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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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When Worlds Collide: Tonight’s Clinton/Mutant Debacle

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On Tuesday, the United States will be six weeks away from electing its next President of the United States. With this in mind, the Commission on Presidential Debates (yes, there’s actually such an organization) will be conducting four debates over the next 30 days or so. One of those debates will take place between the two men who are hoping that the person who chose them as their running mate dies a quick and painless death so that they are saved from a job that Texas’ John Nance “Cactus Jack” Gardner, one of the Vice President’s under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, called “not worth a bucket of warm piss.” The other three, unfortunately, will be contested between the Democratic nominee for President, former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Republican nominee for President, the Orangutan Mutant that is called Donald Trump.

Tuesday night in Hempstead, NY, NBC news anchor Lester Holt will be in charge of a 90-minute, no interruptions debate between Clinton and the Tangerine Nightmare, featuring their replies to the subjects that he has chosen. Those subjects for the debate have been gaudily titled (and completely non-descriptive) “America’s Direction,” “Achieve Prosperity” and “Securing America” (this is unless the aliens from Independence Day land on the major cities of the world – then Holt might come up with some other questions under the equally gaudy title “Aliens in America:  What to Do?”) and two 15-minute segments will be devoted to each topic. Both candidates will be required to respond to Holt’s inquiries and answer in a serious, straightforward manner…and if you believe that, you haven’t seen what’s been going on in the political arena for the last 18 months.

From the time the first candidate announced his intentions of running for President (can you guess who it was? Ted Cruz was the first major candidate to announce his intentions for the Presidency in March 2015), the 2016 Presidential campaign has been a shit show of epic proportions. The sheer size of the Republican cadre of candidates – eventually it would reach 17 nominees – ensured that, whoever emerged from the rubble, that person wouldn’t even have a plurality of support FROM THEIR OWN PARTY. Then there were the Democrats, who basically wanted to anoint a candidate instead of nominate them by running her (Clinton) against a few wannabes and never-weres.

As the poet Robert Burns wrote, however:

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!)

Once the GOP clown car started reaching its capacity, along came pseudo-businessman Cheeto Jesus, who immediately shit in the punchbowl, smacked the hostess of the party on the ass and double dipped his chips in the guacamole. From the time he started his campaign – where he announced that Mexicans were “rapists, drug dealers…and some, I assume, are good people” – this misogynous, racist, xenophobic jerkoff brought the vilest excrement from the bowels of his twisted soul. A wall to block Mexicans that stretches across the entire Southern U. S. border…banning Muslims from entering the U. S., then dropping that to “just having a registry” for them…insulting veterans by saying that Senator John McCain wasn’t a war hero because “I like for my war heroes to not be captured”…saying that the usage of torture such as waterboarding was “mild” and we would have to do worse (what? Shove bamboo under fingernails? Flail the skin off the genitals?), including going after the families and children of “suspected” terrorists and enemy combatants. And THIS is just within the first few months of the announcement of his nomination…he’s since gone on to other lulus that defy description (a “test” of an immigrant’s knowledge and devotion to the country? That’s already done, you asshole…it’s called a citizenship test).

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Under normal circumstance, this lunatic would have been launched to the curb. But you know what happened? 14 million lunatics who hold the similar racist, misogynist and xenophobic ideas finally felt like they could come out of the closet and join Herr Drumpf as he looked to start the First American Reich (such newspapers and websites as Stormfront, The Daily Stormer and American Renaissance – all white nationalist or Nazi groups that represent the bottom of the bucket of humanity – all have announced their support). That 14 million people – a sizeable chunk of the Republican base – could think that such ideas are what the United States were built on is simply stunning in its ludicrousness. But, it worked for Mr. Oompah Loompah and he’s the nominee.

On the other side, Clinton was supposed to simply have to go through the motions and the Democratic nomination would be handed to her as a reward for her embrace of President Barack Obama after he defeated her in 2008. But a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation:  people started to look at other options.

Whether because of her long history in the nation’s consciousness (a Clinton has been a part of the federal government or running for federal office pretty much since 1992 – almost 25 years now) or because of her duplicitous nature (Clinton is always going to give just enough information but not give you a full description unless forced), Democrats looked to Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders, a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” caught the eye of many who, for the first times in their lives, were looking to elect someone other than a Bush or Clinton (remember, Jeb! Bush was running on the GOP side) to the Presidency (yes, I know Obama isn’t one or the other, but Clinton served in his Cabinet for the first term…we’ll count that).

Sanders would prove to be a proverbial thorn in the side of Clinton as he pushed for a progressive agenda that, instead of taking years to create, he wanted done YESTERDAY. In the end, Clinton would be able to parry away the assault of Sanders to earn the Democratic nomination and be ready for the challenges that the run for the White House present.

Thus, we come to a crossroads with two candidates who couldn’t be more despised by people both inside and outside their parties. These will be the two people who are the choices for the 45th President of the United States (sorry, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein). Thus, how will the resulting debate between the two work out?

Considering what occurred in the GOP debates, Drumpf is not a debater at all. In fact, his debate style could be condensed into a bullying, narcissistic cacophony of horseshit that flows from an entrance point on his face that doesn’t let up. It isn’t factual and it certainly isn’t worried about having to answer for being a lying sack of scum. In fact, the bar is so low for Drumpf that basically all he has to do is show up and not drool on himself to be able to allow his cabal – the “basket of deplorables” – to claim he won.

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Clinton, on the other hand, has to stand there and take whatever mockery that comes out of the Orangutan Mutant’s mouth and not reply. She has to stand there and present her extensive knowledge of virtually every aspect of running the country and, when Holt is finishing getting retouches on his makeup and eating a doughnut, try to demonstrate to him and the country that her opponent is basically a walking Lie Machine. Clinton could probably walk on water to open the debate, then be criticized because she doesn’t know how to swim.

Then again, we could actually have a debate between the two candidates. In that case, Drumpf has already lost – there is no earthly way that he can handle the high level discussion necessary to comprehend the issues presented – and Clinton will blast a hole in his candidacy the size of Australia. Then Commandant Drumpf will not show up for the other two debates (October 9 and 19, if you’re wondering) because he’s “being mistreated” by the press.

To call what will occur on Tuesday night a “debate” is a misnomer. It is better to call it what it will actually be – a debacle – because there will be nothing of substance answered, neither candidate will be called on their obvious lies or even the mildest “stretches of truth” and Holt will kiss both candidates’ asses rather than be a journalist and pose tough questions and follow-up questions (look at the bullshit titles for the segments and tell me that NBC wasn’t focus-grouping those for a couple months now). If we get the Drumpf of the GOP debates, he loses. If he as stated previously can keep from dribbling saliva down one of his Chinese-made neckties, then he’s “presidential.” There’s not a damn thing Clinton can do to make herself more “likeable” because 30 years of public exposure has already cemented the public’s opinion of you.

And that’s the sad thing. A debate is what happens when you want to learn the stances of two (or more) people who are running for office, what they will do once elected. Instead, the Presidential debates have become the latest sideshow of the swirling vortex of sewage that was once known as our political system.

Dear Bernie Fans: Don’t Become the Democratic StormTrumpers

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Since the campaign started immediately following the second inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, it seems that there has been a course. On the GOP side, they rolled out a clown car of buffoons, religious zealots, has beens and never weres and even three civilians, just to give the right seasoning to the idiocy. Now they are down to a representative of each of those categories and I will let you figure out where they go.

On the Democrats side, however, they were supposed to be the adults in the room. They put up a solid policy person in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who seemed as if she were a shoo-in for the nomination, but some challengers arose. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley was supposed to represent the “new guard” of the Dems (at the wet-behind-the-ears age of 53), while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was to represent the progressive side of the party. On the way to the coronation of Hillary Clinton as the nominee – she did, after all, swallow her pride and take a position in President Obama’s cabinet following his crushing defeat of her in 2008 – a strange thing happened:  the people listened to someone else.

