Filosofa’s BIG Announcement!

Okay, folks … here is my big announcement:

I’ve decided to run for President of the United States in November 2020! 

Um … don’t everybody wear your hands out applauding now … well, a little bit of applause might be nice … okay, I’ll settle for those few chuckles I heard.

Now, I can’t afford a huge campaign, and I will NOT take a single dime from any business or lobbying interest, so that puts me at a disadvantage before I even get to the gate. However, I do have a few advantages over the rest of the pack, but I’ll get to those in a minute.

First, a few of my highest priorities:

  • Environmental
    • The United States will immediately, the day after I take office, rejoin the Paris Accord
    • All regulations on the fossil fuel and auto industries that were revoked by my predecessor will immediately be re-instated
    • I will petition Congress for emergency funding to re-build the Environmental Protection Agency and will nominate a conscientious person as director of that agency
    • We will enhance our renewable energy resources and provide incentives for companies to develop new sustainable energy sources
  • Constitutional Issues
    • I will support freedom of the press to the fullest, even when I don’t like what they say about me – the free press is our only hope for remaining a free people
    • Separation of church and state will be the law. There is no place for religion in government, and this government will support no particular religion over another
    • I will petition Congress for a ban on all assault weapons, and for expanded background checks, as well as training and licensing in order to obtain any sort of firearm
  • Education
    • All funding for the Department of Education will go toward public schools where all children will be treated equally; taxpayer money will NOT be used for ‘charter’ schools that benefit only the few
    • I will propose that Congress introduce legislation to provide free college tuition for a minimum of two years to all students whose annual family income falls below $100,000
    • School curriculums will be evaluated and re-designed as necessary in order to provide students with a well-balanced education that includes both career training and a liberal arts education
    • Religion will not be taught in public schools. Parents who wish their children to obtain religious training may send their children to religious schools at their own expense
  • Health Care
    • No person in the country will be without affordable healthcare. Most will pay according to their ability to pay, without such payment placing undo hardship.  Those who cannot afford to pay will receive free healthcare
    • There will be an ad hoc committee to study prescription drug costs and appropriate caps will be put on all pharmaceuticals
  • Taxation
    • The tax brackets will be expanded for those earning over $100,000 per year. Those whose net worth is $1 million or more will fall into the highest income tax brackets, to be determined before year end
  • Economy
    • Unfettered capitalism will cease to exist. My administration will place a higher value on human life than on GDP
    • The Chairman of the Federal Reserve will decide at what point it is prudent to raise or lower interest rates without coercion from myself or others. This is not a political agency, but one based on the best interest of the nation
    • We will aim for a balanced budget, or at least reduce the deficit by 20% each year, and will not increase the national debt beyond its current levels
  • International Relations
    • We will begin re-building trust among our allies in whatever way possible
    • We will hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the brutal murder of our journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year by severing any arms agreements, and imposing other sanctions as seen fit
    • There will be NO wall on our border

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but merely the top bullet points of my platform.  Now, what do I bring to the table, since it damn sure isn’t money or fame?

Honesty and integrity, for starters.  I will take not a single dime from any organization that seeks special favours or sees their donation as creating an obligation.  I will not lie … if I cannot tell you something, I will simply say that I cannot discuss it, but I will not lie or over-inflate my achievements.  I will demand the same from any cabinet members that I select.

Compassion and humanity.  I will put the people of this nation … all the people … ahead of profit.  One thing this means is that I will never demean or mock another human being.  We’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime.  I will not tolerate bigotry in any form. The emphasis of this government will be people, not weapons of war, not profit for the biggest corporations, but the well-being of people.

Literacy.  Unlike my predecessor, I have studied politics and history all my life, hold a B.S. in both Accounting and Political Science, and an M.A. in International Relations.  I have read the U.S. Constitution at least 50 times in the past 30 years and have taken a number of classes in Constitutional Law.  I have studied past presidents.  And I can write more than 5 words without a spelling error.  In other words, I know the difference between ‘origins’ and ‘oranges’.

Common Sense.  I am smart enough to realize that there are many, many things I will not know, but unlike my predecessor, I am willing to seek the advice of those who do know those things.  I am also smart enough to realize that sometimes we all make mistakes, but the important thing is to admit those mistakes, then take steps to rectify the errors.  This I will do.

And that, my friends, is all I have to offer.  Now all I have to do is find a running mate who shares my values and vision.  Any takers?

Pete Buttigieg: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 6th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for president next year. Pete Buttigieg is on deck today, and he is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Buttigieg!

