The 28th Amendment — A MUST Read

Allow me to start by saying, I did not write the following. It’s not mine, and I take no credit for it. I don’t know who came up with this, but they have my respect. This is the first thing I’ve read in a long time I thought important enough to share on my blog, even though I’m not the author(s). It’s started going viral on Facebook, but I’m posting it here, almost exactly as I received it (with a few edits for redundancy and grammar), because I think it’s that important an idea.

No matter your political affiliation, there’s nothing here that any sane citizen of the United States should find objectionable. So please share this, and let’s make sure our congresspeople & senators know the people of this country are fed up with their greed, avarice and sense of entitlement over the rest of us!

 

The 28th Amendment
Please Read & Forward

This will only take one-minute to read! 28th Amendment, 35 States and Counting! If you agree, please pass this on.

It’s an idea whose time has come to deal with the self-serving situation we’ve been living under for far too long: OUR PRESENT SITUATION!

Children of Congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans. Staffers of Congressional family members are also exempt from having to pay back student loans.

Members of Congress can retire at full pay after only one term.

Members of Congress have exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed, under which ordinary citizens must live. For example, they are exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment.

And as the latest example, they have exempted themselves from Healthcare Reform, in all of its aspects.

We must not tolerate an elite class of such people, elected as public servants, who are then allowed to put themselves above the law.

It truly doesn’t matter if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent, Democratic Socialist or whatever. The self-serving must stop!

Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon their states. It only takes 38 (out of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention. If each person who sees this will forward it on to 20 people, it will only take three days for the majority of people in The United States of America to have read the message.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law applying to the citizens of the United States, that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the Citizens of the United States …”

This is an idea which should be passed around, regardless of political party. The Congressional Reform Act of 2020

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office. And, no more perks to go with them.
2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress must purchase their own retirement plan, just as ALL Americans must do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves annual pay raises. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3% annually.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the rest of the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people (i.e. NO MORE INSIDER TRADING!!!).
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts by and for themselves. Serving in Congress is supposed to be an honor and privilege, NOT a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who would serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work. It was never expected they would get all kinds of perks and freebies unavailable to other citizens.

All we ask is that you copy and paste this, then send it to everyone you know. It’s past time we the people take back our country, and truly get the mess in Washington, straightened out.

Staring Into The Void

I woke up the other morning in a cold sweat. I’d had massive, vivid dreams throughout the night, and woke up with the following thoughts screaming in my head.

What the fuck is wrong with the DNC, Democratic voters, and the American media? We are standing on the precipice, staring into the void, and no one is asking a couple of frighteningly important questions, slamming us in the face, and threatening to push us over the edge!

Since the day Senator Elizabeth Warren ended her bid for the Democratic nomination for president, we’ve seen the media simultaneously and ever so “coincidentally” end their misogynistic hit job on her. With the assistance of Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and her own surprise appearance on last week’s Saturday Night Live, the American people have had the opportunity to see just what we’ve lost — the smartest, wittiest, most honest and compassionate candidate we had.

Likewise, over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Vice-President Biden and Senator Sanders go on stages, with Biden stumbling to get out coherent thoughts — not stuttering, mind you — he was having trouble stating straightforward, coherent thoughts! Likewise, every time Sanders gets in front of a crowd, he looks like he’s about to have another heart attack.

So here’s my question, one I alluded to in my recent podcast — why is NO ONE demanding we see medical records for both these candidates. Four years ago (and ever since) we were outraged and apoplectic (as well we should have been) the Tangerine Turd currently occupying the White House, refused to release his tax returns. In the ensuing period, we’ve also stated our concerns about the legitimacy of the results of his medical examinations.

Well for Christ’s sake, don’t we have the right to see the medical records of our own candidates? Don’t we need to see them? Bernie Sanders is going to be 79 this year, Biden 78. They both look frail and seem to be having physical or mental problems. Either would be the oldest person to become president in American history.

Why isn’t the American media — those stellar “journalists” who crucified Hillary Clinton four years ago because of a bunch of stupid, fucking emails that, in reality, meant nothing, and this year, turned their collective misogyny on a candidate who’s done nothing but spend her entire career educating and working for the people of this country — demanding the right for the people to know just what we’re getting?

Why aren’t they demanding to see medical records that could, in the end, mean everything. Not just to Democratic voters, but Independents and disaffected Republican voters, as well? Why aren’t the DNC telling these two old white men they need to do this? And why the fuck are Democratic voters — ALL Democratic voters — not demanding the release of these records?

And while we’re at it, why hasn’t it dawned on one “journalist” with access to both candidates, to ask what could be a really important question — if you win the nomination, who would be your dream running mate. First choice — who would it be? Everyone knows how the job of president ages people. Is it unreasonable to ask who the candidates want as their number two? Their potential replacement?

Are we really that self-destructive? Are we so arrogant and/or blind, we’re willing to play right into the teeny, tiny hands of that Bloated Bloviating Blowhard in the White House, and his Rethuglican enablers? ‘Cause if you don’t think they’re going to bring this up ad nauseum during the campaign — whichever of these two is the Democratic candidate — you’re hallucinating.

This has nothing to do with policy stances, or personal animus. As with most candidates, both these people have mixed records, supporting good and bad legislation, being on the right side of policies and the wrong side. Under normal circumstances both have a lot going for them. These aren’t normal circumstances.