Much like the knuckle draggers who began listening to the rantings of a lunatic on the GOP side (once again, take your pick of lunatic), some on the Democratic side found a message in the anti-Establishment rhetoric of the Independent Senator from Vermont, Sanders. An avowed democratic socialist (definition:  while businesses can run just fine and not under government ownership, heavy taxes WILL be paid by those companies; the money then will fund several social programs that will lift all boats, such as free college and other items), Sanders’ message first alit on the ears of the youth, then on those who were disillusioned with having to look at another Clinton taking a turn in the White House.

Sanders stunned Clinton from the start, battling to a near draw in Iowa before moving onto his backyard in New Hampshire and taking the bellwether state by a large margin. Clinton regained her footing by romping through the South in early March, but Sanders hasn’t gone anywhere. Of the 33 primaries or caucuses that have been held to this date (with the delegate-rich state of New York up for grabs on Tuesday), Sanders has won 16 of them, primarily states with large white demographics and large college towns that will probably be Republican states come November (Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, etc.).

Sanders’ performance has not only driven out every other candidate in the Democratic race (O’Malley at least made it to the first primary in Iowa before dropping out; Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb and Lawrence Lessig didn’t even make it that far), he’s getting the attention of many in the Democratic Party. Noted director Spike Lee led a pro-Sanders campaign ad that featured such fellow Hollywood celebrities as Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon and Dr. Cornell West and other celebrities such as Danny DeVito, Sarah Silverman and Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk in the Avenger movies as well as a two-time Academy Award nominee) have also come out in support of Sanders’ campaign.

But as the campaign has gone along, Sanders has been the victim of the political system. For the first time in ages, the Democratic usage of superdelegates may have an impact on the outcome of the primary. While only behind Clinton by a bit more than 200 elected delegates – those that are allotted by the results of the primaries – Sanders is vastly behind Clinton in the pledged superdelegates that the party uses as a final check on the results of the primaries. Of those pledged superdelegates, Sanders has earned 31; Clinton has picked up 469. Thus, when some news outlets post the delegate count, they show it as a rout for Clinton, 1758-1076, without pointing out that the superdelegates are a huge factor in that count.

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Once again much like the StormTrumpers of a particular candidate in the GOP race, the Sanders forces have been responding in similar manners. During a fundraiser held by actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal, for Democratic candidates in San Francisco on Friday night, Sanders supporters protested the fundraiser and Clinton, refusing to look at the work that the fundraiser was doing for “down the ballot” candidates in the upcoming races (of the nearly $350,000 raised, approximately $300,000 of it was to go to the Democratic National Committee and candidates from the Democratic Party in several states; Sanders has done little to no campaigning for fellow Democrats in their races). Hurling insults at Clinton’s motorcade and carrying derogatory signs, the Sanders supporters seemed to lack the knowledge of what the Clooneys have done for people, if anything else.

Then there’s the tactics that are straight out of Roger Stone’s handbook (if you’re in a cave, Roger Stone is the GOP “strategist” who works with Drumpf). According to many superdelegates, phone calls as late as 2AM have been made by Sanders supporters to their homes. Many of these persons who have issues with the superdelegate process have taken to populating websites and databases such as those called the “Superdelegate Hitlist” (perhaps noting the murderous tone, it now is the “Superdelegate List”). Those that venture online and attempt logical discussion with Sanders supporters on the Democratic process are often met with a literal wall of non-discourse and, when discussion is taken to the nth degree, commentary that seems as if it has come from a StormTrumper themselves.

The battle between Sanders and Clinton has had moments when it has been an excellent exchange of ideas and viewpoints as to the future of the Democratic Party and perhaps even the United States itself. Lately, however, the civility that the two candidates have carried has been fraying a bit, perhaps because they’ve been at this for several months and there’s still a long time until the convention in July. What the candidates – and what their supporters – have to remember, however, is that they are all on the same side.

Unlike the train wreck that is occurring before our eyes on the GOP tracks, the Democrats have two excellent choices. While neither is perfect, either one presents a logical and practical future for the United States in both domestic and foreign policy. Clinton’s vision is one of pragmatism and hard work; Sanders’ is one of bold steps that would alter many aspects of life in these United States. But with either one, the option is better than what is slobberingly gazing from the opposite side.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a U. S. Senate who will not even consider doing their jobs – the work of leading the country – over confirming a nominee for Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. We’ve seen several states enact draconian legislation against LGBT persons, knocking them down to second-class citizens because of a “religious freedom” to be as fucking bigoted as they can be. We’ve also seen one candidate on the GOP side freely admit that the U. S. should be led as a “Christian nation,” despite the fact the Constitution that he seems to so lovingly want to follow says that something such as that should NEVER be done. Do you really want three or four SCOTUS seats, more “religious freedom” bullshit and other social doctrines attacked by whomever comes out of the GOP coven?

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Look, Sanders supporters, I get it. You’re tired of the same old politics and want a change. Through his very candidacy, Sanders has garnered the attention for those changes. But if his supporters continue to call those that support Clinton “Democratic whores,” it’s going to be a bit difficult to be able to keep him in the mix or potentially even consider some of those ideas he has so powerfully presented so far.

The ability to look at things logically and, if the facts demonstrate that the fight is truly unwinnable, to be able to accept whatever prize can be gained from the battle is one of the measures of compromise that this nation is built on. To either downgrade Clinton or pout in your rooms and not vote if “your guy” doesn’t win is juvenile at best. Look logically at the situation and hopefully the skies will clear…if you don’t want Iran in the Western Hemisphere as a theocratic government for the U. S., the only way to go is with the eventual Democratic nominee, whoever it is.

The GOP Are Liars or Psychopaths – You Make the Call

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In what seems like a millennium ago, the top contenders for the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in 2016 stood on a stage with one question asked of them. “Will you support the eventual nominee of the party (hell, this was Fox News so they didn’t have to designate), whomever it may be?” Of the ten people on the stage during that first debate, nine raised their hands in the affirmative; only one, Donald Drumpf, chose to not raise his hand. Now either those other people who once were running against Drumpf – and, by extension, the Republican Party as a whole – are either liars or psychopaths and it is up to us to make the call.

Since that first debate, Drumpf has employed a scorched earth policy where he seldom left any opponent unsinged and, in some cases, burned them to the ground. Let’s take a look, shall we? (These are all direct comments on each of his fellow candidates from Drumpf himself, in the order that they dropped out of the race)

Rick Perry – “an absolutely horrible job of securing the border” (never mind that it isn’t the job of a state’s governor to do that), “should be forced to take an IQ test” (pot, meet kettle), “needs a new pair of glasses” (this is a familiar theme – attack the way someone looks)

Scott Walker – “a puppet,” “massive deficit, bad jobs forecast, a mess” (using the entirety of the GOP playbook for running government, it must be noted), “your very dumb fundraiser hit me very hard – not smart!”

Bobby Jindal – “Spent $1000 to register in New Hampshire and dropped out the next day. Such a waste!”

Lindsey Graham – “dumb mouthpiece” who has “zero against me – no cred!” “embarrassed himself with his failed run for President” “So easy to beat!”

George Pataki – “Couldn’t be elected dog catcher if he ran again” (don’t worry, you’ll see this one again…), “terrible governor of NY, one of the worst”

Surprisingly, Mike Huckabee was left unscathed by Drumpf. Guess that means Drumpf never took him seriously as a candidate, which was true as he never got out of the “kiddie table” debates.

Rand Paul – “Why is Rand Paul allowed to take advantage of the people of Kentucky?” “truly weird,” “reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain.”

Rick Santorum also dodged the Drumpf attention – unless Drumpf looked up “santorum” and was appalled to the point of silence.

Carly Fiorina – “If you listen to her for more than ten minutes straight, you develop a massive headache,” “has zero chance” and basically everything he noted in the Rolling Stone interview about her.

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Chris Christie – “spending all his time in New Hampshire” instead of trying to campaign across the spectrum of states early in the primaries. Then he climbed into the trunk to be “The Gimp” for Drumpf.

