Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Amway-fication of the Department of Education

If there’s one thing we learned from the November 8 election, it’s that Georgians care about education and their children.  Governor Deal’s plan to take over our schools was repudiated by 60% of the voters.  Who would have thought this vote would be so meaningless, so fast?  On one hand, we voted overwhelmingly not to dismantle our public education system, while at the same time, voted for a President who ran on an education platform of doing just that! 

Everyone knew Trump promised to build a wall.  Everyone knew Trump promised to wage war on immigrants.  Everyone knew he promised to repeal ObamaCare.  But, how many people knew Trump even had an education plan, not to mention a plan to use public money for unregulated for-profit charter schools?  Yeah, that one kinda slipped by a bunch of people.

Trump’s sound bite rallies only allowed for time to say he would abolish Common Core. Betcha didn’t understand that to mean the entire elimination of public education, as we know it.  Trump’s plan calls for the states collectively to contribute $110 billion of their education budgets and the Federal would chip in $15-20 billion in Title 1 monies that go to schools in the poorest areas.  In turn, Trump’s plan calls for each student from K-12, be allocated $12,000 per year for school vouchers.  That will send parents on a shopping spree among private and religious schools, charter schools, and even on-line schools. 

Just in case you think that was just “campaign talk” by Trump and he really doesn’t mean it, look no further than Exhibit A, his pick for U.S. Secretary of Education—Betsy DeVos.  Unless you hail from Michigan, you may not have heard of her.  It is said she is worth $4 billion dollars by marrying into the Amway fortune.  She is former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party.  She is described as an education activist, even though she has never worked in education, and neither she, nor her children ever attended a public school.  Ms. DeVos has deep ties to the Christian Reform community in Michigan.  She is founder and chairman of the American Federation of Children, which advocates for school choice reform.  She has made it her life’s work to destroy public education in Michigan, spending tens of millions to steer public money away from public education and into State charter programs.  Further, thanks to Ms. DeVos’ unwavering support, private companies run 80% of Michigan’s charter schools.  That, my friends, is the future of education in the U. S. A.  The End.

No!  Wait!  It doesn’t have to be the end.  Betsy DeVos, nominee for U. S. Secretary of Education, must first be confirmed by the Senate.  Hold that thought.

Trump’s appointments thus far have been abysmal; the appointment of Steve Bannon, the leader of the Alt-right movement; the appointment of disaffected General Mike Flynn.  They do not have to be confirmed by the Senate.  So forget them!

South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley has been picked by Trump as U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations.  Her job will be to keep the Secretary of State informed on issues presented to the world body and inform the Secretary of State and the President on her recommendations on how to handle these issues.  Her pick was not due to her vast experience, but her loyalty to Trump.  Haley is probably one of the least prepared for this job in recent history.  In ordinary times, she would probably never be confirmed.  But with so many more important nominations to oppose, we must pick our battles. 

The future of our children is worthy of a battle.  We cannot put our entire education system in the hands of a person simply because she is a billionaire whose hobby has been making profits for investors in Charter Schools, procuring public funding for Christian schools, But Betsy DeVos does!   and busting teacher unions.  With Betsy DeVos at the helm of the Department of Education, the constitutional lines between separation of Church and State will be erased. 

We Georgian’s sent a clear message on November 8, that our children’s education belongs in the hands of parents and school boards.  This is one more battle we must fight.

Call our U. S. Senators today to make your voice heard and say “No” to Betsy DeVos.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Majority of Americans Did Not Vote for THIS

Since the election, I have been experiencing grief.  Last week, I was in the first stage of grief--denial.  This week I have moved on.  Moved on, that is, to stage two--anger.  Since all people do not adhere to the five stages of grief we hear so much about, I will not allow myself to experience the other stages; three being bargaining, four being depression, and five being acceptance.  I will never accept bigots, racists, homophobes, xenophobes, anti-Semites, and Communists taking over my country.  As long as I stay in the anger stage, I will be motivated to stay involved and take action to expose these horrible people.

A “coup” has taken place in our country!  No, not the kind of coup where they come in with guns blazing.  This coup was legal for the most part, unless you don’t count Russia’s interference with our election and the role the FBI played.  It started with a con man so skilled he convinced half a nation that white was black and black was white.  Now our Government is being over thrown by one bad appointment after another by Trump.  With each successive appointment, we are moving closer to a country we will no longer recognize. 

Let me introduce the men who will be running our country and deciding the policies of this Administration. These men do not have to go before the Senate to be confirmed.  There is no background investigation to determine if they can qualify for a Security Clearance.  It’s handed to them and all the government’s most sensitive secrets.

Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.  He will be irrelevant surrounded by all the extreme alpha males in Trump’s inner circle. They will eat him.

We have the leader of the white supremacy movement, Steve Bannon, as White House Chief Strategist.  I hear that title is being changed to Chief Alt-White House Strategist or Chief Anti-Semite. 

Most recently, Lt. General Michael Flynn was named by Trump to be his National Security Advisor.  Flynn served as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama.  He was forced out of this agency due to his chaotic leadership style, his extreme right-wing views and opposition to the Administration’s policies. His subordinates referred to Flynn’s repeated dubious assertions as “Flynn Facts.” He became a lobbyist for anti-America Turkey and Russia, although he never legally registered as a foreign agent required by U. S. Law. He stood on the stage at the Republican National Convention and led the chant, “Lock her up!” He was a commentator on Putin’s state run television.  “Russia is an evil empire.”  Not my words, but the words of President Ronald Reagan. 

In most books and movies depicting coups, it’s always the disaffected General, isn’t it?
When I was a teenager, I read my first political thriller; a book called Seven Days of May, written by Fletcher Knebel, in 1962. It’s still fresh in my mind. It was based loosely on a real-life character, General Edward Walker, a disaffected General during JFK’s Administration.  In the book, a plot was uncovered to over-throw our democracy by a fictional General, but for the opposite reason than we are seeing now.  General Walker and the fictional General were “anti-communist.”  Disaffected General Flynn is “pro-communist.”  President John F. Kennedy read the book and said, “This could actually happen.”  I bet he never fathomed THIS could happen!

Trump as President.  I recall Ohio Governor John Kasich stating that when Eric Trump offered him the Vice-President position, Trump said, “You can be in charge of all domestic and foreign affairs policies in the Trump White House.”  That’s pretty much everything of the presidency, except the pomp and circumstances, red carpet, “Hail to the Chief” and fancy State dinners. And, don’t forget the large rallies he vows he will still keep having.  Trump, thrives on the adulation received from large crowds. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has mass rallies and parades, not U.S. Presidents. Trump does not want to govern; he wants to entertain, make more money, and be adulated.

It is comforting, in my angered state, that people who agree with me won the popular vote 63,045,266, topping Trump’s 61,607,950. Trump received 47% of votes cast.  Not a mandate!  On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I will be thankful for this.

Don’t miss the Presidential pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey this week.  This tradition dates back to President Abe Lincoln, but it may be the last you will see for a few years.  Trump is still calling for the re-incarceration of the five minority teenagers convicted in the Central Park rape and murder case in 1989, that were later exonerated by DNA evidence and a confession from the actual murderer.  That leads me to believe that he will not pardon the turkey, but send it to Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) instead.

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you make a memory!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

You Asked for Change--You're Gonna Get It!

Donald Trump was elected President because the majority of the people wanted change.  Well, you’re gonna get it! 

I could put on a happy face and tell you how everything is going to be great and wonderful.  I could say all the things you want to hear to make you feel better about this election. That would be disingenuous.  That’s not who I am.  The truth is, I do not believe the change you voted for will ultimately be the change you sought. 

I get that you didn’t like President Obama, but he is an honorable man and has been a role model for our children.  I get that many of you did not like Michelle Obama, as well.  She wore a dress that bared her arms and was castigated.  The future First Lady’s pictures are all over the Internet posing nude, full frontal.  Melania Trump, by anyone’s old standards, would not be considered an honorable woman.  She is now being compared to Jackie Kennedy.  That’s an insult to Jackie O’s memory.  We used to be a moralistic country at heart.  Is this the change you wanted?

In past elections, such as when Republicans Ronald Reagan and the two Bush’s were elected, I awoke the next morning at peace with the decision America made.  These were honorable men and the policies they supported were not extreme and did not threaten our democracy.  I awoke the morning after this election with a knot in my stomach that will not go away. 

Trump is not an honorable man.  Honorable men do not disrespect and threaten entire races of people and religions.  Honorable men do not brag about sexually assaulting women.  Honorable men do not mock handicapped people and belittle Gold Star families.  Honorable men don’t have 55 lawsuits pending when they are elected.   Thanks to Trump, our country has a new standard for hypocrisy and pathological liars.  By electing Trump President, you put your stamp of approval on him and changed the meaning of what it means to be an honorable man and consequently changed our America.  Is that the change you voted for?

