Essential??? I Think Not!!!

Merriam-Webster defines the word “essential” as:

Of the utmost importance: BASIC, INDISPENSABLE, NECESSARY

When I think about things that qualify under that definition, I think first of air, food, water, and shelter.  In truth, with only those we can survive.  Our lifestyles have, by necessity, added certain other things to the list, such as clothing, soap, medications, electricity, etc.  Now, I could expand the list even more, in light of 21st century living, to include companionship, the internet, a certain level of income – enough to pay for the other ‘essentials’ only, and maybe I would even include pets.

However, under no circumstances can I consider guns to be essential … not by the broadest stretch of the imagination.  And yet, that is exactly what the buffoon in the Oval Office, coerced by one of the nation’s largest lobbying groups, has decided.  Guns are an essential part of everyday living.  Hmmmm … makes me wonder just how I have survived all these 68 years without a gun?

In recent weeks, governors stepped up to the plate where the federal government dropped the ball, and ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses, including gun shops.  Well, never let it be said that the National Rifle Association (NRA) took that lying down!  They contacted former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, incoming Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and a former NRA employee who is now a White House staffer.  At the end of the day, the Department of Homeland Security added the gun industry to its “critical infrastructure” list, prompting governors around the country to declare them “essential businesses” that can operate during the pandemic, just as critical as grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies.

BULLSHIT!

The FBI conducted 3.7 million background checks in March, a new single-month record.  More than 1% of the entire population of this country bought guns in a single month!  What the hell?  Do they think they can kill the coronavirus by shooting it?

There is so much wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin!

First off, consider this … people are confined to their homes more with their families.  In some cases, this is probably a good thing – families will bond in new ways (although I dread the new ‘baby boom’ that is sure to emerge around Christmas time, for the world is already over-populated).  But, in many cases, families will begin to get on one another’s nerves and I fully expect the incidence of domestic violence to increase significantly.  Bad enough that papa is smacking mama and the kiddies around, but if papa has that brand-new gun in the drawer of his nightstand …ambulanceNow think about this one … people are getting frustrated by the lack of such ‘essentials’ as toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and often even an onion or an apple are in short supply at the grocery.  What about that guy with a bit of a temper, who has a list of ten things and can only find one when he’s at the grocery, but he sees another customer with two carts overflowing with … yep, you got it … toilet paper.  He doesn’t think, but reaches for that gun in his pocket …ambulance-2I’ve said more than once that the suicide rate in this country will double or more this year, due to the depression that is inevitable for some of us in this state of isolation.  So, John Doe has lost his job, cannot pay his rent, his lousy $1,200 government subsidy is long gone, and his family refuses to visit or allow him to visit for … who knows how long?  He might take an overdose and might survive that, but if he has a gun …graveIf you had any doubts … if you had so much as a shred of doubt that the government of this country is bought and paid for by the NRA, those doubts should be erased by now.  We the People, our lives, our well-being, do not matter one bit to the likes of Trump and his cronies.  Yes, we need the grocery stores to stay open, for without food we die, and in this nation, few are self-sufficient in growing their own food.  Yes, we need the hospitals, medical centers and pharmacies to remain open, for without them, some people will die.  But, if the gun shops close, lives may actually be saved!

At the end of 2017, there were 393 million guns in civilian hands … in a nation of 330 million people!  Think on that one … why do we even need gun shops, if there are already more guns than people in this country???  They for damn certain are NOT essential!

The average person in this country is already in fear of picking up some germ at the grocery store, and now … in addition … we better be looking for suspicious bulges in men’s pants pockets (no, not those).  In recent years, I have been known to walk out of a store if I saw somebody carrying a gun, but in today’s mentality of fear, it’s likely that every Tom, Dick and Harry will be “packing heat”.  And I’m willing to bet that the majority of those 3.7 million who bought guns last month don’t have a clue how to use them!  Just last week in Michigan, a man accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun he bought to defend himself against “pandemic-related chaos”.