Political⚡Charge

buttigieg Pete Buttigieg; Photo by Yuri Gripas, Reuters

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified…

View original post 2,041 more words

Six Days …

Six days.  It only took six days after a gunman opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand, killing at least 50 people, before the government took action and banned assault-type weapons that were never meant for civilian use to begin with.  Yesterday, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a national ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, on parts that allow guns to be modified into such weapons, and on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

This, my friends, is how a true leader responds to a crisis.  This is the action of a leader who actually cares what happens to the people in the country she is tasked with leading.  This is a leader who puts people ahead of corporate greed and politics.  Every nation deserves such a leader.

Now, you might say, well, New Zealand doesn’t have the National Rifle Association (NRA) to contend with.  Well, yes and no.  New Zealand actually does have a National Rifle Association, but their function is entirely different than the one in the U.S.  The New Zealand NRA is the country’s governing body for the sport of long-range target shooting. It does not engage in political lobbying.  When Prime Minister Ardern announced the ban on semiautomatic weapons yesterday, the NRA-NZ responded positively and even noted that they are considering a name change to avoid being associated with the U.S. NRA.

In New Zealand, gun owners are subjected to rigorous background checks and requirements, and even after acquiring a license, gun owners in New Zealand continue to be subjected to scrutiny from the authorities.

“If your name comes up with a police or traffic complaint, that list gets looked at by the police firearms division. If it looks like your name is coming up more often, they’ll come and have a word with you.” – Ross Mason, Chairman NRA-NZ

Can you imagine the outrage among gun owners if this happened in the U.S.?  Or, can you imagine the reaction if it was suggested that gun owners voluntarily give up their firearms?  Within the first four days after the shootings, a number of gun owners had turned in their semiautomatic weapons.  One man, a farmer named John Hart, turned his rifle over to police, then tweeted …John Hart

Did you read that, folks?  “My convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.”  That should be a bumper sticker and we should hand them out with every gun purchase, every box of ammo …

I don’t know about you folks, but to me, this reaction all the way from the head of government down to the citizens, is a breath of fresh air.  This is the way it should be.  Consider this.  If a roller coaster at an amusement park derails and 30-40 people are killed or injured, all hell breaks loose.  The ride, or likely the entire park is shut down indefinitely.  The manufacturers of the ride are called in.  Safety experts and mechanics are called in to determine the cause.  If there is fault, fines are levied. And lawsuits are filed against the park and the ride’s manufacturer.  That ride will never operate again in all likelihood.  Why?  Because we place a high priority on human life.

But if a gunman goes on a spree in Las Vegas or a high school in Parkland, Florida, the nutters immediately come out ranting “don’t try to take our guns!” The NRA issues a statement before the dust even settles warning the sensible among us that this is “not the time” to mention gun regulation or gun safety.  A few days pass, the media move on to other things, and life returns to normal … until the next time.

Apparently, the NRA in the U.S. is not content to interfere and subvert any attempts at sensible gun safety legislation in the U.S., but have also stuck their nose into New Zealand’s business this week.  Former police minister and New Zealand National Party MP Judith Collins says that both she and the current police minister, Stuart Nash had begun receiving propaganda material from the U.S. NRA.  In the past, she said, when she sought to introduce gun law reforms during her two stints as police minister, she was inundated by material from the NRA in the U.S.

“They talked about how we were trying to take away their Second Amendment rights to own guns. We don’t have a right to bear arms. To own a gun in New Zealand is absolutely a privilege and not a right.”

Say WHAT???  By what right does the NRA here in the U.S. get off trying to change gun laws in a nation on the other side of the globe?  The NRA has gone beyond what is acceptable so many times in the past, but this one takes the cake.  Fortunately, New Zealanders have better sense that the average gun-lovin’ American, and Ms. Collins told them to …bugger off

I’ve said it all before, but it bears repeating.  The U.S. has the most lax gun laws, the most guns per capita (more guns than people, at approximately 400 million guns and only 330 million people), and the highest rate of deaths by guns than any other nation on earth.  It is past time for us to re-consider the 2nd Amendment that has cost the lives of more citizens of this nation than every war we’ve ever been involved in.  New Zealand certainly has the right idea, as do Australia and every other nation on the globe.  Yesterday I saw a New York Times’ OpEd piece titled, “America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern”.  I second that!

Two thumbs up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the good people of New Zealand for putting human lives ahead of corporate greed.

The State of DISunion

I did not watch Donald Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) address last night, for three very good reasons.

  1. I was already not feeling well and knew that having to see his face, hear his voice, and see all those strange contortions he does with his face would make me unbearably ill.
  2. I feared that my strong reaction to having to listen to him would cause me to irreparably damage my laptop, and frankly I cannot afford a new computer at the moment.
  3. The most important reason of all is that the speech was sure to be filled with lies, or as Keith would prefer I say, ‘untruths’. Why bother?  I have better things to do with my time.

I have worked my way through most of the transcript this morning, have read a few analyses, read The Washington Post’s fact check, and concluded that I was correct in my assessment – it would have been a colossal waste of my valuable time.  That said, I do have some things to say (surprised, aren’t you?) about it all.

