Why Do I … ???

Friends say to me, “Why do you spend so much time worrying about politics?  What will be, will be.  Why not spend your time enjoying life?  You’re going to drive yourself to an early grave.  Just chill and have fun.”  This post is my response to those people.

Why do I spend so much time worrying about politics?  I don’t.  I spend that much time worrying about what is happening in this nation, in the world.  I spend that much time speaking out, sometimes ranting, about the injustices I see in this world.  I look at our government taking innocent children from their parents’ arms, tossing them into detention centers with naught but a piece of tinfoil for a blanket, and I say, “This is wrong!”  I see decisions being made by a few in the upper echelons of government that completely disregard the concerns of scientists and environmentalists … decisions that are hastening the end of life on this planet, and I say, “This is wrong!”

I see a ‘man’ who is supposed to represent this nation, who is supposed to represent the ideals of a nation founded on “liberty and justice for all”, denigrating people in the LGBT community, calling Hispanics and Muslims terrible names, making racial, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs and more, and I cannot help but say, “This is wrong!”  I see decisions made that ensure the rich get richer while the poor are denied adequate health care, housing, food, and the basic necessities of life, and yes, once again I say, “This is wrong!”

A number of my friends claim that I just don’t like Trump.  No, I don’t like him …anti-TrumpBut, it isn’t only Trump … it is also those who either support or applaud the policies of this administration, policies that are discriminatory against minorities, against women, against non-Christians, against LGBT, and against the poor.  Policies that put this nation and its people in grave danger.  Policies and rhetoric that alienate our allies, while patronizing our enemies.  And it is also the people who turn a blind eye, who know that these things are wrong but bury themselves inside their bubble, their comfort zone, and pretend they don’t see the children in cages crying themselves to sleep at night.  It is those who believe that they have no obligation to do their part to clean up our environment, who tell me that somehow some magical creator of the universe will make everything right again in good time, so they can continue tossing away their plastic bottles, driving their gas-guzzling SUVs, and living life just as they have always done.

And it is those who believe that somehow, they are better than others, either because of the colour of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, or their ethnicity.  Those who worry that the people with pale skin will someday not be the majority, will not have the final say in what this nation will be.  It is the arrogance, the ignorance, and the greed that I do not like, can no longer tolerate.

Those same friends then say, “Well, you cannot fix the problems, so why not relax, enjoy life, have some fun … lighten up.”

No, I cannot fix the problems by myself … no one person can.  But I can do my part, and I can keep using the little voice I have to make others aware of the many injustices happening right under our very noses.  There is an old saying that, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink”.  I am attempting to lead the horse to the clear, cool stream in hopes that he will drink.  I cannot do otherwise, it is who I am.  But, I am getting tired …

Tired of seeing people surrounding themselves with so much noise that it drowns out the things that actually matter.  Tired of people burying their heads in the sand, wearing their rosy-coloured glasses, sticking their fingers in their ears and singing, “La-la-la-la-la … I can’t hear you!”

Why do I do what I do?  Because it matters, at least to me.  Because we are on a collision course, and much like the passengers aboard the Titanic, the majority will still be dancing, posting pictures of their last meal on social media, and pretending they just don’t see, when the ship hits the iceberg.  We all have a choice to be a part of the solution, or a part of the problem, but there is no neutral choice.  If you choose to ignore it all, if you choose not to be part of the solution, then you ARE the problem.  We have all contributed to the problem for long enough.  Now it is time to be part of the solution.

Quite by coincidence, as this post was a work-in-progress this morning, I saw a comment by our friend Roger who offered the following quote by Elie Wiesel …

“Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Think about it.

21st Century … or Dark Ages???

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

— Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shared Words … Shared Feelings

I wasn’t going to have an afternoon post today, for I have an overwhelming amount of things I must get done today, but then my friend Herb tagged me on something on Facebook this morning, and as I read it, I realized it sums up what the majority of people in the U.S. are feeling these days.

