JUNETEENTH IS A SOMBER REMINDER OF THE ROAD AHEAD

Juneteenth is no longer a uniquely Texas Holiday. And rightfully so.

A little backstory. Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves in territories in Rebellion against the United States in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation.  However, until the United States had firmly retaken control of Texas, it was not enforced in Texas.

On June 19th, 1865, Union General Granger issued General Order 3, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas. What started in Galveston in 1865 today, in 2021 has become a federal holiday.

No matter your take on such things as BLM, American’s should take EVERY opportunity to celebrate our milestones of freedom.

Whether we like it or not, the United States does not have a great track record on equality. Remember when we wrote the words in 1776, “All Men are Created Equal,” we had slavery. When we said, “We the People,” women and blacks were not included in that (well, 3/5ths of them were)

We need holidays like this to not only celebrate how far we have come but to remind us that we do have a long way to go.

America is a unique nation, and that is what makes it so great. We are not perfect, far from it. In fact, our preamble admits it when we say a reason for the Constitution is to form a “more perfect union.”

Juneteeth is a celebration of how we are now a step closer to that.

America is at a crossroads. It has a race problem. One half of the country wants to address it and correct it; another half wants to pretend it never happened, going as far as to try and illegalize even teaching that slavery or Jim Crow ever existed.

But America needs to have that conversation to move on and heal. It needs to ensure that all voices are heard. Juneteenth is just once more day of celebration of our march to a more perfect union.

History Repeats Itself

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This has been an incredibly difficult week. Once again, we witnessed the killing of a black man at the hands of a police officer. And the world turned upside down.

I’ve listened to the arguments all week from both sides and all I can think is history repeats itself. If you do not learn and fix the problems of the past, it will come back and repeat itself. Which is what we are seeing.

One of the arguments I’ve seen mainly from whites trying to justify (not so much the killing as I don’t think anyone feels that can be justified) police and/or Trump – is that Floyd had a tarnished background. Many say whites are killed by cops too, and why did this one man make people lose it?

Well here you go. Yes, George Floyd had a criminal background. 2007 was his last conviction. He was paroled in 2013 and became involved in a ministry group. Floyd had no other trouble with the law after that.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but we do live in an extremely Christian area. And I do believe as Christians the mantra is forgiveness. I know it’s what Christ preached.

Regardless, Floyd did not deserve to be killed by having a knee on his throat. Crying for his mother and begging to breathe. He’s a human being. There is no justification for killing him that way.

As to whites being killed by cops too? Yes, it does happen, however it doesn’t happen as disproportionately as it does for minorities. No one is saying those lives aren’t important. But don’t try to lessen the importance of BLM by mentioning them.

As to why did George Floyd caused this, it wasn’t so much George Floyd as it was simply the tipping point – the pot had finally boiled over.

This isn’t about the media. It isn’t about conspiracy theories. It’s not about anyone trying to make Trump look bad (by the way, liberals think he does that all by himself we don’t think we need to “do anything to make him look bad”) It’s about the need for understanding. To stop and truly LISTEN to one another and quit trying to justify stupid things that truly do not matter.

Yes, of course all lives matter, but right now we have to help black lives to make all lives better. Let’s not have history continue repeating.

Defunding the police is not about eliminating or taking money away, it’s about reorganizing and retraining. All of which needs to be done. 

If you call yourself a Christian, if you call yourself a human being – do the right thing. Show understanding and compassion and quit justifying systemic racism.

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Americans are hypocrites when it comes to freedom

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I am going to catch hell from both sides on this one, but it has to be said.

When freedoms are involved, Americans are the biggest hypocrites you can find.

Left or Right, it is true.

Let me give you a little background before I dive right into it, I am thoroughly disgusted with partisan rhetoric right now. I am tired of one side opposing an idea just because it came from the other.

Let me stop you right there Buckaroo before you go off. It happens. Both sides do it.

Don’t believe me, let’s cue the music.

Republicans decry Obamacare as big government. As socialism in action. As an example of everything wrong with Democrats and in particular  Barack Obama.

But….

The Affordable Care Act was based on Republican Senator, and former Republican Presidential Candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s plan.

Which itself was based on Newt Gingrich and the Congressional Republican alternative to the 90s Health Care plan of the Clintons.

That Gingrich plan was a Heritage Foundation plan that was based on a 1972 proposal by Richard Nixon.

So after 40 years of pushing the plan, why were Republicans opposed to it?

Two words: Barack Obama.

