If You Give A Kid A Gun …

In this era of Trump, we’ve heard some pretty stupid things, but something I read just this morning takes the cake.  With the subject of gun control back in the headlines in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton a couple of weeks ago, the NRA is spewing their message once again about “a good guy with a gun”, etc.

Florida is one of the states considering a ban on assault weapons, so the NRA jumped into action, sending one of their leading lobbyists and former president of the NRA (1995-1998), Marion Hammer, to speak to a group of economists. marion-hammer.pngMs. Hammer’s first argument against the proposed amendment to ban assault weapons was that Florida Governor Rick Scott “solicited and offered significant financial incentives to gun manufacturers to come to Florida to bring more jobs”.  And now, the poor gun manufacturers may suffer a financial loss if assault weapons are banned.  They’ve got my deepest sympathy.  Hey!  I’ve got an idea … let’s send them “thoughts and prayers”, shall we?

But, Ms. Hammer’s second argument for why Florida should drop the ridiculous notion of saving lives by banning these guns that were intended only for use by the military, is even more ludicrous …

“How do you tell a 10-year-old little girl who got a Ruger 10/22 with a pink stock for her birthday that her rifle is an assault weapon and she has to turn it over to government or be arrested for felony possession?”

pink-assault-riflePick your jaws up off the ground now, take a deep breath.  Yes, she actually said that.  What sort of an idiot gives a 10-year-old child a damn assault rifle???  Anybody … ANYBODY who would give a child a gun of any sort, let alone an assault weapon, deserves to be drawn and quartered!!!

This is not the first time Ms. Hammer has come onto my radar.  About a year ago, I dedicated an entire post to her when she asserted her power to force the state to issue certain questionable gun licenses.  I was appalled that someone who doesn’t even hold a position in government had the sort of power she had, that she was able to browbeat and intimidate government officials to do her bidding.

Lest you think that most of the nation has better sense than to place firearms in the small arms of children, read this excerpt from an article in The Guardian last year …

A 2012 report by the Hunting Heritage Trust and the National Shooting Sports Foundation states: “It is important to consider more hunting and target shooting recruitment programs aimed at middle school level, or earlier.”

The report lays out a “Youth Hunter and Shooter Ambassador Program” strategy, in which kids are encouraged to influence their friends to get into guns. “Youth ambassadors and others should focus on getting newcomers to take a first step into target shooting through any means … The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms.”

Young children looking to get into shooting have plenty of options when it comes to guns designed just for them. A 2014 article on NRA Family, an NRA-run website, profiles Marlin’s “new kid-friendly rifles”. The writer enthuses that Marlin’s “new XT line of .22 rifles … are not just sized for kids; they’re completely designed for kids”.pink-gunsAnother article on the NRA Family website suggests kids might also think about using Thompson/Center HotShot rifle, “a tiny gun intended for the very youngest shooters”. A company spokesman explains that gun targets “the six- to 12-year-old range”. These come in a variety of fun colour options.

Ms. Hammer was instrumental in the passage of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law that allowed George Zimmerman to get off scot-free after murdering an unarmed young black man, Trayvon Martin.  And, while Governor Scott was happily giving tax incentives to companies like Colt and the Russian Kalashnikov (makers of the notorious AK-47), there was the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in 2016 that killed 49 people and wounded 53 more.  And then in 2018, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died and 17 more were wounded.

gun-ad-kidOh yeah, folks, the answer is not only more guns, but let’s start ‘em off as soon as their old enough to hold one in their hand.  Right out of the cradle, so that by the time they are teenagers, they will already own an arsenal that includes at least 3 or 4 assault rifles and maybe even a grenade launcher or two, eh?

♫ Love | Song Around The World ♫

For a number of reasons, I have not had a song in my heart for several days.  That was likely to continue until … our friend Ellen, knowing of my frame of mind, sent me a song today with the message …

“I think that you need to take a few moments to listen to this song …”

Listen I did, smile I did, and this song I wish to share with you all today.

The song encompasses musicians from ’round the world, and the message is, quite simply, “We are all the same”.  It is in the same vein as We Are The World, and Coca Cola’s, I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing, a message of inclusion, of humanity … of love.

