Ravening Wolves

Gray-Wolf.-Courtesy-U.S.-Fish-Wildlife-Service27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

Ezekiel 22-27:29 


There is nothing to say about passion that hasn’t been said before, except this, it festers under the skin, like a wound that never quite heals. We search for that salve we can rub across the wound and for a brief moment, it works, then we realize the salve was full of grit and all we have done is taken the top layer off and opened it up to the air.

Damn that hurt, again.

I have become cynical. I weep at the history, I weep in pain some days as well. But I have become cynical. As I look down the barrel of another surgical intervention, I have become furious at the lack of compassion and empathy this nation has for the weak, the aged, the young, the disenfranchised, those different from ourselves. We celebrate the ignorant among us, whether this celebration is through their election to high office or their constant media attention, it is nonetheless a celebration. Meanwhile, we ignore sometimes even vilify those who do good works, those who deserve our attention through their contributions to society, our communities and our lives.

I weep when I consider the consequences of our apathy. I am appalled when I realized we are more concerned with the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass than we are with just how diminished the office of the President is by the disrespect shown to kim-kardashian-ass-memes-funny-6this President by every member of the GOP in elected office today. Really people, is this what we have become? I am disgusted that every single Sunday I hear the same tired conspiracy nut jobs (IRS, Benghazi, Sharia Law and Muslims, Guns Guns and More Guns, oh and let’s not forget there is no Global Warming and Make War not Peace).

I shudder when I listen to the first off the Clown Bus to enter the fray officially tell me to ‘Imagine’ a world he envisions,  one based on Christians values and morals. I cannot begin to imagine a world where all bets are off and corporations and people in his tax bracket will have all the rights and breaks while the rest of us suffer the consequences of his worldview. This though is the world of no empathy and no compassion Mr. Cruz wants us to imagine.

Of course, Phil Robertson falls right in line with Ted and his ideas. At a prayer meeting yesterday this is what Phil, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family had to say about those who didn’t profess a Christian view. This is what we would have to look forward to if Ted became president of the United States of America.

The worst part is, some of this is already happening across this land. Laws to strip those who are not Christian, White, Heterosexual are already being passed. Laws to enable businesses to discriminate against others based on their ‘Christian’ beliefs are passing state legislatures across the land. These new discrimination laws are enabled by people like Ted Cruz and encouraged by the fact that Phil Robertson and his network still exist on without any of us saying no, you are not allowed to say these things and stand on the First Amendment as your protection. You are not allowed to pretend it is just a joke ‘fantasy’ to threaten rape of young girls, decapitation of women, neutering of men simply because they are not of the same faith as you. What the hell is wrong with people they think this is ‘okay’.

Which leads me to the next problem, as a victim of violence I look at this nation and think to myself always when will it end? When is enough ever going to be enough, when will we say as a nation, not another child, another man, another woman will lie in our streets. When will we say not another parent will bury their child, not another child will pick up a gun in play and end up killing their sibling. When will we say enough? When will we say the police are not sanctioned to murder our citizens? When will we say enough? Surely, there comes a point in time when the lives of our citizens are of greater value than the profits of the corporations manufacturing the guns that are killing us. Certainly, at some point enough of us will stop and think, the laws in place today are not protecting anyone but those who are profiting most by our deaths, by the deaths of our children.

Then I saw this and I was brought to my knees. I realized it was us, Elyse over at Fifty Four and a Half simply put it out there and I found it stunningly simple and in your face.

Which leads me here to this, another great example the debate, of what is wrong with us as a nation and a people,. Is this ‘Free Speech’, the First Amendment at its finest? Or is it something worse, something so deeply disturbed I cannot even find the words. You tell me, with no lead in other than to say I had to watch it twice before finally realizing it is parody but also defines the the terrible ease with which anyone could do exactly what this video lays out, step by step.

Well that is my rant for the day my friends. Passion, if we don’t get it and soon we lose everything we stand for as a people, everything we once stood for as a nation. We have been slowly eroded; we have stripped down bare and shown the very worst of ourselves for the past six years. We have shown our dark and ugly side and those of us who should have stood up and spoken up, we did little and said little. We should be ashamed for allowing it to go so far. For those of us with the means to do something, we should be ashamed for not doing enough, for staying home when we should have been in the streets even where we might not have been fully embraced. It is time, it is past time that we push the boundaries and demand the change we need to make this a nation worth living in and fighting for, not just for some people but all people. We cannot afford to do otherwise.

Want to tell A & E what you think about Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty: aefeedback@aenetworks.com

Our Apathy Pays Dividends

OpEdMy great and dear light at the end of the tunnel, Deborah over at Monster in Your Closet, reminded me today there are many ways to look at a problem, many angles to hold a prism to the light. When she wrote about panic attacks in the air here I burst out laughing, I remember well feeling exactly the same panic at wheels up. What I was really thinking about while reading her piece though is why I have not touched my fingers to my keyboard, why I haven’t wanted to write for weeks. I considered why what I have been thinking hasn’t been making its way from my brain to my blog. My normal righteous indignation has hidden under a tree, whimpered and cringed from the light of day like a beaten dog.

