Uh-Oh … The Snark Meter Is High Tonight

It does seem that my snark-o-meter is registering on high these days!  Is yours?

Kevin McCarthy … what a guy

By noon yesterday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had tweeted twelve times.  Here is just one of his many tweets …

The rest of his tweets were all about putting down President Biden and House Speaker Pelosi, blaming them for everything from the price of fuel to the border “crisis” as he calls it.  Now, We the People pay Mr. McCarthy some $193,400 per year of our hard-earned tax dollars to work, to legislate, and not to waste half his day tweeting and the other half obstructing to ensure that no real laws come out of our Congress.

And coming back to that tweet … he’s patting himself on the back for introducing a bill that is intended to stop tech companies, such as Google, Facebook and others from marking GOP solicitation emails as “spam” … which, of course, is precisely what ANY solicitation email from a politician is, regardless of party.  In this, a time when we have a gun crisis that has already caused more than 21,000 deaths by guns, some 800 of them children.  In this time when innocent people are living under a dark cloud of violent threats for doing their jobs or expressing their opinions.  In this time when in many places it is hotter in early June than is normal in mid-August due to the effects of climate change as a result of our disregard for the environment.  In this time when our voting rights are being stripped away, women’s rights are becoming a thing of the past, and LGBTQ rights are being shoved out the window.  In this time when our schools are being told they cannot teach the legitimate, factual history of this nation, but must instead teach the fantasy white-washed version of the nation’s past!  In this, the time when wildfires in the west are sure to cause record-breaking damage, when water sources are endangered … and the ONLY thing Mr. McCarthy can be bothered to work on is … whether your email server marks a GOP donation request as ‘spam’ or not???  C’mon, people … fire this asshat in November and vote in somebody who actually understands the issues, understands what matters, is dedicated to his oath and willing to work to actually earn the money we pay him/her!!!

Oh … and just in case you’re wondering if McCarthy is going to step up to the plate on the gun legislation that will be on the docket in the House of Representatives … no.  He and his buddy Steve Scalise (himself a victim of gun crime) have made clear that they will vote against even this milquetoast legislation and will expect and demand that the other House Republicans do the same.  What a guy, eh?

And speaking of intelligence, or a lack thereof …

Herschel Walker, Senate candidate from Georgia, certainly is not on the path to winning any academic awards.  I’ve said before that there should be criteria, qualifications for a person running for public office, and after Walker’s latest, I think those requirements should include an IQ test with a passing score of at least 100, which is approximately the average in the United States.  Mr. Walker’s candidacy is filled with lies, as I pointed out in a previous post, but his latest faux pas takes the cake.

Apparently, Mr. Walker and Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia hoping to unseat Brian Kemp, don’t … er … shall we say don’t get along famously, aren’t best buddies.  So, Ms. Abrams had been speaking about some of the problems in the state of Georgia that she hopes to address in the future, such as  mental health treatment, maternal mortality, incarceration rates and wages.  This is what candidates do … or at least ones who are serious about representing the people rather than their own interests … they talk about issues and how they think they can best solve problems.  But … apparently Walker doesn’t understand this and he took umbrage, telling Ms. Abrams to … wait for it …

“If you don’t believe in the country, leave and go somewhere else. If it’s the worst state, why are you here? Why don’t you leave ― go to another? There’s, what, 51 more other states that you can go to?”

This is a man who is running for a seat in the United States Senate and he doesn’t know how many states comprise the United States.  For the record, just in case any Republicans are reading this, there are 50 states.  This would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that this man could well be one of the 100 members of the highest legislative body in the nation, in charge of making decisions that will affect all our lives!

Why Does It Have To Be This Way?

We in this nation, around the globe in fact, are so divided that families have crumbled, friendships dissolved like a candy in hot water, marriages and even parent-child relationships gone in a blink of any eye.  Is this really who we are, or are we being led toward one side or another by those whose self-interest far outweighs their concern for us.

While yes, I know there are ideological differences between people based on their ‘order of values’, but beyond those relatively minor details, it seems that it should all be so simple.  For example … I cannot imagine a single human on this planet who wouldn’t grieve for the 19 children murdered in Texas last month, who wouldn’t do anything in their power to stop such a thing from ever occurring again.  And yet … we are so divided on who can own what types of guns and how many.  Seems pretty simple if you had a child, grandchild, niece or nephew at Robb Elementary School.  What is there to argue about?  And why?  And how many more must die before we lay down our own arms and join hands to preserve the lives of our future?

Or consider the issue of women’s rights as personified by the abortion rights issue.  Now, granted about half of the people in this nation are males and therefore might not have as complete an understanding, but here’s the thing, people.  If Roe v Wade remains the law of the land and we women retain our rights to determine what happens with our own body, when or if we ever have a baby, and more, that does not force anybody who doesn’t believe in abortion to have one!  It would be rather like banning lemon cookies because half the nation doesn’t like the taste of them, when nobody is forcing anybody to eat a damn lemon cookie!  Why must we be so divided on this issue … why can we not agree to just live and let live.  If you don’t choose to have an abortion, then fine … don’t have one.  Have a baby and I hope you are in a position to take the best possible care of that baby.  But remember that not everyone is.

