Has a Small Nation in The Balkans Shamed The USA?

I have long valued the opinions of our friends across the big pond … they often see us more clearly than we see ourselves, for they have the benefit of distance, they are not bombarded every day with the flaws of the “American Way.” One of those is our good friend Roger, whose post I share today. The U.S. touts itself as “the freest nation on earth,” but are we? Methinks we could learn a thing or two from the Serbian people …

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be


Sometimes, more often than we would like we label. It can be a political view, a social grouping, a community and even a whole nation. This is another of those which has long, long history in Humanity’s stumbling.

Back in the 1990s Yugoslavia tore itself apart in a series of wars which themselves had their own series of complex back-stories. There was a lot of anger at what was going on and the supine approach of European governments. Being the largest grouping of peoples The Serbs got the worst press. With execrable characters like Slobodan Milošević on the loose it was all too easy to ditch all sense of proportion. Eventually there was a peace of sorts, but that legacy remained. And it’s not too hard to find within the European media some news item, article or book which may still point a finger at Serbia and its peoples as…

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Party Of “Law & Order”??? 🤣

The Republican Party has long claimed to be the party of “law and order”.  I have a little problem with that claim, given their behaviour and rhetoric of late.  Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons I think it is a joke that they still attempt to lay claim to that title.

  • The biggest threat to law and order today is posed by people toting guns, by guns in the hands of people who should never be within a mile of a firearm. And yet, Republicans steadfastly refuse to legislate any form of gun regulations.  They refuse to even talk about a ban on military-style assault weapons that can mow down 30-40 people within a minute.  They refuse to put common sense gun laws into effect that would ensure expanded background checks, keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers, make licensing and testing mandatory requirements, and more.  Most crimes … apart from white collar crimes … are committed with guns!  Doesn’t it make sense to regulate and limit them?  Apparently not to the party of ‘law and order’!
  • The unofficial ‘head’ of the Republican Party today is the former president Donald Trump who himself has a long history of breaking the law in the areas of tax evasion, civil rights violations, refusing to pay contractors for work done, employment violations, and more. And yet, the Republican Party bows to his will, supports him wholeheartedly, and plans to escort him back into the Oval Office in 2025.  And most recently, Republicans are outraged that the FBI executed a lawful search warrant in order to retrieve highly classified documents that Trump literally stole from the White House, stole from We the People.  How is that “tough on crime”?
  • After the January 6th insurrection/attempted coup which was extremely violent and resulted in multiple deaths and more than 100 injuries to the very law enforcement officers the Republicans supposedly support, the Party whitewashed the events of that day, even though the extreme violence had been recorded by many on video. Republican members of Congress referred to it as a “normal tourist visit”, and said the rioters were simply exercising their right to free speech.  Last February, the Republican Party officially passed a resolution declaring that the events of that day were “Legitimate Political Discourse”.  They refer to the rioters who have been charged as “political prisoners”.  Even the two minority leaders in Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Kevin McCarthy, who spoke strongly against Trump and his role in the attempted coup initially, have now turned 180°, supporting Trump and echoing the ‘party line’.
  • Some in the party are calling for defunding or even abolishing the FBI, primarily because of the search of Trump’s home to retrieve the aforementioned documents. Others have called for abolishing all federal law agencies!
  • Certain Republican legislators have not-too-obscurely incited violence among the masses, with Lindsey Graham saying there would be “riots in the streets if Trump is prosecuted” and Trump himself saying that “Mitch McConnell has a death wish” for Mitch’s participation in an agreement to fund the government through December. Seems to me that the party of law and order would NOT be inciting … law-breaking and disorder!!!

So no, my friends, the Republican Party can no longer lay claim to being the “Law and Order Party” … in fact, they are so far from it that it would be a joke, except there is nothing funny about it.  Their claim to be “tough on crime” is convoluted and selective.  For example, an unarmed Black man having inadvertently attempted to pay for groceries with a counterfeit bill can be brutally murdered by white police officers and that is ‘law and order’ by the Republican’s definition.  But one of their own can do far worse … can incite a riot where lives are lost, and that’s naught more than ‘legitimate civil discourse’ and nobody should pay the price.

I’ve seen hypocrisy throughout my entire life, from small instances to large ones, but I have NEVER seen hypocrisy to the extent the Republican Party of the 21st century practices it.  The examples above are but a few of the many I could come up with, but they are the most glaring.  They don’t even bother to try to hide their hypocrisy any longer … it’s right out there for everyone to see.  Make no mistake … the are the party of Wealth and of Bigotry, but they are NOT the party of law and order!

