Saturday, August 12, 2023

How Free and Safe Are You in Today's Society?

        Determining what rights/freedoms still have in America today depends upon several factors.

* Where you live

If you live in a red state - as opposed to a blue one - your rights are getting trampled by extreme conservatives who don't believe a woman has the right to her own body and should meekly accept their twisted ideology.

If you live in a blue state, a woman has more rights to her body and health care options.

If you live in a red state, it's more likely that radical groups are banning books in schools and libraries.

If you live in a blue state, the chance of book bans in schools and libraries is considerably less and generally only in certain rural counties. 

If you live in a red state, your children are more likely to be indoctrinated in a fact free version of history. Take Florida as a prime example.

If you live in a blue state, your children are more likely to get an education based upon factual history. Again, there's exceptions in some counties in some states.

* Who You Are

If you're a Caucasian, then you have more civil rights than other ethnic groups in America.

If you're Black or Brown, it's another story. Look at national police reports in every state and you'll find that more blacks are charged for crimes than Hispanics (they're 2nd) and of course Caucasians.

If you're religious, you could be targeted and murdered for your beliefs. Jews in particular are constantly suffering from attacks by deranged white nationalists across the country.

If you identify with the LGBTQ community, you're being marginalized by MAGA Republicans. You are also a moving target for hate groups no matter where you go. Trans rights are being stripped away daily in state courts.

* How Much Money & Power You Have

Too many freedoms in this country only apply if you're rich and have political power. The elite. The entitled. Politicians who make decisions to benefit themselves and not for the people they're supposed to serve.

We've become a caste society much like India. The haves and have nots with a sprinkling in-between of a frail middle class. 

As it stands, how free and safe are you?

Friday, August 11, 2023

This FBI Whistleblower Has Evidence the FBI Was Protecting Trump and Cronies Since 2016

Lately the GOP majority House has been providing whistleblowers for MAGA conspiracies that are just red meat for Trump's cult.

(Photo: FBI NY Supervisor Charles McGonigal whose been indicted on 2 felony counts.)

Remember when the chair for the House Oversight and Accountability Committee James Comey boasted he had 3 whistleblower FBI agents that were going to expose the Biden crime family?

He went on social media just before the House met with the alleged whistleblowers and told the right-wing media machine that the Bidens were going down after the hearing.

Of course, that's not what happened.

What happened was the Democrats on the panel shredded their stories and afterwards we found out that two of the supposedly whistleblowers were just disgruntled ex-FBI agents who had been fired for inadequacies on the job.

The third whistleblower turned out to be a foreign agent for China and an international arms dealer who has been charged with felonies.

Since then, the Democrats had an active FBI agent whistleblower testify in a Senate hearing that he was blocked from investigating Trump, anyone in the White House, and Trump associates.

Keep in mind that before this whistleblower there was amble evidence of individual FBI agents with pro-Trump sympathies. 

The agent's boss at the New York FBI Field Headquarters was the one who took issue with his reporting and took retaliatory measures to shut him up.

That supervisor's name is Charles McGonigal, the now indicted former head of FBI counterintelligence in New York. 

He's facing two federal indictments. One for lying to the FBI on his official paperwork and illicitly taking money to work for Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

Interesting isn't it how Russians keep popping up in collusion with Trump and his supporters?

Back to our still unnamed whistleblower, he stated that he was called to the carpet to discuss "performance issues" and concerns and was given suggestions on how to improve in an August 2022 meeting. Prior to that he had excellent job reviews throughout his career.

In that meeting he received directions including a strict prohibition on filing intelligence reports relating to Rudy Giuliani or any other Trump associate.

The agent after years of being frustrated in his efforts into investigating political wrongdoing in Trump's circle filed an internal complaint under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

In it he alleged "Numerous acts of intelligence suppression of my reporting related to foreign influence and the Capitol riots, retaliatory acts, and defamation of character."

So far, the FRBI's national press office has declined to comment.

Legal pundits have accused the Biden Administration of not quickly taking legal action after the Jan.6 coup attempt. Instead, it took two years of Biden's presidency to finally act upon information that has been in FBI files since 2016. Was it the FBI's fault?

With the next election just around the corner Trump's been collecting felony charges in numerous cases.

The question is how complicit is the whole FBI in suppressing information under Trump appointed Christopher Wray, the director? What did Wray know a long time ago? What does he know now?

As it stands, I'm wondering why no House committees have brought up this whistleblower's allegations. Could it be that the truth hurts?

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Even Goebbels Would Blush at Florida's New School Program for Children

Fascism rears its ugly head once again in Florida as the DeSantis administration approved a climate crisis denial curriculum for children from kindergarten to 5th grade.

Installing pure propaganda into children's education was the brainchild of one of the most infamous Nazis, Josep Goebbels minister of propaganda in Germany during WW II.

In an absolute reverse of reality children in Florida will be watching videos that compare climate activists to Nazis!

They're going to be taught that solar and wind energy is environmentally ruinous, and that current global heating is part of natural long-term cycles.

In other words... lies, misinformation, and blatant propaganda promoting extreme conservative views will be the new norm in Florida's school systems. 

How did this happen?

There's an extreme national conservative group called the Prager University Foundation which produces materials on science, history, gender and other topics that distort truth.

Experts who have studied the videos and other PragerU output have warned that many of Florida's 3 million public school children will be at risk of being exposed to rightwing indoctrination that conforms to the worldview of the organization's funders.

