We Never Learn…

In fairness, I kind of wish the pro-choice crowd would stop characterizing the recent, badly decided Dobbs decision as an attack on “poor women and women of color.” The second part, the “women of color” part, is all about emotionalism. In fact, Dobbs will harm poor people of any and all colors. A woman of color with resources will do the same thing a white woman with resources will do; they’ll go to a smart state, obtain the service they need, then go back to their hater state and talk about their “vacation.”

As a sidebar, if my information is correct, I kind of feel sorry for Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s top public health official. His name is on this hateful ruling only because of his job and that’s fairly common practice. It was Mississippi’s horrendous legislature who passed the law that started all of this. Dr. Dobbs has actually spent most of his time in his current job trying to reduce infant mortality, an effort that will surely take a huge step backwards now that Roe has been reversed. Hell, even Roe was a pseudonym. But the verbal and written shorthand for this disastrous choice will become, simply, Dobbs – forever linking him with the social carnage sure to follow…

Anyway, I would be remiss not to mention that black women – even if they have resources – already have worse outcomes in child bearing and childbirth but I suspect that has FAR more to do with good ole’ American systemic, institutional racism than anything else. (Keyword: suspect. I’m no doctor.) The United States already has the worst infant mortality rate of any wealthy nation on the planet (thanks, cons) and women of color already bear a heavier burden to that fact that white women. So, now that ALL poor women will be forced to suffer whatever pregnancy slings and arrows life may present to them, it makes perfect sense that the rates for women of color will increase disproportionately. It’s the American way…

I’ll tell you this: it should not be a punishable offense to be poor in this once-great nation but, of course, afflicting the afflicted is national sport for the cons. The more suffering they can dole out, the happier they are – especially if they can harm someone “in Jesus’ name…”

American Facade…

I saw this guy, James Kirchick, on the June 17, 2022 episode of ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ who said: “There’s a divide, on the left, in the Democratic Party, between the people who want to win political power and the echo chamber in the media, in the academy, in the NGO sector, and the people on Twitter – and their interests are not the same, right? So there’s the Democratic Party that wants to win power and then there are people who want to get clicks and they want to sell subscriptions and they want to, you know, bark very loudly.”

The people he dismisses as simply wanting to “bark very loudly” ACTUALLY just want a voice in their government, like they’re supposed to have according to the Constitution. As long as the DNC keeps manipulating primaries to remove the more popular candidate in favor of whomever they’ve sold the nomination to this time, progressives are going to be difficult, if not impossible, to keep in the fold.

Bernie would have won. I believe this for one, main reason. Like Republican cons, Democratic loyalists will vote for whomever they’re told to vote for by the party. Progressives won’t. When the party tried to tell everyone they had to vote Hillary, the progressives collectively said, “No, we don’t.” Had the party told the members they had to vote Bernie, they would have done so and the progressives would have, too.

I’ll tell you this: As far as I’m concerned, the DNC chose Trump, not the progressives. They just can’t allow their members to understand that – so the myth endures…

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Our society pretends that people who rise to the top of an existing hierarchy do so through grit, determination, and hard work and those people are the best of the best. That’s why they get there. In my experience, though, the people who rise to the top of an existing hierarchy do so by relegating ethics to the dustbin. (Sidebar: “‘existing’ hierarchy” is an important distinction. It’s still possible – though not guaranteed – to find decent people heading up companies they, personally, built. I’m referring specifically to a company that has existed for a LONG time and the person who rises to the top of that business.) My line for those people is, “Those are the people willing to do whatever it takes.” But not because they’re “go-getters.” It’s because they’ll do anything, to anybody, at anytime, to further their ambitions. Far from being the best of the best, they’re very commonly the very worst of the worst. Zero ethical constraints make for a very dangerous person at the top. (See Trump…)

MOST people self-select out of the pretended “success” race because, at some point, they’re presented with some ethical dilemma they choose not to ignore. There’s some line they won’t cross. The line is personal and different for every person. Commonly, it means the end of their rise. Ethics in America tend to be a career staller, if not a career killer. If you’ve been watching the January 6th committee, like every decent American should, you’ve seen a veritable parade of people – Republicans, mostly – who came up against exactly that kind of question and decided to do the right thing. It’s a rare example of a time when ethics may HELP their careers. A very rare example, indeed.

In truth, theirs was a kind of bet. They decided to bet on the Constitution and not on the demagogue. If the Keystone Congress isn’t setting up a 14th Amendment challenge to the politicians who actively engaged in the insurrection, as they should be, Drumpf will be back. If he comes back, the country as we know it goes away, once and for all. At this point, it really is that simple.