First of all, one has to wonder why we even have a State of the Union address every year.

Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution states that the president shall ”from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

Somehow, I think that goal could be accomplished without all the pomp and circumstance that surround the event these days.  And, with today’s instantaneous communication, the speech seems really to have outlived its usefulness.  In fact, of what use is it to waste the time of Congress, the Supreme Court, other guests and the home viewing audience, just to listen to fairy tales?  Why couldn’t he just tweet it, as he does everything else? I won’t bother to bore you with the fact-checking … you can get that from any of the major media outlets.

The speech is most notable for what was not addressed.

Climate Change.  How can a speech that is intended to inform us about the state of the country, completely ignore the thing that, by most measures, is the single most important issue facing this, and every other nation?  Under Trump, the U.S. has pulled out of major agreements to work toward reducing carbon emissions and has rolled back the regulations that were intended to help protect the environment.  We have seen the results with our own eyes in the past year, even the past week, yet he says not one word?

Renewable Energy.  The future is not in the coal, gas and oil that Trump has so adamantly vowed to protect, but the future is in renewable energy such as solar, wind and water.  Under Trump, there is no major push by the federal government to explore and expand on renewable energy, but a number of states and corporations are participating.  This could have been a genuine feather in Trump’s cap, had he opted to do the right thing, to take seriously the need to distance ourselves from fossil fuels.  Instead, he chose the most destructive path.

Relations with Allies.  Our relationships with our allies are crumbling, thanks to Trump’s policies that have, in many cases, left our allies scrambling to try to make up for the failure of the U.S. to pull its weight, such as in the Paris Accord, NATO, the Iran nuclear agreement, and NAFTA, and the latest threat to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.  Add to that the disdain he has shown for the leaders of allied nations, such as Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Theresa May and others.  We are no longer a good and trusted friend, to put it quite simply.

Poverty.  Despite Trump’s claims that wages have risen, jobs have been created, 13.4% of people in this nation are living below the poverty level.  As the population increases, and some jobs are replaced by technology, the number of people who struggle just to put food on the table has risen and will continue to rise.

Education.  We are falling behind in our education system, as I have mentioned more than a few times, and this is the key to almost everything I have listed so far.  The new trend seems to be moving away from developing minds and more toward job training.  This is a mistake … a huge mistake … and to add insult to injury, this nation has made it nearly impossible for a young person from a lower-income family to go to college.

National Debt.  With the December 2017 tax cuts that benefit almost exclusively the wealthy in the nation, we severely reduced the nation’s revenue.  To maintain a balanced budget, thereby keeping the national debt at current levels, would require spending cuts equal to the revenue reduction.  But those cuts, under Trump’s plan, would come from programs that help disadvantaged people.  Trump’s fiscal plan is rather a reverse Robin Hood – rob from the poor to give to the rich.

Gun Regulation.  The U.S. is the only nation on the globe with almost no regulations on firearms.  Those who claim the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to own an arsenal that includes assault-type weapons that can mow down a crowd inside of a minute are fools.  On this, the 37th day of 2019, there have already been 510 gun deaths in the U.S.  An average of 14 per day.  And yet, this topic was not considered important enough to be addressed in the State of the Union.

There is more I could add, but you get the picture.  The address was a public relations event, nothing more.  I found it strange that he would call for unity, when he has, in fact, been the most divisive president in the history of the nation.  “We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution …” he said, when he is the very source of revenge and retribution, he has pursued a divisive political strategy very much focused on his base.  Last night’s speech, like most everything he does, was intended only for his base … he told them what they wanted to hear and left the rest of us with the clear knowledge that nothing is changed, that the state of the nation is _____________________. (Fill in the blank)

A Slap In The Face!

This morning, Trump sent a letter to all members of both chambers of Congress.  The letter is long-winded and not particularly interesting, filled with his typical bluster and lies, but you can read it  if you wish.  There is one part, however, that stuck out like a sore thumb:

“Absolutely critical to border security and national security is a wall or a physical barrier that prevents entry in the first place.  Members of both parties—including then Senators Obama and Clinton, current Senator Schumer, and many other members of the House and Senate—all voted for a hard, physical barrier.  Walls work.  That’s why rich, powerful, and successful people build them around their homes.  All Americans deserve the same protection.  In Israel, it is 99 percent effective.”

I live in a relatively poor neighborhood that is bordered by a very wealthy neighborhood … it is, in fact, where former Speaker of the House John Boehner lives.  Until a few years ago, we were able to drive through that neighborhood, called only “Wetherington”, and I had frequently done so, as it connects our area of town to the area where most shopping and dining venues are located. I never once saw a wall surrounding a single house.  Most do not even have fences.  The community eventually put up a gate at the entrances to the area, for the residents complained about the noise we commoners made driving through their community, but there are no walls.

