Some New Year’s Toons

What better way to welcome in a new year than with some New Year’s ‘toons?  The poor li’l baby 2023 doesn’t know what he’s let himself in for!

And now, it’s time to take the tree down, vacuum up the pine needles, and curl up with a good book and tune out the world for a day!  Well, okay, maybe only for a couple of hours, during which time I’ll probably fall asleep!

The Week’s Best Cartoons 12/17

This week there were a number of easy targets for the talented cartoonists, including Elon Musk, Kyrsten Sinema, Kevin McCarthy, the former guy, and more.  The cartoonists picked up those balls and ran with them and, as usual, our friend TokyoSand over at Political Charge was in line to catch them!  Thank you, TS!!!

How ironic that the deeper we get into the holiday season, the more the news is covering the antics of incredibly selfish people. Check out how editorial cartoonists covered the likes of Kyrsten Sinema, Trump, and Elon Musk.

Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons!

Bye-Bye Little Birdie

He paid $44 billion to buy a toy that he didn’t know how to play with.  Last night I closed my Twitter account, so I have one less ‘pinned tab’ taking up space at the top of my browser screens!  I’ve been considering such a move ever since Elon Musk started threatening to buy Twitter, almost did it when he officially took ownership and fired half the people working there.  But for me, the final straw came yesterday evening when Musk announced that the former guy’s access to Twitter has been restored.

On Friday evening, Musk put out a “poll” asking if people wanted Trump to return to Twitter or not.  I immediately voted with a resounding “No!!!”, but at the end of the 24-hour polling period, those voting to let Trump back on outnumbered those of us who voted against.  And so, I’m finished.  That, for me, proved that since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has turned into a veritable garbage dump, and I refuse to share space with the likes of Donald Trump.  Ah well … one less thing to stir my angst!

But what a waste of $44 billion!  I did a bit of research and calculating, and even with today’s food prices, that $44 billion could have fed nearly 16 million people for a year!  SIXTEEN MILLION!!!  And I can only imagine how many homes for the homeless, how many pair of glasses for children whose parents cannot afford them, how many months’ supply of insulin for diabetics who cannot afford it.  The list is endless … and yet Elon bought himself this social media network and begin breaking it the very first day!

There is a direct inverse correlation between the amount of money a person has and the size of his conscience.  Oh sure, I know there are exceptions like Bill & Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, and others, but … even they are left with billions more than they could use in a lifetime.  Take Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, who has given away $2.1 billion to causes such as the environment, education, and homelessness.  $2.1 billion is a lot of money worthy of kudos, until you consider that he is left with $184.8 billion in his own coffers.  The amount he gave away comes to just over 1% of his net worth … most people of average/moderate incomes typically give a higher percentage of their income than that to worthy causes.  And … Bezos spent more than twice the amount of his ‘philanthropy’, some $5.5 billion, for a ridiculous and pointless trip to space last year.

In short, Elon Musk wasted an obscene amount of money that could have helped millions of people in one way or another, then turned his purchase into a trash heap.  If he completes the destruction of Twitter before the end of the year, he’ll have one heck of a tax write-off next year!

Meerkats and Muskrats

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think the super-wealthy are a waste of space on the planet, for with few exceptions they are far more concerned with hoarding their wealth or throwing their money away on toys such as cars, mansions, yachts, airplanes, and even spaceships these days than with using their wealth to help others who are struggling merely to survive. There are many such greedy billionaires, but the one in the news this week is Elon Musk, who just wasted some $44 billion to buy yet another toy: Twitter. Fellow-blogger Ben from ‘cross the big pond shares with us his take on it, and I fully agree with him … couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks, Ben!!!

Coalition of the Brave

A muskrat.

Muskrats are reasonably cute rodents. A less-pleasant rodent is Elon Musk, who has recently bought the social media platform Twitter for $44 billion.