And I would bet you anything, that if Trump repackaged the ACA, he would be applauded by Republicans and Democrats would suddenly oppose it.

But, let me get back to my original rant.

Americans talk about freedom of choice and responsibility until it is a subject they oppose.

Think about it.

Conservatives decry the choice of the individual until it is a choice to decide what a person can do with their body. And I am not just talking about abortion. It is doctor-assisted suicide. It is birth control.

Then on the opposite side, Liberals talk about choice but then oppose the individual buying a handgun.

And the argument is the same no matter what, certain individuals are not mature enough to decide.

We Americans take pleasure in telling others how to live their lives while chaffing when someone does it to us.

Old enough to vote, not old enough to smoke.

Old enough to enlist, not old enough to drink.

Mature enough to have sex, but not to decide on birth control.

Marriage is a sacred institution so long as the person agrees with who is marrying. Then suddenly the government should interfere.

As Americans, we hold religious freedoms in high esteem, until they are other religions. Very faithful Christians I know call for Mosques to be shut down in the United States.

But, let a report come out that the government even suggests that a church be closed and people lose their collective minds.

There are those that say the Bible should be the law, but when similar Muslim laws are talked about, they oppose it as “Sharia.”

Then we have gun laws. Open carry for some, any carry for others is a death sentence. Philando Castille was a licensed gun owner, he did everything by the book.

His gun rights were a death sentence.

We are looking at Memorial Day weekend, a day when we recognize those who gave the last full measure of human sacrifice.

They did not die for choices that you are comfortable with. They did not die so you could cherish your rights while denying others theirs.

They died for all speech, not just what you agree with.

They died for all faiths, not just the church you attend.

They died for all Americans, not just the ones that act like you, look like you, and believe like you.

Above all, they died for freedom, not some farce that most Americans call freedom. They didn’t die for demagogues. They didn’t die so you could live free of inconvenience.

They died so all in America could enjoy the four freedoms.

Stop acting like fascists and by damned, start acting like Americans.

 

 

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Obamagate is the new #deflectgate

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You can always tell when Donald Trump is in trouble.

He starts attacking Obama or Hillary.

Without fail.

It is almost like clockwork that you can set a time to.

 Scandal.

Tweet or Comment about Obama/Hillary

Repeat.

This week it is nothing new. Trump was embarrassed by reporters asking questions he has no answer for. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments that may end in us finally seeing what he is hiding in his tax returns.

Trump’s own internal numbers show that he is trailing in key states.

And despite his claims of how he is on top of COVID-19, his own personal valet has tested positive and it is feared that several members of the West Wing and possibly the President and Vice-President.

So it is time for the repeat phase.

In a Tweet, Trump accused Former President Barrack Obama of the “The biggest political crime in American history, by far!” 

Okay.

When pressed for elaboration, we got noisy crickets.

But isn’t that part of the process?

Trump knows that there is no crime. Even National Review’s  David Harsanyi in trying to whip the Trump base up in an article about how Obamagate was not a conspiracy, was forced to admit the following:

None of this means that Obama committed some specific crime; he almost assuredly did not. 

His article, even though it said very clearly that Obama did not commit a crime, spends the rest of the article spinning a conspiracy theory that Alex Jones would be proud of to suggest he did.

The biggest “gotcha” moment was when in a meeting, Obama insisted that the investigation be “by the book”

Someone grab the cuffs.

To suggest that this was a smoking gun is reaching to say the least. Obama spent 8 years being accused of everything from being a Muslim, not a US citizen, and of wearing a tan suit. You can be sure that if one aspect of the investigation into possible foreign involvement in a US election was not down by the book, Fox News, and the conspiracy crowd would go nuts.

Too late.

But this isn’t about a crime that no one seems to be able to pin down. Trump is perfectly aware of this.

This is about political survival.  Trump is polling badly in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. States he won in 2016 and needs to win.

He knows three things.

He won a lot of votes not so much as they voted for him as they voted against Hillary.

His diehard base of elderly voters is not happy with his handling the Coronavirus situation.

And finally, he currently has no record to run on. His best bet between now and November is to throw as much shade onto the Former Vice-President hoping that those who might not like either Trump or Biden will see him as the lesser of two evils.

Expect more rinse, lather, repeats between now and November.

 

 

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Tribalism is the new American Political Movement

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American politics have become two armed camps that are growing more and more hostile to each other.

No longer do we look at people with a differing viewpoint as fellow countrymen, instead we paint them as traitors, as enemies of the state and of the people.

And we do it not only with willingness, but we also do it with glee. 