What about the LGBTQ community?  I have many friends who are LGBTQ and they are, without exception, great people.  What’s the big deal?  Again, why can’t we live and let live?  Who I choose to love, to spend the rest of my life with, is frankly nobody else’s business, just as who you choose to love is not my business.  Why is that a divisive issue in this country and so many others?  Are we really so small-minded, so closed-minded that we cannot accept that not everybody looks, acts, and thinks just as we do?

I think two things have propelled us into the divisions that are destroying not only this nation, but much of the world today:  religion and political greed.

On the topic of religion, I understand that some religions do not believe in such things as inter-racial marriage, same-sex marriage, abortion, and more.  And so, here in the U.S. of late, we seek to condemn those things, in some cases to make them against the law.  WHY?  Other religions don’t believe in eating pork or drinking alcohol, yet I haven’t heard of any motions to make pig meat or alcohol illegal, have you?  If you identify with a certain sect or religion, then fine, but … why can’t you accept that not everybody shares your beliefs?  What about that term “freedom of religion” which is one of the founding principles of this nation, one of the reasons the nation came to exist.  Why must we always be trying to mold people into clones of ourselves?  Because church leaders tell us to do so, they tell us that there is only one right way and everybody else is wrong!  Not so, my friends.  The world is made more interesting for the variety of thoughts, cultures, beliefs … and no one religion can or should ever dominate the others.  Go to your church, worship as you wish, but don’t come and try to push your ideas on the rest of us.

And as far as political greed, well … do I even need to say more?  It’s real simple … politicians come in two brands – those who want to change the world for the better and those who want to change their own world for the better.  The politicians who are so heavily invested in their own fortunes that they have forgotten the rest of us are dividing us with intent … the intent to solidify a base of people whose minds they can control.  They tell their base what they should want, what they deserve, and how to get it, and like lambs led to the slaughter, the people largely buy into it.  They tell them that ‘the other side’ is evil, and they believe it.  So, if a person’s son or friend happens to be on that ‘other side’, say a different religion, different beliefs on topics like education, guns, voting, or a host of other issues, they will push those people out of their lives … sometimes forever.

What divides us is not a question that has a simple answer, for there are many things that divide us, and religious leaders and politicians play on those issues every single day to widen the gap of division.  So, the question becomes, how do we fix this problem, for if we fail to do so, we will be hastening our own demise.  We all share this planet and its resources, but we are destroying each other as well as the planet.  How do we learn to talk to each other again instead of fighting, name-calling, and using physical violence to make our points?  Or can we?  Are humanity, compassion, and caring lost causes?

Let’s try to start by remembering the world ‘tolerance’, but accepting that we are all different in so many ways, and reminding ourselves that it’s okay to be different.  It’s okay for me to have an abortion and for you not to.  It’s okay for you to eat pork and me to shun it.  It’s okay for you to own a gun, as long as you are a responsible person, pass the background checks, and keep your gun out of the hands of children, and it’s equally okay for me to declare my home a ‘gun-free zone’.  We don’t have to agree on everything, but we’re going to have to find some areas in which we can at least open non-hostile discussion!  And on that note, I will hush … for now.

I Thought We Were Better …

In countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and many others, one man or group of men (it’s always men, never women) control the people, their actions & behaviours.  But in a democracy, a true democracy, it is the voice of the majority that determines the laws of the land.  The United States was founded as a Democratic Republic, which is somewhat different than a pure democracy.  In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected. In a democratic republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority as well as those of the majority.

Today in the United States, it is the will of the minority that is trampling all over the rights of the majority.  The majority of people (60%) in the U.S. are for stricter gun regulations, yet there is no movement in this direction.  The majority of people (54%, with only 28% wishing to overturn it, with 18% who don’t care one way or the other) are in favour of maintaining Roe v Wade, supporting women’s rights, yet the Supreme Court is fully poised to overturn Roe.  The majority of the people (66%) in this country support Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ program to help people who were financially affected by the pandemic, yet Congress trashed it.  70% of all voters were in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last year, yet Congress also trashed both of those.  So … we can only conclude that the minority is dominating the majority and that is NOT in keeping with ANY form of democratic principles!

A few weeks ago, I reblogged Brosephus’ post titled America Is Dead.  At the time, I qualified my view of it, saying that I still had hope for this nation to rebound and that I would continue fighting with renewed resolve to restore the rights and will of the people – the majority of the people.  But yet again, I am discouraged, for it seems that the people in this nation today are so divided that there is no longer a UNITED States of America, but that we should change the name to the DIVIDED States of America.  In truth, it is almost as if there are two completely separate sub-species of humans living here.  We laud Abraham Lincoln for ending the Civil War, for bringing the nation back under one umbrella, but today we are as divided as we were in the 19th century.

Our friend Keith, who is among the most reasonable men I know, suggests we do more to open the lines of communications between the two sides, initiating dialogue, calmly asking those with opinions different from our own why they think as they do, and finding common ground, areas where we can compromise.  I agree with Keith’s premise, but is there so much as a square inch of common ground remaining these days?  It seems to me that the common ground was the first casualty of the great divide.  My concern is that there will be many more casualties of that great divide in the future.

