Brief letter to Senators and Congress people (sent Saturday morning)

As I wrote earlier today, Congress has seemingly come to a stalemate in the relief bill intended to help people who are struggling. In lieu of that, Trump has signed executive orders that do little to help people, and that are beyond the scope of his constitutional powers. Our friend Keith compose an excellent letter that he has sent to certain members of Congress, and I am re-posting it here in hopes that others will share his letter with their own senators and representatives. We MUST let them know that we need them to step up to the plate NOW! Thank you, Keith, both for this excellent letter, for permission to re-blog, and for caring so much!

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I posted the following on the my two Senators (and select others) and Congressman’s websites.

I am disappointed that Congress has failed to reach a decision to help people. As with any communication problem, it is the fault of at least two parties, so the president’s attempt to blame only the Democrats is just more posturing than fact. Please find a way to make a deal. Americans are hurting and the president does not have the authority to do what is needed.

I am big believer we must deal with the debt, but the hypocrisy of the Freedom Caucus and others astounds me. They had no trouble in voting for a $1.5 trillion tax bill when it helped the wealthy and businesses at a time when we should have been reducing debt with a pretty good economy. So, we wasted that debt cost to make a pretty good economy a…

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Is this what a president for the common man does?

Trump supporters seem to be unaware of the many ways in which they are voting against their own best interests, or effectively shooting themselves in the foot, when they vote for Trump. Keith provides a few of these examples in his excellent post this afternoon. Thank you, Keith!

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Many of the Trump base have no idea they are voting against their economic interests. This advertised populist, common man president, fails to let folks know the following:

– in his first two hours of being president, he repealed a regulation that would have reduced homeowners insurance premiums for securing mortgages with the less than 20% down, that was scheduled to go in effect February 1, 2017. This would have helped about one million low income homeowners.

– he has hobbled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was very successful, but banks and credit card companies did not like it. The CFPB penalized these companies for fraudulent and aggressive lending practices, with 95% of the fines going to cheated consumers. In short, the CFPB helps folks who are targeted.

– he eliminated a new requirement that said all investment advisors have to be fiduciaries, meaning they must put your interests…

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Tell me why (an underused question)

Our friend Keith has a question … well, quite a few of them actually, and they all begin with “Why?” These are not easy questions, not ones that any of us can answer, but they are the questions we should ALL be asking. Check out his questions and see if you can add a few of your own. Thanks Keith!

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The Beatles sang, “Tell me why…., you cry and why you lie to me.”Why? A question we do not ask enough, especially of those who need it asked again and again. I witness politicians, business leaders, experts and regular people like us say things as if they are fact, but the comments are merely opinion or conjecture. And, in the case of one person in particular, any comment is likely untrue.

So, here are a few why questions.

– Why does a person who claims things that run contrary to his narrative are a hoax, actually made money off hoax strategies? We have heard words like Climate change hoax, Russian hoax, Ukrainian hoax, Coronavirus hoax, etc. from this person, but he made a lot of money off selling his name to developers for projects he had nothing to do with. The name was supposed to bring in more customers…

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David Brooks pens an editorial – President Biden’s first day

Last week, I posted a column by Michael Gerson, a conservative and Republican, who pointed out the failures of Trump and posited that 2020 will NOT be a repeat of 2016. Today, our friend Keith posted a column by another conservative Republican writer, David Brooks, who paints a comforting picture of what a Biden presidency will look like and why both parties will benefit from such a presidency. Take a look for yourself … thank you, Keith!

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David Brooks has long been my favorite conservative pundit. I first became aware of him as he teamed with more liberal Mark Shields to do a recap of the week on the Friday show of PBS Newshour. They epitomized the PBS doctrine of civil discourse. I have read two of Brooks’ books – “The Social Animal” and “The Road to Character” – which are excellent reads, and have had the good fortune of hearing him speak.

Like other conservative pundits, George Will, Michael Gerson, Erick Erickson, et al, Brooks is deeply disappointed in the actions, verbiage and temperament of the current US president. So, when he penned the editorial, “President Biden’s first day,” I was intrigued and not surprised. Here are a few quotes that shape the article.