The President’s Fury

Our friend Annie talks about President Biden’s speech earlier this week and I’m in complete agreement with all that she says! I, for one, am proud of the President and ever so ashamed of Congress as a whole, particularly one element of it. Thank you, Annie, for your observations!


While waiting for President Biden to make his suddenly scheduled address on gun violence last night, several somewhat sympathetic “talking heads” discussed what we could expect from his speech.

They concluded he’d have to be very careful, appealing to those ten elusive Republicans whose votes are essential if we are to see anything—anything at all—get through the Senate.

Some form of background checks, maybe a red flag law. In other words, the kinds of compromise that will have to include some Republican baggage that won’t do any good but will be the price to pay for their refusal to acknowledge the actual role of guns in America’s gun crisis.

It would have been reasonable to assume that of President Biden, who has tried and tried again to speak of and to his once-and-probably-not-future-friends across the aisle. He is an institutionalist who has long believed in bipartisanship.

But as I watched…

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Americans Need to see Graphic Mass Shooting Images

My friend and sometimes writing partner (we’re working on it!) has written about what it just might take to wake up this nation to the horrific scenes we are enabling when we cast a vote for a politician who cares more about his own bank account than our children’s lives. And Jeff has a suggestion that I think is spot on! Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

As the old saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Two more mass shootings within days of each other present an opportunity to finally do something – anything, for crying out loud about the pathetic and useless gun laws that make the United States a laughingstock in the civilized world.

The anger we’re seeing right now, from politicians to sports celebrities and most of our fellow American citizens, is palpable. It’s not as if we haven’t seen this level of anger before. We certainly have. But this time feels different. I hope it’s different.

Time will tell, of course, because the attention span of folks in this country continues to get shorter and shorter. And that is why we must go where we have not gone before. It’s time for the American people to see the vile and horrific photos from mass shootings like the one experienced at Robb…

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WHOA … The Hypocrisy!!!

What, exactly, is the ‘Right to Life’?  Whose life?  To what extent are we willing to go to preserve life?  And what, exactly is life?  I’m frankly sick of hearing people say they are “pro-life” when all they really mean is they are against abortion.  Something in the news yesterday, though, connected some dots and made me stop … and after a bit of cursing and punching the coffee pot for not heating quickly enough, I sat down and said, “WHOA … the hypocrisy!!!!”  What was that something?  The second mass shooting of the weekend yesterday afternoon in a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, where at last count, 13 people were shot, 10 murdered.  Folks, let me make something perfectly clear here:  the nearly-uncontrolled right to own guns is completely inconsistent with the right to life.  Completely.  If a person buys a gun, he or she does so with the intention of using that gun to kill.  Guns literally have no other purpose than to maim and murder.

Next time someone tells you they are ‘pro-life’, ask them if they own a gun.  If they say ‘yes’, then you can inform them that they are a potential taker of life, so no, they are not pro-life at all, they are just using the term to justify their stance on taking away women’s rights.

The shooter in Buffalo was an 18-year-old white male who apparently hates Black people for some reason, for the government is treating this as a hate crime based on his ‘manifesto’.  Gee, I wonder where he got that prejudice from?  Look first at the parents, but then look at society today.  Wonder why an 18-year-old kid even has access to a gun?  Last Wednesday, a judge in ruled that California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under 21 is unconstitutional.  What’s next … will it be ruled unconstitutional to ban giving guns to children age 14?  Age 10?  Age 5?  The gun culture in this nation is truly insane.  In no other nation is a civilian allowed to own an assault weapon, let alone an arsenal!

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know my stance on guns … they do not belong in the hands of civilians.  Full stop.  Need further proof?

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Friday night, there was yet another mass shooting that left 17 people injured, but no fatalities thus far, miraculously.  This one took place late Friday night shortly after fans left a nearby NBA playoff game.  Two other shootings in the same general vicinity took place earlier that evening, leaving an additional four people injured.

My message to every single member of the United States Congress is this …

Do not offer ‘condolences’ to the families of the victims in Milwaukee or Buffalo.  Do not offer meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers’.  DO SOMETHING!  Initiate and pass serious and meaningful gun legislation to get the guns out of the hands of people!  No 18-year-old child has the need for a gun.  Nobody who has EVER been accused of abusing another person in any way should be allowed to own a gun.  And NOBODY anywhere, ever, for any reason has a need for an assault weapon!  Shut down the gun shows where even the most basic rules are openly disregarded.  Override with federal legislation the individual state laws that allow for carrying concealed weapons, for possession of a gun without a license, and make the federal law ‘One Strike, You’re Out’!