I have, when I was younger, traveled through many areas in this nation from Boston to Los Angeles and points in between, and I have never seen a house surrounded by a wall.  It is not the “rich, powerful, and successful” people who would build walls around their homes, it is the paranoid fools who would do so.  This is another of Trump’s many thousand lies, but it is offensive as hell to We The People! It is a slap in the face by the very ‘man’ whose salary we work hard to pay. It suggests that if you are not “rich, powerful, and successful”, then you are of little or no value.

Who would want to live in a house surrounded by a wall?  I would not.  I would feel horribly isolated from the world, and that is exactly what Donald Trump is trying to do to the United States – isolate us completely from the rest of the world.  Why?  The U.S. and its people are no better than any others.  People from other nations bring wealth to our culture … they bring us new foods, fashion, dance, music, art, and the list goes on.  They add value to our nation, to our lives.

There are many things that can be done to enhance the security of our borders, however … most crime, most murders in this nation are not committed by immigrants, legal or illegal.  Most murders in this nation are committed by people who were born and raised right here in the United States.  And most are committed with guns.  Donald Trump and his cast of characters are not … I repeat are NOT … concerned in the least bit with the safety of the people living in the U.S., for if they were, they would forget about the damn wall and turn their attention to gun regulation that would truly make this nation a safer place to live.

The fact that Trump is willingly making this country less safe by keeping parts of the government shut down unless he gets his way with the wall tells the story in its entirety.  He is on a huge ego trip and will stop at nothing to have his way.  I urge both the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass a spending bill that is veto-proof, one that will be supported by at least a 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress, so that we can resume the business of government despite Trump’s best efforts to destroy the nation.

As I was writing this, came the news that Trump said he is willing to keep the government shut down for months, or even years unless he gets the initial funding for his wall.  And … to add insult to injury, while 800,000 federal workers are not being paid, Mike Pence and ‘hundreds of senior political appointees’ will receive a $10,000 pay raise tomorrow!  Yet another slap in the face!

I close by asking that we all consider the poem written by Emma Lazarus that is on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty:

lady liberty criesNot 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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Note to readers:  Since this was published, it was reported that Trump is also considering declaring a state of national emergency.  The beginning?  Or the end?

Still More Snarky Snippets …

It has been snowing for 24 hours now, and yet there is no more than 1/4-inch on the ground.  How does that work?  Anyway, the last time I recall seeing more than just a brief glimpse of that big, bright ball that used to be in the sky was August, I think.  Cold and gloomy make me even more grumpy than usual, which makes today a good day for just a few snarky snippets.  snow-covered-house


Where’s da salad …

I was at the grocery, my local Kroger store, on Sunday evening, my usual time to buy groceries, and one of the things on my list was a bag of salad.  Guess what?  No salad.  None.  Nada.  Nunc.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nary a bag of salad to be found.  Why?No saladLast Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a food safety alert urging Americans to refrain from eating, and retailers from selling, any romaine lettuce.  Apparently, five people had died from an E. coli outbreak in June, and nearly two hundred people got sick.  In June.  This is November.  Okay, sigh, I bought a head of iceberg lettuce, some carrots and made my own damn salad … no biggie.  Except …

Every day in America, 96 people on average are killed by guns and hundreds more are injured.  We cannot buy romaine lettuce because … GASP … five people died, yet tens of thousands of people die from guns every year, and buying a gun is about as simple as walking into a Wal-Mart store and saying, “I’ll take that one … and 100 rounds of ammo, too.”  Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture?  Is lettuce really more dangerous than a gun?  No, but it is a hell of a lot easier to ban!


Sssssnakesssssssss in Mississippi …

You may remember my post from Sunday titled The Ugly Face of Racism, about the run-off election today in Mississippi for the Senate seat left vacant by Thad Cochran.    The republican candidate, Cindy Hyde-Smith has made multiple blatantly racist comments, and yet, the race is close.  Trump went to stump for her yesterday, which many believe will give her the winning edge. (Seriously???  Sheesh.) But this snippet isn’t about her, isn’t about whether she wins or loses, but instead is about the venomous monsters she unleashed.

Nooses and signs with messages about lynching were discovered on the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol on Monday.  You’ll remember that Ms. Hyde-Smith said that she would be in the front row if invited to a lynching?  Well, apparently some took her at her word and are extending that invitation.Nooses.pngMs. Hyde-Smith currently holds about a 5-point lead over her African-American democratic opponent, Mike Espy.  After the bigoted insults she has hurled, she should be polling so low that she drops out. This, to me, says something about the people of Mississippi.


Prescience buried …

In April 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with the FBI, released a report  titled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. The report  warned that “rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.” It also predicted that the possibility of new gun restrictions and the return of “military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities” might mean “emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.” The report called this convergence of factors the “most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

Are you scratching your head and wondering why you don’t remember hearing of this report?  It is because the report was quickly squelched after congressional republicans threw a temper tantrum.