Here is the thing; this nation is descending into a morass of ignorance and no ignorance is not bliss, not by any stretch of any imagination or any measurement, we are growing stupider and we seem to like it that way. I am finally at a loss for words; I finally after all these long years am without the language necessary to say what is needed. I must admit to not understanding the people of this nation any longer. There was a time I understood, I even believed there was a necessity for both sides of the aisle to exist, it kept us all honest. Elyse over at FiftyFourandaHalf just today reminded me of that not so distant past in her piece on the suicide of Thomas Schweich, a contender for the office of governor in the not so great state of Missouri. I was reminded, once upon a time more than half my family were staunch members of the GOP, yet they were not Racist, or against public education, or against public assistance, or against Social Security, or against immigration; nor were they ignorant of the Constitution and what it really said about Guns or Religion.

I am without words, truly. I remember arguing with my father over the dinner table about real issues of the day he was a staunch Republican by the way nearly his entire life, he bled the party line of fiscal conservativism, he could not understand how he could produce such a hippie, such a ‘blasted Liberal, dammit’. The one thing about my father was he saw clearly and he hated across the DAD&Meboard; he hated LBJ, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Bush Jr with equal intensity and all for different reasons. He voted for Barack Obama and was very proud of that vote.

Today, those members of my family who retain their GOP card do so without any real understanding of what the party truly stands for. When called to the table to defend the latest horror story, the latest idiocy, the latest dumbass thing to come out of the mouths of those who would rule, they cannot do so only relying upon the sound bites, they picked along the way to defend their position in Right Wing LaLa land. When presented with facts they sniff and rock back, scramble for purchase on the quicksand of their position.

We get what we deserve, whether it is the government we deserve or otherwise. This time we truly did get what we deserve, those of us who wanted more and better we stayed home in droves. What did we think; others would pick up the slack of our apathy? We listened to those who said we wouldn’t go to the polls and thought to ourselves, well it is a lost cause so why bother; we stayed home. That is exactly what they were hoping for and they won.

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Ignorant really; GOP majority in the House and the Senate, the ability to make the next two years sheer hell for this nation and this President and we sat on our asses and handed it to them through our apathy. The absolute genius of it is astounding and we fell for it, not for the first time even we know the game and we fall for it every single time. This time though, we are going to pay and pay big, it is our fault and we should be ashamed of ourselves. We handed the keys to the nation to a bunch of low intellect know-nothing, bought and paid for members of the extremist coalition who are intent on destroying the nation and handing the remains to those who would rule without the will of the people.

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Congratulations citizens of America, you have finally succeeded in showing your true nature and intent. What you really want is to be second class citizens of the world, ruled by those who don’t give a damn if you live or die, if your children are ignorant so long as you have them for their wars, if you live in poverty so long as you labor for their benefit you will be given enough to drag your azz to their crumbling factories for another day and when you are too old to do that, better hope someone loves you enough to take you in, cause there won’t be a safety net left to catch you ass.

All I can think is, rise up before it is too late. Do not allow this once great dream of a free nation to crumble at the feet of your apathy. Look around; do not allow what little progress we made toward unity be destroyed by the hate and fear of a shrinking minority. Rise up and look around, stand up and take back the power we own as citizens. Stand up and demand accountability of those in public office, whether they are elected officials, bureaucrats or the Police.

Honestly, look around and ask yourself is this the country you want? If the answer is no, what are you willing to do to change it?

You are not a Christian

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a bit of a bug, just a small itch I need to scratch. I tell you my dander is raised, my scalp needs to be scratched; all day I have been thinking of our Supreme Court and just how un-Supreme they truly our. I truly do believe it is time for all of us to take a long hard look at who we are as a nation, get up off our proverbial and begin to do something about the nation we want to be rather than simply complain. If we are unwilling to do something, we have absolutely no right to complain about the outcome.


 

No Corporation is a Christian and I can prove it, here are the core principles of being a Christian or living within the body of Christ.

  1. Professing a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and following his teachings.
  2. Baptism into the body (church) or religious fellowship (it should be noted this is not required in all Christian sects).
  3. Evangelize and bring others to the body of Christ.
  4. Attend all church assemblies and give (tithe).
    1. Follow Church discipline
    2. Follow the will of God, as defined by the Church
    3. Read the ‘Word’ (Bible) regularly
    4. Pray frequently, confessing your sins to God and / or the Body (Church or its representative)
    5. Live an upright and moral life, giving up all worldly goods and desires to follow the teachings of the “Word”.
  5. Follow proper relations with other people including:
    1. Family
    2. Community, people in need
    3. Civil Government
    4. Church, religious government
    5. Business

There is no Corporation, not a single solitary one that is a Christian or for that matter any other Religion, what we have is human people who have decided the Constitution doesn’t matter unless it is convenient. What we have are five members of the Supreme Court who have decided they will strip any person with a uterus of their right to self-determination in favor of satisfying the political machinations of the Right and the racist intent of those who would do anything to deny this President a legacy.

Hobby Lobby = Hypocrisy

Hobby Lobby does business with China in fact nearly their entire inventory has a ‘Made in China’ sticker on it somewhere. Yes the nation with a low human rights rating for the manner in which people, especially women are treated, this is Hobby Lobby’s primary trade partner. Hobby Lobby somehow holds their nose despite, or maybe it is because of the execrable way in which China treats women, going so far as to encourage selective abortions, eliminating females in the womb.

Hobby Lobby does business with a nation that encourages abortion to the tune of approximately thirteen (13) million per year.

