The Democrats Continue to Eat Their Own


The situation regarding sexual assault and misconduct has once again demonstrated that there are tremendous differences between the two political parties that supposedly lead this country. When faced with allegations of dalliances and even criminal conduct, the Republican Party stall, deny and castigate those who have made the allegations against their “sainted” representatives. The Democratic Party, however, devolves into a pack of hyenas that eat their own rather than accept the standards as they SHOULD be set.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look, shall we?

We won’t go all the way back to the Bill Clinton debacle from the mid-1990s – his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was consensual and other allegations were either adjudicated to a settlement or thrown out of court altogether. But we will go back to this summer, when noted Hollywood producer and magnate Harvey Weinstein’s heinous accusations first started to emerge. Actresses – ranging from bit players to accomplished women such as Oscar winner Lupita Nyoug’o, Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey and Lauren Holly (of Picket Fences fame) – and other movie personnel began to recount their experiences with Weinstein, which ranged from attempted forced kissing to out-and-out rape. In another era, this probably would have been swept under the rug (as the old Hollywood machine used to do). Today, however, it is a different story.

Whether it was simply because of the voluminous amounts of credible information regarding Weinstein (or perhaps it was the acts of another legend in Hollywood, comedian Bill Cosby, and his decades of sexual assault), this time these women’s intimate details regarding a very painful situation sparked something. Instead of using his power and stature to deflect these allegations, Weinstein was immediately cast from the production company that he founded, ejected from the Director’s Guild of America, and was stripped of all voting rights with the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences (the people behind the Academy Awards), among other things. About the only thing he had left at the end was money (nobody’s gone after that…yet) because his reputation and his place in the hierarchy of Tinseltown were thoroughly destroyed.


Since that time, the sexual assault and misconduct rage has swept through society. Actor Kevin Spacey, who used the allegations against him as a rather crude way to admit to the world that he was gay, lost his role on the HBO series House of Cards and was completely REMOVED from a film that was already in the can. Ben Affleck, magician David Blaine, comedian Louis C. K., Richard Dreyfus and Dustin Hoffman have faced allegations across the board. The news media saw Today host Matt Lauer and MSNBC host Mark Halpern lost their jobs (and, in Lauer’s case, a divorce is expected) and let’s not forget about former Fox News honcho Roger Ailes or Bill O’Reilly.

To think that politics would be excluded was foolhardy. In 2016, Orange Foolius was accused by 16 women of different sexually explicit (and unwanted) encounters after the cretin vividly described what he did to women in the Access Hollywood tape. Instead of vilifying this asshole, the GOP – after weakly attempting to step away from him – warmly embraced the scumbag and pushed him to the Presidency rather than toss him out on his ass. It has all set up for what occurred on Thursday and, perhaps, what will occur next week.

In Alabama next week, the election to see who will take over the seat vacated by the Keebler Elf…errr, I mean, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III…will take place. In a state where the electorate is 65/35 Republican to Democrat, this should have been a slam dunk for the GOP. Then they went and nominated a child molester in Roy Moore…


There’s a reason that there isn’t an “alleged” in front of “child molester.” Moore has all but said he trolled for teenage girls as a District Attorney in his early 30s. He has admitted that he “courted” his wife when she was but a teenager. He was banned from an Alabama mall because of his creepy pursuit of teenage girls. And he has all but said, “Fuck you, try and stop me,” to the world when the information from EIGHT WOMEN about his sexual assault and misconduct emerged. After initially trying to step away, Republican scum has now embraced him…why? Because they need his vote in a Senate that they desperately need to keep control of.

(And this isn’t even getting into his prior conduct of disavowing FEDERAL LAW, his two removals from the Alabama Supreme Court, or his commentary on blacks and gays. Let’s just say it…hey Republicans, real winner you picked there.)

The Democrats in power in Washington have also had their travails in deciding what to do with their representatives and their peccadillos. Earlier this week, when accused of sexual assault by staff members and others, Michigan’s John Conyers, the longest serving member of the House of Representatives, chose to not run for his seat in 2018 and immediately resigned. Of more significance, however, was the decision by Minnesota Senator Al Franken on Thursday.