Ultimately, the 2020 presidential election is not about Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden or their respective egos. It’s not about the nasty and childish “If I don’t get what I want, I’ll take my ball and go home” attitude of the Bernie Bros, nor is it about the desperate narrative continuously pushed by the wealthy leaders of the DNC and Democratic party, telling us we need a “centrist” candidate to appeal to Independents and disaffected Republicans, completely disparaging the entire Progressive wing of the party.

Neither is it about narcissistic assholes like Jill Stein, playing upon the anger of disillusioned Progressives, the way the Bloated Bloviating Blowhard in the White House plays upon the anger, fear and racism of his beloved MAGATS.

As Elizabeth Warren understands and has stated so eloquently, this election is about us, the American people. It’s about nothing less than the survival of our nation, democracy, and our ability to move forward from the selfish, destructive path our current “leaders” have put us on.

As I’ve said time and again, I don’t believe in purity tests for politicians (or anyone else, for that matter, ‘cause we’d all fail). This is about simple, basic practicality, and, eventually, electability. If we don’t wake up — and quickly — and demand answers to some very important questions, we’re going to be getting a really good look at that void, as we fall head-first into it.

Return To White Buffalo

In November of 1994, my brother, Richard, came across a magazine article. It was about the birth of a white buffalo calf on a farm in Janesville, Wisconsin, belonging to Dave and Valerie Heider. Intrigued, he read how the birth of Miracle, as the calf was named, presaged an old Lakota legend about a woman of staggering ethereal beauty, White Buffalo Calf Woman, who had magically appeared centuries (some say millennia) ago, to the Lakota people.

When White Buffalo Calf Woman’s work was done and it was time for her to leave, she left the nation with a promise — when white buffalo calves (a monumental genetic rarity) started being born in increasing numbers, it would indicate that, not only had she returned, it would herald the beginning of an unprecedented age of peace and brotherhood.

Captivated by the story, Richard began searching through other sources, looking for as much information as he could regarding the legend and was inspired to begin writing a screenplay about the white buffalo and White Buffalo Calf Woman. However, as often happens in the film industry, promised financing for the project was not forthcoming, other projects came along, and the white buffalo story was put on a back burner.

Flash forward to February 25, 2010, exactly 10 years to the day I’m writing this post. With my youngest brother, Ethan, directing, shooting began on the film, WHITE BUFFALO: An American Prophecy. Richard, as writer and now, Executive Producer, had cobbled together enough investment to finally get the project off the ground. Together, Richard, Ethan and a camera/sound engineer made their way to a five-star resort in Pennsylvania where, they’d been informed, yet another white buffalo calf had been born.

Little did Richard and Ethan know as they stood, with only a fence standing between them and a white buffalo, that day would be the start of a 10-year odyssey which would end up including my brother Seth and I, adding the account of the journey of four Jewish brothers, to understand the meaning of an ancient Lakota prophecy and the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman.

Playing with wolves outside Sedona, AZ.

For the next several years, we traveled from Virginia Beach to Dallas, Sedona, Boulder, to the Black Hills of South Dakota — sacred to the Lakota — and back to where it all began, the Heider farm in Janesville, Wisconsin, with multiple locations in between. My brothers and I met with Native American elders, including such spiritual luminaries as Hopi Grandfather Martin and Toltec Grandfather Tlakaelel, as well as Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi of our own ‘tribe.’ We prayed in sweat lodges, danced with wolves (literally!) on a rescue preserve in Arizona that had once been a Wells Fargo wagon stop. We consulted with a New Age mystic or two and climbed mountains in Sedona (being an acrophobe, when it came to the tallest peak, I found a gorgeous Bodhi Tree, parking myself under it like the Buddha, whilst the others made the trek).

Under the Bodhi Tree, Sedona, AZ

In Sedona, Arizona we were joined by my nephews — Richard’s sons, Josh and Jake, and Seth’s son, Lucas. At some locations — not all — we had full camera and sound crews. John Alton, a sound engineer legendary in the industry, got up off his deathbed to come with us to South Dakota, and the Heider Farm in Wisconsin, for what would be his final journey. For the first time in my life, I not only appeared on-camera, I was also a camera-operator, sound and lighting-tech, and even edited an interview with the great-great grandson of Sitting Bull, on whose Texas farm another white buffalo calf had been born.

Miracles large and small occurred during the production. For example, Richard and Ethan had wanted to take a small crew to shoot at some of the phenomenal Mayan and Toltec sites in the Yucatan in Mexico and Guatemala. Unfortunately, the budget couldn’t handle it and that part of the story seemed out of reach. At some point, my brothers got word that a renowned Toltec spiritual teacher would be in Virginia Beach for a brief stopover. An interview was set up at a hotel on the oceanfront, with me handling camera and sound, and my daughter, Angel, joining the team to shoot stills.

In addition to the gravity of the quest, humorous moments abounded. At the end of the interview, the Toltec elder, Tlakaelel — who spoke no English — invited Richard to come down later that year for a big ceremony that would be held in the Yucatan. Richard, knowing it wasn’t in the cards, financially, made polite excuses for not being able to come. Without missing a beat, the 90+ year-old Tlakaelel looked at Richard and with a grin said, “las muchachas son muy bonitas.” Richard looked at the interpreter and asked, “did he just say what I think he did?” Before the interpreter could respond, Tlakaelel winked at Richard and said, “muy, muy bonitas!”

The White Buffalo film was initially going to be released in 2012 — the best laid plans… So many people and places cried out for inclusion — the curse of the documentarian, I guess (after all, this was my first documentary) — production continued past the originally planned release date. Due to the mundane pressures of time and money, shooting became sporadic, picking up whenever something came up along that Richard or Ethan felt had to be in the film.

