What Really Matters…


“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

  • The Oath of office taken by our President and every member of the Senate and House

For anyone reading my blog it becomes immediately evident that I am not a fan of the Republican side of our political nation…and if you are a follower, there is no need for me to restate the obvious. However, given the events of the past several months, and in particular January 6th and the trial currently underway in the US Senate, it is near impossible to ignore these current events and actions. I find the point at which our nation finds itself to be particularly disturbing – of course for the travesty that former (love being able to write that) President Trump foisted on us – but more so for the place we find ourselves this week with those Senators and Representatives we have elected to lead the nation forward.

So let us get the obvious out of the way – Donald John Trump is no doubt one of the biggest pieces of shit that ever walked the face of this earth. He walks alongside such notaries as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Tse-Tung, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Sadam Hussain, and let’s not forget Putin. Maybe a little less impactful than a few of them – less deaths on his hands (let us not forget the 450,000+ from Covid-19) but there has been no one whom has threatened the existence of the longest running Democracy in history than this douchebag. I could go on and on (and I have previously if you care to read my previous posts) but not today. So on to the matter of the moment.


The eyes of the world have been on the United States for quite awhile now and we, the usual world leader, have recently but consistently fallen short of doing what is “right” and being the role model we’ve been for quite a long time. There are some things that don’t need discussion as to right and wrong. Overthrowing our Government is one of those things and if you need to discuss it, stop reading now as it is evident your head is already far up your ass. Falling short of what America has always espoused is going to happen again as we, as a nation, now try in the Senate, an impeached president for the second time. It is unfortunate for all of us that the result from our “leaders” will likely be no different than the first time around Trump’s impeachment. Facts again won’t matter because partisanship rises above all else. It is maddening and I have felt the rage, the dismay, the sadness and the plethora of not good emotions I am sure many good Americans have as we’ve watched events and actions that have stunned the world. I am tired of the tears I sometimes can’t control. I am tired of the anger which comes out in ways that often feels good at the moment but really helps no one. I am lucky. I have a wife who, despite my anger and intensity, walks up and hugs me and tells me I’m okay. I have kids who sometimes struggle with the normal challenges of daily living but are good kids (if you can call adults in their 30’s kids!). I don’t worry about much at this point as our life’s efforts and decisions have brought us to a good place in retirement. But I still ache at times more than I can ever remember in my 67 years.

I will watch the farce of a Senate trial play out over the next several days. While I commend what the House Impeachment Managers have presented so far, there is really no surprise result waiting on the horizon. There is no cavalry that will ride over the distant hill to come to our rescue. Again I will remind myself about something I’ve said many times over the years – there is no magic. What we see is what we get and what we must come to accept as reality – we are now a nation that is severely divided and one that has a good deal that needs to be fixed. We can approach this in several ways. We can continue to focus on the Trump effect and all those in power who have subscribed to his unethical, immoral and self-pleasuring approach to the world – an attitude based on narcissistic, self-centered actions focused purely on “what is good for me is all that matters”. We can give this part of us extra time and attention. We can waste our energy on people who will never change. And to be honest, change requires insight and integrity and there is a dearth of that in many of us in this nation.

I think it is time to really look at our path ahead and find the means to see something positive. I know it is critical for me as I really at a crossroad. Anger is sometimes a good thing but it will take it’s toll and I have much ahead of me I really don’t want to miss. I am far from a Pollyanna and I don’t dismiss the grave challenge we as a nation now face. But we can’t be consumed to the detriment of all else.

Not easy but I’m looking for perspective. Starting at the top, does it really matter that Trump is acquitted or not? It would be nice if for no other reason it could provide evidence that our political process actually works and that partisanship is not the map leading our actions. But that is not the case, made evident by how much Trump has been able to get away with for four years. If convicted, it will really change nothing. His supporters won’t believe it. They will again see it as just an extension of the stolen election. If acquitted, it won’t change anyone’s mind either. But the benefit here is that we will all see what he did and that view will not go away…ever. Ever. Ever. That is a long time.

There are many complicit in his actions and time will hold them accountable, as will history. I find it positive that over 70% of Americans think Trump should be convicted. I will focus on them rather than the 30% who continue to consistently demonstrate they offer no value or goodness to anything or anyone. These people are unrecoverable. They are not worth a moment’s time or attention. They thrive only in a time of discord and disarray. But we now know who they are and the best thing we can do is pay as little attention to them as possible. Keep in mind, their power only lies in how much they can disrupt our lives. Trump gave them life and for probably the first time in their lives, gave them recognition and told them they deserved more. And in their usual style and want, they really had to do nothing other than be who they really are. But they remain nothings and they remain damaged human beings. I am confident that good people will continue to find these insurrectionists and most will be brought to justice. And there will be goodness realized as many of us shun these broken people and we watch their livelihoods disappear. I will get a smile each time it happens.

I am hoping this place we find ourselves will bring a new awareness. I am hoping we all recognize we need to focus on the path forward. We have a lot to fix and maybe this bottom in which we find ourselves will help move us up towards better days. In the larger sense, I believe in very little that influences or controls what we do. However, I do believe in Karma…and it is a bitch. I have watched it work it’s wonders for most of my adult life. It is one thing that gives me solace when I watch these people who believe they are impervious to consequence. For those Senators and Representatives who continue to support this lowlife fuck – you who are the weak ones, afraid to cross anyone in a position of power, who have no integrity – it is coming for you. You are the individuals who have allowed and enabled this last four years.