Among the musicians are …

Kim Churchill, Newcastle, Australia

Taimane, Waikiki, Hawaii

Tal Ben Ari “Tula”, Tel Aviv, Israel

Olodum, Salvador, State of Bahia, Brazil

Sophia Scott, Boulder, Colorado, USA

William Barton, Mount Isa QLD, Australia

Mana Maoli Collective Youth, O‘ahu, Hawaii, USA

Jose Ikotela, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Tushar Lall, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Glodi Dinga, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Rupak Dhamankar, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Vanraj Shastri,  Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Prasad Rahane,  Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Paco Soto,  Aguilas, Murcia, Spain

Love

Playing for Change

It’s been a long time coming, coming
Seeming like we all been running, running
Feeling like the wild west, gunning, gunning
Listen to our elders shunning, shunning
Flipping on the news, be talking, talking
All about the problems, shocking, shocking
We put on our headphones walking, walking
We put on our headphones
Where did we all go wrong?
Love, love, love, love
Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love
Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love
Where did we all, where did we all go wrong?
(Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love)
All I see is faces, color, color
All the other races, other, other
Why couldn’t you just be my brother, brother?
We don’t have to kill one another, kill one another
All around the world, we are one, we are one
All around the world, we are one
Where did we all go wrong?
Love, love, love, love
Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love
Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love
Where did we all, where did we all go wrong?
(Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love)
Yeah we got the same blood, blood
We got the same blood, blood
Will it be enough, ‘nough?
Will it be enough?
We got the same heartbeat
We’re living for the same dream
We got the same bloodstream
Where did we all go wrong?
Looooooooove….

21st Century … or Dark Ages???

“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

— Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964

There has been considerable debate about whether Title VII extends protections against discrimination to the LGBT community, and at present, it varies by state and locality, despite the fact that the entire Civil Rights Act is a federal law.  At this time, only 21 states have outlawed discrimination against members of the LGBT community.  A bill, the Equality Act,  was introduced into the House of Representatives in March of this year by Representative David Cicilline. The bill has passed in the House and is now languishing in the Senate committee, but the odds of it becoming the law of the land seem slim at the moment, given the makeup of the current Senate, and the fact that Donald Trump spoke against it after right-wing religious organizations urged the White House to issue an opposition statement to the bill.

There are currently three cases on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court that will be heard on October 8th.  Briefly …

Zarda v Altitude Express:  Donald Zarda was fired from Altitude Express, where he worked as a skydiver. He informed a woman he was gay while they were strapped to each other because he thought it would make her feel more comfortable. She later informed his employer that she wasn’t happy with his sharing his being gay and he was subsequently fired. Zarda died in 2014 but his estate pursued the case.

Bostock v Clayton County:  Gerald Bostock, a child welfare services coordinator, was in a gay recreational softball league. He said his participation in the league and his sexual orientation became a problem with someone at work. Then he was fired for “conduct unbecoming of a county employee,” which he said was tied to his sexuality.

Harris Funeral Homes v EEOC:  Aimee Stephens, a trans woman, was fired from her job at a funeral parlor after she informed the funeral director she worked for that she was transgender. She had worked in funeral services for nearly 20 years and received positive feedback from her employer.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in all three cases on the same day, and according to Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization focused on LGBTQ people …

“This is a momentous occasion. It is a pivotal moment and the public should be paying attention.  These cases will affect the ability of LGBTQ people to be full members of society and to contribute to society by entering the workplace and be free of discrimination.”

Meanwhile, the United States Justice Department under Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General William Barr sent a brief to the Supreme Court two days ago stating that they should find in favour of the employer in the Harris Funeral Homes case, arguing that …

“In 1964, the ordinary public meaning of ‘sex’ was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status. In the particular context of Title VII — legislation originally designed to eliminate employment discrimination against racial and other minorities — it was especially clear that the prohibition on discrimination because of ‘sex’ referred to unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace.”

Since when is it right and proper for the Department of Justice to tell the Supreme Court how to rule???  The Judiciary is an independent branch that is intended to be apolitical, not influenced by partisan politics.  However, the reality does not always match the intent.  Today, there are 5 justices who lean toward conservative opinions, 4 who are more liberal.  Chief Justice John Roberts is typically the more moderate of the conservative-leaning justices, often casting the deciding vote.  It is likely to come down to his single vote, and there are serious concerns, for he wrote a dissenting opinion in the 2014 case of Obergefell v Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level.  And lately he has disappointed us a few times, such as his vote to give state lawmakers virtually unlimited authority to draw district lines (gerrymandering) once every 10 years, pick their voters and entrench their political power.

This is the 21st century, not the Dark Ages.  It is time we learn to accept people … ALL people … for who they are.  If the employers in these three cases are allowed to prevail, it will indeed be a dark day in the United States, and no doubt it will then be only a matter of time until we see cases coming before the court dealing with discrimination in housing, in education, in every aspect of life.  I’m convinced that it is only a matter of time until a case comes before the Supreme Court that challenges Obergefell v Hodges.  And then what?  If we strip the LGBT community of their rights, will we soon see cases attempting to strip African-Americans of their rights by challenging other aspects of the Civil Rights Act, or of the Voting Rights Act?