Two weeks previous, former Hooters waitress/television “hostess” Leeann Tweeden announced she had been “sexually assaulted” by Franken, apparently while rehearsing a skit the two were to perform at a USO show overseas. As Tweeden alleges, Franken – like a nebbish joke writer – tried to see how far he could get around the bases with her. He allegedly “forced his tongue in her mouth” and groped her beyond the boundaries of the skit. (We’re not going to touch the photo of Franken allegedly groping Tweeden over her flak jacket because it isn’t clear if he is even touching her nor her pictures of smacking a guitarist on the ass during the same USO tour.)


Franken, while partially admitting to the situation but also saying that “he remembered it differently,” volunteered to be a part of a Senate investigation into his conduct. Then another accusation emerged from a woman who said he touched her ass during a photo opportunity at the Minnesota State Fair; another woman said he “touched her back” inappropriately…the numbers began to grow, to the point they were rivaling Moore.

For some reason, the Democratic Party felt it was important to force out one of their strongest and most well-respected members on simply the grounds of an accusation. Rather than wait until a Senate committee had reached any decision on Franken’s conduct, a group of Democratic Senators – led significantly by Kristen Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California, among others – decided that he had to depart. Franken, after two weeks of browbeating on the subject, decided it was “appropriate” to do so.

So, Democrats, what has this “moral high ground” brought about? All the “moral high ground” gives you is a bit better sleep at night. The other side can still fuck over the country with their “low road” approach, seat a pedophile and allow a person who did the SAME GODDAMN THING that Franken was accused of stay in the WH. If you actually think that Moore won’t be seated and Orange Foolius will suddenly have an epiphany and resign because he mistreated women, then you’re living in Fantasyland.

And why will this happen? The GOP isn’t going to care one iota about what “the people” think regarding the issue. Should Moore win next week (and I think he will, despite what many are saying), he’ll be welcomed in by the scumbags of the GOP (because they need his vote) and by Orange Foolius at the top, who continues to sneer at his accusers. All the Democrats have done is shoot themselves in the foot by disposing of a flawed yet powerful voice in the Senate and all their indignation will be met with absolutely nothing from their opposition.

Let’s be honest here. It is high time that women have been heard from, especially on this issue. For far too long men in power have used that position to demean at the minimum and physically assault and mentally torture at the maximum females that are subordinate to them. But the rules must be the same and the punishments also must be equal. If you’re going to excoriate people like Conyers and Franken, then the GOP doesn’t get to play by different rules and have their pedophiles and serial abusers stay in their seats.

You can be guaranteed that this will come back to bite the Democratic Party. In ejecting both Conyers and Franken, they are trying to assume the “moral high ground” on the issue of sexual assault. But when the opposition has neither morals nor the care about being viewed in such a manner – which the Republican Party sacrificed when they put up a thrice-married, narcissistic, racist, xenophobic serial philanderer who lacks the basic couth to act like a human let alone as a world leader as the party’s standard bearer – you’re only hurting yourself and weakening your cause instead of improving it.


Does EVERYTHING Have to be Political Nowadays?


Yesterday was one of the more fun days of the entire calendar year, unless you had a dog in the hunt or lots of cash riding on the myriad of outcomes. Super Bowl LI (51 if your Roman numeral translator is on the fritz) featured the scrappy, underdog Atlanta Falcons versus the dastardly and favored New England Cheaters Patriots in the battle for the National Football League championship for 2016. The game itself – once again, depending on who you rooted for – was arguably one of the best in history. But what was the recurring theme that ran through pretty much everything that happened yesterday indicates a particularly troubling aspect that is occurring in our society.

I started watching about 4PM (Eastern Time), usually the time when the new Super Bowl ads start showing, but what showed up on the screen? The Resident, sitting down with Fox News “editorial commentator” (because he damn sure isn’t a journalist) Bill O’Reilly, discussing politics. Now I am pretty sure that President Barack Obama was the first president to sit down with whichever network was broadcasting the Super Bowl game – Obama, if nothing else, is a huge sports fan – and the networks, especially Fox, used that time to get political with the man in the White House. The bigger question is why did this relatively young “tradition” need to continue?

It isn’t about the politics. There are enough times that The Resident can get on television, can get on the internet or even online. There’s scant little time in today’s world when you can get a respite from the onslaught of politics. That would be proven as Super Bowl Sunday wore on.

Reports from several outlets stated that the entirety of the pre-game and halftime shows – featuring the cast members of the musical Hamilton and the outstanding entertainment prowess of six-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga, respectively – were being broadcast by Fox on a five second delay shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but it seemed that everyone was SHOCKED by this travesty. Fox, it seemed, was “violating” free speech rights of the performers by potentially editing their performances (albeit about the best they would be able to do is hit a “mute” button). This seemed to upset many, but it really shouldn’t have.


