Are Republicans Destroying their Party?

We Can Certainly Hope They Are.

It seems like every day we find ourselves learning about the latest act of stupidity by the Republican party politicians, political wannabes, celebrities, the President, and others. It is to the point where we must consider if these conservatives are destroying their party. It’s worth looking at and deciding for ourselves. Whether it’s Trump’s lies, McConnell’s intransigence, Coronavirus minimizers and deniers, QAnon conspiracy theory believers, and general pot stirring by Republicans, there’s a little something for everybody’s daily consumption of media stories.

It would all be ridiculously funny if it wasn’t a serious view of how the Republican’s attempt to maintain their hold on Congress and the Presidency. It’s dangerous to just laugh off the things the Republicans are trying to do. Especially when it comes to Donald Trump and his wet dreams of enacting his fascist dynasty to control the country under his authoritarian dictatorship.

We all have heard Trump on his lack of concern about the coronavirus, telling the country on more than one occasion how it will just “go away” at some point. He keeps around him plenty of people who publicly support his beliefs and ignores the experts on the pandemic. He cares not at all of how many contract and die from the virus. This is simply because he is a sociopath, as well as being so egotistical that all he wants are constant words of praise reinforcing his delusions. But, there are other things he is doing as well.

Just yesterday Trump admitted that he is sabotaging the US Postal Service to screw up mail-in balloting, harming the 2020 elections. In a Vice.com article Trump is reported to have said, “They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.” His Postmaster General, who he has in his back pocket like so many other Administration members, has brought turmoil to the USPS, issuing new rules and procedures to slow down mail delivery. The Postmaster General, Louis Dejoy, has even ordered the removal of sorting machines at mail distribution centers according to a businessinsider.com story This will significantly slow down mail delivery even more, including election ballots.

Then we have Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, trying to save his hold on his Senate seat at the same time he’s intentionally hurting Americans. He has washed his hands of any further work trying to work out a deal with Democrats to approve a new coronavirus bill. He’s leaving it up to the Trump Administration to negotiate an acceptable bill. With Americans losing the extra $600 unemployment payments, McConnell is causing Americans to be unable to keep their homes, feed their families, to obtain medical care, and just live day-to-day. As I wrote in my “Open Letter to the Filthy Rich” post, 17 – 28 million people are under threat of eviction now that the eviction moratorium has ended. McConnell has also made it clear that no new relief bill will be brought up for a vote if it does not contain language protecting businesses from being sued by employees who contract COVID-19 at work. Make no mistake, McConnell has the blood of innocents on his hands. But, lets move on to the next election issue.

Hopefully you have heard of QAnon and their conspiracy theory. I’ll just provide a small recap. From wbur.com, “QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory and loosely organized network centered around the belief that the U.S. is controlled by a cabal of child sex trafficking, Democratic elites hell-bent on bringing down President Trump. Followers believe these elites, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, have gone so far as to manufacture the coronavirus to bring Trump down. They heed cryptic online dispatches of someone named Q who’s anonymous — hence QAnon — who claims the highest government security clearance.

It sounds extremely ridiculous doesn’t it? Well, there are a number of Republican candidates for Congress who are believers or followers of QAnon. Marjorie Taylor Green won her runoff election to be the Republican candidate in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District and is expected to win in November. She has made videos stating her support for QAnon and she has made racist statements in videos as well. While there are Republicans who have repudiated her belief and her racism, it isn’t enough. Besides her, there are 10 or more other candidates who are QAnon followers – all Republicans running for Congress this year. (Sarcasm alert) Any who win their races can go to Congress and set up the QAnon Caucus. These believers need to be ridiculed publicly for their idiotic beliefs. Not one of them is fit to be a member of Congress in my opinion.

Next, we pull from the greatest hits collection in a redux of birtherism. It’s already being proclaimed that Senator Kamala Harris is not eligible to be President or Vice President because her parents were not legal residents when Kamala was born in Oakland, California in 1964. This is evidence that many people haven’t read, or can’t comprehend, the US Constitution. There is no requirement that a candidate’s parents must be legal residents. The candidate must have been born in the United States, which Senator Harris was. If you don’t believe me, go read Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. Hang on, I’ll help you out. Article 2, Section 1 states:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Now, facts probably won’t stand with people who want to believe a lie, especially since they elected the biggest liar in America. The political right gave no peace to Barack Obama, why should it be any different for Kamala Harris. It’s just a tactic to confuse the gullible and maintain their votes for party candidates.

It’s like the Trump’s moves in sending federal agencies into Portland, OR, to clamp down on protestors considered to be anarchists, antifa radicals (there being no antifa organization), and domestic terrorists. I wrote about Portland in my post “The Secret Police” back in July. No one can forget the nightly scenes of the brutality dished out by these federal storm troopers against the protestors, while they “protected” the federal courthouse. Republicans stood behind the actions taken by Trump. Eventually federal agencies were dispatched to other cities across America to spread more of Donald Trump’s law and order brutality.