Jim Gilmore – nobody paid attention to him. In fact, if you look above, he wasn’t even in the picture when this whole clusterfuck started.

Jeb Bush – WAY too many to even mention, but let’s go with “low energy,” “the bottom of the barrel” and “a pathetic figure” as some of the kinder statements.

Ben Carson – “incapable of understanding foreign policy,” “very weak on immigration” and “many lies by Ben Carson” – and who can forget the pantomime by Drumpf of the teenage Ben Carson knifing a close friend and comparing his “pathological temper” to the “sickness of a child molester.”

Marco Rubio – Again, WAY too many to even mention, but the kinder statements are “little Marco,” “the lightweight from Florida” and “all talk and no action”

Sure, there’s that old adage of “sticks and stones” but, in the case of when you’re looking to draw support for something that you might need some friends to help with, this isn’t exactly the best way to go about seizing that support. About the only way that these people, for the most part, should be voting for Drumpf in any election is if they are either complete liars, psychopaths or masochists who don’t deserve consideration for any political office.

This isn’t even getting into the recent tete a tete between Drumpf and Senator Rafael Eduardo “Ted” Cruz, still battling for that brokered convention in Cleveland (which may soon become known as the “Second Mistake by the Lake”) come July, over their wives, which for those who thought the campaign couldn’t sink any lower suddenly found that it could.

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And here is where Drumpf has made his biggest mistake. In “counterpunching” when he views an attack (and in which another SANE person running for political office would have said “hey, that’s the way the game works”), he has successfully pissed off virtually anyone that would even be an assistance to his candidacy. In addition to this, while he’s been racking up state wins, Drumpf forgot about the bigger picture – keeping those people that you’ve beaten in your corner to help your drive further up the ladder.

Anyone can get the gullible base of the GOP – yes, the racists, the isolationists, the “keep your guv’ment hands off my Medicare” folks, the “God, guns and gravy” constituency – to come to your corner. Just tell them the (many) lies that you’re going to make things “like they used to be” – when the women knew their place, the blacks were off the streets by dark and the police let Bubba go home after he downed a 12-pack and run his car into the entrance of the local chapter of the NAACP. The bigger problem is in getting those that actually have a brain to follow your gruel and, beyond that, getting someone that isn’t a part of your circle to actually believe you have what it takes to lead.

And therein is where Drumpf has lost and will lose the election. While he may be winning the GOP nomination, he is winning it with 30-40% of the vote. As of 2014, approximately 39% of the voting populace in the U. S. identifies as Republican; that is approximately 98 million people in the country. Let’s give benefit of the doubt and give Drumpf 40% of that figure…that’s 39 million people who ALL have to vote come November.

Do you remember the results from 2012? In the 2012 elections, Barack Obama racked up almost 65 million votes while Mitt Romney earned almost 60 million. It was considered a “landslide” victory by Obama over Romney, who was well-liked by his fellow Republican candidates and the GOP as a whole.

Now add in that Drumpf isn’t leading in any demographic outside of Republicans – minorities, Hispanics, women, you name it, he’s failing miserably. If you can tell me where Drumpf can find enough StormTrumpers and Brownshirts to push over 66 million voters (not going to happen), then you need to spend more time picking lottery numbers than presidential hopefuls.

But I digress…any party or person who would, after being subjugated by the slimiest verbosity from the pompous Orangutan Mutant, who has any respect for themselves, their party and maybe even their country, and then still says, “I’m voting for him,” is…well, I think the point has been made.

The Odious Remains of The GOP Presidential Carcass

When they reached their apex a few months ago, there were 17 different people that wanted the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States in 2016. This simply means that there were 17 warm bodies – although degree of warmth was questionable – because ideologically there wasn’t much difference. Even with former “Libertarian” Rand Paul, who danced closer to the far right wing of the Republican Party with the hope to do something his daddy Ron never could do – win the GOP nomination – they were all basically cut from the same cloth even if their gender was different.

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Everyone knew that it was unmanageable. Thus, the bodies began to pile up on the side of the road like an episode of The Walking Dead after Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors had battled through Atlanta. Before a single vote was even cast in the primaries, such party “luminaries” as former Texas Governor Rick Perry, current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ended their campaigns that were still virtually in their infancy (seriously, Walker’s candidacy was all of two months’ old). While the political zombies feasted on their decomposing flesh, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and former New York Governor George Pataki were both offed before a vote was cast.

What all these men had in common was they were the true epitome of “zombie” campaigns. For all practical purposes, they were only existing in name only as they drew little support from the voters and the “big money” donors didn’t exactly give them the time of day either. After the voting started, the candidates that decided to leave were among the living but became “zombies” soon after they drew no reaction from the populace.

Former Governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum all had the good sense to get out after Iowans basically ignored them and they were joined by (we’re not sure what she does) Carly Fiorina, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (who received all of 12 VOTES – that’s people, folks, not delegates – in Iowa) a week later after the cold shoulder in New Hampshire’s primary. But the big stunner came this last weekend after the South Carolina primary concluded.

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Long ago thought to be the lockdown “shoo-in” to be the nominee for the GOP in 2016, former Florida Governor Jeb! Bush instead proved to be the perfect illustration of how not to run a campaign. After being out of the bruising world of politics for over a decade (he last ran for office in 2003 for a second term as Governor of Florida), Bush was ill-prepared for the partisan world that politics has become today. To be honest, from the start he never looked as if he wanted to be President; he never actually took the gloves off and had to fight for a political position (hell, his last name is Bush and he probably has ridden that his entire political life). When he gave his withdrawal speech on Saturday night after drawing a dismal 8% of the vote in a state his family once dominated, he looked a beaten man, one that wanted to head back to the safety of a Board of Directors rather than the Oval Office.

You would think with the zombies chowing on the flesh on the sidelines (and, if you think about it, wouldn’t the world of The Walking Dead just be the most foul-smelling existence to be a part of?) that the odiferous scent would be left behind the five candidates that still stood and moved on. Instead, the odious remains of the GOP Presidential Carcass are at the same times worse smelling than the dozen people that are now but a memory. Yet one of these people, no matter how distasteful they may be, will emerge as the Republican nominee for President of the United States.

Let’s start with the next one that will be run down by the zombie hordes, Dr. Ben Carson. Carson is right now being kept in the race by those who want to keep Ted Cruz (we’ll get to him, have some patience) down. In essence, Carson carves away some evangelical votes that Cruz would normally get, something that happens when a man has a painting of himself with JESUS FREAKIN’ CHRIST in his home. Then again, Carson loses some of that evangelical vote if they’re Muslim because he believes that Islam “as a religion, is incompatible with the Constitution” and therefore anyone who is Muslim he would not “advocate for being in charge of the nation” (Carson would backtrack that statement faster than an NFL cornerback defending a Peyton Manning pass route).

But that isn’t even the most idiotic (and therefore odious) statement Carson’s ever made. In a speech several years ago, the good Doctor opined that the pyramids on the Plains of Giza in Egypt were there for the Bible’s Joseph “to store grain” instead of tombs for the pharaohs. Carson also suggested a theory about the spread of Ebola by constructing a massive conspiracy that someone could use urine as a biological weapon. Finally, there was his most recent Tweet that the biggest threat facing the United States at this time was immigration…hello, Doctor? Have you been watching the debates going on around you at all…you know, the one’s you’ve been standing there as a part of for the past few months? There’s a whole list of issues that you might have come up with other than one that has been trod so many times there’s literally wear marks on it. It appears that Dr. Carson may just be a brilliant neurosurgeon and a complete imbecile in other areas.

Then we have what many are calling the “last moderate Republican” left in the field, current Ohio Governor John Kasich. Throughout the GOP debates, Kasich has labeled himself as the choice for those who are looking for someone who will “work across the aisle,” a moderate who will listen and work with Democrats in Washington, D. C., simply because he has in the past. Kasich is quick to point out that, while in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001, he helped pass balanced budgets as first the ranking member of and then the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. Kasich notes that this was the last time that the budget was balanced on the federal level, something that is shockingly true in this campaign of lies.