How did this happen? Was it always like this? Can we step away from the abyss before it is too late?

Is it already too late?

Tribalism, like it or not, is the new political norm in America.

Just like the Crips and Bloods, who don the blue and red to declare unwavering allegiance to their gangs, Liberals and Conservatives do the same.

And the requirement for loyalty is fierce. There is no room for question, for individuality, or for disagreement.

You are either 100% in lockstep, or you are called a RINO, a DINO, a sell-out. Your patriotism is questioned. Your intentions are questions. 

Heroes become villains if they step out and question the party line. Look at how fast the ideology who claims unwavering support for the troops called a decorated Marine General a disgrace because as Secretary of Defense he questioned the head of the Conservative Faction?

We paint people with the other ideology as having the worst virtues imaginable. They are sinners, traitors, criminals, and whatnot. Leaders that share our ideology are saints, the persecuted, martyrs, and all-around boy scouts.

When evidence to the contrary comes up, it is fake, its a hit job, its any number of things.

If you are a liberal, you cannot oppose gun control.

If you are a conservative, you cannot even begin to suggest a Woman has a right to choose.

Any deviation from what is the accepted dogma and you are an outcast.

This should never be the default setting for a free society.

Today, we have candidates for office who proudly say they are 100% liberal or 100% conservative.

That to me is not a good public servant, but someone that is an unthinking political ideologue. Someone incapable of putting the greater good ahead of their politics.

Today we oppose what we support.

Sound strange?

If I were to say that there should be laws that ensured God was in all of our institutions, that atheism and homosexuality would be crimes, that there would be strict penalties for violating God’s laws on Earth…

You would both be a Conservative and an Islamic Fundamentalist.

But, Conservatives decry the very Sharia law they seek to implement.

Liberals at the same time as claiming a moral superiority on women’s rights and human rights go ballistic when someone criticizes the mandatory wearing on the Hajib or questions Islamization.

Neither side will listen to any logical debate to the contrary.

Which brings me to another sign of the tribalization of America.

News and Information.

Any news that runs contrary to the world view of the two camps is called fake news. We accept dubious news sources as carved in stone and dismiss news to the contrary.

So long as we feed on “news” geared to support our world view, we cannot have logical conversations in a meaningful way.

America is a dangerous crossroads. Whether you are a liberal of a conservative, you must face one stark reality. We are one bad day away from a war of words from turning into a civil war.

And if that doesn’t scare you, then all hope is lost.

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From The Left: Put Down the Corona Kool-Aid

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There is a really dangerous belief rolling around some conservative circles that the coronavirus was created in a lab in Wuhan, China in an effort to destroy the American economy. All this despite the fact that epidemiologists who have studied the novel coronavirus have largely agreed this is not a lab-created virus but rather a naturally occuring leap. Most likely found in bats.

This week our President came forward making a claim which made it even more dangerous.

Diplomacy. There is a reason we have and need diplomacy. It’s all fine and well to say we don’t care about China or anyone else for that matter. But understand this, we really are not autonomous. We all are connected. We borrow money from China. We have trade and manufacturing deals with China. Many of our products are made in China. We are in fact connected to China in a big way. Diplomacy is important. For both nations. To think otherwise is incredibly naive and, well, simply ignorant.
 

So why the need to create conspiracies? Why would our own President be in on pushing the agenda? Simple. Distraction. President Trump has a particular group of fans that has been seriously into conspiracy theories. The theories have given careers to the likes of Alex Jones and brought life to tags like “false flags” and “fake news” which really mean nothing when you think about it. They are just words people throw out when they wish to discredit something. Ultimately they mean nothing. Not even when Trump says them. Which brings me back to the latest conspiracy theory.

As far back as February, in the New England Journal of Medicine, David M. Morens, M.D., Peter Daszak, Ph.D., and Jeffery K. Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D. co-authored a paper agreeing that this novel coronavirus most likely came from a bat and was due to natural causes – not a lab creation. All are respected in their field.

Another research paper from March shows the markers of the coronavirus were not lab created but rather occured naturally. The facts simply do not lead to any proof of a conspiracy theory. So I hate to break it to you conspiracy theory lovers, but you need to put your goblet of Corona Kool-Aid down. You might choke on your “false flags” and your “fake news.”

I’m just sayin….

 

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Navigating the Biden accusations in the #MeToo age

So, Joe Biden is now being called a “rapist” by many.

Mostly disgruntled Bernie supporters who feel robbed yet again by the loss of their beloved candidate but, also by those on the right who would like to discredit the left in any manner that comes to them. 

