The REAL War on Christmas …

Whereas I typically awaken with a smile on my face, this morning I awakened with a sense of dread, without knowing quite why.  I moved through my morning chores with no sense of joy, with no song in my heart, and by the time I was ready for my first ‘sit-down’ break, I was near tears … still no idea why.  And then, bless their hearts, the guys over at The Washington Post gave me my first clue …

“Breaking News: FCC repeals net neutrality rules in sweeping act of deregulation”

No surprise there … the five commission members are presidential appointees … they are not elected, had no incentive to please anybody but Trump.  I knew the result before WaPo confirmed it, yet I still felt a rock in my stomach and tears pooling in my eyes as I read the news.

Then there was this from NPR …

“Republicans Reconcile House And Senate Versions Of Tax Deal”

But the icing on the cake, the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back, was this from a friend’s blog …

“President Trump on Thursday hailed the Republican tax plan as a ‘big, beautiful Christmas present’”

Of course, he said that over a month ago, and I had heard it before, but today was probably not the day I needed to be reminded of it and after more than a few choice words, I truly almost put my fist through a window.  I do not want any Christmas present from Donald Jerk Trump beyond his resignation, effective immediately.  A Christmas present should not cost one thousands of dollars, as this tax bill will cost me and most of you.  A Christmas present should not ruin Christmas, as this has done for me.

But wait … fate and angst still wasn’t finished with me, for as I perused my morning email, there was this:

screen shotBelow the picture read:

“Christmas is meant to be shared with close friends and family, and what better way to spread the spirit than by signing the Official First Family Christmas Card.

Wish President Trump, First Lady Melania, and the rest of the First Family a very Merry Christmas with a personal message before December 23.

We know the President would love to see your name, Jill. It’s you he’s fighting for every day in office.

So please, sign the Official First Family Christmas card today.

Thank you,

Team TRUMP”

Now, if you think that didn’t complete my black humour, then you don’t know me too well.  I have been unable to write, for my fingers couldn’t hit the right keys … couldn’t even write an email that I much wanted to write to a treasured friend, couldn’t eat, folded clothes with such a vengeance I put a hole in a towel.

Back on the campaign trail last year, Trump began talking about “ending the war on Christmas”.  At first, I was puzzled as to what, exactly, he meant.  Part of it, of course, is that strange illusion some of the Christian faith have that everyone should go ‘round saying “Merry Christmas” at this time of year, and those of us who may say, “Happy Holidays” instead should be smited. Personally, I do not care if you say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Hanukah”, “Joyous Kwanzaa”, “Happy Holidays”, or just a simple “Hi, how are you” or “Have a nice day”.  As long as you aren’t cussing me, I’m happy. I. Do. Not. Care.  Those who are offended need to remember that, while the Christian religion may be the majority in this nation, the nation is a secular one, and there are many who are of other faiths.  In this nation, there are Jews, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists, to name a few.  Why would you impose your religion on the rest of us?

More to the point, however, there is no war on Christmas!  The war is on everybody else! Allow me to quote a tidbit from a Washington Post article:

“There is no war on Christmas. But there is a war on Jews, led by the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville in August, carrying torches and chanting “Blood and soil” and “Heil Trump” and “Jews will not replace us!”

And there is a war on Muslims, fueled by our commander in chief, who sees nothing wrong with trying to ban Muslims from entering the United States or fanning the flames of hatred by retweeting unverified and inflammatory videos of purported Muslims doing despicable things.”

The war on Christmas?  Trump fired the first shot when he took office and began taking away the things that matter to us.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am having to really work hard at even the appearance of having Christmas spirit this year.  The other night, my granddaughter, for whom I would lay down my life, said to me, “Grannie, are you even a little bit excited about Christmas this year?” My family, though not of the Christian faith, has always loved this season.  I bake almost daily for friends, neighbors, my daughter’s co-workers.  We love our decorations, the candles, and the tree.  Enjoy choosing just the right gift and then wrapping them to look ever so special.  But this year, none of that … not a bit of it … matters.  But still, when Miss Goose asked me that question, I donned a smile (I hope it didn’t look like a grimace) and said, “Oh yes, absolutely!  And tomorrow I shall dig through my closet and we shall begin to decorate!”  And inside I cried.  I did dig through my closet, and we did decorate.  Last night I even did a little in the kitchen, making Muddy Buddies for Miss Goose and a cheeseball for daughter Chris.  And this weekend we will get our tree, shop for the Significant Seven, and I shall do stocking shopping and some baking.  But inside, I cry.

