I struggled to focus tonight, being tired, tired of Trump, and in rather a black mood. But then, thanks to our friend Ellen, I found something with which to amuse you, my friends! Y’know, late night comedians like Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Myers, John Oliver and others are much the same as the political cartoonists we all enjoy — they can say so much with humour. Good ol’ Stephen Colbert is always good for some laughs, and Friday night’s monologue is no exception. So, grab a fresh cup of coffee and spend a few minutes having a few laughs at Trump’s expense! Thank you, Ellen, for pointing me in this direction!
Sometimes I rant. I try not to. I try to remember that civil discourse is the best way, that Theodore Roosevelt’s advice to “walk softly, but carry a big stick” is sound advice, and most days I succeed to a greater or lesser degree. But sometimes the absolute idiocy of our world today, specifically of our government in this, the reign of terror Trump, gets to me and if I don’t blow off a little steam, I will have night terrors all night, yell at Miss Goose, and break another toe, all of which have happened in the past week! So, brace yourself for Filosofa’s Headline Rants, based only on the headlines that made me say a bad word, even if under my breath. Oh, and thank you, Roger, for giving me some new words to use, such as fornacazoni!
From the Associated Press …
The White House said Thursday that Democratic efforts to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax records are “political games.”
Now, first off, I have never heard of a building speaking. The White House said nothing, unless it groaned under the weight of the obese ‘man’ walking its hallowed halls. Second, NO, whomever was speaking on behalf of the building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it is not a “political game”. Let me make this perfectly clear: WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DEMAND TO SEE THE TAX RETURNS OF THE ‘MAN’ WHO IS MAKING THE DECISIONS THAT ARE RUINING OUR LIVES!!!
Yes, Ms. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and yes, Donald Trump, and yes, Mick Mulvaney … I am angry … no, scratch that … I am furious! As the saying goes, ‘there’s something rotten in Denmark’, we know there is something rotten in the White House, and we’re pretty sure we know just exactly what it is. I really want to know how much Donald Trump pays in taxes on average each year. I will tell you that if it’s less than ten percent of his AGI (Adjusted Gross Income), then he paid less taxes than my daughter did, dollar per dollar. I want to see for myself.
Every president since Richard Nixon has provided at least a few years’ worth of tax returns in the interest of transparency, in the interest of ethics. Since Trump has far more questionable ethics than any other president in history, it is only right and just that Congress and the taxpaying public be given access to his tax returns. Get over it, ‘White House’!
From The Guardian …
San Francisco: residents of wealthy area shout down mayor over homeless shelter
Turns out the Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, was attending a meeting to discuss a proposed homeless shelter in San Francisco to house at least some of its 7,500 homeless residents. But the rich snobs in the area actually launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 for legal fees to block the shelter! As of Thursday, they had actually raised $92,000! Damn, but there are a lot of snobs in this world!
But … there is some good news. A group called Coalition on Homelessness started their own fundraising page to benefit a local advocacy organization, and they have raised $164,000 from more than 1,700 people, including big names such as the Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, the Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson and the GoFundMe organization itself.
The shelter is to be built on land owned by the city, but apparently the rich snobs are taking the “not in my backyard” tact. You know … I’m pretty darn sick of rich people who think this country should be run to their benefit, and to hell with the rest of us. And I propose that every person with a net worth of more than $1 million should be forced to spend one week living on the streets, just so they can get a feel for how the other end of the spectrum lives. Ever been homeless? I have. It’s scary.
From The Root …
Louisiana Town Swears in Police Chief Who Really Likes Racism
The town is Estherwood, Louisiana, and the new Police Chief is named Wayne Welsh. Back in 2017, when Welsh was the Assistant Chief of Police in Estherwood, he posted this meme to Facebook …After the resulting uproar when the post went viral on Twitter, Welsh took the post down, announced that he would tender his resignation and everyone was satisfied. Only one little problem … Wayne Welsh did NOT tender his resignation because … his boss, Police Chief Ernest Villejoin, did not request it! Although Villejoin had publicly said he “would not tolerate” this sort of behaviour, apparently after giving it some thought, he decided it was just fine and dandy after all, and Mr. Welsh continued in his position.
