What’s the problem?

Thank you, Republicans. You really love mass-shootings, don’t you? It gives you an excuse to trot out your Bible. It gives you an excuse to blame the weak, the poor, the minorities, for all the failings of our great nation. It gives you an excuse to sell even more guns because, of course, mass-shootings means they’re comin’ fer yer guns!

And what irks me most with this, the most popular post on the subject at the moment, is the last bit, about courts without justice. Last year Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to protest injustice. How did you Republicans respond? Well, not very kindly…

Stephen Paddock shot and killed 58 people – some of whom might have even been Republicans – and injured more than 500. I’ll just ask you Republicans one simple yes-or-no question:

If Paddock didn’t have any guns, would he have shot and killed 58 people – some of whom might even have been Republicans – and injured more than 500?

Advertisements

More blood on Obama’s hands

Last night Stephen Paddock unleashed a fury of bullets and terror from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 and injuring 515. It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Paddock, 64, was a nice, quiet gentleman who had no political, religious, emotional, or financial problems.

The President tweeted: “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” And called the shooting “an act of pure evil.”

He’s right.

Under Obama’s reign, there were 162 mass murders, including 18 incidents with 8 or more deaths. He delighted us with 14 – yes, 14 – crocodile-teared speeches: After the First Fort Hood shooting on Nov. 5, 2009, the Tucson congressional event shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20, 2012, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, on Aug. 6, 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, the Navy Yard shooting on Sept. 16, 2013, the Second Fort Hood shooting on April 2, 2014, the Kansas Jewish Community Center shooting on April 14, 2014, the Charleston church shooting on June 18, 2015, the Chattanooga recruiting center shooting on July 16, 2015, the Roseburg community college shooting on Oct. 1, 2015, the San Bernardino community center shooting on Dec. 2, 2015, the Kalamazoo Uber driver shootings on Feb. 22, 2016, and the Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016.

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 14 swings, 14 misses. After 162 mass murders – try to fathom that, 162 mass murders – Obama got absolutely nothing done on gun reform. And that was an act of pure evil.

“Care is no cure, but rather corrosive,
For things that are not to be remedied.”

– William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part One

Let America be America again

A recent poll reveals that 51% of Americans agree that NFL players who sit or kneel during the national anthem should be punished, as President Trump has suggested. That’s right, the majority of Americans want players fined, suspended, or fired, for disrespecting the flag.

This has divided the nation. You must be on one side or the other. Either you are loyal to the flag, and all that it represents, or you are disloyal, and deserve to be punished. This could not be any clearer:

If you are more upset with the fact that football players aren’t standing during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner than the fact that cops are killing blacks with impunity, then you are part of the problem.

It’s just that simple.

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

A matter of honor

Football. Saints at the Packers. Steelers at the Bears. Giants at the Eagles. Texans at the Patriots. And all the rest. And rising for our National Anthem to honor our military. Or silently protesting to honor those who have fallen due to injustice.

Manuel Loggins Jr., 31

Ramarley Graham, 18

Shereese Francis, 29

Rekia Boyd, 22

Jamar Clark, 24

Yvette Smith, 47

Tamir Rice, 12

Laquan McDonald, 17

Akai Gurley, 28

Eric Garner, 43

Ezell Ford, 25

Michael Brown Jr., 18

Christian Taylor, 19

Walter Scott, 50

Natasha McKenna, 37

Freddie Gray, 25

Brendon Glenn, 29

Samuel DuBose, 43

Gregory Gunn, 58

Akiel Denkins, 24

Amadou Diallo, 23

Ronald Madison, 40

Kendra James, 21

Sean Bell, 23

Alton Sterling, 37

I’ll be silently protesting…

Jimmy Kimmel is pissed

Republicans are in a tight race against the clock to pass a repeal and replace Obamacare bill before Sept. 30. Republicans won’t be able to use the reconciliation process once the fiscal year ends. After that, they would have to work with Democrats. After seven long years and hundreds of attempts, they’ve come up with yet another last chance Hail Mary.

The Graham-Cassidy Bill gives authority to individual states spend a block grant any way they choose, with only a few caveats from Washington. States that have not participated in the grant program under Obamacare will now get the money they had previously rejected – redistributing funds from states that did take the grants under Obamacare – because now it will come with no strings attached. The bill lets states eliminate benefits mandated by Obamacare, such as prescription drugs, hospitalization, and maternity care. It also would let states “Get a waiver allowing insurers to charge people more if they or a dependent have a pre-existing condition, or if they get sick and want to keep their insurance.”

In April, Jimmy Kimmel’s’ son Billy was born with a rare congenital heart defect. No one can imagine how a parent feels getting such news on what’s one of the happiest days in someone’s life. So Jimmy became an outspoken advocate for universal healthcare. Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy said earlier on Kimmel’s ABC show that any health bill should pass a “Jimmy Kimmel test.” The pre-existing condition waiver fails the test. And makes Cassidy a liar.

Now, every Republican in the country has gone apoplectic that a late show TV host would even have an opinion about what goes on in Washington. I’d like to remind them that it wasn’t that long ago that the President of the United States of America was a reality TV host.

“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” – James Joyce, Ulysses

Sweet justice

From the Associated Press:

St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson determined Friday that prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jason Stockley’s use of deadly force was not justifiable self-defense. Anthony Lamar Smith was killed in the 2011 encounter.

You may remember that police dashcam video captured Stockley saying, “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it!”

You may remember that the gun Stockley claimed Smith was pointing at him had Stockley’s – not Smith’s – DNA on it.

The Republican prosecutor barely bothered to lay out a half-ass case that the police officer intentionally killed the black man and then planted a gun, before the Republican judge, and, surprise, surprise, the officer was found not guilty.

Sweet justice. Don’t ya just love it…

“Thus, cases of injustice, and oppression, and tyranny, and the most extravagant bigotry, are in constant occurrence among us every day. It is the custom to trumpet forth much wonder and astonishment at the chief actors therein setting at defiance so completely the opinion of the world; but there is no greater fallacy; it is precisely because they do consult the opinion of their own little world that such things take place at all, and strike the great world dumb with amazement.” – Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

If we were living in a vacuum

You hear Republicans making the same ridiculous argument every time we talk about Medicare for All: We can’t afford it.

Technically, they’re right. The way the budget is currently set up, the idea that we can pay for universal healthcare is a pipe dream. The way the budget is currently set up. That’s the key.

Congress is going to have to raise the debt limit this year. Republicans hate to do it, but they have no choice. We owe more money than we’re taking in. Republicans have this crazy idea that if we cut spending and also cut taxes, everything will eventually work itself out.

Trickle-down Reaganomics sounds wonderful; if we were living in a vacuum. Where A+B=C, and that’s the end of it. But in the real world, things aren’t that simple. Far from it.

How much taxes do you pay a year? Too much, right? Would you like to know how much taxes Exxon Mobil pays a year? Read this. Or this. And if you still don’t believe me, read this one too.

Corporate tax rates are meaningless. If companies that make billions and billions of dollars in profits year after year actually forked-over what they should, Republicans sure as hell couldn’t use the excuse that we couldn’t afford Medicare for All.

“And the rich get fatter, licking their greasy lips as the price of gas goes up again…” – Kurt Poleet