Hiding behind this “moderate” demeanor, however, is a right-winger of the nth degree. His House voting record and that of his Ohio governorship (not to mention hosting a Fox News program between 2001 and 2007) demonstrates that Kasich is far from being a moderate Republican. This week, Kasich signed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood…not directly but “any organization that performs or promotes abortions.” That would prevent $1.3 million of Ohio funds from going to the organization, which would use those funds for HIV testing, health screening and domestic violence prevention (and for those of you assholes who say they can get that at the emergency room, why isn’t your ass there for your meds?). Furthermore, instead of prison reform, Kasich believes that there should be more “for-profit” prisons, just so we can see judges crookedly rig the system against the weakest members of society to turn a fucking buck for the state and the owners of the prisons. Finally, Ohio is one of the states with some of the most outlandish incidences of police abusing their authority in the nation – yet Kasich has done nothing about such occurrences.

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Next we have Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and it really doesn’t matter which one you call what because they are virtually the same cartoon character. The twosome both currently reside in the Senate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted “Rafael” (yes, his real name) Cruz, and their paths to where they are now being virtually identical. Both were elected to the Senate with their eyes firmly affixed towards the Presidency rather than doing anything for their constituents; both are uncompromising bastards who would rather die on a mountaintop than intelligently discuss any logical solution to a problem (Cruz more so than Rubio) and both are religious ideologues that, if a Muslim…hell, if a Catholic… said half the shit they said (Cruz said “Glory be to God” upon winning Iowa; Rubio said he would base his decisions “on his faith first” and fuck the facts), they would be screaming religious zealotry. But there’s something far worse in their cabinets than this.

Both of these men are first generation Cuban-Americans (Donald Trump – yes, we’re getting to him – would say Cruz is something else), the proud offspring of their parents who came to the United States to give them a better life than the one they had under a Fidel Castro-led Cuba. Two men who have benefitted quite well from the system of life in these United States, worked hard and garnered an education…who, now that they have received every benefit of said system, are trying their damndest to make sure that someone else doesn’t repeat that performance, that there isn’t another occurrence where someone under similar circumstances to theirs would EVER see the chance to be…them.

This would be the utmost in hypocrisy, innuendo and outright falsification if it weren’t for the leader of the remaining clowns in the GOP car, billionaire Donald Trump. There is literally no way to begin to list the litany of falsehoods, bullshit, antagonistic jabs, attacks (both verbal and physical) and statements that he has offended virtually every person in the United States with, so let’s just start with his latest efforts. First there was Trump’s assertion – and his demon spawn Eric’s backup – that waterboarding was nothing that didn’t happen at a “college frat party” (note you don’t see either of these fucking bastards strapped to a board for a few hours of fun, do you?).

Then Trump tried to recount the discredited story of the famous General John Pershing during a campaign stop in South Carolina. According to the Orangutan Mutant, General Pershing supposedly executed 49 Muslims (it isn’t stated during which U. S. military action this occurred) with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, an obvious jab at the Islamic faith’s beliefs about pigs. All the stupid ass Trump managed to do was once again offend more than a billion people and an entire faith, which in this world today might be necessary to work with somewhere down the road.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this misogynous, xenophobic, race-baiting knuckle-dragger wasn’t leading the GOP Presidential race. But, then again…let’s look at the GOP that supports him.

In South Carolina, where he won a resounding victory, of those who support Trump:

70% believe the Confederate Flag should still fly over the South Carolina state capitol
38% wish the South had won the Civil War
80% support banning Muslims (ALL Muslims) from entering the United States
62% support a national database for Muslims in the U. S.
33% believe that Islam should be ILLEGAL in the U. S.
31% support banning LGBT people from entering the U. S.

I’m convinced that the GOP bottom-dwellers – who now seem to have taken over from those that have any semblance of sanity – have about as much couth as a gutter snipe and seemingly share part ownership of the same reptilian brain. Trump for months now has gotten away with every faux pas (once again, too numerous to mention) that, in the past, would not only have ended other people’s campaigns but any career in any legitimate pursuit they previously held. Are these people voting for Trump this stupid? (I’ll answer: yes.) Are these people this delusional (Once again: yes.). Are they this out-and-out racist? (I’ll say it…yes.)

The GOP could and should have stopped this when he opened his mouth with his announcement he was running. As soon as he ripped into Mexicans, the GOP could have said, “Thanks, but no thanks, you’re not running as a member of our party,” but the GOP realized that there’s about 40% of their party that are this ass-backward as those statistics above present and that they would agree with the spittle that Trump spews. It is truly a sad moment for a once proud party.

There are those that say they like Trump’s “honesty” and his non-PC approach to things. If these “supporters” were all fired up for honesty, then they wouldn’t be looking at Trump, who has to have a scorecard to keep track of the lies that he’s told. As to not being PC? I challenge Trump to take a stroll by himself – no bodyguards, no weapons – down some streets in this country and make the same statements he has used during this campaign…he’d be picking up his teeth from the street if he did, at the minimum.

So among five men cut from the same cloth as the twelve people who came before them, not a one is worth a damn. All they look to do is deny or take from the citizens of the United States (quick, name one thing they’re looking to do FOR the U. S. citizen? Can’t do it, can you, and don’t give me the bullshit about “making America great again,” “lowering the national debt” or “improving our military and their morale” because we know you shoveling horseshit). The odious remains of the GOP have the stench of the zombies that perished in the past on them, they just haven’t had the decency to go ahead and die just yet.

The Sane Side Finally Stands Up in The Republican Party, But It’s Too Late to Save the Institution

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Ever since the stampede that began literally three years ago following Barack Obama’s re-election and inauguration to a second term as President of the United States – and if you don’t think the 2016 Presidential Race began there, you’re adorably naïve – it seems that, at least for one side of the two party system in the United States, the inmates have taken over the asylum (and just as a tangent, if any other country in the world said “we only have two parties to choose our leadership from,” the U. S. would be screaming voter repression from the highest peaks…in our own country? Not a peep.). The Republican Party – the party that once held such great thinkers as Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, other politicians such as Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller, journalists Peggy Noonan, David Brooks and the late William F. Buckley – has usually been able to bring some sane minds to its leadership. Around the turn of the century, however, there was a change in the thinking, what became the Neo-conservative mindset, that splintered a once great party. Instead of being a party of intelligence like the people above, it began to erode from the inside, with its hoi polloi beginning to follow the baying of hounds such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the en masse robotic diatribes that flow from Fox News, turning the GOP base into an ugly, misogynistic, xenophobic, scared-of-its-own-shadow (and any minority that may have the audacity to even begin to think its…equal…to them) mob.

The sane side let the mob rant and rave after Obama’s election in 2008 and his re-election in 2012, saving its energy for the 2016 election. They set about trying to say all the right things in their 2012 “autopsy” about what went wrong:  they needed to reach out to women and all minorities – Asians, Hispanics, blacks and gay voters – and needed to have a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. They needed to have fewer debates – presumably so their candidates didn’t shoot themselves in the foot as often as they did in the run-up to the 2012 election – and needed to decide their nominee earlier, changing their primary structure. But the sane side said their principles were still good, they just weren’t “resonating” with the electorate.

Then the sane side let the maniacs in the asylum take over.

It started in 2010, actually. Elected that year, Florida Senator Marco Rubio had made it clear that there was only one aspiration that he desired in his political career and it wasn’t to sit in the U. S. Senate for the rest of his career, it was to be the President of the United States. In 2012, another player came along with that same philosophy, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and both of these men were embraced by the “Tea Party” element (the “Tea Party” element is actually a bastardization of the group originally started by former Texas Representative Ron Paul, but that’s another story for another time). While they didn’t announce it, both of these men were running for the GOP nomination well before they even inked the paper letting the Republican Party know they were in the race for 2016.