Keep your eyes on this one, folks, for how these three cases are decided will be the best indicator yet whether or not there is still “liberty and justice for all” in this nation.

Steve King — Riding Off Into The Sunset?

Well, it looks like U.S. Representative Steve King from Iowa may have finally crossed one line too many.  Maybe.  King is an unapologetic bigot in every sense of the word, and yet his district has re-elected him every two years since 2002!  Says something about the people in Iowa, doesn’t it?  A recap of some of his most egregious offenses …

  • He has a long history of white-nationalist affiliations. The Washington Post described King as the “Congressman most openly affiliated with white nationalism”. His racist comments resulted in him being stripped of all his committee assignments earlier this year.
  • In an interview with the New York Times, King questioned why “white nationalist,” among other terms, are deemed racist language.
  • On the House floor in July 2006, King suggested building a border wall along the country’s southern border and said the top of the fence could be electrified. “We do that with livestock all the time.”
  • In March 2008, King said terrorists would celebrate a Barack Obama presidency and that al Qaeda “would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror.”
  • While talking about “Dreamers” in a July 2013 interview for Newsmax TV, King claimed that for every young immigrant who becomes a school valedictorian there are “100 out there that, they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

steve-king-2  steve-king-3

This is but a sampling of his atrocious views … in fact, I awarded him my coveted Idiot of the Week award in March 2017 … check it out to read about more of his idiocy!  In short, he is against anyone who is not white, straight, Christian and preferably male.  But his latest seems to be, perhaps, the straw that broke the camel’s back, even in ultra-conservative Iowa.

King has long been a foe of women’s rights, particularly the right to choose to have an abortion.  On Wednesday, he was giving a speech at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, when he attempted to justify his reason for refusing to support abortions even in cases of incest or rape …

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?  Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.  I’ve got 174 people who say they don’t want exceptions for rape and incest because they understand it is not the baby’s fault, to abort the baby, because of the sin of the father, and maybe sometimes the sin of the mother too. And so I refused to do that.”

Even the republicans were riled over that one … well, some of them anyway.  House Republican leaders broke from their August recess to publicly chastise him.  Liz Cheney, the party’s third highest-ranking member, tweeted that King’s comments were “appalling and bizarre … it’s time for him to go.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the minority whip, both said Mr. King’s comments underscored why he had been removed from his committees.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has said she will no longer support Mr. King. Even #MoscowMitch McConnell has said that King should resign!

King faces a republican contender in the primary, State Senator Randy Feenstra, and a number of republicans have said they will support any republican who is not Steve King!  If campaign donations are an early indicator, Feenstra stands a good chance, with $260,000 in donations as compared to King’s significantly lower $62,000.  And, even if King survives the primary race, he will face democrat J.D. Scholten who almost beat him in 2018, losing by only about 10,000 votes.  Perhaps the people of Iowa are tired of King’s perversion, his hateful rhetoric, his bigotry?  Let us hope so.

Sorry Snarky Snippets … Sigh

With apologies to all, Saturday Surprise is on hiatus for this morning.  If perchance I find a bit of humour somewhere in my heart later today, you may see a ‘Sunday Surprise’ tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I am filled with snarky angst, and so I shall share with you some snippets of snark, ‘k?


What an honour … NOT!

I wrote a few days ago about Trump’s rambling speech at the site of a new Shell facility in Pennsylvania where he turned what was to have been a speech into a campaign rally.  It gets even better (where better is worse).  The facility is Shell’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania that is currently under construction.  An ethane cracker plant is one that takes oil and gas and breaks it into smaller molecules, to create ethylene, which is used in plastics manufacturing.  Not one thing environmentally friendly to see here, folks.  But, to my point …

Take a look at the photo below to see how well-attended the event was by Shell workers …

Shell-workersA dedicated bunch, devoted to being good little Trumpeters, right?  Only problem is that … well, take a look at the memo they received prior to Trump’s visit …

workers-Trump-attendanceFor my visually impaired readers, the relevant points of the memo are as follows:

  • All personnel will be bused to the Trump speech location. Prepare to stand for several hours. You will be standing through your normal lunch period. Lunch WILL NOT be provided.
  • No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event. An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the labour unions.  Your building trades leaders and job stewards have agreed to this.
  • Your attendance is not mandatory. This will be considered an excused absence.  However, those who are NOT in attendance will not receive overtime pay on Friday.

So, in order to receive their overtime, they must attend a Trump rally, keep their mouths shut, play nice, and stand idly on their feet without lunch for several hours.