Representative Lamar Smith of Texas said the administration was “awfully willing to paint law-abiding Americans, including war veterans, as ‘extremists.’”  Then-representative Steve Buyer of Indiana, the top Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs committee at the time — called it “inconceivable” that some veterans could pose a threat.  But the final blow came from then-Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who issued a formal statement:

John-Boehner“To characterize men and women returning home after defending our country as potential terrorists is offensive and unacceptable.  The Department of Homeland Security owes our veterans an apology.

Furthermore, the Secretary of Homeland Security owes the American people an explanation for why she has abandoned using the term ‘terrorist’ to describe those, such as al Qaeda, who are plotting overseas to kill innocent Americans, while her own Department is using the same term to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation.  Everyone agrees that the Department should be focused on protecting America, but using such broad-based generalizations about the American people is simply outrageous.”

Thus it came to be that the report was removed from the DHS website and never made public.

And now, perhaps it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.  Just last month, 13 people died in two incidents: A Kentucky gunman attempted to enter a historically black church, then shot and killed two black patrons in a nearby grocery store. And an anti-Semitic loner who had expressed anger about a caravan of Central American refugees that Trump termed an “invasion” has been charged with gunning down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.

This month brought two more bodies: A military veteran who had railed online against women and blacks opened fire in a Tallahassee yoga studio, killing two women and wounding five. All told, researchers say at least 20 people have died this year in suspected right-wing attacks.

It is true that to a large extent Donald Trump must shoulder much of the blame for the aforementioned incidents, for his support of white ‘nationalism’ has opened the door for much of this.  And it is also true that even had the 2009 report been made public, it might not have made much difference.  But the very fact that the republicans, led by John Boehner, squelched the report that we now know contained predictive information, kept it from the public, is infuriating and perhaps some of those who were injured in Charlottesville, or killed in the synagogue in Pittsburgh, should lay the blame at the feet of Mr. Boehner.


And now, though I could go on for quite a bit longer, I must get busy.  I have a list of things that must get done today, the first one being to make a list!  Miss Goose’s birthday is tomorrow … she will be 24, but don’t tell her I told, for she is rather upset at being so “old”.

The Real ‘Fake News’

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

It’s unclear who first said this.  It has been attributed to Sun Tzu and sometimes to Niccolò Machiavelli or Petrarch, but there are no published sources yet found which predate its use by “Michael Corleone” in The Godfather Part II.  But to the point … it is why I do sometimes pop over to such uber-conservative sites as The Daily Wire, from whence came the inspiration for this post.  ‘Inspiration’ may not be quite the right word …

I was first appalled, then infuriated by the headline I saw last night …

Democrat Calls For Gun Confiscation, Suggests Nuking Americans Who Fight Back

The story put forth by The Daily Wire, Fox News, MSN and others is this …

“Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) caused a firestorm on Friday when he suggested using nuclear weapons against American citizens who oppose his far-left gun control agenda, which includes forcing Americans to give up their semi-automatic weapons.”

Now, if that were the truth, it would be quite a “WOW” moment and I would have to ask myself if Mr. Swalwell had gone and lost his bloody marbles!  Turns out there’s more to the story that the aforementioned news outlets conveniently left out … or perhaps didn’t understand.

This is yet another example of taking a sentence out of context and giving it an entirely different meaning than the speaker ever intended.  The danger is that some people will look at that headline, believe it without ever giving it a thought or checking on its veracity, and will be all in a fizz,  running inside, grabbing the old rifle, and sitting on their porches waiting for the band of merry democrats to show up to try to take their guns!

Let’s look at a few of the comments from Representative Swalwell in response to the madness:

  • We should ban assault weapons by buying them back or restricting them to ranges/clubs.
  • Don’t be so dramatic. No one is nuking anyone or threatening that. I’m telling you this is not the 18th Century. The argument that you would go to war with your government if an assault weapons ban was in place is ludicrous and inflames the gun debate. Which is what you want.
  • It’s sarcasm. He said he’s going to war with America if gun legislation was passed. I told him his government has nukes. God forbid we use sarcasm.

And finally, his nutshell summary of the entire situation:

America’s gun debate in one thread.

1) I propose a buy-back of assault weapons

2) Gun owner says he’ll go to war with USA if that happens

3) I sarcastically point out USA isn’t losing to his assault weapon (it’s not the 18th Century)

4) I’m called a tyrant

5) 0 progress

Sigh.  C’mon, folks … get real for a minute, will ya?  Mr. Swalwell was far more generous than I would have been, or than he should have been, in offering a buy-back program.  In my mind, assault-type weapons that were designed for only military use do not belong in the hands of civilians.  Period.  No argument.  Ban ‘em.  Confiscate ‘em.  Destroy ‘em.  They do not belong in your hands, Joe Cracker!!!