The Republican National Committee, after their 2012 “autopsy” and all their plans and their sanity, saw the maniacs bring that all crashing down. They were OK with Rubio (not so much with Cruz) but, after the November 2014 midterm elections Dr. Ben Carson, a darling of the “Tea Party,” began to leak information that he “was interested” in running for the GOP nomination and actually entered the race in May 2015. Instead of getting a few “qualified” candidates, the floodgates opened; by the time the spigot closed, 17 people had announced their candidacy for the Republican nomination, an unruly amount that would present logistical difficulties on several fronts.

It was one of those 17 candidates that truly exposed the maniacal – or, perhaps at its unfortunate worst, the true heart – of the Republican Party. When he made his announcement in June that he would seek the GOP nomination, billionaire Donald Trump immediately stuck his foot in his mouth by insinuating that Mexicans were “rapists, drug dealers…and a few are good people, I’m sure.” He said he would deport all illegal immigrants – estimated to be approximately 12 million in the United States – and build “a wall” on the border between Mexico and the U. S. and “force Mexico to pay for it.”

In a normal world, under normal circumstances and with a normal party that hadn’t fanned the flames of xenophobia and racism after being thumped twice in a Presidential race, Trump’s comments would have brought a direct disavowal from the party’s leadership. Instead, the party’s leadership reached out and embraced Trump while at the same time trying to look aghast at what he was saying. The sane side of the party sat on the bench and tried to reason that their fellow Republicans would come to their senses and realize the rhetoric that the Orangutan Mutant was spewing wasn’t A) becoming of a member of their party, let alone the human race, and B) would eventually move towards a better choice.

As Trump’s comments became more outrageous, his support grew rather than fell. Disparage a decorated military veteran who was a POW in Vietnam? Sure! Ridicule a handicapped journalist? He’s on it! Want me to bash women? Let’s talk about their looks and menstrual cycle! It’s now gotten to the point that Trump has discussed killing journalists and that he could “shoot someone” in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City and not lose any voter support. We’ve even reached the point where white supremacist organizations are sending Trump information over Twitter…AND HE RETWEETS IT without anyone blinking!

It’s finally gotten to be a bit much for the sane side of the Republican Party, but it is far too late as you’ve already lost your party to the lunatics. The conservative magazine National Review dedicated an entire issue last week to the question of Trump’s leadership of the Republican Party, firmly stating their opposition to his candidacy and his position as the potential GOP nominee for President. 22 conservative voices stepped up and penned essays explaining their reasoning for not supporting Trump, with a predictable response.

Trump, after lauding the magazine the week prior to the issue’s release, ripped the Review as a “failing rag” saying that Buckley (the founder of the Review) “would be ashamed of them.” The RNC, not surprisingly, sided with Trump in removing the Review from a future debate as moderator, citing that a “moderator can’t have a predisposition.” Other voices have also sounded off and it may actually have an effect.

In New Hampshire, the mood is supposedly turning against Trump despite what current polls say in the state’s upcoming primary. According to the New York Times, a sizeable number of GOP voters are anti-Trump and feel that the polls are being swayed by those that won’t be voting in the primaries. They call themselves the “68 Percent” – “the significant majority of Republican voters here who are immune to Mr. Trump’s charms and entreaties, according to a battery of voter interviews on Thursday at campaign events for his rivals,” according to the Times.

The problem is that the sane side hasn’t stood up to this point yet, to put an end to the maniacal side’s reign of terror. They haven’t been able to thwart the drive from those that feel that Donald Dickhead is the one who should be the face of the United States, the one that we should send to discuss important worldwide topics as climate change, nuclear proliferation (let’s not get into the factor that he doesn’t even understand what the “nuclear triad” is), worldwide famine or pestilence, potable drinking water for lacking areas, reasonable solutions for refugee situations (either through war or natural disasters) and other critical matters. Then there’s the home issues, such as domestic spending, military spending, Medicare/Medicaid, improving employment options and living arrangements, drug and alcohol treatment and a litany of other areas. If Trump thinks he can come in and wave a magic wand, “hire the right people” or just “it’s gonna be huge” everything away, he’s going to be greatly surprised.

Then there’s the problem with the GOP itself. For a party that ran an “autopsy” on itself in 2012, they don’t seem to have learned anything. It seems that the party’s leadership is willing to make the same mistake with the Hispanic vote, thinking that a miraculous outpouring of disaffected white voters will somehow appear out of the woodwork to somehow counteract the damage that Trump has done. Then there’s the factor that the spokesperson for your party’s leading candidate (Trump, naturally) wants to call President Obama a “half-breed” and defends it because she is one, too…not exactly the way to embrace minorities.

Finally, let’s get to the GOP…it really doesn’t seem that they are “for” anything, rather it seems that they are advocates for “taking” things. The Republican Party wants to take away the woman’s right to choose, take away gender equality and gay rights, take away “welfare” and food stamps. They’ll defend “family values” as long as they agree with them (right, Governor Huckabee?), shrink the government (unless it infringes on the military), put Jesus back in the school system (but no other religions) and create jobs (despite not introducing a jobs bill in the past six years) by cutting taxes on everyone who already has more money than they absolutely will ever need.

Perhaps the sane side should have spoken sooner. But perhaps the sane side was lulled to sleep, thinking that they had taken care of the potential problems for 2016 and just needed to keep the wolves at bay with a little red meat. Now, those wolves – the maniacs that they let grow to a size too large to keep in the kennel – are recalcitrant to the sane side’s arguments and discussions. Along the way, they may have destroyed what was once known as the Republican Party…the remainder of 2016 will decide that question.

Another Day, Another Mass Shooting…Part One

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It’s beginning to become arduously mind numbing. A delightful office party on a sunny morning in San Bernardino, CA, celebrating the holiday season was suddenly wracked by automatic gunfire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Two people, a husband and a wife with the husband actually employed by the company throwing the party (and plenty of evidence continuing to come out about), came into the gathering with this weaponry, semi-automatic rifles, handguns and bombs, blazing a trail of brains, guts and sinew across the floor of what was once a happy celebration. When the scent of gunpowder was the only thing remaining, 14 people laid dead and 17 others suffered from injuries.

Of course, the usual procedural began before the bodies had even quit leaking blood. President Barack Obama, pulled out of an interview with CBS News as the bullets flew, made his usual commentary (accurate) that we are the only civilized country that has these issues, the same speech given five days earlier when a gunman shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. President Obama also called for politicians to put aside their differences and come to agreement on a plan of action to thwart future potential attacks. Pro-guns advocates threw up the “thoughts and prayers” bullshit (more on this in a minute) rather than take any logical approach to the issue. Meanwhile, those in the middle that might actually be affected by these insane actions feel another bit of our heart, our belief in the good of man, ripped away from us.

The “thoughts and prayers” platitude (just heard President Obama utter it too, not just Republicans) is about the most useless piece of wasted words that have ever been uttered. When people lie dead and injured from situations that are simply too outlandish to comprehend, “thoughts and prayers” aren’t going to do shit for them except to make your little heart feel good that you offered something up. In reality, you’ve offered nothing except empty words that have little actual thought or prayer behind it, a simplistic vagary that has become commonplace instead of actually taking legitimate action.

With that out of the way, how do we actually go about taking care of these issues? Both sides – and why there has to be sides on this issue is completely ludicrous (we enjoy seeing people ripped apart by gunfire, spreading their life essence on the ground?) – are going to have to give on the issue.

First, the rhetoric has to be squelched. As far back as President Ronald Reagan (if not further), the depiction of the President of the United States as a Hitler-esque figure has made the rounds. Back during Reagan’s heyday, however, those photos and comparisons were held in small groups that had a more difficult time in breeding their particular stew of radicalism because of the lack of connectivity.