As a woman who has actually been the victim of both sexual assault and molestation, I believe all accusations should be investigated. That being said, I would NEVER accuse a man of rape or any other sexual crime until all the facts are in. Listen to the woman by all means, but we live in a country where supposedly you are innocent until PROVEN guilty.

What exactly does this mean? It means let’s not rush to judgment and instead investigate and come to a conclusion based on evidence, not political agendas.

I cannot stand Trump but would not rush to call him a rapist just because several women came forward to accuse him.

And those who defend him but accuse Biden are hypocrites!

You cannot dismiss Trump’s accusers but automatically accept the word of Biden’s accusers without it being clear you are not looking at the evidence but simply politics.

Evidence wise, there have been 8 women who have come forward with “accusations” all but one has said he made them feel a little uncomfortable but none of those 7 felt anything he did rose to the level of actual harassment or assault.  The one who has claimed it was assault… Tara Reade or whichever of the 5 names she uses, is the only one claiming he did more than make her feel uncomfortable.

But when you go through the evidence her story begins to fall apart. For one thing, she has changed her story several times.  This doesn’t help her credibility.

Even her story of going to Washington has changed from 2009 to 2019. In 2009 she claimed she drove with her boyfriend, in 2019 she claimed she flew. This is the problem for people in this day and age of the internet…everything lasts forever. The information is there for anyone to see.  Even though she has since deleted the blog that had some of the information in it with her praising Biden for his work on violence against women.

Her disliking Putin one year to loving him “shirt on or shirt off”. Her claiming she was fired by Biden after the alleged incident when years prior she had written in her blog that she chose to leave Washington due to her hatred of “American Imperialism” and her love of Russia.

I believe any time a woman brings a claim it should be taken seriously but we should also have learned from the “me too” frenzy that sometimes, women are less than truthful in an effort to gain attention. Some of Reade’s friends have claimed as much about her.

One of the first things I look for when there are multiple claims is consistency in the claims…sexual predators tend to have a “signature” if you will. And all the claims against Biden are consistent with the exception to Reade’s. Which actually was consistent last year but again, she changed her story this year. I think this has to be taken into consideration when determining whether a claim is valid or not. My guess is it’s not.

We should not be allowed to potentially destroy a man’s life just because we are women and in this “me too” age we are supposed to be believed.

That is just as wrong.

Basic Rights, Conspiracies, & Lockdown Oh My…

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by Dottie Britt

We currently live in a day of great technology which is a double-edged sword. We are able to have information at our fingertips 24/7. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean it’s always accurate information.

We are also in one of the most divisive times we have ever lived in. The two points have made for some really interesting conversations.

One of those is the idea of the “evil” “liberal” “fake” etc… media. This is a relatively new phenomenon and mostly promoted by our current President.

Who chose to go into the office of President and anytime a member of the Press said anything against him he would scream “Fake News”.

It’s not a new tactic, dictatorships have used it for decades.  If you discredit everyone against you then the people have no option but to believe you. And I know, there are people who will say, “The media has gone after Trump” to which I reply “He gives them ammunition daily by enjoying the sound of his own voice and seeing his own words”

No other President in history has tweeted as he does nor held press conferences the way he does which is going to automatically open him up. It’s sometimes like watching Good Fellas I keep joking we’ll find the bodies of journalists that dare to ask a hard question, floating in the river one day. 

The media is protected by the Constitution for a reason. They should be asking hard questions whether it makes him, you, or anyone uncomfortable or not. It’s their job! The founding fathers believed, and rightly so, that the Press should be able to keep the government honest.

They are there to protect us by giving and getting information that we wouldn’t otherwise ever know. And it’s a pretty thankless job. They don’t get paid a fortune, they take a lot of heat but they love their job. I grew up in the media, I know how it works.

And real journalists care about the facts, they care about their job. Just because a journalist says something you disagree with doesn’t make it “fake news”  a term I’ve come to despise. It means they are doing their job and probably very well. Of course, in this day and age of online bullying and political divisiveness facts are well…twisted and not appreciated unless one agrees with them.

This new “fake news” belief has also corresponded with an increase in the belief that almost everything is some sort of conspiracy. To that, I remind you, in order for any good conspiracy to work as few people as possible have to be involved. It limits the possibility of anyone talking. Because we are human, we like to share. But due to the internet (you know it’s all true if you find it there ha! ) theories are viral.

Which brings me to my final thoughts, we are all locked down right now in what feels like the biggest lab rat, science experiment ever. We are all on the internet more, and we are all getting cagey.

