Stupidity And Guns Don’t Mix …

To brighten your Sunday afternoon, I bring you the tale of three stupid people.  Now, I don’t make a habit of calling people stupid … I suffered a beating for using that word when I was about four or five years old and use the word only sparingly ever since.  But, in the case of these three men, the word just fits so well.


Stupid … just plain stupid

AndreychenkoDmitriy Andreychenko of Springfield, Missouri, is a stupid man.  He is a 2nd Amendment supporter and he apparently keeps what little brain he has where the sun doesn’t shine.

On Thursday, less than a week after a mass shooting in an El Paso Wal-Mart that left 22 people dead and injured 26 others, Dmitriy Andreychenko decided to “test” his 2nd Amendment rights.  So, he loaded up for bear, donned his body armour, and walked into a local Wal-Mart store with an assault rifle, a pistol, and more than 100 rounds of ammunition.  He didn’t intend to shoot anybody, he says, but was merely checking to see if his 2nd Amendment rights would be “respected in public”.

His wife tried to talk him out of it, told him it was “not a smart idea”.  He tried to get his sister to go along and record a video of the experiment, but she apparently had more sense than he, and so Mr. Andreychenko was left to use his own cell phone to record what he referred to as a ‘social experiment’.

People, understandably, panicked at the sight of a heavily-armed man in body armour, and the store manager immediately had an employee pull the fire alarm in order to get people out of the store quickly.  Police were called and Mr. Andreychenko was arrested promptly and without incident, unless you count the police officer who was involved in a car crash on his way to the scene.  But Mr. Andreychenko was puzzled by his arrest …

“This is Missouri, I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out.”

I told you he’s stupid.

If convicted, he will serve up to four years in prison and face a fine of up to $10,000.  Although Missouri is one of some 30 states that allows for openly carrying a weapon, Prosecutor Dan Patterson equated Andreychenko’s actions to yelling fire in a crowded theater.

I’m thinking I’m going to move to a country that doesn’t allow guns in the hands of stupid people.


And speaking of stupid …

Timothy-IrelandTimothy James Ireland, Jr. of Toledo, Ohio, has also seemingly left his brain in a dark place.  This one took his hatred of “other” to social media, posting on Facebook about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez …

“She should be shot. Can’t fire me, my employer would load the gun for me.”

When contacted by police, Mr. Ireland said he was “very proud” of his post and admitted to owning a number of firearms and that he “always carries concealed”, or in other words, never leaves home without his gun.

Sigh.


Too much stupid …

wacholzThis time it’s the owner of a gun store in Murphy, North Carolina, that sat on his brain.  Doc Wacholz, the owner of Cherokee Guns, thought it was a good idea to put up this billboard advertising his wares …billboard

Ol’ Doc was so proud of his work, in fact, that he posted a picture of it on Facebook, and even had bumper stickers made of it, which he sells in his store.  He says he chose the four members of Congress for his billboard because, “their message of turning this country into a socialist country”.  The four, known as ‘The Squad’, have come under fire from republicans of late, and have received threats against their lives because of the hateful rhetoric of none other than Donald Trump.  See, folks … words have consequences … words matter.

The billboard has since been removed, but is not likely to soon be forgotten, since it went viral on social media.


This is the mentality we are dealing with in the U.S.  It is an ugly place to be.  I go out to a store or a restaurant and I find myself looking at everybody I see, wondering … is he packing a pistol somewhere on his person?  Is he one of those fools who would shoot up the place if his food wasn’t to his liking, or if the store was out of his brand of coffee?  You just don’t know any more.  The framers of the Constitution never intended for us to have to live like this.

I will repeat once again what I have said so many times before.  With every right comes a responsibility.  It seems to me that the vast majority of gun-owners in this nation have shirked the responsibility and have assumed their rights to be unlimited.  We can appeal to Congress to enact strict gun laws, but as long as the republican members of Congress are indebted to the NRA, it ain’t gonna happen, folks.  And almost every republican member of Congress has, in fact, accepted donations from the gun lobby.