The United States is the only country on the entire globe with such a gun culture that guns are considered more important than books, education, clothing, or even dentists.  This nation needs to do some serious thinking about its priorities.  Personally, if I have to have a gun to feel safe, then this is not a life worth living, and I feel more threatened by a gun than I do any virus.

Only In The U.S.

The following snippets came from The Trace, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States.


The gun companies defying a stock market shock

Business closures and lockdowns have dealt withering blows to the economy. But after roughly two straight weeks of stock market declines, the nation’s three publicly traded gun companies have posted dramatic gains.

American Outdoor Brands, the parent company of Smith & Wesson; Vista Outdoor, which owns several ammunition companies; and Sturm, Ruger & Co. all posted dramatic gains through the past week. As of March 17, American Outdoor Brands showed the strongest weekly change in stock price — a more than 40 percent increase — of any company in the Electronic Technology sector, which includes brands like Texas Instruments and Apple.

“There’s so much money to be made in making the population fearful of its individual security.” – Caroline Light, Harvard professor whose field of study includes “America’s love affair with armed self-defense”


And already …

Police say a man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who armed himself with a shotgun “due to the coronavirus that was going around,” unintentionally killed his 13-year-old cousin, believing it wasn’t loaded.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a dispute between roommates over coronavirus restrictions led one to shoot and kill the other in self-defense, authorities said.

A man in North Carolina killed his wife and five other family members before turning the gun on himself.

A roving active shooter killed four people, including a police officer, and wounded a civilian and another officer in Missouri.

“They’re guarding their toilet paper, pretty much.” – Marty Patterson, assistant manager of National Armory in Moon, Pennsylvania, on the surge of coronavirus-related gun-buying.


We don’t need a virus to kill us … we’re just going to kill each other.

The Majority of the People Want Better Gun Governance

One of my biggest pet peeves, as most of you know, is the gun culture in this nation. Were it within my power, I would revoke the 2nd Amendment, and I’m fairly certain that the Founding Fathers would kick themselves if they could see what a misinterpretation we have made of it. Our friend Keith has written an excellent post pointing out that the majority of the people in this nation actually SUPPORT stricter gun legislation, yet … our legislators ignore us. Thank you, Keith, for this excellent, eye-opening post!

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From an article called “Polls find Americans mostly are supportive of stricter laws on guns” by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughn of the Raleigh News and Observer, please note the following cited survey results. Note these results have been fact checked by the paper’s Fact Checking Project.

– Gallup’s poll from August, 2019 noted “61% would support a ban on semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles.”

– The Civitas Institute (a conservstive policy group) poll from September, 2019 showed “58% of respondents saying gun laws were not strict enough.” Note of the Civitas poll respondents, “48% either owned a gun or had someone in their home who owned a gun.”

– A Quinnipac University poll from May, 2019 showed “61% of Americans support stricter gun laws. The same poll showed 94% of Americans support required background checks for gun buyers. And, 77% of those polled support ‘requiring individuals to obtain a license…

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Give Us Back Our Elections …

One of my pet peeves is the 2010 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (FEC), in which the Court ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.  In a nutshell, it opened the door to unlimited donations by wealthy corporations, such lobbying groups as the NRA, and others to basically buy our politicians.  This is why we have a Congress that is unwilling to enact gun regulations, despite the fact that some 80% of the people in this country are in favour of such things as enhanced background checks and a ban on assault weapons.  This is why our very lives are placed at risk by the rolling back of environmental regulations that are so crucial to preserving life on earth.  And this is why there is an ever-widening income gap between the billionaires and the rest of us who live payday to payday.  And this is why ours is no longer a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’, but rather of, by, and for only the wealthy and powerful people.