Those same pictures of President Bill Clinton, President George Bush, President Obama or even Hillary Clinton today can race across the United States as quickly as a fiber optic line can carry them. Along with those photos comes the rhetoric – of the federal government as “jackbooted thugs” (a term used by Campaign for Liberty and I have the e-mails), that the “New World Order” is coming or that several tragic occurrences (including 9/11) were “false flag” operations (situations “staged” by the government to allow them to impede the freedom of the ‘American’ people) – and the ability to meet and exchange radical rhetoric much easier. This leads to radicalization, whether it is on an international level or a domestic one.

No leader of the United States has looked for the destruction of the country or its beliefs. Every leader since Reagan (at the minimum) has been accused and vilified for this, however, and the rhetoric has ratcheted up as people become immune to the last outrageous statement that was made (something we’re seeing in the 2016 Presidential races also). Instead of using incendiary words – yes, words can infuse a thought or action into someone’s mind that they might not have considered previously – try disagreeing on a different level, one where actual discourse about policy comes into play.

This also applies to other aspects of our lives. Tolerance of other religions (ALL religions), respect to a person’s particular thoughts and beliefs outside of a God-based nature, even someone’s opinions on politics or other seemingly insignificant issues can, in an unfettered discussion, devolve into a frenzy of rhetoric denouncing a person to their very essence, if not directly leading to questionable talk that wouldn’t be used if a person was standing directly in front of their opponent. The rhetoric, the speech…it has to be reined in.

Before it is accused, I am all for the “freedom of speech.” I am also all for speech that advances us as a country and as a species. Continually devolving ourselves to the lowest common denominator – or even lower – doesn’t seem to be working out too well.

The next step would be to put some regulation on the weaponization of the United States. In 1994, then-President Clinton passed, along with the U. S. Congress, a ban on assault weapons for a 10-year span. That law was allowed to expire in 2004 and, although there have been attempts to reinstate the law and make it permanent, the powerful gun lobby (re:  the National Rifle Association) has been able to squelch such efforts.

There is some evidence to state that semi-automatic weapons and their availability have little to no effect on the numbers of mass shootings. It is obvious, however, since the law expired in 2004 that there has been a rise in the usage of the weapons for that purpose. From 2004 to the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, 27 mass shootings (the definition of a mass shooting is a minimum of four people either killed or injured, including the shooter, through the usage of guns) occurred; this leaves out those that have drawn attention in 2015, including this most recent shooting, the Colorado attack or the college shooting in Oregon earlier this fall.

Semi-automatic rifles are used in the military to give troops the rapid fire that is necessary during warfare to defend themselves and fight battles. The weapon is NOT meant for use by civilians; there is no practical purpose – hunting, target shooting, etc. – that these style of weapons would be necessary to find in the hands of the Average Joe. If you’re argument is that “you’re defending the country against the fascism of our government” then you need to go back and read the first part and reexamine your mindset.

Next, there needs to be some changes to other areas of our “gun culture.” People are supposed to have insurance on their vehicles that, in the event of an accident, can help to provide compensation for any victims. The ownership of weaponry needs the same treatment as this is part of responsible ownership. It would also provide for someone to report when their weapons are stolen or sold to another party because that would alleviate any responsibility for the weapon.

Finally, the left has to get used to the factor that this is a country that was built on the ownership of guns and that, treated responsibly, this isn’t a problem. In recent mass shootings three-quarters of the weapons used were legally purchased, hence back to the tightening of what weapons are available and the need to put controls in that area. But the complete eradication of guns from the U. S. society isn’t going to happen.

Through an amalgamation of some of these previous thoughts – our country’s overall rhetoric, control on some weapons, penalties for usage of weapons in serious crimes and the understanding that every situation doesn’t call for the banishment of something you disagree with – we might start to clamp down on the overall malignancy that is festering in our soul. The inability to implement some if not all of these suggestions will just continue to lead us down a road until drastic actions take place that no one will be pleased with.

Will it happen? If you see this same article again, with a different “Part” number and a different lead paragraph, then obviously it hasn’t…

As The Bullets Continue To Fly…

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Thanksgiving…a time for all of us to join together with our families and friends and truly demonstrate that we are grateful for the bounty that our lives have provided for us. I was feeling quite heartened by these spirits as Thanksgiving Day elapsed, having a great time preparing (OK, thanks to Harris Teeter, there wasn’t much preparing) our Thanksgiving dinner with my lovely wife as our son bounded about watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (probably the first year he actually paid attention to it). The very next day, the bullets continued to fly as it ruined any amount of goodwill I might have mustered from that one day.

It started on Tuesday and I did try to ignore it but, as the news continued to grow, I grew more irritated at our current condition. Last Tuesday, city officials in Chicago finally got around to releasing the dash cam video of the death of Laquan McDonald, the 17 year old who was allegedly gunned down by police in an attack that dated back MORE THAN A YEAR PREVIOUSLY. The investigation supposedly had been going on that entire time and officials reluctantly (after being forced by an FOIA request from a journalist) released the video to the general public late in the afternoon. They also decided to charge the officer responsible for the shooting, Jason Van Dyke, with first degree murder while releasing the video.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch the dash cam video of that fateful night, it is angering. With no audio from the dash cam (a violation of Chicago videotaping procedures, by the way), we see McDonald (who was found with PCP in his system in the autopsy afterwards) acting erratically as he walks down a city street carrying what would later be learned to be a pocket knife. Several police officers, either in their cars or on foot, are following McDonald from a distance as they try to get the situation under control.

What happens next is outrageous. Van Dyke allegedly pulls up on the scene and steps from his vehicle, drawing his weapon. Within six seconds of Van Dyke’s arrival on the scene, the bullets start to fly from his weapon. In total, McDonald was hit sixteen (16) times, Van Dyke emptying a full magazine into his body. There are even shots hitting McDonald’s body while he is on the ground and no longer moving. The act takes all of 10-15 seconds and no other officer fired a shot that night; in fact, Van Dyke allegedly went to RELOAD and continue firing before an officer called him off. These other officers did add to the egregious nature of the act, however, by not offering any medical assistance to McDonald, even though that is what they wrote in their reports.

Van Dyke surrendered to authorities on Wednesday and it became known that the officer had 18 complaints against him over the 14 years that he had been on the Chicago Police Department rolls, but he had never been reprimanded in any of those cases. These incidences, which ranged from “roughing up” suspects to usage of racist language, are unfortunately common – if someone is getting arrested, it sometimes slows their prosecution process down to accuse the arresting officer of some malfeasance – but perhaps in this instance were indicative of something more.

What finally got me, however, was the support of Van Dyke from his union, the Chicago branch of the Fraternal Order of Police. In a Yahoo! article Saturday, the FOP admitted they were actively trying to raise bail money for Van Dyke (first through a GoFundMe account that was closed soon after launch and then through the chapter’s website) and providing an attorney for him. One of the officers from that chapter of the FOP even stated to Yahoo! “First degree (murder) is a high bar to set and of course it is political (the charges),” indicating some level of support for Van Dyke.

I know it is the job of a union to support its members, but we’ve seen this type of story far too often. Be it in North Charleston, the streets of Staten Island or even on a playground in Cleveland, police officers nowadays are far too often shooting first and asking questions later. I leave out Ferguson because, after all the evidence was in, there were some grounds for the officer’s actions in that situation. It is then followed up by fictionalized police reports – the same documents that are admitted as EVIDENCE in a court of law – and fellow officers who tacitly support ANY officer whose actions are questioned.

The Chicago situation is particularly angering on several fronts. We’ve mentioned the lack of medical attention provided and we’ve talked about the unduly long time it took to even bring charges against the officer, but what hasn’t been mentioned are the supposed “good cops.” Sure, you can write off some of these acts as that of a “bad apple,” but “bad apples” continue to fester when the “good apples” don’t get them removed from the barrel. The continued silence and/or tacit approval (as what the Chicago FOP is doing) of anyone’s actions is wrong, nearly as bad as that of the actual killing.