It is up to us, the people of this nation, to use our brains, to understand what the “right to bear arms” really means, to act with a conscience and a bit of good sense.  In the immortal words of Forrest Gump:  “Stupid is as stupid does.”  And stupid is costing lives … lots of lives.  Maybe mine is next, or yours.  Think about it.

Voices Worth Hearing …

ObamaThere are many ways in which President Obama has earned my respect, one of which is the fact that though it must certainly be tempting, he almost never comments publicly about our current politics, the current state of this nation.  However, yesterday he endorsed and tweeted a letter written by 149 African Americans who served in his administration that called out President Trump for recent comments degrading four congresswomen of color, saying …

“I’ve always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better.”

The letter was initially published in The Washington Post yesterday.  And Michelle Obama, who, like her husband remains largely silent on the current state of affairs, rang in as well …

“What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.”

It is worth noting that both of the Obama’s comments were positive ones, not negative, not promoting hate, but rather encouraging humanity, compassion, inclusion rather than exclusion.  This is the difference, folks … think about it.

This letter is one that deserves to be read by every person in this nation, and I agree with it 100%.  In the interest of space, I did not publish the names and titles of the signatories, but you can find them by clicking on the above link to The Washington Post OpEd.

We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by

We’ve heard this before. Go back where you came from. Go back to Africa. And now, “send her back.” Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online. They are part of a pattern in our country designed to denigrate us as well as keep us separate and afraid.

As 149 African Americans who served in the last administration, we witnessed firsthand the relentless attacks on the legitimacy of President Barack Obama and his family from our front-row seats to America’s first black presidency. Witnessing racism surge in our country, both during and after Obama’s service and ours, has been a shattering reality, to say the least. But it has also provided jet-fuel for our activism, especially in moments such as these.

We stand with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump, along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here — and who does not. There is truly nothing more un-American than calling on fellow citizens to leave our country — by citing their immigrant roots, or ancestry, or their unwillingness to sit in quiet obedience while democracy is being undermined.

We are proud descendants of immigrants, refugees and the enslaved Africans who built this country while enduring the horrors of its original sin. We stand on the soil they tilled, and march in the streets they helped to pave. We are red-blooded Americans, we are patriots, and we have plenty to say about the direction this country is headed. We decry voter suppression. We demand equitable access to health care, housing, quality schools and employment. We welcome new Americans with dignity and open arms. And we will never stop fighting for the overhaul of a criminal-justice system with racist foundations.

We come from Minnesota and Michigan. The Bronx and Baton Rouge. Florida and Philadelphia. Cleveland and the Carolinas. Atlanta and Nevada. Oak-town and the Chi. We understand our role in this democracy, and respect the promise of a nation built by, for and of immigrants. We are part of that tradition, and have the strength to both respect our ancestors from faraway lands and the country we all call home.

Our love of country lives in these demands, and our commitment to use our voices and our energy to build a more perfect union. We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy. We call on local, state and congressional officials, as well as presidential candidates to articulate their policies and strategies for moving us forward as a strong democracy, through a racial-equity lens that prioritizes people over profit. We will continue to support candidates for local, state and federal office who add more diverse representation to the dialogue and those who understand the importance of such diversity when policymaking here in our country and around the world. We ask all Americans to be a good neighbor by demonstrating anti-racist, environmentally friendly, and inclusive behavior toward everyone in your everyday interactions.

The statesman Frederick Douglass warned, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” This nation has neither grappled with nor healed from the horrors of its origins. It is time to advance that healing process now through our justice, economic, health and political systems.

Expect to hear more from us. We plan to leave this country better than we found it. This is our home.

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Some ‘Toons To Make You … Smile? Cry?

Some days are just made for cartoons, y’know?  Actually, I was working on a post that I don’t have completed yet, and there are other things requiring my attention this afternoon, so this seemed a good time to find some good cartoons!


