♫ Where Have All The Flowers Gone? ♫

This song suits my mood tonight.  I think perhaps it suits the state of our nation tonight.  I have played this before, at least twice, and a total coincidence, but the last time I played it was on this exact date last year, following a mass shooting in Virginia Beach.  Tonight, it isn’t a mass shooting, but it is a nation on fire that has my angst meter running at high speed.  It makes that one line, “When will we ever learn?” all the more meaningful.  I think, perhaps, the answer to that question is “Never”


Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)

Pete Seeger, who died in January 2014 at the age of 94, wrote this song, and the following is his story of how the song came to be:

“I had been reading a long novel—”And Quiet Flows the Don”—about the Don River in Russia and the Cossacks who lived along it in the 19th century. It describes the Cossack soldiers galloping off to join the Czar’s army, singing as they go. Three lines from a song are quoted in the book: ‘Where are the flowers? The girls plucked them / Where are the girls? They’re all married / Where are the men? They’re all in the army.’ I never got around to looking up the song, but I wrote down those three lines.

“Later, in an airplane, I was dozing, and it occurred to me that the line ‘long time passing’—which I had also written in a notebook—would sing well. Then I thought, ‘When will we ever learn.’ Suddenly, within 20 minutes, I had a song. There were just three verses. I Scotch-taped the song to a microphone and sang it at Oberlin College. This was in 1955.

“One of the students there had a summer job as a camp counselor. He took the song to the camp and sang it to the kids. It was very short. He gave it rhythm, which I hadn’t done. The kids played around with it, singing ‘Where have all the counselors gone? / Open curfew, everyone.’

“The counselor added two actual verses: ‘Where have all the soldiers gone? / Gone to graveyards every one / Where have all the graveyards gone? / Covered with flowers every one.’ Joe Hickerson is his name, and I give him 20 percent of the royalties. That song still brings in thousands of dollars from all around the world.”

bernie sandersThe song has been recorded by many, including Joan Baez, The Kingston Trio, Olivia Newton-John and even Dolly Parton, but the one that surprised me was Bernie Sanders!  Yep, the one and only Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont apparently produced an album in 1987, 20 years before becoming a senator, titled We Shall Overcome.  Who knew?

My favourite version of the song has always been Peter, Paul & Mary’s, but tonight I came across a version Seeger did sometime late in life, playing banjo and singing, and I found it moving.  So, I am including both here, and you can pick one or listen to both.  Or neither, I suppose, but then my feelings would be hurt, so listen to at least one, ‘k?

Where Have All the Flowers Gone
Pete Seeger/Peter, Paul & Mary

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Songwriters: Peter Seeger
Where Have All the Flowers Gone lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

A Jolly-less Jolly Monday

Good Monday morning, my friends!  I’ll give you a warning up front … Jolly has taken a temporary (at least it darn well better be temporary) break and I don’t know if I can pull a rabbit out of a hat by myself.rabbit-hatSo, how was your weekend?  Do anything fun and exciting?  Nah, me neither.  I’m sorry there are fewer snacks on the table this morning, but hopefully you can find something to your liking, so grab a cuppa something and a bite, and let’s try to get this week off on the right foot … with a smile.  😊

Jack Rico graduated last Wednesday from Fullerton College in California.  Now, most of us graduated from college with a degree, but Jack earned four associate’s degrees in history, human expression, social behavior and social science, all the while maintaining a 4.0 GPA!  Jack, needless to say, is what we used to call a braniac.  But, there’s something else for you to know about Jack … he is 13-years-old!Jack-Rico-1Jack’s mother, Ru Andrade, said she knew her son was special ever since he was a young boy. When Rico was about to turn four, she asked him what he wanted for his birthday. While other boys his age might have asked for toys or a trip to Disneyland, Rico said he wanted to see the White House.Jack-Rico-WH

“I told him that was a really big trip for a three-year-old. Just kidding around, I said, ‘If you can memorize all the presidents, I’ll take you.'”

A week later, Rico came up to his mom and surprised her with his response.

“He said, ‘I already knew the presidents, but I memorized all the vice presidents so that we could go.’ So that’s when I knew, ‘Oh, you’re already smarter than me.'”

The next step for Rico is to continue studying history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he received a full ride.  Says Rico …

“I just love learning new stuff. I love knowing more about the world and all the different things we could study. I’m 13 right now so I don’t really have the whole life thing figured out. I’m still trying to explore my interests and learn what I want to do in life.”