But alas, mine is a pipe dream, for those very people who claim to be ‘pro-life’ would scream, yell, and threaten any who even suggested such laws.  No matter that gun violence is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  You have a roughly 1-in-315 lifetime chance of death from gun violence.

For those who would claim that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives them the right to own as many guns of any sort as they wish, let me clarify the exact wording of that Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

NOWHERE does it say that people should be allowed to keep a gun in the glove compartment of their car or walk into a grocery store with one concealed in pocket or purse.  NOWHERE does it say that guns should be freely available to teens.  NOWHERE does it say that a person should be allowed to own an assault weapon that didn’t even exist when the Constitution was written in 1787!  Those who believe that abortion is an infringement on the right to life, better wake up and look at the gun culture, the lack of gun laws in this country, for already this year 15,862 people have lost their life to a person with a gun.  That is more than the total gun deaths all year in 2016!!! But yet, do you hear anybody speaking for the ‘right to life’ of those victims?

Friday it was Milwaukee, Saturday it was Buffalo … will your neighborhood be Sunday’s statistics?

Just Two Little Snippets

The thing that occupies my thoughts the most these days is the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.  My heart cries for the people of Ukraine and frankly I would love the opportunity to spit in Mr. Putin’s face!  However, other things also demand my attention, so for the moment I will turn my mind and my angst in other directions.

Address the real problem, Teddy!

Recently, Senator Ted Cruz made the following statement …

“Across this country, Americans are horrified at skyrocketing crime rates, at skyrocketing homicide rates, at skyrocketing burglary rates, at skyrocketing carjacking rates.”

Hmmm … I guess that I am the anomaly, then, for none of those things ‘horrify’ me.  What does horrify me is the alarming increase of racism, the murder of numerous Blacks by police officers, the very people we are told to entrust with our lives.  I am horrified by the utter disregard for the people of this country by certain politicians, many of them newbies from the last election.  I am genuinely horrified at the attempts in the majority of states to restrict voting rights such that Black people, the elderly, college students, and the poor will find it almost impossible to cast a ballot.  I am also horrified by the refusal of the Supreme Court to uphold voting rights and women’s rights, thus obliterating much of the progress that was made over the last century.  I’m horrified by the Republicans and the conservative media blaming every single thing they don’t like on President Biden, while failing to even note his many successes.  Oh yes, my friends, there are many things that should horrify the people of this nation, but crime … I’m not horrified by the crime so much as the failure to effectively address it, to consider the reasons people commit crimes.

Frankly, I’m more afraid of that “law-abiding” gun nut I see walking into the grocery store, or the pickup truck driving down my street with confederate flags in the back window and Trump stickers on the bumper.  If Mr. Cruz, or any other member of Congress, is so horrified by crime in this nation, then there is one thing they can do that will drop crime rates dramatically and have an almost immediate effect:  PUT STRICT GUN LAWS INTO EFFECT!!!  Take a look at crimes committed over the past year or ten years and you’ll find that most are committed with the use of a common tool – a gun.  If people have naught but a knife, a baseball bat, or their fists to subdue their victims, the crime rate is going to plunge dramatically.  Heck, we could probably reduce most police departments by at least 50%!

But the reality is that Ted Cruz couldn’t care less about crime or about the victims of violent crime … his statement was made for the sole purpose of garnering support, as it’s pretty clear he hopes to be on the ballot for president in 2024.  Perhaps he would do better by staying in Texas when the weather gets cold and the lights go out, rather than running fast as he can for the warm beaches of Cancún.

Justice Thomas should resign!

Since the founding of the nation, no spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice has been as overt a political activist as Virginia Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.  Ms. Thomas has a leadership role in the Council for National Policy, a right-wing group with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association, and the Family Research Council.  Most recently, Ms. Thomas took up the battle cry for Donald Trump’s Big Lie, the fantasy that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election and that Trump was actually the winner.  Not only has no evidence been uncovered to support this Big Lie, but the election has been investigated numerous times in nearly every state and deemed to have been the most fair and honest election in the history of the nation.

Ms. Thomas, however, continues even today to work against the people of this country, to attempt to undermine our will, and pressured Republican lawmakers to challenge the election results and appoint alternate slates of electors.  Had they done so, the election would have been decided by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court, of which Clarence Thomas is one of nine justices.  Can we say, “conflict of interest”?

Because Supreme Court justices do not want to be perceived as partisan, they tend to avoid political events and entanglements, and their spouses often keep low profiles. But Clarence and Virginia Thomas are the exceptions to those norms.  In addition to her position at the Council for National Policy, she founded a group called Groundswell with the support of Steve Bannon, the hard-line nationalist and former Trump adviser. It holds a weekly meeting of influential conservatives, many of whom work directly on issues that have come before the court.