I have featured Robert Reich on this blog a few times before.  He is an economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.  He, better than most, understand the inner workings of our government.  Sans partisanship, he explains why we simply must overturn Citizens United, must get the big money out of politics, and return our elections to We the People.  Please take three minutes to watch …

What’s New? Just Another Mass Shooting

Friends and family members were gathered in the backyard to spend time together, share a meal, and watch a football game last night in a neighborhood in Fresno, California.  Today, four of those people are dead and at least six others in the hospital in critical condition.  Why?  How?

Guns.

Not much is known yet, but police surmise there were multiple suspects who sneaked into the backyard and opened fire.  Police are hoping to gain information from neighbor’s security cameras.  No victims’ names have been released as yet, and few details have been reported at this time.  Naturally, the usual and increasingly meaningless thoughts and prayers have been sent.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed her outrage that gun legislation the House passed more than 260 days ago is being held up in the Senate …

“Enough is enough. The daily tragedy of gun violence continues to inflict terror and violence into communities across the country. Americans deserve real action to keep them safe, but Republicans continue to obstruct meaningful, bipartisan solutions to protect our children and communities. No one’s political survival is more important than the survival of our children.”

In my last post about a mass shooting, two short days ago, our friend Scottie provided the following information that I think is relevant here …

“The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey finds that 89 percent of Americans favor expanded background checks for gun purchasers; 76 percent support “red flag” laws to identify dangerous persons and deny them guns, and 75 percent favor a voluntary buyback program in which the government would purchase firearms from current owners. Sixty-two percent of Americans favor a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons.”

89% … that figure includes a lot of gun owners.  Only 11% of the people in this country are against gun regulations.  It becomes obvious at this point that our elected representatives, particularly those of the republican party, do not represent the people of this country!!!  How the hell many more people have to die before these jackasses get voted out of office???

Guns.

Only in the United States of America are guns more sacred than human life.

Two Children Died — They Shouldn’t Have

Well, folks, there has been another school shooting.  This time, the shooter, Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, was a sixteen-year-old student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California.  His mother dropped him off at school, he went into the school, pulled a gun from his backpack, fired all but one of the rounds in the gun, then turned it on himself and shot himself in the head.

Now, according to the New York Times, investigators are trying to understand why he took the gun out of his backpack and shot his fellow students.  I think the more basic question becomes, “Why did this sixteen-year-old boy have access to a gun to begin with?”  Police say there is no indication that his mother knew he had the gun in his backpack, but police also say they found six other guns, some not even registered, in his home.  It seems to me that the mother (his father is dead) should be under investigation for a) having what qualifies as an illegal arsenal in her home, b) leaving guns unsecured and able to be accessed by children, and c) child neglect/endangerment.

Of the five students he shot, two died from their wounds, three others are hospitalized.  The shooter did not immediately die but was rushed to the hospital where he died a day later, Friday afternoon.  The two students who were killed are Gracie Anne Muehlberger, a 15-year-old girl, and Dominic Blackwell, a 14-year-old boy.  One of the three injured students has been released from the hospital, the other two are expected to be released sometime this weekend.  All three are expected to survive … thankfully.

Police say they have no motive … the shooter did not leave behind any manifesto or letter, though it was obviously a planned attack.  The FBI are combing social media, looking for some clue as to what may have caused the boy to commit this horrendous crime.

Those are the facts, as they are known today.  The story made the news, but it seemingly paled in comparison to the impeachment news, Donald Trump’s hate-filled tweets, Roger Stone’s trial, and Rudy Giuliani’s stupidity.  Perhaps it was because this time, only 2 students died?  Perhaps the people in this nation are becoming inured to gun violence?  Perhaps there is a new feeling of hopelessness, in light of the fact that the National Rifle Association (NRA) appear to control enough of our legislators to keep any gun regulations from passing into law.

So, you are probably asking yourselves why I am even writing about this one, given that I have said it all before, time and time again, and that there is not much that can be added at this point.  Well, I’ve asked myself that, as well.  Why bother?  I’ve said it all before, I’m preaching to the choir because my readers are 99% in agreement with me on this, my words won’t reach the ears of those who need to hear them, and even if they did, they wouldn’t heed my words.

