we deserve better

Hell, yeah. It was a breath of fresh air to see first Tulsi Gabbard and now, yes, even Donald Trump, call out and expose the supposed Covid relief bill Congress pushed through. If it wasn’t already apparent, the approval of this ‘bill’ demonstrates such open contempt for the American people that no doubt can remain in the mind of any thinking person about the breathtaking, evil corruption in our “representation.” 

The 5,000-plus pages of brazen handouts to an astonishing array of entities, both foreign and domestic, under the guise of Covid relief is beyond insulting, it is criminal. The people we’re paying in Washington need to be fired, yesterday. 

And where, by the way, was incoming Joe Biden while this reprehensible act played out? After the fact, he suggests that he’ll push for more assistance in the next bill. Sorry, Joe, but your “down payment” is a day late and a dollar short. Come on, man.

Failing an overthrow of Congress, I’d settle at this point for a clean Covid Relief Bill, with none of the outright theft and sleight of hand that constitutes the majority of what Congress just passed. This would be a bill that includes actual relief for the people. And that does not amount to any 5,000 pages, mind you. While that’s going down, let’s boot Pelosi, too, and have some real discussion on healthcare for pete’s sake.

The people. That’s us. The ones paying these cretins. The ones paying for all this corruption. Wake up. Step up. We deserve better.

unthinkable

Not gonna lie. This presidential election is a sad commentary on the American people. It is unthinkable that with all the great minds and big hearts in this country of 330 million people, these are the candidates and leaders we allowed to rise to the top. At a time when we really need dedicated leaders working on our behalf, all we have are a bunch of self-serving players in Congress and beyond. We let this happen. And we continue to let it happen. The power lies ultimately with the people. We need a new party. Yesterday.

descent into depravity

Yesterday, the United States almost had its first federal execution since 2003. The scheduled execution was halted by a last minute ruling that questioned whether the intended pentobarbital method constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Late yesterday, the Supreme Court expedited things in a whirlwind, handing over a 5-4 decision at 2 a.m. allowing the execution to proceed. The dissenting justices question the constitutionality of capital punishment.

Why, after all these years, and in the midst of a ‘pandemic’ where everyone breathlessly watches daily death counts in manifest fear, is the federal government aggressively pursuing the death penalty? 

It solves nothing in any given case. It can only be designed as a demonstration of the absolute and brutal power the government is prepared to wield against its own citizenry, and serves to engender a climate of fear — as if we don’t have enough of that going around. This, while giving societal ills the brush-off.

There is no man or woman who can properly sit in judgment with the power to dole out death. Aside from the fundamental moral void of such a presumption, we have seen far too many instances in which “justice” has been delivered to the wrong person. It is a revolting hubris that presumes the power to deliver death in judgment. It is depraved. It is all the more barbaric in the hands of a government so assiduously courting the disaffection of the people on so many fronts.

Last night’s ruling paves the way for four executions in the near term death queue, with more on the calendar later this year. Given that there have been three federal executions carried out since 1963, this is a disturbingly enthusiastic leap back into this sickening protocol. According to the Bureau of Prisons, a total of 37 federal executions took place since 1927 — that’s a span of almost 100 years. The administration plans to make up for lost time, apparently.

No. Stop. It is time to absolutely abolish the death penalty, both at the federal and state level. It is time to halt our descent into further depravity.

yup, and science is real

We are hearing “science” every day. Our lives have been torn asunder the last few months because “science.” 

Except it hasn’t really been science we’ve been hearing. We’ve been hearing selected pieces of science accompanied by some mixed up data that serves a specific narrative.

As we all know, if what someone has to say does not agree with the selected science of the World Health Organization, it is likely to be censored on platforms like Facebook or YouTube or Twitter. When you’re doing that, it’s not science anymore, it’s dogma.

Way back when, Galileo was censored by the Pope because of his belief in a heliocentric system. He was finally hauled up before the Inquisition and condemned to life imprisonment for “heresy.” Hmm.

Or how about the somewhat less well known Ignaz Semmelweis who made the observation back in the mid-19th century that hand-washing could positively impact mortality rates in the hospital where he worked as an obstetrician? Others in his profession did not appreciate the inference that they were ‘dirty’ and it didn’t end well for him.

Even Einstein’s theory of relativity was largely dismissed by many for a good long while.