It was only a matter of time …

How many times have those of us with functioning brains said that guns in schools are a bad … really bad … idea?  It was only a matter of time before it happened.  Luckily, this time no child was shot, but it will happen … the clock is ticking.

It happened at Highland Elementary School in South Bloomfield Township, south of Columbus, Ohio.  Vicky Nelson, the transportation director for the district, was one of those selected to carry a concealed weapon in order to “protect” the students.  One day back in March (for some reason, this was not made public until just this week), Ms. Nelson had her 6-year-old grandson who attends the school, and another first-grader in her office when she left the office briefly to go to the bathroom.

When she returned, the gun (loaded) was on the desk … the children had found it in the desk and removed it from its ‘concealed’ location to plain view.  This was a near miss but imagine what might have happened.

You’ll be pleased to know that Ms. Nelson has been removed from the school’s concealed carry program and that the school is “currently reviewing the concealed carry program.”  More than once, I’ve envisioned a teacher leaving his gun in his desk drawer, stepping outside for just a minute, and BANG!  It isn’t worth the risk, folks.  Those teachers with guns are not going to stop a shooter with an assault weapon, and it isn’t their job … their job in such a situation would be to see to the safety of the children in their care, not add more bullets to those already flying around!


Prayers for WHAT???

A former co-worker posted a prayer request on Facebook last night.  The reason?  Three days prior, her television had gone out, the television repair person was unable to find the problem, and she was asking for prayers because she thought she had been “pretty patient for 3 days without t.v.”  I nearly choked on my coffee when I read that … children separated from their parents at the border, kept in horrid conditions.  People struggling to put food on the table, others living on park benches on the streets.  People dying of starvation in third world countries.  Air that will soon be unfit to breathe, and water that is becoming increasingly scarce.  Families that cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor.  And this woman is asking for prayers for an effing t.v.???  Consumerism has run amok.  I wonder how people like her will survive when someday Russia compromises our power grid and there is no electricity for months?  Just thought I’d share that one with you … give you something to think about.


Oh yeah???

Trump held another campaign rally in New Hampshire on Thursday.  When does this guy ever work?  He’s always flitting about the country, playing to his masses, sucking up potential votes for next year … and we’re paying him for this???  Anyway, I just wanted to share with you one thing he said at the rally that really set my teeth on edge …

“See, the bottom line is, I know you like me and this room is a lovefest and I know that, but you have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k)s … down the tubes. Everything is going to be down the tubes.  So whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”

I would willingly swallow a cyanide capsule before I would vote for him.


Greenland is NOT for sale, but …

The current occupant of the big White House isn’t satisfied with just one nation to ruin … he is now seeking, so say certain of his aides, to purchase Greenland.  Well, methinks li’l Donnie is in for a rude awakening, but you just don’t wake up one morning and decide to buy a country.

Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark.  Greenland’s Premier Kim Kielsen stated in no uncertain terms …

“Greenland is not for sale, but Greenland is open for trade and cooperation with other countries, including the USA.”

Foreign affairs spokesman for Denmark, Soren Espersen, went a step further …

“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad. The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous.”

So, I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be buying Greenland, but what, even, was Trump’s motivation for saying, repeatedly, that he wanted his aides to look into it?  Is there coal under Greenland that Mr. Piggy would like to get his hands on?  Here’s one possibility …Trump-tower-GreenlandBut, last night friend Ellen sent me the latest by humourist Andy Borowitz, writing The Borowitz Report for The New Yorker, and this sounds like a much better idea!

borowitz-andyCOPENHAGEN (The Borowitz Report)—After rebuffing Donald J. Trump’s hypothetical proposal to purchase Greenland, the government of Denmark has announced that it would be interested in buying the United States instead.

“As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale,” a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. “We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale.”

“Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government,” the spokesperson added.

A key provision of the purchase offer, the spokesperson said, would be the relocation of Donald Trump to another country “to be determined,” with Russia and North Korea cited as possible destinations.

If Denmark’s bid for the United States is accepted, the Scandinavian nation has ambitious plans for its new acquisition. “We believe that, by giving the U.S. an educational system and national health care, it could be transformed from a vast land mass into a great nation,” the spokesperson said.

That “key provision” appeals, does it not?


Enjoy your weekend, my friends!

Kicking Off The Weekend With … ‘Toons!

