Contradictions Of “Life”

Just a few of my rambling thoughts on this Saturday night/Sunday morn.  America doesn’t need to be made “Great” again, it just needs to be made “okay” again.  Right now, it is not okay.  America is a study in contradictions.  Setting aside the political contradictions for another day, the societal contradictions are tearing the nation apart.  Taking a look at just one of those contradictions … life.

I find it interesting that the anti-abortionists call themselves “pro-life” when they really are not.  They are quite simply just against abortion and against the rights of women to make their own life’s choices.  IF they were truly ‘pro-life’ they would also support measures to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry at night … in fact, that no person goes to bed hungry.  They would be advocating for help to feed the poor and provide housing for the homeless, they would be staunch supporters of such things as the Affordable Care Act, food and housing assistance for those in need, and more.  But as a whole, the anti-abortionists support none of those things that would help preserve human life.  Next time someone tells you they are against abortion, ask them how much money they have donated to humanitarian relief, to organizations that help people climb out of poverty.

Along the same lines, it is a curiosity to me that we support medical science and their efforts to increase human longevity, and yet we speak of ending Social Security and Medicare, a move that would decrease human longevity drastically, or at the very least make those ‘extra’ years ones of poverty and struggle.  Think about it … governments and foundations spend billions of dollars every year for medical research to find cures for the illnesses that kill people, such as cancer, stroke, heart failure and more.  So, in 1950 in the U.S., the average life expectancy was 68.14 years, and today it is 79.11 years … thanks to medical science, we have gained approximately 11 years of life.  But … how will we spend those 11 years?  Will we spend them being hungry or homeless, begging on the streets for scraps of food?  WHY bother to help people live longer if we are not willing to help them live better?  I’ve long said that quality of life matters far more to me than quantity, and I firmly believe that.

And speaking of quality of life … life is not simply the act of being born.  Being born is a minute or two, but it’s what comes after that is defined as life.  So, if people are so determined to force women to give birth to babies, then why aren’t those same people working to ensure that when those babies are grown in twenty years or so, they will have potable water to drink, sufficient healthy food to eat, and fresh air to breathe?  Climate change deniers tend to also be those who claim they are “pro-life” when speaking of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.  They claim that there is a higher power looking after the planet’s environment, and therefore they can go on driving their gas-guzzlers, flying on jets, eating beef every night, keeping their heat or air-conditioning running day and night, with little or no regard for the environment.  Well, I don’t know anything about a higher power, but I DO know a little bit about climate science, and at the current rate, those babies people want born today won’t meet that 79.11 year life expectancy, for they will slowly die from lack of food & water, from lack of breathable air, and from diseases caused by those lacks.

And lastly … if those who claim to be “pro-life” truly believe that every life is important, then why are they also “pro-gun”?  The leading cause of death among children and teens in the United States is guns.  The pro-life crowd would criminalize abortion, but fight against any form of gun regulations.  So … force the woman to give birth to her baby just so she can watch him be gunned down seven, eight, or twenty years later?  If they actually give a damn about life, they would be staunch advocates for strict gun laws.  Are they?  No.  Another school shooting?  “Awww … too bad … thoughts and prayers …”  The sole purpose of a gun is to end life … isn’t this a direct contradiction to being “pro-life”?

Just a few things to think about next time someone steps up on his soapbox to talk about their “pro-life” stance.  LIFE is more than simply being born.

The Week’s Best Cartoons: About That Red Wave

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared TokyoSand’s weekly collection of political cartoons, so I thought this week would be a good time to share them with you.  Care to take any guesses as to what the main topic on the cartoonists’ collective mind was this week?  Yep, the U.S. elections and that ‘red wave’ that so many had pinned their hopes on but that failed to materialize.  Now that most of us have breathed a faint sigh of relief, we can have a few laughs over it.  Thank you, TS, for finding the best cartoons for us this week!

