Monday, October 29, 2018

We Don't Need a Governor that Appeals to Hate Groups

This is my last column before the most anticipated and most important mid-term elections in my lifetime.  And that’s a long time!  Many of you have already voted, or like me, you will vote on election day, November 6th.  I don’t like voting early for the same reason I don’t open Christmas presents before Christmas day—it’s anti-climatic.  I love the feeling of democracy in the air when I enter my polling place.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted and stressed out about all the recent violence and hatred in our country.  Last week alone brought us bombs, shooting of Jews worshiping in their synagogue, and two blacks being shot while grocery shopping in Kentucky.  As the hate crimes grow in number and the leader of our country continues his hate-filled rhetoric, there appears no end in sight.  The lives of the families of these victims and witnesses will be forever changed.  We, however, go about our daily lives giving little thought of how we can have an impact on hate crimes being our new status quo.

This election will have little affect on hate crime violence.  However, it’s a good first step.  We need climate change!  The leader of our country has created an environment that emboldens mentally ill people to act on their worse urges.  George Bush said, “We need a kinder, gentler nation.”  People scoffed at that slogan at the time.  Nobody would do that today.  The Republicans have been unable to make this a kinder, gentler climate, so let’s give Democrats a chance.  What the hell do we have to lose? 

I saw something that made my blood run cold.  It was a picture of Republican candidate for Governor, Brian Kemp, with his arm round the shoulder of a man.  Kemp had a very broad smile and was giving a “thumbs up” in front of the chest of the man wearing a t-shirt that read something to the affect “Allah is not my God.”  Kemp’s thumb blocked the rest of the wording.  He was also wearing a Trump hat.  This man was James J. Stachowiak of Evans, GA.  He is one of Georgia’s most outspoken neo-Nazis, white supremacist and is on the FBI’s radar (I hope!).  Stachowiak calls himself “Patriot” and in a YouTube video (since taken down) he asked everyone to shoot black women, children, and Black Lives Matter members in the back. In the video, Patriot held a high-caliber bullet up to the camera, which had “BLM” inscribed on it and said “this is the solution.”  Stachowiak recently harassed Stacey Abrams at her campaign event, as well as a black female veteran. 

Stachowiak is a dangerous man.  He has stated that if Abrams is elected, there will be resistance and it will be met by the “Three Percenter” movement, a militia group.  I would like to point out there is an active “Three Percenter” group (neo-Nazi) right here in Monroe County.

Before you Republicans get your panties in a wad, I am not suggesting that Brian Kemp condones white supremacy.  I am pointing out that the persona Kemp has created with his shotgun ads and his suppression of the Black vote, makes him a magnet for crazies like Stachowiak.  Plus, he is supported by Trump, who has refused to disavow hate groups. They feel comfortable with Kemp as Governor.

If we are ever to change the climate of hate in our country, we have to start now by NOT voting for anyone that appeals to groups that promote violence, white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, and Xenophobia.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just because the elections are on November 6, it does not mean all this election anxiety is over.  There will surely be a run-off election in our local Sheriff’s race.  Also, in the Governor’s race, there is a third-party candidate that could draw just enough votes to keep Abrams or Kemp from getting over 50% of the vote.  The runoff election will be December 4th!  In this case, I would welcome an early Christmas present.

Monday, October 15, 2018

To Baby Lilly Grace-What does the Future Hold for you?

To my Great-Granddaughter, Lilly Grace:

On Friday, your family waited eight hours at the hospital for your arrival.  We were all super excited to meet you. Your birth would bring us all a new life experience.  Your father, my grandson, would be a Dad for the first time.  Your Dad’s parents would be grandparents for the first time. Your Dad’s other children would be an aunt and uncle for the first time.  And the Grandparents would be great-grandparents for the first time.  Texts were flying back and forth between the birthing room and the waiting room.  All day we watched as other families received the news of the birth of the addition to their family.  They were mostly nonchalant when told of the birth.  Not your family!  When we got the text “We have a baby,” the room erupted into shouts of joy, thunderous applause, and hugs.

When I held you, my emotions got the best of me.  You were so tiny, so beautiful, and so innocent.  Then my happiest moment was marred by the thought, “What will this country be like in your lifetime?” Unlike the birth of my grandchildren, I felt fear for you, my great-grandchild.

During my lifetime, I have seen many changes in our climate, but during the last few years, change is coming at warp speed.  I feel we have failed you, my sweet great-grandchild, and all the other babies being born, by not protecting our planet from the ultimate disastrous effects of climate change.  And Lilly Grace, I pray for your children who will most assuredly be faced with famine, extreme fires, entire nations and states disappearing under the rising sea levels, fish shortages, and entire extinction of some plants and animals. 

You see, Lilly Grace, life as we know it now will cease when the temperatures rise 2.0 degrees Celsius. Last week the United Nations released their panel’s report on Climate Change.  This report was prepared by thousands of experts all over the world.  They report that temperatures will rise 1.5 degrees sometime between 2030 and 2050.  The report went on to say that if the burning of fossil fuels is not stopped completely by 2020, there will not be a strong chance of avoiding the severity of climate change.

We now have a President that should be leading us to do the things to prevent more climate change.  Instead, he withdrew from an agreement to work with the rest of the world to combat climate change—Paris Climate Accord.  However, this President does not want to join the fight.  It’s all about money that is generated by oil and coal.  I know you’re thinking that money is not worth losing a planet and its people over.  I agree, but have spent a life-time seeing the affects of men and greed so I’m not surprised.