I’ll tell you this: if the Constitution wins, and Trump is barred from ever holding public office again, the folks testifying may well have even BETTER careers – because they did the right thing. If Trump wins, bad news for the folks who finally reached their ethical limits and did the right thing. They’ll be the first ones punished. The rest of us will be prioritized after that…

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I opened the Guardian this morning and saw the headline, “US Supreme Court in question after abortion ruling.” No it isn’t. The court fell into disrepute the second Gorsuch was seated in his stolen seat. The court fell into “controversy” when they started ruling in favor of conservative principles without regard to the law. Now, for my money, this court faces complete disregard. There is no “question…”

Some “Choice…”

Well, something has finally happened that may, may, give the Democrats a chance in the mid-terms. No, it wasn’t anything the Dems did, don’t be silly. It was the corrupt Supremely Kangaroo Court overturning Roe vs Wade revoking a woman’s right to privacy with her doctor. It didn’t take long until the loyalist Democrats shot out the inevitable, “This is what we warned you about in 2016.” It’s a dig at people who rejected their “choice” of “evil” (Trump) or “slightly less evil” (Hillary). (MANY Americans understand that voting for the lesser of two evils is STILL voting for evil.) My response? Show me the bills introduced by Dems and voted on in Congress attempting to codify Roe into law between 1973 and 2016. I’ll wait. (Huh! I only hear crickets…)

I specify “voted on in Congress” because simply introducing a bill isn’t enough in this fraudulent world of declared filibusters. The declared filibuster is nothing more than a tool the Democrats use to lose. Everyone knows it. The Dems, for sure, know it. It’s the reason they won’t return to the talking filibuster – where a person has to actually, physically hold the floor. They lose their excuse for not getting anything done. The Dems are so completely ineffective, as a party, they were looking at getting completely rolled over in the looming mid-terms of 2022. Now? Maybe they have a chance. I’m not sure what difference it makes, though. Just looking back over the last several years, the pattern seems pretty well defined: regardless of which party is “in power,” the GOP gets whatever it wants and the Dems NEVER get anything done. According to polls, the pretended Democratic positions line up nicely with the wishes of the vast majority of the American people – but the Dems just can’t (won’t, I submit) find the magic key to pass legislation.

The cons have been threatening to overturn Roe since it was decided in 1973. They’ve been working at it ever since. They’ve finally succeeded. It was about time, I guess. It’s been awhile since the GOP has had a chance to harm poor people on a large scale and they love NOTHING more than harming poor people. It’s, like, their favorite pass-time. Recently, though, they haven’t had much to work with. Aside from defending the “rights” of murderers to improve their murder rates – as opposed to the rights of, say, children to NOT be murdered – it’s been very difficult for the GOP to inflict harm on, well, anybody, really, but especially poor people. But they got it now. Poor women in an increasing number of states, oh, AND their children, will suffer at astonishing rates. The GOP couldn’t be happier.

I’m old enough to remember the fallout from illegal abortions before Roe. Now we get to live through it again. I’ve already heard grumblings from the “state’s rights” GOP about trying to impose a national, Federal prohibition on abortions in any state. “We MUST leave it to the states but we dare NOT leave it to the states!” Classic GOP bullshit.

It has always been true that thinking people have had to wait for the slowest amongst us before moving forward. It’s long been frustrating. But now the people who don’t understand things have become SUCH a weight around the necks of humanity, we’re not just moving forward at a snail’s pace, we’re actually moving backwards. Along with most Americans, I’m angry about it.

But I’ll tell you this: I’m not just angry at the trumpery or McConnell’s theft or the backwards-thinking GOP. I hold the Democratic Party every bit as responsible for this mess as the cons. Between 1973 and 2016, the Dems had 43 YEARS to codify Roe into law. They didn’t. So the question is, if our “choice” is between the GOP actively working on a daily basis to harm as many Americans as possible, and the Democrats, actively working to allow the GOP to harm as many Americans as possible, where do honest, intelligent Americans turn for representation?

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When this crap court made their activist, ideological choice they said a right to abortion isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. (This is likely the result of having attended diploma factories created and intended to train weak thinkers in “Conservative law.”) I see the right in the Ninth Amendment. The Ninth says, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” No? Okay, how about the Fourth Amendment which states, in part, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons…shall not be violated…”

Personally, I think the right to health care is found in the preamble to the Constitution where the founders tossed in “promote the general welfare” as such a basic and accepted human right as to hardly warrant specific mention. At the time of the writing of the Constitution – the so-called “originalist” fever-dream – the word “welfare” had nothing to do with a social program and couldn’t be properly defined without including health care.