A Message to Trump Supporters
by Mike Miller

‘A message to all tRump supporters:

When this national nightmare is over….and it WILL be over, hopefully sooner rather than later….and the country is returned to normalcy, order is restored, and patriotism and common sense replaces bigotry, hate and stupidity, don’t expect to regain the stature you once enjoyed as a citizen and return to the society you ransomed to placate your hate. Everything this country once stood for….everything better men and women than you sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve….everything we held dear to our hearts, was cast aside, thrown away, denigrated, defiled, stepped on, ridiculed, and despised by you in order to support the most corrupt, dishonest, fascist traitor to every occupy the people’s house. 

When our free press told you the truth about him, you rallied behind his cries of “fake news” and supported his attack on our free press. 

When fake “chrisitan” religious frauds attempted to hijack religious freedom in order to force feed their own deluded brand of bigotry and hate disguised as “christian values” you stood by and let them stoke your inbred prejudices.

When the same mindset that turned Germany into Nazi Germany in the 1930’s tried to establish a foothold here, you again showed your true colors and instead of quashing it in its tracks, you abandoned the spirit of this country, forgot history, and allowed its hatred and division to seep into our society. 

When healthcare was taken away from the most at-risk of our society, you allowed it to happen.

When children were denied food and healthcare, you supported it.

When innocent African-Americans were murdered by law enforcement, you remained silent, only to finally raise your voices in disgust and hatred when they knelt in protest.

When children were murdered in schools and sane gun legislation was called for, you sided with the gun lobby and decided that the murder of school children was more favorable than sensible gun laws.

When hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens were denied their constitutional and human rights simply because of who they chose to love, you allowed discrimination and hate to overtake your sensibility and relegated them to second-class citizenry, using YOUR “religious freedom” as the rationalization for the hatred you hid behind.

When environmental policies that demanded clean water and clean air were thrown aside in order to coddle to the monetary interests of the polluters, you remained silent.

When policies that assisted the homeless, the elderly, the needy, the hungry, the veterans, the retired, and the sick were systematically nullified and terminated in order to transfer that tax money into the pockets of billionaires, you turned a blind eye to their struggles. 

When children seeking refuge were taken from their parents and housed in cages, instead of outrage you supported the victimization and maltreatment of refugees seeking asylum. 

When the reputation of this country and our commitment to our steadfast allies were trashed in order to appease our most rabid enemies, you supported the traitors who betrayed the country and everything we once stood for. 

In every instance where compassion, civility, sympathy, acceptance, inclusion, humanity, fairness, justice, and respectability were needed, you supported the policies and the people who showed no compassion, no civility, no sympathy, no acceptance, no inclusion, no humanity, no fairness, no justice, and no respectability to anyone whose very existence they disregarded and refused to legitimize. 

So again, when this is finally over, don’t expect to be accepted back into the society of the REAL Americans you stabbed in the back simply to legitimize your own prejudices.

At every turn….at every chance….at every opportunity, when you were called on to support the foundation and pillars that this country was built on, you looked the other way and were willing to support those who were tearing down those pillars and destroying that foundation. You had no qualms about sacrificing this country to justify your own intolerance. When the choice was to support your country and its constitutional guarantees for everyone, or support the traitor who has worked tirelessly to destroy those constitutional guarantees, you chose the corrupt wannabe dictator over the constitution. Please know that there are many of us, this person especially, who truly love this country, and are intelligent enough to see the damage your misguided support of this administration has reaped. I, for one, will NEVER FORGET and NEVER FORGIVE you for the choice you made and what that choice did to this country.’

Text dividers

WTF is “Natural Law”???

Mike Pompeo is the nation’s Secretary of State.