Wolf-FridayHey friends!  It’s Friday and time for the weekend.  I don’t know about all of you, but I have found this to be an exhausting week.  It seems we barely recover from one Trumpian abomination before we are hit with the next one.  When does it end, we ask?  It ends when we throw the buffoon out of the White House, but meanwhile we have to find a way to alleviate the pain, and today I propose we do it with a bit of humour.  Needless to say, the political cartoonists have been working overtime this week …


Mass shootings have taken much of the spotlight in recent weeks, after the ones in El Paso and Dayton two weeks ago.  The NRA and republicans (kind of hard to tell them apart these days) took up their usual mantle, claiming that guns aren’t the problem … almost anything else is, such as mental health and their new “devil”, video games …

gunsguns-3guns-4COLORguns-6guns-7


When Ken Cuccinelli announced a re-write of the Emma Lazarus poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty, and claimed that the welcome of the tired, poor huddled masses meant only Europeans with plenty of money, the cartoonists fingers were itching.  My fingers were itching, too, but mine were itching to wrap themselves around Mr. Cuccinelli’s neck, for I have no talent with a pencil!

libertyliberty-2Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and the Statue of Libertyliberty-4


Trump continues his infernal trade war, though he did walk it back a step last week when retailers panicked at the thought of Chinese tariffs on certain goods right before they start buying up junk for the holidays. Meanwhile, though, the tariffs are hurting the U.S. as much as any, especially the farmers.

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump's trade wartrade-war-2trade-war-3


Mitch McConnell is always good for a joke or two.  Funny thing, that he relaxed certain sanctions against Russia, and then Russia invested money into a factory in ol’ Mitchie’s home state of Kentucky.  Add to that his refusal to even allow the Senate to consider legislation to put in place election security measures, and you can see how he came by the nickname of “Moscow Mitch”.  I hear he isn’t too fond of the moniker … but, if the shoe fits …

Moscow-MitchMoscow-Mitch-2


This week, the Idiot-in-Chief announced new rules that would weaken the Endangered Species Act (as well as the Clean Water Act), in the interest of the logging and fossil fuel industries.  

Endangered Species Actanimals-2


And lastly, just because I find this one fitting …

Trump-deflecting


Have a great weekend, my friends!

VOTE!!! – Part II — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob

This is Part II of a guest post on voting in the 2020 election, by our friend, Roger Jacob … Roger has a clear view from across the big pond of what is happening in the U.S. today, and has some words of wisdom, from a historical context, that we all need to hear.  Many thanks, Roger, for your wise words, and for taking the time out of your own writing schedule to write this post for us.

USA Not Voting Is No Longer A Luxury You Can Indulge

Part II

The Unhappy but Unavoidable Basics

“Democracy is a very bad form of government. But I ask you never to forget: All the others are so much worse.”

This stirring and wise little statement is from the opening credits of each episode of the brief CBS drama 1963-1964 Slattery’s People. The outline being the local politics and a state legislator James Slattery.

Churchill’s earlier version was, one of his less erudite and not so stirring “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”, which it is argued was not one of his own and probably explains why it lacks a Churchillian ‘something’

Thus when you objectively compare the other forms of government (or antics masquerading as government) the ask yourself this ‘Would I like to live there for the rest of my life?’. For make no mistake, in this current era of Human history of large aggressive states and huge corporations central government of a nation by a small group of people is the only alternative, unless you can find a very small piece of isolated land that no one wants and survive on it…while hoping no one finds valuable resources thereupon. You are dealing with a 7.7 billion sized very flawed but inventive species here, hiding out and surviving can be difficult.

On Democracy and more Unavoidables

Having to accept the fact that someone is going to run the place wherever you live and thus have an impact on your life, having a say in who gets there is an attractive option. As you are going to vote in people and not saintly beings there will be mistakes, flaws, compromise, disappointments and all the other baggage humans drag around with them. This is also unavoidable. This is the Current Reality. If you are looking for perfection in government. Sorry that era has not arrived yet…hopefully it will, if we survive that long.

Another facet of democracy is that folk who have very strong opinions will make sure they can get out there and vote. Now you may not care for the folk with the Strong Opinions, but if you don’t vote then they will have a disproportionate say in your life. Again you don’t get to avoid this. Yes you can protest, yes you can organise campaigns and you might win a few, but ‘they’ the elected of the ‘Strong Opinions’ will still be there and the only chance you will get to remove them will be at the next election.

This is how the flawed process of Democracy works. Participation is the only stable, civic way you can ensure it remains Stable and Civic.

Narrowing in. The USA in 2020

I address this portion to the citizens of voting age in the USA.

You will not need me to list, report or otherwise enumerate the controversial decisions, statements and persons who have appeared upon the political stage since the election of 2016. You have them burned into your memory and possibly your hearts. You know full well that the temperature of the political atmosphere has risen and thus increased the level of toxicity. You know, as I suggested before Consensus is a very endangered species, in some regions it is extinct.