$44 billion is obviously an eye-wateringly large sum of money, and beyond the reach of mere mortals. There are many good uses for that sort of money. Musk could put a huge dent in world hunger. He could significantly improve quality of life for millions in the USA. Instead Musk (like his billionaire chums Bezos and Zuckerberg) has preferred to spend the money on vanity projects. Control of Twitter (a platform with millions of users, all over the world) will let Musk steer the narrative of social and political discourse on that platform. He claims to be interested in free speech, but long before that becomes an excuse to let miscreants troll people, without consequence?

What’s a meerkat to do? I’ve built myself a…

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From The Troubled Mind Of Filosofa

I thought I’d share with you just a few of the things that are bouncing around in my troubled mind tonight …

Yesterday a federal judge, one appointed by Donald Trump, authorized voter intimidation.  That’s right … he said it’s okay for people to hang out around ballot drop boxes, armed with guns, harass those trying to drop off their ballots, even take pictures of their license plates for who-knows-what-reason.

The judge is Judge Michael T. Liburdi, appointed by Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August 2019.

In recent weeks, local and federal law enforcement have been alarmed by reports of people, including some who were masked and armed, watching 24-hour ballot boxes in Maricopa County — Arizona’s most populous county — and rural Yavapai County as midterm elections draw close. Some voters have complained alleging voter intimidation after people watching the boxes took photos and videos, and followed voters.

But Judge Liburdi says they are merely exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech and that he cannot (will not) bar groups or individuals from ‘monitoring’ ballot drop boxes, even when armed to the teeth, taking photos, invading the privacy, and acting in a threatening manner.  You all know as well as I do what the next Act in this drama is going to be.  And when it happens, part of the blood shed will be on the hands of Judge Liburdi. I suppose some in the Republican Party would refer to the voter intimidation as “legitimate political discourse”, just as they said about the insurrection and attempted coup on January 6th, 2021.

Yesterday evening I wrote about the vicious attack on Paul Pelosi, 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Just a couple of additional notes on that.

  • I was pleased to see a number of Republicans speak out against the horrific violence, including Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and Ronna McDaniel. I hope they were sincere and not just muttering platitudes.  I imagine they were realizing how easily it could happen to them, or their loved ones. Violence, once unleashed, is hard to get back in the box.
  • I was beyond disgusted upon reading that a Fox ‘News’ host called for the attacker, who faces numerous charges including attempted homicide, to be set free. His reason?  He said that it was no big deal, that “a lot of people get hit with hammers.”
  • My disgust deepened even more when I read that someone at Newsmax (I thought they were defunct?) claimed he was “Just wondering if Nancy Pelosi tried to STAGE her own mini January 6th. Complete with leaving the doors and windows OPEN for “insurrectionists” and this Depepe fellow. THAT or she can’t secure her home or office!” And now we know just how low people can sink.

And in other news …

Here in Cincinnati, Ohio, the headline reads …

16-year-old indicted on 20 charges from 3 separate murders and a kidnapping

“A 16-year-old was indicted Friday for a total of 20 charges, including six counts of murder, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said.

[The boy] was 15 at the time of the murders, which all took place in September and October 2021.

[The boy] is being tried as an adult. The rest of his charges include five counts of felonious assault, three counts of kidnapping, two counts of abduction, one count of burglary, one count of tampering with evidence, one count of carrying concealed weapons and one count of obstruction of official business.

The six counts of murder stem from three separate homicides.

‘This type of violent criminal is not fixable,’ Deters said. ‘And this office will do everything in our power to ensure this guy never gets out.’”

I have to wonder … he was 15 years old at the time … where the Sam Hell were his parents and what were they doing?  Obviously, they were not monitoring their son’s whereabouts or behaviour!  And quite obviously, they failed to instill a sense of values in the boy, and now it’s too late.