Despite the Republican Party and most of the media buying into the prediction of a red wave, it never materialized on Election Night. In fact, this is the first time since 1936 that the sitting president’s party didn’t lose a single state legislative chamber in a midterms! For all of you who voted, this is what you made happen. Enjoy!

That last one is my FAVOURITE!!!  Be sure to check out all the rest of the cartoons over at Political Charge!

Justice Alito Assured Senator Ted Kennedy That He Would Not Overturn Roe v. Wade

It’s one thing to acknowledge that politicians will tell lies to get elected to office. We may not like it, and some tell small lies while others tell whoppers, but most people accept that there are some lies told by politicians. However, Supreme Court justices are NOT politicians, do not stand for election but rather are appointed for life, and thus we should be able to hold them to a higher standard. To say that today’s Court is a disappointment would be an understatement. Read what Diane Ravitch shows us about the lack of integrity of one Justice Samuel Alito.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The New York Times reported that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito assured Senator Ted Kennedy that he would not overturn Roe v. Wade. He said repeatedly that he respects precedent and considered Roe to be settled law. Seventeen years later, Justice Alito wrote the scathing opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and asserting that it was wrong from the start.

How should Americans react when they learn that at least three of the 6 justices who voted to overturn Roe are liars?

Senator Edward M. Kennedy looked skeptically at the federal judge. It was Nov. 15, 2005, and Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was seeking Senate confirmation for his nomination to the Supreme Court, had just assured Mr. Kennedy in a meeting in his Senate office that he respected the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion.

“I am a believer in precedents,” Judge Alito…

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GOP MAGAs Push Towards Autocracy Will Harm US Economy and Its Citizens

Our dear friend Gronda gives us a spot-on and chilling analysis of where we are headed if the autocratic-minded Republican Party gains a majority in one or both chambers of Congress next year. The picture she paints is, for me at least, one that nightmares are made of. Thank you, Gronda! Great to have you back!!!

Gronda Morin

While Democratic Party candidates should be focusing on the 2 issues of saving our US democracy from devolving into a Fascist style autocracy and the restoration of women’s access to legal abortions, they should still be in the driver’s seat when faced with having to address economic issues.
All discussion of issues by Dems when confronting GOP MAGAs’ favorite talking points of inflation, immigration, and crime should be tied back to US voters saving our US democracy from devolving into an autocracy. Without a strong democracy, it will be mission impossible to effectively and competently address any of these real problems.
Our voters’ economic wellbeing, our ability to keep rights like that of same sex marriage, and the right of each person to have his/ her vote counted for their intended candidate will be made much worse if GOP MAGAs are able to become the majority party in…

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What’s Your Top Priority?

Charles Blow’s column in yesterday’s New York Times is both a thoughtful and thought-provoking take on the midterms and what is most prevalent in the minds of voters as they head to the polls.

The Battle Between Pocketbooks and Principles

By Charles M. Blow

19 October 2022

You are never in the voting booth alone.

You bring with you your hopes and fears, your expectations and your disappointments. Your choice is made through a maze of considerations, but it hinges primarily on how the candidates — their principles and their party — line up with your worldview. Would they, if elected, represent and promote the kind of community and country you want to live in? Are they on your side, fighting for you and people like you?

Often, the things that are top of mind as you consider those questions are urgent and imminent, rather than ambient and situational. Issues like the economy, for instance, will almost always take top billing, since they affect the most people most directly.

Anger over abortion can also be potent, and in some races, it may determine the outcome, but it is a narrower issue. First, no person assigned male at birth will ever have to personally wrestle with a choice to receive an abortion or deal with health complications from a pregnancy that might necessitate an abortion. So, for half the electorate, the issue is a matter of principle rather than one of their own bodily autonomy.

Furthermore, at the moment, abortion is still legal in most states. Yes, clinics have disappeared completely in 13 of the 50 states, according to the latest data from the Guttmacher Institute, but for millions of American women living in blue states, abortion access hasn’t changed since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Dobbs.