It's propaganda 101.

Equating people concerned about climate change with Nazis can have long-term impact on young impressionable people. 

Let's get something straight here. Prager is NOT an academic institution and does not confer degrees. Prager is a right-wing millionaire who promotes an authoritarian agenda.

The group is funded by two brothers who are notorious climate deniers, Dan and Farris Wilks, who happen to be petroleum industry businessmen. No bias there eh?

This is the first time these videos have infected a school system in America, and it won't be the last if this nefarious group has its way.

According to Jill Simonian, director of outreach at PragerUKids, the youth arm of the organization, "More states will follow Florida. I'm applauding. This is a step in the right direction."

It's a step in the wrong direction if you believe in democracy, science, and the truth.

You know why this was possible in Florida?

Gov. Ron DeSantis is infamous for his denial of climate change, calling it "leftwing stuff." He's also full MAGA and willing to subvert democracy at every turn.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said "that the irony in the decision by DeSantis' administration to allow the videos "is that this gambit would make Goebbels himself blush."

"For we have a politician who regularly trades in antisemitic and racist, misogynistic and homophobic tropes promoting agenda-driven disinformation into actual science to further the agenda of the fossil fuel interests funding him and his party," Mann explained. 

What use to be the Republican party is now a nest of power-hungry cretins who have embraced fascism openly and are attacking our democracy at every turn. Everything from slavery was good to denying science is part of Prager's un-American agenda.

Now it's up to the parents in Florida to fight back against this propaganda curriculum being shoved down their children's throats. 

If they care about telling the truth about our planet and many other subjects being perverted to promote fascism, they need to organizer and protest. Their children are the Guina pigs for a new wave of authoritarianism that's trying to sweep the country.

As it stands, I hope the rest of the states are watching what's happening in Florida because fascism in their school systems will be the next step in this insidious plot.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Apocalypse Now: This is NOT a Movie - it's Real

     Watching Hawaii's Big Island and Maui engulfed in raging wildfires this morning I couldn't help thinking about Revelations in the bible which predicted the end of times for mankind.

The deadly effects of the climate crisis we're facing worldwide right now are of biblical proportions. 

In America wildfires and floods are affecting people's lives in all 50 states. State emergencies, due to bad weather, are commonplace these days.

Let me be clear. I'm not a bible-thumping Christian telling people that it's time to repent and tithe at church.

I think about my eldest son and his partner who live in Vermont facing flooding not seen for a thousand years in that area.

I watch the record-breaking heat smothering the West and Southwest and how it's affecting crops, animals, and human lives with a growing horror and realization this is our new norm on planet earth.

It's only going to get worse.

The major cause of this plague on earth is not God's fault. It's the fault of billionaire fossil fuel CEOs amassing wealth while continuing to spew deadly carbons into our atmosphere.

Governments worldwide are unable to take meaningful mitigation efforts because corrupt politicians block climate legislation on behalf of their wealthy donors.

To my dismay I watch giant glaciers melting and causing sea levels to rise every day on the news. Areas in some of the oceans are heating up and killing the inhabitants from fish to coral reefs. The waters off Florida are like a hot tub with temperatures hovering at 100 degrees.

Wars, like the one between Russia and Ukraine, and rumors of war are rampant worldwide.

It's just a coincidence that Revelations talks about plagues, and we have places like Florida leading the country in leprosy and malaria - both of which were eliminated in the country... until recently.

Florida's real plague is its governor, the not so honorable Ron DeSantis. His attacks against science and wokism have turned the state into a bastion of idiots who go out of their way to avoid reality.

Weather forecasters have been covering Hurricane Dora's devasting effects on Hawaii's Big Island and Maui all day. The most recent report suggested the high winds were moving westward.

To where? No one knows. Just like no one knows when the area they live in will be hit with a catastrophic act of nature/mankind.

As it stands, it really hurts my heart knowing my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren don't have a future to look forward to.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Knowing When it's Time to Move On

Since my father passed away on August 4th, I've been grieving. 

Moving around in a surrealistic state of past and present memories.

Now, I'm ready to move on. It's what Dad would have wanted. He never let life's challenges take him down. He always moved on right up to until he was 95 years old.

It's not easy. I've had other tragedies in my life and managed to move on from them. 

There was never a certain timeline. Like a day, week, month, or a year to recover.

There are no rules for how to move on. It was a gut check thing and a desire to make my remaining days a masterpiece (as my good friend, author and newspaper columnist Woody Woodburn would say).

Moving on can be extremely challenging. When my best friend in Vietnam and I were in Cambodia we were ambushed by a sniper(s) whose shots riddled his body mere feet away from me. I physically survived but mentally part of me died. 

I was 19 years old. It took years before my PTSD was recognized and I went to a VA hospital in house program for other combat vets like me. I was able to move on after years of therapy, but I confess to a certain melancholy that hasn't gone away.

Moving on from bad things that happen to us is a built-in survival instinct. It's stronger in some of us than others.

Other reasons for moving on...

- When your spouse/lover constantly cheats on you.

- When your gut is roiling from spicy foods it's probably a good reason to move on to milder meals

- When you have a relative who is a MAGA minion it's best not to talk politics with them during family gatherings. Just move on to other subjects.

As it stands, time moves relentlessly on for all of us.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...