“The first thing you’ll notice is the quiet. If Joe Biden wins this thing, there will be no disgraceful tweets and no…

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From the mouth of Steve Schmidt, Republican presidential campaign manager

I find it encouraging to find some republicans are seeing Trump for the malignancy that he is, and hope they can convince more among their rank and file. Our friend Keith brings to our attention the comments of one lifelong republican … thank you, Keith!!!

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This is courtesy of a CNN article called “This is the most succinct — and brutal — Republican rejection of Donald Trump that you will ever read,” which transcribes Steve Schmidt’s comments. Schmidt is a lifelong Republican, who was the campaign manager for John McCain in 2008 and Lamar Alexander in 2000. He is one of the founding members of The Lincoln Project, which is organized to help defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

“Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And I don’t say that hyperbolically. He is. But he is a consequential president. And he has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable if you were pondering where we are today from the day where Barack Obama left office. And there were a lot of us on that day who were deeply skeptical…

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Inhumanity

I know the majority of people in this … or any nation … are decent human beings who care about the planet, wildlife, and their fellow humans.  At least … I hope that’s still the case.  But those ‘bad apples’ sure do stink and they seem to be everywhere you look!  The latest example that slapped me across the face this morning was this one …bitch-womanThis woman was part of a counter-protest during a Black Lives Matter event in Branson, Missouri, on Sunday.  Okay, the confederate flag is offensive enough, but we’re used to the fools waving those things around. And the maga hat … it doesn’t even offend anymore … it is a joke.  It was what she screeched at the Black Lives Matter protestors that caused my jaw to drop …

“I will teach my grandkids to hate you all!”

Then she got to her feet with her Confederate flag and screamed, “suck on this.”  What sort of human being does this?  What is our society turning into?  I think some people in this nation have taken their 1st Amendment ‘rights’ just a bit too far!  Frankly, if I had been there, I likely would have lit fire to her damn rebel flag.  Rebellion is one thing … hate is quite another.

So, this woman will teach her grandchildren to hate black people.  Just when we think we’re making progress, that perhaps we can finally begin to end racism in this country, we have people teaching the youngest among us to hate … to hate only because of the colour of another’s skin.  How, then, can we ever end racism?  It is being passed down from one generation to the next by narrow-minded, arrogant, ignorant people.

On Sunday, days after NASCAR announced the banning of the confederate flag at their events, a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  Wallace is the only full-time black NASCAR driver and a supporter of Black Lives Matter.  A noose.  The symbol of lynchings.  Why?  Because his skin is black, because some of those southern ‘good ol’ boys’ are angry at the banning of their symbol of slavery, the confederate flag.

I sit here looking out my window, watching the neighbor’s two dogs playing in the yard.  One is chestnut brown, the other dappled grey, and yet … they are equal.  They have fun together, they live together, share the same food dishes, and snif each other’s butts with never a care for the colour of their fur.  Not long ago, I saw a story of a dog who raised a kitten … not only was their fur a different colour, but they were of two different species … yet it did not matter to them.  Humans believe that they are the highest of all species, that their opposable thumbs and larger brains make them somehow superior.  I don’t think so.

Babies are not born hating.  Go visit a playground … notice that all the children play together … black, brown, white … it doesn’t matter to them.  But as they grow into adults, they are either taught that all people are equal and should be judged only on behaviour, not skin colour, not gender, not who their ancestors were, or else they are taught to hate.  They are taught to hate those perceived as “other”, just as that grandmother in Branson is teaching her grandchildren.  And 20 years from now, one of her grandchildren may become that cop who shoots and kills an unarmed black man … just because he can.

Where does it end, folks?  In the 1960s, I thought it was ending.  It wasn’t, it only became unpopular to express bigoted viewpoints, so people kept their opinions largely to themselves, else aired them only among those who they knew shared their views.  And in the past few weeks, since the brutal murder of George Floyd, with Civil War monuments coming down, protests gaining momentum, and calls for major changes in law enforcement, I once again thought that perhaps we were making some progress.  And perhaps some of us are, but as long as there are people who value their icons of slavery, who believe that people of colour are somehow inferior, we’re not going to end racism.  I think, well … the older generation will die out and the young people today are smarter, more compassionate.  But … not if they’re taught to hate.

