Category Archives: Today’s Issues

Thoughts on issues in the world today

An Open Message to GOP Leadership

An open message  to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders. We may not agree on much but deep down I bet you are as horrified as I am by President Trump’s response to Charlottesville. I bet you are embarrassed at the stain this man is leaving on your party. I know you gave lip service by INDIRECTLY denouncing some of his remarks via twitter but I bet you know you didn’t even come close to saying what needed to be said and saying it in front of a camera not via twitter. I will never totally agree with your legislative agenda but in a democracy to the winner goes the spoils and if you hold the power you have every right to push your agenda. But I assume you are smart enough to know that agenda can not include pushing hate and bigotry. Nor can it include giving aide and comfort to White Supremacist and Neo Nazis. It is time you stood up and took your party back from Donald Trump. Do not be afraid to lose the support of whatever percentage of his base believes his response to and the actions of hate groups was alright. These groups and this President do not represent the best of America they represent the worst. You can not keep America great, not make it great again because let’s face it that slogan was created to send a message seeped in racism, if you choose to stand idly by knowing what you see is wrong but doing nothing to stop it.

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Why do they continue to support him

If you want to understand what Trump and his rich cronies are really about. It’s their bank accounts by the way.

If you want to understand how they can get so many people to vote against their own economic well being just remember a quote from former President Lyndon Johnson

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.

Trump has tapped into that feeling among whites who feel this country is their country and it’s being taken away from them. Do not be mistaken that the rise of Trump came after eight years in which a man of color sat in the Oval Office.

Even yesterday when he briefly ceded to public pressure and called out the Neo Nazis and KKK what got lost in the mix was his statement that he was seriously considering pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found in contempt of court late July for continuing racial profiling practices. It was his wink wink to his base that he still has their back. Come on you knew what Make America Great Again really meant didn’t you.

As the Denver Post reported to many Trump supporters who look around at their communities and see poverty, addiction and lack of economic opportunity, the claims about things such as affirmative action and the smorgasbord of government benefits supposedly available only to minorities are enormously compelling….What’s holding you back, is those people and the special favors they get.

So no matter what he say or does, if it’s in their best interest or not, the harden Trump supporter will always have his back because they believe he has theirs in the battle to keep this country away from those who they believe are not their equal or who even belong here in the first place and that my friends is what has this great melting pot of a country on the verge of boiling over.

Actions speak louder than words

For 8 years President Obama fought the war on terror pursuing a campaign of targeting terrorist leaders from al Qaeda, its affiliates, and ISIS. Since the start of President Obama’s first term in 2009, at least 45 of the top terrorist leaders were killed or captured by U.S. forces. In March of 2016 CNN reported under the Obama administration, coalition forces had killed more than 26,000 Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to an official estimate and in the Administration’s final days US air strikes killed more than twenty top Al Qaeda operatives in Syria. Yet despite this he was consistently attacked for being soft on terrorism because he did not utter the words Radical Islamic terrorism. In fact our current President went as far as to say:

Obama “disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’, for that reason alone, he should step down.

But as President Obama said himself the reason he wouldn’t use those words is

I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful, who are responsible, who, in this country, are fellow troops and police officers and fire fighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.

Additionally as anyone in the intelligence community will tell you the war on terror is fought and won  using intelligence gathered around the world much of it from Muslims. Alienating this vital stream of information to make Sean Hannity and the rest of FOX News happy served no purpose. Obama understood that the war on terror wasn’t going to be won through sound bites and tweets but through actions. Actions that his Administration consistently undertook during his 8 years as President.