But, it seems to me that if we allow ourselves to fall into that trap, if we throw our hands up in the air and say, “Why bother?”, then we have lost the battle … the good guys will have given up and turned the nation, the lives of our children and grandchildren, over to the thugs.  At the very least … the very least … Gracie Anne Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell deserve to be recognized, to be remembered, to be honoured.  But, I believe we owe them more than that.

I believe we owe Gracie Anne and Dominic and the other 842[1] children under age 18 killed by guns so far in 2019, and the other 2,447 children injured by guns thus far this year, to make our voices heard, to keep on shouting loud and clear, to work to bring about an end to the corruption of our politicians and the NRA.  WE OWE IT TO THE CHILDREN!!!

Only in the United States is there free and unfettered access to guns by every man, woman and child, bar almost none.  Only in the United States do we send our children to school, never knowing whether they will return at the end of the day.  The people who could stop the madness, won’t.  Their children haven’t been affected … yet.

Please, friends, vote out the bastards in Congress who take donations from the NRA.  Let’s start using some good sense.  Find out who in your state is taking NRA money [2] and get them out!  Surely the lives of our children matter more than our right to own a killing machine?

[1] Gun Violence Archive 2019

[2] Open Secrets database … searchable by state, party, election cycle, amount

Note to readers:  Saturday Surprise is on hiatus for this week … I felt this was more important.  Apologies, and Saturday Surprise will, hopefully, return next week.

Filosofa Rants …

Tonight I am on a rant.  I do know that what Trump actually does is more important than what he says, but … sometimes the two go hand-in-hand.  Now that a formal impeachment inquiry has been started, we fully expect him to go off the rails for the duration, and I’ve said before that he is even more dangerous when he feels threatened or cornered, as he surely must feel now.


Round and round it goes, where it stops no one knows

Ever since the news of the whistleblower was first hinted at, life for those of us who care about such things, has been rather like being in a high-speed blender … far too many goings-on to keep up with, far too many jaw-dropping moments.  And it just keeps getting crazier and crazier … I well remember the Watergate era, the resignation of President Richard Nixon … yes, I was a political nerd even then … I remember what would become known as the “Saturday Night Massacre”.  I remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the aftermath.  And through it all, I do not remember the level of chaos, of utter contempt for the rule of law, as we are seeing today.  And this is only the beginning!

The latest is that apparently Trump is trading a promise to the National Rifle Association (NRA) that he will not support any additional gun legislation in exchange for monetary assistance with his legal fees during the impeachment process and next year’s election.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a minute.

On Friday, Trump hosted Chief Executive of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, at the White House for a meeting.  The information was provided to the New York Times by two people who attended the meeting, but later an NRA spokesperson denied that there was an offer of support in exchange for Trump’s opposition to gun laws.  Sorry, but given the history of both Trump and LaPierre … I have no trouble whatsoever believing that they agreed to such a deal.  And what the heck else would they have talked about … the price of coffee beans?

The NRA, in case you’ve forgotten, provided some $30 million toward Trump’s election campaign in 2016 … if you wondered why he falls in line whenever the NRA calls and asks “How high?” when Wayne LaPierre tells him to “JUMP!”, wonder no more.

So, to summarize that … the lives of the people in this nation are as nothing to Trump, and he is willing to trade away our lives in exchange for financial help from the most dishonest group in the U.S.  Got that, folks?


In other Trumpian-news …

Donald Trump is about to face impeachment charges, in all likelihood.  He tried to blackmail the president of the Ukraine to rig next year’s election.  He has obstructed justice.  He is holding kids in cages at the southern border, despite an order by a federal judge to reunite those children with their parents.  He has diverted funds that were budgeted to help with recovery efforts for Puerto Rico still suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, in order to build a wall that nobody wants and that will serve no purpose other than to feed Trump’s ego.  But … what was the breaking news yesterday afternoon?

