Shooting of Scalise is Deplorable, But We Didn’t Start The Fire!

The shooting on Wednesday at the Congressional baseball practice in Virginia was a deplorable act that should be condemned by everyone. I hope that Representative Scalise and everyone else who was wounded will fully recover from this heinous act.

However, while initially calling for unity following the shooting, some Republicans have tried to place the blame for this act of violence, committed by a Bernie Sanders supporter, on the Democratic resistance to Trump and the GOP agenda. In an article on BusinessInsider.com, GOP Congressman Chris Collins of New York said Democratic political opposition to President Donald Trump had ‘”gone too far.”

“I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric,” Collins said. “The rhetoric has been outrageous: The finger-pointing, the tone, the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters, really then, some people react to things like that, people get angry as well, and you fuel the fires.” Collins also said he would carry a gun in public in the incident’s aftermath.

Well, Congressman Collins, to your arrogant and false accusation, I must simply reply, “BULLSHIT!” And, by invoking the title of a well-known Billy Joel song, We Didn’t Start the Fire! Apparently the shooting of a white fellow Republican and House colleague has affected your perception and your memory. Please allow me to respond with the thing Trump and the GOP hate most — the truth!

While America unfortunately has a long history of political violence as pointed out in a NewRepublic.com article, a story on Newsweek.com put the onus for our current situation right where it belongs — The new era of political thuggery dates to raucous Trump campaign rallies last summer, when the candidate urged supporters to “lock up” his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and promised to pay the legal fees of those who often scuffled with protesters and berated journalists.

The NewRepublic article further reinforced that view. Trump encouraged his supporters to “knock the crap” out of protesters, and even suggested he would pay the legal fees of followers who assaulted his critics.

An ongoing pattern of threats and violence is further documented in the Newsweek.com story. “America’s cold civil war is heating up, with countrywide reports of incidents of political violence. In addition to a congressman-elect “body-slamming” a reporter in Montana and regular clashes between protesters in the streets, two announced Democratic political candidates have now withdrawn their challenges to Republican incumbents, citing death threats.” [It should be noted the congressman-elect who body-slammed the reporter in Montana was Republican Greg Gianforte.]

In addition, Trump and the GOP have embraced many supporters who are are known for threatening violence against Democratic officials. According to a WashingtonPost.com story yesterday, Ted Nugent, who now says he will tone it down, threatened Barack Obama during his first run for the presidency by saying he should “suck my machine gun.” And when President Obama was running for reelection in 2012, the rocker said during the National Rifle Association convention that, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” The statement attracted the attention of the Secret Service.

And the previously cited Newsweek article also notes that earlier this year, one of Trump’s favorite broadcasters, Alex Jones, threatened on air to “beat” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff and told the California congressman to “fill your hand”—a reference to taking up a pistol. An attorney with expertise in federal law told Newsweek at the time that the threats appeared to break a federal law, U.S. Code Title 18, Section 115, which makes it illegal to threaten to assault a U.S. official and provides a penalty of up to six years in prison. Jones was never charged.

And these are a just a few instances of the violent rhetoric and threats that have come from Trump supporters and those who align with the far right wing of the GOP. No, Representative Collins, trying to blame Democrats for the political violence is the ultimate in hypocrisy. The GOP and especially the tea-publicans have created this environment of extremist threats to energize your constituencies and get out the vote. And now you’re reaping the unpleasant benefits.

These extremist tactics and positions have left a wide swath of America feeling threatened with losing their health care, their social security and their rights through discriminatory policies in voting, employment and more, so you can give more tax breaks to the rich, let religious extremists walk all over the  rights of everyone else, and strip away environmental and financial regulations so corporations can grow rich by poisoning the environment and cheating consumers. So also know, Representative Collins, that while we condemn Wednesday’s shooting and other acts of violence, we will not go quietly into the night and let your party run roughshod over our rights. We will protest, we will rally, and we will march PEACEFULLY!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Fatal Miscalculations: Who Will End Up Paying For The Red Plague?

I freely admit that I considered the 2016 election results as a catastrophe for individual liberties, the environment, consumer rights and more. Now, I see that I totally underestimated the damage Trump and the GOP threaten to do to the vast majority of Americans. I’m talking about the 99% who struggle to get by while the 1% feast off of our miseries.

Between the latest version of the AHCA (Anti Health Care Act), that was pushed through the House of Representatives without anyone knowing how it would actually impact Americans, and Trump’s robber baron budget, which portends an unholy transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the 1+%, we are facing a financial threat to our very survival. With a flair for the melodramatic at times, I have chosen to call this threat The Red Plague, since it was brought about by all the red states on the electoral map. And, make no mistake, it is a plague upon our country.