Mike-PompeoCreated in 1789 by the Congress as the successor to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of State is the senior executive Department of the U.S. Government. The Secretary of State’s duties relating to foreign affairs have not changed significantly since then, but they have become far more complex as international commitments multiplied. These duties – the activities and responsibilities of the State Department – include the following:

  • Serves as the President’s principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy;
  • Conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs;
  • Grants and issues passports to American citizens and exequaturs to foreign consuls in the United States;
  • Advises the President on the appointment of U.S. ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other diplomatic representatives;
  • Advises the President regarding the acceptance, recall, and dismissal of the representatives of foreign governments;
  • Personally participates in or directs U.S. representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies;
  • Negotiates, interprets, and terminates treaties and agreements;
  • Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries;
  • Supervises the administration of U.S. immigration laws abroad;
  • Provides information to American citizens regarding the political, economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian conditions in foreign countries;
  • Informs the Congress and American citizens on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations;
  • Promotes beneficial economic intercourse between the United States and other countries;
  • Administers the Department of State;
  • Supervises the Foreign Service of the United States.

In addition, the Secretary of State retains domestic responsibilities that Congress entrusted to the State Department in 1789. These include the custody of the Great Seal of the United States, the preparation of certain presidential proclamations, the publication of treaties and international acts as well as the official record of the foreign relations of the United States, and the custody of certain original treaties and international agreements. The Secretary also serves as the channel of communication between the Federal Government and the States on the extradition of fugitives to or from foreign countries.

That is the official job description for the position of Secretary of State, taken from the U.S. Government’s own website.  Please note that NOWHERE in all that verbiage does it say that the Secretary of State is in charge of setting the moral guidelines for the citizens of the United States!

Without the usual pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies announcements by the Trump regime, yesterday the State Department quietly announced the formation of a new committee to be called the Commission on Unalienable Rights, to be headed by Mike Pompeo.  According to the notice, the “nature and purpose” of the commission is …

“The Commission will provide the Secretary of State advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters. The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

Ponder on this one for a moment, if you will.  “… departed from … founding principles of natural law”???  What is “natural law”?  One definition is …

“Natural law is a philosophy asserting that certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature, endowed by nature—traditionally by God or a transcendent source—and that these can be understood universally through human reason.”

Mike Pompeo is one of those evangelicals who are anti-everything … anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim … and the list goes on.  On April 3rd, Brunei legalized the stoning to death of LGBT people.  Most of the western world was appropriately outraged.  Actor George Clooney called for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.  The governments of the EU and UK publicly called on Brunei to abandon the law.  Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo were silent. When pressured by the media to comment, Pompeo finally said he was “concerned”, but neither he nor Trump condemned the brutality.

And now, Mike Pompeo, the evangelical, the man who is only ‘concerned’ about the brutal murder of people in the LGBTQ community, is in charge of a commission on ‘natural law’.  Be afraid, people … be very afraid.

In recent weeks, we have seen numerous states infringing on women’s human rights by passing draconian laws banning a woman’s right to an abortion, even if to save her life.  We have seen laws repealed that prohibited the discrimination of LGBTQ people in almost every area, including health care.  In short, we have seen that this regime does not respect the rights of either women or the LGBTQ community.

The State Department already has an entire bureau devoted to the issues of human rights.  Human rights advocates and activists are worried that the true purpose of this commission is to strip both women and LGBTQ people of protections against discrimination.

The most worrying part, to me, is that term “natural law”, which is typically associated with religion.  The United States is a secular nation.  Some will claim it is a ‘Christian nation’, but that is not the way the Constitution, the framework for our government, is designed.  We welcome people of all or no religions to practice whatever religion … or none … they choose, but … BUT we do not design our laws in accordance with Christianity or any other religion.

For Mike Pompeo, who holds strong and narrow-minded religious views, and a group of his choosing to have input into the legal processes of this nation is a dangerous proposition … it poses, in this writer’s view, a distinct threat to the concept of separation of church and state, and it poses a threat to women and the LGBTQ community at the very least.

Few facts are available about what the commissions goals and processes are to be, and the State department refused to provide further details to the media, but this is something to keep an eye on, folks.  This may well go the way of Trump’s “Voter Fraud Commission” in 2017 and simply fade into oblivion, but what if it doesn’t?  Think about it.

