Monday, July 22, 2019

Grow Up and Grow Some

Nine years ago, on July 19th, 2010, 472 episodes ago, I started this blog. 

I've been pretty good about not missing a week, even when I was on holiday. I felt a responsibility to my readers...and a fear that if I missed so much as one week without some kind of notice, all my readers would disappear while saying, "Just another blogger who couldn't stick it out."

So I went back to see what's changed in the 9 years. A lot has changed. Some of the stuff I thought was egregious isn't so bad anymore, but some is unfathomably worse. Lack of sensible guns law remains a total mystery after so many mass shootings I've lost count. And makes me wonder why we cannot pass sensible laws. There are mysteries I've yet to solve. 

But they ain't nothing in comparison with the mystery we have sitting in the oval office.

I have no words to describe my disgust at what he has done to reduce the status of the office of President of the United States to rubble. 

Ask yourself this question: if your kid (or grandkid) came home from school and said the things this man has said or tweeted, how would you respond to your child?

If you're okay with what he says, congratulations: you would've made a fine Nazi collaborator. 

I may not like Ilhan Omar, but she is a  citizen of this country, as are the other three members of the Squad. Frankly, I don't like any of them, but folks, they are all citizens, they were elected to Congress,  and they're not going "back" anywhere. 

The only person who hates American and Americans is the one sitting in the Oval Office. I don't have to list all the ways he demonstrates his hatred; he does a fine job doing it himself on Twitter. Stupid he's not; he's doing precisely what he has set out to do: distract all of us from the real issues. If you think he will stop the dismantling of The Constitution of the United States and the wholesale environmental destruction of the planet, guess again. All this because he hated a black POTUS.

Minor thing, I know. Hardly worth noting. 


Did anyone hear the occupant tell the Prime MInister of Pakistan he would win the Afghan war in a week? Really? And he's the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico? Is this guy on drugs????????????????????????????????????

Frankly, the guy should just stop compensating for his teeny-tiny tootsie roll and man up. I think his obsession with golf has more to do with hitting balls with a stick than sinking them in a cup. There is something weirdly phallic about his golf game, as if it is some sadomasochistic ritual to compensate for his lack of genuine masculinity coming from his own balls. It sure as hell isn't his athletic ability. 

Ladies, you know exactly what I mean.

As for the Senate? Grow some spine. ALL OF YOU. Work at being adult. Remember what made you run for office and then try remembering the oath you swore on that Bible. Surprise us. Do something for the common good. 

I need to get past the rage I feel while watching the country I love embrace racism and hate. And on that note, I'm taking some time off.  See you all in a bit.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Plant a tree. We're gonna need all the trees we can get. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Where Have All The Morals Gone?

I have to wonder what all those Eastern European refugees and asylum seekers we fought so hard to bring to this country during the last half of the 20th century must be thinking right about now.  
Am I next? Is the White  House going to come after me? I had a broken tail light once and ignored the ticket...does that make me eligible for deportation?
These are not joke questions. They are real. And they are terrifying. 

What the man who claims to be our president said over the weekend was so heinous, so egregious that its horror can only be bested by the deafening silence of GOP lawmakers who have maintained an unacceptable blackout in response to his weekend racist screed. These raging religious right people, the ones who talk Bible and Jesus and the rest of that stuff...where is their moral compass? Whatever happened to WWJD? How do they keep their lips locked when blatant racism pours over the podium on the White House lawn?

Now, I'm not fan of Speaker Pelosi; in fact, I think she has mishandled The Squad from start to finish. There were any number of approaches that coulda/shoulda/woulda prevented The Squad from running amok. But she didn't.  Now, we need a minor miracle to clean up the mess. 

However, Speaker Pelosi was right when she  tweeted:

For the record, I'm definitely no fan of The Squad, either. Their lowest common denominator is antisemitism because all four figured out early on you have to blame someone, and since they refuse to take responsibility for what comes out of their collective mouths, blaming Israel for everything is as a good a PR move as any other. That said, Rep. Cortez has some terrific moments and I wish I could like her as much as I like some of her responses. But I don't. This one, however, was spot on. 

The extreme asininity of this past weekend's Twitter fest was solely about throwing more sabots into the Democratic machine, and you're an idiot if you missed that part. The cabal hanging around the oval office knows this caliber of hate-speech will release an overwrought Kraken to further fracture the DNC. This isn't about the The Squad, it's about reducing the opposition's ability to mount a viable political assault against that thing sitting in the oval office. The GOP operatives may be despicable, but they are not stupid. They know immigration is a hot-button issue and they are there to exploit it.