Then last year, Welsh was briefly named interim police chief until he ran unopposed for the seat in November. Donald Popp, the new mayor of Estherwood, says he “doesn’t foresee any problems”, and that he “was hoping this would have been taken care of”. He doesn’t foresee any problems??? I “foresee” plenty of problems!
Welsh sent a statement to CNN, saying …
“What happen [sic] two years ago is behind me and my punishment was done to me. And now I’m moving forward with my life and as the new chief of police.”
To me, it says as much about the townspeople who voted him in as it says about Welsh himself. He’s proven he’s a racist bastard, but now the people of the town have proven themselves as well. The town, by the way, is less than 3% African-American.
And this, my friends, is the wave that Donald Trump rode into the White House. Racism. Call it whatever you like, but it is intolerance and hatred of any who are not WASPs, pure and simple. Racism is built on ignorance and we seem to have an awful lot of ignorance in this country today.
Okay, folks … I could go on, but it’s Saturday and I have other things to do, as do you. Thanks for letting me vent a bit! Have a happy Saturday!
I have said many times of late that ours is a system of capitalism run amok. It’s a system driven by greed, by wealthy corporate giants intent on squeezing every last nickel out of the consumers without taking responsibility for their own product. The republicans act as if ‘socialism’ is a bad word, but frankly democratic socialism makes a heck of a lot more sense that todays extreme capitalism. It seems that a very astute mind agrees with me. Take a look at what Robert Reich has to say on the subject.
Corporations are endangering Americans. Trump doesn’t care
By Robert Reich
Why didn’t Boeing do it right? Why isn’t Facebook protecting user passwords? Why is Phillip Morris allowed to promote vaping? Why hasn’t Wells Fargo reformed itself? Why hasn’t Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) recalled its Roundup weedkiller?
Answer: corporate greed coupled with inept and corrupt regulators.
These are just a few of the examples in the news these days of corporate harms inflicted on innocent people.
To be sure, some began before the Trump administration. But Trump and his appointees have unambiguously signaled to corporations they can now do as they please.
Boeing wanted to get its 737 Max 8 out quickly because airlines want to pack in more passengers at lower fuel costs (hence the “max”). But neither Boeing nor the airlines shelled out money to adequately train pilots on the new software made necessary by the new design.
Nonetheless, Trump’s FAA certified the plane in March 2017. And after two subsequent deadly crashes, the US was slower to ground them than other countries.
Last week Facebook admitted to storing hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ passwords in plain text that could be searched by more than 20,000 Facebook employees. The admission came just a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that Facebook shared the personal data of as many as 87 million users with a political data firm.
In reality, Facebook’s business model is based on giving personal data to advertisers so they can tailor their pitches precisely to potential customers. So despite repeated reassurances by Mark Zuckerberg, the firm will continue to do what it wants with personal information.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the power to force Facebook to better guard users’ privacy. But so far Trump’s FTC has done nothing – not even to enforce a 2011 agreement in which Facebook promised to do just that.
Altria (Phillip Morris) was losing ground on its sales of cigarettes, but the firm has recently found a future in vaping. Because inhaling nicotine in any form poses a health hazard, the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb wanted to curb advertising of vaping products to teenagers.
Gottlieb thought he had Altria’s agreement, but then the firm bought the vaping company Juul. Its stock has already gained 14% this year. What happened to Gottlieb? He’s out at the FDA, after barely a year on the job.
Wells Fargo has publicly apologized for having deceived customers with fake bank accounts, unwarranted fees and unwanted products. Its top executives say they have eliminated the aggressive sales targets that were responsible for the fraud.
But Wells Fargo employees told the New York Times recently that they’re still under heavy pressure to squeeze extra money out of customers. Some have witnessed colleagues bending or breaking internal rules to meet ambitious performance goals.
What has Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Agency done about this? Nothing. It’s been defanged.
This week, a federal jury awarded $80m in damages to a California man who blamed Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) Roundup weedkiller for his cancer, after finding that Roundup was defectively designed, that Monsanto failed to warn of the herbicide’s cancer risk, and that the company acted negligently. It was the second jury in eight months to reach the same conclusion about Roundup.