The Myth About Congress …

The United States Congress.  A diverse body of people from every state in the nation who take an oath to uphold the Constitution, to represent the people in their state/district, right?  Maybe on paper, but the reality is that these days I think most of us have the feeling that we are misunderstood and misrepresented not only in the executive, but also the legislative branches of our government. CongressI speak from my own experience with the ‘representative’ for my district, Warren Davidson.  His values and priorities are so far away from my own that I wonder how he ever got elected.  He annoys me on a daily basis, and I let him have it back, tit-for-tat … not that he likely ever reads my tweets or emails, but I try.  Now, I do realize that within any district, not everyone will have the same views, however an elected official is supposed to represent ALL the people, and in truth, far too many represent only the people who have a lot more money in the bank than anybody reading this blog.

Our friend Scottie posted something interesting yesterday and threw out a bit of a challenge for me to follow up on it, take it a step further.  Never one to turn down a challenge, I took the bait.  The question:  How demographically representative is Congress of the nation as a whole?  Turns out, not very.  This is the chart Scottie posted that piqued my interest:Scottie-chart

The 116th U.S. Congress took office in January, with Democrats taking control of the House while Republicans maintain an edge in the Senate.  The current Congress is the most racially and ethnically diverse ever.  The number of women in Congress is at an all-time high.  The share of immigrants in Congress has ticked up but remains well below historical highs.  Seems a step in the right direction, but …

Before I get into the demographics comparison, I found this cool interactive that will take you only about 20 seconds to see how well, based on five simple criteria, you are represented in Congress today.  Check it out and see where you stand.  My own result was that there are 0 people in Congress like me.  Hey, I’m unique!!! I’m also unrepresented in Congress. So, how did you fare?

Let’s start with women.  There are currently 131 women in Congress, an all-time high.  131 out of a total of 535 is 24.5%.  So, 24.5% of Congress are women, but 50.8% of the population are women.  See the problem here?  Granted, one does not have to be a woman to understand women’s issues, but it helps, especially today when more and more male-dominated state legislatures are passing laws stripping women of the right to make their own reproductive health decisions. Men-women-dem-rep Interestingly, among democrats in Congress, there is a significantly higher number of women, but among republicans, only 10% are women.  Think about that one. women-blacks

Next let’s look at African-Americans.  There are 58 African-Americans in Congress, comprising 10.8% of the total.  Comparatively, African-Americans make up 13.4% of the population.  The disparity here is, perhaps, not as wide as the gender gap, and is much less than it once was, but is still there.  Again, note the difference between democrat and republican.women-blacks

What about age?  The average age at the beginning of the 116th Congress was 57.6 years for Representatives and 62.9 years for Senators.  How does that compare to the population as a whole?  13% of the population are between 55-64, and 16% are over 65.  Seems rather like younger people are under-represented, wouldn’t you say?  On the upside, however, the average age of incoming members of Congress this year was 47, so we are seeing some younger blood … perhaps it’s time for some of those crotchety old men (Mitchell McConnell) to retire?

One of the big dividers is religion.  While there is a disparately higher number of most every religious group, it is interesting to note that not one single member of Congress is ‘unaffiliated’, while nearly a quarter of the nation’s population are unaffiliated with any organized religion.  I fall into that category, as do many readers of this blog … we are not even a blip on the radar of Congress.  To me, this is a problem, for in the past two years, many of the barriers between church and state have been breached and we seem to be on our way toward a theocracy of sorts, which would leave nearly a fourth of the population out in the cold.  More than 99% of republicans identify as Christian, compared to 78% of democrats.religion