Donald Trump has robbed us of Christmas this year.  That, my friends, is the real “war on Christmas”.

Good People Doing Good Things … Three Amazing Kids

Have you ever noticed that for some reason, people seem kinder around this time of year?  People just seem more willing to open both their wallets and their hearts during the Christmas season, and I don’t see it as a religious thing, for many of the most generous people are not Christians.  There is just a certain magic that comes from the lights, the scents, the sounds, that makes people feel better.  This week’s ‘good people’ post begins with a young man who shows us his “Christmas Spirit”.


Jayden Perez – age 8

His name is Jayden Perez and he is 8 years old, living in Woodland Park, New Jersey.  Not long ago, Jayden told his mom that he wanted to donate all his Christmas gifts this year to the children in Puerto Rico who lost everything to Hurricane Maria in September.  But his mom, Ana Rosado, gave him the idea of taking it a step further and starting a toy drive to collect toys for the children of Puerto Rico, and that is what Jayden, with a little bit of help, did!  His mom helped to get the word out by posting about the toy drive on her Facebook account, and the response has been overwhelming!

  • A man in Pennsylvania donated a trailer-load of toys
  • NBA manager Brandon Eddy sent 11 large boxes full of toys
  • And of course people from the neighborhood did their share, too

Jayden was even featured on ABC News’ Good Morning America.  Jayden and his mom will be flying to Puerto Rico to distribute the toys to several small cities that were hit hard by Maria, and also to an orphanage that needs help.

Jayden-1.jpg

There are many good people in this story, but it all started with a little boy who wanted to give away his own Christmas presents to help others in need.  Thumbs up, young Jayden … keep up the good work!


Jameshia Attaway – age 14

Jameshia Attaway of Indianola, Mississippi turned 14 years old this month.  Since her birthday is so close to Christmas, she has a unique way of celebrating … she gives all her gifts away — and then some!  It all started six years ago when Jameshia was eight years old and in third grade.  She noticed that a girl in her school wore shoes with holes in them. “Children made fun of her,” said Jameshia. “I told my mother that I wanted to buy her a pair of new shoes.” She then realized that many other kids were in need of help, too, while every year she was “overwhelmed” with birthday gifts. So she decided that she could “put on a smile on my face and theirs” by giving her gifts away.

In the six years since that first philanthropic deed, Jameshia’s project has expanded and she now begins preparing in November for the huge birthday bash she throws for local children in need. She writes letters to local businesses and civic groups to garner donations of toys and food, and contacts agencies that provide services for people in need. She also asks family and friends to make gift boxes, teachers to read to children who attend the party, and her mother’s friend to dress up as a princess.

JameshiaThe hardest part, Jameshia said, used to be finding a place large enough to hold the party, but the mayor of her town now allows her to host the event in a city-owned building. She estimates that about 40 local families benefit from her project every year. In addition to her annual party, Jameshia participates in a wide variety of community service projects with her school’s PTA, the Indianola Youth Council and a mayor’s diversity council.

Two years ago, Jameshia was awarded the Prudential ‘Spirit of Community Award’,  at a national award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Remember, if you will, that this young woman is only 14 years old!  She has already accomplished, in the past six years, barely half of her young life, more than many of us accomplish in an entire lifetime! I don’t know about you guys, but I am humbled.


