On most issues facing this country, I’m a centrist. On a few issues like health care, I’m a “Crazy Bernie” lefty. On issues like religious extremism, I’m a right-wing lunatic hawk. But, mostly, I’m a centrist … which means no party in D.C. is working for me.
Then again, I don’t have the riches to buy myself a politician the way Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Oil and Big Everything Else can. They don’t seem interested in Big Broke. (Coincidentally, U.S. health care is working to keep me Big Broke, which is why I’m big on Bernie.)
Beyond the money controlling politics, the partisan divide with our two-party system has become extreme. From the day they take office, politicians are worried about the next election instead of governing. And the problem has become so fine-tuned that 51-49 is considered a mandate. Even when you lose a popular election by 3 million votes, you can claim a mandate.
So, once either party has control, governing takes a backseat to pushing hard-line agendas through “mandates.” When the two parties have divided power, we get gridlock. Sometimes we even get gridlock when there is division within a party as we see now with the GOP-led Congress. Continue reading
Whether I’m at a high school soccer game, a civic event or an NFL football game, I stand when the national anthem is played, face the flag and place my hand over my heart. I don’t do it because I’m forced to or because I fear fines or penalties. I do it because I choose to. Why?
- Because I still believe that flag is an icon of democracy, even if it is often hijacked by the new American oligarchy/corporatocracy. I believe that flag represents the many, not just the few at the top.
- Because I believe in freedom — not just for the horribly oppressed straight white Christian male but for Americans of all races, genders, class, religion choice, sexual orientation, et al. I know it’s getting to where folks want to pass religious liberty bills because you can hardly discriminate against anybody anymore, but I’m siding with freedom over the haters. They do have flags more appropriate for haters. (Scroll a little, and you’ll see it.)
- Because I believe in what America should be still can be, although that faith may be a little shaken these days.
- And because even though my World War II veteran grandfather who lost both legs fighting Nazis in North Africa died back in 1981, I still fear that if I don’t stand up, he’d somehow make it so that I sure as hell couldn’t sit down again — just as he would have then.
After the GOP trotted out every employee who got a one-time bonus and Speaker Paul Ryan touted the school secretary getting an extra $1.50 in her paycheck, the truth is starting to come out that — surprise — the Republican tax bill is mainly helping corporations and millionaires. Hmm, where’s my shocked-face emoji?
Even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has recently come out saying there’s no evidence that the tax bill is helping American workers. Corporations are using it to buy back stocks and increase dividend payments. Meanwhile the deficit is soaring, and the debt is climbing to untenable levels. Ultimately, the American worker and the poor will not only see virtually no reward from the tax bill, but they’ll wind up suffering the most because of it.
Of course, Rubio must decide whether he’s going to keep pitching the party line of how great this bill is working or he’ll have to separate himself from the crowd to make sure that he doesn’t suffer political harm when his constituents realize they’ve been scammed. I suspect he’ll backtrack on his criticism and try to find a vague middle ground where folks will forget whether he was for or against this bill.
Or, he could pitch the plan I pitched in November when they were still deciding how bad of a bill they could craft. Now that it has been proven yet again that trickle-down economics is a fairy tale, try trickle-up economics.
It would work for all Americans.
And that’s why it would never pass.
Vice President Mike Pence will deliver the keynote address at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Dallas on Friday to a massive group of staunch Second Amendment and Open Carry supporters — provided, of course, those gun lovers leave their guns outside. That’s right, no guns at the gun rally.
The NRA, which is riding high and raking in tons of money as it always does with its fear-mongering following school shootings — and school shootings are great for the NRA’s fundraising business — will have both Pence and President Trump at the meeting, which means no guns. It’s not their rule, they stress. It’s merely standard operating procedure for the Secret Service to ban guns from such gatherings.
This leaves many — especially those impacted by the Parkland shootings — to call these folks gathering in Dallas hypocrites. Yes, the same NRA that stands firm and cries “You can have my guns when you pry it from my cold, small, dead heads!” responds to the Secret Service’s demand of a gun-free zone with, “Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir.”
