Being Human — It Ain’t Easy

I think that being a human is not an easy task.  We care … too much.  Things that happen in our own backyard, but also across the globe, take a toll on our psyche.  I have decided that in my next life, I shall be a wolf … hopefully in an isolated area where humans don’t exist!  Meanwhile, I am stuck with being a human and there is a buildup of snark looking for a place to go, so …

Point your finger elsewhere … it isn’t the president’s fault!

People in the U.S. have long been spoiled, and when things don’t go just as they would like, they look around for somebody to blame.  Most often that pointed finger of blame lands on President Biden these days, but let me tell you something, people … Joe Biden is doing the best job he can, given that he faces a long, uphill battle to fight against the greed and corruption that has become a part of the nation’s unfettered capitalism, and he damn sure isn’t the one responsible for the rising cost of fuel!

The latest, of course, is fuel prices.  In most states, a gallon of gasoline costs anywhere from $4 to $6 and will be going higher almost immediately, now that we have banned Russian oil imports.  But who’s really to blame, if anyone?  Truth is we only import about 3% of our oil from Russia, so the impact should be minimal.  BUT … what everyone downplays or fails to note is that U.S. oil companies are still making record profits!  They could reduce their profits and keep fuel prices reasonable, but … no way, Josè!  No way is Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon-Mobil, going to agree to cut his salary of $23,494,900 per year!  Yes, you read that right … the man makes more than $23 million dollars each year and his salary has not been reduced by a single penny, while fuel prices have more than doubled!

And last year, Exxon-Mobil made $23 billion in profit, which more than made up for their losses the prior year due to the pandemic and lack of travel!  And that’s after paying Mr. Woods his $23 million!

The press plays a role here, too, in riling the masses.  At Monday’s White House press briefing, CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe recited quotes from motorists he had interviewed at a local gas station. Then he asked press secretary Jen Psaki, “What is the President’s message to Americans who are going to the gas station today and seeing prices so high?”  Ms. Psaki is a far better woman than I am, for my answer to Mr. O’Keefe would have been along the lines of … “Suck it up, Buttercup!” (Note to future presidents:  don’t hire me as your press secretary!)

Do you see the people in the UK blaming Boris Johnson or the Queen for the increase in their fuel prices, or the people of France blaming Emmanuel Macron?  No, it is only in the U.S. that people don’t stop to think or do a bit of research into the cause for rising fuel prices – they immediately jump to the conclusion that the president must be to blame!  If lightening were to strike their house and set it afire, they would find some justification for blaming President Biden!

My friends … we are all citizens of this planet.  No matter what country we live in or feel we belong to, we are all citizens of a greater global community.  When times are tough, they are tough for all of us.  The war started by Russia in the Ukraine is going to take an economical toll on every single nation on earth – that is an undeniable fact.  Food prices, fuel prices, and prices for other commodities such as vehicles, clothing, and housing will rise … temporarily.  It isn’t Joe Biden’s fault nor Boris Johnson’s … it’s the way the world works.  Don’t like paying $4 for gasoline?  No, of course not, but I predict it will climb even higher, perhaps as high as $10 before the end of summer.

How can you help?  Drive less, turn your heat down, buy fewer groceries (stop throwing food out and you won’t need to buy as much!), and put off long distance travel plans until next year.  If the oil companies start losing sales, they will have no choice but to re-think their price-gouging!  If you do none of this, then you are contributing to the problem, rather than to the solution, so instead of blaming the President, look in the mirror for a place to point your finger.

Meanwhile … another school shooting

It happened in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday.  A group of students was standing in front of the school when three vehicles drove past them.  The three vehicles circled around to pass them again and as they did, shots rang out.  One student was left dead, two seriously injured.  No less than 35 shots were fired.  Fifteen-year-old Josè David Lopez was killed, and two other students were injured. An 18-year-old girl remains in critical condition and a 16-year-old girl is in serious condition.  Six teenagers between 14 and 17-years-old now face first-degree murder charges in the shooting.