In the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota with the White Buffalo film’s “Godmother,” Lakota One Heart.

Ultimately, over 1,200 hours of footage was shot, no doubt prematurely aging poor Steve Strickland, the benighted, sole editor of the film, whose Sisyphean task it has been to wade through the morass of video and make something coherent out of it. Steve single-handedly ploughed through the White Buffalo footage while working his day job editing other projects.

And the years rolled on.

Based on a rough cut, a Canadian distributor came on board, to help get the film out to the public. They insisted on premiering White Buffalo at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, in September, which forced Richard and Ethan to settle on a firm completion date: this April — no fooling! There was just one problem — a missing piece of the puzzle. Richard and Ethan had no opening and closing for, not just the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman, but the journey of the Marten brothers, which had become an inextricable part of the film.

As I type this, I’m in a hotel room in Virginia Beach, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I will be leaving shortly, to drive to a farm an hour and a half from here, where we will begin to shoot the final scenes — a story to be told around a blazing campfire by two Native American elders — Loretta ‘Red Day Woman’ Cook (Lakota), and her husband Tom ‘Kanatakeniate’ Cook (Mohawk). With all four Marten brothers in attendance, this will be the first time we’ve all been together since shooting another (and very different) film, The Eyes of The Roshi, several years ago.

The final scene, to be shot two days from now, will echo one shot in Sedona nine years ago, with all four brothers sitting on a beautiful rock formation in a circle back-to-back. This time, however, the location we’ll be sitting around, will be the graves of our parents — our elders, who brought us into this world. A little weird? Maybe. But I think there’s also poetry in ending our journey in that spot.

Postscript: I’m back home now, the final scenes of the film having all been shot. The one with Loretta and Tom retelling the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman, including the blazing campfire, was mesmerizing. Our camera crew even got an overhead shot, using a drone. I have to admit, the drone was a tad nerve wracking, sounding like a giant mosquito. Several of us were kind of concerned the drone was going to come down on our heads, blades spinning. But the Great Spirit was with us, and it was a glorious night.

The next day, we filmed interviews with Tom and Loretta, as well as one with all four Marten brothers. When the four of us get together, you never really know what’s going to happen. I do believe, however, the tone for our interview was set when, without prompting, we spontaneously broke into the classic Three Stooges film opening, “hello” “hello” “hellooooo” (as there are four of us, we added an extra, “hello”).

The final day of shooting, as planned, began in the cemetery where our parents are buried. I hadn’t been back since our mother’s funeral, so that felt strange for about five minutes. Much to the surprise of most of us, though, even that scene went incredibly well, ending with our taking out a baseball and football (as most people are wont to do in a cemetery, across the graves of their parents), and started playing catch.

We were even able to shoot the scene echoing the back-to back one done in Sedona all those years ago. Of course, nothing goes exactly as planned. Ethan had planned a drone shot in the cemetery, while we were all seated. The first part, shot fairly low, had the drone circling us. The final shots, however, were taken from quite a height. The only problem was, the cemetery is located within spitting distance of the Norfolk Naval Base.

As the drone rose higher and higher, we suddenly had company. A naval AWACS radar plane began circling overhead. As our drone operator continued shooting from on high, the AWACS plane continued circling, coming lower on each pass. On the drone console, the operator received a warning message from the FAA: “STOP! DESIST!” and as soon as Ethan yelled, “cut!” we packed up and hauled ass out of there.

The four Marten brothers, as shot from a drone in a scene from WHITE BUFFALO: An American Prophecy.

The drone shot wrapped the participation of my brother Seth and I. All that was left for us was to go back to the hotel, and wait for the wrap party that evening — a joyous celebration of the end of our 10-year odyssey.

The party was held at a really incredible Italian restaurant, where most of us ate beyond capacity, and played musical chairs, making sure we all got to spend at least a few moments with everyone. We knew this was it — Richard, Ethan and Steve still have the Herculean task of finishing the final edit. But for the rest of us, cast and crew, considering the 10-year journey we’d been on, through all the ups and downs, at the last, it was the bonds of the relationships forged, no one wanted to have to walk away from.

The Myth of the Need For Democratic Unity Right Now!

Democrats need to stand together and fight the real foe, the Tangerine Pinhead still occupying the Oval Office.

I’ve been thinking about that statement a lot lately, and have come to the conclusion, I disagree. So, at the risk of pissing off and/or alienating some of my friends, I thought I’d toss my opinion in the ring. What the hell, everybody else has.

Whether there’s already a candidate you support, or are still looking at everyone, the idea that it splits the party to look deeply at each candidate is complete and utter horseshit. For example, take Mike Bloomberg — billionaire, and former REPUBLICAN Mayor of NYC — he has a lot to answer for. Shame on that bitch, Elizabeth Warren, for standing up to him on the debate stage he bought and paid for out of his own pocket, putting him in a somewhat awkward position!

But wait! What about Bernie Sanders (who I happen to like, and who I supported in 2016)? Bernie doesn’t seem to believe the public should be allowed to see his medical records. Let’s forget the fact this is an 80-year-old man who had a recent heart attack, running for (what was, before Twitler got his hands on it) the most important office in the world. Heaven forfend people believe they have the right to that information before stepping into a voting booth. Today I heard someone say, asking Bernie to release his medical records was akin to Birtherism. If one was to accept that analogy, then Twitler could contend the same thing about his tax returns (as well as his medical/psychological records). It’s childish nonsense.