David Green, CEO Hobby Lobby

David Green, CEO Hobby Lobby

Nevertheless, when it came to providing for women’s health, providing birth control to their employees Hobby Lobby and their proselytizing CEO, David Green had something else entirely in mind and that was simply, “No”. Not just No, but Hell to the No. Never mind his 401K invested in Pharma companies that make all the methods and drugs he refuses to cover for his employees, including two that cover surgical abortions, that doesn’t count. Never mind the insurance he provides his employees covers Viagra and Cialis (can’t have a problem getting it up now can we). But damn those women if they should want to preserve their body integrity, their ability to raise the children they have, their health or their future.

Screw them, literally.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America listened to the arguments and decided Hobby Lobby; a corporation is human enough to hold religious beliefs and can impose those beliefs on others. In this case, those beliefs include denial of specific birth control methods including the following:

‘Morning After Pills’, Ella and Plan B, and two intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Last, I checked, I could be wrong mind you, but last I checked the first Amendment of the US Constitution said the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Unless I am crazy, I might be, this would mean Hobby Lobby and its hypocritical proselytizing CEO do not get to impose their crazy azzed religious beliefs on others. Mind you, I know I could be wrong, I could be sitting in my own version of Hope Land, resting in my garden of Lavender surrounded by the sounds of birds and water fountains, but as much of an idealist as I am I don’t think I wear blinders. I believe I am reading the Constitution correctly, which means there is something far more nefarious at work.

Supreme_Court_US_2010

What could it be that causes a body, in this case the Supreme Court of the United States to act in a manner so contrary to what we know is consistent with the law, common sense and all of this nations principles to now. What could cause case after case since 2009 to shift so far out to the Right, away from what is best for the majority and towards an ever-shrinking minority? What is the single element that has changed and what can we trace that change too?og-ab844a_schob_g_20140630134413

On 20-January-2009 Republican leaders held a secret meeting during which the agreed to sabotage the US economy and the success of President Obama’s administration. Since that time, Congress both House and Senate have done everything and anything within their power to do so. During this same time, SCOTUS has colluded openly and without restraint to provide aid. One only need look at the record of decisions handed down on Voting Rights, Women’s Rights, Workers Rights including the most recent Harris v. Quinn.

The list of goes on, our losses go on and we remain seated in our chairs. We remain apathetic, tired and seemingly powerless.

Three branches of government colluding to destroy one man and his legacy. We sit and watch.

Three branches of government and their minions, the ignorant of our nation whipped into a frenzy because one Black Man dared to dream and dared to cause us to dream with him. Don’t want to hear it, yet I believe it might be true, three branches of government full of old, fearful and mean Caucasian men and women who see their power being lost and trying desperately to hang on determined to destroy the first African American President, his family and his legacy by any and every means necessary.

The rest of us? We are collateral damage.

Want to stop this before it is too late?

VOTE, in November VOTE. Don’t stay home but get out and VOTE. If you stay home we lose.

 

Impeachment Process, Free Republic

The Plot to Sabotage the Presidents Administration

The ObamaCrat’s Take on SCOTUS Decision all the information is here

A Plague on Our House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe sit on the precipice and are damned by the actions of those who would make profit with the blood of our sons and daughters, damned by our unwillingness to stand up and say not one more of them will die for the oil under the sands of foreign lands. We are damned by the greed of those who will not look the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands and children in the eyes when their loved ones are returned maimed, broken or in a flag draped box. We are damned by false patriots who wear flags on lapels of suits costing more than a month’s pay of the soldier they have condemned to a foreign battlefield for their vision of Nation Building.

Since our inception as a nation we have been of two mindsets, one followed the ideal established centuries before of Manifest Destiny, the idea that we, that is the American People and our Institutions, are exceptional. This ‘feeling’ of extraordinary specialness has been a matter of bitter dissent throughout our history, leading to battles in the halls of Congress and ultimately a war between the factions within these United States over Slavery and States Rights. Make no mistake the core and underlying issue of the Civil War was whether human beings could be held in perpetual servitude by other human beings, propping up economy and life-styles that were rotten to their core.

Manifest Destiny led to the destruction of the original people of this land, to their deaths in unequal wars waged against them fought in the name of expansion ever westward. Manifest Destiny led to the colonization of Hawaii and Alaska and the destruction of the indigenous peoples and cultures of those lands. Manifest Destiny led to the colonization of several Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico, which is still under our dominion and though its citizens fight in our wars they do not enjoy the benefits of citizenship. Manifest Destiny led to slavery and the degradation of an entire people for centuries and included both those who were enslaved and those who believed they had the ‘right’ to own another human being and thus lost their souls.

Emanuel Leutze Westward the Course of Empire

Emanuel Leutze
Westward the Course of Empire

This brings us to today where Manifest Destiny continues to raise its ugly head, killing the heart of this nation. Manifest Destiny and Divine Province have always been tied together in the minds of many; our ‘Right’ to spread our institutions have always included both our form of government and religion. For some reason those who subscribe to the political philosophies of Manifest Destiny do not understand just how anathema it is to the true meaning of the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” US Constitution, Signed 4 July 1776

We do not really believe these words. What we subscribe to is something different, something almost nefarious. What we believe is this:

  • If you are of Angelo Saxon / European descent and male you have the right to exist as ‘equal’ and are endowed as a fully enfranchised member of society, unless you happen to be … poor. If you happen to be poor, they will call you when they need you, either to die in their wars or to act like fools and vote against your own best interests.
  • Government exists by the consent of those wealthy enough to pay for it, though the rest of us are allowed to participate periodically, the truth is most Americans are uninformed and easily led by the nose, easily fooled by the next great white hope, the next lie, the next conspiracy. Americans have extremely short memories and are by nature afraid of ‘other’ what is not like them.
  • Finally, that whole pursuit of happiness thing well yeah, no. If your pursuit of happiness happens to be in conflict with the ‘norm’ as defined by the those in the pulpit of the accepted God (Christian) rather than ‘Their Creator’ God which would mean whomsoever you might happen to believe bakes cookies in the sky, has a tail and creates tidal waves, dances naked in the grove or otherwise floats your boat; well, if you happen to purse your happiness differently you are in deep doo.