While there are many more categories we could look at, I will wrap it up with one very important one, a group of people who are frequently misunderstood and subjected to discrimination, even state-sanctioned discrimination, the LGBTQ community.  This category is the most misunderstood of any, and they are the most likely to face discrimination.  Of late, even our own government, thanks to Mike Pence and the evangelicals who have a hold over Don Trump, are passing laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people.  There are a total of 10 LGBTQ people in Congress today, as compared to an estimated 4.5% of the total population.  A disclaimer is in order, however, for the number of LGBTQ people is likely underestimated, since many choose not to make public their gender orientation.  The fact that there are more men than women in Congress is disturbing, as is the fact that minorities are under-represented.  But LGBTQ is one group whose problems and issues are unique, and frankly if you aren’t a member of that group, you don’t understand.  Period.  You may empathize, but you cannot possibly understand.   And if you and I cannot understand, what makes anybody think our illustrious members of Congress understand?  They don’t.LGBTQ

One other area in which Congress has little, if any, connection to the real world of the U.S. is wealth, as you saw in Scottie’s chart.  It is a pertinent topic, but one that I must save for another day, as I have already spent some six hours doing research, double-checking facts, creating charts, and writing this post.  Suffice it to say that the members of Congress are far ‘above the madding crowd’ when it comes to wealth, and I think this may be one of the most relevant reasons that they cannot possibly relate to “We the People” in any meaningful way.  I hope to do a separate post within the next week assessing the wealth of various members of Congress, how they came to be millionaires, and how that may be influencing their decisions.

I note, overall, a disturbing trend regarding democrat vs republican.  Democrats have nearly 5 times as many women in Congress as republicans.  Republicans have a measly 2 … count ’em … two African-Americans, compared to more than 50 of the Democratic Party.  Republicans have zero diversity in religion, and there is not a single LGBTQ republican in Congress.  People tell me that I shouldn’t judge all republicans on the basis of what some do, but … as far as Congress goes, they seem to be a fairly narrow-minded group of old, white, Christian, straight males.  Think about it.

I end where I started … thank you, Scottie, for throwing me this challenge.  I think it is a worthwhile topic, and I learned quite a bit tonight, including why I sometimes feel that I am left behind by those men & women we think are looking out for our best interests.

Another of those WTF Moments …

The Equality Act was introduced into the House of Representatives by Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island on March 13, 2019.  In summary …

This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.

The bill allows the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.

Nothing too controversial there, right?  The LGBT people in our world surely deserve the same rights and protections as everyone, right?  It isn’t rocket science, right?  Well …

“Standing with my colleagues in opposition to the so-called “Equality Act” as it undermines human dignity, freedom of speech, religion, and conscience, and puts parental rights at risk.” – U.S. Representative Warren Davidson, Ohio

Say WHAT???

No no no no no Warren!  Human dignity is what it is trying to protect and preserve.  What, do you want separate water coolers, perhaps, for LGBT people?  Or … perhaps they should have segregated schools?  Oh, I know … you don’t want any to be able to buy a house in your neighborhood, or to get a decent job, or even to be able to purchase a wedding cake, perhaps?  Or … perhaps you would like them to have a number tattooed onto their arms and wear a gold star on their clothing?  Dignity, Warren?  How do you define that word?  Seems to me you’re trying to take away the dignity of an entire group of people … yes, Warren … people.

Religion?  How does giving an LGBT person a fair shot at a job or at a slot in college or to get a loan to purchase a car interfere with anybody’s ‘freedom of religion’?  Answers, please?  Freedom of speech?  Um, excuse me, but what … you want to be able to shout from the steps of the Capitol Building “I hate gays!”?  Sure, go ahead … see if anybody votes for you next year.  How in the Sam Heck does ensuring equal rights for people interfere with your or my freedom of speech?  The answer is it doesn’t.

And lastly … “puts parental rights at risk”???  What planet are you on, Warren?  Let me ask you a quick question, if you don’t mind … just how much alcohol do you drink in the course of a 24-hour period?  First, I’m not even sure what you mean when you say, “parental rights”.  I think of parental responsibilities as parents’ duty to keep their children warm, healthy, well-fed, safe and to see to their education, but … what “rights” do you refer to?  And how does giving people equal opportunities in employment, housing, credit, education, and public facilities undermine those “parental rights”?  Answers, please.