I’ll tell you this: the cons didn’t see it because they didn’t WANT to see it…

What’s The Point?

So…the other day the question of what the point of the January 6th hearings might be came up. It seems the Justice Department is conducting it’s own investigations separately from the House committee and the two don’t seem to be sharing information. The Justice Department will determine if the criminal activity the Dumbass clearly engaged in warrants prosecution. Obviously, it does but this is an ex-president so he gets special handling, like it or not. Apparently, ex-presidents get to commit any crime they want to commit and they’ll get “special handling.” (Yeah, Rule of Law’s ass…)

My guess? Fourteenth Amendment. I think the House is letting the Justice Department do their thing and the House is working to prevent the traitorous trumpery from ever getting anywhere near the Oval Office again. The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3 says: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

It’s going to take some ellipses to clarify how it applies to trumpery. “No person shall…hold any office…who, having previously taken an oath…to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same…

That’s why it’s so important to the GOP that people think the violent, radical terrorists who attacked the Capitol building at trump’s request and according to trump’s plan were really just on an unauthorized tour. They need to turn it to something not-so-insurrectionist or the Dumbass can’t ever hold public office again.

I’ll tell you this: He might be, should be, convicted for his crimes but I know he’s not going to jail. I HOPE, at a bare minimum, he pays a massive fine. He defrauded his followers out of $250 million. It should be at LEAST that amount. But never holding public office again would be an excellent start and I’m hoping the Dems can get at least THAT right for once…

Close Calls…

According to the Guardian, Apple workers in Maryland have voted to join a union. It’s good to see unions making a comeback. Some time ago, many, if not most, manufacturing jobs were moved overseas to save money for the company. We started hearing about the “good jobs” leaving. But they weren’t the good jobs because of what they were making. They were good jobs because they were union jobs. Of course, St. Reagan had launched a war against unions and for quite some time, they were smeared as bad, greedy entities by, ironically, the bad, greedy companies that wanted them out. But unions are just labor organizing to protect itself from the vagaries of CEO greed whims. To me, the BEST thing about their return is that the wage-thieves had turned this country into a “service-based” economy by shipping manufacturing overseas. But they can’t ship services overseas.

I know, the people who don’t understand things tend to argue that the companies will just automate. I suspect that’s true. But I suspect that’s true whether the employees are union or not – just as soon as the companies can trust the automation will function properly and that people will accept it. (They’re certainly NOT keeping employees around out of altruism.)

I’ll tell you this: the workforce needs a break and unions will provide it…

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Wow, that was close. The toadies – euphemistically called “lawmakers” – who represent the wage-thieves (and no one else) came perilously close to having to do something about guns in this once-great nation. It’s like, every time a group of very young children gets cut to ribbons by some nutball able to grab a military style weapon at a moment’s notice, people get all upset and the pressure builds on our Keystone Kongress to do something. So they do. They dither and blather. They give us a song and dance. They make a great show of being very serious people who intend to do very serious things. Then they retreat back into their hidey-holes to wait out the storm. (They have MUCH safer spaces than the children trying to become invisible under a desk.)

This one went on a little longer than the others but, in the end, came to a nice, quiet finish. Well, unless you’re a parent of one of the Uvalde victims. Or one of the Sandy Hook Victims. Or Marjorie Stoneman Douglas victims. Or one of the many other shootings this country endures on a near-daily basis now. It will never end for them.

In this case, though, the outrage went on so long, the corrupt congress critters may even have to do a bill. Based on past results, I’d say it will be CALLED the bi-partisan “No More Guns Forever” Bill but only require gun sellers to offer a stern look at gun buyers and say, “You be careful with this” in a very serious tone.

I’ll tell you this: I expect gun rights advocates to start screaming about “infringements of their rights” in 3, 2, 1…

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I’ve been watching the January 6th commission present their findings. It’s absolutely clear to anybody watching that Donald J. Trump engaged in treason. That’s why the cons won’t watch and, instead, wait for the conservative bubble to offer up their “massaged” versions of events – if they say anything at all. The Orange Moron made every effort he could to overthrow our government – including inciting violence and attacking the United States Congress. But trump is proven schemer. He’s not a smart man, per se, but he has a certain flair for evil. Oh, AND he’s a coward. (It’s relevant. I’m not just calling him names…)

So…one watches the commission reports and realizes trump’s guilt is complete and that a long jail sentence seems inevitable – for John Eastman. Wait. What?!? Yeah, Eastman is the toady who gave the dumbass what he wanted; an excuse, no matter how flimsy (and, unwittingly, a patsy). Eastman played point man behind the scenes. Eastman is the person who kept making phone calls trying to corrupt the process – even after admitting that the plan had no merit, no veracity, and no legal basis. Eastman kept trying various angles, even AFTER the Trump Insurrection.