And while we're at it, let's make one thing really, really clear. 


with the exception of 
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-OK, Cherokee 
  • Rep Sharice Davids, D-KS, Ho-Chunk
  • Rep Deb Halaand, D-NM, Laguna Pueblo

These three are the only members of Congress who, if you follow the administration's logic, should be in there. They are our First Nation Congresspeople and regardless of party affiliation, they are the true original citizens of this continent. The rest of the congressclowns should just board their ships and go back to whatever shit hole country they came from because clearly they are not happy with America. They tell us that every day. According to Feckless Leader, that would solve the immigration problem. And if you actually can believe something the sociopath in the oval office said, his father immigrated from Germany, so guess what, Angela? Your kleiner Lügner Kumpel is all yours.  (For the record, Feckless lied about that, too: Fred was born here...but he is still an immigrant according to his spawn's definition.)

And in case you still want to support this administration because you think the economy is stronger than it's ever been, let me leave you with this graph I found showing the market's performance on a day-by-day comparison between the Obama administration and the current one. 
The y-axis shows the total percentage increase or decrease in the S&P 500 index and the x-axis shows the number of trading days since inauguration day. The performance for President Obama is shown as well for comparison purposes.

The reality is the current administration languishes on the heels of the previous one. It's not simply the occupant in the oval office, it's the fed, the futures, the outlook, and about a zillion other factors that make the market rise and fall. This is not subjective charting; these are just the raw numbers.

Wake up, America, and smell the bullshit. It's getting deeper, higher, and more toxic. Just like our air and water quality. But hey! Who's looking?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
36 Months sounds like a long time,
 but it isn't. Really.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Great Betsy Ross Sneaker Debacle

In the historical scheme of things, my big brother has, on occasion, attempted to bend me to his will. He has gone as far as to serenade me with songs from that long-lost musical, "Christopher Columbus", just to see if he can get me to budge. I'm a stubborn sort, so he hasn't had much luck, but yesterday was one of those rare moments of budging. He suggested I write about the Great Betsy Ross Sneaker Debacle. So, BBB, here ya go.

I like Colin Kaepernick. I don't always agree with him, but he puts himself out there for causes in which he believes. Ardently believes. That's admirable on many levels, but it doesn't mean I'm gonna take the knee for everything he supports. And Betsy Ross Sneakers ain't one of them.

There are a number of reasons I can't back Colin on this one. Here's the list:

  1. Betsy Ross was a devout Quaker, which meant she was  most likely an abolitionist because that was a tenet of her religion.
  2. Betsy Ross was born in 1752 and died in 1836. I don't think women of that period were out there demonstrating for civil rights or anything else for that matter. You can't hold her responsible for something that did not exist.
  3. Betsy Ross was apparently hired to do this job, or at least part of this job, because she was a professional. She had some instructions from George Washington, and she did what she was asked to do.
  4. The thirteen stars on the flag represented the 13 colonies breaking away from England. You could put a swastika in the middle of that blue field and the overwhelming majority of Americans would take great offense at that misuse of our first flag.  Same applies to putting III in the middle: it doesn't belong there.
  5. According to the Anti-Defamation League, people who associate the Betsy Ross Flag with white supremacy or anti-government militias are marginal in numbers.
  6. Besides, Nike sneakers aren't even American. Yeah, Nike is ostensibly an American company, but they don't manufacture so much as a shoelace in this country. Their sneakers are made in China, Vietnam, and/or Indonesia. The only thing Nike makes in The United States of America is profit.
You cannot re-write history and make the Revolutionary War about slavery. It wasn't. You cannot downplay its importance because it wasn't about civil rights; that is absurd.

Yes, both Washington and Jefferson were slave holders, and yes, in our thinking and in the thinking of many people of that time, slavery was evil. But it was also the socially acceptable norm. No, that didn't make it right. Yes, it had to change. Yes, there had to be abolition. And yes, there had to be a civil war. 

The Constitution, imperfect as it is, was really the first tentative step recognizing there was a different reality to be had. Like any other sociopolitical change, the road to equality started at the beginning and kept building until there were enough citizens demanding change. Announcing we should have done something earlier is not constructive; it's blame and that is useless. It doesn't change what happened...or didn't happen. It deflects from the real issues, and the real issues remain inequality and economic disparity in this country. It negates the continued efforts to change our own reality.

As for the flag itself, it's made of cloth. It is not sacred. You can burn it in protest. You can hang it upside down in distress. You can argue with its position on the pole.  You can say it needs a 51st star for Puerto Rico. You can say it needs another star so New York can finally split. But you can't change the part where George Washington hired Betsy Ross and told her to put thirteen stars on a field of blue with thirteen red and white stripes. It is what it is. You get to have an opinion about how it's made, how it looks, how it flies.  But you don't get to have an opinion about what the stars represent. It's just that simple.