Apparently it’s a done deal and Elon Musk is now the proud owner of Twitter.  He immediately fired four top executives and has said he plans to fire 75% of the staff.  Off with their heads, said the Queen!  I considered closing my account, but I’m holding off for just a bit.  If, however, he follows through with his threat to reinstate Donald Trump, I will immediately close my account.  Meanwhile, I thought I’d hang out for a few days and see what, if anything, changes, and see if I can get in a few last bits of mischief to get under the skin of certain politicos, now that I have absolutely nothing to lose!  Stay tuned …

@grondamorin’s Twitter’s “Permanent Suspension” Woes

Hey friends! Our dear friend Gronda has been issued a lifetime ban by Twitter! For being honest. Just like the rest of us. Think we can get something going to remind Twitter that WE are the customers? Heck, if they can let some of the politicians like McCarthy on Twitter, surely a 72-year-old grandmother should have a voice!

Gronda Morin

See the source image

On June 22, 2022, I as @grondamorin was responding to a tweet, when I was surprised by the following Twitter notice:

Your account is permanently suspended

After careful review, we determined your account broke the Twitter Rules. Your account is permanently in read-only mode, which means you can’t Tweet, Retweet, or Like content. You won’t be able to create new accounts. If you think we got this wrong, you can submit an appeal.

On June 22, 2022, I did file an appeal with Twitter. Here’s some of what I wrote:

I’m a 72-year-old news junky who enjoys using my Twitter account. I have less than 2,000 followers and I follow less than 1000 folks, but my tweet impressions have ranged anywhere from 300,000 to 1M. As an ex-Republican Party member until 2016, I’m pretty moderate in my views.

Based on my memory, I was responding to a @DrAmyCarson…

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Filosofa’s Grumblings …

So much for that ‘poisoned pill’ that Twitter said would stop the clown, Elon Musk, from effecting a hostile takeover of the social media giant.  Around noon today, I received no less than five “breaking news” texts on my cell phone informing me that Twitter has agreed to allow Musk to proceed with his takeover for somewhere in the neighborhood of $44 billion.  The deal is expected to be completed sometime this year.  Now I have a dilemma.  I said last week that I will close down my Twitter account the day Elon Musk takes over Twitter.  I meant it then, and I still mean it.  However, I’ve also read a number of people who I respect saying that those of us who stand for truth & justice, for racial and income equality, for the LGBTQ community and more, should stay on Twitter and fight, continue to make our voices heard, continue to hassle, annoy, and generally be a pain in the arse of those who are bigoted and corrupt.

What are your thoughts on this?  Admittedly, it made me step back for a minute and think, and I still haven’t come to a firm conclusion.  Why would I shut down my account?  What would be gained?  My thoughts are that I would be making a statement, and that if enough of us leave Twitter, Elon Musk will rue the day he even thought about making such a purchase.  What would be gained?  I would have assuaged my own conscience, for I do not believe in supporting the wealthy in any way, shape, or form.  I would not hate myself for talking the talk but failing to walk the walk.  But what would be lost?  Communications with friends and people from all walks of life.  What else would be lost?  A layer of stress, an hour or so of my daily time. A venue for my blog posts – my voice.

Needless to say, I’m undecided as yet, and I likely have some time to ponder, since I understand that Musk, for all his wealth, doesn’t have immediate access to a measly $44 billion and will have to play some liquidation games in order to fund his latest circus act.  Remember my post from earlier this month,  where I calculated that over 26 million children could eat for a full year for what Musk is paying to buy yet another plaything for his bored mind?  This, my friends, is why I despise those with great wealth … if they helped people as much as they could, they would no longer have that wealth.  That they have millions or billions of dollars is an automatic tell that they do nothing to help either the planet or humankind.

I’ll let you all know when I decide which direction I plan to take, but right at this moment I’m inclined to say it just isn’t worth the aggravation and stress to remain on Twitter, which will be a private company owned and operated by a wealthy clown.  Let me know your thoughts …

Speaking of Twitter … I came across this on Sunday and it damn near brought a tear to my eyes.  I almost never share people’s tweets here on ye olde blog, but this one … I need to share it with you and I hope Ron DeSantis and his bunch of homophobic, racist boot-lickers have seen this at least 1,000 times!

“Gov DeSantis, when I was a little boy growing up in Florida I had to drink from the “colored ” fountain at the Volusia County Courthouse. The “white “water was cool but ours was warm. This made me feel bad. May I share this with students in Florida?”