When I began this post this evening, I had a direction in mind … people giving because of the holiday spirit.  But, as sometimes happens, the stories had a mind of their own and took me down a different path than I first saw, and I stumbled across so many young people doing good for their communities, that the piece changed focus without my realizing it.  So often we despair about the youth of today, wonder what the world will look like when this next generation with their droopy drawers and ‘all about me’ attitude is in charge.  But if these young people are any indication, I think we will be just fine.  Read on …


Deoshanic Petaway – age 15

Homicides hit a ten-year high in the small town of Lima, Ohio last December, much due to an increase in gun violence.  Enter Deoshanic Petaway, age 15, who wasn’t about to sit idle while young people were being killed in her community.

deoshanicDeoshanic started working with an organization called CeaseFire Lima, hoping to help find a solution to the violence at its root cause, so that violence and conflict could be resolved before becoming a life or death situation. What Deoshanic and the group discovered was the story that we are hearing across much of the U.S. today … many community members felt that individuals were arrested or hassled by police without cause.

To help create communication between the police and community members, Deoshanic created a community dialogue space for youth and police to discuss their perspectives and build understanding of one another.  Imagine that, folks … a 15-year-old girl advocates for communication as a solution … darn, why didn’t we adults think of that???  Working together with the Chief of Police, City Council members, and her peers, Deoshanic began raising money for body cams for the police officers and for awareness of the safety issues within the community for both police and community members.

To create safe spaces for youth, Deoshanic hosts events, including a Halloween event. For the holiday season, Deoshanic planned a Christmas party in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, United Healthcare, the Lima Police Department, the Lima Public library, a local church, and other youth groups that provide food and toys to children in need. Under the guidance of the West Ohio Foodbank, Deoshanic and Ceasefire Lima’s youth group created Lima’s first youth-led food pantry, the only pantry that has weekend access.

Deoshanic additionally helped establish the Lima Junior City Council so that youth can have a voice in policies that affect their community. By collaborating with other community groups, Deoshanic has demonstrated that change has a greater impact when everyone comes together.


All three of these young people deserve our respect and a round of applause.  They obviously come from families with true values, not the faux values of those whose words do not match their actions.  And all three of these kids are going to make this world a better place, mark my words.

I began with a story about a young man who wanted to help the displaced youth in Puerto Rico, and I would like to end with a reminder, and perhaps even a plea.  In September, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with a vengeance, doing far greater damage than any of the other devastating hurricanes this year.  More than 60% of Puerto Ricans remain without electricity or running water.  This will be a bleak Christmas for the residents of Puerto Rico, and especially for the children.  I ask that you remember them, for they have been largely forgotten by their own government.  And if you can find it in your heart, if you can find a few spare dollars in your wallet, please do what you can to help make Christmas just a little bit brighter for these children.

Thank you all, and remember, my friends, the majority of people on this planet truly are “Good People” … they just get overshadowed by the other variety. Hugs and Love from my home to yours.

Robbing Hood … on Net Neutrality

Dear Readers,

Today is Wednesday, and time for my weekly “Good People Doing Good Things” feature.  I apologize, but I am delaying that feature until tomorrow (Thursday) morning.  As I mentioned yesterday evening, I planned one more post in my series about the most important and imminent issues facing us this week, and this one is about net neutrality.  Since the vote is to be tomorrow, I felt it imperative to get this post out as early as possible, and I knew I could not do both posts by 3:00 a.m., for I have indeed promised that I would have an early bedtime tonight.  So, I hope that you will understand my decision, and I do promise the ‘good people’ post on Thursday.


This year, the federal government under Donald Trump and a republican-led Congress, has a theme.  The theme of 2017 is: Robbing Hood: Rob From The Poor, Give To The Rich. If there is any way for the wealthy and big corporations to squeeze another nickel from We The People, they are going to give it their best shot.  They came for our healthcare, they’re trying to raise our taxes, and now they are coming for our internet.  Time to fight back, folks.

The vote on reversing net neutrality rules is scheduled for tomorrow, December 14th, and it is almost certain to pass along party lines.  Let us start with some basics.