Every day it seems that more and more schools and communities are banning certain books, even classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, or To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  WHY?  I first heard the claim that such books made white children ‘feel bad’ about how Blacks were treated back in the day, but of late, it is said that the books are being banned because they make Black children feel bad about themselves.  Either one is naught but an excuse for the reality which is that white supremacists do not want the next generation to be taught about the racism that has been a part of this country since before its founding.  Do they honestly think the children won’t learn about it anyway?  Isn’t it far better to have a compassionate teacher explain what happened, why it was wrong, and how we have worked throughout the past century to rectify it?  How can you simply cut a piece of history out of the history books?  How will they explain what Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Malcom X and others were fighting for when those who are children today reach high school and college?  So, I argue that books cannot be banned in schools and libraries, except perhaps books like Fifty Shades of Grey.

But my voice is not heard, more books are being banned daily, and if I were independently wealthy, I would mail a copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman to every child under the age of 12 in the nation.  Maus is a nonfiction graphic novel that depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, yet the book is banned in a number of places.  Are we also, in addition to trying to erase our racist past, trying to erase the Holocaust, or anti-Semitism, or even World War II???  Are people really so narrow-minded that they believe our children won’t learn these things, one way or another.  And even more to the point, do they seek a return to those things such as extreme racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and violence against any who don’t fit into their own views?  For that is exactly where we are headed if we hide the reality of the past from the next generation.  It’s almost as if some have looked at the steps forward of the past 50-70 years and decided it was too much, that they wanted a ‘reset’ button to take them … take us all … back to the 1950s, the days of Happy Days television show, the days of segregated diners, segregated schools, and school prayer forced upon every child.

America’s claim to fame has been that it was a nation of immigrants, a diverse nation, but today it seems we want to erase that, to become a homogeneous country where everyone thinks, looks, and acts exactly the same.  How terrible, how boring, and how surreal that would be.

Those who wish for more, rather than fewer civil rights, who wish to keep Roe, Obergefell, Brown, and other Court rulings that have given rights to those who were once without, are not trying to force their way on others.  For example, and I’ve said this many times, if you don’t believe that abortion is right, then you are free not to have an abortion!  If you do not like same-sex marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex!  Nobody, but nobody is forcing anyone to have an abortion or marry someone of their same gender.  But it is those with narrow minds and shallow views who would force the rest of us into their very small, dark box.  I don’t wish to live in that small, dark, terrible box, nor would I wish it on anyone else.

I thought we were better than this.  Obviously, I was wrong.

You Say You Won’t Vote In November???

You’ve all heard it many times before.  I’ve posted it here on Filosofa’s Word a number of times in various contexts.  But today, I am asking you to read it and think about it from the perspective of those who, given the political chaos and unrest at present, still shrug their shoulders, say that “these things always work out, so I’m not gonna worry about it”, or those who don’t like either candidate in an election so they either just don’t vote, or throw away their vote on some third party or write-in candidate.

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

– Martin Niemöller, January 6, 1946

Think of it in today’s terms …

First they came for the Blacks

And I did not speak out

Because I was not Black

Then they came for LGBTQ people

And I did not speak out

Because I was not an LGBTQ person

Then they came for teachers

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a teacher

Then they came for voters

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a voter

And then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

Sadly, I have many friends, former friends, and even former family members who are among those who shrug their shoulders, tell me to “chill, Jill”, and go on with the business of posting pictures of their meals, going on vacations, and whatever else floats their boat.  They claim they only seek ‘happiness’.  They cannot see what is before them, cannot see that we are on the cusp of any number of events that can and likely will change the very face of this nation.  In our lifetime we have survived Watergate, Vietnam, 9/11, and now the pandemic, they tell me.  Yes, but this is different.  I can feel it in the air, feel it in my bones … this time, some of us, perhaps most of us, won’t get off so easily.  Even those who side with the right-wing state of evil and corruption will not find that bed of roses at the end of the day.

Maybe there’s still time to change the way this nation is headed, but we need people to wake up, need them to THINK!  Those who don their blinders and stuff cotton in their ears, then walk around singing, “La la la ♫ la la ♫ … I can’t hear you” are the problem.  Those who say they won’t vote, or who will throw their vote away … they are the problem.  Those who don’t even bother to read a newspaper, because they are too busy shopping online for a new collar for the dog, are the problem.  And those who believe what they are told by the likes of Fox ‘News’ and other right-wing media … they are responsible for what comes next.

No, I don’t expect brownshirts to come knocking on our doors in the middle of the night, but listen … hear that?  Those who seem to have tired of democracy, of a government “of, by, and for the people,” are already taking over schools, threatening teachers who actually teach our children.  They are already taking away our voting rights.  And they are already trying to convince the Supreme Court to diminish women’s rights by reversing Roe v Wade and LGBTQ rights by reversing Obergefell v Hodges.  What’s next?  Take away integrated schools, return to the doctrine of “separate but equal” which was never even close to ‘equal’?