That is not to diminish the outrage people do and should feel about this right being taken away from them. It doesn’t diminish my personal outrage, nor does it assume that abortion rights are safe in the states that have yet to outlaw the practice.

But I mention it as a way to understand something I’ve seen over and over in the electorate: Incandescent rage, however brightly it burns at the start, has a tendency to dim. People can’t maintain anger for extended periods. It tends to wear on the mind and the body, as everyday issues like gas and rent and inflation push to get back into primary consideration.

I have seen repeatedly how people abandon their principles — whether they be voting rights, transgender issues, gun control, police reform, civil rights, climate change or the protection of our democracy itself — when their pocketbooks suffer. There is a core group of people who will feel singularly passionate about each of these problems, but the rest of the public adjusts itself to the outrage and the trauma, shuffling each issue back into the deck. They still care about these problems as issues in the world, but they don’t necessarily see them as urgent or imminent.

In a New York Times/Siena College poll released this week, voters were asked “What do you think is the MOST important problem facing the country today?”

A plurality, 26 percent, said the economy, and 18 percent said inflation or the cost of living. Just seven percent said the state of democracy, and four percent said abortion.

After the Supreme Court struck down Roe, Democrats saw a measurable shift in their direction, as voters began to say that they were leaning toward the Democrats in the midterm elections. The anger among many voters was palpable; the offense was fresh. But now, that momentum has stalled, and some see a swing back toward Republicans as we get further out from the ruling and worrisome economic news retakes the headlines.

I still believe that anger over abortion will be felt in the midterms. I believe that taking away such a fundamental right feels like a betrayal that must be avenged. I believe that many parents of daughters are incensed at the idea of those girls inheriting an America where they will have less say over their bodies than their mothers had.

But I also know that energy attrition in the electorate is real. I know that historical trends are on the side of Republicans going into the midterms, and even a minor stalling of momentum and erosion of energy could make the already slim chance that Democrats would hold the House of Representatives an impossibly long shot.

In the closing days of this campaign cycle, Republicans are driving home perennial issues: the economy and crime. Democrats are arguing big issues of policy: abortion and protecting democracy. In this battle of pocketbooks and principles, which will win out?

For those with any sense of political vision and history, the policy side must take precedence. Economic issues are cyclical. They’ll always present themselves. But grand issues like bodily autonomy can define generations. And protecting democracy can define empires.

What is the point of a cheaper tank of gas, if it must be had in a failed democracy that polices people’s most intimate choices about their own bodies?

A Wise Man Speaks Words Of Wisdom

I avoid religious discussions here on Filosofa’s Word as much as is possible or feasible, for I am non-religious and feel I don’t have a horse in this race, but every now and then I tread softly into the topic.  There are two ‘men of the cloth’, religious leaders, for whom I have great respect:  Padre Steve Dundas, a recently retired Navy chaplain, and John Pavlovitz, a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina.  These two men are not ‘preachy’, but are fair, open-minded men who actually live their beliefs rather than weaponizing religion as so many today are doing.

I’m sharing a portion of John Pavlovitz’ most recent blog post today because it defines what I see as being wrong with the Christianity that we see today and why people are turning away from their religion, leaving their churches.  This is only an excerpt and I highly recommend you read John’s entire post in which he addresses American churches, but here is a portion of it …

Dear American Church, You’re Dying

October 12, 2022 / John Pavlovitz

You’re dying because of your willful ignorance.

People are tired of your war on Science.
They are sick of your arguing with Biology.
They are exhausted by your attacks on women.
They are horrified by your justifications of racism.
They despise your posturing nationalism.
They know the earth is round.
They know it is billions, not thousands of years old.
They know dinosaurs walked it.
They know that it is warming rapidly.
They know people here don’t choose their sexuality.
They know whoever and whatever God is—doesn’t appoint Presidents or hand out weapons or attack people with tornadoes.

You’re dying because of your devotion to cruelty.