Roundup contains glyphosate, a suspected carcinogen. Cases from more than 1,000 farmers and other agricultural workers stricken with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are already pending in federal and state courts.
What has Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency done about glyphosate? In December 2017 its office of pesticide programs concluded that glyphosate wasn’t likely to cause cancer – although eight of the 15 experts on whom the agency relied expressed significant concerns about that conclusion, and three more expressed concerns about the data.
These are just tips of a vast iceberg of regulatory neglect, frozen into place by Trump’s appointees, of which at least 187 were lobbyists before they joined the administration.
This is trickle-down economics of a different sort than Trump’s corporate tax cuts. The major beneficiaries of this are the same big corporations, including their top executives and major investors. But these burdens are trickling down as unsafe products, fraudulent services, loss of privacy, even loss of life.
Big money has had an inhibiting effect on regulators in several previous administrations. What’s unique under Trump is the blatancy of it all, and the shameless willingness of Trump appointees to turn a blind eye to corporate wrongdoing.
Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress yell “socialism!” at proposals for better balancing private greed with the common good. Yet unless a better balance is achieved, capitalism as we know it is in deep trouble.
Two days ago, Chicago made history! Yes, Chicago, known for its high crime rate, gang activity, political corruption, great fire, etc., this week broke through three norms. And all with a single winner of a single mayoral election. Our friend Gronda has written an excellent post highlighting this great moment … thank you, Gronda!
On the evening of the 2nd of February 2019, Chicagoan voters saw their first female African-American Democratic Party candidate, Lori Lightfoot become its mayor.
Here’s the rest of the story…
On April 2, 2019, Bill Ruthhart of the Chicago Tribune penned the following report, “Lori Lightfoot elected Chicago mayor, making her the first African-American woman to lead the city”
“Lori Lightfoot won a resounding victory Tuesday (4/2/2019) night to become both the first African-American woman and openly gay person elected mayor of Chicago, dealing a stinging defeat to a political establishment that has reigned over City Hall for decades.”
Lightfoot vs. Preckwinkle
“After waging a campaign focused on upending the vaunted Chicago political machine, Lightfoot dismantled one of its major cogs by dispatching Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, whose candidacy had been hobbled in part by an anti-incumbent mood among voters and an ongoing federal corruption investigation at…
View original post 1,349 more words
Having awakened this morning with a growing sense of angst, I decided it must be time for some snarky snippets …
It’s a late April Fool’s joke, right?
I am amused by an OpEd headline in The Washington Post yesterday …
Trump’s Plan For Peace Will Be Bold. Here’s How It Can Succeed.
Say WHAT??? Peace? Trump? Those two words do not even belong in the same sentence! The writer, Michael Singh, implies that Trump even has a ‘plan’ for peace between Israel and Palestine. First off, he doesn’t, for planning is something that is beyond Trump’s comprehension. He operates on ‘mood of the moment’, not well thought out plans. Secondly, he has already proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he doesn’t understand the Middle East at all.
But the part that really made me laugh was the simple word: peace. Trump has divided his own nation so severely that I don’t foresee a reconciliation at any point in the future and am more inclined to think this nation will ultimately become two … or more. Antagonism, bullying and battle, not peace, is Trump’s forte. Mr. Singh apparently drank a bit too much of that Kool Aid.
Caught in the act …
Tucker Carlson, who I consider one of the most bombastic fools of the 21st century, had his 15 minutes in the spotlight last week. Turns out he’s always been an idiot, as evidenced by some decade-old radio recordings unearthed by Media Matters for America. A few samples …
- He claimed Iraqis don’t “behave like human beings” and said he had “zero sympathy” for Iraqis or their culture during a May 2006 discussion of the Iraq War on the popular radio show. “A culture where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks,” Carlson said—adding that Iraqis should “just shut the f*** up and obey” the U.S. because “they can’t govern themselves.”
- He said immigrants should have “something to offer”—like being “hot” or “really smart.” “But people to come over and pick lettuce, I mean, I’m not saying that’s an undignified… but on the other hand, is that—are those people who are going to build, you know, a stronger country 20 years from now?”