Speaker Paul Ryan, emboldened by Trump’s election, said today, “Medicare privatization is happening!”  He claims that will be part of the replacement of Obamacare.  He falsely claims that Medicare Trust Fund is going broke.  On the contrary, the Trust Fund has been extended an additional eleven years because of Obamacare.  Is this the change you wanted when you voted?

When I look at Trump’s probable cabinet picks, my angina kicks in.  Do you consider Rudy Giuliani a change?  He’s a man driven by hate and revenge and made a living off being Mayor during 911.  Is Chris Christy the change you wanted?  What about Newt Gringrich?  He’s been there, done that, and been rejected.  And Sarah Palin, she gives all women a bad name.  General Michael Flynn running anything in our Government?  He works for Russian television.  He’s not even qualified to pass the US’s standards for a security clearance.  Admittedly, we do need a brain surgeon on staff, i.e. Dr. Ben Carson. I won’t even list the alt-right, fringe flame-throwers in line to shape our new, yes new, country.  But, is that the change you wanted?  All of these people and many more are in the basket of deplorables. 

I know most of you will shrug me off as an ignorant lib-tard (or worse) and claim I speak from sour grapes.  Call me what you want, but call me “Scared.”  In fact, I’ve never known so much fear in my life.  I am not afraid for myself but for my children, grandchildren, and all the people Trump has marginalized, including all women.  These are my emotions and I have the right to have them.  I will not “change” because you voted for “change.”  We all have to suffer from the consequences of Tuesday’s decision and that puts us all in the same boat, but not in the same basket.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

UNFAIR AND UNBALANCED: No Matter Who The President Is

UNFAIR AND UNBALANCED: No Matter Who The President Is: Don’t bother reading this column!   ‘Cause I ain’t got notin’ to say!   Due to newspaper deadlines, I’m writing this column three days b...

No Matter Who The President Is

Don’t bother reading this column!  ‘Cause I ain’t got notin’ to say!  Due to newspaper deadlines, I’m writing this column three days before the election, and it won’t be out in print until the day after the election.  If you chose to read anyway, I guess you’ll have to use your imagination as to how I’m feeling at the moment you read this…. I’m either crying tears of joy, or tears of fear.

I thought of writing with the assumption that Hillary won, complete with a banner headline “Hillary Wins!”  However, not that I’m that old, but I’ve seen the collector’s framed newspaper headline all my life, “Dewey Defeats Truman.”  I decided not to go down that road.

There are a few things that can be said no matter if there is a President Clinton or (as my fingers tremble on the keyboard), a President Trump.  November the 8th will not be the end of the ugliness and hate that has reared its head in our country.  In fact, it is just the beginning.  There is a deep polarization in our country and that gulf won’t heal at the inauguration of a President.  Our country will be engaged in a feud far worse than the Hatfields and McCoys.  My biggest fear is that our nation will accept this divide as our new normal. 

Another fallout from this contentious election has been the divide that exists in many families and many friendships.  I have heard many stories about the dissension caused by this election.  One of my friends was “un-friended on Facebook by his own mother.  Luckily, most of my family members are Democrats so there have only been some minor skirmishes.  I’ve had some big disappointments with some friends, however.  Hopefully this won’t be a lasting situation.

Regardless of who the President is we need to confront the actions of Putin and his hacking of our Internet sites to influence our democratic elections.  Putin’s conduit, Julian Assange, aka WikiLeaks, have got to be shut down for any peace to exist in our country.  Eric Snowden needs to be made an example by bringing him back to the U.S. by whatever means necessary to face charges for treason. 

Regardless of who the President is, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) needs a good housecleaning.  For our Democracy to work, we must have faith in our justice system.  We need to be able to take the word of the FBI as the gospel.  Even under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, we never questioned the legitimacy of their investigations.  With the eleventh hour interference with the election by James Comey, and the lies leaked last week attributed to FBI sources about a non-existent investigation into the Clinton Foundation, the FBI has lost credibility. It has been said that the FBI employees refer to itself as Trumplandia. From the reports, it would seem that most of the lies and innuendo is being performed by the New York City field office of the FBI in cahoots with former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani.  That office would be a good place to start, right after Comey is fired.  And yes, he can be fired, contrary to popular belief.  When a Director loses his ability to lead his agency, the President may fire him.  As my Mama used to say, “He has gotten too big for his britches.”

The Director of the FBI reports to the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, who is Comey’s boss. Over all she has done a good job, but she has been impotent to stand up against Comey.  She needs to go, too.