There was one suggestion that I made in a discussion that, when heard by a former officer, he responded as if I was cutting off one of his limbs. Every two years, an officer should go through a thorough performance, psychiatric and financial background check and review to determine their mindset and stability to remain on the active police force. Enforcing such a program as this would have found the Fox Lake, IL officer who, after a lengthy mourning process for a “hero” that was gunned down by a trio of “bad guys,” was found to have committed suicide because he was embezzling money and threatening public employees; in the Chicago case, there could have been more focus on the complaints against Van Dyke that might have prevented what happened in 2014.

The role of law enforcement officers isn’t an easy one. It also isn’t one where you are given free reign over all who are “beneath you” by your viewpoint, to do whatever you feel is appropriate. The people you are supposed to protect also have to know you’re equipped to handle the job…if not, then you shouldn’t be on the street. Perhaps if the bi-annual reviews were done (and other things more immediate, like video cameras appropriately used), we’d weed out the “bad apples.”

If that wasn’t enough, then Friday came along. Instead of the usual reports of “Black Friday” idiocy such as an old woman having that $99 HDTV “Black Friday deal” snatched from them by an 18-year old (you know, those heartwarming Christmas tales), the attack of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, CO, dominated the news. As we know now, a man who was obviously mentally off somehow penetrated the doors of one of the most secure Planned Parenthood branches in the United States and proceeded to kill three people and injure nine others. If this doesn’t bother you, then the callous response from a particular branch of politicians is probably up your alley.

During the day on Friday and into Saturday, NOT ONE of the GOP candidates for President issued a statement in support of the employees of Planned Parenthood nor those that were injured in the shooting. A few mumbled some support for the officer who was killed in the Colorado Springs shooting, but nothing about the business or the people who were there for the services. As of Monday, these GOP “leaders” are trying to come out with their lame statements even as they try to keep from even being seen as showing any support for Planned Parenthood.

Yes, these are our choices for the Republican nomination of the President of the United States.

When you lead this country, YOU LEAD ALL. If you cannot fashion the words, “The shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, despite my objection to the clinic’s purposes, is completely wrong. The people killed and injured is a tragedy that shouldn’t occur in the United States. My campaign extends our condolences to all at the clinic and to the state of Colorado” into a cohesive statement within hours of the arrest of the suspect, then you do not have the ability to lead the nation. Just because you have an opposition to an issue is no reason to remove the humanity from it. But, then again, we are also talking about the same party who believes that shutting the door in the face of refugees is the correct course to take.

While the two issues aren’t connected, they do show the continued degradation of our society. Continually allowing the “bad apples” – whether they are politicians or police – to ruin the whole batch can be changed. The question is whether anyone is willing to take on the dirty work to do it or not.

Are the University of Missouri’s Issues Indicative of a Bigger Problem?

I have been watching the recent spate of news out of the University of Missouri with a great deal of interest but not much conclusion. This is something that bothers me because, usually after I study an issue for a period of time, I can normally come down on one side or the other in the discussion (this doesn’t mean, however, that it is set in concrete). With the current situation at Missouri the more I read, the more confusion sets in on my thoughts.

For those that have come a bit late to the story, the situation at the University of Missouri that many think exploded over the last two weeks has actually been simmering for some time. Earlier this semester on the Columbia, MO, campus, the school’s student government president stated that he was targeted with a racial slur by someone on campus. A campus group, the Legion of Black Collegians, followed up the student government president’s accusation in adding that they, too, had been targeted by people (assumedly white) who used racial slurs against their group. Then there was a swastika, drawn in fecal matter, found in a dorm bathroom.

Now, those situations are all serious incidences and require a good deal of investigation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that there was much sympathy for the Mizzou administration to taking the time to examine the issues. During the school’s homecoming back on October 10, a group of protesters actually surrounded the vehicle of school president Tim Wolfe to the point of interrupting the parade, questioning him about the investigation. According to local television reports, Wolfe’s vehicle actually bumped into one of the protestors and he didn’t interact with them during the parade or at any time following the altercation.

As to be expected, it pretty much went to Hell after that. A graduate student, Jonathan Butler, started a hunger strike with the intent to force Wolfe out of his position at the school. This didn’t have an effect on the school’s administration but, once the Tigers football team stated they would not practice nor play until Wolfe was removed from his position (with a game scheduled for this Saturday against Brigham Young University at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City set to pull in $3 million), the writing was on the wall. Earlier this week, Wolfe resigned his position and the school’s chancellor also said he would step down within the next few months.

The resulting turmoil has spread across the United States to other college campuses and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Early this morning, the Dean of Students at Claremont McKenna College in California, Mary Spellman, resigned after standing and being photographed with students dressed as Mexicans to celebrate Halloween. At Yale University, two weeks of protests regarding a “white girls only” party at a fraternity on the campus culminated in a massive march against racism on the campus. Ithaca College in New York, Smith College in Massachusetts and Guilford College in North Carolina have also felt the rumblings of racial unrest and protests.

Now it isn’t like there aren’t some issues with relations between young people that are of different cultures. Black students have discussed how their white classmates – or even their roommates – have made racially insensitive statements around them. Those black students have also discussed how they feel they are viewed on the campus. It even goes into the Hispanic community, as the situation in California demonstrates. There is also something problematic in that the group at the University of Missouri, Concerned Students 1950, draws part of their name from the year the first person of color was admitted to the university. The question is, however, is it blatant racism or just something that is inherent from upbringing?

The University of Missouri is estimated to be 80% white, with blacks making up approximately 8% of the student population (no breakdown as to the remainder of the student body). With a few exceptions, this is a breakdown that you would probably find at many public colleges and universities and, to be honest, it may be worse at private institutions. When I went to college long ago, I went to Butler University, a private school in Indianapolis that was predominantly white and, as far as I know, is still that way today. There wasn’t, however, a base of racism that ran through the school (at least to my knowledge).

Some of the incidences brought up by black students at colleges and universities across the country do have some serious racial overtones and/or problems. Being asked about how a black person styles their hair, asking a black person to teach them the latest dance moves or even state that black people’s skin is greasy because slavery made their ancestors “sweat a lot”…these are all examples of some of the idiotic questions or statements posed to black students. What these statements demonstrate isn’t inherently racism as much as it is pure stupidity.

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, though. For the most part, when 17-18 year olds get together at a college or university, they aren’t well-versed in the ways of the world. They aren’t educated as to the diversity of the world and how to actually treat people who aren’t just like you (here’s a thought, how about the Golden Rule?). Finally, they are pretty stupid to begin with; this is the reason for college is to further educate yourself about the world that is around you.

While some of these instances may be racial in nature, there are some problems on the other side also. Reportedly journalists looking to report on the protests at the University of Missouri were harassed, kicked out and generally not allowed to either videotape the proceedings or what some of the protest leaders were saying. In one particular instance, a student with the Missouri school newspaper has filed a complaint against one of the professors who was leading the Concerned Student 1950 protest, who is allegedly videotaped calling for “muscle” to eject the student reporter and his videographer from the protest.

Furthermore, there are questions as to the validity of some of the alleged situations. Part of the reason that there was so much time taken in the University of Missouri situation (that investigation – and its length – was a major complaint by Concerned Student 1950) is that there is little evidence to investigate. A student who is the victim of a racial slur thrown from a moving vehicle is going to be difficult to investigate, unless the student has a photographic memory and/or has their cellphone video running (although racism is problematic, the knee-jerk reaction completely to the other side isn’t logical either). The “poop swastika” situation, short of taking DNA samples from the entirety of the Mizzou campus (something that would violate pretty much every privacy law on the books), isn’t going to be solved quickly.

One of the problems overall is that there is still racism in the United States today. Despite what many might want to think, there is still an ugly part of the citizenry that believes people of a different ilk are beneath them and should be treated as less than human. There is still the problem of de facto racism, where it isn’t blatant but is ingrained in the psyche and practices of a particular segment of society. Does it make it right? No, but you have to recall that, even up until the mid-1970s, there was blatant racism going on in both the North and the South (busing in Boston comes to mind). Just because a black man was elected President of the United States twice doesn’t mean that “racism is over.”