- “My — here’s my point: If a guy wants to be polygamist, that’s kind of his business.”
- “A teacher who molested a 13-year-old took pressure off the victim’s female classmates because they wouldn’t have to sleep with him.”
- “If you’re talking to a feminist, and she’s given you, ‘Well, men really need to be more sensitive,’ no, actually, men don’t need to be more sensitive. You just need to be quiet and kind of do what you’re told.”
If that last one didn’t make your blood boil …
Now, lest you think that ol’ Tucker (who names their kid ‘Tucker’, anyway?) was ashamed and apologetic … think again!
“Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”
What a guy, eh?
I have long said that Trump is functionally illiterate. The ‘man’ cannot seem to so much as string a simple sentence together that makes any sense. He talks rather like the mobsters in the old mob movies, if you ask me. This week, he has gone out of his way to prove my point.
The ‘oranges’ of the investigation? Obviously, he was trying to say ‘origins’, but failed miserably. Origins isn’t really that difficult to say, now is it? Perhaps he hadn’t had his lunch yet and food was on his brain. Or perhaps … just a thought … he really doesn’t know any better!While I’m in the Trump-mocking mode, what about his claim … repeated claim … that his father was born in Germany? While declaring his love for Germany, Trump said he’s proud that his father was born in the country. “Born in a very wonderful place in Germany, so I have a great feeling for Germany,” Trump said. Fred Trump was born in the Bronx.
A lie by any other name is still a lie. He’s told so many of them that he genuinely seems not to know where truth stops and lies begin.
That’s it – blame the democrats …
Good ol’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders, one of Trump’s most loyal boot-lickers. I used to think Sarah was at least capable of coherent thought, but she has worked hard to disabuse me of that notion. Perhaps it is something in the air surrounding Trump that causes brain damage.Yesterday, at an impromptu gathering on the White House lawn, Sarah was asked by a reporter by what statute, by what authority Trump felt it was within his power to shut down the Mexico-U.S. border as he has threatened. Her response?
“Democrats are leaving us absolutely no choice at this point.”
Positively brilliant answer, Sarah … now go on back inside and colour some more pretty pictures.
Okay, I feel better now that I got all that off my chest! Carry on, friends, and have a great rest-of-the-day!
The 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Simple, right? Not so much, actually. The vague language has led to confusing and conflicting court rulings over the years, especially with shifts in society’s standards and the makeup of the Supreme Court. What is ‘excessive’ bail or fines, and what constitutes ‘cruel and unusual’ punishments? Better yet, who gets to decide those questions?
I will say right up front that I am against the death penalty. I wasn’t always … I used to believe that certain people were irreparable and didn’t deserve to live. And then I took a post-graduate class offered by The Innocence Project and learned how many death row inmates had been exonerated, how many times we had come too close to executing an innocent man or woman, and that changed my view.
Yesterday, the case of Missouri inmate, Russell Bucklew was decided by the Supreme Court. In a nutshell, Mr. Bucklew was convicted of murdering a man who had been seeing his former girlfriend, and of kidnapping and raping her. His sentence … the death penalty. Now, the preferred method of execution in Missouri is lethal injection, however Mr. Bucklew has a medical condition known as cavernous hemangioma which causes vascular tumors—clumps of blood vessels—to grow in his head, neck, and throat. In the event of lethal injection, the tumours would rupture, causing him to sputter, choke and suffocate on his own blood for up to several minutes before he dies. Mr. Bucklew had requested a different form of execution, preferably nitrogen gas.
The Court handed down its decision yesterday, and in a 5-4 ruling said that Mr. Bucklew’s execution would proceed as planned, using lethal injection. The justices who voted for this decision were Neil Gorsuch, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Justice Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, claiming that Bucklew had waited too long to object to the way the state planned to execute him.
He further wrote …
“Courts should police carefully against attempts to use such challenges as tools to interpose unjustified delay. The Eighth Amendment does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death — something that, of course, isn’t guaranteed to many people, including most victims of capital crimes. We see little likelihood that an inmate facing a serious risk of pain will be unable to identify an available alternative — assuming, of course, that the inmate is more interested in avoiding unnecessary pain than in delaying his execution. A prisoner must show a feasible and readily implemented alternative method of execution that would significantly reduce a substantial risk of severe pain and that the state has refused to adopt without a legitimate penological reason.”