Since the 2004 Super Bowl and “Nipplegate,” every live event has been put on a delay, in theory to allow for the producers/directors to switch cameras or to mute the audio should someone utter one of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words.” I’ve actually watched sporting events on television where one of the players involved in the game action utters an expletive and it is muted by whichever network is broadcasting the game rather than aired (that doesn’t mean there aren’t instances it slips through). It goes back a bit further than that to 2003 when U2 singer Bono, while accepting an award at the Golden Globes for their work on the soundtrack for the film Gangs of New York, said that receiving the award was “really, really fucking brilliant.” The blood running from the ears of those whose sensitivities were violated brought about this change, it wasn’t something that came from the election of The Resident and his vociferous supporters.

What it did demonstrate is that virtually everything that goes on nowadays is being viewed through the political prism whether it is applicable or not. It isn’t a new phenomenon, either, as I can recall back to the Bill Clinton administration when an innocent online discussion about gender inequality or even minimum wage increases would normally have one idiot that would bring up the Monica Lewinsky situation or some other political hot topic and go off the rails. That is the first point where, if there were some travesty that occurred or situation that defied whatever “norms” people assigned to something that the phrase “Blame (insert President here),” happened. Since then, it’s only gotten worse.


Talk about how changing light bulbs from incandescent to LED can save energy and money? Fucking Obama (it was actually President Bush II who signed the order in 2007 to make it law)! FEDEX has to buy more tires because the roads are bad (not the potential 100,000 miles that they put on each set in a short time span)? Government pricks! “Censoring” Lady Gaga from singing on the Super Bowl? Motherfuckers at Fox! How DARE they! An actor makes a statement in support of the current President? Racist bastard (actor Matthew McConaughey was castigated by liberals for suggesting that everyone “give The Resident a chance” despite the fact that he never endorsed him. The Neo-Nazi website Breitbart, however, all but promoted McConaughey for sainthood for “defying the Hollywood elite” despite not knowing just who the hell he is)!

While politics is something that people can believe passionately about, it isn’t and shouldn’t be interwoven into every goddamned thing that we do in our existence. There is the ability to turn on the television and simply watch a television show or a movie without it being some sort of allegorical statement about our world today. There are the chances to listen to music or read where the subject matter isn’t about one political side or the other. There is plenty of sad realities of life that occur that politics doesn’t even touch, let alone have any effect on. There are also plenty of joys that never see a political side.

The same can be applicable to people. While you may find that you like someone – maybe even love them – very much but they have a different political philosophy than you, that in no sense is a reason to get rid of them. There are plenty of areas outside of that one miniscule part of life that makes those people enjoyable for 99.5% of the time. It makes literally no sense to excommunicate someone from your circle simply because of that reason alone (the same is also true of religion and being a believer/non-believer, but that’s a discussion for another time).

Does that mean that you must listen to everyone? No, not in the least. For example, if someone believes that there were 3-5 million illegals who voted in the 2016 Presidential campaign even though EVERY SHRED OF EVIDENCE says otherwise – then it is best to not discuss political topics with that person. That STILL doesn’t mean they can’t be important to you and your life, you just choose not to share that tiny segment of the world.

Then there are those that show themselves to be so inflexible in dogma that discussion cannot move forward one iota. Those are the people that you cannot do anything about (you’re not going to change their mind). It is best to disassociate from those, even though at one time they might have been a valuable person.


It is important to say that, if someone broaches the political issue with their commentary, then it is free game. Actor Meryl Streep was roundly castigated by the conservatives for her comments during this year’s Golden Globe awards. Likewise, singer Toby Keith was lambasted by liberals for playing The Resident’s inauguration. THOSE are situations where politics could enter the discussion, when someone is actually exercising their free speech rights, not when it is what someone MIGHT do once they hit the stage or get a microphone in front of them. It is very much a Schrödinger’s Cat paradox in that you don’t know what you’re going to get until you “look in the box” – the actual moment that a particular artistic situation presents itself.

With the above said, everyone could chill out a bit instead of injecting politics into every waking moment of our lives. We need those moments to decompress, to take time to examine instances that arise in the political spectrum and come up with thoughts that help us develop as people and perhaps as informed members of a community. To apply the political litmus test to everything in your existence sounds like a way to perpetually live in either fear or anger.

