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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

Saturday Surprise — John Lennon, A Tribute of Sorts

Welcome to Saturday Surprise and a cold beginning to the weekend.  I hadn’t given much thought to what to do for my Saturday Surprise post yesterday evening, for I was on a tear about my Friday pm topic, when an item plunked into my inbox and I thought, hmmmmm …. Maybe.  And so, while I was rolling smokes and baking cookies, I gave it some thought and decided it might be fun to take another glance at the past.  What was the item, you ask?  Well, yesterday, as it happens, was the 37th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon.  Some readers of this column may be too young to remember, but they still know who John Lennon and the Beatles were, no doubt, and anyway, most of my regular readers and myself remember quite well.  So, let us take a brief walk down memory lane and meet up again with Mr. John Lennon and by association, the Beatles.

Who Was John Lennon?

“John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. He met Paul McCartney in 1957 and invited McCartney to join his music group. They eventually formed the most successful songwriting partnership in musical history. Lennon left the Beatles in 1969 and later released albums with his wife, Yoko Ono, among others. On December 8, 1980, he was killed by a crazed fan named Mark David Chapman.”  – Biography.com

But that doesn’t really tell us much about him, does it?  Let’s dig a bit deeper. Lennon’s first band was actually called The Quarrymen, and was composed of Lennon and several school friends from Quarry Bank High School, which they attended. The name morphed from The Blackjacks to Johnny and the Moondogs to Japage 3, before finally becoming The Beatles in 1960. Lennon’s mother, Julia, taught her son to play the banjo and then showed Lennon how to tune his guitar in a similar way to the banjo, and taught him simple chords and songs.

Lennon and McCartney first met when The Quarrymen played St. Peter’s Church Rose Queen garden fête in Woolton on Saturday, July 6th, 1957, and McCartney was invited to join the band soon thereafter. Although he had practiced endlessly for his debut, McCartney played horribly at his debut performance on Friday, 18 October 1957, missing his opening cue and playing all the wrong notes!  Nerves? Everyone expected Lennon to say something sarcastic, but the sight of the always overconfident McCartney looking so crestfallen made Lennon laugh out loud instead.

Lennon and McCartney both started writing songs influenced by Buddy Holly, and both were impressed with each other’s efforts. The two began writing together, and their writing partnership would become very successful throughout the 1960s. As they began leaning more toward rock ‘n roll, many of the original band members left the band, and it became clear that they would need an additional guitar player. Enter George Harrison.

QuarrymenMcCartney recommended his school friend George Harrison, who first saw the group perform on February 6th, 1958 at Wilson Hall, where McCartney introduced him to Lennon. Harrison was only 14 at the time, and Lennon initially thought him too young.  McCartney, however, didn’t give up and set up various opportunities for Harrison to perform for Lennon.  Once Harrison turned 15, Lennon finally capitulated.  Later that year, with only the three of them left in the band, they changed their name to Japage 3 (combining letters from each of the member’s names: John, Paul, and George), but the name change lasted less than a year, and they went back to being The Quarrymen.

By March 1960, struggling to get gigs, the group changed their name once again, and this time the name would stick: the Beatles. In August of 1962, Richard Starkey, known professionally as Ringo Starr, left the band he was with, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and joined the Beatles as drummer, completing the band that would ultimately go on to fame and fortune. The group continued to perform around Liverpool and in Hamburg, Germany, before being signed to Parlophone Records in 1962. After their signing, the Beatles achieved worldwide fame and became one of the most popular and successful musical artists of all time, before breaking up in 1970.

The Beatles achieved mainstream success in the UK early in 1963. Lennon was on tour when his first son, Julian, was born in April. During their Royal Variety Show performance that was attended by the Queen Mother and other British royalty, Lennon poked fun at his audience: “For our next song, I’d like to ask for your help. For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands … and the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelery.”

After a year of Beatlemania in the UK, the group’s historic February 1964 US debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show marked their breakthrough to international stardom. A two-year period of constant touring, moviemaking, and songwriting followed, during which Lennon wrote two books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.

Lennon grew concerned that fans who attended Beatles concerts were unable to hear the music above the screaming of fans, and that the band’s musicianship was beginning to suffer as a result. Lennon’s “Help!” expressed his own feelings in 1965: “I meant it … It was me singing ‘help'”

In March 1970 he was unknowingly introduced to LSD when a dentist, hosting a dinner party attended by Lennon, Harrison and their wives, spiked the guests’ coffee with the drug. When they wanted to leave, their host revealed what they had taken, and strongly advised them not to leave the house because of the likely effects. Later, in an elevator at a nightclub, they all believed it was on fire: “We were all screaming … hot and hysterical.”

In an interview in 1966, Lennon made a comment that would cause quite a stir in the U.S., but barely a blink in the UK …

“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink … We’re more popular than Jesus now—I don’t know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity.”