Primaries, by their very nature, are shitstorms. There are real differences between the candidates. Why shouldn’t they be debated, and argued over? What is a debate for, if not only to show who you are, but also show the people who the other guys really are? Confrontation is the name of the game.

How about Tulsi Gabbard, whatever the fuck she is? Are we allowed to look at her record, listen to her voiced opinions, which run slightly to the right of Mussolini? Are we allowed to question her Democratic bonafides?

As Senator from Delaware, the credit card capital of the country, Joe Biden — Uncle Joe — supported bankruptcy laws that fucked most Americans in credit card debt, putting billions of extra dollars into the hands of those poor, behometh credit card companies. Senator Warren was once a Republican. And the list goes on and on — every candidate has a closet with something in it.

Can we all get real and accept the fact, if we insist on these stupid fucking purity tests so many of us demand our leaders pass, we’re not going to have any leaders. Dig into your own life, or mine, or anyone’s, and chances are you’ll find garbage that will make other people shake their heads. It’s an impossible standard for anyone to live up to, especially politicians.

Well, damnit! Do we want to beat that fuckhead in the White House, or what? Of course we do! Do we want to send our best candidate out there to fight that walking/talking/tweeting Tangerine Blob of Shit! Absolutely! But no matter what you say, hear or read, the only way we’re going to see who these people are, is to let them duke it out in public.

“But Democrats must stand united. Don’t criticize any of the candidates.” Oh, please. Gimme a break. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told, tell me what your candidate is for, not what they’re against. These are the same people who, in the next sentence, will tell us the enemy is Twitler (true), and we can’t fight among ourselves if we’re to beat him.

If you truly want to know who a candidate is, don’t be as lazy or stupid as Rethuglican voters, who, as we know, can’t (or don’t) read. Do your own research. Go to their fucking websites and read their plans. Almost every candidate has described their vision for the country, and how they plan to implement that vision. And, for those who haven’t, well, that should speak volumes, too.

The reality is, no matter the warnings, Democratic voters are being conned, manipulated and controlled by the mainstream media, pollsters, television and radio talking heads, Rethuglican propaganda, the Russians, and our own DNC. We are told on a daily basis only a moderate (this week they’re pushing Bloomberg — last week it was Amy Klobuchar; the week before, Joe Biden) can take on Shitler. Only a moderate can unite all the Democratic factions, as well as disaffected Republicans who loathe Benedict Donald.

I know, I’m not supposed to criticize the DNC, or their hard-working, nice guy leader, Tom Perez. It would be a lot easier to keep quiet if I didn’t see the DNC refuse to change their methodology in dealing with Democratic voters, presidential election to presidential election.

For example, the other day I heard someone defending the concept of “Super Delegates,” those party leaders whose votes count more than yours or mine in nominating a candidate. According to this defense, we’re supposed to bow to their superior knowledge & understanding because, after all, they work within the party & know better than the rest of us. The reason they work within the party is a) they’ve got enough money and are willing to spend it; b) they’re politicians; c) it’s their job; d) their desire for power & control over others; e) any combination of the above. As for the rest of us normal, everyday Democrats, we’re peasants who should shut the fuck up & listen to our betters.

The concept that only a moderate can beat Lil’ Donny Moscow is the standard bullshit we’re supposed to accept, election cycle after election cycle, all proof to the contrary. After all, what’s wrong with the status quo?

The simple fact is, there are a shitload more Democrats than Republicans. We get our asses to the polls, they lose. We come out and vote for the Democratic candidate — we win. And Vote Blue No Matter Who, runs both ways. Progressive Bernie and Warren supporters need to be willing to support the nomination of a candidate we know will not fight for everything we want. By the same token, Biden, Bloomberg, and Klobuchar’s moderate supporters need to be willing to support Senator Warren or Bernie, the Democratic Socialist (not Socialist, people! Stop drinking the Kool-Aid and understand what you’re talking about! This Socialist line of bullshit negates the fact Social Security, the cops, firemen, public libraries, interstate highways are all forms of socialism). This, if my candidate doesn’t win, I’ll vote third party crap is like a grown adult having a temper tantrum (kinda like Cadet Bone Spurs does on a daily basis — do you really want to mimic him?).

If you’re sucker enough to believe we’re handing The Tangerine Turd the election by being cantankerous now, please allow me to remind you of a MUCH more cantankerous primary. the year was 2008. The opponents were former First Lady and then, Senator from NY, Hillary Clinton, and the first term Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. That was a vicious campaign. The anger and vitriol engendered by both camps in that campaign, make this year’s “battles” seem like a ride at an amusement park. But even so, once we had a candidate, everyone got behind him and, lo and behold, on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated president!

Oh, and whatever happened to Obama’s primary nemesis? Eventually she became Obama’s Secretary of State, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. Not too shabby a recovery (although, if she was currently sitting in the Oval Office, as she should be, there would be no need for me to write this blog).

So, can we please get over this bullshit that by engaging in standard primary season debates and vitriol, we’re helping Agolf Twitler, by not presenting a united front, get over it. We won’t be a united front until our candidate is chosen. And remember — whoever wins the Democratic nomination will have been vetted as well, if not better, than any Democratic candidate in history. And that’s a GOOD thing to take into an election. We come together at the time of the nomination.

As for now, this is the time for each of us to fight for what, and who we believe in.

 

It Not Only Can Happen Here — It Already Has!