Remember…To Impeach Her, You Gotta Elect Her

Hillary Clinton Begins Presidential Campaign In Iowa

We’re going to take a pause on my “Top Ten Underrated Hard Rock Songs” to slip a final tidbit in regarding a pretty big deal that’s happening next week.

There’s been something that has been bugging me of late. The tumultuous 2016 General Election campaign has brought seemingly the worst out of people rather than their better angels. But one of the things that has been particularly annoying is the moves by the Republican Party – recognizing the fact that Donald Trump won’t get into the White House without an invitation or a paid ticket (as Bill Maher, who contributed the title of this essay a few months ago, has said, “It’s too late to get away, Republicans. You’ve handcuffed yourself to the dead hooker, now drag it to the finish line!”) – to already subjugate the prospective Presidency of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

First it was Arizona Senator John McCain – himself locked into a death duel for his seat in the Senate – who said that, should Clinton be elected, that the Senate would block any nomination she made for the Supreme Court of the United States. Then the reptilian Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, echoed the sentiments of McCain. Finishing it off, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, said his group had enough subjects to investigate Clinton “for the next two years.” (Imagine then the richness of the irony of Chaffetz potentially facing a similar investigation as Clinton for his use of a private server.)

It wasn’t always like this. Prior to the ascension of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency, the two sides – Democrats and Republicans – would often work together with the interests of the citizenry of the United States at the forefront instead of the political party they were affiliated with. It is well known that Reagan and then-Speaker of the House, Democrat Tip O’Neill, would often bash heads as opposition leaders, but they would also find a common ground and work things out for the betterment of the country.


There was even that type of shared partnership in the 1990s during the Presidency of Bill Clinton. His opposite number, then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and really…is there a better vermin name for a politician than Newt?), did at one time have the ability to negotiate with Clinton and work for improving the welfare of the people. Then came the incident that would separate the two leading parties in the United States into warring camps instead of able leadership.

The 1998 impeachment of Clinton – the charges were perjury (lying under oath about not having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky) and obstruction of justice (same situation) – only came about after the Republicans took charge following the 1998 midterm elections. Forgetting that the House of Representatives could bring charges but the Senate would try the President, the case led to the acquittal in the Democrat-led Senate, not even coming close to the two-thirds that were necessary for conviction.

From that point on, the fragmentation of the political structure in the United States – and the damage that it continues to do – has only gotten worse. The Gore/Bush 2000 election only exacerbated the situation (with the election eventually ended by decision of the Supreme Court), then the Second Gulf War and invasion of Iraq after 9/11 further separated everyone. The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency brought out a racial attitude from the GOP that was unprecedented (OK, maybe it was around from 1965, but it really came out strong after Obama’s election – twice). That attitude lead to the nomination in 2016 of a xenophobic, fascist, racist and misogynous misanthrope that allowed the id of the GOP to be displayed publicly to be nominated for President by the party.

Now we stand on the precipice of the final act of this Presidential season, where we will likely see Hillary Clinton become the first woman (and the first spouse of a former President) to be elected. The shape of the Congress is still under question, with many saying that the Senate is a lost cause for the GOP, but that the House will remain in the hands of the Republicans by a slim margin. This is important in that it will be a direct reflection of what we can expect for the next couple of years at the minimum.

In Washington D. C., it is who is in control of the Congress that is the most important thing. If the opposing party of the President is in control of both sides of Capitol Hill, then nothing gets done. If the sitting President’s party oversees both sides, then there’s too much of a rubber stamp for the President and no check on his (or, we will be able to say soon, her) actions. In a perfect world, there would be one side of Congress in one party’s hands and the other in the President’s party (House or Senate, it doesn’t matter). Normally this would force them to work together but, as we have seen since probably the late 1990s, that hasn’t been true.


There is one problem, however. I’ve noticed that people are already tossing around the “impeachment” word when it comes to Clinton and that is outrageous. First off, the woman hasn’t even taken the goddamn office yet…normally you should impeach someone for the actions of their Presidency (both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached for actions during their tenures, not before they became President – same would have been true for Nixon IF he hadn’t resigned). To try to charge someone for their PREVIOUS actions before they are President is unprecedented and shouldn’t be an acceptable action.