Nothing will likely change the course the Republicans are taking on their journey to the ballot box in November. However, what Republicans aren’t considering is that even if they survive the election this year there is what occurs beyond 2020. They are making more enemies than friends with their foolishness and disregard for our society. Many people who voted for him in 2016 won’t be voting for Trump in 2020. As an article on theguardian.com reported, Kevin, a Arizona pastor and lifelong Republican voted for Trump, but now states, “I’ve seen how he has tried to divide our country and that is not something I want, nor what our country should have … This man is an absolute danger to our country.” He is not the only Republican who won’t vote for Trump again.

These beliefs and behaviors appear to be eating the Republican Party from the inside out. But, the deterioration of the Republican Party will allow America to radically change and become a nation without inequality and hatred, provided we rise to the challenge. At the minimum, it may allow the breaking of the two party stranglehold on the American government.

We have no idea of what foolishness by Republicans may be reported tomorrow. It’s clear to me how the Republican Party is pulling itself apart. Tomorrow could be the day it implodes.

Until next time,

Open Letter to the Filthy Rich

Multiple Multi-millionaires and Billionaires in America

Dear Filthy Rich People,

How can you people standby and watch Americans get evicted from their homes because the coronavirus put them out of work? It’s bad enough that so many individuals and families face food insecurity daily, for which you do nothing. It’s bad enough that million upon millions of Americans now have no health insurance, for which you did nothing.

What many of you have done during this pandemic is to continue to make money, large amounts (obscene amounts) of money. Money you made off the working men & women of America and some of you made money off government largess. From March to June 2020, Jeff Bezos has made $48 billion and he’s done nothing to help Americans in critical need of help! Others of his ilk haven’t made as much, but they’ve still made billions.

You, the filthy rich, could stop the evictions to save an estimated 17 to 28 million people who will be homeless. This is not the Great Depression of the 1930’s. There is no reason that you, who made your money off the sweat of American workers, can’t intervene. Now, I know you’ll say that President Trump signed an Executive Order preventing evictions. Well, yes and no. He sign an EO containing language about evictions. As reported in a Forbes article, “Trump’s order doesn’t actually extend the federal eviction moratorium. Instead, it calls on the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “consider” whether an additional eviction ban is needed.” Saying he did is just another in a long line of falsehoods Donald Trump has told to America.

So, knowing there is no stopping evictions at this time, what are any of you doing to stop it? Worse, how many of you filthy rich are the ultimate landlords of housing in America? But, you’d rather quietly sit back and allow these people to be evicted. The only thing likely to get you off your asses, is if you start losing money. Then, and only then, will you care. By your behavior, you filthy rich, you are showing your prejudice, bigotry, and racism!

Black and Brown minorities will be affected by evictions more than White Americans. According to an article from The Center for Public Integrity, “it’s deeply troubling,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable housing. “We’ve known for some time that there is a tremendous risk of extremely low-income renters being harmed by this crisis and being evicted, and we’ve known that such evictions would have a disproportionate impact on Black and brown and extremely low-income and historically marginalized people.

Have you filthy rich no morals, or are you too busy worshiping the almighty dollar? Good old Capitalism, again, takes priority over human life. It seems to be that the only thing you can show the world is how you exploit people for your own personal gain.

Unemployment, food insecurity, eviction, and illness are all that common people “get” in this time of a pandemic. You rich folks are too uncaring to prevent evictions, to provide a sustainable stipend for people to be food secure, maintain their health, and to have no fear of what comes tomorrow.

You rich people are the animals of American society!

Sincerely,

John Common Citizen

Until next time

Even the best of us need to blow off steam from time to time.

Mi Casa No Es Tu Casa

My House is Not Your House!

President Donald Trump has ordered the ending of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, turning back the clock to let lily white suburban communities be for lily whites only.

Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said of the rollback that, “The president’s implication that this five-year old rule somehow ruined suburbs is both counterfactual and a transparent shoutout to white supremacists who don’t like that America’s suburbs, along with the entire country, have become more diverse.”

The rule was put in place in 2015 is for “providing its program participants (states, counties, municipalities and public housing agencies) with more effective means to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson stated, “After reviewing thousands of comments on the proposed changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation, we found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most…”

Discrimination in housing was first tackled by the Civil Rights Act of 1866, enacted April 9, 1866, (but not ratified until 1870) was the first United States federal law to define citizenship and affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law. It was mainly intended, in the wake of the American Civil War, to protect the civil rights of persons of African descent born in or brought to the United States.

While the law was needed, it failed to have any way for the federal government to enforce violations of the act. This failure made the law nothing more than a sop to Black Americans, the now former slaves in the United States. With this being the case, it didn’t stop discrimination based on race. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that anything changed, or was suppose to change, as we shall see.