This year, it is more important than ever that we not only vote, but help ensure that our friends and neighbors are able to register and to either obtain a mail-in ballot or else get to the right poll at the right time on election day.  It is, perhaps, the single most important thing we can do this year.  If you have the resources and the ability, I would encourage you to follow TokyoSand at Political Charge, for she always has good ideas about ways to help get voters to the polls.

And The Snark Goes On … And On … And ON

My radar had a busy, busy day yesterday … news items were flying onto the screen at a pace I couldn’t even keep up with.  You’ll hear about them all, eventually, but for this morning, here are two that stuck in my craw.

One Million Moms

… sounds like a group of mothers concerned about their children’s future, a group willing to stand up and fight against such things as racism, homophobia, and misogyny.  A group who wants their children to have the best chance possible at a future, who will fight for their child’s right to a widely-varied education that opens their minds and prepares them for the future, right?  WRONG!!!  One Million Moms is a hate group that supports bigotry in all its forms, who would happily eradicate the LGBTQ community, and who would turn back the hands of time hundreds of years, given the chance.

One Million Moms was created by the American Family Association (AFA), a right-wing ‘Christian’ organization that is opposed to women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and basically anything that doesn’t fit into their neat, compact view of how the world ought to be.  AFA has been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as an anti-LGBTQ hate group, and One Million Moms fits snugly into that category.

Recently, Kay Jewelers put out an ad titled, “Celebrate Every Kiss” that shows couples kissing, one of which happens to be two dads with their young son.  Well, Monica Cole, the ‘leader’ of One Million Moms, went ballistic, writing in an email that …

This ad is inappropriate on so many levels and is clearly attempting to desensitize viewers. Kay Jewelers should avoid aiming to please a small percentage of customers while pushing away conservative customers.

Promoting same-sex relationships has nothing to do with marketing jewelry. Yet Kay Jewelers wants to make it clear where they stand on this controversial topic, instead of remaining neutral in the culture war.

One Million Moms continues to stand up for biblical truth. Romans 1:26-27 is very clear about this type of sexual perversion.

There is concern about the way this advertisement is pushing the LGBTQ agenda, but an even greater concern is that the commercial is airing during prime time when children are likely to be watching television.

Hmmmm … seems to me that it would be comforting for the young child of an LGBTQ couple to see that his family is not an anomaly and comforting to that young person who is in the ‘Q’ stage of his own development to see that he/she is not alone, that homosexuality is NOT perversion, but is natural.

Ms. Cole is a bigot.  Full stop.  She and her ilk are a large part of the reason there is so much hatred, so much violence, so much division among people in the world today.  Oh, and by the way, AFA is also against the cable network Animal Planet, because they say the network “features evidence of homosexuality”.  These people really, really need to get a life, to join the 21st century!

Ol’ Madison Cawthorn … ‘Lock Him UP!’

Madison Cawthorn has been a thorn in the side of this nation ever since he began grabbing headlines a few years ago.  He was a contributor to the events of January 6th, he has no relevant education or experience that would qualify him to be a member of Congress, but yet the good people of North Carolina took pity on him, seeing him sitting in his wheelchair, and they gave him a chance in the 2020 election, to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

However, he has not served We the People, but only his own vested interests.  His only government employment prior to 2021 was working as a staff assistant to the ignoble Mark Meadows, another plotter and instigator of the fatal January 6th events.  He began college, but dropped out with a “D” average, and he was rejected by the Naval Academy, but lied about it.  So … what did you folk down in North Carolina expect to get for your efforts?

Madison has been the source of a number of controversies, but two are in the news this week and prove how utterly inappropriate it is for him to be a member of the U.S. Congress!

  • For the second time, Cawthorn tried to sneak a loaded handgun onto a commercial airline flight. Now, if that had been you or me, our patooties would be sitting in the Charlotte jail right now, but rather than arrest such an “important” person, he was merely issued a citation and it’s still unclear whether the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will pursue the fine, which would be $13,900 for any of the rest of us.
  • Senator Thom Tillis, also a Republican from North Carolina, is calling for an investigation into what may well turn out to be insider trading … a violation of a member of Congress’ oath of office. Cawthorn is under fire after posing with hedge fund manager James Koutoulas, who was the “ringleader” of the “Let’s Go Brandon” cryptocurrency on Dec. 29. The next day, NASCAR driver Brandon Brown announced his partnership with the LGBCoin, which caused the value to spike.  It is a serious accusation that could result in Cawthorn’s expulsion from office.

In recent months, Cawthorn has been under scrutiny for a number of issues, such as speeding and driving with a revoked license multiple times, claiming that people in Congress invited him to orgies and calling President Zelenskyy of Ukraine a “thug.”  I don’t know about you folks, but he is NOT the sort of person I want making the decisions that will affect all of our lives!!!

Progress Unraveling

Three years after the Brown vs Board of Education decision that partly struck down Plessy vs Feguson (1896) and called for schools to be de-segregated, Judge Thomas P. Brady of Brookhaven, Mississippi, gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.  The speech is lengthy, but I have culled a few of the most damning parts to share here.  In the event you have the stomach for it, you can read his entire speech here.