Now it may be, it is possible that many of the folk associated with the current administration are not racists, homophobic, anti-minority, narrow-minded reactionaries or religious zealots. It maybe. However by the actions and statements coming out of the administration these views have been given an air of respectability, they can be howled out under the guise of the much-abused term ‘Free Speech’. There are people striding about the public domain who back in the 1960s & 1970s would have labelled ‘wackos’ and generally laughed at. Now they have far too many followers.

In this situation I will ask those of you who do not vote this very hard question. Are you content with that situation? Are you not bothered about what is happening along the US Mexican border? Are you at ease with the mass shooting? Are you at ease with the Hate-Crime and unprovoked attacks on minority peoples? Are you? Now be careful with your reply as you might feel inclined to reply to me, because whatever you write however you argue, I will be replying too … with those questions. For there is no option if you choose to stay in the USA. Are you content with this administration and its followers? Are you?  Are you willing to stand by and do naught but simply write an impassioned piece in Social Media in the belief that somehow that will change things? For ‘they’ write impassioned pieces too.

We dial back to the previous post. And that that 60,000,000+ folk voted from this administration and rest assured they will vote again, and again, and again. This 25%-30% of the numbers. But they are not the majority…they were not the majority in 2016 … thanks to a narrow margin and a freak of your system they ‘won’. So do they truly represent anyone other than themselves. Are you content with these people telling you how the nation is going to be run. Are you?

For the non-voter by principal here is your paradox which in this case has to be answered. You might well have very strong views on government, which is why you do not vote. I will again  come back to the earlier point. Someone is going to run the nation. Are you content with this administration running it, or would you rather chance another, and yes risk those disappointment? Some might say ‘better the devil you know’… Let me say from a study of American political history ‘Well folks, if you are content with a devil …’

This I will hammer home again, and again. Are you content? Are you willing to let things go on the way they are? Do you truly think that an alternative will be The Same? Do you? Are you willing to risk the lives and well-being of minorities to satisfy your own views? Are you content for them to lay there upon some allegorical petri dish while you muse over your own political philosophies hoping to gain some ephemeral moral high-ground. Sorry, but that is not the real world you are living in. Oh yes you can talk about change and I would not challenge that but in this climate you do not get the chance to make that change because it comes by steady, slow evolution and right now we are looking at a possible political extinct event.

Polemic? Yes of course. Because currently American politics is a place of polemics from both sides and in that toxic environment your way does not have a hope. Civil War does. But not yours. Not at this time. The atmosphere is too toxic.

Your only option to change is to get out there and vote.

Defeatism

This is something of fall-back cop-out which comes in many forms. Let us leave the lazy ‘What’s the point’ excuse, I’ve put up enough arguments against that in the above words. NO need to repeat. There are others worries. These needed to be address by activism

Gerrymandering- Yes, they will do that. You need a rather dull and stodgy UK style Boundaries Commission to guard against that and even then there is huffing and puffing. However you are in pre-war situation here and propaganda  plays a part. Imagine the result when Trump’s dream gerrymandering has worked. For Trump 65,000,000. Against Trump 90,000,000. Imagine what the media and world media would make of that. It would be quite comic, and the streets would be clogged with protestors. And where is Trump’s mandate? Also that would have many a congress or senate member worrying about the next election.

Not Eligible – This is an old trick which was used in the South to keep ‘those people’ out of the booths when the local politicians were queasy about ‘good ol’ boys’ with clubs. This takes finesse as what would be required would be a strongly created website were folk denied the vote could register their names and the reason. Imagine millions of  names turning up? Of course that does need, as I said a very good site.

The Russians – Yeah. That’s another old one from the European book of tricks. Influence the nation, or make you think they are influencing the nation and thus erode the feeling a vote will count. Get out there and vote and make a noise about it. As with the other two problems it is all about raising the opposition profile.

Summary

Your nation is on tracks for an extremist disaster. Trump is only a small part of it. The main issue is the polarisation. The only way that can be defeated is by The Active Moderate, who demands their voice be heard. The one who will not be silent, and the only way they will listen by is the counting of the votes and the voice of those who voted.

Anything else is quite frankly fluff the current administration will blow away with its own propaganda.

The administration’s supporters will vote you can be sure of that. By not voting you are simply supporting them and stoking the fires.

Are you content with that?

Are you comfortable with the persecution of minorities?

Are you at ease with the erosion of the environment?

Are you glad the rich are getting richer?

If you don’t vote out of choice, then you must be.