Sure, he did it all at the behest of the Dumbass. Eastman wasn’t leading the parade, trumpery was. But Eastman was the face of the scheme behind the scenes. That’s the “coward” part. Trump NEVER fights his own battles (beyond Twitter). He sends people in, people who can be tossed aside as needed. People who will take the fall for him should things go not according to plan. Every thinking American knows trump is as guilty as it gets. But we’re STILL hearing about how we just can’t send an ex-president to jail because it would destabilize our entire country. So? Goodbye John Eastman. You’re a fool who believed in trumpery and now you get to take his punishment for him…

Pardon me?
In a kind of dove-tail to Eastman’s quandary, something else came out about several of the murder supporting GOP’s members who stick by trumpery anyway. After the coup attempt failed, they all (John Eastman included) ran to trump and requested pardons (likely, the pardons trumpery had promised if they went along with his scheme), knowing they could be liable for their parts in the effort. Mostly, trump didn’t comply. It’s possible that’s just normal trumpery. He got all angry that his coup failed and blamed everyone around him and decided to punish them for their failures. He’s a small-minded, petty little man and that kind of retribution is right up his alley. I suspect something else, though.

It’s just my opinion but I think that was more evil trumpery-scheming. See, as long as those guys might be facing prosecution, they have no choice but to try to return Donnie the Dumbass to the Oval Office in the hopes that he’ll provide them pardons later. As an example, during his 2022 re-election bid, co-conspirator Mo Brooks (R, Al) made the mistake of trying to change the subject from the 2020 election. He didn’t back down on the Big Lie, just tried to change the subject. Trump slapped him down by withdrawing his endorsement. Mo won’t be getting any pardons from trump. Mo WILL be a cautionary tale to the GOP weasels who tried to help him thrash the Constitution, though; toe the line or find someone else to pardon you…

I’ll tell you this: Donnie the Dumbass manipulates the weakest of minds with the greatest of ease…

Could Happen To Anyone…

Look, I get it. I really do. If you’ve been around for any length of time (and if you’re anywhere near my age, you have), you’ve been snookered by some politician you really believed in. In my case, it was Bill Clinton. I really believed he was going to focus on my pain like a laser beam. Like so many Americans, I became a bit complacent after the turbulence of Reagan/Bush 41 for twelve years. I confess, I looked away. I allowed myself to enjoy distractions. I trusted Bill to do the right thing. My bad.

As evidence mounted that one event after another of the early 21st century traced it’s roots back to the Clinton administration, I did what ALL loyal supporters do: I made excuses. I called them “explanations.” I did NOT engage in the con trick of just ignoring the bits I didn’t like, though. I accepted the information as it came out. I STILL excused what I could but over time, that became harder and harder. The excuses didn’t hold up very well. “Maybe Bill didn’t realize the long-term consequences of that decision at the time” lost out to “smartest man in most rooms.” If he IS the smartest man, he can’t simultaneously claim to not understand implications.

Maybe he thought Al Gore would get to serve the presidential term he won and Al could address the problems then. (Who would have counted on the Supremely Kangaroo Court to step in the way they did?) Even THAT didn’t hold up. Leaving potential problems – one of them likely to lead to an economic crash – to the next guy is kind of irresponsible, at best. My best excuse was that he was horse trading. I give this, you give that. He DID end his administration with a balanced budget. But, again, he ran into “smartest man” problems. Even if he was horse trading, the damage he did to get the gains was a Pyrrhic victory.

The longer the evidence mounted, the more I realized that a very charismatic person had deceived the American people (me, included) and then helped the GOP do as much damage to the country as they could get away with – and it was a LOT. Back then, we didn’t HAVE a network of bullpucky out there working diligently every day trying to convince people that false things are true and true things are false. (In fact, we can thank Bill, at least in part, for that development.)

So I get it and I don’t sit in judgement of rank and file cons for believing a world-class con man. After all, we day-to-day Americans aren’t schooled in the ways of the criminal mind. It’s the very thing that makes us vulnerable to those who are. They know all the tips and tricks that makes thievery profitable and we don’t know the defenses to those tricks until we’ve been exposed to them. In short, honest people are unprepared to make good judgements about dishonest people.

There’s an old saying. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” It’s a good saying. Basically, it means there’s no shame in being deceived by a con man. It’s what they do. It’s NOT what you do. But if the same con man comes back and offers to sell you the same bridge (or whatever), and you hand over another $20,000.00 thinking you’re about to get rich…again…well, you kind of deserve what you get, right?