What is net neutrality?

paiNet neutrality is a term used to describe a set of regulations that ensure all information flowing over the internet is treated equally. It means companies cannot block websites or offer certain companies faster loading speeds for money. In a simple sentence, the reversal of net neutrality will mean corporate domination of the internet, pure and simple.

The FCC under President Obama implemented the set of regulations known as net neutrality.

Who is the FCC?

The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, is made up of five commissioners appointed by the sitting president. The current chairman is Ajit Pai, who was appointed to the commission under President Obama at the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell.  Trump appointed Pai to the position of Chairman after taking office in January.

What does it all mean for me and you?

Example:  You want to watch the movie Lord of the Rings on Netflix.  Simple, right?  You pay a flat monthly fee, usually either $7.99 or $8.99, and in return you can watch unlimited movies, television shows, etc., free of commercials.  Not a bad deal … certainly better than the $120 we used to pay for satellite service and still had commercials!  So, you go to Netflix, select Lord of the Rings, and sit back to watch your … hey, wait a minute … why is it taking so long?  Oh, there … now it’s starting.  The credits roll and … it freezes up and there is an annoying circle going round and round in the center of the screen.  You give up and call Netflix.  They tell you that they are working on the problem.  The first of the month comes, you receive your Netflix bill for $18.99 … and … WAIT A MINUTE!!!  That’s $10-$11 more than I agreed to!  Well guess what.  In order to stream your movies at the speed that actually allows you to watch them, Netflix had to pay millions of dollars to Verizon and/or Comcast, and so they are now passing that cost on to you the consumer.  You’ve been ROBBED.

Or … that app I have called Mighty Text, that sends all my phone notifications such as text messages, Twitter messages, Facebook notifications, chat & email notifications, along with phone calls and text voice mail directly to my computer screen so that I can read and respond on my laptop where I can see them better?  Um … I cannot access it any more because the developers of Mighty Text were small potatoes and couldn’t afford to pay AT&T to keep it accessible, so AT&T blocked it.  I have been ROBBED

The internet survived without net neutrality before net neutrality, some would argue.  I would agree but … we are living in a different world than we were five years ago, a different universe, as it were.  Corporate greed has become the numero uno killer of common sense in the U.S., and where there can be found another way to enrich the already-rich at the expense of the poor and working class, the elderly and the infirm, they will find it and they will use it.  Before I close, let me give you one more example.

You want a new pair of Skechers running shoes.  You know exactly what you want, you know precisely what size you want.  You work all week, clean house all day Saturday, and who feels like going shoe shopping on Sunday, right? But who needs to, for there is the internet and there is nothing that cannot be found on the internet.  So, sit down, Google “Skechers running shoes turquoise size 6 women’s”.  You get a number of hits within moments, and you go to the first one.  Wow … I don’t remember them costing that much when I bought the last pair, but that was 5 years ago.  Check out the 2nd and 3rd hits, still over $60.  So, pick one and order the shoes … $60 won’t break the bank, now will it?  No, but guess what, friends?  You’ve been ROBBED For there were a number of online stores that sell those exact same shoes for $39.99 plus tax, but Google did not direct you to those stores, for they did not pay for the privilege of being ranked high enough to show up when you searched.

I wrote about the reversal of net neutrality in July in a piece titled TRUMP & PAI SET TO WRECK THE INTERNET  I was concerned then, and I am more so now, for I have seen the current administrations cold lack of concern for We The People in other areas, and I have received the message loud and clear that, “You The People” do not matter.  Our future on the internet boils down to five people tomorrow:

  1. Ajit Pai – Chairman
  2. Mignon Clyburn – Commissioner
  3. Brendan Carr – Commissioner
  4. Michael O’Rielly – Commissioner
  5. Jessica Rosenworcel – Commissioner

George Orwell thought the world would change in 1984.  It would actually happen 33 years later, in 2017, and not for the better.  I cannot say how much, if any, good these online protests do, but in this case, I’m willing to make the effort, to take the 60 seconds to fill in my name, rank & serieal number, if it sends my currently barky voice straight to the ear of Ajit Pai and presents my message loud and clear, so I include this link for any who are interested.