Impeaching the President of the United States is saved for severe crimes and treasonous acts, not storing e-mails on a goddamn computer (or a blowjob, in her husband’s case). If you can SHOW where Clinton, through an e-mail, had a motherfucking effect on a foreign policy act or that said e-mail landed in the hands of a foreign power and they used it for ill intent, then you must be better than Congress, who has investigated her a minimum of 10 fucking times and for more than 30 years (to the tune of roughly $500,000,000) and hasn’t charged her with a goddamn thing.

Here’s a suggestion that will send the alt-right into a frothing, ravenous frenzy. President Obama, as he begins to see the sun set on his days in the White House, has the right to issue pardons to certain U. S. citizens, forgiving their actions and/or crimes they may or may not have committed. How about Obama save one of those Presidential pardons for Hillary, stating firmly that Clinton, prior to her inauguration on January 20, 2017, is absolved of any “actions” she may have done in the past. With a stroke of his pen, Obama could save the country a bunch of money and a bunch of bullshit.


The GOP would go off the rails, looking for ways to circumvent Obama’s pardon, but they would be unable to do so. Without the specter of Chaffetz’s investigations (or someone else who might threaten impeachment) hanging like The Sword of Damocles, the fucking government might have to work together and get things done. And if it hasn’t been evident, the Democrats may have introduced obstruction, but the Republicans have perfected it.

I can get it if you don’t agree with Clinton’s political stance or her party’s ideas. I can even understand it if you’ve got legitimate problems with some actions she might have done in the past. What I cannot understand is why someone would want to continue to dwell on these issues (hello, GOP?) and even go to the lengths of putting the country through such a divisive and partisan exercise as potentially impeaching a President-ELECT who hasn’t even had a week in office. I also can’t stand it when people can’t rub two of their brain cells together to form a cohesive thought and simply run with whatever bullshit is fed to them by the alt-right, which has the potential to be the single most destructive faction in the United States’ history.

After Tuesday night, we’ll have a new President chosen (and we should, if Cheeto Jesus can be tossed in a straightjacket long enough to roll him to the asylum). Why don’t we try something unique…starting a Presidency by working together rather than tearing each other apart? It seems to work well for every other sane country in the world, why not us?


What’s My Problem? It Should Be Everyone’s Problem…

After one of my essays the other day, someone had the audacity to ask me what was my problem with the Republican Party. “Why don’t you go after the Democratic Party the way you go after the Republicans?” the person asked. I offered a quick, Facebook-friendly reply – which wasn’t enough for that person (it seldom is – Facebook is not an essay-friendly arena) – so I thought that I would take the time to fully enunciate what “my problem” is with the Republican Party, at least the way that it is constituted today. When I reach the end, I think that most people might recognize that it should be everyone’s problem.

I came of age in the 1970s, in the post-Watergate/post-Vietnam Era when we questioned everything that made up the government (in fact, it is why I still question it today). Whether it was the federal, state or local offices, none of them were given a break over the conditions in the United States. Republicans back then were not identified by their blind addiction to denial of social norms – abortion was an issue that was just beginning to bubble – but were more likely to be viewed on their business acumen, foreign policy expertise and respect for the military, things that everyone could get behind including their counterparts. Democrats at that time were looked at as the voice of the “people,” the party who would actually stand with those who needed the help the most when the times were the toughest, and protected them sometimes against those businesses that threatened them.

As the 1980s rolled around – and especially after the mixed results that were the presidencies of Richard Nixon (and, after his resignation, Gerald Ford) and Jimmy Carter – the two parties were still somewhat malleable in that they stood for different things but worked together for the improvement of the United States. The election of Ronald Reagan was something the country needed – a new rebirth, if you will – and it did serve to recharge the nation. I served in the United States Marine Corps during Reagan’s presidency and, while seeing him build the world’s greatest military, I also saw the Republican Party’s treatment of its fighting force in decrepit barracks and base housing, inadequate equipment, improper usage in military actions and other various areas of governance, including the denial of the AIDS epidemic and other societal ills.

Because of the success of Reagan, President George Bush – Bush I, as I like to call him – was a natural choice to continue. But Bush was different:  he was practical, he knew that you couldn’t just force the military anywhere for any reason (perhaps because of his days at the helm of the Central Intelligence Agency, he had a bit more “intelligence,” no pun intended) and he also knew you had to pay for the military. Thus, when he paid for the First Gulf War (or military action as “war” was never declared per se) by raising taxes, he was doomed as the 1990s began.