For the three decades Justice Thomas has sat on the Supreme Court, he and his wife have worked in tandem from the bench and the political trenches to take aim at targets like Roe v. Wade and affirmative action. Together they believe that “America is in a vicious battle for its founding principles,” as Ms. Thomas has put it.

I think the time has come for Justice Thomas to turn in his resignation, and failing that, for Justice Thomas to be impeached.  The Constitution states that judges “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.”  I don’t believe that Justice Thomas’ behaviour qualifies as ‘good’, and I do believe that his wife’s fanatical activism is influencing his decisions, interfering with his integrity.

America’s Wake-Up Call — Is Joe Biden Worth Your Vote?

Today, in Part II of our project America’s Wake-Up Call, Jeff introduces us to the next President of the United States, Joe Biden, and helps us understand just what makes Joe Biden the right man for the job. Thanks Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

In recent months, I’ve been amused at the sight of the following campaign sign: Any Functioning Adult 2020. Yes, it’s very tempting to feel that way, isn’t it?

The way things are going in this country, a functional and literate adult would be a luxury that we simply do not have. We’re jumping from one catastrophe to the next under the current president, from a raging pandemic and wildfires to racial inequality and injustice. And his only answer seems to be: “Elect me, or this is what you’re going to get in a Biden presidency.”

Of course, what’s happening now is on his watch, not Joe Biden’s, a fact he deceptively and casually refuses to acknowledge. Unfortunately, his cult band of followers will blindly nod their heads in agreement at whatever utterances ooze from their dear leader’s mouth.

In this election, we cannot worry about those voters. But we…

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What’s New? Just Another Mass Shooting

Friends and family members were gathered in the backyard to spend time together, share a meal, and watch a football game last night in a neighborhood in Fresno, California.  Today, four of those people are dead and at least six others in the hospital in critical condition.  Why?  How?


Not much is known yet, but police surmise there were multiple suspects who sneaked into the backyard and opened fire.  Police are hoping to gain information from neighbor’s security cameras.  No victims’ names have been released as yet, and few details have been reported at this time.  Naturally, the usual and increasingly meaningless thoughts and prayers have been sent.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed her outrage that gun legislation the House passed more than 260 days ago is being held up in the Senate …

“Enough is enough. The daily tragedy of gun violence continues to inflict terror and violence into communities across the country. Americans deserve real action to keep them safe, but Republicans continue to obstruct meaningful, bipartisan solutions to protect our children and communities. No one’s political survival is more important than the survival of our children.”

In my last post about a mass shooting, two short days ago, our friend Scottie provided the following information that I think is relevant here …

“The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey finds that 89 percent of Americans favor expanded background checks for gun purchasers; 76 percent support “red flag” laws to identify dangerous persons and deny them guns, and 75 percent favor a voluntary buyback program in which the government would purchase firearms from current owners. Sixty-two percent of Americans favor a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons.”

89% … that figure includes a lot of gun owners.  Only 11% of the people in this country are against gun regulations.  It becomes obvious at this point that our elected representatives, particularly those of the republican party, do not represent the people of this country!!!  How the hell many more people have to die before these jackasses get voted out of office???


Only in the United States of America are guns more sacred than human life.

You May Have Missed This One …

Did you all know there was another mass shooting in the U.S. on Saturday morning?  It happened in Lancaster, South Carolina at a sports bar – 2 people were killed, and 8 others injured.  There was no “breaking news” update on my phone, I saw nothing in the usual places about it, and even once I saw brief mention of it on the Associated Press (AP) website and went in search of further information, I found the story only in the back pages of the New York Times and Time magazine.  Nowhere else.  Why?

Is it because only two people were killed?  Because it took place in a bar?  Because it was South Carolina?  Or because we are becoming so inured to the news of mass shootings that this wasn’t really considered by the editors to be ‘big news’?  Or … more ominous still, was it suppressed intentionally?  I don’t know the answer, and I’m not trying to put forth some conspiracy theory, but folks … 10 people were shot!  Why was this not ‘breaking news’???

A clue to why this wasn’t national news may lie with the statement by Lancaster Country Sheriff Barry Faile …

“This was a violent incident of huge magnitude that was witnessed by lots of people.  We don’t think this was a situation where a random person armed himself and went into a randomly selected location and shot a bunch of unknown people.”

Apparently, the sheriff believes that the shooting was the result of a local conflict.  While he declined to discuss the nature of the dispute, he said that one of those killed had been involved in the conflict, which had been going on for a couple of months.  He also said that neither the victim involved in the dispute nor the person officials were seeking as the gunman were legally allowed to have guns, both having been previously convicted on firearms charges.