Heck, I’m 68 and I still don’t have the whole life thing figured out!  What a kid, eh?

Take a look at this critter …cat-1Any idea what it is?  Turns out it is a cat with a heck of a lot of matted fur!  Two pounds of matted fur, as it turned out.  The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) received a call that the cat’s owner had died and the cat had nobody to care for her.  Her name, appropriately enough, is Fluffer.cat-2The team at the Humane Society removed some 2 pounds of matted fur, while Fluffer patiently cooperated.  Says Bretta Nelson of the AHS …

“She is an absolute sweetheart, so much so that she required no sedation during her procedure which is extremely unusual when caring for cats who are likely in pain.”

cat-3This story has a happy ending, though.  After Fluffer’s grooming, Fluffer was adopted and now lives with her new owners in her forever home.cat-4

I’ve concluded that while they are nice stories, neither of the above stories are particularly funny.  Therefore, I think I would do better with … oh, how about a few funny signs?


And of course we must have some cartoons, yes?


This one’s for you, Roger!!!


Okay, folks … I told you, I’m just not funny without Jolly, but I promise he’ll be back next week!  Meanwhile, how about a cute animal video … now THAT I can do!

I wish you all a great week ahead, and remember to share your beautiful smiles … we could all use an extra these days, so I’ll leave a basket of them by the door … take as many as you need.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and the not-present Jolly!


The Trump Presidency Is Over …

You have heard me say more than once that the United States has no president.  Turns out, I’m not alone in my thinking, but am in fact in very good company.  Nobody says it better than Robert Reich, so I shall turn the platform over to him …

Fire, pestilence and a country at war with itself: the Trump presidency is over

Robert Reich-4 Robert Reich

You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J Trump is no longer president of the United States.

By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office. 

He is not governing. He’s golfing, watching cable TV and tweeting.

How has Trump responded to the widespread unrest following the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for minutes as he was handcuffed on the ground?

Trump called the protesters “thugs” and threatened to have them shot. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, parroting a former Miami police chief whose words spurred race riots in the late 1960s.

On Saturday, he gloated about “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons” awaiting protesters outside the White House, should they ever break through Secret Service lines. 

Trump’s response to the last three ghastly months of mounting disease and death has been just as heedless. Since claiming Covid-19 was a “Democratic hoax” and muzzling public health officials, he has punted management of the coronavirus to the states.

Governors have had to find ventilators to keep patients alive and protective equipment for hospital and other essential workers who lack it, often bidding against each other. They have had to decide how, when and where to reopen their economies.

Trump has claimed “no responsibility at all” for testing and contact-tracing – the keys to containing the virus. His new “plan” places responsibility on states to do their own testing and contact-tracing.

Trump is also awol in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

More than 41 million Americans are jobless. In the coming weeks temporary eviction moratoriums are set to end in half of the states. One-fifth of Americans missed rent payments this month. Extra unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of July.

What is Trump’s response? Like Herbert Hoover, who in 1930 said “the worst is behind us” as thousands starved, Trump says the economy will improve and does nothing about the growing hardship. The Democratic-led House passed a $3tn relief package on 15 May. Mitch McConnell has recessed the Senate without taking action and Trump calls the bill dead on arrival. 

What about other pressing issues a real president would be addressing? The House has passed nearly 400 bills this term, including measures to reduce climate change, enhance election security, require background checks on gun sales, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and reform campaign finance. All are languishing in McConnell’s inbox. Trump doesn’t seem to be aware of any of them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with golfing, watching television and tweeting. But if that’s pretty much all that a president does when the nation is engulfed in crises, he is not a president.

Trump’s tweets are no substitute for governing. They are mostly about getting even.

When he’s not fomenting violence against black protesters, he’s accusing a media personality of committing murder, retweeting slurs about a black female politician’s weight and the House speaker’s looks, conjuring up conspiracies against himself supposedly organized by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and encouraging his followers to “liberate” their states from lockdown restrictions.

He tweets bogus threats that he has no power to carry out – withholding funds from states that expand absentee voting, “overruling” governors who don’t allow places of worship to reopen “right away”, and punishing Twitter for factchecking him.

And he lies incessantly.