Trump was right in at least one thing he said over the past four years – Remember the day (January 6th).

Let’s make sure that no one – elected officials or the American public forgets the Oath of Office sworn to by those we elect.

And it’s a New Dawn…

…to quote Gracie Slick at Woodstock, another time of an awakening starting in this country.

Not sure about the rest of you but today (January 20th) felt a little different – from yesterday and from the last four years. The feeling was similar to something I feel every time we have a large amount of “things” we cart down to our community’s Spring or Fall Cleanup. We load up all the items that stopped working or were replaced since the last cleanup, we take a swing around the garage and basement looking for items we really will never use or have no use for and we take it all down to our township building and and dump it all in one of the large trash containers never to see it again. Probably the best feeling is that our house, at least for a short period of time, feels lighter and less weighed down.

That is what this morning felt like. Our nation’s trash and the crap that is no longer useful has been taken out. Our “house” is lighter and the feeling of daily dread of “what is the asshole in the White House is going to do today?” is gone. Trump leaves in some ways no differently than he arrived. His truth is only his truth and his actions only fit this needs. At the end of it all, he left as he arrived – an egocentric, self-centered, integrity-free dickhead. He is now really irrelevant to most of us, pretty much what he was prior to being elected. The difference now is that while only those of us living reasonably close to NYC knew who and what he is, now the nation has seen. We also have the benefit of seeing who and what his family and followers are – needy, low-life grifters.


With all we have gone thru, there are a number of key learnings I think we can take away from the last four years.

  • When someone tells and shows you who they are, believe them. Trump made it very clear what kind of man he is – he has done it all his life. There is little in Trump to which one can aspire – unless you really like gold toilets. There are few, if any, redeeming traits and his character flaws are obvious. A man who grabs pussy, cheats on every wife, stiffs contractors working for him, lies about everything to prop himself up and values nothing but himself is not someone who has any of the qualities needed to run our great country. The man didn’t drain the swamp – he is the swamp.

  • Most of those Americans who profess to be religious are anything but. These “believers” were willing to sell their souls to the devil just to get a few judges on the bench. Not sure how any of them can look in a mirror or sit in a pew on Sunday without worrying about that bolt from above given their false prayers and allegiance. A surprise? Not to anyone paying attention but for us atheists, we’ve been pretty much in front of this for a while. A lot of the rest of you have some explaining to do – and not to me.

  • We have a country that remains racist and bigoted across the board. While we have made some progress in the last 50 years, we are far from anything that resembles what many of us have hoped we, as a country, are. We are still pretty fucked up and we have a ways to go. Luckily as the newer generations are coming up, we can see glimpses of goodness and acceptance that many of us in older generations never realized. The hardest thing is trying to figure out how after watching what this country went thru in the 60’s and 70’s (when I came of age), my “peers” (in the word only) never moved past where their parents were in terms of bigotry. If there was any silver lining in the past four years it is the reality of who we Americans really are, not the image with which we can pretend to be “woke”. We are at a reckoning point and it can’t be laid out much clearer.

  • In any group or organization we shouldn’t assume that “good” people will balance out the “not-so-good ones”. In the Trump administration those “good” people were usually described as “the adults in the room”, somehow making Trump less toxic. We see how that worked out. Let’s maybe not assume people who seem better aren’t actually pieces of shit themselves. Maybe it is just in comparison to the worse person in the room. Kind of like having one leg is better than no legs – no doubt a true statement but still pretty sucky. People like Trump surround themselves primarily with people like themselves – or with those they can easily manipulate to do their bidding. The latter is a quality we saw in both elections. For the want of something – or anything for that matter – these people will even support things that aren’t in their best interest. This tells you how important the need to belong is in most people. Attaching to the Trump camp gave identity. Not good identity but at least an identity. When you feel you are nothing, anything is a step up. Back to one leg is better than no legs. Similarly, these people still suck. This is important to remember because Trump isn’t the last asshole these people will glom onto. Trump doesn’t have the market cornered on “users” ready to take advantage. Josh “Douchebag” Hawley is ready and able to step in and fill the void. The lesson here…when you see a leader who is corrupt, rest assured that those closest to him or her are of equal integrity and ethics. It also works the other way – if you find an individual who is a lying sack of shit with no ethics, then there is a high likelihood their leader is of the same ilk.

  • Life is not a zero sum game. There is no basis to the belief that if someone else does better, you end up doing worse. Thinking that “I’m OK only if you aren’t” is a mental disease of the unintelligent, the inadequate and the do-nothings in our country. It is the product of a stated sense of self-worth that is, upon closer examination, a recognition that “I am really pretty much a failure”. To quote Shakespeare – “Thou doth protest too much”. You actually need to put some effort into achieving success.


  • People need to focus on their own business and stay out of the lives and philosophies of others. I think many in our country seem to feel it is their obligation to make sure the rest of us are following their rules. Related to #5, this is again an approach I see in people trying to validate how they have chosen to live their lives – whether they really live it or or it is really just rhetoric. I don’t ever have to justify or explain my “beliefs” if no one else can hold contrary or different ones. Again, a sign of weakness, especially among those who always take their cues from someone else – the ones we call followers.