  • I want you to distinctly understand that the South does not hate the Negro. I dare say you know little, if anything about the true Southern Negro.  Among the finest characters I have ever known are Negroes.  There is a great deal of genuine affection and understanding between the races.  We have lived harmoniously together with a minimum of violence and bloodshed.  We have nurtured the Negro, taught him, provided for him, educated him and endeavored to make of him a worthwhile citizen.  The Negro has made great strides and the Southern white man is largely responsible for these advancements.
  • There is, as every honest socialist knows, a distinct correlation between the degree of segregation of the races and the numerical strength of the Negro. The reason is obvious.  If in the South the Negro was permitted, as in some Northern States, to obtain the ballot by simply reaching 21 years of age, it would mean that no qualified white man in many counties throughout the South could ever hold public office.  It would also mean that in the halls of Congress, seats now held by competent white representatives would be held by ignorant, incompetent Negroes.
  • While I regret that I must do so, I must nevertheless comment upon some of the intellectual and moral aspects of the reason why the South must remain socially segregated. The average vocabulary of the Negro in the South consists of approximately 650 words.
  • It is because of an inherent deficiency in mental ability, of psychological and tempermental [sic] It is because of indifference and natural indolence on the part of the Negro.  All the races started out at approximately the same time in God’s calendar, but of all the races that have been on this earth, the Negro race is the only race that lacked mental ability and the imagination to put its dreams, hopes and thoughts in writing.
  • Never forget that the leftwing socialist groups are forever grading down, never grading up the intelligence, the industry and the genius of this country! They wish to equalize, thereby reducing to a low minimum the intelligence of America.
  • The Negro, in so far as sex is concerned, is not immoral, he is simply non-moral. He merely follows his natural instincts.  We cannot disregard his utter disregard for the laws relating to theft.  We cannot overlook his proclivity for drunkenness and dope addiction.  We cannot overlook his natural tendency to immorality and violence and subject our children to the terrible consequences resulting from such traits through integration.

He goes on to say that the people of Mississippi, having formed the ‘White Citizens Council’ will defy the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs Board of Education and …

  • As long as we live, so long shall we be segregated, and after death, God willing, thus it will still be!

As I read his words, realizing that those very words were not uttered centuries ago, but actually in my own lifetime, I felt physically ill.  A full decade after the ruling in Brown v Board of Education, 98% of school children in Mississippi were still attending segregated schools!

And then, a few years later in 1963, came the brutal murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers in front of his wife and children, and the following year, the murders of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner who were trying to help Black citizens register to vote.  In the interim, the KKK and the White Citizens Council were busily terrorizing Black people in Mississippi and throughout the South.  Far too many members of law enforcement in the South were also members of the KKK in the 1960s and perhaps beyond.

So now you’re wondering, “Why the history lesson, Filosofa?”  Patience, grasshopper … there is method to my madness.

Look today at Florida, Texas, even Virginia.  The states, particularly in the deep south, are using the excuse of Critical Race Theory … something that is not taught in elementary or secondary schools (though perhaps it should be) and something that the average person knows nothing about other than the lies they’ve heard from the likes of Tucker Carlson and others.  They seized on it as an excuse to stop teaching about the racist history of this nation.

Many believe that the current Supreme Court is all but set to overturn Roe v Wade (1973) that gave women the right to make decisions about their own bodies.  There is also talk of the Court attempting to overturn Obergefell v Hodges (2015) that gave same-sex couples the right to marry.  There is also talk of overturning Loving v Virginia (1967) that removed the barriers to interracial marriage.  Given the composition of the Court today, is it such a stretch, then, to think that ultimately, they might also overturn Brown v Board of Education?

Women’s rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and perhaps most importantly, voting rights … all are potentially on the chopping block in this, the 21st century.  States are overstepping their bounds, writing laws that directly conflict with federal laws, conflict even with common sense, decency, and human rights.  This nation is traveling backward today, seemingly bent on destroying the progress of the last 70 years or so.  Why?  I am told that white people fear they will lose their “majority status”.  SO WHAT???  Who cares what colour skin anybody has, or how many white people as compared to Black or Brown people?  Apparently, some people care and those are attempting to change the course of history, to turn this ship around and take us back into the Dark Ages.

Read Judge Brady’s words again … is that a world any of us want to live in?  I certainly don’t.  I won’t.

Middle-o’-the Night Thoughts

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking … most of it in the wee hours just before the sun rises around 7:00 a.m. … and my thoughts have taken many pathways, some of which I’ve written about in recent posts.  Another is the environment and how people are in denial about their own role … about the role of humans in general … in the destruction of our planet’s atmosphere.  What to do about it?

Well, last night I had a thought … advertising!  Advertising and marketing are powerful tools used mainly to sell products and increase corporate profits.  People are gullible … we believe that if we don’t use that one brand of toothpaste, our smiles won’t be beautiful, and if we don’t use that new good-scented deodorant, our friends and even our significant others will shun us.  Why do we believe it?  Because it is shoved in our faces time after time after time, day in and day out.  Eventually, subliminal persuasion works and when we see that new variety of soda on the grocery shelves, we automatically reach for it without thinking.