State Dept. intensifies email probe of Hillary Clinton’s former aides

That’s right, folks.  The United States Department of State is more worried about Hillary Clinton’s emails from several years ago … emails that were already investigated and it was determined that there was no crime, no breach of national security … than they are worried about the person in the Oval Office who is committing a crime-a-day, it would seem!  And on our tax dollars, folks … our hard-earned money is paying for the State Department to waste their time investigating a non-issue, while the most corrupt individual in this nation is playing footsies with the Russians and the Saudis, rigging next year’s election, and doing his best to shred the U.S. Constitution.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch … Ivanka Trump did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct U.S. business outside government channels, according to Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.  Is there some double-standard in play here?

Oh … and in case you didn’t hear a couple of weeks ago, Trump is urging the House Judiciary Committee to launch an investigation into President Obama!

Barack Obama signed a book deal in 2017, just as other former presidents have, and a production deal with Netflix a year later.  All on the up-and-up.  But Trump, under the gun himself, has to deflect … to anybody he can think of …

“We want to find out what happened with the last Democrat president. Let’s look into Obama, the way they’ve looked at me … They could look into the book deal that President Obama made. Look at the Obama Book Deal, or the ridiculous Netflix deal.”

Ridiculous?  Smoke and mirrors?  Sure, but … folks, this isn’t just some kid throwing a temper tantrum … it’s the person who was elected to lead a nation of some 330 million people, and this is what we get for our money?  I don’t know about you folks, but I feel cheated … terribly cheated.  We deserve better … much better.dump-trump

You May Have Missed This One …

Did you all know there was another mass shooting in the U.S. on Saturday morning?  It happened in Lancaster, South Carolina at a sports bar – 2 people were killed, and 8 others injured.  There was no “breaking news” update on my phone, I saw nothing in the usual places about it, and even once I saw brief mention of it on the Associated Press (AP) website and went in search of further information, I found the story only in the back pages of the New York Times and Time magazine.  Nowhere else.  Why?

Is it because only two people were killed?  Because it took place in a bar?  Because it was South Carolina?  Or because we are becoming so inured to the news of mass shootings that this wasn’t really considered by the editors to be ‘big news’?  Or … more ominous still, was it suppressed intentionally?  I don’t know the answer, and I’m not trying to put forth some conspiracy theory, but folks … 10 people were shot!  Why was this not ‘breaking news’???

A clue to why this wasn’t national news may lie with the statement by Lancaster Country Sheriff Barry Faile …

“This was a violent incident of huge magnitude that was witnessed by lots of people.  We don’t think this was a situation where a random person armed himself and went into a randomly selected location and shot a bunch of unknown people.”

Apparently, the sheriff believes that the shooting was the result of a local conflict.  While he declined to discuss the nature of the dispute, he said that one of those killed had been involved in the conflict, which had been going on for a couple of months.  He also said that neither the victim involved in the dispute nor the person officials were seeking as the gunman were legally allowed to have guns, both having been previously convicted on firearms charges.

So, because it was rather a Hatfield vs McCoys situation in the rural south, it’s not newsworthy?  It’s still a mass shooting with people dead and injured because … because … well, guns. I guess that since it wasn’t widely reported, the NRA and our elected lawmakers didn’t feel they needed to bother to even send their ‘thoughts and prayers’ … it’s the weekend, after all … they obviously have more important things to do, like playing golf or watching sports on television than to be bothered that people are losing their lives.

This summer, we heard about El Paso, Dayton, and Odessa … they were big news, for a few days anyway.  But did you realize that between Memorial Day in May, and Labour Day in September, there were 26 mass shootings in 18 states, leaving 126 people dead?  More than half of the mass killing suspects this summer had a family or romantic tie to at least one victim. Among them: A teenager in Alabama accused of killing five relatives, a father in Iowa who killed his wife and two school-aged sons, a man in Oklahoma charged with killing his wife and stepchildren.