In reality, Donald Trump doesn’t run the government of the United States. He doesn’t manage anything. He doesn’t organize anyone. He doesn’t administer or oversee or supervise. He doesn’t read memos. He hates meetings. He has no patience for briefings. His White House is in perpetual chaos. 

His advisers aren’t truth-tellers. They’re toadies, lackeys, sycophants and relatives.

Since moving into the Oval Office in January 2017, Trump hasn’t shown an ounce of interest in governing. He obsesses only about himself.

But it has taken the present set of crises to reveal the depths of his self-absorbed abdication – his utter contempt for his job, his total repudiation of his office.

Trump’s nonfeasance goes far beyond an absence of leadership or inattention to traditional norms and roles. In a time of national trauma, he has relinquished the core duties and responsibilities of the presidency.

He is no longer president. The sooner we stop treating him as if he were, the better.

♫ What’s Going On ♫ (Redux)

Yes, another redux, but … frankly, in light of our circumstances today, there are few songs that fit the times better than this one by Marvin Gaye.  “For only love can conquer hate.”  Enough said …

There’s a lot of history to this song … more than I can cover in a brief blurb here.  The inspiration for the song came from Renaldo “Obie” Benson, a member of the Four Tops, after he and the group’s tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15, 1969. While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s People’s Park during a protest held by anti-war activists in what was hailed later as “Bloody Thursday”.

Upset by what he had seen, he discussed what he witnessed to friend and songwriter Al Cleveland, who in turn wrote and composed a song to reflect Benson’s concerns. Benson wanted to give the song to his group but the other Four Tops turned down the request, saying it was a protest song.

“I said ‘no man, it’s a love song, about love and understanding. I’m not protesting, I want to know what’s going on.'”

In 1970, Benson presented the untitled song to Marvin Gaye, who added a new melody and revised the song to his liking, adding in his own lyrics. Benson later said Gaye tweaked and enriched the song, “added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story than a song… we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy was against Gaye doing the song, saying …

“Motown was about music for all people—white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone. This was a big risk for his image.”

By some accounts there was a bitter quarrel between Gaye and Gordy over the song, but Gordy denies it.

Two bits of trivia about Marvin Gaye that I did not know until tonight:

  • He was married to Berry Gordy’s sister, Anna, from 1963 until their divorce in 1977
  • Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his own father on 01 April 1984, after breaking up a fight between his parents.  Gaye was one day shy of his 45th birthday.  His father was given a suspended sentence and probation.

And now … What’s Going On …

What’s Going On
Marvin Gaye

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eheh

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on brother
Right on babe

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply ’cause our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
C’mon talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on, ooh ooo ooo ooo
Right on baby
Right on baby

Songwriters: Alfred W Cleveland / Marvin P Gaye / Renaldo Benson
What’s Going On lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Just Two Bits of Snark …

My hero for this week is the police chief of Atlanta, Georgia, one Erika Shields.  While other police chiefs and mayors in the 20+ cities that saw protests of the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were behind closed doors, calling out National Guard troops to try to quell the violence, and while Donald Trump cowered behind the White House doors, tweeting ridiculous lies and not so much as mentioning trying to bring the country together, Erika Shields was calming the protests in her city.

Chief Shields waded right into the crowd of protesters, and here’s what she said to them …

Erika-Shields“Let me tell you something, I am standing here because what I saw was my people face to face with this crowd and everybody’s thinking ‘how can we use force and diffuse this’ and I’m not having it. I’m not having that. You have a right to be upset, to be scared, and to want to yell. And we’re going to have everybody doing what they need to do and we’re going to do it safely. That’s my first commitment. And I hear you. I have heard from so many people that cannot sleep, they’re terrified, they’re crying, they’re worried for their children – there’s a problem.”   

She gently touched the arms of the protesters, and one by one they came and thanked her, with tears in their eyes telling her of their fears.

Now, granted, in and of itself, a few kind words won’t fix the problem, won’t stop the violence, but it’s a damn sight better start than Trump threatening to have them shot!  I give Chief Shields two thumbs up for showing empathy, for understanding that threats are not the answer, for remembering that the protestors are there for a reason and that their voices have been ignored for a very long time now.  They are saying … “No longer will we be ignored and treated as second-class citizens!”