The true segmentation of the Republican and Democratic parties (and there is a segmentation, they are not “the same”) – and the reason for my look at one over the other – came about in the 1990s. When Bill Clinton became President in 1992, the nation took off, arguably because he worked with a Republican-led House of Representatives and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in 1994 and they maximized the “tech surge” of the mid-1990s. It was the second term of Clinton, however, that put the nail in the coffin for me.

Instead of being pleased with making the country work, the rising “neo-con” movement in the Republican Party – not happy to have a military that was sitting on the sidelines, wanting a bolder and more aggressive foreign policy and willing to do whatever it took to regain not only the power in Congress but also in the White House – seized on Clinton receiving a hummer from intern Monica Lewinsky and turned that into an impeachable offense (ever the opportunist Gingrich, rather than trying to staunch this wave, grabbed a surfboard and rode along with it). Fortunately, a more-rational Senate was able to stave off the slathering idiots that were the neo-con Republicans screaming for Clinton’s removal, but it would only be a momentary pause before the truly shitty schism would develop between the two.

The Republican neo-cons weren’t happy with skewering Democrats, they also ravaged their own. First they took down John McCain in 2000 with a bogus “black child” scam, getting their hand-picked puppet, George Bush (or Bush II), into the nomination, then they would turn the targeting on Al Gore as the election hinged on the state of Florida (the “swift-boating” of John Kerry four years later was just icing on the cake). Having seated 10 of the last 12 Supreme Court Justices, the Republicans were able to use the U. S. Supreme Court to shut down any further review of Florida’s recount in 2000, with 538 voters being the determining factor in Bush’s 2000 Electoral College win (Gore won the popular vote) over Gore.

Once back in power – and with the attacks of 9/11 – the Republican neo-con movement was given the proverbial golden chalice of opportunity to sweepingly affect the United States and they took full advantage of it. They enacted the Patriot Act of 2001 – with a reluctant Democratic Senate coming along (only Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat, voted against it) – arguably the worst piece of legislation in the history of the country. They started first an air campaign against the alleged (true) mastermind behind 9/11, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan, but then for some inexplicable reason transferred most of their attention to an air and ground invasion of Iraq and its dictator Saddam Hussein, in essence starting a two-front war.

While making these mistakes, they also spent money like drunken sailors on shore leave. Instead of maintaining steady tax rates, the neo-cons lowered taxes – apparently thinking that there would be a magical money tree that would just drop $100 bills from the sky – while pushing an extreme anti-everything social policy that impeded on the rights on every person that isn’t a white male in the U. S. If that wasn’t enough, then the fiscal collapse of 2008 occurred – and the resulting “bank bailout” that was started by President Bush – before President Barack Obama came to office.

Now, in my entire existence, the Congress may not have agreed with the President, but they at the minimum did their job and attempted to work with the President. They passed bills, put them to the President and it was up to him as to whether he wanted to enact them. They WORKED with the President and/or his personnel. From the start of the Obama Presidency, however – and epitomized by now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s infamous “our job” speech (“Our job is to ensure that the man in the White House is a one-term President”) – the Republicans have done exactly NOTHING to further the cause of the United States (and please don’t try to say the 60 or so votes to end the Affordable Care Act constitutes “action”).

Where I come from – my core beliefs – is that government works the best when it does keep its nose out of the lives of its citizens. There come moments in a nation’s history, however, when it does require the “voice of reason” to step in and make a determination. Slavery, the right of women to vote, civil rights, abortion, equal protection for women and LGBT persons…these are all moments when the federal government has to step in and say, as a whole for the nation, that there is one rule for one nation. Through this method, one area of the nation cannot inflict its ignorance, giving the country a black eye over something that should be settled (as Alabama recently did over the gay marriage issue).

With these issues, the Republican Party seldom seems to be on the right side (slavery seems to be one of those rare occasions). Rather than embracing the rights of people, the GOP seems to kowtow to a small sect (and I use that term in its perfect religious intentions) of people who consistently chop off their leaders’ arms for not trying to be more accepting of people DIFFERENT THAN THEM.