So, because it was rather a Hatfield vs McCoys situation in the rural south, it’s not newsworthy?  It’s still a mass shooting with people dead and injured because … because … well, guns. I guess that since it wasn’t widely reported, the NRA and our elected lawmakers didn’t feel they needed to bother to even send their ‘thoughts and prayers’ … it’s the weekend, after all … they obviously have more important things to do, like playing golf or watching sports on television than to be bothered that people are losing their lives.

This summer, we heard about El Paso, Dayton, and Odessa … they were big news, for a few days anyway.  But did you realize that between Memorial Day in May, and Labour Day in September, there were 26 mass shootings in 18 states, leaving 126 people dead?  More than half of the mass killing suspects this summer had a family or romantic tie to at least one victim. Among them: A teenager in Alabama accused of killing five relatives, a father in Iowa who killed his wife and two school-aged sons, a man in Oklahoma charged with killing his wife and stepchildren.

A variety of scenarios and motives.  The common denominator?  A gun.  Time and time and time again we hear the tired old NRA motto that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.  True, but people use guns to kill people.  Sure, people also use knives and fists to kill people, but a gun does it so much quicker and more efficiently.  You stand a good chance of outrunning or outmaneuvering a man with a knife, but you cannot outrun a gun.  Make no mistake … contrary to what those gun lovers will tell you, a gun has one purpose and only one purpose:  to kill.

While several of the summer’s 26 mass shootings dominated national headlines, others — like a triple homicide in rural Pennsylvania — received little attention beyond where they happened.  WHY???  Is this nation becoming so numb to the daily toll of gun violence that it is no longer considered newsworthy unless it happens in the public eye? Or is it possible that the ‘free press’ is not as free as we believe?

With each mass shooting that did receive national media attention, the public outcry grew louder and louder.  When Ohio’s governor spoke at a vigil in August, Dayton residents drowned him out with shouts of “Do something!”  Imagine if every mass shooting had been headline news … how loud might the public be screaming for gun laws today?  Instead, most are swept under the carpet …

Think about it.

Today’s ‘Toons!!!

The cartoonists have been working overtime ever since Trump took the Oath of Office (an oath he never understood nor intended to keep) on 20 January 2017.  I have to hand it to them, they do one heck of a job!  I wish I had their talent.  Let’s take a look at a few of this week’s toons.

With the Global Climate Strike yesterday, and the United Nations’ Youth Climate Summit today, and the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, needless to say climate change is on everyone’s mind this week.  The U.S., specifically Donald Trump, is working hard to add fuel to the fires of the global climate crisis by rolling back environmental regulations, trashing the Clean Water Act, and attempting to forbid states from enacting their own, stricter emissions standards.  To add insult to injury, while world leaders from around the globe travel to New York for the UN Summit on Monday, Trump has announced that he will be too busy at some religious conference to attend the Climate Summit.  So it is only right and proper that the cartoonists have made the U.S. and Trump the brunt of their humour.


It’s been just three weeks since the last mass shooting in the U.S., and the subject of gun regulations is never far from most of our minds.  We the People (at least the sane majority of  us) have been calling for gun legislation for … forever, I think.  Expanded background checks and a ban on assault weapons is a good place to start, but when you mention either of those, the gun nuts in this country go so crazy that you’d think we were asking them to give up their wife and kids.  Well, actually I think some of them would give up their wife and kids with less argument than they would give up their guns!


Ol’ Brett Kavanaugh, the only person I’ve ever seen who can make even uglier facial expressions than Donald Trump, is back in the news this week, as a new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh:  An Investigaton, by two New York Times reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, was released on Tuesday.  The two reporters covered Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and they say that the “foundational mission” of the book was not just to learn more about the allegations against Kavanaugh but to get “a much better context for who he was as a person and what his educational years and career were like, and who is the man who has been portrayed in these two starkly polarized ways.”  I haven’t read it, and am not sure that I can stomach reading an entire book about such a horrible excuse for a human.


Recently, Ivanka was asked what she had gotten from her parents, and she said that from her father she got her moral compass!  🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣


You’ll remember Trump’s juvenile antics, re-drawing the path of Hurricane Dorian on an official map, with a Sharpie?  When you do something that bloomin’ stupid, you gotta expect it to catch the eye of the cartoonists for quite a while …


Lies.  Trump lies.  Most every time he opens his mouth, he lies.  Need I say more?


And I end with just a bit of humour at the expense of former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer.  Sean-Spicer

Have a nice weekend!