Why did I go down this path? It is important to the discussion of Manifest Destiny, you see large swaths of our own population have yet to recover from the first wave of Manifest Destiny and Divine Province. The African American community struggles with poverty, sub-par education systems, sub-par infrastructure, housing and a lack of opportunity both in and outside of their communities. These issues were not corrected by the Emancipation Proclamation, Civil Rights legislation or Voting Rights, let’s all admit racism is alive and well in the United States of America, we may have white washed the problem but it did not disappear.

The indigenous peoples of this nation lost everything, through theft of lands and broken treaty. Their culture and language has been largely decimated. The level of poverty within most reservations is abysmal, healthcare and education is sub-par where it exists at all. Yet the Nations and their needs are largely ignored, overlooked by most Administrations till now.

Now we have the Hawks in Congress and out who drove us into more than a decade of war and wish to drive us into more. Hawks who beat the drums of war and destruction for no reason other than Nation Building, asset management, profiteering and the philosophical standard of Manifest Destiny and Divine Province. War Hawks who were wrong the first time a decade ago and feel no remorse for the sons and daughters who bled for their ‘ideals’ and refuse to accept or acknowledge their ‘mistake’, in fact defend their position and point fingers and this President for refusing to follow them into the same quagmire they created in the Middle East with their first two wars.

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Which brings me back to where I started, why are we allowing this administration to be insulted, lied about, obstructed, threatened with lawsuits and even impeachment of its highest officials simply because those who lost the last two elections don’t want to play by the rules.

That is they lost the White House.

Why are we not standing up, marching in the streets, demanding action of our elected officials that they represent us, that’s right us their constituents not just the minority they like but all of us. Why aren’t we in their offices, in their mailboxes, in their Facebook accounts and in the news every single day with our demands for real change that represents the nation we want. Why do we continue to accept our place at the bottom of the food chain, beneath wealthy donors, big business and their lobby’s, religious (Christian) coalitions’ and the self-interests of congress members themselves; somewhere after all of these, we the people fall.

How far we have fallen, our own inertia has allowed us to send our sons and daughters to die in foreign wars to increase the wealth of the Beltway Bandits, to see our own opportunities diminish and the opportunities of our children shrink even further so theirs is the first generation that will not exceed that of their parents in wealth building, our rights those won by our foremothers and fathers have shrunk rather than expanded and with the election of this President what small steps forward we might have made in equality and the elimination of racism, well let’s just say those have been entirely obliterated by the sheer hatred, fear and fury demonstrated toward Barack Obama from the first day his election was called. Our children face a world that is more violent than ever before, where schools are places of bullets rather than learning, where date night at a theater is a risk that might not be worth taking, where 5 year olds play with live ammunition and still we do not one damned thing.

Our apathy is shameful, our inertia is decimating this nation.

We have one opportunity to change the direction of this nation before it is too late. I can only say this to all those who call themselves Democrat, Liberal, Progressive or whatever other label you slap on…..get out and get up and Vote come November. Do you job and do your duty.

VOTE

I leave you with this, this is what we have to look forward to if we do nothing. This is what we will continue if we allow the Hawks to take us down this path and do nothing but allow apathy and inertia to win.

Our Apathy is Killing Me

OpEdAnother day, another week, another spree of violence from more cretins with axes to grind and tendencies to believe conspiracies and live in fear and self-righteous entitlement. Isn’t it fascinating the very same people who point outward, complaining about all those ‘others’ who live on the teat of the government dole, tend to be the ones who live on the brink of tumbling into the chasm, needing a handout in the worst kind of way. Yet, they are constantly complaining about those ‘others’ that are destroying the fabric of America, you know the ones they are always talking about;

  • The folks on Unemployment
  • The folks working two or three jobs on Welfare
  • The folks needing to feed their children on SNAP
  • The folks on Medicaid and Medicare even
  • The folks on Social Security
  • The folks getting student aid (Pell Grants or Student Loans)

Did I catch all those government programs? What I failed to mention, in every case those complaining about these programs seem to think, truthfully they strongly believe most of those within the system are the problem and they are also ‘other’, meaning they aren’t of European (Caucasian) descent and in some or maybe many cases they might not even be Christian. It seems we, as a people find it entirely acceptable for people in media and elected positions to hurl the most egregious and base insults towards our fellow citizens without consequence. We have sunk so low we willingly turn away from the ugliest vitriol dripping from the mouths of those we elect and those who are paid to act as the gauge of our culture, we shrug their words off and demand no consequences from them for their divisive actions.

Our nation is being torn apart, yet we shrug and turn away, sometimes we even laugh at the ignorance of the utterances. Shouldn’t we instead be holding these bigots, these racists, these homophobes, these sexists, these misanthropes to a higher standard and with them ourselves. How dare we, as a people and a nation turn away from these terrible acts and words and not demand better, not demand something change. How dare any of us sit back, shrug and pretend not to see what is happening to this nation, even as we sip our coffee.