  • You wouldn’t think it would be necessary but maybe it is time for actual law that says you can’t put children in cages. A law that says you can’t separate babies from their mother. If we can’t do that minimal effort then maybe it is time that we reposition the Statue of Liberty. Probably needs about a 180 degree turn.

  • Let us not forget – ever – January 6th, 2021. I’ve seen a lot in my 67 years and there only a handful of events (beyond personal) that rise to the top of the list of impacts. I remember the race riots in the 60’s. The Vietnam War demonstrations. Let us also not underestimate the path to an authoritarian government where personal rights and freedoms are really removed. Momentum is a hard thing to stop so vigilance and healthy skepticism is now a requirement.


  • Last one – The call for the Democrats to focus on healing division. Nice try but there is still a lot about which to be angry. Many out there put a good deal of effort into messing everything up for the majority of us. While Covid-19 was bad, our nation’s lack of leadership and the ongoing unwillingness to “fix” it but Trump’s supporters is the primary reason we lead the world’s countries – first world thru third world – in Covid-related deaths. We do need to find a path to reducing anger levels. However, a bit of anger is always a good thing. Now is not the time to forgive and forget – it is too easy to fall back onto the aura of “let’s just get along”. There remains a good number of reasons – maybe 75 million – to stay angry. Time to clean up the politicians who seem to have forgotten they are there to do the work of the people rather than just gracing themselves with the benefits of their position…as well to remind all that climbing up someone’s ass is a dual-edged sword. But it isn’t just the politicians. Those complicit need to be held accountable. Whether neighbors or family, let us not forget the assholes that enabled the last four years. Let us never forget the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. We should be ashamed.

But at least this is goodness. And those fireworks were amazing!

An Alternate Reality

If this last seven months have taught us in America anything, it is very clear our country hasn’t progressed out of the 1950’s to the extent many of us had thought…or at least had hoped. The election of 2016, if nothing else, has exposed to all of us who the people around us really are. I don’t like most people as a general rule but I can now put a pretty clear face on it – if you remain a Trump supporter in 2020, you are pretty much a piece of shit. It is likely that you and I have relatively little in common. It is likely you don’t have a college education. It is likely you wear a baseball hat. It is likely you watch Fox News (using the term loosely). You believe that the 2nd Amendment actually gives you, a private citizen, the right to have/carry a gun (or many guns). You believe that cars made in the US are superior to those made in other countries. You shop at Walmart, love how cheap everything is but don’t acknowledge that most of what you buy has been made in China. You think that electric cars are a fad or a phase. You think that Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity are actually journalists. You believe a 6 pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes just improve an evening. You remain convinced that women are less capable in most “important” things than men.

“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.” – President Trump April 23, 2020

You believe that Trump is a successful business man. You believe kids in cages are okay and that 465 children, separated from their parents at the border and now will never see their parents again is justified. And you still think that Mexico is paying for that wall. You believe that Covid-19 is really just a worse version of the flu and only old people are really at risk. You believe in God and church but only on Sundays or when it works in your favor. You believe that Trump actually cares about you. You believe that most minorities only have themselves to blame for where they are in our socio-economic scheme. You think that wearing a mask out in public during the pandemic is a sign of weakness and an affront to personal liberty (please then take your seatbelt off when you drive). You believe that Government handouts are socialist actions…but you freely take Social Security and Medicare. You believe QAnon is real and based on fact.

“I love the poorly educated.” Trump – February 2016

I could go on and on but the reality is that most of us are living in entirely different and separate worlds. Where we live and how we have lived are most often key in how differently we think and how we live our lives. For me personally, I could give two shits about how you live, where you live and what you believe. I would ask however, you of different worlds, please stop trying to remake my world into yours. Stop trying to make sure that your values and beliefs are ones that everyone should be living.

I have a natural instinct for science…What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening…People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times…No, I don’t take responsibility at all – President Trump, whenever

Let’s keep it pretty simple – stay the fuck out of everyone else’s business. Keep just fucking up your life. I’m good with that…and don’t ask for help when your life has met challenges. Works for me.

You Can’t Cure Stupid…

Report Card

No, this time I’m not writing about the idiot-in-chief sitting in the Oval Office — although he is a mix of stupid, malice and money – not a great combination evidenced in what we have seen and become in the past three years. But I digress.

It has been a great many years since anyone has found my level of patience to be something to recognize as a core strength, even in normal times. It is a trait that I think has served me well over my long career but has taken it’s toll on most of those who have been forced to spend time around me.  It is something one would think with retirement should have ebbed a bit. Well, that’s apparently not happening – especially now.

Where I will most typically go quickly off the rails is in the face of stupidity and ignorance. Unfortunately the opportunities to experience those ever-present qualities among our fine citizens of this great nation abound. In normal times, I am reminded that I should recognize that it is a reality of life and that stupidity is a way of life for many and that is not going to change. I get it but don’t really accept it – I guess then I don’t really get it. But at this time when we have been now almost two months into this pandemic, I again struggle. maybe even more so given that the stupidity and ignorance of many wandering aimlessly out in public can, and likely will, add to the death toll…and unfortunately it won’t just be the stupid and ignorant whose herd we are ultimately thinning.