Hyperbole? Exaggeration? Paranoia? Well, I suppose it depends upon where you are in the spectrum of differences that seem to divide rather than unite America. If you’re wealthy, white, a religious conservative, bigoted and a fervent nationalist or some combination thereof, then you probably think all of what’s happening is good. You’re the ones that Trump and the GOP are counting on. They keep you happy by appealing to your fears and prejudices while stealing your money as well as our money and our rights.

On the other hand, it’s a very real threat for those of us who believe in liberty and justice for all, the welfare of others, that health care should be a right not a choice, that people should be paid a living wage, that greed is not good, businesses have a moral responsibility to their employees and their communities, that our environment needs to be protected and that those who need help should get it

Now, I do understand that a number of otherwise good people voted for Trump because he said he was going to bring back jobs to this country and put more people back to work. Well, like everything else he said, it’s a case of over promise and under deliver. As an example, take the big deal he made about getting Carrier to stay in Indiana rather than move jobs to Mexico right after the election. Well, that didn’t last long, because Carrier is going to lay off over 600 people in Indiana and move the jobs to Mexico. (Read the Chicago Tribune story here.)

Then he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare with something so much better that would cover everybody for less. What we have so far is the 2nd version of the AHCA, which the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) now says will result in 23 million people losing their health coverage and those who have low incomes, people with pre-existing conditions and older Americans will get socked with huge premium increases and less coverage. And that’s just part of the pain we’ll be enduring while the wealthy will get huge tax cuts out of it. Call me crazy, but I don’t see that as an improvement. (Read more about the CBO report here from CNN Money.)

Then we have Trump’s attempt at a budget, which is based on a combination of avarice, cruelty, alchemy and wishful thinking. Under the banner of supply side / trickle down economics, which has proven to be a failed approach, this budget gives huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations plus spends massive amounts on defense, while cutting welfare, medical research, medicaid, children’s health insurance, food stamps, student loan programs and public education. Apparently, Trump thinks the poor shouldn’t have chosen to be poor in the first place. Wonder if he has ever heard of King Louis XVI of France and  how that kind of thinking turned out to be a real pain in the neck? (Read about Trump’s budget in this CNN.com report, and it’s miscalculations in this MSN.com story.)

So what does all this mean? Right now in this country, we have a huge problem as more and more of the money is siphoned out of the economy and into the hands of am wealthy few. That is unsustainable. Automation, irresponsible and obscene pay for CEOs without long-term performance goals, predatory financial policies, outrageous health care expenses even with Obamacare and other issues have left many Americans feeling like they have nothing left to lose. And that is how revolutions start. The heads will roll — just look at Louis XVI!

Those in power might want to ponder just how much pain the people can endure from The Red Plague, before they turn on the ones who are spreading it. A miscalculation could be fatal.

Stand up and be counted! Demand your rights! Tell your representatives in Congress that Trump’s budget and the AHCA are DEAD! We want Medicare for all and a budget that assures the wealthy pay their fair share!

Be Vocal! Be Adamant! Be Strong!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

When People Put Party Over Country, It’s Time To End the Party

While it’s no secret that I have no love of the Republican party, especially since it was completely taken over by hard line conservatives, the party and its elected officials have, with a few exceptions, basically turned a blind eye to the string of of apparent lies, deceptions and potentially treasonous acts committed by the Trump administration. Many in the GOP just ignore the threats by saying there’s no proof and dragging out or sabotaging Congressional investigations. The truth is they don’t want to turn up proof of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians, Trump’s attempts to derail the FBI’s investigation by firing Director Comey, and now his apparent leaking of top secret intelligence to the Russians.

Why? Because proving any of these allegations would completely delegitimize the election results and jeopardize their agenda to pay back their wealthy contributors by passing legislation to arrange one of the biggest transfers of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the wealthy with tax cuts for the rich funded by stripping away our healthcare, our environmental protections, our financial protections, our rights as workers and more. Literally, the GOP cares more about party power than they do about the country.

What we need is a fully independent special prosecutor to investigate all of the allegations. The old adages of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck,” seem relevant enough with what we have seen happening to justify the investigation. When the truth is sorted out, we may very well find Donald Trump’s cooked goose. Trump protests his innocence while continuing to do things that sure make it seem like he has something to hide. These perceptions are crippling our standing in the world and creating serious questions about who even cares about the country.

Tomorrow, Trump is scheduled to speak at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement in CT. And in many ways it will be an insult to those graduates, who are tasked with protecting our borders and enforcing the law, to be addressed by a man that wants to take money from the Coast Guard to build his wall and who has no respect for the law since he doesn’t believe it applies to him. But an even graver insult to these graduates is the failure of key Republicans, including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, to call for a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s ties to the Russians. The questions need to be answered and the issue needs to be settled by collecting evidence and testimonies that will prove or disprove the allegations.