I can only say, What the Fuck is wrong with us that we don’t put two and two together and come up with four. Instead we sit back and say, ‘oh, well this isn’t so bad’. Really? This isn’t so bad, when pray tell have any of us seen it worse? Answer me this, when have any of us seen it worse than it is today. The origin of, ‘Take our Country Back’, the battle cry of the Tea Party movement, comes directly from the last gasp of a scared and aging demographic, you know the ones I mentioned them before.

  • White, Older
  • Disenfranchised
  • Mostly Southern (started here

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  • Low Information
  • Low income
  • Christian

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying all White Men above a certain age are members of the Tea Party, they most certainly are not; fortunately there are many who don’t fall into the Disenfranchised / Low Information category. Unfortunately, for all of us there are those who saw a void and scrambled to fill it, these horror stories of the modern age have been building on the fear and disenchantment of the European male for decades and in 2008 the movement exploded with the election of Barack Obama. The fear mongers saw the opportunity and jumped in with both feet and all their financial assets, they founded the Tea Party in all of its loud and proud glory. Spun off from the John Birch Society, The Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, The KKK; The Tea Party has inherited the weight of each of these, hidden under their sheen of new money and attempts at political respectability.

Fred Koch => John Birch Society=>David & Charles Koch =>Americans for Prosperity+John Birch Society=>ALEC=>Citizen United=>CPAC

It is insidious and ugly, it is apparently the New American Way. When you add to this mix the KKK, Patriot and Nationalist Groups, Radical Christians Identity Groups then throw in a few Skinheads and a couple of White Nationalists all of whom seem to relate to and populate the Tea Party. But no, the Tea Party isn’t Racist and didn’t suddenly grow from the election of the very first Black President of the United States of America, except, look at these:

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How to account for a 755% growth since the election of Barack Obama if it isn’t the color of his skin? Whatever some of us might wish it otherwise, there is an underlying truth we must accept, the first Black President has brought out the very worst, brought to the surface what already existed. It isn’t his politics, it isn’t that he is a bad President, it isn’t his ability to lead. It is one simple defining characteristic, it is that he is ‘other’. This simple truth has led to the dividing of a nation and many other issues including escalating violence.

I struggle to write these days, I do. I struggle with the violence. I struggle with the constant seemingly never ending days of spree shooting, school shootings and people no matter how many have died, making excuses, blaming the victims or worse, ignoring the real problem in favor of screaming their Second Amendment rights trump all else. My heart breaks for the families of all those who have lost their lives, some days I can’t face the news; truly I sit on my bed and tears simply flow down my cheeks silently, my shoulders shake and I wish for someone to hold me as I weep.

I blame these venomous and bile filled horror stories siting in their studios and back offices for the state of the Union.

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This is just a small selection of who I blame, a mix of elected officials some still seated, some revered for ‘past accomplishments’, some on their way out, some media pundits, some of course dead and deified by those who apparently have forgotten what they truly did during their time in office. This is enough, I didn’t bother to put SCOTUS up, I do blame them as well. I blame the sell out to NRA, the fear the entire Congress apparently feel each time NRA is whispered in their ears, never mind we have had seventy four (74) school shooting since Sandy Hook, can you imagine? Seventy-four school shootings since twenty babies were shot dead in their school rooms and we still haven’t done a damned thing to stem the tide of blood running in the streets.

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Map Image; Image Credit: Twitter/Mark Gongloff

I blame us. That is right, I blame all of us for not having the wherewithal to get up off our azzes and say “No More”. For being so damned apathetic we willing shrug our shoulders and say, ‘there is nothing we can do’.

I blame us. For every child that dies. For every father who weeps at the loss of his only son. For every mother who buries her child. I blame us. We don’t owe the NRA a damned thing, we owe our children a better world. Hell, we owe ourselves a better world than the one we have today. We owe ourselves safer streets than the ones we have today. I know I don’t feel safe going into downtown Dallas where men with small penises have supplemented their insufficiency by strapping large guns across their chests or backs simply to ‘prove’ their manhood. It use to be they would buy good cars, I tell you what I want to go back to those days.

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I don’t know about any of you, I am tired. I am tired of the idiots. I am tired of the hate. I am tired of the divisive trash talking BS coming out of the media and my elected officials. Let’s start calling things what they are maybe then we can start healing wounds and moving this nation forward.

  • People who kill police officers screaming about revolutions and draping those dead officers in the Tea Party flag, they are Domestic Terrorists.
  • The people out on the Bundy ranch with their guns, who pointed said guns at federal officers during the commission of their duties; they are criminals. By the way, so is Cliven Bundy.
  • Rush Limbaugh is a Racist and a Sexist.
  • Sean Hannity is a Racist and has used his position to stir Domestic Terrorism and Criminal activity.
  • The United States of America is NOT a Christian nation it is a Democratic Republic, stop saying it is anything else.

I am certain there is more. The problem is right now, we are moving further and further to the Right. If we don’t stop this tumble we will very quickly find ourselves living under a Christian Taliban. Our rights will be gone, Civil Rights will be a thing of the past, Voting Rights for but the wealthy a thing of the past. Shrug your shoulders if you like, think I am overreacting if you want. The truth of the matter is, Congress has dug their heels in, despite this Eric Cantor lost his seat for being ‘not conservative enough’.

Think about that one. Then think about November 2014 and consider what will happen if you remain apathetic.