“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
—H.L. Mencken

Mencken’s quote, which is often truncated to read, “No one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public,” is correct, either way.

For the past I don’t know how many years, I’ve heard people talk about the “two Americas.” What that means depends on who’s doing the talking. Pundits, the supposed experts on all, who tend to be wrong far more often than not, use it to differentiate the deep political divide between the left — meaning anyone from centrists like Hillary Clinton and former Republican National Committee Chair, Michael Steele, to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — versus the political right — meaning anyone from Attila the Hun, to Donald Trump (Attila being the more decent of the two).

For many of us, it delineates the elite one percent — mostly, rich white billionaires, a class whose wealth continues to grow — from the other 99% of us, who, at best, are struggling to maintain a basic standard of living, while falling further and further behind, our voices becoming something akin to dust in the wind.

In America, however, we all — supposedly — have a voice. We are all entitled to our own feelings, our own opinions and beliefs. My neighbor is as entitled to disagree with me, as I maintain the right to disagree with him or her.

These opinions and beliefs, however, become murky and obstructed, when you filter in the manipulation and lies — fed to all, and believed by many — courtesy the one percent. Lies that feed on our hatred and fears, our anger and frustration; lies that give us someone — anyone — to use as a scapegoat for why we can’t seem to move beyond where we’re stuck, and why our lives are so difficult.

The insane part is, those used as scapegoats, are people no better off, and, more often than not, living in far worse conditions, than those in the 99%, being lied to and manipulated.

But this is where we have to differentiate between thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs, from reality, truth and fact. I’ll try to simplify this.

If you live in New England (and with apologies to the great writer and columnist, Charlie Pierce), you probably think or believe, the Boston Red Sox are the greatest team in baseball history, and certainly, the best in the American League. The hated and despised NY Yankees, have to be less than, because they’re only where they are due to having bought their championships.

Likewise, if you’re from New England, you desperately want to believe, the Patriots’ Tom Brady, is the best quarterback in football history. Brady is so great, he would never stoop to cheating, to win a Superbowl game.

These are opinions and beliefs, based on a reality people want to believe in.

However, then there is truth — something based on empirical fact — the Red Sox spend as much on players (and sometimes more) than the Yankees. Even so, based on the fact the Yankees have won far more games, far more pennants and world championships than the Red Sox, the Yankees are, in fact, the greatest team in baseball history.

Then we have the Patriots’ Brady. He may actually be one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback in football history. But there’s also no doubt, he did cheat, he did deflate a football, to make it more easily manageable to throw accurately, which helped him win a Superbowl championship. That too, is fact, no matter what you want to believe.

We are all entitled to our individual opinions, beliefs and thoughts. What we are not entitled to, however, is our own set of facts. Facts are immutable, verifiable and provable truths. No matter your opinion, your desire to believe differently, a fact is tangible and real. It is truth.

This brings me to the reality, the facts, the truth of Donald Trump, and the current iteration of the Republican party, versus the lies they are continuously perpetrating (note: I refer to Mr. Trump, and the Republican party for the last time. From here out, I will refer to the Republicans by their more accurate and appropriate name, the Rethuglican Party. Trump, I will be referring to by a number of other names, including Twitler, Agolf Twitler, The Tangerine Turd, Putin’s Papaya-Flavored Pawn, etc.).

Contrary to the narrative (read: lie) currently being slathered about the halls of Congress by the Rethuglicans, impeachment of a president is not “overthrowing the will of the people.” In the very specific case of The Tangerine Turd, the will of the people had nothing to do with his coronation.

As Jody Hamilton, co-host of the podcast, From the Bunker (and Tuesday regular on Sirius Radio and Free Speech TV’s, The Stephanie Miller Show) pointed out in a recent tweet, in addition to Hillary Clinton’s almost 3,000,000 more votes than the Turd, third party voters added an additional 7,070,329 votes for other candidates. This means 72,923,843 people voted for someone other than Twitler, meaning he actually lost the popular vote by 9,939,015. What the hell! Let’s just call it an even 10,000,000.

Will of the people? Bullshit! “The people” spoke loud and clearly. It didn’t matter.

With the help of Russia’s interference, as well as Rethuglican voter suppression in three key states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — where a total of 106,000 “votes” swung the Electoral College — an outdated, racist institution — to Putin’s Papaya Puppet — the “will of the people” meant jack shit in the 2016 election.

Facts!

Then there’s the school of “False Equivalency” practiced by members of the so-called “liberal media.” False equivalency is where a “journalist,” in an effort to appear impartial, will, for example, equate a president breaking the Emoluments clause of the Constitution, wherein they use their position for personal profit, with something far more innocuous by someone on the other side of the aisle. And lest anyone think I’m referring solely to an organization like, oh, say, Fux “News,” there is no greater practitioner of this fiction than the “liberal” MSNBC’s own, Chuck Todd, who never met a false equivalency he couldn’t use in lieu of practicing actual journalism. When a politician point blank lies to a journalist, and is not called on it, that’s not journalism!

All of which brings me to the point of this piece — the destruction of this country’s democracy from within and without.

We have a political party in this country, calling itself the Republican party. They like to refer to themselves as “the party of Lincoln,” because, after all, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. But, the truth is, that party hasn’t existed in years. The Democratic and Republican parties switched roles, years ago.