People watch you dig in your heels against others because of their gender identity and sexual orientation; the way you continually exact violence upon them, the way you try and blame God and the Bible for your fearful bigotry and your predatory behavior.
They’ve seen your intolerance to other religious traditions: how you vilify anyone who finds spirituality and meaning outside of your precise expression of Christianity, how you so easily disregard the faith stories of those who don’t reflect your own.
They’ve watched you so revel in being the bully to those you were originally called to protect.

You’re dying because of your complicity in violence.

Good people have seen you so often be a safe haven for misogynists, domestic abusers, sexual predators, and white supremacists—who all receive protection in your antiquated words, in your personality cults, and in your enabling culture.
They’ve heard your explicit silence in the face of a brutal and rising flood of anti-Semitism, of open racism, of hostility toward immigrants,  of attacks on Asian people and Muslims.
They see your pastors and leaders misuse their positions and leverage their influence to victimize the most vulnerable and to serve as scapegoats for discrimination.
They’ve watched you be the last, hateful holdout in matters of gender equality, racial diversity, sexuality, and theological difference; lagging behind almost everyone in the world in the kind of goodness you say you aspire to.

And this from a man who has been a Christian pastor for some 25 years.  Christians would do well to listen more to him and less to the evangelists like Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson, et al.

Bravo Bernie!!!

One of the people in Congress whose views most nearly align with my own is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  Like myself, Bernie is an Independent who believes that income should be more equitably distributed, that nobody should be homeless or go to bed hungry, especially in this, the land of plenty.  Yesterday, Senator Sanders wrote an OpEd for The Guardian that is spot on, that after reading it, I said to the kitties, “Bravo, Bernie!!!” 👏👏👏

Democrats shouldn’t focus only on abortion in the midterms. That’s a mistake

America has long faced structural economic crises. Democrats must win on the economy and present a pro-worker agenda

Bernie Sanders

Monday 10 October 2022

As someone who has a lifetime 100% pro-choice voting record, and is outraged by the Supreme Court’s horrific decision to overturn Roe v Wade, there is no question that Democrats must continue to focus on the right of women to control their own bodies. This is a fight that most Americans want us to wage and, given the Republicans’ extremist position on the issue, makes them genuinely vulnerable.

But, as we enter the final weeks of the 2022 midterm elections, I am alarmed to hear the advice that many Democratic candidates are getting from establishment consultants and directors of well-funded super PACs that the closing argument of Democrats should focus only on abortion. Cut the 30-second abortion ads and coast to victory.

I disagree. In my view, while the abortion issue must remain on the front burner, it would be political malpractice for Democrats to ignore the state of the economy and allow Republican lies and distortions to go unanswered.

This country has, for decades, faced structural economic crises that have caused the decline of the American middle class. Now is the time for Democrats to take the fight to the reactionary Republican Party and expose their anti-worker views on the most important issues facing ordinary Americans. That is both the right thing to do from a policy perspective and good politics.

We have more income and wealth inequality than at any time in the modern history of this country, with three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of our nation. Is there one Republican prepared to raise taxes on billionaires, or do they want to make a bad situation worse by extending Trump’s tax breaks for the rich and repealing the estate tax?

Today, 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and millions work for starvation wages. Is there one Republican in Congress who is prepared to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour?

The United States pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Is there one Republican prepared to allow Medicare to immediately begin negotiating prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and cut the cost of medicine by half?

We have a dysfunctional healthcare system which, despite being the most expensive in the world, allows 85 million Americans to be uninsured or underinsured. Is there one Republican who believes that healthcare is a human right and supports universal coverage?

We remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee time off for moms who have babies or need to take care of sick children.

Is there one Republican who supports at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave?

The list goes on: childcare, housing, home health care, college affordability. On every one of these enormously important issues the Republican Party has virtually nothing to say to address the desperate needs of low and moderate income Americans. And what they do propose will most often make a bad situation worse.