 

Hate Groups Growing: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/the-year-in-hate-and-extremism

In their own words:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/26/913651/-The-Republicans-in-their-own-words-Part-2-bigotry-hate-and-violence

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/27/914152/-The-Republicans-in-their-own-words-Part-3-Big-Fat-Liars-and-hypocrites

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/28/914514/-The-Republicans-in-their-own-words-Part-4-Let-em-eat-applesauce

http://www.teapartyslogans.com/cgi-bin/web/index.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/

Jill Sobule, Protest Song: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-sobule/protest-song-we-want-our-america-back_b_1097453.html

 

 

 

 

Not Backward, Please

Eisenhower_and_KennedyI have been thinking, I know dangerous up there my brain wheels grinding and all.  Nevertheless, I have been thinking.  Thinking about how the world has changed in fifty years, especially the United States.  How we as a nation and a people have changed so very much in this short half-century of time that has passed since the assassination of JFK in Dallas.  Do you wonder how we have changed?  Do you think it is for the better or like me, do you think we are worse as a nation and pettier, smaller as a people.

Dwight Eisenhower warned us of some of what was to come if we allowed certain elements of our society to gain control.  In his farewell speech he said much, though one quote is often referenced it is also taken out of context, leaving off much of what President Eisenhower said and intended regarding the military-industrial complex, I recommend reading his speech.1

From this same speech comes an even more profound statement, one that looked into the future and saw the potential of our smallness.

“Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Down the long lane of the history, yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.”  1

What does this mean?  As the oldest President handed the reins of power to the youngest, he warned the nation of our potential for terrible acts.  He thanked Congress for working with him in a bipartisan manner.  He thanked the nation for allowing him to serve.

What this doesn’t tell us, we were already sending soldiers to Vietnam.  We had been doing for years though the term then was ‘advisors’.  Three weeks before the assassination of JFK, Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara upped the ante, increasing both military and economic support.  We were at war again, though undeclared.  This would lead to the first draft of unwilling soldiers since 1942, on December 1, 1969.

The world was in upheaval.  Young people taking to the streets, demanding they not be sent to die on foreign shores.  Demanding accountability for the billions spent, the lives destroyed and lost, the flag draped coffins shown on television every night reminded us, young and old, this was not a war of our choosing.

President Johnson decided not to seek reelection because of the outrage against Vietnam, thus handing the reins of power to Richard M. Nixon.  The nation was once again sent spinning, though he eventually ended the war, he also taught us a terrible lesson about the abuse of power.

Do we think about this, track this abuse of power in those we elect to high office?  Personally, I don’t think we do.  I think instead we shrug it off, in some cases even expect it and so continue to elect the miscreants.  One thing I know for certain.  No matter who actually commits the acts, whether criminal or simply scandalous we lay the blame at the feet of the President holding office at that time.  With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at the High Crimes and Misdemeanors of the past several administrations:

Crimes=Convictions  :  Scandals=Bad Acts made public

scandals

I will admit it was difficult to come up with these numbers, nearly every site listing numbers gives a slightly different view and I did not include Sex Scandals in the numbers of which we have had many over the years.  Soooo, while these numbers are close to accurate, they may be off by one or two in each administration.  What I found fascinating in looking through the lens of history?

the big ones_scandals

Look at that would you, all those big ones.  What does that say to us?  The redder we get the more corrupt.  That no matter which side of the aisle congress falls on, whoever is in the White House sets the tone.  Is this why today we have a bunch of obstructionist clowns, criminals and hypocrites trying their damnedest to manufacture scandals to lay at the feet of this President and this administration? Thus far though we have many named scandals, not a single one have stuck except in the minds of those who would smear, those who would destroy a legacy, those who are so filled with hostility toward this President, they would do anything including destroy democracy and us, the American People in their crusade to destroy this administration.

Don’t mistake me, I can find fault with President Obama.  I wish he would lead us further down the progressive path, further to the left rather than sticking so closely to the middle.  I understand though, he is leading the entire nation, not just the part I belong too.  I wish he would end Afghanistan, bring our soldiers home for good.  I wish he would rein in the NSA, shutter the programs of his predecessor.  I wish he would stop the Drone attacks and the killing of civilians.  I wish, frankly he would stop negotiating with his haters and stand up for his base, lead the party and the nation with strong words and actions that call out the naysayers by name. But I understand, sometimes you have to act in the best interest of others to gain the best interest of an entire nation.

I thought though these little factoids were interesting, fifty years of High Crimes, Scandals and What the Hell in the face of a changing nation.  No, our President isn’t King, Dictator or any of the other names laid at his feet.  He also clearly isn’t leading the most corrupt administration in the past century.  The election and ultimately assassination of John F. Kennedy opened the door for so many things, including the opportunity for Barack Obama to become President someday.  Strange what fifty years will do to a nation.

I have to ask all those Conservatives, those Tea Party Republicans, those whatever on the Right you call yourself; what is it you want to take us back to anyway?  From where I sit back doesn’t look all that grand.

1http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/deploymentsconflicts/l/bldrafthistory.htm

False Equivalence Right

Albrecht Durer, Weeping Angel Boy

Albrecht Durer, Weeping Angel Boy

I cannot begin to tell you all how tired I am of hearing about Healthcare.gov and all of the glitches. Yes, I get it, really I do. It is hinky, the roll out was not seamless and smooth, it is well let’s just say it is imperfect.

It is in fact an ugly baby.