My point is simple. I believe in keeping an open mind and being fully informed. We need to hear it all. We need to discuss all of it.

We don’t need Big Brother-style fact checkers out there filtering what we can and can’t read or consider. We need to recognize that science has limitations, and that it can be politicized, subverted for particular purposes, or handled incorrectly.

We need to hear about all of the research, not just some of it. We need to hear about more than the industry-funded, cherry-picked studies. We need to entertain opposing points of view rather than rejecting them out of hand with scorn and labels of quackery. And, as always, we need to follow the money.

I do not believe the WHO is the final arbiter of TRUTH. Nor is Anthony Fauci or Deborah Birx. Or Gavin Newsom or Gretchen Whitmer or Andrew Cuomo.

There is so much money and power involved in the current life-impacting decision-making, that we cannot afford to settle for dogma.

We want science. And we want it in the context of objectivity and freedom.

defund … something?

but let’s not defund the postal service!

We have seen a lot of protests. We have seen statues pulled down, institutions renamed, products scheduled for rebranding. We have seen a lot of discussion, a lot of reading, a lot of educating. 

What we have not seen is a whole lot of purposeful response from government.

Oh yeah, we’ve had police crackdowns and shows of police solidarity. We’ve seen Trump get right on it to make sure folks who tear down statues as they seek social change pay a hefty price for it. We’ve seen our legislature gin up reform bills designed to go exactly nowhere. We’ve seen the presumptive Democratic nominee suggest reform, and, oh, more funding to re-educate police (again).

So, for all that the people made it pretty damn clear they want change, it’s kind of a nothing sandwich from our illustrious “representation.” How could anyone be surprised?

Seems like the government rarely rises to the moment unless it’s on behalf of the only class they care about. 

So as we call for defunding of police, i.e., shrinking police budgets while diverting funds to programs that actually help build socially and economically healthier communities and individuals, I cannot help but ask, why stop there?

I can think of a lot of things that make excellent candidates for the defunding treatment. 

For starters, how about the legislature? They seem to be doing jack on behalf of the people these days. What say we just cut the budget for salaries and benefits for pretty much everyone in the House and the Senate right now? We could put those funds to actual good use. That’s at least $300 million in salaries and benefits alone, but if we throw in other federal departments and agencies, we’re talking hundreds of billions.

For example, how about the Environmental Protection Agency? I think it’s pretty clear it’s become an anti-environmental sort of body — time to cut the budget for that. There’s more than $8 billion with which we could actually do something. We could net a few billion more if we defund the sold-out FDA while we’re at it. The Department of Agriculture – almost $150 billion. We could net another $55 billion or so if we give the CIA and the rest of the National Intelligence Program the defunding treatment.

How about the war machine? Sure Sen. Bernie Sanders is proposing a 10 percent cut to military spending, but it’s almost guaranteed that legislators will make sure that the initiative goes nowhere — like they always have. We could shift an astonishing amount of money from military endeavors to peace endeavors. The 10% that Bernie Sanders is talking about amounts to $74-frick’n-billion.

How about prisons? The US predilection for locking people up translates to $80 billion each year in taxpayer dollars, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. I think we all know we’re overdue for scaling back on incarceration.

How about animal agriculture? We currently subsidize this environmentally destructive, human and animal health hazardous industry with about $38 billion in taxpayer funds. Come on, this is a no brainer. What could we do with $38 billion?

This is just a smattering of budget items that leap to mind.

It is not to say that there aren’t some worthy programs and purposes to which our tax dollars are directed, but it blows my mind the way our government just squanders a jaw-dropping amount of our tax dollars for things none of us actually want or need. Many of these things we pay for are things we actually resent or to which we have ethical objections, while there are other things that go lacking.

I think it’s high time for a little defunding.

a better candidate

We learned yesterday that Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden does not support police defunding. That didn’t take long.

Considering that Biden was responsible for the 1994 tough-on-crime bill that exacerbated problems rather than solve them, his rush to rule out defunding should come as no surprise.

It’s interesting that a lot of folks seem uncomfortable with defunding. I would guess that comes from a lack of understanding, and, of course, resistance to change. 

Defunding doesn’t mean we drop everything overnight and suddenly find ourselves in some kind of ‘wild, wild West’, every person for him/her self. No, it means reallocating funds to support people in the ways they really need help, so that crime and distress are not such prevalent realities for so many people in the first place. It also means developing a new vision for the kind of policing we really need and want in our communities, and then making that happen, too. It also means rejecting a form of policing that does not serve our population well.

