My Imagination Runs Amok …

It is early June, the crisis point on the debt ceiling has been reached, and word has come down from on high that “Nobody leaves the Capitol until there is agreement on raising the debt ceiling NOW!!!”  And so, the 435 representatives of the 50 states, tired and grumpy, are once again trying to hammer out a compromise that will at least appease both sides.  For the purpose of this conversation, there are only two voices – Republican and Democrat, shortened to Rep & Dem – representing all members of each party’s interest.

Dem:  Well, the problem is actually quite simple … putting it in layman’s terms for you, consider the family whose bills exceed their monthly income.  Now, they have a few choices:  take another or get a better-paying job to earn more money; reduce some expenses, cut back on non-essentials; or sell something for additional funds.  This is where the U.S. government is at.  Now, let’s talk about those three choices.

Rep:  I’ve been saying all along that we need to reduce expenses!  Those retired people are getting around $1,600 every month for sitting on their porch swings throwing peanuts out for the birds!  Cut that in half … they should have been smarter and saved while they were working!

Dem:  I’m not even gonna dignify that with a response!  Those old folks paid into Social Security all their lives on the promise by the U.S. government – US – that they would have a cushion for their old age.  You want to jerk that right out from under them?  I know you probably don’t pay the bills in your house or do the shopping, but let me tell you, $1,600 a month is nothing!

Rep:  Okay, okay, you bleeding heart liberal!  So, what’s your better idea, or do you just want to rebut mine?

Dem:  We increase revenue by … guess what … taxing your rich buddies!  Percentage-wise, they are paying less than your average working Joe, especially since the tax cuts your lying little buddy gave them in 2017!  Cut their loopholes, institute a fully gradient taxation schedule, and no exceptions!

Rep:  Oh no!!!  You start doing that, and our donor contributions will shrivel to nothing!  Absolutely NOT!  That idea is not even on the table!

Dem:  Alright, then … that leaves the third option:  we sell something.

Rep:  Like what … maybe the White House, complete with the president in it?  (laughs at his own joke)

Dem:  No, I’m thinking maybe … well look, we’ve got 50 states, right?  Personally, since it’s likely going to be underwater in ten years anyway, I’d opt for selling Florida.

Rep:  I knew you’d pick a red state to sell … just knew it!  Okay, let’s take a different approach and look at which state is smallest?  I’m thinking that would be Rhode Island, right?  Only about … let me look this up right quick … only 1,544 square miles!  We’d hardly even miss it!

Dem:  No way, Josè!  First, it may be the smallest in terms of land mass, but not of population.  Second, it is in the heart of the New England states … nobody is going to buy a state that’s surrounded on all sides by other states.  But, that brings to mind another possibility, one that you might even agree to.  Alaska!  Alaska has the fourth smallest population, only 724,357 people, and it isn’t even physically attached to the U.S., but rather to Canada!  Why, I bet we could make Justin Trudeau an offer he couldn’t refuse and he’d snap it up in a heartbeat!

Rep:  Well … I dunno.  That would increase your majority in the Senate by two.

Dem:  And it would increase your majority here in the House by one.  And what, really, does Alaska contribute to the national good?

Rep:  Hey, there’s oil under all that snow and ice!  OIL!!!

Dem:  And you know as well as I do that the future of oil is doomed.  You can deny it ‘til the cows come home, but climate science is real and oil is soon going to be a thing of the past as we move on toward more renewable, environmentally-friendly energy sources.  WAKE UP!

Rep:  Yeah, yeah … I know it and you know it, but I can’t tell my constituents that, for I’ve spent years convincing them that climate change is a Democratic hoax!  Why, I’d never get re-elected!  Not to mention I’d lose all those lovely donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Dem:  Okay, fine, whatever.  It’s after 2:00 a.m., we’re all tired, and we have a mandate to come to an agreement before we can go home and crawl into our beds, so … do we have an agreement?  We raise the debt ceiling, pay the bills and let the old folks keep on keeping on, and to make up the difference, we sell Alaska to the Canadians?

Rep:  I don’t much like it, but I sense it’s the best we’re going to manage, so … okay, deal.

They shake hands, and the deal is done. 


There just might be something wrong with our priorities when …

  • The United States Supreme Court, the highest authority in the land, refuses to step in to protect voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, or other civil rights, but … they can find the time and energy to give a murderer the right to “be touched” during his execution.
  • On Monday, a Boeing 737 crashed in China. I got the breaking news on my phone in the wee hours of the morning, but later on I had to search for information about the plane and its 132 passengers.  There was, however, plenty of news about Justice Clarence Thomas being hospitalized for a non-COVID infection.
  • The United States Senate found it in their little cold, dark hearts, to pass a bill making daylight savings time permanent, thereby screwing with our circadian rhythms for the rest of our lives, but they could not even consider passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.