The big news of the day is Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress today.  Since I really don’t have the time nor the patience to sit and watch anything for more than about 5 minutes, I’m not watching it, but am keeping abreast of the important parts through news briefings.  The first thing to note is that he plainly said that he did not exonerate Trump and that he could, in fact, be charged with obstruction of justice once he leaves office.  I was angered, though not surprised, that the Department of Justice sent Mr. Mueller a letter outlining what he can and cannot say.Trump-Mueller-rpt-3Trump-Mueller-rptTom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190723.tif


In other big news this week, the UK now has a new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, which came as no surprise to anyone, but a disappointment to most.  Johnson and Trump are in many ways as two peas in a pod, which bodes ill for both nations.  I think they even buy their hair at the same place!

Trump-BorisTrump-Boris-2Trump-Boris-3Trump-Boris-4


Speaking to a group of young conservatives yesterday, Trump made the following statement:

“Then I have an Article 2 [of the Constitution], where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

It was not the first time he has said it, either.  It isn’t true, and it’s high time Congress and the Courts teach him that there are limits to his “executive privilege”.

Article2Trump-executive privilegeTrump-executive-privilege


And, of course, he has continued to double-down on his racist remarks, tweeting daily as if determined to convince the world that he is the ultimate racist, lacking only a white robe and hood.  Why?  Because his bigoted base loves it, and because it provides a useful distraction from such things as his horrendous treatment of immigrants, the Mueller report, potential impeachment, etc.

the-real-threatTrump-racismTrump-racism-2Trump-racism-3COLORTrump-racism-5


And to wrap up … just for fun …

Melania-with-blob

Endangering people to win politically is not leadership

Keith’s post speaks for itself and needs no intro from me. Please read … we must all do our part to stop this madness. Thank you, Keith.

musingsofanoldfart

One of the sad and scary truths with a president who lies, demeans, denigrates and bullies his critics is his more strident followers believe his rhetoric. A consequence of this stirring up of emotions is it places people who are critical of the president in danger of bodily harm or death.

Let me state this plainly. That is not leadership. It is promoting criminal behavior. It is not becoming of a president or any other legislatior or person, for that matter. And, it should not be tolerated regardless of who does it.

Three items of late come to mind. The president stirred up his audience beforehand, but after stretching the truth and taking statements out of context, he had his followers chanting “send her back” in response to his demonizing four elected representatives. And, do not believe a word the president said when he tried to weasel out of responsibility…

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Call A Spade A … Bloody Shovel?

I had no intention of addressing this issue again, thought it was a no-brainer, thought everyone got the memo a few days ago and we could move on.  But, I keep hearing people either deny or defend the fact that Donald Trump is a racist.  As my friend Mary from the UK says, “Call a spade a bloody shovel!”  I’ve heard the “yeah, well, whadabout ___________________?” (fill in the blank with any of the 20 or so republican stock excuses).  I’ve heard that the democrats are just trying to discredit him, making a mountain out of a molehill.  I’m tired of having to re-visit this, but … it is important that everyone understand that this ‘man’ is a racist, since he is in a position of so much unchecked power.  He believes that he, because of his pale skin, because of his Caucasian ethnicity, is better than the rest of us who do not match him.  Largely because of this, he represents less than half of the people in this country, and as he recently said, the rest of us, if we don’t like it, can leave!

Okay, so in my inbox today was an OpEd in the New York Times by one of my favourite journalists, Nicholas Kristof, on this very topic, and I would like to share his words with you.

Trump Is Racist to the Bone

Trump’s hate is evident from his jawbones down to his thumbs and little toes.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof
Opinion Columnist

July 17, 2019

After instructing four women of color in the House of Representatives to “go back” where they came from, President Trump now claims, “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

That appears incorrect. I have identified the following racist bones in Trump’s body:

Phalanges and metacarpals: These are bones of the fingers and hands that Trump has used to tweet tirades against black and brown people and to retweet Nazi sympathizers, including, twice, an account called @WhiteGenocideTM with a photo of the founder of the American Nazi Party.