Stands to reason.

Note to readers:  I will be re-running these two posts, as well as others, in the days leading up to election day.  Meanwhile, feel free to use these to help try to convince people you may know who claim it is too much bother to vote, or have other excuses. 

Israeli’s PM Netanyahu Is Siding With Trump And His GOP Cronies Racist Rhetoric/ Policies

Today, the world finds out that Donnie Trump and Benji Netanyahu are brothers in bigotry, in hatred of “other”. The first thing I saw when I woke this morning was that Trump was urging Netanyahu to bar two Congresswomen from traveling to Israel. 15 minutes later, my phone dinged with the “breaking news” that Netanyah had acceded to Trump’s wishes. This, my friends, is the epitome of racial hatred, of white supremacy, or religious exclusion. Our government is now complicit in religious terrorism. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu deserve the positions they hold, and I deem them both evil, greedy, arrogant beings. I will applaud when they are ousted from their positions, hopefully in leg irons and handcuffs. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

REPS. OMAR/ TLAIB

I’m shocked at Israel’s officials decision to bar two Muslim US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel based on an August 15, 2019 demand from the republican President Donald Trump. Until August 15, 2019,  the Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer had said US Reps. Tlaib and Omar would be allowed to visit Israel “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”

On a personal level, I had literally started planning a trip to Israel, a trip that’s number one on my bucket list. I’m crushed because I can’t visit a country that’s trumpeting/ amplifying the president’s Trumpian Republican Party’s racist rhetoric/ propaganda that GOP officials have chosen to implement as their 2020 campaign strategy. What kind of country does Israel want to become?

If Israelis want an explanation as to why hate crimes in USA have risen dramatically…

View original post 1,351 more words

VOTE!!! – Part I — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob

A week or so ago, our friend Roger and I were chatting about how crucial next year’s election will be in the U.S., how it is likely to be the single most important election in the history of the nation, and how critical it is that every eligible person uses the power of his vote on 03 November 2020.  Roger is a gifted writer with a strong sense of history, and when he offered to write a guest post on this subject, I jumped at the offer!  Roger lives in Wales (UK) and I find that often, those outside the U.S. see our situation with more clarity than we who live in this muck every day do. What follows is the first of a two-part guest post titled:

USA Not Voting Is No Longer A Luxury You Can Indulge

Part I-

Motivations, Histories, Circumstances

Preface, Emotions and History

Firstly, I would not be writing this were I not for many years pro-American. I do not subscribe to the tired old ‘USA is the root of all evils’ jag. If you are going to be critical of the USA then you had better include sentences on Russia and China in your comments, they do not get a free-ride. The Three Big Powers. Big Powers are ugly in their dealings with the world. A brief read of the histories of Empires or Very Large Nations anywhere anywhen should convince you of that.

That said back to my relationship with the USA. The music, the humour, the variety, the enthusiasm, the can-do. I thought them wonderful, exhilarating. Dare I use the shallow phrase ‘I love(d) The USA!’. I still value its freedom of art, this vast sprawling inventive nation not shackled by clichés of faux-rebellion and cliques of the self-aggrandised and their followers smaller nations can suffer with.

This opening paragraph is essential to my argument. Because I care about the USA and I see its potential about to be ruined. Torn apart by the negative parts of the Human, those which History warns us have always been there and despite the myriad of examples still lurk, with dread patience. You, The USA is at one of the turning points many nations have encountered. You can journey on. Or you can implode. 2020’s Presidential election beckons.

2016 Election

Being a retired Civil Servant I promptly started checking stats and quite frankly became very side-lined. I will spare my fascination with numbers and give you some simple facts: Clinton = 65,853,514 Trump = 62,984,828. Whereas Trump is legally and constitutionally the USA president more people voted for Clinton. 245,500,000 Americans are 18 & over. Therefore, Trump was voted in by 25.6 % of the adult population. This in itself is not unusual, other than the fact that there is a minority president. Combined these show hardly a stunning mandate.  

Ramifications

Because of the divisive nature of Trump there is at best a stubborn refusal for one side to see the other’s argument against or for him. At worse there is a loud, vociferous and toxic climate in American politics in which consensus has long since withered and there is naught but conflict. Trump has done nothing to assuage the opposition, in fact he has goaded them and relied upon his own loyal base to stoke up his confidence. Thus, widening the gap. Into such an atmosphere naturally the rabble rousers and extremists will turn up and prosper by feeding the supporters with a diet of anger, mockery of the foe and most of all hate (and rake in the bucks folks…notice how Bannon does not live in a shack or trailer park). This is always the situation prior to a civil or civic strife. A House Divided. You will see this phrase again.