Yo, folks … I think it’s about time we make our lawmakers, judges, and the media aware of what WE THE PEOPLE find relevant and important to our lives!  In keeping with that, I have composed a list of my ten top priorities …

  1. Voting rights – We the People demand that every citizen age 18 and over be allowed to vote, regardless of income level, skin colour, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. The right to vote is the first and foremost basic brick in the foundation of democratic principles.  If we restrict voting rights in any way, then we cannot in good faith call this nation a ‘democracy’.
  2. Education – We the People demand that schools teach facts … all the facts! We do not wish our children to be taught that one race is somehow superior to another, or that ‘white’ people have always treated everyone fairly.  We want our children to understand their past so that they don’t make the same mistakes their ancestors did, and … AND we want them to be taught critical thinking skills – how to think for themselves, rather than to simply believe what they hear on Fox “News”.
  3. Healthcare – There is absolutely no reason that anybody in this nation should have to choose between taking their child to the doctor when he is sick or paying the rent. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed under the Obama Administration, is great but it has been chipped away at, and we have found the chinks in the armour that need to be patched.  It is time that every single person, young and old alike, should be able to get quality healthcare for a reasonable price.  WHY are some medications still so expensive, years after their R&D costs have been covered many times over?  Why isn’t Medicare allowed to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies?  Expand the ACA and stop chipping away at it!
  4. Taxation – Currently, the wealthy – the top 1% or so – pay a lower tax rate than the person who delivers your mail, serves your food in a restaurant, or picks up your trash! We the People demand that in our system of progressive tax rates, every person and corporation should pay their fair share.  Get rid of the damn loopholes and other contrivances that allow the wealthy to thrive while the rest of us struggle simply to survive.
  5. Minimum Wage – The minimum wage in this supposedly wealthy nation has not been raised since July 24, 2009 when it was raised to $7.25 as approved two years earlier by Congress. How would you like to live on $15,000 per year, less taxes and other deductions?  NOBODY can survive on that, let alone take care of a family.  This Congress is the wealthiest in our history, and that explains why the rest of us are getting poorer … they are in cahoots with the wealthiest (see #4) in the nation.  Once you rise to a certain point on the wealth scale, you seem to lose sight of those who aren’t as fortunate.
  6. Environment – Read the latest report by the Interglobal Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) … it speaks for itself. Congress must pass laws to end our reliance on fossil fuels and the clock has run out on time for debate – just do it!  I rather doubt that any member of Congress has actually read the IPCC report, and obviously they are more concerned about whether to change the clocks twice a year than whether our great-grandchildren will have air to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink.
  7. Guns – Some 89% of the people in this country are in favour of some form of gun regulation. That includes members of the notorious National Rifle Association.  And yet … Congress cannot (will not) pass even the most basic of gun laws such as requiring background checks on ALL gun sales, or a ban on assault weapons.  WHY???  Because the gun lobby pays millions of dollars to members of Congress to buy their votes.  Get rid of assault weapons, make carrying a concealed or unregistered weapon a federal crime, and establish a “one strike you’re out” law about guns.  Do our lives matter in this country, or not?
  8. Women’s rights – Here is where the U.S. Supreme Court must step in and stop the individual states from sending women back into a virtual slavery to males. The right to make our own decisions about our own bodies is crucial, yet many states, particularly those in the south, are attempting to take those rights away from us.  The claim to being “pro-life” is laughable, for the very people trying to send us back to the days of “barefoot & pregnant” could care less about the child that may result in depriving a woman of her rights – their only goal is to deprive the woman, to ensure she is dominated and controlled.
  9. Animal rights – Hunters who kill animals for sport are, in my book, the lowest scum of the earth. The animal has no chance against a high-powered, long-range rifle.   Make the wanton killing of any animal a federal crime punishable by a severe prison sentence – say, life in prison, since they took away the life of a beautiful lion, deer, or other animal.
  10. Media – Any media outlet, whether mainstream, social or other, must be held to some standard. Yes, I realize we have freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and I support those wholeheartedly.  But lies have consequences and as it currently stands, any fool can say anything on-screen.  Since people aren’t always intelligent beings, violence is often incited and lives lost because of a lack of responsibility on the part of the media.  The time has come to enforce the responsibilities that go with those ‘rights’.  You hear that, Tucker Carlson?

Those are my top ten – what are some of yours?

Let’s get our priorities straight.  Let’s demand responsible action from all elected and appointed officials from the local level all the way up to the presidency, including the Supreme Court and Congress.  Let’s do our homework, research the candidates and the issues, and demand accountability.