Gorsuch falsely claimed that Bucklew’s chosen alternative, Nitrogen gas, is not authorized by Missouri law and had never been used to carry out an execution in the United States. In truth, it has been used by three states.
In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote …
“There are higher values than ensuring that executions run on time. If a death sentence or the manner in which it is carried out violates the Constitution, that stain can never come out. Our jurisprudence must remain one of vigilance and care, not one of dismissiveness.”
I side with Justice Sotomayer on this … when a human life is involved, I prefer to err on the side of caution rather than expediency.
More importantly than just this one case, though, is the precedent this sets. This may well be the most significant Eighth Amendment decision of the last several decades and the cruelest in at least as much time. Beyond the macabre facts of the Bucklew case, Gorsuch’s opinion also undercuts decades of Eighth Amendment law, potentially permitting states to revive punishments that fell out of favor 200 years ago.
Recall that the Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishments. The word “unusual” implies that, as a particular punishment becomes less and less common, it stands on weaker constitutional footing. Thus, as Chief Justice Earl Warren explained in a 1958 opinion, the Eight Amendment prohibits punishments that defy “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”
The number of death sentences in the United States collapsed over the last two decades, strongly suggesting that executions themselves defy evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society. In total, only 25 people were executed in the United States in 2018, and only eight states performed any executions at all. One state, Texas, accounted for more than half (13) of these executions.
It is the opinion of this writer that the Supreme Court has just opened the door for us to regress to a time where the death penalty was carried out in ways that we, as a society, now view as ‘cruel and unusual’. Of course, it is also the opinion of this writer that we should not be in the business of deciding to kill another human being.
A day or so ago, I came across an OpEd in The Guardian that I felt worth sharing. The writer poses an interesting idea … one that I agree with.
The destruction of the Earth is a crime. It should be prosecuted
by George Monbiot
Why do we wait until someone has passed away before we honour them? I believe we should overcome our embarrassment, and say it while they are with us. In this spirit, I want to tell you about the world-changing work of Polly Higgins.
She is a barrister who has devoted her life to creating an international crime of ecocide. This means serious damage to, or destruction of, the natural world and the Earth’s systems. It would make the people who commission it – such as chief executives and government ministers – criminally liable for the harm they do to others, while creating a legal duty of care for life on Earth.
I believe it would change everything. It would radically shift the balance of power, forcing anyone contemplating large-scale vandalism to ask themselves: “Will I end up in the international criminal court for this?” It could make the difference between a habitable and an uninhabitable planet.
There are no effective safeguards preventing a few powerful people, companies or states from wreaking havoc for the sake of profit or power. Though their actions may lead to the death of millions, they know they can’t be touched. Their impunity, as they engage in potential mass murder, reveals a gaping hole in international law.
Last week, for instance, the research group InfluenceMap reported that the world’s five biggest publicly listed oil and gas companies, led by BP and Shell, are spending nearly $200m a year on lobbying to delay efforts to prevent climate breakdown. According to Greenpeace UK, BP has successfully pressed the Trump government to overturn laws passed by the Obama administration preventing companies from releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The result – the equivalent of another 50m tonnes of CO2 over the next five years – is to push us faster towards a hothouse Earth.
Hundreds of dead dolphins are washing up on French beaches, often with horrendous injuries. Why? Because trawler companies fishing for sea bass are failing to take basic precautions to stop them being caught. The dolphins either drown in the nets or, when pulled up wounded, are stabbed to death (to make them sink) by fishermen. For a marginal increase in profits, the trawler firms could be driving common dolphins towards regional extinction.
In West Papua, which is illegally occupied by Indonesia, the environmental group Mongabay reports that an international consortium intends, without the consent of indigenous peoples, to clear an area the size of Somerset of stunning rainforest to plant oil palm. Its Tanah Merah project is ripping a hole in an enormous expanse of pristine forest, swarming with species found nowhere else. According to Mongabay, if the scheme continues, it will produce as much greenhouse gas every year as the state of Virginia.