Nevertheless, in poll after poll Republicans are more trusted than Democrats to handle the economy – the issue of most importance to people. I believe that if Democrats do not fight back on economic issues and present a strong pro-worker agenda, they could well be in the minority in both the House and the Senate next year.

And it’s not only the long-term structural crises that Democrats must address. It is the outrageous level of corporate greed that we now see every day that is fueling the inflation hurting so many people.

While the price of gas has soared over the last year, the five big oil companies made $59 billion in profits during the 2nd quarter of this year alone, and are spending $88 billion on stock buybacks and dividends to benefit their wealthy shareholders.

While global food prices soared by over 33% last year and are expected to go up another 23% this year, billionaires in the global food and agri-business industry became $382 billion richer during the pandemic.

While we continue to pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, 3 of the largest pharmaceutical companies in America – Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AbbVie – increased their profits by 90% last year to $54 billion.

While 46% of Americans either skipped or delayed the healthcare they need because they could not afford it, the six largest health insurance companies in America last year made over $60 billion in profits.

What do Republicans have to say about corporations that are charging Americans outrageously high prices, while enjoying record breaking profits? They talk a lot about inflation. But what are they going to do about it? Does one of them have the courage to consider a windfall, profits tax? Absolutely not.

You can’t win elections unless you have the support of the working class of this country. But you’re not going to have that support unless you make it clear that you’re prepared to take on powerful special interests – and fight for the millions of Americans who are struggling economically. Whether it is extending the $300 a month child tax credit that expired in December that slashed the child poverty rate by over 40%, or increasing Social Security benefits, or expanding Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision or making childcare affordable, the Democrats must stand with the working class of this country and expose the Republicans for the phonies that they are.

None of what I am suggesting here is “radical”. It is, in fact, extremely popular. It is what the American people want. If we close this critical midterm campaign with a clear, unified vision to meet the needs of working families, to take on corporate greed, and protect a woman’s right to choose, we will begin to rebuild the trust between Democrats in Washington and the working families of this country.

And we’ll win the election.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 10/1

I seem to have a bouncing mind this weekend for I have three separate posts in process, but haven’t managed to finish a single one of them!  So, I figured there’s no better time than the present to see what cartoons our friend TokyoSand has managed to dig up for us!  Naturally, Hurricane Ian is front and center, as is Putin’s brutal war against Ukraine, but there is even more.  These are only a sampling, so be sure to visit TokyoSand at Political Charge to see the rest! Thank you, TS, for finding the best offerings of the cartoonists this week!

Florida and Ukraine were in the eye of the news for most of this week, with of course, other important stories sprinkled in. Here’s how the nation’s editorial cartoonists covered them.

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

Reinforcement of why a person left the GOP

Today our friend Keith shares an article that clearly defines the major difference today between the two major parties in the U.S. This is a ‘must-read’ for those who would claim there is no difference between the two parties or for those who still believe the GOP is a viable, functional political party. Thanks, Keith


The following is an interesting article that furthers the message of my previous and earlier posts over my concerns for the Republican party called “I left the GOP because it seemed to be losing it way. Last week convinced me I was right” by Kurt Bardella of NBC News.

Here are few excerpts from the piece. The full article can be linked to below.

“I don’t think I’ve recently experienced a span of days that quite so neatly captures the difference betweenbeing a Democrat and being a Republicanin today’s America.

Last week began with the GOP’s wannabe standard-bearer,Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, using human beingsas political props for acraven publicity stuntdesigned to stoke right-wing outrage toward migrants.

Then, the current Republican Party standard-bearer found himself in even more legal hot water after theNew York attorney general’s lawsuitalleging Trump and his eldest children committed…

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Filosofa Rants Yet Again!

I was seriously trying to work on a post about banned books for Banned Books Week when I took a brief break and while perusing a bit of news and some other blogs briefly, I came across something that made my blood boil.  All hope of me finishing my banned books post tonight is gone … perhaps tomorrow, but for tonight I have a brief rant, and then I’m going to bed to read for a while and try to calm my shattered psyche.