The furore that followed—burning of Beatles records, Ku Klux Klan activity and threats against Lennon—contributed to the band’s decision to stop touring. Their final commercial concert was on 29 August 1966, and Lennon missed touring so much that he considered leaving the band then. He was almost constantly under the influence of LSD throughout most of 1967.

Lennon left the Beatles in September 1969, and agreed not to inform the media while the group renegotiated their recording contract, but he was outraged that McCartney publicised his own departure on releasing his debut solo album in April 1970. Lennon’s reaction was, “Jesus Christ! He gets all the credit for it!” He later wrote, “I started the band. I disbanded it. It’s as simple as that.”

Lennon went on with his solo career, but I have neither time, space, nor inclination to chronicle at this time.  Fast forward to that historic day, December 8th, 1980.

Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, and their young son, Sean, were living in New York City at the Dakota, an old Gothic fortress at 1 W. 72nd Street. John and Yoko, returning home from a photo shoot, were greeted by fans begging for autographs.  One of those fans was a man named Mark David Chapman, who handed over his copy of “Double Fantasy” for Lennon to sign.

After a busy day of recording, John and Yoko headed home that evening arriving at 10:45 p.m. Just as they were about to enter their home, Chapman, who had been hanging outside the Dakota all day, pulled out a gun and fired five times, hitting John Lennon four out of the five in the back and shoulder.  John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital at 11:07 p.m. After shooting Lennon, Chapman put down his gun, sat down and waited for police to arrive while reading J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.

And that was 37 years ago yesterday.  A legacy?  Sure, but also a human being who was subject to the same temptations and human frailties as we all are.  The man created some great music, though, and I share with you perhaps his most famous solo from the album of the same name, Imagine.

 

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Franklin Graham — Persona Non Grata

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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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The Ignorant vs The Hero

Yesterday, the Trump administration once again proved their ignorance.  Trump & Co are planning to attend an opening ceremony on Saturday of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum  in Jackson, Mississippi.  For Trump and his minions, it is a photo op, one of those ‘see and be seen’ moments, nothing more, for Trump has already shown his disdain for the achievements and goals of the Civil Rights movement.

Congressman John Lewis is one of those civil rights leaders, one of the icons of the era who is greatly admired and respected.  Mr. Lewis has declined to join Trump on the visit, calling the trip an insult to the African-Americans commemorated there.  Representative Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi has joined Lewis and will not attend the ceremony.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.” – Joint statement issued by Lewis & Thompson

Various civil rights groups, including the NAACP, have also protested Trump’s appearance at the ceremony …

“President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement.” – NAACP president and chief executive Derrick Johnson

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary who speaks for Trump, said ..

“We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the President in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history.  The president hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”

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John Lewis receiving Medal of Freedom – February 2011

John Lewis IS one of those brave civil rights leaders who risked life and limb time and time again to, as Ms. Sanders put it, remove barriers and unify Americans of all backgrounds.  The entire statement shows that she, like her boss, has no idea what the civil rights movement was about, who its heroes are, and what they sacrificed.  Her words are as a slap in the face to a man who is far greater, far braver, than Donald Trump will ever be.

Let me tell you a little bit about John Lewis, who has long been a hero of mine. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, served as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), organized voter registration efforts that led to the pivotal Selma to Montgomery marches, was one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the March on Washington, coordinated SNCC’s efforts for “Mississippi Freedom Summer,” a campaign to register black voters across the South. He is best known for the role he played on March 7th, 1965, known as “Bloody Sunday”, when he helped lead over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. At the end of the bridge, they were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with night sticks. Lewis’ skull was fractured.

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A True Leader … John Lewis, President Barack Obama and Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson

Now, let me also tell you why John Lewis will not travel to the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with Trump.  First, Trump’s frequent support of white supremacists is a slap in the face to Lewis and all he has fought for.  But it goes even further than that, for in January, just a few days before his inauguration, Trump said of John Lewis …

“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”

Not only was that a highly inappropriate remark for Trump to make, but it was blatantly false, for Lewis’ 5th district, which includes Atlanta, is far from a hellhole, incorporating the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Even back on the campaign trail in 2015/2016, Trump denigrated African-Americans, telling them that their communities, indeed their very lives, were so bad that they had ‘nothing to lose’ by supporting him.  And ever since he took office, he has pandered to known white supremacists, such as Steve Bannon, policy advisor Stephen Miller, former deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, and others.  Then came the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August, where Trump refused to condemn white supremacists, finally did utter a weak condemnation, only to reverse it a day later.

In addition to his support of white supremacists, Trump has embraced law enforcement practices and voting rights restrictions that disproportionately and negatively impact black communities, repeatedly picked fights with black athletes who he has accused of not showing him sufficient respect, and demanded apologies from prominent African-Americans who have criticized him. Why would John Lewis, who fought so hard for the rights of African-Americans, wish to associate himself with the likes of Trump?