When governments collaborate (as in all these cases they do), how can such atrocities be prevented? Citizens can pursue civil suits, if they can find the money and the time, but the worst a company will face is a fine or compensation payments. None of its executives are prosecuted, though they may profit enormously from murderous destruction. They can continue their assaults on the living planet.
Cases against governments, such as the successful one against the Dutch state seeking a legal order to speed up its reduction of greenhouse gases, may be more productive, but only when national (or European) law permits, and when the government is prepared to abide by it. Otherwise, at international summits, where perpetrators share platforms with states that should hold them to account, we ask them nicely not to slaughter our children. These crimes against humanity should not be matters for negotiation but for prosecution.
Until 1996, drafts of the Rome statute, which lists international crimes against humanity, included the crime of ecocide. But it was dropped at a late stage at the behest of three states: the UK, France and the Netherlands. Ecocide looked like a lost cause until Higgins took it up 10 years ago.
She gave up her job and sold her house to finance this campaign on behalf of all of us. She has drafted model laws to show what the crime of ecocide would look like, published two books on the subject and, often against furious opposition, presented her proposals at international meetings. The Earth Protectors group she founded seeks to crowdfund the campaign. Recently she has been working with the Republic of Vanuatu with a view to tabling an amendment to the Rome statute, introducing the missing law.
Last week Polly was diagnosed, at the age of 50, with an aggressive cancer that has spread through much of her body. The doctors have told her she has six weeks to live. Given her determination and the support of those around her, I expect her to defy the prediction, which she has met with amazing fortitude. “If this is my time to go,” she told me, “my legal team will continue undeterred. But there are millions who care so much and feel so powerless about the future, and I would love to see them begin to understand the power of this one, simple law to protect the Earth – to realise it’s possible, even straightforward. I wish I could live to see a million Earth Protectors standing for it – because I believe they will.”
She has started something that will not end here. It could, with our support, do for all life on Earth what the criminalisation of genocide has done for vulnerable minorities: provide protection where none existed before. Let it become her legacy.
The United States today is beginning to look like the ‘Wild West’ if one looks closely. A madman in the Oval Office is only the beginning. Out on the streets, in our neighborhoods, things are happening that were unheard of just a few short years ago.
Take, for example, the case of African American attorney Rashad James in Maryland. As Mr. James entered the courthouse in Harford Country, Maryland earlier this month, he was detained by a deputy who did not believe he was a lawyer and demanded proof. Just one more in a string of cases where African-Americans have been detained or questioned by police as they went about their everyday lives, golfing, gardening, swimming, shopping, sitting in a Starbucks, leaving an Airbnb, grilling out and napping at a college.
Or, the little boy’s birthday party that was crashed by Chicago’s ‘finest’. Didn’t hear about that one? No wonder, for if the name ‘Trump’ isn’t in a story these days, you’re not likely to see it on the front pages. Well, TJ Jackson was 4 years old on that cold day last month, and his parents were having a birthday party for him in their basement apartment on the South side of Chicago. Four children were having fun, playing games, and the birthday cake awaited on the table. Suddenly the door burst open and in strode 17 Chicago police officers, weapons drawn and pointed at the children!
According to the lawsuit that was filed this week by TJ’s family, the officers questioned the children, used vulgar language, damaged furniture as they searched the apartment, and made the adults sit lined up against a wall for 45 minutes while they searched the small apartment. Why? They were looking for a man who had lived in the apartment five years before. A simple bit of research would have shown them that he no longer lived there. They might have knocked and acted in a respectful manner. If the family had been white, perhaps they would have done so.
And what about the hundreds of children still separated from their parents at the southern border? Were you aware that even now, nine months after federal judge Dana Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to stop separating immigrant children from their parents, it is still happening? And were you also aware that just this week the Department of Homeland Security requested Congress to pass legislation allowing the department to send all unaccompanied children who try to cross the border back to their home countries? Fortunately, Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea in short order, but it is still a sign of these turbulent times.
Oh, and let us not forget about the hundreds of people being held under a bridge in El Paso, Texas, surrounded by fencing and sleeping on dirt.