An NPR article in 2017, “A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America,” In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase — and segregate — America’s housing stock. Author Richard Rothstein says the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a “state-sponsored system of segregation.”

African-Americans were left to their own devices. With the federal government blocking them from decent fair housing took different forms to keep housing segregated. The NPR article pointed out that, according to Rothstein, in his book “The Color of Law”, he “notes that the Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, furthered the segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods — a policy known as “redlining.” At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.

With the federal government actively segregating communities, for whatever reason(s), Black Americans didn’t stand a chance of having equal opportunities for fair treatment in housing. There is no logical reason for this other than White Americans didn’t want minorities spoiling their subdivisions in suburbia. Racism at its most blatant.

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 also enacted 18 U.S.C.§ 245(b)(2), which permits federal prosecution of anyone who “willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person’s race, color, religion or national origin” because of the victim’s attempt to engage in one of six types of federally protected activities, such as attending school, patronizing a public place/facility, applying for employment, acting as a juror in a state court or voting.

Specifically to housing the Act prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin or religion. People with disabilities and families with children were added by amendment in 1988 and gender in 1974. The Act prohibited discrimination for refusal in renting or selling a dwelling. When an individual was applying to rent or purchase a dwelling there could be no discrimination in the terms, conditions or privilege of the sale or rental of a dwelling.

There could not be any discrimination in the advertising of a rental or sale of a dwelling. There was to be no neglecting the maintenance or repairs of rental units. No type of force, intimidation, coercion, retaliation or threats against any person exercising their rights to fair housing. Further, services and amenities could not be restrictions either.

Yet, with all that covered in the Act, discrimination continued decade after decade. The law itself does not protect those in the LGBTQ+ communities. Sexual orientation and gender discrimination is covered in state laws of more than 20 states. Even with federal and state laws protecting minorities there was no stopping white communities from doing all they could to “protect” their neighborhoods.

In 2015, under President Obama, HUD issued a new regulation to implement the affirmatively furthering fair housing requirements of the Fair Housing Act. With this rule, HUD is providing its program participants (states, counties, municipalities and public housing agencies) with more effective means to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Fairness to decent housing is everyone’s right. Since the end of the Civil War it seemed that, as in other areas of American life, equal treatment to housing was just an empty promise. One only needs to look at the cities across the country that have lower income Black Americans living in housing projects in the parts of town on the “other side of the railroad tracks.”

Then, our most controversial president ever decides to roll back the 2015 rule. While in Texas on a campaign visit President Trump said, “You know the suburbs, people fight all of their lives to get into the suburbs and have a beautiful home, There will be no more low-income housing forced into the suburbs. … It’s been going on for years. I’ve seen conflict for years. It’s been hell for suburbia.” If it is hell for suburbia, image what it must be like for Black Americans and other minorities.

In other words, discrimination in housing in the white suburbs was fine. Imagine a president allowing his racist beliefs to be the basis for his decisions against minorities. Why, you may wonder? It’s likely President Trump is doing all he can to rally his poor poll numbers among suburban voting blocks. Also, he is appealing to the white supremacists that are a part of his base. He can’t hide his racist beliefs and doesn’t seem like he wants to in the end. He’s a man who believes in division and turmoil.

The crass way he has exercised his duties as President leaves no doubt that America means nothing to him. America must work to prevent him from gaining a second term in office. If we don’t, Trump will feel emboldened to treat this nation and her people as his personal servants.

Many would argue that the Republic is on it’s last legs and that now is the time for revolutionary change. Those of the younger generations believe it is right that the Democrats and Republicans relinquish their stranglehold on the country and allow a new form of government, where equality in all things is more than an empty promise. A new nation where everyone has the same opportunities, where there is sustainable use and protection of the land. A new nation in which the term “poor” does not pertain to a person’s socioeconomic status and wealth is shared among all.

It’s time in their eyes for the dinosaur to become extinct. I can’t say, after sixty years of life, that I disagree with them. It’s time for Baby Boomers to step aside and let the younger generations lead America.

Decent housing, well maintained, should be a right, not a luxury.

One last thing, remember that Black Lives Matter!

Until next time

Good Cop, Bad Cop

The Broken Trust by American Police

There are times, like the past several days since my last post, that one should stop and observe what is happening around the country. Between mainstream media and internet news organizations there is a wealth of information to look over on just about any topic.

With all that is happening in the US, from Black Lives Matter protests to the devastation being caused by the coronavirus to American lives, the economy, and the loss of faith in the actions by the federal government to get the coronavirus under control, we are lost and struggling to see a path of safety.

President Trump has released his “dogs of war” of federal law enforcement agencies on cities in the United States. In at least the city of Portland, these officers have taken unconstitutional actions, snatching people off the streets without probable cause. It has been observed that there are officers without officer and agency identification visibly displayed on their uniforms. People taken were placed into unmarked vans and driven away. This is not the way law enforcement is suppose to operate.