Thus concludes my “List of Four” hard-hitting critical issues of the week.  Thank you for your patience, my friends, thank you for listening, for acting where you could, and for sticking together.  We are, in fact, all of us in this together and we must … we simply must … continue to make our voices heard, else we have lost before we left the starting gate.  Love ‘n hugs, my friends.  Love ‘n hugs.

Contact your Senators, Congressperson and President

Dear Readers,

I know it seems that it seems we have talked about the ‘tax reform bill’ endlessly, and picked it apart like the bones from Sunday’s chicken, but this is one of the most destructive pieces of legislation currently in the works, and it is too important for us to stop talking now. We still stand a chance of changing the minds of enough to keep it from passing, and I think we cannot stop now. Keith has some suggestions for us to mount a final effort to keep Congress and Trump from raising our already-astronomical national debt, and hitting us where it hurts. Please take a moment to consider some of these ideas and let’s launch one final push to change the minds of some of our elected representatives! Thank you Keith, and thank you readers!

musingsofanoldfart

It would not be a surprise to know that the US Congress and White House are highly dysfunctional. They have long ago forgotten why they are there. It seems opinions of the donors and oligarchy are the only ones that matter. We need to make our voice louder and consistent. Irrespective of any party affiliation, we must cease with the tribal BS. The party you support does make mistakes, many of them. Don’t just accept them because they are made by folks in your tribe. And, if you think it is only the other party, think again.

Please call your Senators, Congressperson and President and tell them messages they need to hear.

  • Please do not pass a Tax Bill that favors the elite and tell us it does not do so. That is an insult and a lie.
  • Please do not pass a Tax Bill that increases our debt. It…

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A Monster Re-Surfaces …

brock turner

Brock Turner

Remember Brock Allen Turner? If you wish to refresh your memory, it was one of my better pieces of early 2016   (Yes, a shameless plug, but it was a comprehensive analysis) Briefly, In January 2015, during a party on the campus of Stanford University, 20-year-old Turner raped an unconscious young woman behind a dumpster.  There was no doubt of his guilt, as two eyewitnesses pulled Turner off the woman and held him until police arrived.  He was found guilty and could have been sentenced up to 14 years, based on the charges, but Judge Aaron Persky said he saw no reason to ruin young Turner’s life and sentenced him to only six months.  Turner served 90 days in prison.  Turner’s father, Dan Turner, argued against even that light sentence, saying what a shame it was that his son would not be able to eat steak during his time in prison, and that he should pay a price for a mere “20 minutes of action”.

The leniency of the sentence caused a public outcry and calls for Judge Persky to be replaced.

Today, Brock Turner is back in the news, more than one year after his release from jail on September 2nd, 2016,  for he is now appealing the light sentence he was given!  Why, and on what grounds?  The grounds, apparently, are that Turner, who was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, claims he did not receive a fair trial.  How so?  Because of the exclusion of testimony by ‘character witnesses’ who vouched for his ability to swim well, his school performance, and his overall honesty.  He also claims that since his victim was inebriated, he should not have been convicted.

Also at issue is the fact that the prosecutor made note of the fact that Turner had taken his victim ‘behind the dumpster’ to rape her, which is true, but Turner’s attorney now claims it implies that Turner was attempting to hide his nefarious activities, and that it implied ‘moral depravity’, as dumpsters are associated with garbage and filth. Well … wasn’t he, and isn’t he??? Call a spade a bloody shovel!

In a statement before his 2016 sentencing, Mr. Turner claimed that the sex was consensual, despite the fact that the victim was unconscious and could not have given consent.

Why is Turner appealing this conviceiont more than a year after being released from jail?  I cannot say, but my best guess is that a) he and his ‘daddy’ want it off his record so that his bright and shining future will not be tarnished by “a brief 20 minutes of action”, and b) with two more years to serve on parole, he is getting tired of both having to meet with his parole officer and having to register every 90 days as a sex offender.  Those things can put a damper on a guy’s social life, y’know.