Who or what has sent me into a tailspin?  A man by the name of John Gibbs from Michigan who is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in November’s election.  According to Wikipedia …

John Gibbs is an American far-right political commentator and politician. A member of the Republican Party, Gibbs was a software engineer and missionary before entering politics. During the Donald Trump administration, he held roles in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was acting Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Community Planning and Development.

In July 2020, Trump nominated Gibbs to be director of the United States Office of Personnel Management, but he was never confirmed by the Senate. Gibbs promoted Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 elections, having defeated incumbent Peter Meijer in the Republican Party primary election for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district.

Okay, pretty much your typical maga-Republican, nothing new or out of the ordinary there, right?  Well, just wait.  As a student at Stanford University in the early 2000s, Gibbs founded a self-described “think tank” called the Society for the Critique of Feminism.  Here is some of what he had to say there …

“The Bible clearly articulates the idea that women should not teach or maintain positions of power. Although the reason is not expressly mentioned, it must be due to the nature of women (i.e. their differing mental characteristics), since every other command for living in the Bible is based on the condition of man. In other words, because women do not possess the characteristics necessary to govern, and since women have a more important task to do, which is to prepare the next generation, they are commanded not to rule.

And since Christianity is the historical foundation of American society, with all of the rights and freedoms expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, which we enjoy to this very day, being expressly and unmistakenly God-given, it is incumbent upon us to consider the relationship that our Christian/cultural heritage, which is so important to so many Americans, shares with feminism, which threatens to unravel the social fabric which has produced one of the marvels of mankind.

Some argue that in a democratic society, it is hypocritical or unjust for women, who are 50% of the population, not to have the vote. This is obviously not true, since the founding fathers, who understood liberty and democracy better than anyone, did not believe so. In addition, all people under age 18 cannot vote, although they too comprise a significant portion of the population. So we cannot say that women should be able to vote simply because they are a large part of the population.

We conclude that increasing the size and scope of government is unequivocally bad. And since women’s suffrage has caused this to occur on a larger scale than any other cause in history, we conclude that the United States has suffered as a result of women’s suffrage.”

And now you understand why I have steam coming out of my ears.

Somebody might want to remind him that those same ‘founding fathers’ also didn’t believe that people with his skin colour ought to be allowed to vote!!!  Oh what a hypocrite this man is!

Anne Marie Schieber, a spokesperson for Gibbs’ campaign, attempted to mitigate and control the damage when his views on women were made public, saying that he was only trying “to provoke the left on campus and to draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists. It was nothing more than a college kid being over the top.”  Oh no, sweet cheeks … this was downright blatant misogyny, putting down women in the worst possible way!  This was no little college prank.  And given Gibbs’ current conspiracy theorist tendencies, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that he still feels that women are so far inferior to men that we should not be allowed to put on shoes and leave the kitchen, let alone vote or god forbid run for office!  Bastard!

Back in 2020, Trump nominated Gibbs to head the Office of Personnel Management.  During the Senate confirmation hearings, it came out that Gibbs had he had spread the false conspiracy theory that claimed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman took part in a satanic ritual … that conspiracy theory, known as Pizzagate, led to Edgar Maddison Welch entering a pizza restaurant on 4 December 2016 armed with an AR-15, and randomly fired shots.

The only reason Mr. Gibbs’ name will be on the ballot this November is because the incumbent for that seat, Representative Peter Meijer, was ostracized by the GOP for voting to impeach Trump in 2020.  Therefore, Gibbs received that all-important ‘seal of approval’ from the former guy and won his primary.  He faces … oh the irony … Hillary Scholten, the Democrat running for the seat, and as of today, Gibbs is polling 9 points behind Ms. Scholten!  I would love to be a fly on the wall when he loses to … of all people … one of those women for whom he has zero respect!