But it just isn’t just federal law enforcement that has been working outside the boundaries of law. There has been reporting, a lot of reporting, on the excessive use of force and brutality by police agencies around America. From the NYPD to the LAPD and in between, police officers have acted as if they are free to act as they please without repercussions.

The trust that a large portion of US citizens have in law enforcement has been broken by the methods being employed by police around the United States. It seems though that any Republican elected to state or federal governments are doing their best to distract Americans from these excesses by pointing to the violence of protests around the country. They call anyone exercising their 1st Amendment rights anarchists and criminals. The general broad brush that is used to justify unacceptable behavior by police in America is like excusing the lynching of a Black man.

There is a fairly visible record of these excesses, or more accurately brutalities, being committed. Besides the many deaths of Black Americans here are some examples from this year alone:

Is there any misunderstanding about a lot of police behavior going on in America? The above behavior isn’t to be expected of every law enforcement officer in America though. There are good cops, right?

We constantly hear that these “bad” cops are just a few rotten apples. Using that premise, we should believe that all the “good” cops, who regularly remain silent about the actions of bad cops, is an honorable, law abiding behavior. If a good cop remains silent, isn’t that good cop then being a bad cop? In fact, it happens all the time. Cops remain silent about the behavior of those of the “thin blue line,” to include supervisory officers. Where is the honorable behavior in that? So, telling us it’s only a few bad apples is a lie. Any and every officer remaining silent to actions of brutality or misconduct are just as bad as those “bad apples.”

Why should citizens trust the police to “protect and serve” when police officers won’t even protect the rights of an arrestee, or serve the public good when they use excessive force? Why should citizens trust the police when “bad apples” are continually protected by their department, the district attorney, and the police unions who insist their officers do no wrong?

There are nationwide calls for defunding and dismantling police agencies. While dismantling police agencies is not a reasonable idea, defunding police is when tied to the ideas of removing responsibilities from police agencies and shifting them to other agencies. I have written of this issue before, you can read it here.

Changing the dynamic of policing must occur in order for trust to be rebuilt between the police and public. The largest change is the stopping of abuse and brutality by police across the country, including federal law enforcement. Anyone stop and arrested by police must be done using the minimum amount of force necessary to make the arrest, which means starting – generally – with verbal deescalation. Further, once in police custody, the police must protect the arrestees’ life from all harm or death. The police must insure that the arrestees’ rights are also protected.

Police agencies have the responsibility to weed out bad cops, not protect them. Police unions have the duty to help weed out bad officers, if for no other reason than to protect the reputation of the good officers. Individual officers have the responsibility and the duty to turn in officers violating department rules & regulations and those violating the law.

If any officer can’t do their duty honorably and lawfully, then they should resign and find a new career.

Until the police are forced off their high horses and brought back to reality, we will continue to see the behaviors of excessive force and brutality.

Until next time

pitchforksandtorches image

What’s Ailing America?

It’s not just one thing

What will history say about the America of 2020? I doubt it will show the country as a shining light on the path of leadership by the supposed most powerful nation in the world. To me, it is more likely that historians will say that America was a sad failure. That seems to be all that the current government and its leadership can accomplish – failure.

At a time when there is a world pandemic striking hard at countries worldwide, a pandemic here in America that has caused over 140,000 deaths, a pandemic that caused millions to become unemployed due to the necessary shutdowns in states in order to try to mitigate the spread of the virus, a pandemic that has not stopped national outrage and protests against police brutality and systemic racism, and a pandemic with no national leadership, who do Americans turn to for help?

Political Ailments

President Donald Trump is responsible for so many dying. He has consistently undermined the steps being taken by states to contain the virus. Worse, Donald Trump feels no guilt, like every sociopath, and takes no responsibility for anything even remotely considered a negative, like coronavirus testing.

Lets be clear, President Donald J. Trump has built his administration up as being the most ineffective and inept administration in the history of America. I’ll show you why I say this.

He is a science denier when talking about climate change or the coronavirus, insisting that he knows better. As results show, quite clearly, Donald Trump doesn’t know better. Plus, I doubt he even cares.

He has shown his disregard for children of immigrants, called illegal immigrants by Trump, and locked them up in “detention centers” under horrible overcrowding and health conditions. “Detention camps” are not the words I would use to describe these facilities. They are concentration camps, defined as “a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy.” It seems this is no longer a newsworthy issue, its been overshadowed.

On May 25th of this year Minneapolis police arrested and murdered George Floyd, a Black American suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a store. Ex-officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, eventually killing Mr Floyd.

The murder of Mr Floyd evoked nationwide protests across America over his death and the systemic racism in America. The vandalism and rioting in some of the protests has resulted in further police brutality and excessive use of force. Trump has called the protestors “thugs.” The protests have been led by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) group, with White Americans supporting BLM, rather than leading, as it should be.