What are the odds of his appeal being successful?  Slim-to-none, by my best guess, but keep in mind a couple of things.  Turner’s family are upscale and wealthy, and ours has become a society that seems to value wealth over morals. I always felt that Turner’s father greased some palms to get him such a ‘slap on the wrist’ sentence.  I am puzzled, though, by Turner’s attorney for the appeal, Eric Multhaup, and his reason for being willing to take this case, putting his professional reputation on the line.  Again … greased palms?  I don’t know, but I do know that if I were an attorney, it would take a hell of a lot of grease to convince me to file this frivolous appeal.

persky

Judge Aaron Persky

Judge Persky’s future remains in question, as there is yet a movement to remove him from the bench based primarily on this case and his uber-lenient sentencing. According to Michele Dauber, Stanford law professor and the chairwoman of a committee to recall Judge Persky, “The problem with this case is not that Judge Persky was unfair to Brock Turner, it’s that Judge Persky was unfair to the victim.” The committee she is leading has so far collected 76,000 signatures of the 90,000 needed to get the issue of Persky’s removal on the June ballot.

I will return with updates as they happen … watch this space,

Filosofa Screwed UP!!!

As I have said many times, though I strive for accuracy, I sometimes get it wrong.  Today was one of those times, and I must say that when I get it wrong, I get it WRONG! I thank Xena for pointing to the error of my ways!

In my post, A Tale of Two Verdicts  I referred to Daniel Shaver as a black man murdered by a white police officer, but Daniel Shaver was, in fact, white, and if my brain had been functioning, I would have realized my error, for I even posted a picture of he and his family.

This in no way diminishes the injustice of his murder, but it does take the racial element out of the equation.  I still would have included his story in this post, but I apologize for my error in his race.  Please forgive my negligence in this, for it is truly inexcusable.  Thanks to my reader, Xena, for catching my faux pas.  I will be more careful in the future.

Thank you all for your patience.

A Tale Of Two Verdicts …

This week, two white former police officers, accused of murdering unarmed black men, had their day in court.  The cases are similar … the same abominable tale of racism and abused power … but the outcomes were very different.  The first, I first wrote about one year ago …


Reckless, Wanton and Inappropriate …  

Recap: April 4th 2015, Charleston, South Carolina.  Mr. Walter Scott was stopped at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of an auto parts store, by Charleston police officer Michael Thomas Slager for a defective brake light. The video from Slager’s dashcam shows him approaching Scott’s car, speaking to Scott, and then returning to his patrol car. Scott exited his car and fled with Slager giving chase on foot. Allegedly, Officer Slager caught up with Mr. Scott, there ensued a scuffle, Mr. Scott managed to get away, Officer Slager shot him with his taser, Mr. Scott ran, and at that point Officer Slager fired eight shots.  Five of the shots hit Scott, 3 in the back, one in the posterior, and one in the ear.

scott-slager

Former Officer Michael Slager

Later, Slager would claim that Mr. Scott took his taser.  He would also claim that Scott was coming toward him when, in fact, he was running away from him, and he claimed he feared for his life. But both of these claims were disproven by a video recording made by a passerby, Feidin Santana, that showed Mr. Scott did not have the taser, and also showed Officer Slager dropping the taser next to Scott’s body after the shooting in an attempt to plant evidence. My original post, Another Case of Injustice – The Murder of Walter Scott,  was one year ago, December 7th, 2016.

Walter-Scott-mother

Walter Scott’s mother with picture of Mr. Scott

Update:  On Thursday, the fourth day of Slager’s sentencing hearing, Judge David C. Norton said he had concluded that the killing should be considered murder for the purposes of determining Mr. Slager’s punishment. The shooting, he said, was “reckless, wanton and inappropriate.” The judge then sentenced Slager to twenty years in prison.  Score one, at last, for justice.  Even Jeff Sessions, surprisingly, was on board with this one …

“Officers who violate anyone’s rights also violate their oaths of honor, and they tarnish the names of the vast majority of officers, who do incredible work.”