What Healthcare.gov is not; it is not the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Healthcare.gov is simply a delivery vehicle, one of many and one that is currently not performing as it should but it is not the law itself. Democrats on the Hell  Hill, pundits in the media and all of us truly need to separate the two and discuss them as distinct and not at all equal. It is contingent upon those of us who support the idea of access to affordable Health Insurance for all citizens that we not confuse or confabulate the issues surrounding the ACA (aka: Obamacare) and the rollout of one hinky delivery system, Healthcare.gov.

All this being said, let’s first talk about some of the idiotic conspiracy theories first. Don’t think they exist? You don’t read the Right Wing My Head is Exploding with all my f’ng insider knowledge, do you? So, here are a few of my recent favorites, those Right Wing walks resulting in False Equivalency that eventually makes their way into the mainstream because everyone is afraid to call Bullshit:

  • No bid contract awarded to CGI, the Canadian corporation, prime contractor.
    • Since 2007 CGI has had an ID/IQ designation with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The designation means Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity and covers contracts from $1K to $4B. CGI is one of 16 companies granted this designation prior to President Obama’s first term. These designations are consistent throughout the government, whether they are appropriate or not is a different issue. (sourced from various sites including DHHS). It is possible, though not probable some work orders for Healthcare.gov were awarded under this designation. It should be noted however, CGI was not the only vendor working on the Healthcare.gov integrated solution.
    • Further, on various sites (no confirmation yet) the RFP (Request for Proposal) was sent to several qualified vendors. DHHS received four (4) responses and of these, only CGI’s response was reviewed and accepted (again no confirmation of the veracity of this statement). There is only one reason why other responses would have been rejected without review; the response did not meet the stated requirements of the RFP.
  • Senior Vice President of CGI Federal, Toni Towne-Whitley was a Princeton classmate, class of ’85 of First Lady Michelle Obama and is a member of the Princeton Black Alumni.
    • Yes, both of these statements are true on their surface. Careful examination of some facts would find though, it is unlikely they are friends or ever met each other at school. They traveled in different circles, attended different schools at Princeton with different educational goals and attainments. Simply attending the same very large school does not instantly mean you know each other. By the way, Daily Caller, not every Black Person in the country knows every other Black Person in the country.
  • Upon award of the contract to CGI the President of CGI Group, George Schindler donated to the President’s reelection campaign.
    • Yes, in fact he did, $1,000; big money there. Mr. Schindler also donated to Mitt Romney and previously he had donated the max of $2,300 to John McCain. To make this easier though, let’s just debunk all of this and go ahead on to Open Secrets if you are interested. Follow the money, use the following criteria;
      • CGI
      • George Schindler
      • CGI Technologies and Solutions, Inc. PAC
      • Toni Townes-Whitley
  • The cost of Healthcare.gov was somewhere in the neighborhood of $693M.
    • No, no it was not anywhere close to this. In fact, the awarded contract was approximately $70M originally, when you factor in all the changes required due to recalcitrant GOP Governors who refused to implement their own state marketplaces, the final cost might be closer to $115M. The final costs are not in, however Daily Kos have done an excellent job of pulling apart the Right’s argument with facts here, including a great spreadsheet here.  I love facts!

Now, those are my favorites of the weekend. Really, how hard is it to stick with facts and stop making shite up?

healthcare-gov-affordable-care-act-website-jpg_fb_big

Can we talk for a minute about what Healthcare.gov is and what it is not? I don’t want to bore you with tech-speak; I do some of this for a living and even my eyes glaze over. I do want to talk about what Healthcare.gov is and why the idiots on the Hill should not be holding hearings over which they have not a clue.

  1. Healthcare.gov is not a simple website. The website is a frontend; it is how you and I access the system behind it.
  2. Healthcare.gov is an integrated system. This system requires tens of thousands, if not millions of lines of custom code to parse information you and I enter, including our names, address, financial status, this determines what products to show us. This is essentially “If, Then, What” lines of code based on multiple options. Then, once the products we qualify for are delivered to our screen and we have the opportunity to review and decide this same solution must send our choice(s) to external private vendors, outside of the Healthcare.gov system.
  3. Integration is not simple and it is not a one-to-one process at the federal level. For every single state that did not create their own marketplace the integration had to be created for that state. What this means, for example in Texas every single district, county, city, zip code combination had to be entered. All of the private insurance companies willing to offer plans for Texas citizens had to offer those plans to the marketplace. The State of Texas vetted those plans and made their own rules that had to be incorporated into the system.
    1. This was true of every single state. Every Red State that did not create their own Marketplace made up their own rules; rules in many cases with the sole intention to case the ACA to fail in their state, to prevent their citizens from accessing Affordable Insurance and ultimately affordable healthcare.
    2. Finally, nothing in Healthcare.gov stores your medical information, thus nothing in Healthcare.gov is in non-compliance with HIPPA. Keep in mind, one of key provisions of the ACA is the elimination of ‘pre-existing conditions’. With this provision, you and I no longer fill out extensive medical histories when applying for Health Insurance, in fact the only information we are asked is if we smoke.

If you are a Democrat, Liberal, Progressive or Left Leaning Independent please stop referring to Healthcare.gov as Obamacare or the ACA, or even a Website. It is none of these. It is just one of several delivery systems for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it isn’t the entirety of it. Could it have been done better? Yes, certainly, it could have been and I suspect all that is wrong with this particular delivery system will be corrected fairly quickly but let’s not fall into the trap the Right is laying for us, let’s not repeat their idiotic talking points as if they were gospel.