KaepernickThe solutions to these problems will not happen overnight, and they will not happen at all as long as we have people in the upper echelons of our government who simply do not care.  Until the very real concerns are taken seriously, until there are steps made toward real solutions, not band-aid fixes, the protests, riots, and violence will continue.  In September 2016, San Francisco 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick chose to take a knee rather than stand for the national anthem.  He was protesting the exact same thing the protesters today are protesting:  police brutality and murder of black people.  Yet, his very peaceful protest was met with derision, insults, and eventually loss of his job.  Since then, police killings of blacks have continued and now people are tired, they are sick of protesting peacefully and nothing changes.  Until this nation makes changes, there will be protests, some will be violent, some people will die.  It’s a fact, not a speculation.  I don’t condone the violence, but I do understand it and I fully support their cause.

I have long said that Trump’s constant battle with the press would have a disastrous outcome.  When he declared the press the “enemy of the people”, my jaw dropped.  Every president has had his difficulties with the press, but none in the history of this country has ever used the venomous rhetoric that Trump does, and in the last 48 hours, we have seen the results.

On Friday morning, the day began with the chilling arrest of a CNN crew in Minneapolis — two of whom were people of color — even as their cameras rolled. Omar Jimenez, Bill Kirkos and Leonel Mendez were simply doing their jobs, covering the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.  They identified themselves to police, but to no avail.  Then later in the day, CNN headquarters in Atlanta were attacked and vandalized by protestors. CNN-headquartersIn between, all around the country, journalists were harassed.  In Louisville, a police officer shot pepper balls at a local TV reporter, Kaitlin Rust while in Denver, police fired paintballs and tear gas, hitting a news photographer and his camera.  The seeds for these incidents were planted long ago, when Donald Trump declared the press the “enemy of the people”, but this is only the beginning, my friends.  According to Suzanne Nossel, chief executive of PEN America, the nonprofit organization devoted to free expression …

“By denigrating journalists so often, he has degraded respect for what journalists do and the crucial role they play in a democracy. He’s been remarkably effective in contributing to this topsy-turvy sense that journalists are the opposition.”

During the 2016 campaign, Trump was interviewed by CBS reporter Lesley Stahl, who asked him why he was constantly denigrating members of the press.  His reply?

“You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”

Well, folks, just like it’s time for the black people to stand up and say, “Hell no, we won’t sit down and take it any longer”,  perhaps it’s time for this entire nation, at least those of us who value democratic principles, to say the same about Trump’s abusive denigration of our press.  Please remember that the free press is the only thing standing between a full-fledged dictatorship and a relatively democratic nation.  THE. ONLY. THING.Obama-free-press-quote

Message to the Right: Racism is Alive and Well in America

I realize I have covered this topic already in the last day, but our friend Jeff has written such a thoughtful post, expressing himself far better than I could, that I simply had to share it. Thank you, Jeff.

On The Fence Voters

When it comes to race in this country, I sometimes hesitate to weigh in. After all, I’m a 58-year-old white male. What gives me the right to comment on the plight of African-Americans and other people of color when I haven’t experienced the kind of institutional racism they have?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say anything, though. The rage I feel inside is real. It’s called empathy, the last time I checked. It’s putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, or at least an ability to think in that manner.

When I see a white cop with his knee on the neck of a black man screaming, “I can’t breathe!” my first instinct is to say to the white policeman, “take your goddamn knee off his neck, you’re killing him!” If that were me suffering the same fate, I’d like to think most would mouth those very same words.


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Abandoning The World …

On Friday, Donald Trump announced that he would be pulling the United States out of the World Health Organization (WHO), effective immediately.  The thing is, Donald Trump is not a member of WHO … the United States is a member of WHO.  The United States is comprised of some 330 million people.  As one of those 330 million people, I reject his decision, made solely in his own head with no consultation by knowledgeable experts or the people of this country.  It is not right and proper for one ‘man’, a ‘man’ with substandard knowledge and substandard intellect, to make such a decision entirely on his own.  It is dangerous … extremely dangerous.  It is unfair to the people of not only this nation, but of the world.