I don’t want to see leaders blaming people for being disadvantaged or poor, I want to see those leaders attempt to help those people (a great program in North Carolina, started by a Republican, encouraged people on public assistance into a two-year program that eventually saw those people get off the dole). I want to see schools given every tool available for the children rather than hear politicians cry about the tax expenditure (education is the only way to ensure that we improve as a country) of simply providing textbooks. I want to see leaders who try to improve life for everyone rather than improve it for a few. I want to see intelligence praised instead of derided, as many in the GOP do when it comes to science.

As to the military (and as a veteran), I would like to see our troops used less rather than more. I’d prefer to see them used only as a TRUE last resort instead of as a “peacekeeping” force (as they have been since World War II). And, if you’re going to use the military, supply them with the equipment they need, pay them well, take care of their families and, when they come home, take care of the veterans and their medical conditions. The Republicans who say that they cannot take care of veterans – calling it an “entitlement” – shouldn’t ever darken the door of Congress again.

This means you have to have money for everything. Paying for a strong military, infrastructure, improvements overall for people’s daily lives, business and education improvements…it all takes money. While it can be streamlined, it also needs funding to function. Taxation for government is a necessary evil and denying that increase in revenue is a death sentence to being a third world country.

This isn’t to say all Republicans are evil, just as it isn’t to say that all Democrats are saints. But, when the scales are weighed, I see one side doing more for people and the military overall and it certainly isn’t the one that is represented by the heavier animal. I’m always open for presentation of evidence to the contrary but, for the Republican Party, that evidence is rather sparse.

Is that answer good enough?

Wondering Whatever Happened To…For November 3

Wondering whatever happened to California Congressman Gary Condit while pondering…

What If There Wasn’t Any Grits? – Pointing out the ignorance of some when it comes to the issue of the Confederate Battle Flag, a Tupelo, MS man is in jail facing a potential life sentence for using an explosive device against the retail outlet Walmart.

According to reports from local papers, Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre said that 61-year old Marshall Leonard threatened the megastore a few days ago when he wrote on the local paper’s Facebook page, “Journal corporate, you are on final warning. You are part of the problem. As a result of this, y’all (sic) are going down, along with Walmart, WTVA (a local television station), Reed’s department store and all the rest of the anti-American crooks. I’m not kidding. No messing around anymore!”

While some might have thought this to be the ravings of a lunatic, this was a lunatic who decided to take action. On Sunday morning at about 1:30AM, Leonard allegedly drove his car to the local Walmart in question, lit a package on fire and threw it in the entryway of the store. An employee standing nearby was told by Leonard, “You better run,” and, as the employee did, a small explosion went off that didn’t cause much damage to the store.

So what was Leonard’s problem with Walmart? The factor that the superstore had quit selling the Confederate Battle Flag. Leonard is an outspoken opponent of current legislation, Initiative 55, which would remove the Battle Flag from the current Mississippi state flag permanently. Leonard doesn’t believe the flag to have any racial or slavery overtones (despite the statement in the documents of secession by the state of Mississippi in 1861 stating, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world.”) and has been tossed out of a city council hearing on the subject (while draped in a Battle Flag).

The police didn’t have to investigate too deep to find Leonard either. Leonard’s vehicle, with a flagpole sticking through the roof that displays the Battle Flag while he drives, ran a red light at 2AM after allegedly tossing the explosive device into the Walmart. Police stopped Leonard and, as their radios crackled with news of the bombing, Chief Aguirre said, “We quickly figured out we needed to hang on to this suspect.”

Why Should I Be Educated If I’m In Heaven? – In another entry into the idiocy of the South, parents of nine Texas children are suing the state over their home-schooling techniques. Texas laws are quite permissive regarding what home-schooled students have to learn and one family, the McIntyre family of El Paso, TX, decided they didn’t need to have a curriculum, any oversight from local officials and didn’t have to take any of the tests that children in public and private schools had to take. Why? Why waste time on education when the Second Coming is upon us.

The situation came to light after the 17-year old daughter of the family ran away from home and, upon being placed in the foster system and in a real school, couldn’t keep up with her peers (seniors). She was placed in a ninth-grade class and was even struggling to keep up at that pace. Further investigation by authorities through other family members found that not only was there any “home schooling” going on, but the parents were flaunting the results.

According to Tracy McIntyre, the twin brother of Michael, the other children were “never reading, working on math problems, using computers or doing much of anything educational.” The reason that Tracy gave for this was Michael telling him that the children’s learning was unnecessary because “they were going to be raptured.”