Why this today? Well, I just returned from what I thought was going to be a quick trip to the grocery store. Could I have done without it? Probably yes, but stubbornness sits up there with impatience in my makeup…again something those around me would not debate. I can rationalize my trek a bit given I don’t step foot in the store without my N95 mask and disposable gloves, as well as a Clorox disinfectant wipe or two in my pocket. I should have known as I wandered up to the entrance and two people wandered out sans mask (of any kind). While the store was not overly crowded, I was astonished by the number of people wandering the aisles without masks. Like to say it was mostly younger people who a often immune from those things that knock us seniors off balance but no, many were my peers. I, at least, can still move reasonably fast. Most of these people couldn’t get out of the way of a launched germ if they tried. I was also amazed at the number of children wandering around with a parent wearing a mask but they weren’t. I know there are times you would like to get rid of your kid but not sure this way works…especially since if they get Covid-19, then it is likely shortly coming your way. For many of these same people the concept of social distance appeared to also be something said in a foreign language. So, here we are weeks into this crisis and it now dawns on me why the media and most every health professional on TV still repeats the same instruction time after time after time after time. It isn’t just to annoy me, it is for the stupid and the ignorant.

Beyond these fine people, I also was blessed to experience a number of the people working in our fine supermarket, Giant Foods in Bartonsville, PA.  Now I do realize that we are in a crisis and “normal” (whatever that is) is off to the wayside.  However, not sure why given you would expect that most of us want to spend as little time in a store as possible and at the same time the store would most likely also want us out as soon as possible so we can’t spend too much time noticing how many shelves are not stocked, they only had two checkout lines open.  The self checkout, where I’ll usually try to go so I don’t have to depend on someone else, was not an option this time around and there was a line, no exaggeration, probably 10 or 11 people long – of course all practicing the recommended social distancing.  So, using my best judgement I looked at all the carts in front of me and did a quick evaluation of which line would go fastest.  Well, pretty much missed it.  At one point, with two people still ahead of me and nothing moving ahead of me for probably 10 minutes, I did wander around to see if the cashier I picked only had one arm.  Well, she had two but, aside from not moving very fast, she was dealing with a woman in line with no mask or gloves (see previous paragraph) and, no exaggeration, probably 25 bags or so…the cashier was doing all the bagging – ringing up 2 or 3 items, stopping to bag them, repeat and rinse…and she wasn’t wearing a mask either.  She was making sure she stayed behind the two foot wide, bulletproof barrier the store had put up so there wasn’t too much room to move. In fairness to my lack of patience (rationalizing more likely), the two people in front of me and the two behind me also weren’t too happy as I could hear muffled comments thru their masks.  Then it was my turn.  Of course I’m not patient enough to wait for someone else to bag my stuff so first I asked her if she was required to bag (which she wasn’t, just laziness on those ahead of me) so I bagged and did my part to moved things along.  By this time, I was convinced my frozen items were already thawed and our dinner tonight was going to be a bit different and much larger than planned.

Now on a more positive note (at least to like-minded folks), after seeing those many who feel no need to protect either themselves or the rest of us, I will make what to many would be a vast generalization. What I’m seeing among those idiots unfettered with masks are the Trump Nation.  A horde of people (“deplorables” fits here) who aspire to be something or someone they can never be. They have been too stupid and too ignorant most all their lives to achieve much and now they have been taken in by that lump of shit in the Whitehouse (I guess that could apply to many there) who has convinced them that many of us have been looking down on them for far too long and he is their savior…how fitting with Easter just around the corner.  Just thinning the herd….

Trump_Golum1

It’s time to deal with this.

I have spent the last 3+ years pretty much out of the way given the travesty the current POTUS has brought to what was one of the most powerful and influential nations the world has ever seen.  This asshole has taken us back to a time over 60 years ago when the country was of one color, minorities basically knew their place and where people like Trump could manipulate, abuse and work around any sense of decency that existed at that time – which, in what is today’s terms for the educated and aware – was still rather uninspiring. While I hold Trump personally responsible for the “great again” he has foisted on this country, the real issue are the people who provide undying support for him and his ways.  The Christians (professed) who look the other way when he speaks of grabbing pussy.  The uneducated who actually think he is looking out for them and is like minded (but again, there are the uneducated).  The Republican politicians whom have sold their soul because they believe with enough time Roe vs. Wade will be overturned.  We do have the inmates running the prison, the crazies running the asylum.  Use whatever metaphor you like, we have no leadership of any principle, integrity or intelligence in charge.

Our situation today, as COVID-19 runs rampant and the daily task force briefing stands in front of a weakened nation basically providing no real or accurate information, is one where we are basically fucked.  Well, not all of us.  Some of us, actually the more aware among us, have been preparing for weeks, not waiting for our leaders to get their collective heads out of their asses.  We are not waiting for God to take care of things (or maybe given where this country is at the moment, he is fixing the wrongs and letting us know he is not pleased).  I jest at some level given I have been and will always remain a devout atheist.  I depend on my own intelligence and experience to tell me what is good and what is bad.  I don’t wait for others to show me the way.  In my sixty-six years on this earth I’ve figured quite a bit out and have been reasonably successful at it.  I am far from perfect but I do have eyes, I do have a brain, and I can see that things are not good.  Not just with COVID-19 but with where this country has headed in the last 3 years.  The reckoning is upon us, however, and the stupid and the sheep will be many of the ones that fall.