Are you a con who happily offered up some of your hard earned money to help the faux “Billionaire” defend his election claims? I applaud your loyalty. I’m sorry to say, it seems you got snookered. As it happens, the dumbass used ‘The Big Lie’ to commit ‘The Big Fraud.’ His story about voter fraud was used heavily to raise money. It was a grift. He SAID the money was for his defense fund. There WAS no defense fund. He said it would support his preferred candidates. To date, there is precious little evidence he has financially supported the vast majority of them. He just kept theyour money.

I’ll tell you this: there’s no shame in having believed in trump. Continuing to believe in him even after knowing he lies, he cheats, and he steals – from YOU? There’s going to be shame and it’s going to be plentiful…

Liars Gonna Lie…

Anybody who has been paying attention knows trump is a liar and, apparently, always has been. Now there are facts in evidence proving that he knew he was lying when he whined, over and over, about the so-called “stolen election.” Well, maybe “should have known” is more accurate. He should have known he was lying. Everyone around him told him the election was lost. The thing is, at the time and even AFTER the testimony was revealed during the January 6th hearings, he CONTINUES to tell the same sad, disproved story. It seems delusional to me. Now, I’m no expert on mental health issues so I’m not making any diagnosis here. Just a layman’s observation.

Look, in matters of faith, the fact that one person can’t convince another person has a place. One doesn’t accept items of faith based on factual information. In my experience, the two are mutually exclusive. Facts and faith don’t mingle. In fact-based matters, though, things like…oh, I don’t know…um, say, counting? 1 then 2 then 3 and so on? No, there’s no room for faith in that. It’s math, a hard science. According to the information presented by the January 6th commission, every rational person around trump told him he’d lost. They hired experts to do deep dives on the numbers, desperately looking for something, anything, that they could build a case on. The experts found nothing – and said so.

The truth is, I don’t think trump is delusional. No, I don’t think he’s right in the head, either, but he knew damned good and well what he was about. People told him things he didn’t want to hear. Where he could, he fired and tried to replace them with someone who would tell him what he wanted to hear. Now, to a rational person thinking about peaceful transfers of power that sounds crazy but to a would-be strongman, it’s just the next logical step in his claim to permanent power.

I suspect I’m going to enjoy watching the commission’s report. There’s a cloud hanging over it, though. Even as I watch them show, over and over, that trump was personally responsible for the attempted coup, that he participated in the planning and preparation, that he knew every step of the way what he was doing – and that he was engaging in criminal activity, I also know that Americans don’t put ex-presidents in jail. Ever. Politicians apparently think it will look bad on the world stage. That’s true, of course, but it looks worse that a person can freely run rough-shod over the constitution without consequence. The one thing it shows, more than any other, is that America is a poor risk. If there ARE no rules, how can anyone know what the rules are?

Of course, the REAL reason we don’t jail ex-presidents, regardless of their crimes, is that, politics being what it is, the GOP won’t care about the crimes. They’ll just spend the rest of their days trying to jail a Democrat – any Democrat, on any charge they can trump up. Of course, when everybody is just trying to throw their opponents in jail, the country fails under the pressure.

But I’ll tell you this: if we can’t jail an ex-president who actively engaged in treason while in the Oval Office, there’s no country left to protect anyway…

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Congress critters do NOT enjoy the “no jail” protection we afford our ex-presidents. Several of them (names currently under wraps but we can largely guess who) worked with trump, the Proud Boys, and other criminal elements to facilitate the insurrection. When the plot failed, they ran to their boss and asked for pardons. That says something, too. There’s a thing called consciousness of guilt. It indicates a person said or did something that shows they know they did wrong. I, for one, put “ask for a pardon” squarely on the consciousness of guilt list. Nobody asks for a pardon if they don’t think they’ve done anything illegal. Yet here they were, members of Congress, asking for pardons. My guess is, they were reminding the dumbass of promises made during the run-up. Speaking of faith, those morons were stupid enough to believe something “promised” by Donald J. Trump, perhaps the biggest known liar in history. “Oh, he didn’t come across? How…predictable…”

Even after the Trump Insurrection, 139 congress critters voted to overturn the 2020 election, citing “The Big Lie.” There’s your starting point. 139 GOP members of Congress tried to maintain the story even AFTER they saw the consequences of their mendacity. Except for Scott Perry (R, Pa), I don’t know who among them begged for pardons after the fact but the list could well include trump’s strongest supporters like Reps. Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Billy Long, and that craziest of crazies, Marjorie Taylor Greene. Keven McCarthy seems a likely candidate. He’s the House Minority Leader! The Minority Whip, Steve Scalise, also seems like a “pardon me” kind of guy. Sadly, the commission will tell us that several GOP members sought pardons, but I’m guessing the names won’t be revealed. (I hope I’m wrong about that, though.)