I say the NRA should stand up for itself, with the help of Pence and Trump, who already are bringing out one the GOP’s greatest hits — “If you elect Democrats, they will take your guns” — for the 2018 midterms. Pence and Trump should tell the Secret Service that they must abandon their standard operating procedure for this event. I’m sure Pence and Trump will feel plenty safe speaking in front of thousands of good guys with guns — a crowd that will look like what would happen if you spilled water on Ted Nugent and fed him after midnight.
However, if the NRA, Pence and Trump do not stand up for their gun lovers at this event, they are sending a clear message to the Parkland kids:
We’re too important to get shot — you’re not.
There is a major problem in the United States that no one addresses. As a pseudo-journalist whose name has yet to appear on President Trump’s enemies list, it falls upon to me to address this very serious issue. I know I’m not on the list because former FBI Director James Comey did not bring it up during his appearance on “The View.” (Or was I was watching Lurch on “The Addams Family?”)
Anyway, this major problem is from the world of sports. And, no, I’m not talking about that quarterback who took a knee — Colin Kaeppur … Caperni … Whatever, I don’t feel like googling how to spell it right now.
No, this issue involves the NBA. It’s not about the games taking way too long with 27 timeouts and 45 free throws in the final two minutes. I’m not talking about the fact that they banned actual defensive effort since 1998. I’m not even talking about how you can’t enjoy the game anymore because they feel compelled to play horrible music between play and even worse music during play.
“All this dribbling and dunking is making me sleepy. Hey, I know! Play that ‘Seven Nation Army’ thing again!”
I’m talking, of course, about the biggest problem in the NBA, professional sports and quite possibly American history. I’m talking about the Utah Jazz.
What do you mean, “What about the Utah Jazz?” What a stupid question?! You just said the words “Utah Jazz!” That’s the problem. Those two words should never go together. There’s nothing jazzy about Utah. There’s barely anything even musical about Utah. Continue reading
Some folks would like you to think that teenagers today just sit around chewing on their Tide Pods while playing Grand Halo Death Dragon War 5 on the Xbox that they stole after Amazon delivered it to the neighbors’ doorstep across the street. And, sure, that’s mostly what teens do.
But there is a segment of young folks out there — which I’m starting to believe is a vast majority — that wants to make the world a better place to live. They intend to do it through activism, actually voting and by simply caring for others.
You may not agree with kids on issues like gun control, the environment or military intervention, but you have to respect kids whose intentions are good and who are engaged in positive efforts. Simply caring about making the world a better place will go a long way toward doing just that.
Here’s just one story of a teen who cares — my cousin Victoria. Victoria’s always had a huge heart for others and goes all in on this caring thing. In fact, she cares about soccer so much that she’s the goalie for an undefeated Veterans High squad and has earned a scholarship to play next year for Georgia Southwestern, where I spent my college days. Continue reading
The image above on the left shows Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez ripping up a target. The image on the right is a fake one shared by millions of ignorant people who believed she was actually ripping up the U.S. Constitution.
The kind of folks who share images like the one on the right also are more likely to believe the fake image going around of Gonzalez “attacking a Second Amendment supporter’s car.” Spoiler alert: The original photo is of pop star Britney Spears during a freak-out years ago. We have no idea whether the paparazzi she targeted liked the Second Amendment or not.
The kind of folks who share images like that are the kind of folks who actually believe MSD student David Hogg is a crisis actor and not even a student at MSD. Spoiler alert: He’s not a crisis actor, and, yes, he’s a student at the school, a school where his friends — not his crisis actor cast mates — were gunned down … and where he still attends school.
The kind of folks who share all of that fake mess are also more likely to be the ones who scream “FAKE NEWS!” at legitimate journalists and thank President Trump for saying what he means and meaning what he says — such as when he says Mexico will pay for a wall or he had the biggest crowd in inauguration history or he doesn’t know these women or … you get the idea. Continue reading