Let me tell you a little bit about WHO.  The United Nations body was founded in 1948 with a mission to promote health around the world. The organization took on a swath of responsibilities, including managing the response to major global health priorities such as tuberculosis and malaria, as well as helping with access to health care around the world.  In its more than 70-year history, the WHO has tackled some of the world’s most pressing health issues, including emergencies. It helped eliminate smallpox and all but eliminate polio. It supports the administration of measles vaccines worldwide. More recently it played a role in the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Granted, WHO has its difficulties and has been accused of not responding quickly enough to the current pandemic, as well as others in the past.  But, to simply walk away, to pull $400 million per year away from the organization, is a classic case of ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’.  It is like the couple with three children who are having some difficulties, and rather than work through the problems, one partner says, “I’m done, I’m divorcing you and I’m not paying child support!”  It is, in a word, unconscionable.  The problems within WHO could be worked through and resolved, but it takes effort, it takes cooperation among nations, and it takes willingness to compromise.

Other world leaders have been quick to state that they have no plans to follow Trump’s example, but the reality is that the U.S. is the biggest financial contributor to WHO and without that funding, what they can accomplish will be severely limited. WHO fundingDonald Trump, in pulling out of WHO, is putting the entire world at risk, and for only one reason that I can see.  He failed miserably at being a leader when the pandemic hit the U.S., and his failures have significantly reduced his approval rating … just a few short months before the November election.  As is Trump’s way, he must find someone else to blame, and in this case it is WHO.  He has turned the health and well-being of every person on the planet into a political tool to save his own carcass. Senator Chris Murphy says it well …

“It was never about reforming the WHO. That was all lies. It was always about distraction and scapegoating. Leaving castrates our ability to stop future pandemics and elevates China as the world’s go-to power on global health. What a nightmare.”

I am deeply disturbed by the number of international agreements Trump has pulled out of.  First, the Paris Climate Accords that are attempting to find ways to save the environment from the ravages caused by the industrialized nations of the world, of which the U.S. is the largest per capita ravager.  Then he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal … an agreement that, by all accounts, was working well in keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  He pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, an organization tasked with protecting human rights around the globe.  In all, he has pulled this nation out of more than a dozen international agreements, leaving not only the U.S. vulnerable, but the rest of the world as well.  There was a time that the U.S. was called the “leader of the free world”, but today, I’m not sure we are even a part of the free world, thanks to Donald Trump and his megalomania.   It seems as if Trump wishes us to be so isolated that we are not even a part of the larger world … this is a frightening scenario.  It is my hope that next January, we will quickly re-join these international groups that are trying to keep the world safe, that we will once again become part of the world.

I would urge Congress to stand up, do their job, and stop Trump’s utter madness, but … as we all know, the republicans in Congress are no longer our representatives, but rather Trump’s yes-men, thereby rendering Congress ineffective.  I would urge the people in this country, the ones who still care about people, to write letters to their representatives and senators protesting this unconscionable move by Trump, but again … our letters would be put through the shredders on Capitol Hill.  In short, we have lost our voices and will only have one last chance to exercise our will … on November 3rd.

♫ No Matter What ♫ (Redux)

Tonight’s song is again a repeat from September 2018.  There is a reason it came to my mind, though, and just begged to be played.  My friend Michael Seidel posted this song on his “Friday’s Theme Music” post yesterday, and I fully agree with his reasoning … well, take a look yourself, and I think most of you will agree:  Friday’s Theme Music by Michael Seidel.

This one is a little off the beaten path, so some may not remember it.  It never got above #5 on the UK charts, and #8 in the US.  It did better, however, in South Africa where it hit #1 for a brief time.  It’s one of those that I don’t think about often, but about twice a year, for no discernible reason, it pops into my head and stays for a day or two.  I like the rhythm, but as with most songs, just tonight I discovered that I had been singing the lyrics all wrong!  I’ve been singing “Down by the ol’ mill stream, be a part of it all”, when in fact it is “Knock down the old grey wall, and be a part of it all”.  Sigh.  deaf

The song was recorded by the band Badfinger in April 1970 at Abbey Road Studios under the Beatles’ label, Apple Records.  Some actually thought it was the Beatles when they first heard it, and Peter Ham actually used one of George Harrison’s Gibson guitars on this.

This song is also noted for its false ending, after the final chorus, where, after a short pause, the song repeats the last line twice before its final ending chord.