I’ll tell you this: when push comes to shove, Congress will do what it perceives protects itself and it’s image, not the Constitution. Knowing that some members actively participated in a coup attempt is bad enough. Knowing exactly who participated risks throwing some individual members into a bad light, and that is seen as a poor reflection on the House as a whole. (Why surrendering the Constitution isn’t seen as “poor optics,” I can’t explain…)

Doors…EVERYWHERE!

That bitch, Moscow Mitch McConnell is out – in public – pretending he wants to get a bi-partisan bill done on guns. He doesn’t, though. To paraphrase, he says he ‘wants something that addresses the issues surrounding the events’ or some such crap. What he means is more of the same old nothing. Thoughts and prayers, codified. He wants to address doors and cops on campus and maybe mental health care. Now, I’d give him doors if he would actually do the mental health care but he won’t. It’s all part of the show. None of them are going to do anything.

While we’re here, I had a thought about those doors. Turns out, the murder-endorsing GOP is exactly backward about the doors. The problem isn’t too many doors. It’s too few. If every classroom in every school in America had it’s own door that led to the outside, like a fire door with an panic bar inside and no handle on the outside, when the crazy, GOP-enabled, angry little coward came in the main door, everyone inside could run out their individual classroom doors. So, not fewer doors. More doors. LOTS more doors. Hardened, of course. Some schools are multi-story so you’ll have to add staircases. We could call them firing-line escapes.

Mitch seems all on board on the door thing so I’m sure we can get our Keystone Kongress to authorize the money. The wage thieves have made clear they have no intention of paying their fair share of taxes so it will have to come from someplace else. I recommend a fee on every gun sale. Just a little add-on for school hardening. Let’s say, 20%, so a $900 AR-15 would be $1,080. You think that’s going to stop anybody from buying them? No. Gun sales in this country are brisk and – thanks to the GOP – will likely remain brisk. The money could be raised in no time at all.

I mean, look, since Americans are too weak to protect our own effing children, we should at least give the little buggers an even chance to make a break…

The Second In The Cross-hairs…

I once engaged in an exercise in which I re-wrote the Constitution of the United States. No, it’s not as hubristic as it seems. I don’t hold myself some sort of intellectual genius or anything. I just did what Alexander Hamilton did when he came up with our economic system so long ago. He looked around, found ideas that worked well, dropped ideas that didn’t and pushed them together into something both familiar and yet new. So, while I believe some of the changes are my own, I don’t pretend I came up with anything. I accept the high likelihood that I’ve read this or that idea and just updated as needed.

When one undertakes such an exercise, one finds that, necessarily, one must consider the Second Amendment. As silly as the exercise seems, I took it seriously and gave much of it considerable thought. After really turning the Second Amendment around a couple of times, I decided to leave it just the way it was written originally. The reason? The Second says what it needs to say. It clearly gives government the right to regulate gun ownership, so long as said ownership is not denied entirely.

I hadn’t, at the time, realized just how easily the Second could be willfully misinterpreted by evil and/or ideologically driven people as has been done by the current Supremely Clownish Court of the US. It turns out, though, that if one just doesn’t look at the “well-regulated” part, one can decide that ANY crazy who wants a gun should, by all rights, have a gun. Before the court was corrupted, it had never once held anything near that interpretation…

These days, Gun Rights Advocates (GRAs) seem to be using the current interpretation of the Second Amendment as an excuse. We have NO choice, they insist, but to suffer the occasional – okay, regular – mass shooting because the Second says anybody who wants a gun gets a gun (it doesn’t). There is absolutely no “give” in their position. AND, absolutely no reason. So, we the people are left to watch, over and over, as our fellow Americans are massacred across this once-great nation. It feels worse when the victims are children, but even that hasn’t had any daunting effect on the GRAs. The result? I find my own position on guns…evolving.