Warren Davidson happens to be my representative and I know him to be a fool who is more concerned with preserving bitcoin than human life, so apart from the fact that he represents my district in Congress, it would be easy to write his babbling rhetoric off as foolishness.  But …

“Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) joined with Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri), Jody Hice (R-Georgia), Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Carol Miller (R-West Virginia) to speak out about the Equality Act’s harmful effects on women and girls. Alongside the lawmakers, representatives from CWALAC, Women’s Liberation Front, Alliance Defending Freedom, Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council, were clear – the “Equality Act” will do away with women’s sports, safe spaces for women, and jeopardize parents’ jurisdiction over their child’s health care. It is dangerous for our country. This bill is extreme and dangerous. It is not about equality; it is about imposing a new form of discrimination against women and people of faith in our country.” Concerned Women For America

WTF???

Has this entire bloomin’ nation gone loco?

There is not one single legitimate concern voiced by either Davidson or this “women’s” group or anyone else, for that matter.  So … what’s going on here?  Well, folks, it’s called b-i-g-o-t-r-y.  Homophobia.  Fear of that which is not understood.  So, rather than seek to educate, they choose hate.  Rather than accept people as they are, they choose to shun them because they are not just like them.

LGBT people are people.  Humans.  Just like me and you.  Just because some narrow-minded portion of society feels threatened by people who love someone of their own gender is no reason to deny people the right to earn a living, live in a decent neighborhood, shop in their local store, send their children to school, get a loan, or have a wedding cake baked.  People, that’s all.

The Equality Act bill passed in the House of Representatives on Friday by a vote of 236-173, with 23 abstentions.  Eight of the ‘Aye’ votes were by republicans, and all 173 ‘Nay’ votes were by republicans.  The eight republicans who supported the bill are:

  • Susan Brooks (Indiana)
  • Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida)
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania)
  • Will Hurd (Texas)
  • John Katko (New York)
  • Tom Reed (New York)
  • Elise Stefanik (New York)
  • Greg Walden (Oregon)

These eight deserve a thumbs up for voting their conscience instead of toeing the party line.  The rest of the republicans continue to do the bidding of the evangelicals and the person in the Oval Office … shame on them!

Sadly, the bill will die a rapid death when it reaches the Senate, for Mitchell McConnell has made a pledge, it seems, to ensure that no bills that are for the benefit of the people of this nation will pass under his watch.  And, if it passes the Senate by some miracle, Trump will veto it, for his puppeteers like Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress and Pat Robertson are against it and he does their bidding, not ours.  ‘Tis a sad state of affairs when people in this nation no longer have basic civil rights, human rights.

OH FOR PETE’S SAKE!!!

Ever notice how sometimes a headline catches your eye and your jaw immediately drops to the ground?  The lunacy, the utter ignorance and stupidity of the human race never ceases to astound me.  A couple of things brought about this head-shaking, eye-rolling, jaw-dropping reaction from me today.  The first …


Proposed Fur Ban in New York Pits Animal Rights Advocates Against Black Ministers

New York City is currently considering a proposal to ban the sale of animal fur.  For the record, and in case there was any doubt, I fully support this proposal!  If nobody can sell the fur, fewer animals will have to die.  Most of you already know that I like animals better than I like people, for the most part.  So, where’s the controversy?

Black ministers have protested the proposed ban on the steps of City Hall, saying that furs are a treasured part of African-American tradition and culture. Hasidic rabbis point to their own tradition of many Hasidic men wearing fur hats on the Sabbath. And fur shop owners and garment manufacturers have raised alarms over the potential loss of jobs and an attack on an industry that has a centuries-rich tradition in New York.

So, let me get this straight … we should encourage the wanton killing of beautiful animals so that fur shop owners can continue to make a profit, so that Hasidic rabbis can buy new fur hats when they wish (take care of the one you have, or wear faux fur!) and so that African-Americans don’t have to be deprived of cultural frou-frous?  Um … probably half of my friends are African-American and I don’t know a single one who actually owns a fur garment.