By the time this pandemic has completed it’s first pass thru the US, there will be more than 100,000 people who have died.  We can only hope that many of them are those who, even today, we see cavorting on the beaches of Florida, the visitors who can’t forgo seeing the Cherry Blossoms in D.C., the church goers in Michigan, whose Republican Senators have forced the hand of the Governor to not include places of worship under the mandate to not meet in crowds of 50 or more.

Yes, we can only hope that we are thinning the herd.  You can’t cure stupid.

Oh – last point – just got a notification on my phone – Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19.  Maybe there is a god.

Is that Jim Crow I Hear Cawing?

Credit: Steve Benson/The Republic

Credit: Steve Benson/The Republic

I’ve often pondered if people in our country are actually more stupid than they were years ago.  You would think that with all the advances in technology, education, you name it, we would get a bit smarter over time or if nothing else at least a little less ignorant.  When it comes down to it I expect the percentages of smart vs not-smart haven’t necessarily changed a great deal – despite the opportunities for people to learn and experience more given great strides in education and the advances we all experience in technology.  I think part of it is just that there are a lot more people overall and there just seem to be a lot more stupid people walking around.  I think the other thing that has happened is there are many more opportunities for people to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their stupidity and/or ignorance so many who in the past might have gone unnoticed are now out in the open.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. – Abraham Lincoln

And for those of you of more a religious persuasion –

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” – Proverbs 17:28

Arizona Legislators in Session

Arizona Legislators in Session

In the broader sense, the issue of gay rights is one of the opportunities for people to show their stupid and ignorant side.   The latest example is the current legislation that has passed in Arizona that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays.  In fairness to Arizona, they are not alone in their efforts to return their state to “better times” when the various Jim Crow laws legitimized discrimination and prejudice and worked very effectively to limit the rights of people in our country whom were not of the same mindset or belief system.  Similar religious protection legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma – not really a surprise given not one of these states is ever recognized for progressive thinking.   Here again, under the guise of religion, we have a situation where one works to justify a horrid and what will eventually be recognized as illegal legislation.  The fact that the element of discrimination is entirely ignored by the legislators in Arizona is something I just don’t get although I do believe that religion can be mind-numbing when put in the hands of people who probably don’t think for themselves anyhow.   So it all comes down to Gov. Jan Brewer and her next move.

Someone should have mentioned SPF30...

Someone should have mentioned SPF30…

Do we trust Brewer will do the right thing and veto this law?  Remember this is the same woman who felt it appropriate to derisively wag her bony finger at President Obama on the tarmac during a visit to Arizona and who was too busy to attend a Governor’s dinner at the White House.  This is also the same woman who eliminated the Arizona KidsCare progam which provided healthcare to uninsured children and stopped Medicaid payments for transplants.  She loves guns and hates immigrants. This is the woman who in 2012 signed a law that barred state funding from going to any organization that provides abortion services. This meant that Planned Parenthood, which doesn’t use state money for abortions, was be deprived of funds they would have used to provide all manner of sexual health services, including services used by victims of sexual assault.  Bad enough on its own but when one considers that her son, Ronald, has been a patient at the state mental hospital for the last 20+ years after he was found not guilty of kidnap and sexual assault by reason of insanity.  In 1989, Ronald Brewer allegedly broke into a woman’s apartment, slapped her several times, and committed sex acts on her. After his 1990 indictment, his mother claimed that Ronald had “decompensated,” a psychiatric defense which means that although he’d been functioning normally before the attack, his state deteriorated. His lawyers argued that Ronald didn’t know, at the time, that what he was doing was wrong, and a judge agreed, committing Ronald indefinitely to the state’s hospital, where he still lives although he is free to leave with staff or with his parents.  Even more interesting is that in the days before Jan Brewer was sworn in as the state’s governor in 2009, Ronald’s criminal records were sealed – his case being only four out of 40,000 total criminal cases that were sealed in Maricopa County in Arizona in 2009.   She is the Tin Man – the epitome of a 2014 Tea Party Republican – a self-serving, do as I say not as I do, hate-mongering homophobe.

At least they were able to sit and get service....

At least they were able to sit and get service….

To allow this Arizona legislation to go forward brings us back to a time of which we should all be ashamed – but unfortunately only some of us are.  Religious Freedom my ass.

Wrapping up the Year – Phil Robertson and A&E

I thought I would take a moment and walk back thru the various topics and events I took time to blog about over the last year.  To be honest, in re-reading some of my posts I was, if nothing else, rather wordy but if I keep in mind that my original intent of this blog was to look for some means of catharsis, I’m not surprised at the brain dumps I’ve shared.  In looking back I managed to hit a broad set of subjects from gun control (coming into 2013 on the heels of Newtown, CT) to the Presidential primaries and the election to a good amount of time on the current state of the country as it relates to where we are in the LGBT discussion.  Overall, I’d say the year was more good than bad as we managed to keep the Republicans out of the White House and the country actually moved ahead in a positive manner when it came to rights of members of the LGBT community.  Not only are the majority of Americans supportive of gay rights, we now have I believe 18 states where gays can legally marry – quite an increase from where we started the year.  Top this with the defeat of DOMA and overall not bad although the journey ahead is still long and will be painful.