A variety of scenarios and motives.  The common denominator?  A gun.  Time and time and time again we hear the tired old NRA motto that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.  True, but people use guns to kill people.  Sure, people also use knives and fists to kill people, but a gun does it so much quicker and more efficiently.  You stand a good chance of outrunning or outmaneuvering a man with a knife, but you cannot outrun a gun.  Make no mistake … contrary to what those gun lovers will tell you, a gun has one purpose and only one purpose:  to kill.

While several of the summer’s 26 mass shootings dominated national headlines, others — like a triple homicide in rural Pennsylvania — received little attention beyond where they happened.  WHY???  Is this nation becoming so numb to the daily toll of gun violence that it is no longer considered newsworthy unless it happens in the public eye? Or is it possible that the ‘free press’ is not as free as we believe?

With each mass shooting that did receive national media attention, the public outcry grew louder and louder.  When Ohio’s governor spoke at a vigil in August, Dayton residents drowned him out with shouts of “Do something!”  Imagine if every mass shooting had been headline news … how loud might the public be screaming for gun laws today?  Instead, most are swept under the carpet …

Think about it.

Only in America

It’s September, and you know what that means!  Shorter days, cooler temperatures, the leaves on the trees starting to turn from green to vibrant gold, purple and red.  Pumpkins and apples, the smell of woodsmoke in the air, and … oh yes, those big yellow buses once again rumbling down the street – back to school! school-bus.pngYou won’t see a back-to-school ad like this in France, Germany, or the UK.  You won’t even see an ad like this in Syria or Afghanistan.  Only in America would you would ever see an advertisement like this one.

That was a Public Service Announcement by the Sandy Hook Promise, an anti-violence nonprofit founded by the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012.  Raw, jaw-dropping, disturbing?  Yeah, it was meant to be.  Only in America.  What a claim to fame, eh?

This morning, I watched the neighborhood kids walking down the street, backpacks slung over their shoulders, heading to the corner to await the big yellow bus.  I was thinking, as I watched, that I hope they all make it home safe and sound today.  Only in America.

We do everything possible to make sure our kids are safe from the day they are born.  We spend hundreds of dollars on the best car seat to protect them in case of a crash. We spend even more on monitoring systems so that we can listen for the slightest aberration in their breathing while they sleep.  We sterilize their bottles and insist on only the purest ingredients in their food.  We buy them helmets and other safety equipment to protect them in the event of a fall from a bicycle or skateboard.  But the one thing the citizens of this nation refuse to do to protect their children is to demand Congress pass laws to limit guns in the hands of unqualified civilians.

I’ve often wondered, if Mitch McConnell’s grandchild were the victim of a school shooter, would he then be willing to talk about gun legislation?

Only in the U.S. will you find these …backpacksYep … kid-themed bullet-proof backpacks.  Wow, huh?  According to a CBS News report …

“Demand for bulletproof and bullet-resistant backpacks and related products are soaring this back-to-school season amid growing fear about mass shooters.”

Of course, they are only useful if the child is shot in the back and if he happens to be wearing his backpack at the time he is shot.  What next?  Full body armour and bullet-proof helmets?  Only in America.

Nearly a quarter of a million children have been affected by gun violence in their schools since Columbine in 1999.  Think about that one for a minute.  And we’re not talking about New York City, Houston, or Los Angeles, folks!  We’re talking about Newtown, Connecticut, population 27,560.  We’re talking about Parkland, Florida, population 32,202.  Columbine, Colorado, population 24,280.  The madness isn’t just in the cities … it has come right to a neighborhood near you.  Or, maybe it has come to your neighborhood.

school-shootingsThe NRA and our own lawmakers have suggested that arming teachers is the solution … more guns.  But we all know it isn’t.  Guns don’t belong in schools.  Period.  Not in the hands of teachers, and for damn sure not in the hands of students.  Only in America would such a ludicrous proposal even be considered.

The only answer is serious gun regulation.  You know it and I know it.  Our legislators know it, but their children are safe, they go to posh private schools with the latest technology to protect their children, and thus their interests lie in lining their pockets with donations from the gun industry.  What does it matter if a few of our children die?  Only in America.