On the other side, there are some things that are going to take time if they are to be rectified. Those people that “clutch a purse tighter when I come by?” Those people who ask inappropriate questions regarding your ethnicity? Those people who may shy away from you because they grew up in a 99.9% white country town? Those things aren’t going to change overnight…hell, it may not change until late in this century at the earliest. Change doesn’t happen immediately; for it to firmly take hold it has to be, like a science experiment, performed over and over again with the same outcome occurring.

There is also a problem on college campuses in the fact that they aren’t a bastion of open thought anymore. The ability to be racist isn’t something that should be protected, don’t get me wrong, but the examination of issues regarding race, religion and other areas is something that has traditionally been a discussion point at colleges and universities. The oversensitivity of one or several parties on a college campus – and their overwrought demands to “make it stop” – is something that seriously inhibits free thought, something we should strive for as humans.

Furthermore, I have problems with protesters getting no response from administrators but, as soon as an athletic team threatens to boycott a game, then the change comes rapidly. A sports team shouldn’t have an undue influence on who is in the leadership of the school. What does it say about that leadership if, recognizing that they’ll lose millions of dollars if that team doesn’t play their game, they knuckle under?

The turmoil regarding these situations – wherever they are either in the United States or in the world – are continuing to roil and it doesn’t appear that it will stop anytime soon. I am still on the sidelines, however, as there are way too many moving parts – and changing stories – to be able to draw a firm conclusion as of yet. Perhaps will some more time and the completion of some of these investigations (which SHOULD be given time to come to fruition rather than complaints about their slow pace), those of us on the outside looking in might be able to determine who is right.

What to Expect at the First Democratic Debate

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Just when you thought that the political world had calmed down, the first of a planned six debates from the Democratic Party will be held on Tuesday night in Las Vegas. The five announced candidates – former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, current Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee and former Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb – will take the stage around 9PM Eastern Time on Tuesday night at the Wynn Las Vegas, presenting their reasoning for being the party’s selection for the 2016 Presidential nomination. It may not be as visually exciting as what the Republican Party have been able to put on in their previous two clashes, with their myriad of candidates all saying the same thing but trying to sound different, but these debates are just as important as those on the GOP side.

With President Barack Obama heading off into the sunset following his two terms in office, it is up to one of these five people to try to maintain the legacy of the Democratic Party for several reasons. One, the next President will probably have at least one and potentially as many as three Supreme Court justices to name in their 4-8 year term, basically allowing for a reshaping of the Court towards a more conservative or liberal bend. Two, if the next President is one of these Democrats, they will be able to firmly ensconce the Affordable Care Act – “ObamaCare” to many – as the “law of the land” and make it even more difficult to take away through repeal as it becomes more entrenched in the U. S. psyche. And three, the Democrats would be able to maintain the current foreign policy viewpoint of diplomacy before dominance – the major difference between them and the GOP, who want a war on all days that end in a “y.”

Anyone who says that the Democrats didn’t think that this would be a simple coronation for Clinton on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July 2016 would be out-and-out lying. After getting stunningly pummeled in 2008 by Obama, Clinton did her duty in first accepting the Secretary of State role in the Obama Administration and then in not trying to usurp Obama is 2012. Her reward for this party loyalty was supposed to be a free pass to the Democratic nomination in 2016 but, along the way to the coronation party, someone threw a huge monkey wrench in the plans.

Sanders, the genial, grandfatherly Senator from the Northeast who calls himself a “democratic socialist,” has been stealing a great deal of Clinton’s thunder, especially in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Part of the appeal of Sanders has been his Quixotic-tilt against the uber-rich, banks and corporations, which has struck a chord with the young and the downtrodden. His firm stance against all military action in the Middle East has also drawn comparisons of Sanders to fellow Kentucky Senator and Presidential hopeful Rand Paul – you know, back when Rand Paul was cool before he became a Republican.

Sanders has become so popular with some Democrats that the threats against Clinton in the early primary states have forced her into campaigning much sooner than she would like to have done. The Clinton team is looking to get her through the first few primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, ready to take a second place finish behind Sanders, and prepare for the “SEC Primaries” at the beginning of March in the South, a traditional stronghold of the Clintons that would allow her to be able to thwart a Sanders attack through numerous victories.

There are a few differences between Clinton and Sanders, but there is more diversity when you toss the other candidates in the mix. O’Malley is a “law and order” type that, as mayor of Baltimore, was able to lower crime rates and improve the city’s image (it is also alleged that the tactics employed by O’Malley – the “stop and frisk” utilized by police officers, in particular, where officers could stop anyone for investigation despite not visually committing a crime – were a major impetus for the Baltimore riots of earlier this summer). Chafee is a former Republican who first became an independent before moving to the Democratic Party, while Webb is almost a DINO (Democrat in Name Only) as he supports the “close the border first, then maybe amnesty” program popular with Republicans as well as reining in the Environmental Protection Agency and its regulatory authority.

The 800-pound gorilla in the room will be the specter of current Vice President Joe Biden. Supposedly considering a third run for President, Biden has not committed to this debate as of Monday, but CNN has stated that a podium will be on hand should Biden state he wants to take part in the festivities. With Biden polling better than Sanders (but still behind Clinton), Biden would be an immediate (and strong) challenger to Clinton, forcing her to fend off not only Sanders but also Biden.

What exactly is going to happen in the debate? First off, Sanders and Clinton – and throw Biden into the mix should he show up – will not attack each other as the GOP candidates did in their second debate. First, moderator Anderson Cooper and his panelists, CNN reporter/anchor Dana Bash, CNN anchor Don Lemon and CNN en Espanol’s Juan Carlos Lopez, are not going to ask the “challenging” questions that saw the Republicans rip into each other during their debates. “I think it’s just as interesting to kind of learn about some of these candidates who the American public doesn’t really know much about,” Cooper stated in an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources over the weekend, “as it is to hear from some of the candidates you do.”

There has also been a remarkable bonhomie between Sanders and Clinton in that they haven’t brought the knives out against each other. Sanders, in particular, has been given multiple opportunities to rip into Clinton over a variety of problems she has faced (her private e-mail server, her work with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative and how it affected her time as Secretary of State, her vote for the Iraq War in 2003, etc.), but he has refused to do any mudslinging and instead concentrated on his message. That is a bit refreshing in this current day and age of politics.

Both Clinton and Sanders are going to continue with their own presentations of what their plans as President will be, which differ in some areas. Sanders in particular has made many suggestions regarding what he would do as President – free college for all students, raising the minimum wage to $15 nationwide, universal health care (going beyond ObamaCare) – but he will also have to answer about how he’s going to pay for those things; if Sanders’ plan to increase taxes on the 1% (for your information, that would be anyone who makes more than $344,000) and reduce military spending doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny, then his other plans won’t be taken seriously.

The ones who have nothing to lose are O’Malley, Chafee and Webb. Any airtime they get during the debates would be welcome as the three men currently are barely even making an impact on the polls (Webb is averaging .9%, O’Malley .6% and Chafee .2%, according to Real Clear Politics and their national polls). They also have to make viewers/voters remember them, so taking some shots at Clinton, Sanders and/or Biden (if he shows up and he’s polling at 18.6%) might help them out. If these candidates can’t get a bump out of this debate, they may not get another shot at the next debate in November, especially if Biden announces a run for the Presidency and their numbers stay the same.

One thing that will NOT happen is any of the candidates making a serious faux pas. All of them are experienced debaters and, as such, will be able to withstand the slings and arrows that come from their opponents. Only the introduction of Biden into the mix (due to preparation by the candidates for those that are currently on the dais and not an 11th hour introduction of another player) or a change in tactics by Sanders regarding his “no mudslinging” tactics with Clinton might change the game.

It might not be as electric as the GOP debates have been to this point, but the Democratic debate should provide viewers/voters with more substantive information on the candidates. It will also mark the drive towards next November when the next President of the United States will be chosen.