrow, and forever.

Here is a bit of trivia you may not know about Dr. King …

  • King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.
    The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

  • King entered college at the age of 15.
    King was such a gifted student that he skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather. Although he was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, King did not intend to follow the family vocation until Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him otherwise. King was ordained before graduating college with a degree in sociology.


  • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial.
    Six years before his iconic oration at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke in the shadow of the Great Emancipator during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. Before a crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000, King delivered his first national address on the topic of voting rights. His speech, in which he urged America to “give us the ballot,” drew strong reviews and positioned him at the forefront of the civil rights leadership.


  • King was imprisoned nearly 30 times.
    According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.


  • King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
    On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in Blumstein’s department store when he was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and King underwent hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed where he convalesced for weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.


  • King’s mother was also slain by a bullet.
    On June 30, 1974, as 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church, Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King’s father, who was in the congregation, he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer. The shooting also left a church deacon dead. Chenault received a death penalty sentence that was later changed to life imprisonment, in part due to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment.

Dr. King fought and ultimately gave his life for the values I believe in, the values that should define this nation, though they often do not.  Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero of his time … thank you, Dr. King, for all you did, for the values you gave this nation, and for the hope you instilled in us all that your dream will someday come true.

[1] (Kendi, 2016)   stamped

The bushfires and climate action

The Australian bushfires continue to burn. Last I heard, some 14 million acres had burned or were burning. The devastation and loss of wildlife are simply heartbreaking. Our friend Anne Lawson has written a highly informative post about it that I ask you to take a look at. There are several links to additional information, as well. Thank you, Anne, for this excellent post and for all the information. Keep safe, my friend.

Anne Lawson Art

You know that there are mega-fires burning in Australia.

You know that fires have been burning for months now.

You know that lives have been lost, many houses burnt and huge areas of bush land scorched. If you would like to read more depth about the fires, including the background to the extended fire season and the extent of the fires and scary videos, read this article and/or this one. My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones and their worlds. And a huge amount of gratitude to the fire fighters who have done such an incredible job, sometimes sacrificing their lives.

You know too that the generosity of people from around the world has been overwhelming. More about donations later.

So, read elsewhere for the facts and figures; I want to give you my opinions.

There have been horrifying images of injured and dead…

View original post 1,153 more words

2nd Amendment Run Amok

You’ve most likely heard about the big gun rally planned at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on Monday, but perhaps you don’t know all the who, why, and what-for of it.

Why?

You mean, apart from the fact that a handful of gun nuts care more about their right to own an arsenal than they care about their own children?  Well, pull up a chair, my friends.  After the 2018 elections when both chambers of the Virginia legislature flipped from a republican majority to a democratic one, one of the priorities was to pass some meaningful gun legislation.  Now, it wasn’t as if they were banning assault weapons, or taking away people’s guns.  The proposed legislation has only three parts:

Two things should be noted … First, 80% of the people in this country support gun regulations such as these, and Second, these are only common-sense measures … nothing that requires gun owners to give up their currently-owned guns, nothing that stops people from buying guns … simple, common-sense measures that might actually save a few lives.

But …

A group calling themselves ‘Virginia Citizen’s Defense League’, a misnomer if ever I’ve heard one, has taken umbrage.  And thus, they are planning a rally at the State Capitol that has attracted the riff-raff and gun-toting scum in and outside of the state.  The rally has drawn the attention of militia groups from as far away as Nevada and Oklahoma, including those tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Others vowing to attend include individuals associated with the Light Foot Militia, some of whom were banned from Charlottesville after the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, which ended in the death of a counterprotester. Richard B. Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who is among 24 defendants in a lawsuit over the rally in Charlottesville, also said he might attend.