Today as the country looks on in horror at the events unfolding in Charlottesville, Va we have again gotten into the debate of whether we should use a term, domestic terrorist, white supremacist, neo nazis etc. To be sure calling out these groups for who and what they are would have been refreshing.  Even more so would have been pointing the blame squarely at them, something our President seems unwilling to do instead opting to condem hatred and bigotry on “many sides”. Ignoring  the fact that one side was filled with hate filled bigots espousing racism while the other side was protesting against racism. But let’s say I am willing to give Trump a pass for not using the term domestic terrorism to describe these hate filled individuals, after all like the term radical Islam they’re only words. I couldn’t possibly give him a pass for his actions. Such as lumping together the Alt Right protestors who were responsible for 19 injuries and the death of an Americans who came to stand up against hate and bigotry.  That action speaks louder than any words ever could

Since Trump has taken office attacks from groups identified as white supremacist have been on the rise. No one can pretend Trump’s campaign rhetoric such as when he initially refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan or disavow an endorsement by former Klansman David Duke has not embolden these groups. If that wasn’t enough to give them the confidence to crawl from under there rock on February 2, 2017 Reuters reported that the Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

As Think Progress reported the news of Trump’s plan to reverse that symbolic recognition of right-wing threats prompted a wave of celebration in white nationalist circles. “Donald Trump wants to remove us from undue federal scrutiny by removing ‘white supremacists’ from the definition of ‘extremism,’” the founder and editor of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer

Two presidents

Words vs actions.

Actions speak louder than words.

The War on Civil Rights has already begun

I was having a discussion with a friend today about the escalating war of words between Washington and Pyongyang. I told him while interested I take it, like most of what is coming out of Washington these days, as fodder for my amusement more than anything else. Now don’t get me wrong I fully understand the angst the citizens of a country like South Korea might be experiencing, though if you were to believe some news stories having lived with the constant threat of Kim Jong Un they don’t take much of what he says seriously at all and of course any threat of launching nuclear weapons whether that threat comes from a mad man with a bad hair cut or a mad man with bad skin color is nothing to laugh at. But the reality is that this threat of a nuclear conflict between the US and North Korea seems to be nothing but white noise as to fill out your 24 hour cable news feed than reality.

The reality is Trump won’t call for a strike and neither will Kim Jong Un, crazy as they both appear to be. Because as Business Insider pointed out both men will get acceptable outcomes without firing a shot. As Business Insider documented this week what North Korea wants is regime security and national power for its propaganda machines to celebrate. North Korea has maintained a formidable concentration of artillery pointed at the 26 million or so residents of Seoul, South Korea for decades, and it’s deterred the US and provided the security they seek.
The US’s real goal is to bolster South Korean defenses and act like a tripwire force to make sure the North never invades the South.

The final resting point of the North Korean conflict is a fully nuclear capable Kim regime being deterred by superior US power. Just like Russia and China are deterred from attacking the US despite differences.

So while any threat of nuclear war should not be taken lightly this dust up between Trump and Kim Jong Un remains more amusement for me like watching two overgrown boys trying to convince the other they have the bigger penis without actually having to pull it out and show it, than a real threat to America or South Korea.

What I am concerned about is something that I wish was only fodder for my amusement and that is the very real dismantling of civil rights going on right now in a country that has a proven history of suppressing civil rights. As Democracy Now stated in their August 10th interview with Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice in the Obama administration. In the last six months under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department has reinstituted the use of private prisons, reignited the so-called war on drugs and indicated it will no longer address systemic police abuses. The department has also obstructed the enforcement of federal voting rights laws and, just this week, sided with Ohio’s voter purge program. And it has defended President Trump’s Muslim travel ban and supported Trump’s attacks on sanctuary cities. Most recently, The New York Times reported the Justice Department is now laying the groundwork to undermine affirmative action policies.

Looking at this through the eyes of a man of color this attempted systematic deconstruction of civil right protections, protections that were fought for and won in many cases through the loss of life, Is a painful reminder that while we have come a long way as a country we have so much further to go.

Now let’s get on the same page before you read any further while an unabashed liberal I am not a liberal who believes that all of the issues that confront people of color in this country have been foisted upon them by the “man” nor am I of the belief that the only way for us to overcome is by waiting for the “man” to save us through entitlements. Rather I am more a disciple of Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) who said

“If the negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.”