President Donald Trump, “attacked the Black Lives Matter movement, calling the rallying cry a ‘symbol of hate.'” Contrast this with the fact that while Trump has condemned the extreme right at times, he panders to his base by continuing his racist statements and beliefs (on the Confederate battle flag, Confederate statues, and Confederate names of military bases as examples).

Will Donald Trump be elected to a second term? Only time will tell. But, Donald Trump isn’t wasting any time in setting up his straw man should he lose to Joe Biden. He’s back to putting out, without any supporting evidence, his claim’s that voting by mail is ripe for fraud and will rig the election.

So, what is Donald Trump’s goal? Simply put, Trump is setting the stage to deny his loss to Joe Biden and illegally attempt to hold on to power. Now, if all the government officials live up to their oath to the US Constitution, Donald Trump will be forcibly removed from the White House. Joe Biden would be President and life will go on in America. Or will it?

We’ll back up just a touch to the ongoing protests in America. George Floyd’s murder was the straw that broke the camel’s back, resulting in the wide spread protests led by BLM. Black people (and other people of color) are tired of the lack of equality and are fighting for a new America. There is violence occurring at these protests not only from protestors, but from police as well.

The ongoing protests by the “thugs,” as they are labelled by Donald Trump, have brought Trump to the point where he announced that he would send in federal agencies to quell the ongoing rioting and protests. He kept his word, sending in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies to Portland, OR. The U.S. Marshal’s Special Operations Group and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit in Portland are wearing military style camouflage uniforms that have no agency identifiers or name tags visible. All that can be seen are patches on their tactical vests of the word “Police.” These federal agents have been recorded driving up in unmarked minivans, jumping out and taking individuals into custody without stating the person is under arrest. The “suspect” is handcuffed and hustled over to the minivan and driven away from the scene of their kidnapping.

Some of those snatched off the streets, Gestapo style, have been charged with offenses and some have not. Those not charged were eventually released. This behavior by federal agents is as unconstitutional as you can get. So, one shouldn’t overlook these incidents. This is one reason why the founders of the US wrote the Second Amendment! Please don’t think this is an isolated series of incidents. Donald Trump has ordered 150 agents of DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations agents to Chicago in the near future.

Hopefully everyone knows what doing this is called? I can tell you it isn’t democracy in any form. It’s fascism. A person could surmise that this is Trump’s way of testing to see what he can get away with should he lose the election this November. Will America sit still, or will there be hell to pay.

These intrusions into American cities by federal agents won’t silence the protests. If anything, they will act as gasoline and ignite more violence and rioting. Donald Trump has made a tactical error it would seem. There is more that will open your eyes wider.

Those protestors are strong groups of primarily Millennials and Gen Zers. Their support for Black Lives Matter is clear. They will not bow down any longer to the repressive governments run by the Republicans or the Democrats. They know that the two parties of different sides of the same coin. Both have the same end goal, but have different paths to get there. These young people, of the extreme far left, see the Democrat Party as being centrist, at best, but generally right of center and not representing them and their goals. In fact, calling them socialist or communist would gain their immediate agreement. Is this truly a bad thing?

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a Gen Z ardent activist of the extreme left political faction. This individual shall remain anonymous for their own protection. I’ll call this person “Activist Z.” Activist Z explained the ideals and goals of the movement itself.

When we observe the current political landscape of both the right and left, we see the same old battle going on. While the ideas of how to move America along may see incremental change to our way of life, it’s not good enough according to Activist Z. Bringing on those changes at a faster rate is also too slow.

Societal Ailments

When Activist Z and the others in the movement look at what America should be, they start with societal fairness, known as equality. To their belief system, whatever is needed to sustain a healthy life for all comes with certain basics. Those basics being housing for all, healthcare for all, equal education in the K-12 schooling system, food and water to comfortably sustain life, and no overblown government or capitalist organization.

Homelessness

Now, I’ll be taking these one issue at a time, starting with housing for all. In the richest nation on Earth (so we are told) there are over 560,000 people who experience homelessness every night. Over 200,000 of the homeless spend each night unsheltered (living outdoors in places not meant for human habitation). Now, don’t just see numbers, see them. These are people, human beings and they have no place to call home, like the rest of us do. Activist Z states that this would not be the case in their views. But, it’s not just the homeless. We must look to the to those living in substandard housing. Substandard housing is defined as “any condition which exists to an extent that it endangers the life, limb, property, safety or welfare of the occupants or general public.” There are about six million homes in America that are substandard. So think hard and visualize people living in those homes.

Still with me? Yes, okay. Now, according to 247wallst.com there are over 17 million vacant homes in America in 2018. Remember those 560,000 plus homeless? They could fill those homes over 30 times. Those six million substandard homes? They could be replaced 2.83 times from the vacant homes.

Activist Z shows that we have more than enough decent homes to house all of the population of America. No one should be living on the streets or in substandard housing. I have to say Activist Z has a point.