Is this what the Republicans want to take this nation back to?  Sure as hell seems like it sometimes, doesn’t it?

A Man Without A Heart

My mother used to advise, “If you have nothing kind to say, then say nothing.”  Well, unfortunately if I heeded that advice today, Filosofa’s Word would not exist.  The world today is not conducive to kind thoughts and words.  In fact, were I to heed her advice, I might just as well have my vocal cords removed, for I doubt I would ever speak again.  Okay, okay … perhaps I exaggerate a bit, for I am capable of the occasional kind word, but more often than not I find what I have to say is less than kind.  Especially when the topic is … certain people.

Today, it is none other than Elon Musk who is stirring my ire, raising my hackles, and making me grrrrrrrrowl. 

Earlier this week I mentioned in a post that Musk had paid $2.64 billion to purchase 9.2% of Twitter stock.  There was much speculation that he intended to assume a seat on the Board of Directors with the intention of overriding the former guy’s lifetime ban from Twitter.  But then, he turned down the seat on the Board, which left people scratching their heads.  It was, however, suggested that, since members of the Board are limited to owning no more than 14.9% of the stock, Musk could not have become a majority shareholder if he accepted the seat on the Board.  Well, folks, it seems that was his goal after all …

Yesterday, it was announced that Musk had offered to buy every remaining share of Twitter for a price of $54.20 per share, or a total cost of roughly $43 billion, which would effectively make him the sole owner of what is currently the most widely-used social media outlet.  This is what’s known as a ‘hostile takeover bid’ and make no mistake … his intent is hostile.  Twitter has kept the newslines hot today as Twitter executives and employees try to decide what to do.  On the one hand, if Musk’s offer is rejected, he threatens to “reconsider [his] position as a shareholder.”  On the other hand, if the current owners bend under the pressure and agree to sell the entire company to Musk, Twitter may find it loses a huge chunk of its followers.  I, for one, will close my Twitter account forever if Elon Musk takes over, and I know of many others who will also.  In fact, that has been the biggest topic of conversation on Twitter today.

So, why does Musk want to own all of Twitter?  He claims it is to create a “platform for free speech around the globe.”  Bullshit.  His intent is more likely to create a safe haven for the likes of Donald Trump, Madison Cawthorn, Vladimir Putin, and others while free speech for the average person would be trampled.  It would, no doubt, become the world’s largest outlet of lies, conspiracy theories, and disinformation.  No doubt QAnon, the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers and others would be applauding.  Ol’ Margie Green and her crew of clowns would be dancing naked in the streets!

Now, I have two problems with Mr. Musk’s actions.  First, of course, is that while Twitter isn’t perfect, it is a free and open forum that most of us use at one time or another for one reason or another.  We can discuss, disagree, agree, empathise, etc., without fear of retaliation.  It is already a free speech venue – I don’t want Trump back on Twitter … it is much more pleasant there without him!  Musk, like Trump, is a bully – he has bullied many people on his Twitter feed and cares not what he says.

But more important is my second reason for being dead set against Musk’s takeover – money … or rather, what money can do for people in need.  Elon Musk is uber-wealthy and has wasted more money in the past year than most of us will ever see in a lifetime.  Paying $2.64 billion to buy 9.2% of Twitter stock was disgusting … sickening.  Now to be willing to pay an additional $43 billion to own the platform makes my blood boil.  I’ve put together some quick & dirty numbers (chart below) … the amount of his total potential investment would be $45.6 billion, or enough to feed 26 million children for one year, or 1.4 million for the entire 18 years of their youth, from cradle to college!!!  How many lives could be not only enriched, but saved, if only Elon Musk had a heart instead of a toxic black hole inside his chest.

There is a reason that I am dead-set against anybody having excessive wealth and Elon Musk is the personification of that reason.  He does not use one single dime of his wealth to help people, the environment, wildlife, or any of the other causes that have such great needs today.  Instead, he plays dangerous games that increase his own wealth and power while putting the rest of the nation, the world, in jeopardy.