So … if advertising works so well to sell products, doesn’t it make sense that the Environmental Protection Agency, working along with all the environmental groups, should invest in a bit of air and print time to tell people over and over and over how they should turn off the lights, turn down the thermostat, and drive less?  How they should stop feeding the oil companies so many of their hard-earned dollars and stop buying water in throwaway plastic bottles?  Now, I’m no genius, so if I’ve thought of this, surely others have too?  If people hear something enough times, a seed begins to grow in their minds … let’s get busy and plant the seed of conservation!

I’ve been trying to avoid writing about the utter stupidity coming out of the mouths of some members of the Republican Party these days.  But a couple lately, both by freshmen members of the U.S. House of Representatives, just beg for dissemination …

Lisa McClain is a representative from the state of Michigan who gave a speech at the former guy’s ‘rally’ outside of Detroit last weekend.  As she was rattling off the “accomplishments” of the former guy, she claimed that he “caught Osama bin Laden”Say WHAT???  Usama bin Laden was killed in a raid during the administration of President Barack Obama shortly after 1:00 a.m. on May 2nd in the year 2011 … nearly six years before the former guy first set foot into the Oval Office!!!

Ms. McClain claims it was “an honest mistake”, but I’m sorry … she’s a liar.

And then there’s ol’ Lauren Boebert, a representative from the state of Colorado, who has decided that LGBTQ people should not be allowed to ‘come out’, or tell others of their gender identity, until they reach the age of 21.  Shit, Lauren, it’s not like buying alcohol or tobacco!!!  It’s who a person is!!!  A child should be encouraged to talk about their feelings, to express themselves, and a young person must not be made to feel that there is ‘something wrong’ or that they are an aberration!  Send Ms. Boebert and her gun collection back to Colorado and let her resume her duties as owner of “Shooters”, that sleazy bar & grill she owns where the servers all carry guns!  Take her OUT of our government!!!

Last weekend saw yet another mass shooting, this time in Sacramento, California.  Six dead, at least 12 injured.  Police have arrested one man but suspect there was a second shooter involved.  Over 100 casings were found in the area.

Well, I guess there’s more than one way to reduce the population in the U.S., eh?  Funny, though, that people are appalled at the idea of abortion, want to ban birth control, and yet … the idea of nearly unrestricted guns and 10,963 deaths by guns so far this year in the U.S. doesn’t seem to bother them a bit.

I can hear the gunkies now (my latest wordvention … if drug addicts can be called “junkies”, then shouldn’t gun addicts be called “gunkies”?) saying, “There she goes again, crying about how we’ve misinterpreted the 2nd Amendment, how gun deaths are so awful … she’s like a broken record.”

Well, gunkies, rest easy for today I’m only going to let loose a big SIGH rather than a torrent of words that the people who need to listen to cannot hear.  Until one day … one fateful day when you get that phone call telling you that your own child has been killed by a man with a gun.  And then, maybe … just maybe, you’ll understand.

Oh, and one last thing … Sarah Palin, the failed governor of Alaska, has announced that she plans to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Best wishes to Ms. Palin for a monumental, perhaps even record-shattering LOSS in November!  As governor, her approval ratings dropped from 93% to 54% in under two years.  She resigned more than a year before the end of her term, citing “opposition research,” 150 FOIA requests and 15 “frivolous” legal ethics complaints filed by “political operatives” against her, as well as stating that she did not wish to be a lame duck governor.  No doubt she did the good people of Alaska a huge favour with her resignation, and hopefully she will do us all a favour by losing in November!  She’s like a bad penny … she keeps showing up where she isn’t wanted.

Confirmation Hearing Or Political Circus?

Who could have seen it coming, eh?  Yesterday was day #2 of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.  She answered questions for the better part of twelve hours … heck, five minutes of talking does me in.  I have no doubt that Ms. Jackson wished, on more than one occasion, that she could fire back at some of the questions she was asked, but to her credit, she proceeded with dignity and respect, only letting out the occasional sigh to indicate a bit of frustration.

Barring some dramatic revelation that I cannot foresee, I strongly believe that Ms. Jackson will, indeed, become the next Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.  I even think a few of the more … shall we say ‘honest’ Republicans … will vote to confirm her … perhaps Senator Collins of Maine, Senator Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Romney of Utah.  Others are likely to vote ‘Nay’ for a number of stated reasons, but the main reason being that Judge Jackson has two strikes against her:  she is Black, and she is a woman.  Period.

I did not watch the 12-hour confirmation hearing … I really haven’t got either the time or the patience … but I have read numerous accounts of the questions and answers from the day.  The first one to come to my attention was, unsurprisingly, from Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.  Among Blackburn’s false or distorted accusations, she …

  • linked Jackson to the controversy over transgender athletes and women’s sports
  • suggested Jackson would trample parental rights
  • accused Jackson of wanting to put dangerous criminals on the street
  • accused Jackson of saying every judge has a hidden agenda
  • said Jackson praised the 1619 Project
  • said Jackson thinks judges must use ‘critical race theory’ when sentencing criminals

Blackburn went so far as to suggest to Jackson, a Black woman, that white privilege doesn’t exist in America, a country where of the 114 justices to have been confirmed to sit on the highest court in the land, only two have been Black.  She also asked Judge Jackson to “define the word ‘woman’”.  When Jackson told her she couldn’t, at least “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” Blackburn responded with acidity … “The meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?”  Sigh.  Seriously, is this what we’re paying our lawmakers to do?