Dating back to the Reagan presidency, you can clearly see the strategy that turned a once fair-minded, patriotic, political party, into a pack of greedy, ravenous, self-righteous, sanctimonious, lying wolves, who used everything from the blind zealotry of the religious right, to the fear and hatred among poor and middle-class white citizens, who saw what little power they thought they had, disappearing in the multi-cultural stew that, in point of fact, America has always been.

The children and grandchildren of immigrants were now being encouraged to hate and despise the newer group of immigrants coming to the United States, looking for the same acceptance, liberties and freedoms, that had brought the original immigrants to these shores. Thus, the creation of today’s Rethuglican party.

But that was just an opening salvo in the Rethuglican push to seize complete control of all three branches of our Federal government. Without whatever conscientious members of the party (if any) left even realizing it was happening, the religious fervor and xenophobia being used to gain control of the country, was being turned inside out, giving the enemies of this country — in particular, Russia’s President and former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin, a man who wished for nothing less than the reunification of the Soviet Union, and control of the power that yielded, an unprecedented opportunity to topple the despised government of the most self-righteous, arrogant country on the planet — the United States.

It was a combination of the Rethuglican need for total power and control, along with their never-ceasing financial greed, which corrupted and rotted the party from within, allowing Putin to seize his opportunity by installing a puppet, gaily turning the Rethuglican party into the “Party of Trump,” which, in reality, is the party of Putin.

So well did the puppet do his job, this so-called “billionaire”/reality show host, was able to completely con the frothing-at-the-mouth, white supremacist mob, who were led to believe only he could save the country; that he was the Messiah they’d been waiting for; the lone person who would return the country to its “rightful heirs.” Those wearing his “Make America Great Again” hats, held their banners on high during his overly-choreographed rallies, screaming, “better a Russian, then a Democrat!

Mencken, and, perhaps, P.T. Barnum and Joseph Goebbels were right — keep telling the big lies, and the suckers will vote against their own self-interest, every time.

Putin must have wet himself laughing how well, and easily, his goal was being accomplished. To control the Rethuglicans, all it took was a little ego-stroking, money and blackmail (or a combination of all three). As for the dim-witted dupes being reeled in by the millions, well…Mencken.

Meanwhile, as the true patriots among the Democratic party fought to save our democracy, they faced their own problems from within. For example, three of their own Senators are, and continue to be guided by nothing less than their own self-interest, and need for power, rather than any sense of patriotism, or desire to save our democracy.

In the Democrat’s attempt to impeach Putin’s Punch-Drunk Puppet from the office that, rightfully, belonged to Hillary Clinton, and which Shitler used and abused from and before the moment of his installation, Democrats Krystyn Sinema of Arizona, Doug Jones of Alabama, and, of course, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, are wild cards. No one can be sure if any one of them will put their own desire for power & office, over facts, the truth, and what’s best for the country (let alone their party). If they believe their constituents are buying the Kool-Aid, they’re as happy to hand them the glass as would any Rethuglican.

Then there’s congressperson, and presidential (gag!) contender, Tulsi Gabbard, who got herself elected in an incredibly Democratic district in Hawaii, running and paying lip service as if she were actually a Democrat. But Tulsi’s a ringer, who spouts Russian conspiracy theories as well, if not better, than any Rethuglican. Exactly on whose behalf she’s really working, is anyone’s guess.

Which, at long last, brings us to the sham excuse for an impeachment “trial,” hosted by none other than Senate Majority Leader, and fellow Putin puppet, Moscow Mitch McConnell. McConnell, with the help of other Rethuglican/Trump party conspirators such as Miss Lindsey Graham and McConnell’s fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul, has taken the unbelievably hard and diligent investigative work of heroic and patriotic public servants like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic party leaders like California’s Adam Schiff, New York’s Jerry Nadler and Florida’s Val Demmings, turning it upside down, and into the single greatest cover-up in the history of this nation.

And let’s not forget Twitler’s legal team: Jay Sekulow, an attorney with a past almost as corrupt as Twitler’s own. A man who never met a lie he couldn’t and wouldn’t tell; former Florida AG, Pam Bondi, who sold her constituents out to The Tangerine Turd years ago, for 25,000 pieces of silver; and last, but certainly not least, the person I reserve my deepest contempt for, former Harvard law professor and complete sellout, Alan Dershowitz. Once a respected legal scholar, this fuckwad sold his soul and country out to the most corrupt, arrogant & moronic president in American history. He is nothing less than a complete shitstain on the legal profession.

These three are as corrupt & repulsive as the low-life scumbag they represent. Their arguments were so devoid of logic, intelligence, sanity & anything a sentient being could possibly make sense of, it numbs the mind. In a just world, all three of these fucking assholes would have their licenses to practice law, revoked for the shit-show they put on, particularly since, not only don’t they demonstrate one iota of respect for it, they virtually spit on the Constitution of the United States, and have demonstrated nothing less than complete contempt for its citizens.

These three bastards, along with the complicity of McConnell, Graham, Paul, plus other traitors to this country, like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, and Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, as well as the rest of the Rethuglican party (with the possible exceptions of the Queen of Waffle, Susan Collins, and Mittens Romney, both of whom knew full well, their votes for witnesses in the trial, would serve them politically, while not affecting McConnell’s plan, in the least) have not only sold this country out, they have brought us to the edge of a cliff on which our democracy teeters.