Things That Make Filosofa Grrrrrrowl

I could only shake my head when reading the following headline …

Six Deaths Linked To Drug Overdoses In Northeast Washington

… but probably not for the reason you are thinking.  While I have empathy for the families of those six people, in just the last three days, there have been 117 reported gun deaths, but nowhere will you see that mentioned in the media.  THAT, my friends, is what astounds me.  Has the free press succumbed to the demands of the NRA and the gun manufacturers to downplay gun violence?  Or are we simply so desensitized by the massive levels of gun violence in this nation that we just shrug our shoulders, that it is no longer considered newsworthy?

To date, there have been 11,798 gun deaths this year alone in this country.  Of those, 5,132 were homicides and 6,666 were suicides.  84 children under the age of 11 were killed, 192 injured.  350 teens were killed, 849 injured.  And that’s just in the first 101 days of this year!  Extrapolating the numbers, we stand to see 42,636 gun deaths by the end of this year!  Do we continue to just shrug our shoulders and allow the gun industry to control our lawmakers to the extent that they are unwilling to do anything to stop this madness?

When the framers of the U.S. Constitution drafted that document, this was not what they had in mind.  Back then, there were muskets … not high-velocity assault weapons that can kill hundreds within a few minutes, and they damn sure didn’t intend people to carry guns into grocery stores and schools and simply start shooting.  They did not intend people to own arsenals.  They did not intend parents to buy guns for their children.

So yeah … drug overdose is a terrible thing, and with over 100,000 deaths by overdose in a 12-month period last year, it must be taken seriously.  However, drug overdose is self-inflicted, whereas about half of gun deaths are not, so let us not ignore the horrible gun madness that is plaguing this country.  Surely, we can care about both?

Last month, as I’m sure you’ve heard since it has been plastered all over the media, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and idiot extraordinaire, purchased 9.2% of the stock in Twitter for a purchase price of $2.64 billion.  Yeah, wrap your head around that one, my friends.  That amount of money could have bought food for 44 million children for a year!  But Musk has never pretended to give a whit about human causes, so why am I surprised, shocked, and sickened by his wastefulness?

Long story short, many trumpeters in the nation were hoping that Musk would take a seat on Twitter’s Board of Directors and instantly re-instate the former guy on Twitter.  Funny, though … when offered the seat, he declined it.  If, in fact, his only purpose for joining the Board would have been to re-instate the former pig guy, then perhaps it was this announcement by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal that changed Musk’s mind …

“Twitter is committed to impartiality in the development and enforcement of its policies and rules.  Our policy decisions are not determined by the Board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions.”

Then again, some are speculating that Musk declined the seat on the Board because board members are limited to owning 14.9% of the company’s stock, and Musk may be plotting to ultimately own a majority 51%.  The games people play with their billions of dollars 🙄.  Isn’t it pathetic that they are so high up in their ivory towers that they cannot see the rest of the world down here struggling simply to survive?

After last week’s acquittal of Matthew Martin, one of the insurrectionists who aided the mayhem and murder in the U.S. Capitol on January 6th last year, I was pleased to read yesterday that another such insurrectionist didn’t get so lucky as to have a Trump-appointed judge who refuses to defend the U.S. Constitution.

Thomas Robertson, a former Virginia police officer, was found guilty on all six counts by a jury.  The charges included impeding law enforcement officers, obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining in restricted grounds and tampering with evidence.  Prosecutors provided video evidence and  cited online posts Robertson wrote a month before the attack where he called for an “opened armed rebellion.”

This ‘man’ is a threat to human life … investigators said they found a rifle and bomb-making material in his home and learned that he bought another 37 guns on the internet after his original arrest in January 2021.  Just what was he plotting this time?

Of the more than 2,500 people who entered the Capitol illegally on that day, just over 800 have been arrested in connection with the attempted coup, and this is only the second jury trial for any of the defendants.  Apparently, federal prosecutors are either understaffed, else they don’t see this as the high priority I see it as being.  No sentencing date has been set as yet for Robertson, but the combination of his charges could net him up to 20 years in prison.