Where did kids 14 years old get a gun???  Did their parents leave it lying around, or was it perhaps, as in the case of Ethan Crumbley last year where the parents actually bought a gun for their child?  STUPID!!!  Guns do not … the people of this country have proven this millions of times … guns do not belong in the hands of the average civilian!!!  How many children have to die before Congress finally understands that gun control laws are essential???  Wake up, ye damn fools!  Get the guns out of the hands of everyone other than military or police!

Next time it might be your child who ends up dead or in prison for life.

You’re FIRED!

There was never anything that deemed Kellyanne Conway qualified to sit on the U.S. Air Force’s Board of Visitors.  She has no military experience at all and her appointment to that position by the former guy can only be said to have been a political favour.  Okay, every president has likely meted out such favours, and the next president most often reverses them if they aren’t qualified.

On Wednesday, the White House told 18 officials who had been appointed by the former guy to serve on the boards of U.S. military service academies to resign or be dismissed.  Of the 18, only one that I’m aware of was even remotely qualified for the positions to which he had been appointed:  former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.  Among the least qualified were former Trump advisor and one-time campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.  Neither had a shred of qualifying experience for the positions to which they were assigned.

A sample of one of the letters from White House assistant Catherine M. Russell read …

“On behalf of President Biden, I am writing to request your resignation as a Member of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Naval Academy.  Please submit your resignation to me by the close of business today.  Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Board will be terminated effective 6:00 p.m. tonight.  Thank you.”

And the fight was on … naturally it was, for anything that President Biden says or does is food for the Republican gristmill.  And naturally, Kellyanne’s was the loudest voice of dissent, tweeting …

“President Biden, I’m not resigning, but you should.”

Former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose claim to fame was his ridiculous and disproven claim about the size of the former guy’s inauguration crowd in 2017, is also flapping his wings and crying “Foul!”.  Again, not surprising but also neither mature nor professional.  Spicer, in fact, has threatened to sue current White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for her remarks when asked to comment on the terminations …

“I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer and others were qualified, or not political, to serve on this board.  But the president’s qualification requirements are not your party registration. They are whether you are qualified to serve and whether you’re aligned with the values of this administration.”

And so, while wildfires are raging throughout the West, while floods are crippling the northeast, while more than a thousand people per day are dying in the U.S. alone as a result of COVID, while voting rights and women’s rights are being decimated on a daily basis, this … the removal of highly unqualified individuals from positions they never earned, will be in our faces, cost the government wasted time and money, and give more fuel to the GOP fires already burning out of control.  What’s next, I wonder?  The quality of food served in the U.S. Capitol?  Not up to Republican standards?  🙄

The Media Misses the Former Guy

Ted Cruz (of Cancun fame) referred to President Biden’s first 50 days as ‘boring’. Heck yeah, and I’m loving it! He’s getting things done, quietly and without the hoopla & controversy of the former guy. Just working and getting things done … things that are for the people. Whatever can he be thinking, eh? The former guy liked to hear himself talk, but accomplished exactly nothing positive for We the People. Biden is quiet, but is accomplishing much for us. Jeff has written about how the media is in withdrawal and seeking to stir things up! Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The mainstream media’s bored. I can imagine what it must be like for them. No longer can they start their day’s news cycle by elevating an insulting tweet, an abundance of lies, or some other kind of moral outrage.

I get it. It’s the same for me these days. I wake up now, grab a cup of coffee and see what’s happening in the news. By my second cup, I’m still maintaining my sanity and my blood pressure. How nice it is to have an actual president of the United States after four years of chaos, incompetence, division, and gas-lighting to the millionth degree.

The American people deserve the break. Our collective mental anguish couldn’t take much more. The Former Guy ruled the media universe for nearly five years, and most of us had had enough. The media, however, must have felt like a jilted girlfriend or boyfriend.