Sadly though, we have actually taken steps backwards when it comes to gun control and the violence and death that inevitably links itself to owning a gun.  One does have to wonder why is is so easy to quickly forget the people innocently massacred this past year by people who are obviously able to legally obtain weapons when in most cases they probably shouldn’t be walking the streets among the rest of us.  No doubt this will be a topic of future posts as I expect there will be numerous incidents in the coming year where the idiocy of our fascination with guns and the right to kill will result in more death and mayhem.

credit to: StickerGiant.com Inc.

credit to: StickerGiant.com Inc.

But as my last post of 2013, I thought I’d stay with a topic I’ve commented on numerous times this past year.  And in this case I get to wrap up a number of my rants into one situation – that of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty and the recent attention he has received given his ongoing display of bigotry and ignorance.  I won’t spend too much time on his comments about how happy black citizens were in 50’s and 60’s in his home state of Louisiana but just that professed opinion (which I have no doubt he actually believes) pretty much defines Robertson for what he is.  When we look at his homophobic view of gays and his justification thru religion and the bible, I again froth at the mouth at the obvious schizophrenic nature of many who profess to be followers of Jesus and his ways but yet preach hate and intolerance.  In the case of Robertson, like many “born again” Christians, we have people who were pretty much shits and lowlifes who all of a sudden become good people and all is forgotten because they found God.  Pretty convenient and quite the means for Phil to become a patriarch who can stand up and profess more knowledge and wisdom on how others should lead their lives.  Lest we not forget that Phil had quite the struggle with alcohol, ran into issues with the law based on his inability to control himself and managed to actually abandon his wife and 3 kids early in their marriage.  Even his shallow-thinking wife, Kay, admitted that he was running around on her during that time – but, nice excuse, it wasn’t really Phil, it was the devil.  Where is Flip Wilson when you need him.  For those who feel that Robertson has it figured out I do point them to reasonably recent comments he made on marriage and the benefits of marrying when the girl is still around 16 or 17 because once they hit their twenties, all they want is to pick your pockets.  Wow, pretty enlightened.  But again, I forget we are talking about Louisiana whose primary contribution to society has been muskrat stew and levees.

Phil_Robertson_football_throwing

Pre-Jesus Phil

I’ll admit, I’ve watched Duck Dynasty quite regularly and despite the religious overtones, the right-wing attitudes and the crap coming out of Phil’s mouth,  I did stay tuned given the entertainment value – nothing I haven’t had to tolerate in just normal day-to-day living.  To be honest, most of us know this was mostly schtick made up for the camera.  It wasn’t that long ago that none of the Robertsons had beards.  When the comments Robertson made in GQ came out and A&E initially suspended Robertson, I did take the time to let A&E know I supported their decision.  I guess I was in the minority as A&E has since managed to retreat from their position and reinstate Phil just in time for the filming of the next season.  In hindsight how stupid was I to think that A&E wouldn’t whore themselves out as soon as the dollars became the focus – in actuality that is what almost every decision in today’s world is really about.

DuckDynasty_not

So to follow a theme I’ve set in previous blogs, those of us who are somewhat educated and actually believe in human rights can speak equally loud on the reversal of A&E’s stance on Robertson by making it clear where we are spending our time and money.  If we don’t watch Duck Dynasty, that potentially drops advertising revenue.  I will not watch it again.  This is again an opportunity where we need to speak up and make it clear that there are some beliefs we can’t support.  And it’s not about Free Speech and First Amendment rights – nice try – you can all say anything you want – it’s just that the rest of the world has equal right to say what they won’t accept or support.  To stay on a theme – Most importantly we can speak thru our wallets.

A&E_not

ENDA – Another National Disgrace for Nation – Boehner and the House

Today, the US Senate passed a bill banning workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals.  What you say?  It has not been illegal to fire people based on the fact they are gay or they are trans-gender?  No, in the United States while no one can can lose their job simply because of their race, gender, religion or a disability, they can because of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Of course, most all of the Fortune 500 companies (88%) have policies that cover this but there is no federal law that does.  The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is legislation that was proposed for the first time in 1994 in the United States Congress.  It prohibits discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.  When I first read about this law I, like many, was surprised that we don’t have this law on the books already.  In fact, there are 29 states where it is perfectly legal to terminate the employment of an individual who may be gay or transgender. The reality is that it is legal to fire or refuse to hire someone based on his or her sexual orientation in 29 states. For those who are transgender they can be fired or denied employment solely based on their gender identity in 33 states.  Take a look at the map – won’t be real surprising which states but that is a whole other topic.   Pretty astounding when you think about it that in 2013, more than five decades after passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act and then subsequent passage of the American Disabilities Act, we still have a country where this can happen.  To be honest, this is one of those “duh” moments where you wouldn’t think there should be even a question – not like I’m forcing you to take healthcare.  But we have a couple of key problems we need to cover as we look at why this has been taking so long and why, given the stance taken by those broad and deep thinkers in the US House – John Boehner in particular.

capenda

Credit: HRC.org

The arguments justifying this continued discrimination are several:

First, of course is the idea that it is okay to discriminate if something goes against the tenets of your so-called religion.  One of the core objections against ENDA bases itself in the religious right and flails around with the oft-cited “religious freedom” banner.  That too has been the rallying call behind the forces that have tried to stop many other causes that have come about to right the wrongs many of our citizens have endured over the years.  I read it as “I should be able to discriminate against anyone and anything that doesn’t fit into my set of beliefs” – which of course makes sense because they are right and there are no other belief systems with any merit.  But try to challenge their rights in any manner and listen to the cries of discrimination.  They feel that this legislation affords special protection to a group that is not disadvantaged so it isn’t really an issue of discrimination.  I don’t know but when I look around and see the second class citizen status these people have been pushed into, seems a bit disadvantaged to me.  For anyone reading my blogs with any consistency, you will know I have little regard or time for those who profess religious base and demand special rights but don’t see the same rights for others and have no issue refusing to acknowledge that their view of the world, which might work for them, might not work for anyone else.   See how far I would get if I, as an atheist, decided not to hire anyone who believed in a God because it somehow appalls me.  Not sure that would fly.  Of course, the immediate response would be that I couldn’t do that because you can’t discriminate against an individual based on their belief in a God.  But believing in a God doesn’t fit into my belief framework around religion.  Where’s my religious freedom?  Again. ridiculous argument on one level but not sure where it is that different – mostly because reality and what is “real” as far as beliefs and what fits and doesn’t fit is in the eye of the beholder.  And in the case of these religious zealots, the eyes seem pretty well closed.  And, oh by the way, while I strongly disagree it since we are still allowing discrimination, religious organizations are provided an exception from this protection, similar to that found in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  So you already have your cake – you don’t need to eat it too.  We don’t have to live as you do (well, not that most of you really live what you speak – again, a whole other topic).

credit: http://www.believeoutloud.com

The Hypocrisy of it all
credit: http://www.believeoutloud.com

Now, onto John Boehner, the majority leader of the US House who has consistently demonstrated he doesn’t get that he is there at the will of the people in this country.  He, single-handedly, will keep ENDA from hitting the House floor and therefore will try to ensure we continue to allow states to discriminate.  Now, I happen to think that Johnny B. is somewhat of an asshole.  Okay maybe not somewhat but entirely.  Anyone who can effectively allow our government to shut down and bring us to the brink of default seems to have some flaws in leadership capability and really doesn’t get any points for style.  But I digress.  In the case of ENDA we see his opposition is really about jobs and the economy.  His spokesman, Michael Steel said the bill “will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”   Anyone seeing a pattern here.  I think he has one page of talking points and it is “one size fits all”.  Aside from helping continue the Republican death march they started with the shutdown last month, this stance continues to play politics with our citizens and their rights.  Not sure I understand the frivolous litigation other than the reality that we won’t allow businesses to discriminate in this area and we are protecting the rights of real people – doesn’t sound frivolous.  Also easy to fix – don’t discriminate.  I don’t know what you can do about Johnny boy here other than hope that the cigarettes and tanning booths actually take an early toll.  In the meantime, I do have to wonder what skeletons he has in his closet – he doth protest too much.

Maybe John has a small secret?

Maybe John has a small secret?

So why did this particular item lead me to a blog?  Despite the rant and the throwing of my usual rocks, I hope this one is a little educational.  I pride myself on being up on most things but was taken entirely by surprise on the issue behind ENDA.  This is a national embarrassment that needs to be rectified as soon as we can.  If it be by election (hopefully it won’t take that long) then we need to inform.

Okay, last surprise – Fox News didn’t see ENDA as a news-worthy item as it advanced toward the Senate vote today – and of the 4 minutes of coverage it got, two minutes was spent discussing how ENDA was a planned distraction to take attention away from coverage of Obamacare.

credit: mediamatters.org

credit: mediamatters.org

Losers by the Handful

Just what we want in a Leader

Just what we want in a Leader

The last couple of months I’ve struggled a bit to keep my focus on this blog – something obviously not a problem prior to the last election cycle.  It is not that there is nothing to share feelings about – I think it has been more I’m not sure where to start.  My head spins as I look at what is going on around me – not the world but here in the United States.  For any one reading this blog it is obvious I’ve got a bit of anger – most of the time – and anger has fueled much of what I have written.  While it isn’t also the most pleasant for those around me, I’ll have to say that anger sits reasonably well with me.  I’m not saying it is good but it is an emotion I can deal with.  And I don’t see it going away any time soon – not with the direction we seem to be going as a nation.  But recently, there is a “buddy” to sit alongside my anger and this emotion is one I have always tried to avoid at all costs.  That “buddy” happens to be embarrassment.  While there is a lot to be angry about but we have reached a point in this country where we should all be embarrassed.  Not only because of the state of our politicians and the mess they have made but also about many of our people.  In particular the know-nothings and the loudmouths that continue to say they represent the American public or they are looking out for our country.  I’m embarrassed that Ted Cruz (and some others of his ilk) are US senators – but even more embarrassed there are people supporting them – and it’s not because they don’t believe what I believe – I’m used to that and I don’t expect that my views and beliefs work for anyone else.  It is because these people are generally not nice people in any sense of the word.  They are basically self-centered, don’t care about anyone but themselves, narcissists.  They feel better about their state in life by bringing down others. And they are stupid enough to actually believe that Ted Cruz believes in the same things they do and not that he is taking advantage of their ignorance to prop his own interests to the forefront.  I’m embarrassed we have congressional leaders that let freshman congressman wield the power to bring our economy to its knees.  I’m embarrassed we have become a people who generally don’t care about those that are not so well off and because there are some who take advantage and cheat the system, then everyone in need is bad. I could go on and on.