In protesting the existence of the sneakers which, for the record, I think are tasteless and an inappropriate place for any American flag, Mr. Kaepernick just gave additional voice and credence to the trash that misuses that flag as its own twisted symbol. The people who put III in the middle are so marginal that no one recognizes it's even a thing, but this nonsense gave them visibility and credibility. I'm not advocating ignoring who and what they are, but let's not do them any favors, either.  I do not want that wonderful image of 13 stars on a field of blue to go the way of the irredeemable swastika

Emanuel Leutze - 1851 - Metropolitan Museum
Every country has it folktales, folk heroes, and fables, and while we will never fully know the story of how Betsy Ross got the commission (she was a business woman and well-qualified) the reality is she probably had something to do with the first flag. I like that she ran her own upholstery business. I like that she was a woman who survived on her own strength and gumption. Instead of tearing down that image, why not point out the real Betsy Ross, consider her a folk hero, and praise that as we hoist the ancient flag up the pole to celebrate how We, the People started? That's not apologia...that's telling the assholes who want to twist and co-opt OUR symbol to knock it off now, that we won't tolerate their perversion.

As much as Mr. Kaepernick would like to make everything about slavery, he can't. Nor should he. There are a few people ahead on the injustice line. Maybe he should be busy protesting the Cleveland INDIANS or the Atlanta BRAVES while seeking restitution of tribal lands stolen from the First Nations of this continent. Where is his outrage for the repeated attempts at genocide directed at the original inhabitants of this manifest destiny? You know, Mr. Kaepernick, they were free when everyone else got here....their enslavement, removal, abuse, and denial of rights continued long after the slaves were freed...right into the 20th century...right past the Civil Rights Movement.  There was never a civil war or a civil rights movement for them.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Through FIL, whose family first came in the late 17th century, 
my kids and grandkiddies are direct descendants of 
an American Revolutionary War soldier from Pennsylvania.  
I am certain he fought bravely at the Battle of EWR

Monday, July 1, 2019

We, The People, On July 4th, 2019

Although I rarely say such terrible things, right now I am glad neither my dad nor FIL are alive at this moment. 

I wouldn't want my Battle of the Bulge fighting US Army Republican Dad or my Normandy invading and Italy fighting US Naval officer Democrat father-in-law to see the president of the United States aligning himself with dictators who rival the old Axis enemies for crimes against humanity. Everything these guys went to war to fight against, Feckless Leader has embraced. 

In this past month alone, he has promised advanced weapon construction technology to a country that murdered a journalist who happened to be an American citizen. He brought America to the brink of war with Iran with braggadocio posturing, only to suddenly have an Aaron Sorkin-esque epiphany about how many people might die in an attack when at home in an excess of 45,000 Americans die annually from lack of affordable healthcare he and his party refuse to authorize. And, just for shits and giggles, he held hands with a man who executes his own family members and starves his people while he lives in luxury.

I am so relieved Ziggy, who believed with his entire being in the Constitution of the United States and the system of checks and balances upon which our government is built, isn't here to have his heart broken by the lies, hate, and rhetoric of evil that pours from the executive branch every day without end. He would be decimated by the images of the president and Putin making light of Russian interference in our elections.

I get it that some people are Republican just like some people are Democrats. I get that there are philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives. And I get that these differences are rooted in deeply held beliefs. What I don't get is the name calling, the vituperative commentary, the out-and-out outrageous lies, and the hate. This is not who We, the People are supposed to be. We, the People are supposed to stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. I'm not always sure what that means, especially not these days, but I don't think it means cozying up to murderous dictators or caging kids.

And while we're on the subject of dictators and caging kids, let me say this about that: "detention centers" are concentration camps. 

Now, there is a difference between death camps and concentration camps, and we cannot lose sight of that difference. But herding people into those centers, housing them like cattle, refusing to provide for basic human needs qualifies them as concentration camps. Just like Manzanar and the other Japanese internment sites in this country were concentration camps. Face it; they were. 

Too many really cold nights I stood in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza shouting a whole lotta slogans, most of which were directed at the Soviets at that time, but usually included the phrase NEVER AGAIN. Even then, I knew this was not just about us.

No one and I mean NO ONE should ever do to ANYONE what was done to us in Europe. Not just in Germany by Germans; they had help from Poles in Poland, Austrians in Austria, the French in France, Italians in Italy, Greeks in Greece, and the Russians in Russia just to name a few. NEVER AGAIN includes the pogroms that came before that. NEVER AGAIN includes the Spanish Inquisition. NEVER again includes Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur, and the Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere. 


If you are entertaining the idea that there are no similarities between that list and what's happening at the southern border, think again. ICE and other agencies of the United States of America are rounding people up, putting them in camps, and voiding their human rights. 

Children are dying. Children have been forcibly taken from their parents. Some have subsequently been lost in the foster care system. Not just teenagers....TODDLERS, people. Two year olds. Little kids with no voices of their own.

Where is their Independence Day?

How can I look Little Miss and Young Sir in the eye and say I did nothing to help stop other children from being destroyed by this inhumane machine? 

I cannot. I will not. I will not be silent. And neither should you. 

July Fourth is about independence from tyranny; it's not about perceived military might or hardware. It's not about parading metal macho substitutes through the streets of our capital city. In fact, it's just the opposite.

Fourth of July is a day to rededicate ourselves the idea that once upon a time, We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, did ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That's my Constitution and I'm sticking with it.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

This is what July Fourth is not about.
Victory Day Parade 2019  in Red Square.