It took more than two years, but finally a white officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man was brought to justice.  Not so, the next story …


It happened in Maricopa County, Arizona, home of former sheriff Joe Arpaio, the law-breaking bigot about whom I have written  many times in the past.  January 2016, 26 year old Daniel Shaver, staying at the Mesa La Quinta Inn, invited two acquaintances up to his room for drinks and proceeded to show off his pellet gun, which he used in his job as a pest control worker. At that point, a couple in the hotel hot tub below reported to staff that they thought they’d seen the silhouette of a man with a rifle in a window. In response, the hotel staff promptly called police.

Joe Arpaio was still sheriff of Maricopa Country at that time, and six heavily-armed officers arrived at Mr. Shaver’s room.  One of those officers was Philip Mitchell Brailsford.  The officers proceed to Shaver’s room and order everyone out.  As they exit the room, the officers scream for Shaver and one of his guests to get on the ground …

“Apparently we have a failure for you to comprehend simple instructions, I gotta go over some of them again. If you make another mistake there is a very severe possibility that you’re both going to get shot…. I’m not here to be tactful or diplomatic with you. You listen. You obey.”

Brailsford

Former Officer Philip Brailsford

The officers then proceed to give the two civilians a convoluted series of instructions, including interlocking their fingers on their head and crossing their left and right legs, before asking them to crawl toward the officers. They take the female acquaintance out of the way. Meanwhile, Mr. Shaver, is sobbing and saying, “please don’t shoot me.” Shaver then moves his right hand downward momentarily, prompting Brailsford to shoot him several times with his AR-15.

Shaver-wife-kids

Daniel Shaver with wife and two children

I have twice watched the body-cam footage.  Brailsford was in full body gear and armed with a lethal assault weapon.  Shaver was on the ground, hands over head, being ordered to crawl down the hallway toward Brailsford.  When he took his hands off his head in an attempt to comply with the order, he was gunned down in cold blood.  The video is more than four minutes long and during the entire time, Brailsford has his finger on the trigger, at the ready, while Shaver is flat on the ground.  There can be no doubt that Brailsford fully intended to kill Shaver from the beginning. After the shooting, Brailsford had the dust cover of his AR-15 engraved with the words “You’re Fucked”.

On Thursday, Brailsford was cleared of all charges.


Two cases of unarmed black men murdered by white police officers who let their power go to their heads.  Two dead young men, but two very different outcomes for the rogue cops.  One will spend the next twenty years in prison, the other will be free to live his life in freedom, possibly even be reinstated to his former job.

murderA recent analysis in the New York Times tells of 15 hgh-profile cases of white officers murdering unarmed black men, and one … only one … faces prison time!  This, friends, is intolerable. We are told to always respect the police.  Then, they need to be held accountable so that we can respect them.

Franklin Graham — Persona Non Grata

graham

Franklin Graham, Idiot of te Week Nov 2016

A little over a year ago, I awarded my coveted Idiot of the Week award to Mr. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, and a most deserving recipient of my idiot award.  Today, I find that he is trying to spread his brand of idiocy, or narrow-minded “Christianity”, if it can be so-called, to our friends across the pond, and they, frankly do not want him!

US evangelical preacher should be banned from entering UK, critics say – The Guardian, 07 December 2017

MPs call for Franklin Graham to be banned from UK ahead of Blackpool visit – Premier, 08 December 2017

For those who may not know who Franklin Graham is, a quick recap.  He is a televangelist who is controversial for his far-right, bigoted ideology.  He has spoken brutally against Islam referring to it as “a very evil and wicked religion”, and has claimed that Barack Obama was “born a Muslim” (not true, but so what if it was?) and had allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the US government at the highest levels during his presidency. He has taken on the LGBT community, saying that the mythological ‘Satan’ is behind same-sex marriage. In every possible way, he is a bigot extraordinaire.  He is, not surprisingly, a big supporter of Donald Trump. Of Trump’s election, he says …

“While the media scratches their heads and tries to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda from taking control of our country.”