The truth is we are now going to have to watch as the GOP members on the Hill waste valuable time and money following their boogiemen down every conspiracy hole. Their insatiable appetite to find this President at fault for something, anything is horrifying, wasteful and frankly boring. The propagandizing by the Right is tiresome; that we fall into their trap repeatedly is shameful. They throw the Red Herring and we run with it.

Red Herring

Next up, what likely went wrong in developing Healthcare.gov.

It Starts With Me

LVal_2010When I look in the mirror, I don’t see Privilege. I do not think to myself, well today when I go to the store I will be treated well, store security will not follow me, the lady at checkout will not demand two pieces of identification if I write a check. I don’t think the police will likely let me go with a warning if I drive a few miles over the speed limit; no one will follow me if I am somewhere, in some neighborhood I have never been before looking at houses.

When I roll out of bed and consider my day, I don’t think to myself, “Damn, I am so lucky I was born White.”

Do you, or if like me your skin is White and your heritage is mixed bag of European American you simply take for granted the beginning of another day and never consider what it means to be fundamentally, you as in your racial identity.

When I look in the mirror, I see crow’s feet and think, “Shit they are getting longer and deeper”.

When I look in the mirror, I see the reverse skunk stripe down my part and think, “Dang, time for another touch up”.

I do not however ever see my racial identity in stark terms. I don’t see it and wonder how it might affect my life today.

What I don’t do is wonder what I should wear to the local market, it doesn’t matter what I wear, they will still treat me as if I matter. Even if I don’t do anything more than sort of comb my hair or just run water through it and hope for the best, throw on yoga pants and a tee shirt. Not one person in that store would ever think to wonder just what the hell I was doing there, I belong; my skin tone gives me the right, the privilege of belonging.

Never thought about how I was lucky, fortunate in comparison simply based on my much paler skin. What I considered were those things I could not change about myself that made my life more difficult;

  • I was born a woman.
  • I am getting older.
  • I had been divorced and financially ruined in that divorce.
  • I had been hurt and left with disabilities.

These things, some which are simply characteristic to my birth and others, which are part of life, affect my ability to find work and sometimes advance, stay productive, earn a living, prepare for my retirement and be financially stable.

They are frankly first world problems. They do not prevent me from moving in the world in meaningful ways. They do not cause others to look at me with suspicion simply for walking into a store or in the neighborhood. In fact some of my problems are invisible, some of my problems because of the color of my skin are more easily overcome than they would be otherwise.

Do I compartmentalize my own experiences? View the world based on my own expectations of a world that is better than it is. My husband has told me I do this that I frequently do not see “ugly” behavior for what it is; I do not put the behavior in its proper perspective. I have had to wonder about this lately, question my own ability to truly “see”.

One True Story

When my parents were alive they lived in a small town in the Hill Country of Texas, we visited often, to eat, drink and play golf. My parents lived on the golf course and frequented the clubhouse for lunch. There are very few Black people in this community. We never thought about this, never considered it an issue; it never occurred to us that anyone would treat a member of our family badly.087

We sat down and perused the menu (written on the chalkboard), we were all chatting and laughing together. My brothers, father and ex-husband had just finished a rousing game of golf and DB had beaten their pants off. The men were bad talking each other and we women were rolling our eyes and hoping they would stop, soon please. DB and I were only recently married and had not been to the new house together, but my father and mother were well known to the staff. When the waitress came over to the take our order, she went around the table joking with members of the family, taking orders as my father proudly introduced those she hadn’t met before. When she got to DB and me, she skipped over him, her eyes slid off him as if he didn’t exist though she had taken my order and he was sitting right next to me she pretended not to see him. It was astounding. My father reminded her she had missed his order and proceeded to proudly introduce my husband.

I realize now my father saw what DB saw and I am humiliated by my insensitivity. My husband was mortified and hurt by the encounter and refused to eat there ever again. He told me why and I understood it, I simply did not “see” it until he told me.

The arrest of Miss Rosa Parks - Historical Context

The arrest of Miss Rosa Parks – Historical Context

We that is all of us, in our intransigence regarding race relations in the United States today are the problem. Our refusal to see the problem, our refusal to discuss the problem in real terms, our refusal to ‘allow’ historical context to those that racial bias most affects; we are the problem. Whether we ourselves are unambiguous in our pathological bigotry or we are vague and shroud our intent in a labyrinth of policy and statistics, we remain the problem. Even if we believe we have not a shred of bias, bigotry or racism in our hearts, we are the problem if we refuse to see the truth of this nation and its very real problems with race relations today in 2013.

Discussions of Race and its Historical Context by the President of the United States is not divisive. This President is a Black Man in this United States. In spite of his Bi-Racial make-up he is seen as only one thing on the street, that is Black Man. When he was growing up he was seen as a Black Boy, a Black Teenager. When he ran for office he was hated or loved for his Blackness in many cases. His words on July 19, 2013, were not divisive they were contextual and personal. Yet before he was done those who refuse to see, refuse to hear and refuse to accept Historical Context and Racism as Reality in 2013 went after his comments as if he were the problem. He isn’t.

We are the problem. We are the problem on individual levels when we refuse to examine and correct our own responses and reactions. We are the problem when we refuse to engage in necessary discussions. We are the problem when we don’t speak up, when we don’t get involved when we see inequity happening right in front of us. We are the problem when we don’t stand up and refuse the status quo. We may not be able to change the hearts of men (or women), we can certainly change the outcome of how their words and our own affect our society.

It starts with us as individuals. It starts with me. It starts with you.

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