The truth is, I have no problem with responsible gun owners and I believe the vast majority of gun owners are, in fact, responsible. I was recently asked in social media if I wanted to ban the Second Amendment. My answer as recently as a few days ago was no. I don’t want to ban the Second. I just want it interpreted honestly to include the “well-regulated” part. I’ve come to realize, though, that it doesn’t matter that most gun owners are responsible. Another truth is that society doesn’t work that way. We never, ever, get to react to what the best among us can do. We’re stuck living with what the least of us might do. Some terrible people will murder as many as possible in one event and other terrible people will step up to protect and defend…the murderers. THAT’S the basis from which we have to start because that’s where the basest among us dwell…

If it was up to me, at this point, the first thing I’d try is a ban on the sale and possession of semi-automatic weapons. Yes, ALL semi-automatic weapons. (That eliminates any nit-picking about which guns are affected and which are not.) Sound extreme? Yeah, I think so, too. But if Americans are to be held hostage by the Second Amendment, if it’s true we can’t stop people from buying guns no matter the circumstance, the very least we can do is slow their rate of fire. And I mean, that’s the very least we might do.

All this bullshit about hardening every public venue in the country and arming every last person flies in the face of reason and reality. Those who offer up those distracting smokescreens after each shooting are offering what I call philosophical positions. A philosophical position is one that may be correct, in theory, but which enjoys NO practical application. In short, a philosophical position is a waste of time.

Of course, that’s the goal. Waste time. Keep the debate from ever getting serious about true solutions. You see, they don’t have to win the argument. Fighting the outrage to a standstill is a win for the gun lobby. So, after each mass murder, they start throwing out anything – everything – that will muddy the waters of the debate. Oh, let’s get rid of doors. Tell the truth, isn’t that just about the stupidest “answer” you’ve ever heard anybody puke out of their mouths? Doesn’t matter. The idea isn’t about making sense or offering practical solutions. It’s about muddying the waters of the debate until the fervor passes.

There ARE, of course, better answers. We could – and should – provide mental health services to people in need. We should be doing that anyway. Unfortunately, that takes money and the only people who have any are the wage thieves who have made absolutely clear that under no circumstances will they part with any of the lucre they’ve worked so hard to steal. That leaves us, once again, treating the symptom, not the problem. So, I suggest slowing the rate of fire by eliminating semi-automatic weapons. Maybe by slowing the rate of fire, other people can find time to respond in a helpful way. Maybe cops won’t feel out-gunned and stand outside crying and shivering in fear because some crazy asshole is armed to the teeth and on a rampage.

Failing that? It turns out I WOULD be okay with repealing the Second Amendment entirely. I do not believe for even one second that the founders intended the Second as an excuse to justify murdering children. I do not accept that the intent was to allow people to amass huge arsenals of weapons capable of killing at such a rate. (A lot of people like to point out that guns back then were muskets but, to me, the more salient point is that guns cost a LOT and most Americans were dirt poor. It might take a year’s salary to buy a good gun. Back then, the vast majority of people were unable to amass huge arsenals. They didn’t have credit cards…) When all is said and done, I’m no longer willing to accept having the Second used as a shield to defend the actions of the least among us and if the gun lobby is going to remain intransigent to any and all reasonable efforts to protect society, I can see taking away the shield completely.

I’ll tell you this: I consider the lives of the children and other people being cut to ribbons almost daily to be far more important than your desire to pop off a few rounds for fun…

Serfs Up…

As I write, it’s raining, here, in Northern California. It brought to mind those movies in which drought is a factor. The characters are all worried about water and what they’re going to do. The movie happens and it nears it’s end. Then, as the movie closes, rain starts falling. Everybody breathes a sigh of relief and laughs and goes outside and dances in the rain. All of their problems are solved!

Wait…from ONE rain? I currently live in an area stricken by drought and has been for many years, now. Our reservoirs are dangerously low. Our aquafer is dangerously low. Those movies are often set in places or times where they don’t have meteorological equipment to help them but we watch day after day as high pressure areas – often described as “unusual” – push the rain-producing lows north, depriving us of water. One rain ain’t gonna solve our problem…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for the rain. We need it. But, at most, it’s going to settle some dust, maybe add – a bit – to rain catchers. But it’s also going to cause grasses and low shrubs and bushes to grow, adding to our fire risk.

I don’t think the current jet stream patterns, where rain is constantly pushed north of us, should be described as “unusual.” I think they’re the “new norm.” If I remember correctly, the old norm was annual rainfall to the tune of something like 30+ inches where I live. This year? We got an absolute deluge to start the season. We started at something like 500% above normal rainfall! Then the rain stopped and, mostly, STAYED stopped. So far, this year, with the rain year closing and resetting in 25 days, we’ve had 26 inches – and that’s the best rain year we’ve had in a long time!