The El Paso school district began to investigate further, at which time the McIntyre’s sued them for “oppressing their right to not educate their children.” In a deeply Republican state, the family called the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court “anti-Christian” and claimed that the oversight by the El Paso school system is “a startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.” While these claims may sound as ludicrous as they look, there is a chance that they might have some effect; the current head of the Texas Board of Education is a Christian homeschooler and Governor Greg Abbott is staunchly behind the homeschooling system, which in many conservative homeschooling cases lacks any knowledge of sciences, technology or mathematics and instead delves into Bible-based explanations of subjects.

But The Slurpee Machine Is Always Spotless! – We already know that there is a great deal of waste in the U. S. government and, in particular, in military spending. But a $43 million gas station?

In a recent report from John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the building of a compressed natural gas station cost an alleged $43 million, including $30 million in overhead costs (operational expenses) in a country where few vehicles exist and those that do don’t run on natural gas. Not only was this station highly expensive (a similar station in Pakistan was built for $500,000), but there was no examinations of whether building the station was feasible or not ever performed or ever deemed necessary.

“One of the most troubling aspects of this project is that the Department of Defense claims that it is unable to provide an explanation for the high cost of the project or to answer any other questions concerning its planning, implementation or outcome,” Sopko stated to the Washington Post. The reason? The department that was in charge of building the station, the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations (with an $800 million budget), was closed six months ago and the Pentagon has no comment on its activities.

Simple investigation by Sopko questioned the legitimacy of building the station. With a non-viable market for natural gas vehicles, Afghanis would have to convert their vehicles to the fuel. The cost of such a conversion is around $700. The problem there is that the average Afghani wages for a year are $690.

Sopko says he will continue to investigate the situation but, without cooperation from the Pentagon, it is unlikely he will find any reasons for the wasteful spending.

The Inmates Running the Asylum, Part 420 – The candidates for President on the Republican Party ticket have been loudly complaining about how the three debates they have taken part in (especially the last one on cable station CNBC) have been conducted, despite the first debate being conducted on their home ground of Fox News and a second debate on CNN considered fairly decent. Now, instead of allowing for a central group to set the standards for debates – say, perhaps, their own Republican National Committee – the candidates want to set the rules that future debates will be held under until the party’s convention next summer.

GOP candidates have floated such ideas as keeping the room at 67 degrees, splitting the 14 remaining candidates into two randomly picked groups of seven and asking them the same questions and setting strict time limits on the proceedings. It is expected that some of the candidates have already coalesced behind some framework of demands for the forthcoming debates (probably those after their November 10 scheduled debate), but one candidate thinks he can get more through his negotiations (take a wild guess).

Representatives for billionaire Donald Trump, who has seen his numbers of late slide as Dr. Ben Carson has slowly gained traction, are currently refusing to sign any letter of demands alongside the other candidates, believing that through his own force of will he can get more. According to the New York Times, however, Trump is actually hurting the cause because the candidates only have power if they are united. If they are fragmented or are asking for far too much from debate organizers, then the possibility of the networks, the RNC or even the candidates canceling a debate comes into play.

First they couldn’t find a Speaker for the House of Representatives, now they can’t determine a debate format – it truly is the inmates running the asylum.

Now to answer the question…what happened to California Congressman Gary Condit?

Through the 1990s, Gary Condit was a rising star in the Democratic Party. A congressman from California, Condit looked the part of the perfect representative from the Golden State, with a pearly smile and ambitions of even bigger things in his future. The discovery that he was having an affair in 2001 with an intern by the name of Chandra Levy effectively derailed his burgeoning political career.

The discovery of the affair only came about after Levy disappeared in May 2001 and Condit, who vehemently accused then-President Bill Clinton of illicit activities with intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, for some time was considered a suspect in her disappearance (in 2010, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador was convicted in Levy’s disappearance and murder). It was enough to derail his career; in 2002, Condit was defeated for reelection in the 18th District in California and, instead of going back home, moved to Arizona.

In Arizona, Condit opened up an ice cream store franchise that failed and in which he is currently embroiled in litigation over. His son, Chad, is attempting to follow in his father’s footsteps (hopefully not literally) in running for Congress in California’s 10th District. Condit, at 67, has called it a career in politics, now serving as the president of the Phoenix Institute of Desert Agriculture, a non-profit group created in 2011 with offices strangely located in San Diego, CA, that doesn’t list any responsible owners or operators.