And then there was good ol’ Ted Cruz, never one to mince words, or even to attempt to make his words sensible. Noting that the judge is a board member of her kids’ private school Georgetown Day, the senator began pulling out books, including Antiracist Baby, in order to claim the school is definitely teaching CRT. “There are portions of this book that I find really quite remarkable. One portion of the book says babies are taught to be racist or anti-racist,” Cruz bellowed, displaying an enlarged page from the book. “Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that babies are racist?”  Her response …

“I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less-than. That they are victims. That they are oppressors.”

 She also noted that her understanding was that “critical race theory is an academic theory is taught in law schools.”

I’m not sure what got into Lindsey Graham … I seriously believe that man has some mental issues!  In the middle of his questioning Judge Jackson, he asked … “What faith are you, by the way?”  Say WHAT???  Since when is religion a qualifier for a seat on the bench???

Then Lindsey began berating Judge Jackson for defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay back in her days as a public defender.  He went on a verbal diatribe, spouting …

“We’re at war, we’re not fighting crime! This is not some passage of time event. As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re going to go back to kill Americans. It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome than letting them go and if it cost $500 million to keep them in jail, keep them in jail because they’ll go back to the fight. Look at the freaking Afghan government made up of former detainees at Gitmo. This whole thing by the left about this war ain’t working!”

And then he stormed out of the hearings without waiting for a response.

John Cornyn, who I typically think of as one of the less toxic Republicans in the Senate, questioned Judge Jackson about her stance on LGBTQ rights, claiming that granting equal rights to LGBTQ people conflicts with the religious beliefs of some people. To which Jackson responded, “Well, senator, that is the nature of a right. That when there is a right, it means that there are limitations on regulation, even if people are regulating pursuant to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

From everything I’ve read and the video clips I have seen, it appears that Judge Jackson handled herself well through the entire ordeal … far better than I would have in similar circumstances!  It’s just too damn bad that the confirmation of a Justice who will serve on the highest court in the nation for life has been turned into a political circus in recent years.  The Supreme Court are the people who will make the decisions we have to live by.  They will decide if women have the right to control their own bodies, whether LGBTQ people should have certain unalienable rights, whether a single religion will force us all into a small, airless box, and whether we have the right to vote.  And yet … the Republicans in Congress seem to care more about the colour of a potential justice’s skin and about her gender.

Note to readers:  This just in from the New York Times“Conservatives are pressuring Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat, to oppose Judge Ketanji Brwn Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Good People Doing Good Things — Aaron Jackson

I don’t know how it is that Aaron Jackson has not flown onto my ‘good people’ radar screen before, but he’s there now and deserves recognition.  Jackson was a CNN Hero back in 2007, a few years before I started my ‘good people’ posts, and he has been noted for numerous humanitarian causes since then.  A bit about Mr. Jackson’s background from Wikipedia provides a foundation before I get into the reason he is on my radar today …

“Aaron Jackson is an American human rights and environmental activist. Jackson was raised in Destin, Florida and attended Valencia College until 2002. After backpacking around the world, he interned at The Homeless Voice, an advocacy group in Davie, Florida, and became director of the COSAC Homeless Shelter. The first orphanages he opened in Haiti were established using money he made as a golf caddy while living in a homeless shelter in order to fund the orphanages. Jackson was named a CNN Hero in 2007 after leading a campaign to deworm children in Haiti.

In 2004, Jackson founded Planting Peace, a nonprofit organization that advocates for LGBT issues and runs six orphanages in Haiti and India. In 2012, he purchased a home across from Westboro Baptist Church after looking at the neighborhood around Westboro on Google Earth. He painted the exterior of the house with the colors of the pride flag in 2013 and it became the “Equality House.” Through Planting Peace, Jackson placed a billboard in Kim Davis’ hometown after she denied marriage licenses to same sex couples in 2015. In 2016, Jackson traveled to Antarctica to place a pride flag deeming it ‘the world’s first LGBT-friendly continent.’”

The Equality House, a rainbow-colored house with an LGBTQ flag, across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.

I still cannot believe he hasn’t crossed my radar before this!  At any rate, what he has done most recently is yet another example of Aaron Jackson’s big heart and desire to help humanity wherever he finds the need.

When Jackson read a news story about Ukrainian refugees sleeping in a train station he packed his bags and got to work, heading for an area near the border between Poland and Ukraine.  Says Mr. Jackson …

“There I saw the true cost of war.  Families fleeing their homes. Families separating from their loved ones. Families fleeing from the lives they knew.  It is just absolutely freezing outside. So, getting people into housing is absolutely vital.”