We’ve been warned for many years about climate change.  We’ve had years to stop it. The biggest obstacle to action has been public opinion.  Most Americans believe that climate change, if it happens, won’t happen in their lifetime so they don’t care. The saddest part is they aren’t thinking of future generations and are being selfish.

The President calls climate change a “hoax” and his followers believe him.  The President says wind farms are ugly.  The President has removed information about “climate change” and “global warming” from the White House website. This President has removed many regulations from industries and corporations that could decrease greenhouse emissions and give your generation a few more years before devastation begins.

You should know, Lilly Grace, there’s a great partisan divide over the climate change issue. A recent poll shows that 91% of Democrats worry a great deal about climate change, in contrast to only 33% of Republicans. We have an important election coming up next month, called the mid-terms.  That is when we elect the politicians who make laws the citizens want.  This is the most pivotal election of my lifetime and for the future of our country and planet.  If Democrats do not take control of the legislature in these mid-terms, we lose our best chance of implementing important programs by 2020 which is the projected deadline by the scientists.  And, if this President is re-elected in 2020, I grieve for what is in store for you and those that come after.

Love, (insert whatever you decided to call me)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Kavanaugh, Susan Collins, and Trump's Biggest Lie

It’s all over but the shouting.  Literally.  What a waste of three weeks of my life!  If I never hear the name Kavanaugh again I would be a happy camper.  The same goes for Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Chuck Grassley and yes, Jeff Flake.

JEFF FLAKE is no hero.  He always gets lots of publicity and then he caves to Trump and the GOP.  If you read my column last week, you know I hinted that I smelled a rat with Flake’s near inaudible motion at the hearing when he said, “limited scope.”  At that time, it was only a gut feeling.  As usual, my gut feeling was right.  However evidently, I was wrong about who limited the scope.  If Mitch McConnell is to be believed, he stated in his speech prior to Kavanaugh’s confirmation that he and members of the Judiciary Committee made the decision in a meeting with two other members who were with-holding their support, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.  Make no mistake about it, while McConnell’s admission takes the heat off the White House about limiting the scope of the FBI investigation, my gut is telling me that McConnell got all this approved in advance by Trump.  After all, how many times did we hear that only the White House could limit the scope with the FBI because this was a background check.

MCCONNELL’S admission also begs the question, why would Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski agree to such a narrow scope?  With Murkowski’s “present” vote against Kavanaugh, it would appear she did not agree but was too afraid to just say it!  She said she voted that way as a favor to her GOP colleagues.  Well, isn’t that special?  If you heard Susan Collins’ one- hour speech prior to the confirmation vote, she repeatedly stated there was no credible evidence. The fact the FBI was not allowed to look beyond the scope that she was part of out-lining granted her the cover she longed for.  The GOP could not take the chance of enough credible evidence coming to light if the FBI dug deeper. Let’s watch and wait to see what Susan Collins’ payoff will be.

I FOUND one thing Susan Collins said especially abhorrent and a slap in the face to all women.  I heard men say the same thing, I think one was Lindsey Graham, but I was able to shake it off because it was a man.  Collins said, “I believe she was sexually assaulted by somebody, and I don’t know when or where, but I don’t believe it was Judge Kavanaugh.”   Is it just me, or was that a nice way of saying Dr. Ford was a liar, or that she was mentally ill? 

ALSO, IN my last week’s column, I half-jokingly said that Lindsey Graham’s outrage in his support of Kavanaugh at the televised hearing was an audition to Trump to replace Sessions as Attorney General.  That was not a joke.  Too many people are now confirming this.

WHAT GOES around, comes around.  Quoting Forrest Gump, “That’s all I gotta say ‘bout that.”

SURPRISE. Surprise. Surprise. Not!  Donald Trump is not a self-made billionaire (if he is one)!  In a 30+ page investigative article in the New York Times, it was revealed that the only thing Trump ever built in his lifetime has been his brand, and that was based on a lie.  You’ve heard the lie many times.  Trump won the Presidency on this lie by convincing people that he was successful because he worked hard and made good deals. He used this lie to win over hardworking men and women in this country. You know the lie by heart.  “I started my business with a million-dollar loan from my father and paid him back with interest.” 

IN TRUTH, Fred Trump used revenue streams from his own businesses to his children to avoid taxes of all kinds, and Donald Trump had 295 of those streams of revenue by the time Daddy Trump died.  Donald Trump was a millionaire by the age of 8 and his wealth continued to grow; the older he got, the more he received each year until he was fifty, compliments of Daddy. Daddy Trump gave Donald at least $413 million over the years.  When Daddy Trump died, it was announced that his estate had been seized by the IRS due to all the hanky-panky tax dodging schemes he used.  Some years later, Trump and his siblings sold off the buildings remaining in the estate and Donald’s share was $175 million.  While it appears there’s little that can be done after all these years about these past crimes but investigations have started.  My reliable gut is telling me that the Donald has utilized the same hanky-panky with his own taxes.  Has he used revenue streams to make his children rich?  Is Barron already a multi-millionaire?  That’s why we HAVE to see his taxes.  And quoting myself, “That ain’t all I gotta say ‘bout that.”