If you still have any doubts that ‘civilization’ in the U.S. is on a backward roll, consider that there is a push for people … any people … to be able to carry concealed weapons without any testing, permits, or even background checks. Fully one-third of the states have already passed such laws, or un-laws as I call them, and there is a push for this un-law at the federal level. Quite literally, in some states, a man convicted of murder could break out of prison, walk into a gun show, and purchase an AR-15, no questions asked.
Oh, and did you know that the United States has been ranked as the 10th most dangerous nation for women on the globe? From 1994 until 2017, we had a law called the Violence Against Women Act, that was allowed to lapse under the Trump administration and republican-controlled Congress. The current Congress is trying to re-authorize the Act, but … the National Rifle Association (NRA) is lobbying against it. Why? Because it calls for gun bans for those who have been convicted of domestic abuse or violence against a ‘romantic partner’. This is a nation where we apparently want to ensure that the men can keep their ‘womenfolk’ in line, one way or another – if fists aren’t enough, then grab the gun!
Oh yeah … and speaking of guns, I almost forgot that there is also an idea gaining momentum that teachers in schools should carry them … guns, that is.
Then, of course, there is the “leader”, who breaks every norm of a civilized society and who encourages violence among the people of the nation, divides rather than unifies, promotes hate rather than peace, and panders to those who engage in every form of bigotry imaginable. Is it any wonder, then, that some days it feels like we are moving backward in time? We have regressed in so many areas, including civil rights of every sort. The United States, once referred to as the “Leader of the Western World”, is now well on its way to becoming a third-world country, all just in two short years. Welcome to the Wild West – Part II.
A National Remembrance Service for the victims of the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack, and all those affected by it, was held this morning. Yusuf Islam, better known to the world as Cat Stevens, performed his 1971 song, Peace Train, and I cannot think of a more appropriate song for the solemn occasion.
One of my readers, Anne, suggested it might be a good song for my music post, and I fully agree. Thank you, Anne, for this perfect suggestion.
Prior to performing, he delivered a short speech, dedicating his appearance “to the families who lives were snatched away in that evil carnage while they were worshipping in the mosque two weeks ago, To those shining souls whose lives were snatched away in that moment of madness may peace be upon them. Peace in this world may take a bit longer.”
Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
Oh, I’ve been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it’s going to come
‘Cause I’m on the edge of darkness
There ride the Peace Train
Oh, Peace Train take this country
Come take me home again
Now I’ve been smiling lately,
Thinkin’ about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
Something good has begun
Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now Peace Train
Yes, Peace Train holy roller
Everyone jump upon the Peace Train
Come on now, Peace Train
Get your bags together,
Go bring your good friends, too
‘Cause it’s getting nearer,
It soon will be with you
Now come and join the living,
It’s not so far from you
And it’s getting nearer,
Soon it will all be true
Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now Peace Train
Now I’ve been crying lately,
Thinkin’ about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
Why can’t we live in bliss
‘Cause out on the edge of darkness,
There rides a Peace Train
Oh Peace Train take this country,
Come take me home again
Oh Peace Train sounding louder
Glide on the Peace Train
Come on now, Peace Train
Yes, Peace Train holy roller
Everyone jump upon the Peace Train
Come on, come on, come on
Yes, come on, peace train
Yes, it’s the peace train
Come on now, peace train
Oh, peace train
Songwriters: Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam
Peace Train lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management
Wouldn’t you think we could have just one day where I am not stomping my feet and growling like an angry leopard? Noooooo … that’s too much to ask, isn’t it? Sigh. Hold onto your hats, folks, for I’m on a tear tonight!
Still more evidence that …
The only people who matter in the current administration are those who love Trump … a distinct minority, yet a loud, obnoxious one. The evidence of this lies in the debate in the Oval Office on Monday whereby Trump’s staff convinced him to support a decision to eliminate healthcare for no less than 20 million people in this nation. As most of you know, a lawsuit filed by 18 state’s attorney-generals and 2 governors came before Texas District Court Judge Reed O’Connor last year. The judge was tasked with determining whether the ACA individual mandate that requires everyone to have health insurance was lawful. However, Judge O’Connor took it a step further and declared the entire Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional. Appeals, of course were immediately filed. At that time, the Department of Justice, while supporting overturning the individual mandate, did not support overturning ACA in its entirety. Then came Monday.