Don’t kid yourselves — all this bullshit we heard last week about the Rethuglicans not having enough votes to stop witnesses, was simply a typical McConnell ploy (again, read: LIE). He’s used it before and, as many predicted, he used it again. The American people had a front row seat to watch as Moscow Mitch, Miss Lindsey, Paul & the rest of these Rethuglican motherfuckers destroyed the rule of law in this country, simply to continue lining their own pockets, while maintaining power. The fact the money they’re lining those pockets with comes from Moscow, means nothing to them. After all, when Vlad takes over, they’ll be the elite.

During the “trial,” instead of sleeping at night, I lie awake in fear of the country I was going to be greeted by, in the morning. As a people, too many Americans have, quite obviously, learned  absolutely nothing from history. This is the very reason we sit, watching ourselves repeat it.

For those left, the brave men and women who served in WWII, fighting Hitler & Fascism, I can’t imagine the horror they must feel, seeing this country mirror 1933 Germany. And for what? A tinpot, wannabe dictator, with delusions of grandeur; a corrupt party who enable, condone & support his every criminally traitorous act. And there, only marginally behind the scenes, sits the puppet master in Moscow.

Where all this ends is anyone’s guess. Does Speaker Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, or any of the other House Democrats we look to for salvation, have anything left in their bag of tricks to save our democracy? I live in hope, doubt and dread.

At this point, however, I have this sickening feeling Putin is probably somewhere in the bowels of the Kremlin, laughing his ass off, downing vodka by the bottle, toasting how easily he conned & bought enough American politicians, to do what he has always wanted — destroy American democracy, & reunite the Soviet Union under his iron fist.

I pray for a different outcome, but I’m not counting on it. I’ve studied too much history to have blind faith that, despite the efforts of the heroic patriots among the Democratic party fighting to save the nation, it will be enough to stem this RED tide.

In my entire life, I’ve never wanted to be proven wrong, more than right now.

My Heart Belongs To…2020?

Well, 2020 has gotten off to a nifty start. The delusional, narcissistic, psychotic megalomaniacal fuckwad currently occupying the White House, is giving his equally psychotic Fundamentalist faux “Christian” supporters exactly what they want — bringing us to the brink of Armageddon and the Rapture. Does this make him the Second Coming he wants his brain-dead followers to believe he is, or the anti-Christ (the more likely choice).

And here on the home-front, my New Year, which got off to a rousing start with a great NYE party, was followed, a few days later, by my latest ambulance ride (my 3rd over the past year and a half). After a rather rough day, I was walking up the stairs, ready to fall into bed, when I stopped on the steps, unable to breathe, my chest pounding, and my left side in agony.

I couldn’t talk; couldn’t even keep my eyes open. I’ve had anxiety attacks before, but nothing that ever felt like this. The next hour or so is pretty much a blank. EMT’s arriving; questions asked; me trying to answer while gasping for air. My wife, Tanya (who had an ambulance ride of her own, at the end of November, which left her with fractured hip and pelvic bones), on her walker, standing over my somewhat crumpled body. Being carried out of the house on a gurney, placed in the ambulance and the ride to the hospital.

For the next six hours or so, I felt like a pin cushion, while waiting for the verdict. Was I having a heart attack, or was this simply the anxiety attack of all anxiety attacks? The tests came back saying my EKG and blood-work looked good, and it didn’t look like I was having a heart attack.

Just to be safe, however, the doctor wanted to keep me overnight, for “observation.” Here’s where one has to parse the terms, “being admitted” to a hospital, as opposed to “being held for observation.” If you’re officially admitted to the hospital as a patient, your insurance will cover it (or most of it, or, depending on the quality of your policy, some of it). However, if you’re only being held for “observation,” the insurance companies won’t kick in a dime.

But here’s an interesting thing about hospitals, and the insurance companies that our elected “representatives” allow to bilk the citizens of this country 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If anyone wants to know why so many Americans leave hospitals “against doctors orders,” consider this a pretty good answer. Saying insurance companies in this country have been given WAY too much power — yet again, corporate lobbying dollars buying our “representatives” on the Hill, as well as in state legislatures around the country — is like saying, “did you know every day of the week has the word “day” in its name?”

So, I was released — AGAINST DOCTOR’S ORDERS — with the suggestion I follow up with my cardiologist. As it happens, I don’t happen to have a cardiologist, so I had to find one through my insurance company. Interestingly, although I live in the second largest city in Maryland, very few local doctors take my insurance. But I managed to find one who did, and I will be following up on the 15th.

I was also told to “avoid stress.” Are they fucking kidding!!!

I’m a political junkie! As it is, due to the multitude of calamities which comprised the Hell that was 2019, I’ve already been forced to delay my long-planned podcast for more than seven months. And since I can’t stop laughing through the fart jokes, it’s not like I can use the Stephanie Miller Show as my only source of news. I’ve gotta have my Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell! And how can I not read The Daily Kos, The Raw Story, AlterNet, and (for my fellow entertainment industry folk) The Hollywood Reporter? I defy anyone (discounting the MAGATs, who don’t know how to read, and get all their news from our friends at Fux News) to read or listen to this stuff and not get stressed out.

So, what’s happening to help calm my aching heart and keep the stress levels low this week?

Oh, not much — Tangerine Man went and had the second in command of Iran offed, once again putting the United States in the position as world leader of assholiness, and handing the Middle East to his buddy, Vlad — the guy whose primary goals in life are a) destroying American democracy (whatever that is); b) rebooting the Soviet Union. And c) becoming the savior of Iran, Iraq and (may the great IS help us), Syria!

So naturally, Iran had to counter our “hit” with a little retribution of their own, followed by the “accidental” demolition of a Ukrainian passenger jet, which had just taken off from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, including Canadian, Ukrainian and even Iranian citizens.