Filosofa Takes on Mitch

Mitch McConnell has found a permanent home on my radar, it would seem.  Every day he says or does something to spark my temper and this week he’s been on a veritable roll.

Mitch McConnell, aka Moscow Mitch, says we don’t matter!

I have never been a fan of the ignoble, inglorious Mitch McConnell, but now he has crossed my red line.  Referring to President Biden’s plan to increase taxes on corporations and on the wealthy (such as Mitch himself), McConnell claimed he would not support Biden’s infrastructure plan because of the “massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy.”  Think about that one for a minute, friends.  “All the productive parts of our economy” in Mitch’s mind, are the wealthy like himself.  We, the people who have worked 40+ hours per week every week of our adult lives, the people who built the cars, mined the coal, grew the food, educated our children, are nothing!  F*ck you, Mitch McConnell!

I had my first full-time job when I was 13 years old, and apart from a few years off to raise three children and earn three college degrees, I worked my entire adult life until I retired in 2008.  Throughout my career, I often worked long hours, sometimes as much as 16 hours a day … but I’m not one of the “productive parts of our economy”???  Today, my daughter works 12-14 hour days as a nurse, but according to McConnell, the rich bastard sheltering his assets offshore is a more productive part of our economy than she is?

President Biden guaranteed there would be no tax increase on anyone earning less than $400,000 per year.  In my wildest dreams, my most profitable year, I came nowhere close to making $400,000 per year, or even $100,000 per year.  Anyone making more than $400,000 per year ought to pay a higher tax rate!  Corporations profiting hand over fist ought to be paying their fair share.  And those millionaires and billionaires who have long enjoyed paying accountants to create tax shelters and loopholes rather than pay their fair share in taxes ought to have to make amends!  For years, the wealthy and the corporations they own have paid a smaller percentage in taxes than the average working stiff.

The backbone of our economy is the people who produce the goods and services, and they already pay more than their fair share in taxes.  They are the productive parts of our economy.  NEVER forget that, Mitch McConnell!

And in other Mitchie-related news …

I wrote in August 2019 about the New York Times venture into history in the 1619 Project

… a worthy project …

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

I haven’t spent as much time as I had hoped reviewing the project, but everything I’ve seen of it has been absolutely excellent … a factual, honest view of our history.  But yesterday we learned that Mitch McConnell sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona asking him to abandon the factual recounting of the true beginnings of the United States as perpetuated by such as the 1619 Project.  McConnell calls this “revisionist history”!  WHAT, Mitchie … do you think your friggin’ ancestors didn’t own slaves, beat them with whips, and sell their children to the highest bidder?  Do you think that is all a myth?  Do you think that Black people were brought here on tourist cruise boats and made to feel welcome at the Ritz-Carlton???

McConnell claims these programs such as the 1619 Project “re-orient” the view of American History “away from their intended purposes toward a politicized and divisive agenda.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

In fairness, Mitch makes a valid point near the beginning of his letter …

“A 2020 survey found that only 51% of Americans can name the three branches of our federal government. A 2019 study found that majorities of Americans in 49 states and the District of Columbia would earn an “F” on the U.S. Citizenship Exam. The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress found that just 15% of American eighth-graders are “proficient” in U.S. history. School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have almost certainly intensified these problems by triggering substantial learning losses, particularly for students from underserved backgrounds.”

He is right, our children are not being taught the things they need, and the former Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, added a heaping dose of ignorance to our education system.  But then he continues, putting down the administration’s proposal to update American history curricula to more fully flesh out the consequences of slavery and contributions of Black Americans.

The most ludicrous statement in Mitch’s letter is …

“Americans do not need or want their tax dollars diverted from promoting the principles that unite our nation toward promoting radical ideologies meant to divide us.”

Say WHAT???  I cannot speak for everyone in this country, but for my part I want our children to be taught truth – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Facts, man, just the facts.  Fact:  the United States was a slave-owning nation from 1619 until 1865 … nearly 250 years!  Fact:  even today, in the 21st century, Black people are still fighting for equality, to be treated as equals.  Children need to learn all of the history of their nation, not just the rosier parts.  In the words of Winston Churchill …

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

The U.S. has some very ugly things and dark periods in its history, along with some wonderful, bright moments.  They are all part of our history, from slavery, the Japanese internments, turning away the St. Louis, the white man’s treatment of the original people who were here long before Europeans came.  The United States is no worse, no better than most Western nations and we must remember both the good and the bad.

If the civil rights legislation that was passed in the 1960s were put forth today, no doubt Mitch McConnell would filibuster and ensure it didn’t pass.  Perhaps it is Mitch that needs to be educated.