Trump

People talk of Trump as if he was so great political operator with an inane sense of genius. This is not so. As businessmen before him he thought he could run the country like he runs his businesses and by woeful chance he appeared at a time when: (1) a portion of the population were reeling from having one of ‘those’ people in the Whitehouse for two terms (2) The culture wars were entering their fourth decade and getting hotter (3) The antics of ‘The Hill’ were getting on people’s nerves. Thus, Trump is but the manifestations of millions of people’s fears, angers (and in some cases) blind prejudices. As far as they are concerned he is their man and not (as he believes) the other way around. Thus, this vocal and furious approximately 25% now hold sway in the Nation. A multi-cultured, five time zone, 300,000,000 + population, politically polarised with easy access to firearms Nation. A more astute generation of politicians would have picked up on this and would be doing something to damp down the fires. Not Trump, bloated with the adulation of his creators he sees only them and their needs. Woefully ignorant of the forces which are at work. A House Divided. History beckons.

Warning

The entrenchments of both sides indicate those who are currently involved within the political processes, be they politicians, aides, activists or voters have in most cases already made up their minds. The nation has in round terms 123,000,000 voters willing to make their mark, to repeat there is a potential in round terms of of 245,000,000. The questions to ask at this stage are is approximately one-half of the population content to let (1) Their future be fought over by another divided half. (2) Thus, content to be told how Life is going to be by a subsequent victorious quarter. If you didn’t vote last time because ‘why bother’ or ‘my principals’ were your fall back reasons, ask yourself:

Are you really content with a quarter of the population dictating to you?

Do you really think in this toxic situation you or folk close and dear to you will not be affected some day, some how, some when?

In the next part we will discuss this in more detail.

Thank you so much, Roger!  😊  Stay tuned for Part II …

It’s Time To SPEAK OUT!


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma-Lazarus

Emma Lazarus

The above is the text of Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus.  She wrote the poem in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, and in 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level.  For more than 100 years, those words have been symbolic of what this nation stands for.

Three days ago, on August 12th, this man …

Cuccinelli

Son of a Bitch, Ken Cuccinelli

… Ken Cuccinelli, with malice aforethought and in defiance of the very values that have heretofore defined this nation and its people, re-wrote a line in the poem.  Mr. Cuccinelli revised it to say …

“Give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge …”

Mr. Ken Cuccinelli is, in the opinion of this writer, a Grade A Son of a Bitch.

He further claimed that the poem was intended only for European immigrants, not Middle Easterners, not Asians, and not Latinos.  I repeat … Mr. Ken Cuccinelli is a Son of a Bitch.

Trump-toonIt is against the laws of the land to change an author’s work without his or her permission.  Emma Lazarus died on November 19, 1887 and thus cannot give her permission for the changes Mr. Sonofabitch has proposed, nor do I believe she would give permission.  These changes are not in the spirit upon which this nation was founded.

The United States has made its share of horrific mistakes, starting with the enslavement of Africans early on, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the rejection of the St. Louis carrying Jewish refugees, many of them who later died as a result, the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki … We ought to have learned from those mistakes, but instead, today we have a so-called president who wishes to make this a “white, Christian nation” by rejecting refugees fleeing violence and terror in their native lands.  He would build a wall to keep out Latinos from Central America, he would impose a ban on refugees from Middle-Eastern, predominantly Muslim countries, and he promotes and applauds racism and white supremacy on a near-daily basis.  This week, he implemented new ‘rules’ to deny citizenship to immigrants who are struggling financially and are being assisted by government programs such as rent subsidies, food stamps, and Medicaid.

What’s next, folks?  Think long and hard about this … Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, Andrew Wheeler, Steve Bannon, Ken Cuccinelli, and a boatload of others in the Trump administration are bigots to the nth degree.  They have no respect nor love for the principles on which this nation was founded, but their only concern is putting more wealth into the pockets of the already-wealthy at any and all costs to the people who are paying their way in the world.  We are increasingly pawns being moved about on a huge chessboard by people who have no heart, no values, nothing but a lust for money and a sense of entitlement.

Will we allow them to re-write history by re-writing the lines on the base of the Statue of Liberty?  If we do, then we should simply send that statue back to France, for we no longer deserve it.  If we do, then we have stopped being the United States of America as it has been envisioned throughout its relatively short history.  Perhaps in two years, it will be called the DSR – Divided States of Russia.

I began this post with the poem by Emma Lazarus.  I shall end it with yet another well-known poem, this one by Martin Niemöller …

Martin-Niemoller.jpg

Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

liberty cries