I don’t know how much Putin is paying and/or blackmailing Twitler, McConnell and Graham with, but it does my pre-stressed heart no good to see the year 2020 starting off with this country doing a pretty fair imitation of Germany, circa 1933. This crap is not healthy for any of us.

 

A Message To My Fellow Democrats — Wake the Fuck Up!!!

Over the past few days, numerous articles have appeared on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, “warning” us about the perils of supporting Elizabeth Warren for President. These articles attempted to “taint” Senator Warren, by utilizing some of the same misogynistic language employed against Secretary Clinton in the 2016 campaign. Naturally, this led the Liar-In-Chief, to join in, reiterating his earlier, oh so clever, “Pocahontas” taunts of Senator Warren.

Given Senator Warren’s progressive cred, not only as a second term senator from Massachusetts willing to take on those who would destroy the American middle class, but as the driving force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created to shield consumers from shady practices by mortgage lenders, student loan servicers, and credit card companies, permanently earning Warren the enmity of Republicans in both houses of Congress, this is somewhat insane. Even so, some of these articles have attempted to paint Senator Warren as, either a tool of the DNC (surely you jest), or, in an attempt to stir conflict between Sanders and Warren supporters, they refer to her as “Bernie Lite.”

But here’s where my brain began to explode. Minutes after these stories began to appear, Democrats began reposting and retweeting this bullshit propaganda, leading to even more negativity toward someone who should be considered a progressive hero. Forget the fact there is no basis in reality for any of this bullshit. All you have to do, it seems, is throw a little shit to Democrats, call it red meat, and watch them crawl over each other to snatch it up like a pack of voracious wolves. Democrats, it would appear, have a difficult time learning from the past.

At the same time, we know the only reason Agolf Twitler (yes, I still refuse to utter or even type the name appearing on the scumbag’s birth certificate) resides in the White House is due to a combination of Republican dirty tricks — including massive voter suppression — with an assist from their buddy in the Kremlin. No matter — we’re Democrats, so we prefer to blame the past two years on Sanders supporters, the vast majority of whom, we’re told, either sat out the election entirely, or voted for Jill Stein (full disclosure: I was a Sanders supporter during the 2016 primaries, who had no problem voting for Secretary Clinton in the generals. I’m a native New Yorker and all too familiar with the walking Cheeto, so I knew what was at stake. I don’t think I’m in the minority of Sanders supporters, most of whom, I believe, did the same).

The fact Hillary Clinton won the election by almost 3,000,000 votes, losing only because of the unbelievably outdated Electoral College — which allowed 80,000 questionable votes, from three Republican-controlled states — to place a criminal and traitor in the Oval Office, doesn’t fit the narrative that allows us to eat our own, so we, being Democrats, ignore that minor trivial bit of reality. This, even though we all know the voter suppression tactics, as well as Russian interference, were still alive, well and active into the 2018 election.

Why then, has it not occurred to those among the Democratic faithful, that Russian bots and Republican dirty tricksters are, more than likely, behind this early campaign to smear and delegitimize one of the most proven, progressive voices we’ve got? Instead what we see is our own people giving voice and validity to this bullshit, proving, yet again, Democrats are as gullible, and easily swayed, as the worst of Twitler’s sheeple.

Does it have something to do with the dichotomies within our own rank and file? Or, maybe, it’s that we fall in love with candidates, becoming so enamored, we have to believe in their flawless perfection, while seeing (and, all too often, magnifying) every flaw in the other candidates. So much so, we sit, pout and rail at the universe if our candidates name isn’t on the ballot in the general election. We see all too clearly when lower and middle-class Republicans vote against their own self-interest — not so much when it’s us.

Yesterday, former Virginia Governor, and  old, rich, white guy, Terry McAuliffe, wrote an op-ed, published in the Washington Post, in which he criticized some of the more progressive Democratic hopefuls (including Senators Warren and Sanders) for offering “unrealistic ideological promises,” like a $15 minimum wage, federal jobs guarantee, universal free college and downplaying the reality of the U.S. being able to afford universal health care.

On the plus side, McAuliffe’s arrogant comments may have done us a favor by killing his own presidential aspirations, before he even announces. What the overly self-entitled ex-Governor views as “realistic” is a continuation of policies that have put this country exactly where we are now, with a system that benefits the ultra-rich, as well as multi-national corporations, to the detriment of the rest of us, including the implosion of the American middle class. It also demonstrates there are still people in the hierarchy of the Democratic party to whom “reality” means, don’t fuck with the status quo — we like things the way they are.

His stated disdain for Twitler notwithstanding, the truth is, McAuliffe would rather see a foreign agent in the White House, as opposed to a liberal/progressive Democrat, who might actually work to alter the status quo. A Warren, Sanders, Harris, Brown (etc.) led White House, would leave a prick like McAuliffe, holding his own in his hands (where, in my less than humble opinion, it belongs).

But, c’mon kids! Forget all that! Let’s buy into all the crap being pushed. Let’s help get those bots and propaganda pieces reposted and retweeted. Better yet, why not add a few insults of our own. And while we’re at it, let’s help the Republicans continue to control the narrative and messaging — as Democrats have allowed them to do so well, for years. Let’s get that famous Democratic in-fighting going full steam, and then, in November 2020, we can all sit here, blaming each other (again), while the next Republican/Fascist gets ready to take this country even further back into the Dark Ages.

That’ll show ‘em!