Yesterday evening a woman told me she just couldn’t understand why Democrats believed in abortion. She thought it was just, “wrong.” It was late and I was too tired to think about it but today is a new day and my brain is rested. So, here’s what I think.
First of all, I’m a Democrat and I basically do not believe abortion is a good thing. To some degree or another, I’ve been bothered by anyone being sexually irresponsible and then using abortion as a means of birth control. After all, forms of condoms and birth control have existed since Roman times and earlier. That said, I don’t think it is my place to tell a woman what is correct for them.
Back in the 1950s president Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex; the ever more powerful relationship between those who make the weapons of war and those who buy and use them. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to Ike’s warning and the MIC is more powerful than ever.
I recently heard an economist state that the cost of Medicare for All could be covered if we ever got serious about reigning in our military budget. America currently spends more on its military that of the world’s nations combined.
The governor of Virginia is under fire for appearing on his medical school yearbook page either in blackface or in the uniform of a KKK member. The date was 1984, twenty years after the signing of civil rights acts and even more years since the murder of Emmett Till, the Montgomery bus boycott, or the beating of Selma marchers. Plenty of years to have learned that blackface and KKK costumes were not appropriate party wear. Plenty of time to learn that many things are offensive and that society, in general, should become aware and adjust their behaviors.
While I’m not much for speculation when it comes to guessing who will win elections, I still enjoy listening to some people’s opinions and insight. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is one such person. Here’s a brief video in which he diagrams what factors are most needed to right the turned over apple cart that is America under Trump.
PBS is running a series called The Dictator’s Playbook that singles out a particular dictator from history and investigates that person’s rise to power. The current episode deals with Idi Amin, the notorious and murderous dictator of Uganda during the 1970s.
Here in America, concerned citizens have been watching for signs of the same thing happening. For over two years now we’ve watched Donald Trump usurp Constitutional and traditional norms of separation of powers and rule of law as he has rapidly tried to consolidate power into this own undersized hands.
We’ve had forty-five presidents in our nation’s history and there’s a prevailing myth that anyone, regardless of wealth, can grow up and join the club. While it is possible, and we do have examples, to be born poor and make it to the White House, is not the normal way things happen, especially in the modern era.
Everyone knows about Lincoln being born in a log cabin and splitting fence rails for a living. But besides Abe, there are a number of others who had similar humble beginnings. On the list of those who weren’t born with a wooden spoon in their mouths would be George Washington, the Roosevelts, John F. Kennedy, and the Bushes.
This being Black History Month PBS has been running a number of special programs. Recently we watched one titled With Infinite Hope: MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. It began with a synopsis of life in America’s South at the beginning of the fight for civil rights in the 1950s. While I had first-hand experience observing segregation and Jim Crow laws I’m still, after all these years, having my eyes opened.
Everyone has probably seen two side by side drinking fountains in a Southern bus terminal with one labeled whites only and the other colored only. The stupidity, racism, and hypocrisy of this was driven home by an older black woman who simply suggested you look at the common water supply line feeding the two fountains.
Every American needs to put down whatever they’re doing, put aside their political and religious biases, open up their brains, and listen carefully to how the youngest member of the US House of Representatives is demonstrating the absolute truth about money in our government. If this nation cannot agree with what we’re being shown, there is no hope.
The Democrats regained control of the House of Representative because they ran in support of things most Americans are in favor of. The House Democrats are debating their first bill, named HR-1, aimed at addressing many of the important issues the voters demonstrated support for.
Much of the bill is anti-corruption aimed at restoring the people’s right to vote. I’ve extracted the major components from a Vox article and present them here for your consideration:
Most people remember the FEMA fiasco that followed Hurricane Katrina. Who could forget Bush’s words to FEMA director Michael Brown as thousands suffered in the Superdome or Convention Center, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” Heck, I even had a t-shirt made with that quote on it.
One can go back and read the literature and learn that the critics don’t think much was learned from Katrina. One can also learn that a lesson that was learned was to make sure the mistakes are not repeated if the victims are white and live in red states.
During his first year wasting space in the White House, Donald Trump posted 20, 2017 times on Twitter. I didn’t find any quick number for 2018 but I’m sure it was that much or more. Trump spends so much time ranting and raving via tweets it struck me that if a space ship of little green aliens landed and said, “take us to your leader,” we’d have to help them register for a Twitter account first.
I was in a local tire shop a couple of years ago and a young man, probably not twenty yet, walked in sporting a t-shirt with large letters proclaiming “FUCK JESUS!” While I’m not a Christian I was offended. Not so much for myself but for others present, friends, who I knew were. Correct or not, I challenged the youngster and asked him if he got out of bed that morning intent on pissing people off? He just looked totally stupid at me as if he hadn’t read and considered the content of his chest. I told him that while he had the right to wear his shirt I questioned if he had a justifiable reason. Was it appropriate for the environment in which he found himself? Speech has consequences and the consequences that kid potentially faced were far more serious than some old man asking him if he was trying to piss him off.
Yesterday I did a little Googling about using drones to get up and over border walls and I didn’t have to dig too far to learn that the technology exists to inexpensively smuggle large amounts of drugs into America via an air force of drones.
Drones vary widely in both price and payload. A few thousand dollars on Amazon will buy one a drone capable of carrying a payload of 12 kg. At an average street price of $200 a gram in the US a 12 kg cargo could be valued at as much as $2.4 million. For several thousand more one could buy a drone with a cargo capacity of 660 pounds. You do the math and don’t forget such a drone may be able to smuggle a couple of people over a wall.
Seriously, I am just kidding, there’s nothing good about Trump and the GOP’s huge unfunded tax unless you’re a member of the super-duper jet club or America’s most exclusive country club crowd. If you’re just another working stiff in America, living from check to check and wondering how the hell your kids will be able to go to college without enslaving themselves in the life long debtors prison called student loans.
Whatever small gains you may experience from the tax cut will last for ten years or less. That’s because your cuts are temporary with a ten-year shelf life, after which, they expire. For that small percentage of America’s richest, the cuts are permanent and will just keep on giving. The new laws may make it easier for you to file but will do nothing to make it easier for you to meet your long-term obligations. Continue reading The Good & Bad of Trump’s Tax Cut→
A couple of days ago I was in a discussion with a person who contended that the Muller special investigation should be ended because it hasn’t resulted in any evidence of wrongdoing. This claimed, in spite of a couple dozen indictments and several guilty pleas.
The Muller investigation began on May 17, 2017, so it is not yet two-years-old. How does that compare to other special prosecutor investigations? I did a little Googling and came up with the following:
The Samuel Pierce influence peddling during the first Bush presidency took almost 8 1/2 years.
The Whitewater Investigation during the Clinton administration took about 7 years.
The Henry Cisnero perjury investigation of the Clinton era went on for 9 years.
It took 3 years to conclude the Valerie Plame investigation during the G.W.B. years.
So, in light of these (and there are more), Muller is advancing relatively fast. The claim that there’s no evidence of wrongdoing is bogus. Given the number of indictments and guilty pleas, plus Muller’s ability to contain leaks simply means none of us really knows what evidence exists. We can make no judgments until the prosecutor says he’s finished and issues his report.
To think otherwise is simply to admit you’re accepting the word of paid mouthpieces like Rudi Guiliani.