Healthcare

Now we know, without any argument, that every person in the country can be provided healthcare. No insurance necessary either. The only reason there is not healthcare for all is politics. There were 30.4 million people with no health insurance in 2018, with millions more with inadequate health insurance. If there was a national healthcare system (including dental and vision care), without any reduction of the level of services provided, then couldn’t we expect Americans to be healthier overall? We won’t know until we tried, though I don’t hesitate to say that with the current government (Democratic or Republican) it won’t get implemented equally for all Americans.

Food Security

Every member of any society should never have to suffer food insecurity, but it happens every day all around the world. With the coronavirus ravaging America there are more than 54 million people facing food insecurity, a total that includes 18 million children.

Consider that the world’s food production is sufficient to feed 10 billion people. Why then do we have so many people in America facing food insecurity? From the same article linked to in this paragraph, globally 30% to 40% of our food production is wasted every year. There should be no hunger in America, or the rest of the world for that matter.

But, when we review the topic we find that over 13.6 million children receive free breakfast and lunch meals at school. Now, no one wants to see any child go hungry, at least I hope they don’t. That’s helps children receive nutritious meals every day, however there are still children in schools that have yet to participate in the federally subsidized breakfast and lunch program. Plus, millions of children and adults don’t get three meals a day. Many parents (and other adults) don’t have enough of a paycheck to cover all their living needs, so they all go without.

Can you imagine sending your children to bed without supper because there’s no money left to buy enough food? I can’t and luckily never had to. When you wrap your head around the food insecurity issue, you can see why food security is a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman, and child should have enough nutritious food to feed themselves every single day.

Education

We all know that it is important to have children receive an education. In 2019, 58.6 million children attended elementary and secondary schools. But, do all these children receive equal education opportunity in America? Sadly, they do not. When looking at why this inequality is we see that resources is not the problem, it’s how the resources are distributed, that was reported in an article from American University in Washington D.C. in 2018. Okay, so we need to demand the inequality gap be closed, something our elected local, state, and federal leaders have failed to do in decade after decade.

If we don’t fairly educate our children in elementary and secondary school education, we then handicap them for their future, either in college or the workforce. The high school graduation rate in 2016 was 84.1%, leaving the rest as dropouts or late graduation for whatever reason.

For all the graduates of high school there are many paths they can decide to follow, such as college, vocational-technical training, and internships in many fields of endeavor. Those who enrolled in college for the Fall Semester of 2019 stood at about 18.2 million students for all 2 year and 4 year colleges and universities. Now, we have to work out a path choice for all the high school dropouts.

High school dropouts have difficulty obtaining high skilled employment. So, we find them flipping hamburgers at a fast food joint, or working in a field focused on manual labor, such as landscaping. It’s no hard to learn how to mow grass, edge lawns, and trim bushes. Most people can be taught these skills fairly fast, but the level of pay won’t come close to what college graduates make.

How do I know this? It’s because I dropped out of high school and worked menial jobs with poor pay. You look for a way out, but without a high school diploma you’re pretty much limited to a low wage “career.”

The education system needs to be set to offer an equal quality education, to include four years of college or university education. Plus, it should be free. Education beyond a four year degree can be paid for by the well educated student, using their learned skills to enter the workforce if necessary to pay for the advanced educational degree. The system must work with struggling students in high schools to get these children to not drop out of school.

What’s Left to Do

I tell you that is a great deal left to do. I’ve barely scratched the surface. There are all types of issues that will have to be worked out in the America envisioned by Activist Z and the other far left radicals (those socialist or communists that haunt our sleep). They are ready to tear down and rebuild a new America where equality will truly exist in their thinking. So much to do, but there is a part of Generation Z ready to change the nation.

Conclusion

The United States of America has stood for 244 years. Look at the mess we made. The system was rigged from the start and year after year generations of Americans have left it better off when the torch is passed to the next generation.

The political landscape in 2020 looks dismal. We have a President, along with his cabal, pretty much doing anything he wants. Laws, morals, and ethics mean nothing to Donald Trump. He’s just interested in pleasing his personal whims and having his ego stroked by his cult of followers.

There have been peaceful revolutions that changed the structure of a nation, take the old Soviet Union’s collapse as an example. Yet, history teaches us that violence and force are needed to change a nation, like the French Revolution and our own Revolution. A change in the national structure of American may end up breaking up America in to multiple nations. If the change can be done peacefully, or if it takes violent overthrow, the extreme left of Gen Z are willing to use either method. We already have 244 years of failure, so maybe Gen Z has ideas that we should accept and try.

There is no guarantee of a tomorrow in life, guarantee of a tomorrow in a nation that you knew yesterday.

I asked in the title, What’s Ailing America? I can tell you what’s ailing America, America is ailing America and her people.

Until next time

The Secret Police

Who will they come for next?