Fool me once.... credit: theguardian.com

Fool me once….
credit: theguardian.com

But today I read something that really encapsulates what we should all be embarrassed about as it speaks volumes of what we have become as a nation.  Take a swing over to The Huffington Post  – take a read of this article –  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/niels-gerson-lohman/us-border-crossing_b_4098130.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular.

For some out there, they will see nothing wrong – it is just the US looking out for our safety and security.  I’m embarrassed for you people too.

For once, Pennsylvania had some sense and got rid of at least one loser.... credit: pumabydesign001.com

For once, Pennsylvania had some sense and got rid of at least one loser….
credit: pumabydesign001.com

Let’s call stupid and bigotry what it really is….

credit: classwarfareexists.com

credit: classwarfareexists.com

 

Point of today – actually two points – we are who we follow and let’s do a better job of calling bullshit when we see it.

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” – Pat Robertson

It is obvious I have issues with religion and those who unabashedly profess to be leaders of the masses – many of whom are actually more bigoted, unforgiving, selfish and most everything anti what I was always taught the teachings of the bible are about – one person you won’t see with a WWJD bracelet on is Pat Robertson.  I won’t go into much detail about his first son being born out of wedlock (do what I say, not what I do) or his repeated misogynistic stances regarding women and their place with men (essentially men cheat because their wife doesn’t take care of them as they should) as that would take too much time and space for today.  I happened to be channel surfing and stopped on the 700 Club – not a usual stop but given the SCOTUS decision on DOMA this week, I thought there might be some reaction from Pat.  I was not disappointed as my timing was right on.  He was discussing the issue with Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ, a right-wing, pro-life group that focuses on constitutional and human rights law worldwide (as they define them).  Just for context, Sekulow is also a regular on Fox News.  As expected, the discussion was obviously on the horrible decision made by the court but where did Robertson immediately go? His first question was whether Sekulow had any insight into whether Justice Kennedy had any homosexual law clerks.  He followed it up with a derisive comment on the judge in California who had declared Prop 8 to be unconstitutional, immediately leading the discussion to his understanding that the judge was in fact himself a homosexual.  So no discussion on human rights, equality under the law or anything else other than a view that all these decisions were no doubt just self-serving actions – something I expect that Robertson knows quite a bit about.   What a piece of shit – and well representative of all those who support him and his extravagant lifestyle.  But he is consistent on one level – he pretty much holds both gays and women to the same level of contempt.

“The reason that we fought the [American] Revolution in the 16th century — was to get away from that kind of onerous crown, if you will.” —Rick Perry

I also caught a brief news clip on that illustrious governor of Texas – Rick Perry – another shining example that if you’re from Texas, you don’t have to be very smart to get elected to a high office.  While much of the country was giving high kudos to Sen. Wendy Davis who held up the vote on more limitations on abortion and women’s rights in Texas, Perry was quick to play the “man” hand and pretty much dismissing her accomplishments (not sure Rick could even spell “HARVARD”) and bring it down to some stupid comment on learning from her mothers’ decision not to abort her and therefore reversing her stance on abortion rights.  Key word – “rights”.  Heaven forbid anyone traipse on their religious “rights”.  It was also rather revealing that during Sen. Davis’ filibuster, it was only the men in the room who work to thwart her effort.  Another situation where men work their hardest to control what women do.

So, a quick take away from these two seemingly separate items.  It is really about women and how they decide to deal with all these idiot men.  These people in power only maintain their position if women support them.  Probably a little less influence over Robertson but maybe not quite as much an issue.  At 83 years old, we can only hope he gets to meet his maker before long – and assuming I’m wrong in my lack of belief in God, he gets to explain himself to the big guy.

As far as Rick Perry, one can only hope that the women in Texas begin to understand his concern is not for women and he is willing and able to work against the rights due all women.  In the meantime, I’ll stay thankful none of us live in Texas and the women in my life can still think for themselves.

credit: moveon.org

credit: moveon.org

Another take on the DOMA decision was made this morning on Face the Nation this morning with Bob Sheiffer.  Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, an American conservative Christian group and lobbying organization shared one of the horrific impacts of the decision.  Let’s put the Family Research Council in some appropriate perspective here – In 2010, the FRC paid $25,000 to congressional lobbyists for what they described as “Res.1064 Ugandan Resolution Pro-homosexual promotion” in a lobbying disclosure report.  The US House of Representatives, in a moment of rationale thought,  passed the resolution condemned the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a bill which, among other things, would have imposed either the death penalty or life imprisonment for sexual relations between persons of the same sex.  Let’s make sure we recognize what kind of christian organization we are talking about here. 

credit: back2stonewall.com

credit: back2stonewall.com

In any case, back to Tony.  He was very concerned of the impact on bakers, photographer and florists who would inevitably lose their religious freedom by being forced to do work with gay couples looking to get married. He in fact indicated that there were already a great number of court cases in play and there were instances where these business people were being forced to sell services to gay couples.  It did take Schieffer a moment to clear the incredulous look off his face as he forced what was essentially a “Really?” out of his mouth.  Tony was firm in his view that when people realize this sort of impact is inevitable, the tide will turn, people will regain their senses and all will be right with the world again.   Can’t say that was an impact that I was really worried about.