On Monday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Domestic Chief of Policy (whatever the heck that is) Joe Grogan convinced Trump that if he, via the Department of Justice, supported the complete repeal of the act through the courts, his base (a minority) would “love it”. They told him that the move would be seen as ‘fulfilling a campaign promise’ and that it would help secure his re-election next year. Thus, even though Attorney General William Barr expressed concerns about the move, it was announced later that day that the U.S. Department of Justice will support the move to have ACA declared unconstitutional and thereby sign death warrants for some 20 million people or more.Although Trump has claimed he would make republicans “the party of health care”, there is no plan on the republican side of the aisle with which to replace ACA. Just … do away with it … let poor people die … who needs ‘em anyway?
Even Mike Pence argued against the move, not because he cares a whit about we common people, but because he felt it might have political ramifications down the line. You think? Under ordinary circumstances, I would say that in making this move, Trump just signed away his re-election, but we have not had normal circumstances in this nation since 20 January 2017. This is just one more in the growing pile of signs that We the People really do not matter. The only ones who count are the bloomin’ fools who wear red caps and chant “Lock ‘er up!”
A step too far … way too far!
Last night, a friend posted this to my Facebook page …
Now, this particular friend sometimes gets a kick out of ruffling my feathers, in a good-natured way, so I thought this might be a … joke? But no, I looked into it, and steam began coming from my ears, my teeth gnashing, and lightning bolts emitted from my eyes.
The so-called constitutional carry bill would permit anyone age 21 or over, who is not disqualified by federal law due to a felony conviction or other offense from obtaining a weapon, to carry a hidden gun — without obtaining a concealed-carry permit. Currently, Ohioans can only carry a concealed weapon after obtaining a $67 permit from a county sheriff upon passing a criminal background check and completing eight hours of training by a certified instructor, including two hours of range time and live-fire training. The legislation would not be restricted to handguns — it also would allow Ohioans to conceal and carry long guns, such as rifles and shotguns (though I’m not sure how one conceals a long gun … seems it would be a might noticeable sticking out of their waistband). Ohioans already are allowed to openly carry firearms without a permit. The bill also would repeal a current requirement that concealed-carry owners notify police officers they are carrying a gun when stopped. The police are going to love this one, yes?
Do any of these fools remember Parkland in February 2018? Do they remember Las Vegas? Do they remember their own damn names? Fools. Idiots. Then, while I was still frothing at the mouth, the same friend informs me that Kentucky just passed a similar law. Back to searching … yep …
From the March 28th Cincinnati Enquirer …
“Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin just signed a law allowing residents to carry a concealed gun without a permit and the prerequisite training.”
And then … I find out that this is not a new thing, not an anomaly, but that there are sixteen … yes, SIXTEEN states where residents can carry guns with no permit, no training, and in some cases, no background checks.
Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The law is called “Constitutional Carry” because it reflects the view that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not abide restrictions on gun rights, including the right to carry or “bear” arms. This is utterly ludicrous. This is the absolute stupidest thing I have heard of!
But back to the proposed Ohio law …
At least one Ohio legislator, David Leland, had a bit of sense (hint: he’s a democrat) …
“It’s going the exact opposite direction of what most people want. If more guns make more people safer, we would be the safest country in the world. Yet, our gun violence exceeds most every other country on this planet.”
Correction, Mr. Leland … not ‘most’ every other country on the planet … EVERY other country on the planet!
Chris Dorr, director of Ohio Gun Owners, sent an email to supporters …
“We already know there will be efforts by anti-gun Democrats and Rino-Republicans to block, stop and KILL Constitutional Carry. And as we saw last General Assembly, there’s always a lily-white coward willing to cut a deal and water down these pro-gun bills.”
It appears that the only thing that is going to wake these people up is if next time it’s their own child who is killed in a school shooting, or a drive-by.
And that’s it for tonight, folks … I must stop the steam coming from my ears, brush what I haven’t gnashed away of my teeth and go to bed for another fun night of night terrors. Gee, I can’t imagine what’s causing them, can you?