The darkness of the night was only occasionally pushed back by a streetlight. There were still people walking along the sidewalks. Down the road approached a car. It stopped between streetlights, in the shadows of the surrounding buildings. Three men stepped from the vehicle and walked over to a man nearby. The three men stopped the man and within a minute the man was pushed into the vehicle. Nothing was said to the man as he was hustled to the vehicle. The three men climbed inside and the vehicle drove off into the night.

Sounds like the activities of the Nazi Gestapo before and during World War II. Alas, this is not from World War II, but from a night in 2020 in the city of Portland, OR. Wait, what? This is America and people have rights ya know? Well, tell that to the three federal law enforcement officers in military style camouflage fatigues with no identifying patches, no name labels and only the word “Police” on the vests being wore. Nor are the vehicles marked either.

Anyone older than my old tennis shoes know that this is unlawful behavior by these federal agents, in fact unconstitutional! The subjects are not told anything. They are taken to, some have said, a federal building. Some are charged with a crime, some are not. For those not charged there is no record of an arrest. Uncharged individuals are later released without any explanation at all. This gives Department of Homeland Security “plausible deniability” or, in other words, it never happened.

DHS Emblem

Chad Wolf, acting DHS Director visited Portland and labelled all the protestors as anarchists. This is a tactic to dehumanize the protestors and insinuate that the protests are unlawful. Pray tell, what are the crimes of these “anarchists”? Spray painting graffiti on federal buildings, some vandalism and trespassing. Obviously dangerous felons.

Who’s responsible for the Gestapo-like tactics? It can only be Donald Trump, our fascist president. He’s stepped over the line, again, in his actions as president. When he got static from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about using military personnel against US citizens, he chose a different group to go after US civilians.

I have to wonder what’s next? Will there be other cities where Trump’s Gestapo dogs whisk people off the streets? When it comes to Donald Trump anything is probable. As for his goons, they have violated their oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the rights contained therein. They fit right in as a part of the over militarized police forces in the country. They are uncaring of their tactics and only act, just point and off these federal hounds go.

If the goal is to put fear in the hearts of protestors, it won’t stop the protests. In all likelihood it will stiffen the protestors resolve all across America to continue the struggles against systemic racism and government oppression. Donald Trump fails, as he does in so many things, to grasp the depth of commitment of all the people protesting and supporting the protests.

But, what should the people do about these tactics? If you see it occurring, record it. Yell for the detained individual to shout out their name. Write down or record license plates of the unmarked vehicles being used by the federal agents. Notify the press of the incident and also get it out on the internet. Notify Democratic members of Congress and ask for them to demand answers from the Department of Homeland Security. Most of all, as scary as it is, don’t let it stop demands for change. It sure won’t get the public to trust the police.

Time will tell whether or not other cities have DHS agents playing Gestapo. I guess it depends on how much Donald Trump likes what he ordered done to the civilians of the cities. President, using the term loosely, Trump has a lot to answer for, either now or at some future date.

Until next time

“It’s Freedom of Speech”

President Trump says of the Confederate Flag

This is not the article I planned for today, but this article reflects current news reports. Today’s article will actually cover two topics.

President Donald Trump spoke to the issue of the Confederate battle flag when asked a question during an interview with CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, as published by Politico.

When Herridge asked Trump for his view on the Confederate battle flag, he responded, “I know people that like the Confederate flag, and they’re not thinking about slavery”. He went on to speak about NASCAR recent prohibition that the flag is not allowed, in any form, at NASCAR raceways. Trump also said it was free speech.

CSA Battle Flag

While Trump is correct that people have the right to believe in and display the Confederate battle flag, it is a symbol of slavery. By extension, those who support the Confederate battle flag believe in all that the, long dead, Confederate States of America stood for. This includes slavery! They’ll lie to high heaven that it’s not true and that they are not racists, both of which are outright lies. Supporting the Confederate battle flag would, logically, make one surmise that those supporters want the return of the Confederacy, slavery and all. Comparing this flag with BLM, which Trump did, is abhorrent. BLM is a movement to gain full civil rights and treatment for Black Americans. Oppression on the one hand, rights on the other. They are not the same.

The Time Has Come

America needs to start over

I started my adult life as a strong conservative and registered Republican. It was the 80’s, Ronald Reagan was President, and the country was starting to have hope of better lives for all. I was young, likely too idealistic, and willing to trust the GOP to get the country back on it’s feet and running smoothly in a post Vietnam America. I never took a deeper look at society, preferring to surf along the top of the water. I stayed this way for the 12 years of Republican leadership. I ignored those parts of the party platform I didn’t agree with. Like I said, just surfing along.

Then comes the elections for 1992. George H. W. Bush was running for a second term. Bill Clinton was his Democratic opponent. There was a division of thought for me at this point. I wasn’t thrilled with George H. W. Bush. At one time he’d been the head of the CIA. I’m no fan of the James Bonds of the world, though I understand it’s necessary to have them – unfortunately. I was souring on the GOP, so in the end I voted for Bill Clinton and switched over to the Democratic Party. I stayed there for four years.