So far, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has declared a ‘state of emergency’ and banned guns from the capitol building and grounds, and the FBI has arrested three neo-Nazis linked to the ‘Base’, a group that aims to create a white ethnostate.  Chatter picked up on Facebook and in chat rooms by the FBI indicates that various extremist organizations are calling Monday’s rally the “boogaloo.” In the lexicon of white supremacists, that is an event that will accelerate the race war they have anticipated for decades.

These people, folks, do NOT represent the population of the United States.  They are an extreme minority, and yet …

“They are fanning the flames for this event.  They want chaos.”

The three bills will almost certainly pass the legislature, and Governor Northam has already promised to sign them into law, and yet these gun-loving people (and I use the term ‘people’ loosely here) are determined to bring chaos into the capitol.  If I had to guess, I would guess there will be violence and there will be injuries, if not deaths.

Let me quote for you the text, word for word, of that 2nd Amendment they so love …

“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.”

Twenty-seven words.  Nowhere does it say that every household should have the right to own a gun.  Nowhere does it say that people have the right to own high-powered, automatic weapons that can mow down hundreds within minutes.  Nowhere does it say that people have a right to keep an arsenal in their garages.  The framers’ language was vague, but their intent was not.  Their intent was not for John Doe to have the right to carry a gun into the grocery store and start shooting, nor for a family in the suburbs to keep a loaded pistol in their home.  People have so broadly interpreted this that any law that has the word “firearm” in it automatically riles the gun-lovers.  If I were given the task of making revisions to update the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment and the electoral college would be on the chopping block.

Now, to add insult to injury, the fool that sits in the Oval Office felt a need to ring in on the subject.  Now, as president, he might have used his office to call for calm, to call for the rally to be canceled, or to urge people to keep the protest peaceful, right?  But noooooo … he tweeted …

“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!”

This from the so-called “president” of a nation of 330 million people.  Keep your eye on Virginia tomorrow, my friends, because this may well be a harbinger of things to come.

A Few Mini-Rants …

I am growling today.  Every headline I read raises my hackles and makes me wish I had never heard of the United States, let alone have to live here.  Typically, I blame 90% of it on Donald Trump, and certainly he deserves the lion share, but I also have to blame the blind 40% of this nation that still … STILL … after the corruption, the childish temper tantrums, the shredding of the Constitution and the ill will he’s brought from our allies … they STILL effing love him!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …


Ditch the veggies – give the kids burgers instead!

Donald Trump’s main mission in life, it would seem, is to attempt to erase President Obama from the annals of history.  It must be miserable to be so jealous of one man.  Granted, Obama was far wiser, much better looking, had integrity, dignity, spoke well, and had a genuinely beautiful family … all those things that Trump lacks.  But, his envy is costing us in so many ways.  First, there was the rollback of all the environmental regulations that had been put in place during Obama’s tenure to try to do our part to combat climate change.  Then, there was the rollback of law enforcement oversight to try to better screen and train law enforcement officers as we hoped to reduce the tragic shootings by police of unarmed black men.  Then there was the utterly ludicrous pulling out of the Paris Accords and the terrible decision to leave our allies holding the bag on the Iran nuclear deal.  And all for one reason and one reason only:  because he is jealous of President Obama.  But this latest …

You may remember that Michelle Obama’s key initiative during her time as First Lady was fighting childhood obesity and providing better nutrition in school meals.  A worthy endeavour, indeed.  Well, that’s the latest thing being rolled back.  Yes, pick your jaws up off the floor, but the USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps proposed new rules for the Food and Nutrition Service that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries to students.

Why, you ask?  Well, the gobblety-gook explanation Mr. Lipps gave was something about having to provide students with two bananas to meet dietary guidelines.  Okay … sooooo … bananas are cheap … what’s the problem?  Well, the real problem is that it was under Obama that we began taking school nutrition seriously, and both Obamas were instrumental in providing more healthy foods and less fat to kids in school.  Can’t have that now, can we.

Another likely reason is the potato lobby that has been pushing for this change, and that the potato industry was behind a change that happened quietly last March making it easier to substitute potatoes for some fruit in weekly breakfast menus.  Once again, corporate profit over the well-being of people.  Sigh.