Today, scientists know that the Sahara Desert was once a lush, green place full of water and life. Apparently, it once was home to the largest fresh water lake in the world and sported big, long rivers. But the climate pattern in the area changed. The area stopped getting water like it had. I don’t have to imagine the patterns it went through – I’m living it now. It got drier and drier. The animals fought for shrinking water supplies. It rained from time to time but less and less each year. Many years, it didn’t rain at all. The drier things got, the hotter they got. Fire did the rest. The animals that hadn’t left searching for water fled the flames – if they could. Fire is VERY effective at clearing areas. If there’s no follow-up rainfall, nothing grows back. The last large watering holes dried up until only the occasional oases existed – and you’d BETTER know where they are before you start your journey.

To me, the climate change deniers won the rhetorical war. Now, we ALL lose the real life climate war together. But, of course, greed is all in once-great America. A planet no longer able to sustain human life is just collateral damage to maximizing shareholder value. I guess the important part is that the cons got to “own” the libs on this one – for awhile, anyway – and the fossil fuel industries made a freaking KILLING! (Perhaps…not the best choice of words…)

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It’s an odd phenomenon in this once-great, submerging nation that we’ve taken to addressing symptoms because we can’t (won’t, really) address the actual, underlying problems. Palliative care instead of corrective care. Nice. But we don’t have a choice. Nothing is more important than the profits of a few large, multinational corporations and the small number of people who run them. The wage thieves who have taken so much from the people who do the work have amassed HUGE fortunes and they use them to protect and enhance their huge fortunes. They sure as hell don’t intend to pay their fair share of taxes. That is, they’re NOT going to pay taxes at a rate commensurate with the amount they extract from society, so the money flows one way.

We see the cracks everywhere. Everywhere. The US still likes to describe itself as a “first world” nation. I don’t think that’s true anymore. I mean, sure, you can look around and see the trappings of when we were a first world nation. We still LOOK pretty good – if one doesn’t look too closely. Granted, we’ve got a military the likes of which the world has never seen. Even THAT is a common thread to failing societies. They NEED ever larger armies to control that which they once controlled just by being awesome. (Yeah, a bit simplistic.) Once again, it brings thoughts of ancient Rome to mind.

Rome was once, obviously, THE first world nation on the planet. Now it’s just a city. A beautiful city, to be sure, but hardly the world dictating power it once was. One can still look around and see the trappings of a once-great nation, many still in use today – nearly 2,000 years hence. We’re taught in school that the Roman Empire became so large it became unsustainable. I suspect the truth is, the people at the top of the economic structure became so out-of-control greedy, after awhile it didn’t matter HOW big the empire was – it just couldn’t keep up with the money grabs. And that’s a fair description of the United States today.

We can’t address homelessness because of greed. Yes, some of the homeless are there because they’re drug addicted or have mental issues. But there are plenty out there who have simply been priced out of the housing market and don’t have the resources to leave. Of course, we used to treat drug addicts and those suffering mental illness – often whether they wanted us to or not. But that took professional people and facilities, all of which had to be paid for, and the wage thieves don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes so…we cut budgets and cut budgets and cut budgets and finally close facilities and turn residents out onto the streets. “Good luck.”

The other prong of the greed-driven homeless problem is hedge funds buying up all the private housing. That entire process profits everybody in the stream – except those who have to pay the rents and can no longer compete in the purchasing market. Who in this country is going to interfere with profits just because those profits are created by destroying society? Nobody, that’s who.

Having a hard time just buying gas? Tough. Suck it up. The oil industries are making a killing. I know, the cons blame the Dems. That’s just what they do. But the prices at the pump are a corporate choice. The corporations made the choice to cut production specifically to increase the price of a barrel of oil. It’s a kind of gouging. They COULD produce enough oil to keep pump prices low. They CHOOSE not to because they couldn’t set new profit records if they did. In the past, the only thing that brought prices down was Congress holding “hearings” to find out why prices were so high. The moment the corporations have to prove their supply chain problems, the supply chain problems magically disappear and the prices go down…some. I haven’t heard calls in Congress for hearings. Who, after all, in this country is going to interfere with profits just because those profits are destabilizing the national economy?

We can’t solve the gun crisis because of greed. Yeah, I know. The shooters are nut-balls and it’s only a few bad apples. But as we’ve covered, the wage thieves don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes so we don’t get the facilities we need to care for them. So they’re nut-balls with easy access to military style killing machines. Every time one of the nut-balls goes off, gun sales go up. Who, in this country, is going to interfere with profits just because a few defenseless children are brutally cut to pieces from time to time?

I’ll tell you this: I believe in Capitalism but a crucial component of Capitalism is the realistic ability of the consumer to say no. The rigged system we live in today has largely eliminated that. Now it’s “Pay or die.” That’s not Capitalism, it’s Feudalism…and I don’t want to be a serf…