Another thing we can talk about, regardless of whomever the President may be is the Media.  Liberal or conservative outlets have played a major role in making this election so convoluted that we voters have not been able to discern the truth.  Whatever happened to the “Equal Time Rule?”  Granted, the rule never applied to “news” but political rallies day after day, shown in their entirety is not news.  And giving one candidate a billion dollars of free advertising is not equal in anybody’s book.  I hope the Media will hold an autopsy on how their coverage influenced this election in its entirety and make appropriate changes for future elections.

I had the great honor of being up close and personal with the Honorable Congressman John Lewis last Friday. I saw the scars on his head from being beaten for what he believes in.  For me, it was a very fitting reminder of why I do, what I do. 

I suppose I had more to say than I thought.  Next week, I’m sure I’ll have more to say than you ever wanted to hear, no matter who the President is.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hillary Was "Swift-Boated" by FBI Director

This is important to keep in mind as we tick off the next few days until the election. FBI Director James Comey is a Republican appointed by President Obama.  He worked in the Bush Administration, he contributed to John McCain’s campaign, he contributed to Mitt Romney’s campaign, and he publicly professes to be a Republican.  Now he announces just eleven days before the election that he “may” or “may not” have some new evidence against Hillary Clinton which “may” or “may not” be pertinent to Hillary’s email investigation.  He gave clues leading one to think this email was discovered while investigating Anthony Weiner’s sexting of a 15-year old girl, but has nothing to do with Hillary or her private server.  He further stated that it “may be a while” before he can determine if it’s “something” or “nothing.” Huh?

Just imagine if the shoe was on the other foot; that the FBI Director was a Democrat in a Republican administration. Imagine if you can, under the same circumstances, a Democrat dropped a “dirty bombshell” like this one, just days away from the most historic election in our lifetime. No doubt he would be on his way to Gitmo by now and experiencing a hard landing by Pence’s pilot. 

Democrats are used to our candidates being treated this way in the eleventh hour of their campaigns.  Comey’s remarks or lack of remarks, takes “swift-boating” to an all-new level.  Trump, a proven sexual predator according to his own words, is calling Hillary the most corrupt politician in history. Democrats or the “corrupt” Media, are not talking about Trump’s trial next month for fraud with Trump University, or his trial in December for child rape. Instead, they have more emails, which were not written by Hillary, to read. Meanwhile, Hillary has NEVER, I repeat NEVER, been proven to be corrupt! 

I personally think someone got to Comey!  Someone, like a bigly game show producer.  Perhaps he is doing a reality audition for the host of a new version of “I’ve Got A Secret!”  Either that, or auditioning for the starring role in remake of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” 

Or maybe, just maybe, he is a victim of the thirty-five year old conspiracy by Republicans to destroy Hillary Clinton, no matter what it takes. Maybe he caved to the threats of the Republican controlled Judiciary Committees.  Or maybe, just maybe, he’s creating his place in history.  He could replace J. Edgar Hoover as the most infamous FBI Director in our history.  After all, even J. Edgar never (openly) exercised such influence over the outcome of our Presidential election.  We will be debating this issue until the Zombies come.

This is my last Unfair and Unbalanced column before “E” Day.  For the past sixteen months, I have made my case against Trump and for Hillary.  Here is an excerpt from my column of April 15, 2015:
Nothing Hillary ever does can be low-key.  That’s why I feel sorry for her.  She’s obviously an incurable glutton for punishment. She is the most vilified, investigated public figure/politician in history.  Everything about her is scrutinized.  From the way she wears her hair, to what pantsuit she wears, her cankles and other bodily features, and most of all, down to a complete dissection of every word she utters. Is there any wonder she appears guarded, stoic, and distrustful of the media?  Sadly, she “ain’t seen notin’ yet!” 

In this same column, I asked the question, “Do we want a country of extremes, or one that is more tolerant?”  At that time, I couldn’t fathom just how ungodly extreme a Trump presidency could be. 

Further, at the end of this same column sixteen months ago, as I was urging voters to have the courage to vote for her, I wrote, “If Hillary is tough enough to withstand what she’s going to face, then so are you!”  She has, and she will! 

As a reminder when you vote, don’t sell our children to Governor Deal!  Vote NO on Amendment 1.  And, don’t sell our Justice system to the Georgia Legislators.  Vote NO on Amendment 3.  In fact, since we weren’t shown the respect of public hearings on these Amendments, just Vote NO on all of them.  Also, come to think of it, Republicans have no opposition in Monroe County.  So, as Trump says, “What do you have to lose?”  Send a message that you’re not happy with the direction Republicans are taking our State and our country.  Just Vote the Straight Democratic Ticket!