No, nobody is going to nuke you, and frankly if I had my wishes, and if there were a safe way to do so, every nuclear weapon on the planet would be destroyed.  Mr. Swalwell’s comment was rather like one that I myself make every so often, when I hear of somebody who has an arsenal in their basement or garage, just waiting for that day when the military ‘comes for mah guns’.  Says Joe Cracker … “Just let ‘em try … hworf, hworf, hworf (picture Beavis & Butthead here) … I’ll blast ‘em into the next county”.  Say I … “Oh really … and when that tank rolls right on through your arsenal, taking most of your house with it …???”

There is this concept these days in both political parties that we must always look for the ulterior motive, the hidden threat in every word that is uttered by “the enemy”.  Why must we be enemies?  Because we cannot be bothered to take the time to understand one another!  Republicans haven’t bothered to ask themselves why the democrats feel as strongly as they do about gun control.  Well, dear right-wing, conservative friends, even though you didn’t ask, let me tell you …

BECAUSE WE ARE SICK AND DAMN TIRED OF SEEING INNOCENT PEOPLE KILLED AT THE HANDS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO BUSINESS OWNING A BLOOMIN’ GUN!!!

Eric Swalwell is not a bad guy, folks.  During his congressional career he has advocated to increase spending on education, for renewable energy jobs creation, to raise the cap on the Social Security payroll tax so that wealthier Americans would pay more into the program, and he has argued against legislation that would allow people to bring knives on airplanes.  He is a strong supporter of LGBT people and is staunchly pro-choice.  In other words, he is in favour of policies to protect and enhance the common people – people like you … and me.  And he wants to see a curtailment of guns in civilian hands.  Most of us do want that.  Those who don’t?  Explain it to me, please, Mr. Joe Cracker?

The far-right and far-left media outlets play on our fears, our sympathies, our desires.  The headline at the beginning of this article is but one example.  Fox News, Breitbart and others do it every day.  The trash that can be found on Twitter and Facebook is astounding.  Americans need to grow up.  They need to learn to distinguish between news and rhetoric.  They need to learn to do their own digging, to separate the bullshit from what is real.  The Great Divide just keeps getting wider and wider … it is to the advantage of people like Trump and his minions to keep us divided, to keep as many as possible in the dark.  Are you willing to let them win?  Are you willing to believe the myth?  Or do you still care about truth?

No, Folks, This Is NOT Normal …

Yesterday morning we awoke to news of another mass shooting, this one at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, that left 13 dead, including the gunman.  The first headline I saw claimed it was the “First mass shooting in the U.S. in over 10 days”, as if that were a statistic in which we ought to take pride.  First, a mass shooting every eleven days would be nothing to be proud of even if true, but the reality is that it was not the first, but rather the eleventh mass shooting since the shooting at L’Simcha (Tree of Life) synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 27th.  Eleventh.  Think about this one for a moment.  Did you realize there had been, on average, one mass shooting per day for the past ten?  Why did we not know?  How could we have missed it?mass shootings map-2According to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 307 mass shootings in the 312 days of 2018.  It has become a common occurrence in our lives and we are, apparently, no longer shocked.  Five people shot, nobody died … oh well, just another day in paradise, eh?

The words of one parent whose son, Telemachus Orfanos, lost his life yesterday morning tell it all …

“I don’t want prayers.  I don’t want thoughts.  I want gun control.”

Telemachus had survived the Las Vegas massacre last year, only to lose his life in this one.

Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona who was shot in 2011, tweeted …

“307. There have been 307 mass shootings so far this year. Do we really want to raise our children in a country where mass shootings like Thousand Oaks are a weekly occurrence? A country where every single day in America, more than 90 people are killed with guns?  Classrooms. Places of worship. Newsrooms. Movie theaters. Restaurants. Yoga studios. Nightclubs. Playgrounds. No place in America feels safe anymore. No other high-income nation has this level of gun violence. I’m heartbroken, angry, and never going to accept this as normal.”

None of us should ever be willing to accept this as normal … it isn’t.  I’ve quoted statistics in past posts, so I won’t bore you with them again, except to say that every other nation in the industrialized world has stricter gun laws than the U.S., and not a single one has the number of gun deaths … not even close … that the U.S. sees every single year.  Every.  Single.  Year.

Tree of Life synagogue, Parkland, Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook … how many more?  How many more people in this country have to die before somebody wakes up and says ENOUGH!!!  Small men who rely on guns to make them feel like big men need to find some other outlet for their anger!  We The People are tired of the killing.  The NRA owns most every republican in Congress, as well as the small man sitting in the Oval Office.