Senator Martha McSally, bitch extraordinaire

The incident in and of itself was bad enough.  A CNN reporter, Manu Raju, asked Senator McSally a legitimate question …

Raju: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?

McSally: You’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you.

Raju: You’re not going to comment, Senator?

McSally: You’re a liberal hack, buddy.

Whoa!  McSally is quite a step down from her predecessor, the late Senator John McCain.  McCain once interjected when, at a campaign event while he was running against Barack Obama, a fan was being critical of Obama, calling him an “Arab” among other things.  McCain did not let the woman finish, but took the microphone from her and said, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign issue is all about.”  And here is his successor calling a reporter a ‘liberal hack’ simply because he asked a very valid question.  Yes, that would have been bad enough, but …

McSally was so proud of her behaviour that she put a video of the incident on Twitter.  And, McSally’s re-election campaign is already using the incident as a fund-raising tool!

McSally-tweet

Now, McSally faces re-election later this year, as she was only appointed to finish the term vacated by reason of John McCain’s death.  She ran for the other Senate seat from Arizona in 2018, but lost to Kyrsten Sinema.  And, she wasn’t even Governor Doug Ducey’s first choice to fill McCain’s seat … he initially chose Jon Kyl, but Kyl resigned due to health concerns.  With such low values as she has shown, I don’t care if it’s Moe from the Three Stooges running against her, I hope she loses big-time.  Where is the decency in politics today???  Oh … I guess she’s just following this example …Trump-mocking-reporter


A great bunch of people … NOT!

Yesterday, Trump announced that Alan Dershowitz; Ken Starr, the independent counsel during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial; former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi; as well as  Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr at the Office of the Independent Counsel during the Clinton administration; and Jane Raskin, who helped defend Trump during the Mueller probe, would join White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow in defending the president on the Senate floor.

I don’t know much about some of them, but let me share with you what I do know.  For one thing, Dershowitz, Starr, and Ray have made roughly 300 appearances on Fox News in the past year, which should tell you something about their integrity right there.

Ken Starr was named the 14th president of Baylor University in Waco in 2010 and chancellor in 2013. After the mishandling of campus sexual assault allegations, he was ousted as president in 2016 and resigned as chancellor and law professor shortly after, cutting all ties with the university.

Alan Dershowitz defended Trump’s ol’ buddy Jeffrey Epstein in his sex abuse cases, and was himself accused by no less than three women.

Pam Bondi was Florida State Attorney General back in 2013 when her office was investigating the now-defunct Trump University on charges of fraud.  Donald Trump wrote a check for $25,000 to Bondi’s re-election campaign and suddenly there was no longer an investigation.

So, Trump has a fine, upstanding legal team.  Doesn’t matter, does it, since the jury reached their decision before there was even a case to try.  Welcome to the tinpot dictatorship of America.


I shall now retire to my dark tower to growl in private and practice howling at the moon.  Have a fine weekend, if you can.

Discord & Dissension – Part ll – “How did we get here? – Part ll”

We proudly present the second part of this week’s ‘Discord and Dissension’ project … please feel free to comment and make any suggestions you may have … we want this project to make a difference! Thanks to all of you!

On The Fence Voters

Note to readers: This week’s post on our ‘Discord and Dissension’ project ended up being too long for a single post, and so it will be presented in two parts. The first part was presented earlier this morning, which you can read here. The following post is the second part. 

Bush v. Gore

The 2000 election was extremely close. In the end, it came down to the state of Florida. George W. Bush had a lead of only 500 votes over Al Gore, and a recount ensued. It was during this period where the partisan divide between the two parties was on full display. One of the closest and most contentious elections was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court when they settled in a 5-4 decision to halt the recount—a split decision which also reflected the conservative versus liberal ideological makeup of the court.

The fact that Al Gore ultimately…

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