No Matter What

No matter what you are
I will always be with you
Doesn’t matter what you do girl, oh girl with you
No matter what you do
I will always be around

Won’t you tell me what you found girl, oh girl won’t you
Knock down the old brick wall, and be a part of it all
Nothing to say, nothing to see, nothing to do
If you would give me all, as I would give it to you
Nothing would be, nothing would be, nothing would be

No matter where you go
There will always be a place
Can’t you see in my face girl, oh girl don’t you
Knock down the old brick wall, and be a part of it all
Nothing to say, nothing to see, nothing to do
If you would give me all, as I would give it to you
Nothing would be, nothing would be, nothing would be

No matter what you are
I will always be with you
Doesn’t matter what you do girl, oh girl want you
Oh girl, you girl, want you
Oh girl, you girl, want you

Songwriters: Peter William Ham
No Matter What lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Nothing To Celebrate

The Pentagon is reported to be “weighing a request from the White House to support a July Fourth celebration on the National Mall that may include military aircraft flyovers, band performances and other displays.” 

I may be a minority of one here, but I think such a display would be in very poor taste.  We have had two black men murdered in the past month, simply for being black.  One of those men was murdered by the police, the very people we are supposed to trust with our lives.  We have more than a thousand people dying of a global pandemic every day, in large part because our nation was slow to respond and has put corporate profit over people’s lives.  We are more divided than we have ever been in our history, with political parties threatening to kill one another, religions attempting to force their views on others, a Congress that has become dysfunctional, Supreme Court Justices who have traded their integrity for a pat on the back from Donald Trump, and the list goes on.

This summer is almost certain to be a violent one, with a race war in the making and Donald Trump pouring fuel on the fire with his ignominious tweets.  The United States has failed miserably in its global role, leaving our allies hanging, trying to patch together agreements to make the world a safer place.  The United States is led by a cruel, evil dictator who would sooner see every one of us dead than to ever act on the behalf of the people who pay his salary.  The United States has denigrated many of those who live within its borders, given them reasons to fear for their very lives.  Immigrant children have been separated from their parents, some likely forever, simply because of their ethnicity.

Now, you tell me what there is to celebrate?  As today the ‘man’ in the Oval Office is threatening to fan the flames of the race war brewing in this country by threatening to send the National Guard to shoot protesters; as today the ‘man’ in the Oval Office and many of our elected legislators refuse to implement policies to protect the environment, to protect We the People. No, I don’t see a damn thing worth celebrating in this nation.

The sort of festivities Trump is asking of the Pentagon would be a slap in the face to most of us living here.  It would ignore the grief and horrors we are enduring, in favour of honouring a person who has no honour, of honouring a country that is being destroyed from within.  It would also have a hefty price tag.  The United States government is bankrupt, with more than $25 trillion in debt and very little revenue at this time.  HOW THE SAM HELL can we afford to spend millions on a damn circus show that benefits no one???  What about those who have been out of work for three months?  What about those who are about to lose their homes, or those who cannot afford food or medicine?  Would not that money, those millions of dollars, be better spent helping We the People survive the crisis that is happening in this country?

I do hope cooler heads in the Pentagon will prevail.  I hope that there are those who have the cojones to stand up to Donald Trump and say “No”.  Somehow, I have my doubts.  Friends, Donald Trump is proposing to use our hard-earned tax dollars for an ego trip, for a overblown display to attempt to send a message that all is well in the United States. All is not well in the U.S. today, and in fact nothing … NOTHING is right in this country today.  I, for one, will not be celebrating July 4th, aka Independence Day, this year.  I hope to celebrate our Independence Day on November 4th when Donald Trump has been told to pack his bags and get the heck out … that will be the day we regain our voices and begin to attempt to heal this nation.

Snarky Snippets … Back On Track

Whatever would I make of this blog if I didn’t have Trump and his band of thugs to write about?  Hmmmm … I might have to go back to reading whole books and writing book reviews, or perhaps shut the blog down and go back to knitting scarves and afghans for my friends (yes, I do know how to knit and used to spend many an evening so occupied.  A year or two ago, I gave my stash of yarn and supplies to my daughter, who is now knitting me a sweater with a wolf on it and wolf paw prints on the sleeves!)  Anyway, I do have Trump and the rest of the jerks to write about, so …

The Planet vs Trump … 

Since taking office on January 20th 2017, Donald Trump has had several goals, all of them intended to destroy the U.S. But one, the one he calls his “crowning achievement”, is to destroy the planet, making it uninhabitable for all life forms.  His deregulatory moves have had a terrible effect on all life forms, but they are moves that he has said will “save lives, lift the economy and help the auto industry.”  Frankly, if I cannot breathe, if the bees who pollinate our food are dying, if species are dying out … who gives a royal f*ck about the auto industry … or the economy, for that matter?  And save lives???  What a crock.