I can only imagine what the hunters and the NRA will have to say once they hear about this proposal and respond!  Have I mentioned that people are selfish, arrogant and ignorant?


Pat Robertson: God Will Destroy America if Pro-LGBTQ Rights Bill Passes

Well, Pat, you know what?  That’s fine by me, for I don’t think a nation that discriminates against people on any superficial basis should exist, and I damn sure don’t want to live in such a narrow-minded, bigoted nation.

“They always give good names to these things. This is a devastating blow to religious freedom and to the sanctity of America. If you want to bring the judgment of God on this nation, you just keep this stuff up. I was reading in Leviticus where it says because of these things the land ‘will vomit you out.’ Vomit you out. I think God will say, ‘I’ve had it with America if you do this kind of stuff, I’m going to get rid of you as a nation.'”

Pat RobertsonWhat an arrogant, narrow-minded, nasty prick!  Sorry … I try not to be vulgar here, but this ‘person’ has ruffled my feathers and I’m not biting my tongue on this one.

The Equality Act is a bill that would modify existing civil rights legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs and credit.  Now would somebody please explain to me just what has Mr. Robertson’s knickers in a wad?  Remember when we had to pass legislation to ensure these very same rights to African-Americans?  It was called the Civil Rights Act.  Why do we keep having to legislate common sense?  Why???  Because of people like Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham who think that their religious beliefs give them the right to take away fair treatment for those of us who do not share their beliefs.

The bill’s sponsor is David Cicilline, a democrat from Rhode Island, who says …

“In most states in this country, a gay couple can be married on Saturday, post their wedding photos to Instagram on Sunday, and lose their jobs or get kicked out of their apartments on Monday just because of who they are.”

Even though the bill is all but guaranteed to pass in the House, it’s fate in the Senate is less certain, and Trump is almost certain to veto it, as he has expressed his opposition already.

Sigh.


Conservative Radio Station Plans To Rebrand As ‘Trump FM’

Yep, you read it right, folks.  And this one isn’t even down in Trump country!  A far-right conservative radio station in Connecticut plans to temporarily rebrand itself as “Trump 103.3” when it converts from an AM station to an FM one.  Like Trump needs his ego stroked even more???

Trump-103The station hosts a number of far-right-wing syndicated programs, including Bill O’Reilly, the NRA’s Dana Loesch, Michael Savage, and the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro.  Full Power Radio, which owns the station, said the goal is to “unite conservatives in Connecticut” and make the state a conservative, Republican-led one.  NOOOOOOOO … we don’t need any more of those!!!  What have these people been smoking???

“There is a real hunger for the truth and ‘Trump 103.3’ will report and uncover statewide waste and corruption that conventional media are afraid to touch.”

Truth???  Oh the irony!


Well, folks, that’s it for now … I’ve got work to do … be back later!

The Face of Ugly

I generally try to avoid ranting.  As a rule, my ‘snarky snippets’ are enough to release the pressure that builds as a result of the chaos and corruption of our government and the idiocy of our society, and then I can go back to breathing and writing more well-reasoned pieces.  But sometimes a number of issues converge, and it is blowup time.  I can either blow up at my family, who do not deserve to be the brunt of my temper, or I can let the steam off here on my blog in an all-out rant.  I choose the latter, so please bear with me.

There are two professions that should be above politics, though there is a necessary correlation:  Teaching and Medicine.  There is only one valid reason to enter into either of these fields, and that is a genuine desire to help people, to make a difference in this world, to be a humanitarian.  Anybody who enters either of these professions for any other reason … well, they ought to get out.  If you have any other motive, then I do not want you teaching my grandkids and I don’t want you being responsible for my life or that of a loved one.