Our friend Keith wrote a post a week or so ago titled, “Bad Apples Will Spoil the Bunch”.   How many ‘bad apples’ like the grandmother in Branson, like the person who put the noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall, are there among us?  How many more will they infect with their hideous disease?  Racism is a disease far more lethal than the coronavirus, for it is passed down from one generation to the next, and there will never be a vaccine.

Bigotry – you have to be carefully taught (from “South Pacific’)

I shall let our friend Keith’s words speak for themselves, for he makes the case far more eloquently than I could …

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I have often cited these words, but the following is from a post I wrote several years ago. I repeat it hear due to its relevance today.

For those of you who have seen the play or movie “South Pacific” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, you may recognize part of the title as a pivotal song in the story – “You’ve Got to be CarefullyTaught.” The play involves a woman who falls in love with someone and then realizes his children are half islanders. She has a hard time coming to grips with her bigotry as according to the song, we are not born hating; hatred has to be carefully taught. A sample of Hammerstein’s lyrics follow:

“You’ve got to be taught, to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught, from year to year. It’s got to be drummed in your dear little head. You’ve got to be…

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Home is supposed to be a safe haven

It’s happened yet again … well, two months ago, though we are just now hearing about it. The victim? An EMT, innocently sleeping in her own bed after a long shift spent trying to save lives. Her crime? Being black. Thank you, Keith, for bringing this one to our attention. Where does it end?

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Two months ago, Breonna Taylor, an EMT in Louisville, thought her home was a safe haven. The thought that the people who would break that covenant are police probably was not top of mind. Oh, by the way, this hard working EMT is dead. She was also African-American.

The following paragraphs from an updated article tell the tragic story.

Breonna Taylor: Family files lawsuit after Louisville police shoot EMT 8 times in ‘botched’ drug raid

By: Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group (updated May 13, 2020)

“Breonna Taylor was pulling long hours at two of Louisville’s hospitals as an emergency room technician and certified EMT working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as the disease began spreading throughout the U.S.

Taylor was home asleep with her boyfriend in the early morning hours of March 13 when police officers executing a drug warrant busted down their door and opened fire…

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White Americans must speak out against white racism

John Pavlovitz is one of only two ‘men of the cloth’ that I follow, the other being Padre Steve. Both are actively engaged in the search for justice for ALL, and I respect them immensely. Today, our friend Keith shared John Pavlovitz’ words and thoughts on racism and anti-racism, what we must do to bring an end to the horrible crimes against blacks (and Hispanics, Muslims, Asians, etc) that are ever on the rise in this country. Please take a few moments to read … and think about these words. We can no longer remain silent, unless we wish to return to the days of segregated water fountains and lynchings. Thank you, Keith, for sharing Mr. Pavlovitz’ fine words.

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The following was written by Pastor John Pavlovitz at john.pavlovitz.com in Wake Forest. I have shared his writings before and his words resonate with more than just me.

“Ahmaud Arbery is dead because he was a black man.
He was hunted down by two white strangers in broad daylight because he was two things: he was black and running, which was enough reason for them to grab weapons and get in their truck and chase him down and assassinate him in the road.
Being black and running was Ahmaud’s crime.
To some white people, you can’t be black and running,
you can’t be black and standing outside a convenience store.
you can’t be black and sitting in your car eating lunch,
you can’t be black and playing in a park,
you can’t be black and watching TV in your apartment.
To some white people, you can’t be black.
For far…

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“You should get behind the president” – and do what?

We keep hearing Trump’s minions saying that we should ‘get behind’ Trump, and I’ve offered a few times to do just that … get behind him with a baseball bat in hand! Joking aside though, Keith asks the question … get behind him and … what???

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A common refrain by Trump supporters to any criticism regarding his handling of COVID-19 is “you need to get behind the president.” OK, and do what specifically?

Should I correct his misinformation, some of which is “actively harmful to Americans” according to John Oliver?

Should I say it was OK to ignore the warnings of the pandemic risk in January and February when we could have done some planning such as needs assessment and alert various parties to better understand roles?

Should I support his and his sycophants’ efforts to heighten just criticism of China and the WHO to the point of disproportionate blame for COVID-19 to mask just blame toward his failures?

Should we say it is OK to push for the public outcry of supporters without accountability to get governors to act more rashly in reopening the economy?

Should we tolerate his abuse of powers toward inspectors general…

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