While walking through a packed refugee center near the Krakovets border crossing, Jackson spotted a little girl playing with a toy. Speaking through a translator, he learned her parents were originally from Congo and had lived in Ukraine for the last 12 years.

The father, Donatien Tshikele Mubabinge, said that when Russian bombs fell too close to their home, he, his wife, Ngalula, and their 2-year-old daughter, Tushike, left everything behind, including their savings. They tried taking a taxi to the border, but when traffic got too backed up, he says they had to walk nearly 40 miles (about 60 km), much of it with Tushike on his back.

After learning of their ordeal, Jackson booked a hotel room for the family and began searching for more permanent housing.

“It’s horrible why they’re leaving, but it’s inspiring at the same time — to see the human will and the human spirit and what they’re willing to do to save their own lives and the life of their child.”

After several days of searching, Jackson found an apartment in Krakow, Poland. Using donations to his organization, he secured the flat for a year and provided the Mubabinges with funds for food and necessities.

“I just know that this will let them relax a little bit. To give them the ability to start looking for work. You know, just to get their bearings.”

Jackson is continuing his efforts to help refugees in Poland. He was happy he could help this family through such a difficult time.

“It’s good to have wins, you know? In a situation like this, this was definitely a win.”

Even The Dodo got on the Aaron Jackson bandwagon when they learned that he had stopped by a local animal shelter to offer aid and was speaking to the director outside when a family approached. Walking in front of them on a leash was a beautiful cocker spaniel named Bella.  After speaking with the family, the shelter director turned to Jackson and said, “They’re actually refugees and want to forfeit over their dog to us because they’re homeless and don’t have anywhere to go, and they don’t want their dog to be out in the cold.”

Within 20 minutes, Jackson was able to set up the family with pet-friendly housing. The joy on everyone’s faces was evident — including Bella, who couldn’t stop wagging her tail.

Jackson has been working tirelessly to find housing for refugees, funding month-long stays, meals and basic necessities through Planting Peace.

“Some people cross and they have places to go. Other people cross and they have no money and no place to go. Everybody is a little different.”

Two thumbs up to Mr. Aaron Jackson who has been a humanitarian for all of his life and today is helping save lives in an untenable situation!

Where Is The Compassion???

Two things caught my attention first thing today and thus, it must be time for me to step into my snarky shoes.

Dangerous in Arizona

Wendy Rogers … remember the name, for she is by far the worst political wannabe I’ve seen, and I’ve seen some pretty awful ones lately!  Ms. Rogers spoke at the same white nationalist (KKK) rally last month that Representatives Margie Greene and Paul Gosar spoke at, and Ms. Rogers topped even those two for utter inhumane remarks like this one …

 “We need to build more gallows, make an example of these traitors who’ve betrayed our country.”

Who is this Rogers clown?  She is a state senator in Arizona who was once considered to be a traditional conservative, but apparently drank so much of the former guy’s Kool Aid that her mind has become a toxic fertile ground for the radical right-wing hatred we are seeing so much of in this country today.

When she won her current Arizona State Senate seat in 2020, she had lost five previous elections, so she changed her message to one of hate, of bigotry, of destruction and conspiracy theories.  For example, she refers to the COVID vaccine as a “bioweapon” and is full-on supportive of “The Big Lie” that is still a talking point in some Republican circles, though it has been debunked so many times that it’s a joke.  But all of her messages of hate seem to be working, for she is the biggest fundraiser in the Arizona state legislature, having raised some $2.5 million in 2021.

She has been censured by the Arizona Senate for her remarks, but it matters not to her …

“This censure is nothing more than an attempt to limit my speech. In the end, I rejoice in knowing I do and say what is right, and I speak as a free American regardless of the actions of this corrupted process today.”

Ms. Rogers is only a state senator and you might say she’s irrelevant outside the state of Arizona, but state politicians often aspire to higher office and this is a woman that we do not need in the United States Congress!  As much as I despise the likes of Greene, Boebert, Cawthorn and their ilk, this woman could prove to be twice as dangerous.  Arizona – if you guys want her, then fine, you can have her, but do not let her out of the state!!!

And in Florida … “Don’t Say Gay”!

I have a number of friends who live in Florida, and they are all good people, sensible people, kind, caring and compassionate people.  But obviously they are the anomaly in the state, for it seems the majority in Florida are egocentric, bigoted, homophobic, and cruel, starting with none other than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said …

“We are going to make sure parents are able to send their kid to kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into some of their school curriculum.”

Oh for Pete’s sake, Ronnie … wake up and walk into the 21st century!!!

Clinton McCracken, 49, a teacher at Howard Middle School Academy of Arts, voices his concerns …

“This is a dangerous bill, which basically tells our LGBTQ students that something is wrong with them. This bill says I won’t be able to have conversations or be able to create an affirmative space for my students.”

The bill passed the Florida Senate by 22-17 along party lines.  So … let me get this straight … the lives and well-being of Florida’s children has now become an issue for partisan politics???  I sure as hell am glad that I don’t live in Florida!  What a lot of bigots!!!  Everyone, it seems, must fit into a very narrow box in order to be treated with respect … the box will only hold white, straight, ‘Christian’ people, preferably males.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.