Please … don’t sit back and shrug this one off, don’t accept that gun violence in the United States has to be ‘the norm’.  It doesn’t have to be.  Write letters, make your voice heard, or one of these days it might be you who gets that call in the middle of the night.gun-pointing

In Case You Missed It …

Tuesday’s election was about more than the Senate, the House and the governorships.  Little attention was given to some of the ‘issues’ on that ballot, but a few are of major importance.


On gerrymandering …

Michigan, one of the most gerrymandered states in the Union, overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment which provides that future legislative maps will be drawn by an independent commission. At the peak of its effectiveness, in 2012, Michigan’s gerrymander allowed Republicans to win 9 of the state’s 14 U.S. House seats, despite the fact that President Obama won the state by over 9 points that year.  Granted, it is only one state out of fifty, but added to Ohio and Pennsylvania that have already made progress against gerrymandering, it is a start.  Remember that Rome was not built in a day, and racism in politics will not be defeated in a day, either.

On funding education …

Education funding has dropped drastically in recent years. Twenty-nine states were providing less total school funding per student in 2015 than in 2008!  In 19 states, local government funding also fell. In more than half of the states in the United States, the poorest districts — districts with the highest rates of poverty — get $1,000 less per pupil in state and local funding than districts with the lowest poverty rates.

On Tuesday, six education initiatives passed overall, in Seattle, Washington; Georgia; Maryland; Montana; and two in the state of Maine.  Four others were defeated in Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah.  Although Colorado is the 12th richest state in the United States, it ranks low in terms of its education spending. It ranked 42nd in spending on public education and 39th in per pupil spending.  The reason for its failure on Tuesday?  The funding for the initiative would have come from a corporate tax increase that was turned down flat.  Those investment portfolios are a lot more important than the education of our future leaders, yes?

On abolition …

Yep, you heard right.  The State of Colorado’s Constitution still had a clause left over from 1865 stating …

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The state tried to pass an amendment to remove this clause in 2016, but the amendment failed because the wording on the ballot was so confusing that people weren’t sure whether they would be voting for or against.  The state finally got it right this year with …

“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and thereby prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude in all circumstances?”

It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support … 65%.  Um … so 35% want to keep the potential for slavery?  Sigh.  Some things just die hard.  It’s Colorado, the state that turned down increased educational spending.

Tough on guns …

The voters in Washington State deserve a two-thumbs-up and an ‘attaboy’ from us all, for on Tuesday, they passed one of the toughest gun regulations in the country with a 60% margin.  The measure will raise the legal age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21. To obtain such weapons, people will need to pass an enhanced background check, take a training course and wait 10 business days after a purchase.  In addition, they will enact a storage law. Gun owners who don’t secure their firearms with devices such as a trigger lock or safe could be charged with gross misdemeanor or felony “community endangerment” crimes for allowing prohibited people (such as children) to access and display or use the weapons.

A group funded by the NRA (go figure) called Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has announced its intention to sue in an attempt to block the measure.  Let us hope there are some sensible judges in Washington State.

On restoring voter’s rights …

Florida voters have approved a ballot initiative which provides former felons with the right to vote, re-enfranchising 1.4 million people.  I applaud this one with all of my hands.  I know there are many of you who disagree with me on this issue, but my thoughts are that a person who commits a felony is nonetheless still a citizen of this nation … he or she should still have a voice in the way the nation is run and who does the running.  The ‘punishment’ for their crime is, as meted out by the courts, imprisonment or probation, but does not include revocation of citizenship.  Especially when you consider how many convicted felons’ only crime was drug-related.  So, I am thrilled that Florida took the initiative and hope to see more states follow suit.

Last but not least …

The State of Michigan passed Proposal 1, legalizing marijuana aka pot, making it the first state in the Midwest to legalize pot for both medicinal and recreational use.  The proposal passed by 56%.  Two other states, Utah and Missouri, legalized it for medicinal use only.


There were other issues, initiatives, proposals and measures covered in Tuesday’s election, some important, such as Florida’s constitutional amendment banning both offshore drilling and indoor vaping, and several states’ proposals to limit a woman’s right to choose in abortion cases, and I will have more about those at a later date.  These were all largely overlooked in the feeding frenzy over the House elections, but now we can step back and see what else was either fixed or broken by voters.

Letter from Newtie!

Yesterday afternoon, as I was flipping through my AOL spam folder to make sure nothing had gotten in there that shouldn’t have, I came across an email from, of all people, Newt Gingrich!  For my non-U.S. friends, Newt represented the State of Georgia in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999, and was Speaker of the House for his last four years in office.  Since Trump took office last year, Newt has hung on his coattails and is yet another of Trump’s bootlickers, although he seems to have no official capacity within the administration.

I was fairly excited to see that he had emailed me, for I was a bit stressed and needed a good laugh, which I was sure anything coming from a republican politician would provide.  Here is the text of the letter …

**************************************************

Fellow Conservative,

I have alarming news. This year, Senate Democrats have built a substantial fundraising lead over Republicans. Democrats are strategizing ways to use their fundraising advantage to bombard Republican candidates with attack ads on television, radio, and online.