I voted for Clinton the second time too, but I stepped out of party politics and became an Independent. I saw garbage in both parties and started on the road of picking who I felt could do the job better, regardless of party affiliation. I became very tired of the two party lock on the government. The two party system was pushing the country to the same outcome, with just a little variation on how the country gets there. They are still doing so and won’t stop. It’s become a political cold war in the US.

Now here I am in the year 2020. George W. Bush had two terms in office, then Barack Obama had two terms as well. GW Bush pulled the country into an unending war with Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. Barack Obama, our first Black American president, continued allowing the wars to continue. He has, to his credit, shown Americans a different face to politics. But, alas, we then get Donald Trump as president.

Under Donald Trump we have become a very fractured nation. A deadly pandemic, social unrest and protest, an economy that has crashed, and a “dictator” in the Oval Office. What shall become of America? I don’t know.

I will tell you this, the last 3 1/2 years have slowly changed my political outlook. I see the deep systemic racism in the US. It’s always been there, but the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis Police have brought into very clear view of all of America. Protests hit cities all across the country, demanding change. Demanding their rights once and for all. Many White Americans, myself included, support the movement for Black Americans to obtain ALL the rights due them as an American. This and the reactions of the government and President Trump have pushed me, with the help of two young citizens, into a more radical left point on the political spectrum.

I think it’s time to tear this old shack of a nation down and build a new house. Not all at once, but piece by piece. We can do it now at our choosing or do it when it is thrust upon us all at once. What’s your preference?

Until next time

Independence Day Speech by Trump

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, July 3, 2020

A transcript of Donald Trump’s speech with my comments in italics and purple font color. This is a very long read.

8:50 P.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  And Governor Noem, Secretary Bernhardt — very much appreciate it — members of Congress, distinguished guests, and a very special hello to South Dakota.  (Applause.)

As we begin this Fourth of July weekend, the First Lady and I wish each and every one of you a very, very Happy Independence Day.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Let us show our appreciation to the South Dakota Army and Air National Guard, and the U.S. Air Force for inspiring us with that magnificent display of American air power — (applause) –and of course, our gratitude, as always, to the legendary and very talented Blue Angels.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

Let us also send our deepest thanks to our wonderful veterans, law enforcement, first responders, and the doctors, nurses, and scientists working tirelessly to kill the virus.  They’re working hard.  (Applause.)  I want to thank them very, very much.

We’re grateful as well to your state’s Congressional delegation: Senators John Thune — John, thank you very much — (applause) — Senator Mike Rounds — (applause) — thank you, Mike — and Dusty Johnson, Congressman.  Hi, Dusty.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And all others with us tonight from Congress, thank you very much for coming.  We appreciate it.

Lincoln Project

The Lincoln Project

Republicans Working to Defeat Trump’s Re-election

The members of the Lincoln Project are Republicans against Donald Trump gaining a second term in office. The Project makes and distributes political ads that call Trump out on his deceit, lies, and deceptions. They describe themselves as such:

Today, we find ourselves divided again – sectionalism in the country and factionalism in government has led to ever uglier examples of how our political system is failing. President Donald Trump and those who sign onto Trumpism are a clear and present danger to the Constitution and our Republic. Only defeating so polarizing a character as Trump will allow the country to heal its political and psychological wounds and allow for a new, better path forward for all Americans.

They do seem to have their arrows hit the mark when President Trump starts a tweet storm, railing against the Lincoln Project. One of the founders is George Conway, husband of Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to President Trump. Bet that leads to a lot of silent dinners at home.

Here’s one of their political ads. Give it a watch.

The Lincoln Project (June 24, 2020)

I tend to like their ads. They do not fear Donald Trump or his sycophants. Bear in mind that the Lincoln Project still stands in opposition to the Democrat Party. Their stance is just to remove Trump and send him packing home to New York, or is it Florida? He can’t make up his mind.

There has been enough of his divisiveness, his failure to be a leader. His character is that of a pathological liar and a narcissist. There is a strong movement in the United States for ending racism against Black people, providing them the complete equality they have fought for since they gained freedom from slavery in 1865. Trump sees the BLM as thugs and terrorists.

There also is a strong demand to defund or disband the police in the country. Now, those two words are being used to scare America into believing there will be no police in the US. That is not true. But, there will be a new policing paradigm that removes the over militarized paramilitary police we now have. The police are no longer here to protect and serve the citizens. Instead they are protecting the government, the corporate class, and the ruling class in the nation.

As a country we need to change priorities to improving education, finding the healthcare system that will cover ALL Americans and any non-citizens in the US (both legal and “illegal”) – even if that means some type of national health service, we must build a strong and stable economy that isn’t controlled by corporations or billionaires. We must remove the social security system, replacing it with retirement systems controlled by each individual in the workforce, their retirement should be their responsibility.

There is much more to reform as well. I will explore these topics more in the future.

Until next time