Keep that in mind as you are absorbing “information”.

I see more wrong information passed on usually in the form of a meme. Just don’t unless you have actually fact-checked it. Don’t be part of the problem…choose to be part of the solution.

Everyone stay safe…hopefully, this will all be over soon.

 

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Let’s Talk Trump Derangement Syndrome

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On the right, there is a new term that seems to be used by anyone that is seen as remotely critical of Donald Trump:

Trump Derangement Syndrome

It has become the preferred way for some on the right to shut down the conversation without attacking the merits of the criticism.

A reporter asks the President if maybe he should have not been so flippant about the outbreak of COVID-19?

Well, that is just another example of TDS by the media.

Question the decision to put Jared Kushner in charge of anything?

You must suffer from TDS!

Point out that there are reports that members of the Trump family are using insecure email servers just like Hillary Clinton did?

You guessed it, TDS.

It is a handy little way to turn the argument onto the person bringing the criticism. You then are not required to discuss the issue at hand, merely dismiss it and shut down the conversation.

But that is not what I want to talk about as far as Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I want to talk about TDS on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The rationalization of everything Trump.

Trump Derangement Syndrome has become a national affliction. There are those on the left that are absolutely obsessed with Donald Trump.

They do nothing but talk about removal from office, they do nothing but obsess with every scandal and misstep.

To me, that takes away from the discussion of issues at hand. I would prefer to talk about other things, health care, criminal justice reform, a living wage, ending corporate welfare.

To me, Trump is merely a distraction.

But, the ones that also suffer from TPS are the die-hard Trump supporters.

The ones that Trump was talking about when he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters.

The ones that call themselves strong supporters of the Second Amendment, but when Trump talks about Red Flag Laws and Gun Confiscation, there are crickets or finding ways to rationalize support.

Or fiscal conservatism, arguably the center-piece of the Tea Party Movement. Donald Trump in 2016 promised that he would eliminate the national debt in 8 years. Yet, by the White House’s own estimates, should Trump serve two terms, he will add a little over 8 trillion to the debt.

However, there is no criticism by the Tea Party or GOP of this. The same groups that claimed that Obama’s reckless policies would bankrupt the nation.

You see, Trump Derangement Syndrome is just as much an affliction of the left as it is of the right. By selling your moral stances for “winning,” by rationalizing stances you normally would oppose, you have created in a sense a demagogue.

A “glorious leader” above reproach, and off-limits to criticism. That sort of derangement, that “Emperor has no clothes” approach is just as dangerous to the Republic as those who are determined to undermine the Trump Presidency

I would also suggest that those who toss around the term Trump Derangement Syndrome ensure that they have cured themselves of Obama Derangement Syndrome or Clinton Derangement Syndrome

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Come Together

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Politics has become a blood sport.

No matter what your political persuasion, you have to admit that in the last decade, the rhetoric has become sharply more partisan in nature. We have become less trusting of the other side.

Quick to look for the double-cross, quick to point out faults.

Quick to rationalize behavior on our side of the aisle that we denounce on the other.

Twenty years ago, on 9-11, after the Towers Fell, you saw a unity that we had not seen since World War Two. Later, we did start bickering over politics, but for a period of time it wasn’t Red State or Blue State, it was Red, White, and Blue.

Today, that is missing.

Sure, I could play the partisan game and point out all the places the Administration misstepped. And without missing a beat, you could point out the places that the Democratic Party played politics.

But right now, at this moment, would that make any of us safer?

Would it get us closer to overcoming this?

Lately, I have seen social media from people on the left and right that hopes that the other side contracts COVID-19. These people are wishing that their fellow Americans succumb to disease from what I understand the more serious cases are painful and fatal.

What has happened to us?

As you know, I am not a fan of the President. I make no excuses for it. I disagree with a lot of his rhetoric, his name-calling and many of his policies.

However, above all, I want this President to be successful in keeping Americans safe.

I remember this, on December 6th, 1941 most Republicans despised FDR, but on December 8th, lined up with him to defeat Japan, Germany, and Italy.

On, September 10th, 2001, most Democrats opposed George W Bush, but on September 12th, we all came together to care for our injured and determined to introduce Osama Bin Laden to his afterlife.

It is time that we do that again. Political disagreement and discourse are the cornerstones of our freedoms. But, we cannot lose sight of one simple fact:

Damnit, we are Americans and it is about time we roll up our sleeves and tackle this pandemic like we have handled any crisis.

I think John F Kennedy said it best:

“So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.

And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.

For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

 

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