What are…

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Some Positive Signs …

Okay, friends … Joe Biden has been in office for less than 48 hours, and already I see positive signs coming from the White House.  Let’s look at a couple …

Once again, science matters

Joe Biden promised to listen to the scientists and the experts, unlike his predecessor, and he is doing just that.  First off, he offered Dr. Anthony Fauci the position of Chief Medical Advisor, which Fauci gladly accepted.  It is encouraging to hear Dr. Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease specialist, say …

“One of the new things in this administration is, if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess.  Just say you don’t know the answer. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know and what the science is … it is something of a liberating feeling.”

Yesterday morning, Dr. Fauci spoke to the executive board of the World Health Organization, and was able to tell them that the United States would not be following through with Mr. Trump’s demand to leave the group in the middle of a pandemic.  I, for one, breathe a sigh of relief for that one.

Isn’t it grand to know that our president doesn’t think he’s such a stable genius that he knows everything about … well, everything?  We can trust that President Biden will listen to the scientists, the experts, on such things as the pandemic and climate change.

And speaking of the pandemic …

President Biden unveiled his national strategy to conquer the pandemic, to save our lives.  If this sort of action had been taken a year ago, hundreds of thousands of lives almost certainly would have been saved.

The orders included new requirements for masks on interstate planes, trains and buses, as well as in all federal facilities.  I guess this means you, too, members of Congress!  He also calls for the creation of a national testing board and mandatory quarantines for international travelers arriving in the United States.

But Biden pulled no punches, he was brutally honest (oh isn’t that so refreshing?) when he admitted, “The brutal truth is it’s going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated,” and when he said that US deaths from the pandemic will likely reach 500,000 by February.  Honesty.  From the president.  WOW!  Just WOW!

Transparency & truth … FINALLY!

Her name is Jen Psaki, pronounced SOCK-ee, and she is President Biden’s press secretary.  She is more than qualified for the job, having served in a number of communications positions in the Obama administration, including as a spokeswoman at the State Department, where she was comfortable delivering lengthy, policy-heavy briefings in a role often held by career foreign policy officials. And she was popular with Washington reporters.

She has already given her first press briefing, and while I only listened to a brief clip, the first few minutes, one word jumped out:  transparency.

“If the president were standing here with me today, he would say he works for the American people. I work for him, so I also work for the American people, but his objective and his commitment is to bring transparency and truth back to government, to share the truth, even when it’s hard to hear.”

It brings a tear to my eyes to hear the words ‘transparency’ and ‘truth’ spoken by the press secretary, after four years and five … or was it six? … different press secretaries all telling thousands of lies, accusing reporters of bias, or simply not communicating at all.

A short bit of a rant

I hate to sully an otherwise upbeat post with a min-rant, but I simply must vent a bit on this one …

I understand that ol’ Mitch McConnell has ‘suggested’ that the impeachment trial for Donald Trump be pushed back to February in order to give Trump time to prepare his defense.  I have only one question:  why should we be fair to the ‘man’ who put us through hell and caused us grief every single day for four solid years?  There can be no defense for the impeachment charge, the charge of inciting an attempted overthrow of a legitimate, fair, and honest election.

Oh sure, some high-priced lawyers will try to spin it, to put in in such a light that Trump’s words were not incitement.  But we all know better.  We all know that he had been planning that last-ditch attempt to silence the people of this nation and seize power as an authoritarian dictator for some time, and those people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th were his pawns, they were inspired to do his dirty work for him.  No, there can be no defense against what he did, so why wait?  Hold the trial now, convict him, and ensure that he can never again destroy this nation and our lives.

Donald Trump is guilty of treason, for he betrayed a sacred trust, broke his oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, and put this nation in grave jeopardy in more ways than one.  The charge of inciting violence is a mild one compared to what he could have legitimately been charged with.  He must be convicted on that charge, and as soon as possible in order for this nation to fully breathe easily again, in order for us to move on and begin to heal.