During the administration of President Obama, a fuel economy standard was put into place that would lower CO2 emissions, save us all money at the pump, and help with restoring cleaner air to every country in the world.  Given that these standards were put in place under Obama, naturally Trump had to destroy them, just as he destroyed his friends’ toys as a child.  Even the auto industry was not fully behind Mr. Trump’s deregulation and today, four of those automakers are standing firm in their commitment to the people and the environment.

On Wednesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a multistate coalition, filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s disastrous final rule rolling back the nation’s Clean Car Standards.  Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The battle is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen, while not a part of the lawsuit, have split from the other automakers, declaring that they will continue to follow the lead of California and 13 other states that are upholding tougher standards than those set by the federal government.

By the Trump administration’s own calculations, changing the rule increases the emissions of greenhouse gases, the primary cause of global warming, by at least 867 million metric tons relative to the standards being rolled back. That is greater than the amount many midsize countries put out in a year.  It will also cost the average car owner an additional $500 over a three-year period in fuel costs.

Yet another test for the Supreme Court to ultimately decide whether they place more value on the planet and human life, or whether they are Trumpies above all else.

Pushing the boundaries … or are there any boundaries for Trump?

Since beginning his battle with Twitter a few days ago over his false tweets that Twitter put a fact-checking message on, Trump seems determined to show us just how utterly nasty he can be.  Folks, you can go to your local landfill, dig around all day, and I don’t think you will find anything as ugly, decayed, and downright nasty as the person who sits in the Oval Office today.

Until yesterday, I had never heard of “Cowboys for Trump”.  My supper would have settled better if I had never heard of them.  ‘Cowboys for Trump’ is a right-wing organization founded by a former street preacher named Couy Griffin.  Griffin is also a country commissioner for the county of Otero, New Mexico.  Apparently, the people of that county don’t much care about such things as education or qualifications.  Hmmmm … seems that 40% of the people in the U.S. don’t much care about those things, either.

Griffin has led a number of protests against the closing of the nation’s businesses and stay-at-home orders … no surprise there … he fits the prototype.  But, this week he overstepped his bounds.  In an interview with the Daily Beast on Tuesday, he called for the execution of at least two democratic governors, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia.  Why?  He claims they are ‘traitors’ for the restrictions they have imposed in their states, trying to keep their populace safe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“You get to pick your poison: You either go before a firing squad, or you get the end of the rope.”

What a bastard, yes?  But wait … it gets even worse.

Earlier this week, a video surfaced of Griffin at some event with his ‘cowboys’ giving a speech whereupon he said …

“The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”

Okay, so the man is a bloody idiot … we can ignore that, right, although he frankly should be behind bars in Otero Country tonight for that is hate speech and incitement to violence in 8 short words.  But wait … that’s not all …

So pleased and inspired by that video was Donald Trump that he re-tweeted the video on Twitter, with a comment …

“Thank you Cowboys. See you in New Mexico!”

If I said on Twitter, “The only good Republican is a dead Republican”, do you know how fast my account would be closed … forever?  And do you know how long it would take for the cops to show up at my door?  And yet some jackass in Podunk New Mexico can say it in a public venue, tweet it on a public forum, and the fool who calls himself a ‘president’ (and I use the term loosely) can re-play it, again on a public forum, with impunity!  How utterly … unprofessional, demeaning, and downright NASTY is this sorry excuse for a ‘man’?  What’s next … what new low will I be writing about tomorrow?

On a brighter note …

There are many republicans in Congress who I’d like to see ousted, who should have been ousted long ago, but while the list is long, one man is always at the top of the list:  Mitch McConnell.  Mitch gave his all to ensure that President Barack Obama had to fight tooth and nail for what few proposals he got by during his eight-year tenure in office.  He ensured that our Supreme Court has the least integrity of any in the history of our nation.  And he rules the Senate with an iron hand, threatening and bullying just as Trump does.  Mitch long ago forgot to whom he owes his allegiance and is naught but a high-paid bootlicker for Donald Trump.

I was happy to see this new ad by The Lincoln Project, the political action committee formed in late 2019 by several prominent Republicans with the goal of preventing the reelection of Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.