Of late, it seems that some in the medical profession have decided they only want to treat people of one sort, while excluding some of the people who may need their services most.  They are bigots and homophobes, and they ought to go work in an auto plant or a bank, for they are not humanitarians.  I am talking, of course, about the recent push by some to allow health care workers to legally discriminate against the LGBT community.

Discrimination is against the law, just in case anybody has any doubts.  We have something called ‘civil rights’ in this country, or at least we did until just over two years ago.  I would also remind you that this is a secular nation, meaning our government is not tied to any specific religion and does not make laws that discriminate pro or con any specific religion.  Until, that is, the evangelical Christians and Donald Trump came together.  Suddenly, under the Reign of Trump, it is said to be okay to refuse health care to LGBT people.

Why, you ask?  Because the bulk of those who support Trump are these evangelicals and Trump believes he only needs to serve his supporters, not the majority of us who cannot stand the ‘man’!  So, along come the ‘evangelicals’ and they say to Trump, “Hey, Don, our bible says that sex between two men or two women is a sin, and so we want to have nothing to do with those gay and transgender people.  Can you help us out here?”  And so Don helps them out.

From the New York Times

President Trump on Thursday announced an expanded “conscience rule” to protect health care workers who oppose abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and other medical procedures on religious or moral grounds.

The rule establishes guidelines for punishing health care institutions with the loss of federal funds if they fail to respect the rights of such workers.

“Just today, we finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students and faith-based charities,” Mr. Trump said in a Rose Garden event for the National Day of Prayer. “They’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”

The ‘rights of such workers’???  What about the rights of a sick person or a child???  What about the human rights to an education and health care?  What about civil rights???  Only about 25% of the population of this nation identify as evangelical, and yet that 25% … that minority … now gets to decide on the laws of the land for us all?

As those of you who have followed this blog for a time are aware, I am not religious, but I respect the religious views of all others, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Jains, and all others.  I shy away from discussing religion on this blog for that very reason … I recognize that there are many different sets of beliefs out there and I would never willingly offend any.  That said, there is only one qualifier:  don’t shove your religion on others, including myself!  This latest move by King Trump is doing just that.  It is saying that a nurse can refuse to take the blood pressure of a gay person, an ambulance driver can refuse to transport an accident victim who happens to be transgender and instead may leave him by the side of the road to die.Helping othersThis nation was founded in part on religious freedom, and yet now, some 230 years later, the current regime is attempting to force this entire nation to believe as a mere 25% of the population believe.  What is wrong with this picture???

I want you to think about a question:  What’s next?  Yes, what’s next … we know there will be a ‘next’, for when Trump gets his way once, it emboldens him to go on and push for more.  So, by autumn will he sign a new rule saying it’s okay to deny an education or medical treatment to African-Americans?  Far-fetched, you say? I think not.  The bulk of his supporters are evangelicals, and they got what they wanted.  The bulk of his supporters are also white and believe that this nation should favour Caucasians.  Will they get their way also?

Bigotry takes on many forms from homophobia to misogyny to Islamophobia to racism and in every instance it is a result of fear … in every instance it is the face of ugly.  I look around this country … a country I’ve lived in all my life, a country I thought I knew … and more and more I see the face of bigotry, the face of ugly.  I see the arrogance of those who think they are somehow superior based on the colour of their skin, or their religion, or even their gender.  I don’t like what I see, do you?  Think about it.

John Delaney: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 12th 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 the office of president next year. John Delaney is on deck today. I must admit that until today, I had never heard of John Delaney. He was the represented the 6th district of Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013 until 2019, and did not run for re-election last year, preferring to focus on his bid for the presidency. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Delaney!

Political⚡Charge

johndelaney-forprez-560 John Delaney

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. Each of them brings 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 gathered quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting…

View original post 1,453 more words

Kirsten Gillibrand: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 7th 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 the office of president next year. Kirsten Gillibrand is on deck today, and she is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Ms. Gillibrand!

Political⚡Charge

gillibrand

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 as the most important. I hope…

View original post 1,859 more words