Think of your children, your grandchildren, the kid down the street who brought you a handful of wilting wildflowers last week “just because”.  I think the video by Sandy Hook Promise should be required watching for every single lawmaker in this country.  Let them think how they would feel if that little girl in the bathroom at the end were their own child.  Only in America.

Snarky Snippets To End The Week …

I was plugging along, working on a post about the democrats and last night’s debate, when I came across a few snippets that … well, I just couldn’t resist another snarky snippets post!  The debate post will come later, hopefully tomorrow afternoon, but for today I was sidetracked … that seems to happen a lot!


She got WHAT from WHOM???

Trump’s kids are hot on the campaign trail, stumping for daddy.  Late last month, daughter Ivanka (you know, the useless one whose sole purpose in the administration seems to be to stand by daddy fluttering her lashes) attended a “retreat” (what the Sam Heck are they retreating from?) arranged by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Jackson Hole in the Wyoming mountains. The sole purpose was to bilk money from the wealthy potential donors in attendance.IvankaIvanka was asked what personality traits she has inherited from her parents.  She said that her mother gave her an example of how to be a powerful, successful woman, and that … wait for it … her father had given her his “moral compass”! Hoo-boy!  If that one didn’t make you nearly fall out of your seat laughing, then nothing will!  Moral compass???  What moral compass???  Well, folks, you’ve got to feel sorry for the little Trumps, if nothing else.  Ivanka and Jared have three (this family really makes the case for forced sterilization):  Arabella Rose, Joseph Frederick, and Theodore James.  See, they cannot even give the poor kids simple names … well, at least their last name isn’t Trump, though I’m not sure ‘Kushner’ is any more respectable.


Skewed priorities

I’ve heard of ‘vaping’, but never cared enough to figure out exactly what it is. I knew only that it was a replacement for smoking.  But, in the past few weeks it has been in all the headlines, as apparently a few people … I believe it is six people, to be exact … had died as a result of vaping.  I still wasn’t all that interested, and I’ll tell you why.  I am a smoker.  I started smoking at age 13, some 55 years ago.  I smoke, on average, 3 packs a day.  That is my choice, and I’m well aware of the health risks involved, and I accept full responsibility for my actions and the results of those actions.  Period.  So, if people choose vaping instead of smoking tobacco, fine, but accept that the onus is on you, not society at large.

But what did finally catch my attention was when it was announced that Trump is considering a ban on flavoured electronic cigarettes.  The reason?

“We can’t allow people to get sick. And we can’t have our youth be so affected.”

Oh … oh oh oh … the IRONY!!!  This, from the ‘man’ who has fought tooth and nail to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and cause some 20 million people to lose their access to affordable health care!  This from the ‘man’ who refuses to even consider the most minimal of gun regulations, due to pressure from his buddies over at the NRA!

There is not even any evidence thus far that it was vaping that caused the six deaths.  Consider the most recent case, a 50-year-old man from Kansas who had a history of underlying health issues!  Not a child, not even a healthy adult!  Six cases … and he’s going to ban it!  Heck, last year in the U.S., five people died from eating lettuce contaminated with E. coli from contaminated water that was used to irrigate the crops.  Simply testing the water would have prevented it, but Trump & Co. even then refused to make testing of irrigation water mandatory.  And … Trump did not ban lettuce … I know this because I just bought some on Wednesday.

There have been 22 school shootings in the U.S. in 2019 thus far.  Six deaths possibly related to vaping, and he’ll ban e-cigarettes, but 22 school shootings don’t even warrant a consideration of enhanced gun safety laws???  This, folks, is a problem.  This is an upside-down setting of priorities. The only thing I can figure is that the vaping industry doesn’t have a strong enough lobby.


And, since nobody … not even me … does snarky better than the late-night hosts, let’s let Jimmy Kimmel start our weekend out with bunch of laughs!


Have a great weekend, my friends!