So, with such outlandishly bigoted views, is it any wonder that the Brits don’t want him in the UK?  I think not, for I don’t want him in the U.S., either, but he seems to play well in the south, so as long as he stays in the south, and off my radar, I can simply ignore him.

Graham is scheduled to speak at the Lancashire Festival of Hope at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens in September 2018, but the protests began nearly a year ahead of the event.

A number of Members of Parliament, including a government minister, have urged the home secretary to consider refusing UK entry to Franklin Graham, with some suggesting his comments contravene British laws on hate speech. An online petition  has, as of this writing, garnered 6,150 signatures.

Blackpool MP, Gorden Marsden has called on the home secretary to consider refusing Graham entry, and said the evangelist may have broken UK legislation on hate speech. “I think frankly the evidence is piling up that his visit to the UK … would not be a good thing and not probably in my view a very Christian thing.”

Afzal Khan, the Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, said, “His views are not welcome, and I will make representation to the home secretary if it looks like he is intent on coming,”

Two opponents of Graham’s visit, the Blackpool vicars Andrew Sage and Tracy Charnock, have written an open letter to the bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson, calling on him to distance himself from the US evangelist. They say they are nervous about the damage the proposed visit will do to interfaith relations.

Nina Parker, the pastor of Liberty church in Blackpool and the organizer of the petition, said: “As a Christian and as a leader of a church that particularly welcomes LGBT people, I’m horrified that other local churches are inviting someone with this record of hate speech.”

Just as our friends on the other side of the pond, for the most part do not wish to welcome Donald Trump for a state visit next year, nor do they wish Franklin Graham to visit, bringing his message of hate, fear, and every phobia known to mankind.  Personally, I don’t blame them … I don’t want either of them, either!  And if he were sensible, Franklin Graham would cancel his visit, but … well, I just said if

What the World Needs Now… Respect

Friend and fellow blogger John Fioravanti of Words To Captivate fame, has written an excellent, thought-provoking post about ‘respect’. Such a simple word, yet one that seems so difficult sometimes. In this piece, John searches his own heart and finds, as we all do, that he is not always true to his own ideals. Please take a few moments to read John’s piece which, I think, has much value in these uncertain and difficult times in which we live. Thank you, John, for your deeply introspective piece, for making us all think, and for your generous permission for me to share this with my friends and readers.

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

“We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.”

~ Barack Obama

In my last post in this series, “Let Us Change the World!”, I reflected upon the role of education in bringing about positive change in the world through a quote by Nelson Mandela. His words were spoken in the context of a speech he made to students in Boston in 1990 to encourage them to remain in school and help transform the world into a better place.

Young person working on a laptop computer.Lifelong learning can be achieved online, through books, and by listening to others. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

As a retired secondary school educator, I…

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Senator Susan Collins Is The Real Reason The RNC Is Now supporting Judge Roy Moore Again

Senator Susan Collins earned our kudos when she voted against the abominable ACA repeal bill a few months ago, but now? Not so much, since she sold her soul downriver to the big money donors and came out in support of the latest tax “reform” bill that is destined to cause nothing but grief for the 99% of us who are not wealthy. Ms. Collins current term does not end until 2021, so perhaps she believes we will forget her treason against We The People by then. Please read Gronda’s excellent post to see where Ms. Collins stands and what she is doing now. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for images for susan collins mcconnell SENATOR COLLINS

It seems that the republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine did a major fubar by being talked into voting for the US senate tax bill in the wee morning of December 2, 2017.

Her constituents have held her to task bigly for this vote to where it is very unlikely that she will vote in favor of the final legislation.

The US Senate’s Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aware of this fact and he needs to guarantee that 51 republicans will vote in favor of the final bill’s passage.

Image result for image of breakdown of us senate between democrats and republicans

So, the RNC Republican National Committee officials which had previously withdrawn their support for the alleged pedophile republican candidate Judge Roy Moore who is running to become the US senator from Alabama on December 12, 2017, but they have reversed their earlier decision and are now backing him because the republican senate leaders need his vote to pass their…

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