With only 3 days until the August fundraising deadline, we don’t have much time to catch up.

Unless we take immediate action, Republican Senate candidates in battleground states will not have the resources needed to respond to negative and misleading attacks from the left. Donate today and a generous group of donors will quadruple-match your contribution.

Liberal elites are throwing everything they have towards winning races in battleground states. There is a real possibility that Republicans could lose the majority in the Senate and Chuck Schumer could take over as Majority Leader. If this happens, this would be disastrous for President Trump’s agenda. Please contribute now to stand with Senate Republicans as they fight to stop Schumer and the liberal establishment from taking over.

Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and all of their cronies are utilizing every underhanded tactic available to prevent President Trump from accomplishing his plans for Making America Great Again.

It’s crucial that we have the resources to respond to deceptive attacks from the left. Otherwise, Democrats could sway public opinion towards their side, and President Trump’s Majority could be lost.

Defeating Democrats and securing our Republican Majority will require all of us doing our part. Make a Quadruple-Matched Donation today!

Chip in $250 immediately >>>

Chip in $100 immediately >>>

Chip in $50 immediately >>>

Chip in $25 immediately >>>

I hope you will help us fight back against relentless attacks from the left and achieve conservative victories in this year’s midterm elections.

Thank you,

Newt Gingrich

**************************************************

And I shall now reply to Uncle Newtie …

Dear Newt (I hope you don’t mind that I do away with formalities here),

First of all, I think your information machine needs to go to the shop for repair, or perhaps even be replaced, for whoever told you that I am a “fellow conservative” was dead wrong.  I am, if you insist that I must have a label, a democratic-socialist.  I used to be fairly moderate, but you guys have pushed me far to the left.

I have news for you … Democrats do not need to do a whole lot of work or be particularly devious in order to out-fundraise you republicans.  People are fed up with you guys.  People are willing to give ‘til it hurts to ensure that the sycophants in Congress are sent packing in November.  You guys had a chance to do something good.  You had an opportunity to rise above the trash in the White House and stand for the people you represent.  Instead, every republican in Congress with the occasional exception of the late Senator McCain, sold out our country, failed to stand for doing the right thing, and chose instead to lick the boots of the man whose stench is so bad it crosses oceans.  And that, dear Newt, is why people are donating more to the democrats than the republicans.

Republicans in battleground or any other states don’t need money to win the election so much as they need something that not a one of them has:  integrity.  Sorry, old chap … money cannot buy integrity, it cannot buy respect.  You guys have lost our respect with your constant barrage of lies and your blind support of Donald Trump.

Yes, if democrats win a majority in Congress, we will certainly do everything in our power to put the brakes on Trump’s ignoble agenda.  First on the agenda will be to reinstate environmental regulations, for we rather like having clean air to breath, clean water to drink, and a home that is capable of sustaining life.  Second, we will begin working on serious sensible gun regulations to try to ensure that our children can go to school safely, and be taught by teachers who teach, rather than having to play armed guard.  Other issues on the agenda are: to confirm only people who are qualified for the job for which they are being considered and, in the case of the Supreme Court Justice, are very moderate, non-partisan judges; to protect the investigation by Robert Mueller and his team from the whims of the madman in the Oval Office; to consider a repeal of the tax bill that was passed in December that has cut revenue to a critical point such that our national debt and deficit are inevitably going to spiral out of control soon.  You will notice that I did not mention “impeachment”.  That is not the plan at this time, though I wish it were, but we are smart … smarter by far than you give us credit for, and we realize we could not remove the clown from office just yet.

Trump’s agenda was never going to “make America great again” by any stretch of the imagination.  His agenda was only going to “make the wealthy wealthier” and to hell with all the rest of us.  In order to get and keep the backing of his 40% or so base, he has proven he is willing to give them what they want … a white, Christian, straight society with no room for those of us who are different in any way. Thus far, not a single thing he has done has been to the benefit of the average citizen.  Not. One. Single. Thing.  His agenda needs to be toasted until it is naught but ashes.  He is in the process of selling the soul of this nation for his own enrichment … and yours.

As regards your request for a donation, first of all, you are barking up a dead tree, and secondly, I wouldn’t contribute to the evil that has become the GOP if I did have money to spare, for the reasons noted above.  I’m sure your wealthy donors, as well as your bedfellows in the NRA will be more than happy to continue shelling out money for your agenda, since it benefits them.  It does not benefit me, or frankly anybody I know, and I am appalled on a daily basis by the shenanigans you guys are pulling.  It’s time to stop the madness.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison

P.S.  Your book on Pearl Harbour was very good, as was the one on Gettysburg.  Perhaps you should have stuck with writing historical novels and stayed out of politics?