It’s a radical step toward making actual systemic changes. And it showcases other areas that need radical overhaul. Our mental health, education, and health systems are not so great, nor are they equitable. All of them need reform. Plus, defunding forces us to look at the fundamentals of meaningful work for a meaningful wage, secure housing, and availability of nutritious food. 

We’re talking about basic respect for each human being.

But back to Biden. He’s got a lock on the nomination. He’s doing well, by doing nothing, in recent polling against Trump. It’s pretty sad commentary that this is what we’re down to.

Biden may be a familiar, perhaps friendly-looking face, but take a serious look at his record in terms of peace, justice, and equality. This is a candidate that has authored legislation that has hurt people of color, among others. He is another candidate who has allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him. His cognitive abilities are seriously under question. His engineered rise to the forefront has alienated many progressive voters, perhaps for the long haul. And he has made no effort throughout the campaign thus far to instill confidence or enthusiasm, hat tip to corporate donors.

Folks, we can do better than this.

We should not be surprised that there is actually a movement afoot. Believe it or not, a March Against Biden is set for June 27. These are not Trump supporters. Nope, these are voters who fear a loss to Trump because Biden is such a demonstrably lousy candidate. They are all about finding a better candidate. Check out @BidenMarch on Twitter.

Dems, are you listening? It’s not too late. We really could have a decent candidate if we put our minds to it.

We are witnessing firsthand the power of the people in the ongoing protests. Things are changing in our society entirely due to the people’s fearless and persistent demands right now. Another thing we can absolutely demand is a better candidate, not just a perhaps-lesser evil. One actually worth voting for.

time for a new party

veru5_19_20

It was only early March when the Super Tuesday coup saw Joe Biden, the candidate who hardly bothered to campaign, magically sweep up rival candidates, votes, and endorsements. Then, suddenly we were all caught up in the pandemic vortex, and a month later Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign.

The pandemic commanded our full attention, also raising a lot of questions about leadership, policies, healthcare, economics, rights, freedom.

In that context, we still gather a simmering steam towards November.

We have had ample opportunity to watch Trump and his cohorts at the helm. We’ve seen the Dems in action, too, repeatedly turning their backs on the working populace they supposedly champion. We even occasionally get glimpses of the presumptive nominee, Biden, giving a shout-out from his basement.

This is the man the establishment Dems somehow expect people to line up for? Who puts up a candidate for whom there is zero energy in the electorate? A candidate clearly coping with cognitive decline. A candidate with a predilection for hair sniffing. A candidate who must carry around the baggage of his own track record and lies even before the contest really begins.

The Trump campaign lately put up a website sadly featuring Biden’s difficulties in parody. Truth Over Facts derives its name from a Biden quote. And it is laugh out loud stuff. It was inevitable. But if you’re going to point the ‘for shame’ finger at anyone, point it at the Dems who have foisted this man onto the presidential stage.

One can’t help but wonder if the deliberate intent of the Super Tuesday coup was specifically to get Trump re-elected. They swept the popular agenda and grass roots candidate off the table and installed an unfit candidate with a dysfunctional neoliberal agenda – to the extent that he has one at all.

One cannot even bother to blame Bernie Sanders’ voters for the next Trump win — the Dems engineered this situation with brute force. Lesser-of-two-evilism notwithstanding, there’s a percentage of those voters that have DemExited for good now that they’ve been pushed over the cliff.

I don’t think the Dems will lose any sleep over it though. As we have seen with their pandemic priorities, the Dems are perfectly fine with their Republican agenda. They don’t even bother playing Good Cop Bad Cop anymore. In fact, at this point, it’s not so much that we have Red and Blue factions. Nope, we just have one party, may as well be Purple.

We deserve better than this. The planet deserves better than this.

It’s time for a new party to come to the forefront. One that doesn’t just give lip service to the working and broader populace while doing the bidding of the one percent. The Movement for a People’s Party launched in the wake of the 2016 election, and it is gaining momentum. Maybe the Green Party will be part of the ultimate equation. It’s a wave that looks surfable.

If we don’t have a revolution first, I think we’ll see a People’s Party take center stage for 2024. Then, we might really have something worth voting for. Sadly, it’s not really clear we can afford to wait that long.