But it would be naive of myself or anyone to think that through the imposition of systems of racism and discrimination, centuries long many of them, systems that the adoption of many civil right laws were meant to address, people of color did not play with and have not continued to have to play  with a significantly inferior hand. A hand that has resulted in generation after generation falling behind both economically and educationally. The resulting subset of problems from emotional inferiority complex to broken marriages to families torn apart has left a indelible scar on the heart of the African-American experience in America. One so pronounced that centuries from now it would not be surprising to see universities offer courses on how the African American not only survived, but went on to thrive in America. But I digress, it would also be naive to believe that without the protections afforded us by the Department of Justice that the abuses seen on the local level as it relates to police brutality, hate crimes, voter suppression and housing discrimination to name just a few would not be more wide spread. Yet here we are in the 21st century with a Department of Justice that appears to not only not want to continue to move forward in the areas of civil rights but is actively taking steps to turn the clock back.

So here we are, facing a crossroads that to be honest many of us felt we would never have to face or for some of us face again. This Administration’s focus on making America great again is a focus on but a small slice of Americana, at the exclusion of many people based on color, gender, religion and sexual orientation. People that have always been here, people who were just a vital as making America great in the first place. As we stare at this crossroad we can choose to take the road of outrage without a voice and by that i mean not voting with our ballots or with our wallets or we can walk the road of meaningful outrage. We can let our politicians on the Federal, State and local level know we will not be pushed aside again, we will not let the hands of time be turned back on us. We remember the blood that was spilled to ensure we are given what is rightfully ours, a fair and equitable way the same way no different than afforded others before us. Make them remember that we will be there at the next election and our voices will count. Let their corporate donors remember we have a choice on where to spend our dollars.

Nuclear war may not be at hand but the war on civil rights has already begun we can not chuckle at that, it’s not being fought for our amusement it is being fought for the soul of America and its time we take notice and begin to fight back.

 

 

 

 

 

Divided we stand – Just the way they like it

Replace the words “the Federation” with “a political party” and it perfectly explains the failure of America today.

Today this country is comprised of millions of citizens unwilling to put forth even the slightest effort to understand even the simplest issue and how it will impact the country as a whole. Rather they opt to take the lazy way out and simply side with the political party of their choosing. Political parties who have become experts at manipulating the 24 hour news cycle with sound bites intended to make the masses believe that their interest are being looked after. When in reality the ideas that are being put forth are not designed with the best interest of the citizens as a whole but to further enrich the country’s elite.

A tragedy for the country? Yes.

A boon for those in power, no matter what side of the aisle they sit on? Yes.

For they rely on the laziness of the citizenry as a whole and its continual distaste for knowledge to maintain division among the masses and their continued place among the elite.

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Impeach Donald Trump – Be careful what you wish for

Impeach Donald Trump.

Liberals smile with glee at the very mention of the I word but liberals everywhere should be careful what they wish for. Removing Trump from office will elevate Mike Pence to the Presidency and while you may think the Trump’s administration has been nothing less than a circus a Pence administration will be nothing if not extremely dangerous to the progress achieved by liberals over the years. Pence will be sane and rational. He will comport himself with decency. He won’t be bogged down in one scandal after another and with all that going for him he will be able to methodically push his ultra conservative agenda through congress. Here’s just a sample of what President Pence would bring to the table.

As governor of Indiana, Pence signed the most abortion-restrictive regulations in the nation, banning abortion even in cases where the fetus has a “genetic abnormality” such as Down syndrome and holding doctors legally liable if they had knowingly performed such procedures.

He led the national fight to defund Planned Parenthood and forced so many of its clinics to close in Indiana that he triggered an H.I.V. epidemic in one county.

in 2015 he helped pass one of the nation’s harshest “religious freedom” laws that would have protected businesses who wanted to refuse service to LGBT people if they cited religious objections.

As a congressman he opposed federal funding that would support treatment for people suffering from H.I.V. and AIDS, unless the government simultaneously invested in programs to discourage people from engaging in same-sex relationships.

He is opposed to any restrictions on assault rifles.

He is skeptical of climate change and wrote a letter to then President Obama threatening to disobey the new regulations on coal mandated by the Clean Power Plan.

President Pence.
Liberals be careful what you wish for.