Mandible and maxilla: These are the jawbones that Trump has used to denounce Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists,” not to mention to refuse to criticize the Ku Klux Klan.

Femurs, fibulas, tibias, metatarsals: These foot and leg bones carried Trump into his casinos, where black staff members would be rushed off the floor so he couldn’t see them, according to a former employee, Kip Brown.

Virtually every remaining bone was implicated in Trump’s early refusal to rent apartments in his buildings to blacks, leading the Nixon administration Justice Department (not exactly a pillar of liberalism) to sue him for housing discrimination in the 1970s. A former building superintendent working for Trump explained that any rent application from a black person was coded “C,” for “colored,” apparently so that the office would know to reject it.

“Racist” is an explosive term that should never be lightly flung as an epithet, and it is more likely to end a conversation than clarify it. For a single tweet or action there is a possibility of misunderstanding or ambiguity.

Yet for more than 45 years, since that housing discrimination, Trump has engaged in a consistent pattern of racist behavior and speech. His latest controversial tweets are not an aberration but a culmination. This isn’t a matter of a single tweet; it’s a lifetime with a narrative arc of bigotry.

America’s history is a tapestry of innumerable threads, many of them triumphant and inspiring that we should be deeply proud of, but Trump goes out of his way to weave together two of the most shameful strands.

One is the racism and nativism that go back to the 18th and 19th centuries, to the Philadelphia speaker who in 1844 denounced Irish immigrants as “scum unloaded on American wharves” and helped provoke anti-Catholic riots, to the waves of hysteria against African-Americans, Italians, Chinese, Jews, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and other immigrants. There is another strain of American hospitality highlighted by the Statue of Liberty and the admission of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees beginning in the 1970s, but the nativism is real — it’s why Trump’s family, alarmed by anti-German bigotry, pretended to be Swedish.

The other thread that Trump pulls is more political: what we now call McCarthyism, although it, too, goes back to our nation’s earliest days. It vilifies opponents as enemies of the state.

More than two centuries ago, opponents of Thomas Jefferson warned that he was a Jacobin who if elected would unleash a French-style reign of terror upon America. As one commentator put it, “The Bible would be cast into a bonfire, our holy worship changed into a dance of Jacobin phrensy, our wives and daughters dishonored.” Senator Joseph McCarthy updated that in the 20th century with reckless accusations that leftists were Communists — and now Trump picks up that mantle by suggesting that his four progressive targets in Congress “might be” Communists, not to mention that they “hate our Country” and are “pro Al-Qaeda.”

I’m not sure whether this new McCarthyism is instinctive and unthinking, or these bilious rants represent a shrewd effort to manipulate voters into seeing the 2020 presidential campaign through the prism not of issues but of racial identity, in hopes of winning Trump an edge with white voters.

I do know that Trump has taken two of the most ignominious threads in American history — nativism and McCarthyism — and woven them together in an outburst that is an affront to democratic norms.

If anyone doubts that Trump’s statements were despicable, note that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission specifically bars employers from using “ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from.’”

Frankly, I’m even more troubled by Trump’s policies than by his tweets, and I wish the reaction to Trump focused more on practical initiatives to reduce child poverty, treat drug addiction or end mass incarceration. But the question put to Congress this week was a resolution properly condemning the presidential tirade. It was grotesque to see Republicans who had been mute at presidential bigotry suddenly protest that the backers of the resolution violated rules of decorum.

Really? We’re left again with the question: How can members of the party of Lincoln today protest the label of racism, but not the racism itself — in a man who for 45 years has shown himself to be a racist from his mandible to his metatarsals?


And lastly … another well-respected journalist speaks.  Typically, we expect a bit of humour from Don Lemon, but on this topic, he is dead serious.  If you want to skip the back-and-forth between Lemon and Chris Cuomo, fast forward to about the 5:17 mark and start there.  It is well worth watching.

And now, I hope the matter is laid to rest and that we can all agree to call a spade a bloody shovel, and to call Donald Trump by what he is: a racist extraordinaire.