John Lewis deserves to be honoured at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, for it is he as much as anybody who made that museum possible.  Donald Trump is the intruder and has no legitimacy there, other than having been invited, as a courtesy or protocol, by the Governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant. I would love to see John Lewis attend, as he should, but not with Trump.  He should stand proud as one of the last surviving heroes of the civil rights movement and take his place there, shaking hands and accepting the thanks of so many, rather than stand anywhere near the odious Trump.

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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Fools Rush In …

Did you hear the news?  United Kingdom Prime Minister, Theresa May just declared that her government will recognize Sioux City, Iowa to be the new capital of the United States!  She has ordered the relocation of the UK’s embassy by the end of December, and the embassy staff are busily preparing for the move.  When asked the reason behind her announcement, Ms. May said that Donald Trump wished it, and as the nation’s leader, he should be able to place the capital wherever he wishes, and that besides, Iowa is considered the heartland of the U.S., and the home to the first party contest, the Iowa Caucuses, in election years.

Okay, that is a ridiculous notion, isn’t it?  And no, it is not true.  Ms. May has far more urgent worries this week than where the U.S. capital should be located.  But apparently, Donald Trump has no other concerns on which to concentrate his efforts than where the Israeli capital should be. Not only that, but apparently he believes that it is his call to make, that his word is final ‘round the globe.

The announcement …

On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump announced …

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. “

The situation between Israel and Palestine is a powder keg, as is much of the Middle Middle East these days. Donald Trump is no expert on the situation, nor has he had, so we are told, the inclination to read, study or even listen to his foreign policy advisors.

On the campaign trail last year, Trump claimed that he would bring about peace to the Middle East.  I believe it was one of those “only I can do this” brags, but then he went on to say that the ‘blueprint’ for peace in the Middle East could be found in his book, The Art of the Deal, which wasn’t even written by Trump, but rather by ghostwriter Tony Schwartz.

The history …

Jerusalem is a city that is considered sacred to three of the world’s largest monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each has sites of great religious significance there. It has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, by invading Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans and the British Empire, and by the modern states of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The problem …

The division of Jerusalem is the most emotional and volatile of all the issues in dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The dispute between Israel and Palestine goes well beyond Jerusalem and well beyond the scope of this post.  Suffice it to say that it is complex, and since it has not been solved in seventy years, despite the efforts of highly knowledgeable and skilled experts in the field of International Relations like Henry Kissinger or benevolent diplomats such as Jimmy Carter, then it goes without saying that Donald Trump, who has likely never read a single book about the Middle East, is not going to solve them.  But he can, no doubt, further stir the fire and make it burn hotter, which is what he may well have done yesterday.

Currently, Jerusalem is the capital of both Israel and Palestine.  Israel has its capital in West Jerusalem, while the Palestinian capital is in East Jerusalem.  While Trump did not specifically state that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel alone, tensions are high, and he has made enough remarks in the past that implied that to be his goal, thus it may be that the damage was done even before his announcement.

The criticism …

Jordan, France, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Palestine, Morocco, Kuwait, Germany, Arab League, Iraq, Azhar all warned Trump against declaring recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and intent to move the embassy, but of course, he did not listen.

“King Abdullah stressed that the adoption of this resolution will have serious implications for security and stability in the Middle East, and will undermine the efforts of the American administration to resume the peace process and fuel the feelings of Muslims and Christians,” a statement from Amman read.

The Turkish government’s spokesman on Wednesday said that the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will plunge the region and the world into “a fire with no end in sight”.

“A decision such as this is both morally wrong and politically dangerous,” Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told Today’s WorldView. “Not only is Donald Trump deliberately insulting the Palestinian people, but also Arabs and Muslims around the world. In doing so, he is relinquishing what little credibility the United States had left in a region that is already rife with conflict and division.”

Ayman Odeh, an Arab Israeli lawmaker and head of the third-largest bloc in Israel’s parliament, said, “Trump is a pyromaniac who could set the region on fire with his madness,”

The effect thus far …

Palestinian factions jointly announced three “days of rage,” beginning Wednesday, to protest the potential U.S. Embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem. In a statement, they called on supporters around the world to gather in city centers and at Israeli embassies and consulates to voice their anger.

The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem urged American citizens in Israel to avoid large crowds or areas where security had been increased, and ordered its staff members and their families to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank except for “essential” business.

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said that the US had effectively abdicated its role as a mediator in the region. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said: “President Trump just destroyed any policy of a two-state solution.”

The full results are yet to be seen.  I hope that the Turkish prediction of ‘a fire with no end in sight’ is an overstatement, but I am certain that Trump’s declaration will further the unrest in an already upended Middle East.  Trump acted with impunity, but without knowledge, and there will likely be a price to be paid by the U.S., our allies, and the Middle Eastern nations. Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.