We need the investigation to remove the cloud over this administration or remove this administration depending on the results. We need to again establish that no one, even the president is above the law. And, we need to prove that the rule of law is more important than party loyalty and power. Otherwise, America is doomed to become a Russian oligarchy and we can kiss out freedoms good-bye.

Call your Congressional representatives now and demand that they call for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and determine if they colluded to influence the election and if there are other illegal activities involved.

We deserve to know the truth! Demand it!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Stinging Barbs of Truth: Pun-ishing Would-Be Tyrants With Comedy

Ever notice one of the things missing from countries ruled by a dictatorship? It’s laughter, especially the type incited by sharp-tongued comics. Tyrants and would-be tyrants are notoriously thin skinned and do not suffer lightly the insolence of truth delivered with a knowing smirk. It threatens their image of absolute power, makes hollow their illogical rants and exposes their deceits for the world to see.

In a free society, politicians and celebrities expect to find themselves as fodder for jokes by stand up comics and show hosts across the spectrum. And, while some may not take it all graciously, most laugh at themselves along with us. That’s the American way. On the other hand, when the high and mighty start getting too high and mighty, comedy becomes the singular most important tool for bringing them down to earth … and hard reality.

Since the 2016 election, the political follies and excesses of the Trump administration and conservative Republicans have fueled volley after volley of well-justified and well-aimed comedic barbs, from show hosts that include Bill Maher, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, and, the focus of this blog, Stephen Colbert, host of Late Night with Stephen Colbert on CBS!

I admit to having become enamored with Colbert’s monologues as he has mercilessly carved up the ineptitude, arrogance and lies of Trump, his lackeys and conservative Republicans with razor-edged comedic barbs. And, while it has certainly gotten under the skin of Trump and his supporters, it has also catapulted the Late Show in the ratings. It’s required watching for me now.

So, it should come as no surprise that I stand in solid support of Stephen Colbert after last week’s big stink about his joke about Trump — “The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c— holster.” The “obscene” word was bleeped out, but irate Trump supporters and others went ape-shit (NO Bleeps here), even calling his comment “homophobic” (an unbelievably bizarre comment for a conservative to make) and started a #FireColbert Twitter storm which was countered by variations of #LoveColbert and #KeepColbertFireTrump. Some went so far as to complain to the FCC, which under it’s Trump appointed chairman now stands for F*ck Consumers Commission. The commission reviews all complaints but has not opened an investigation so far.

What I find most annoying is that these same people have no complaints about the Rush Limbaughs who fill the airwaves with angry, idiotic falsehoods intended to hurt real people with real issues. Now that’s obscenity! But they will argue freedom of speech. Fine, so will I when it comes to Colbert!

What can you do? Two things. First, watch the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and drive up his ratings even further. (That shows your support and will certainly tick-off Trump!) Second, you can call CBS programming at 212-975-3247 and express your support for Stephen Colbert. (They have very short hours, but you can leave a voicemail!)

I should also mention that Speaker Paul Ryan’s office took exception with Seth Meyers featuring Ryan’s statements about rushing Obamacare through a vote and all his complaints about that as compared to the way the current version of the AHCA was rushed through passage in the House last week. (Apparently, they were bothered by the truth. That truth can be so damned inconvenient. You go, Seth!)

So, remember to keep laughing ’cause it totally pisses off would-be tyrants like Trump the First, or is that worst, or maybe it’s both. Take our president, PLEASE!

Comedy is a weapon of Freedom! Ready, Aim, Colbert!

The Divine Miss Bri 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

An Uncivil War: Reclaiming Our Rights From The Red Menace

During my early years in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Red Menace was communism, a totalitarian form of government, primarily promoted by the Soviet Union and Red China, that allowed no dissent and placed ultimate power in the hands of corrupt men of low morals and and non-existent ethics. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, we thought, with the exception of Red China (and the hemorrhoid known as North Korea), the Red Menace was pretty much defeated. Little did we know that it had just moved to America and found rebirth in the Republican party.

I am quite sure that Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, two of our most important presidents, would be appalled at what their Republican party has become — a tool of the wealthy and corporations dedicated to trampling out individual rights and maintaining dictatorial power. It is beyond shameful. It is treasonous and un-American.

Sour grapes? Partisanship, you say? Not anymore. With today’s vote in the Senate by the GOP to change Senate rules, the last protection against the blatant misuse of power by the Republicans has been eliminated. However, the so-called nuclear  option has one thing in common with real nukes — you can’t escape the fallout.

Perhaps the most telling commentary on today’s situation is a Facebook post by a dear friend that I found both tragic and very much on point. My friend Heather posted, “What is the point of pretending we live in a democracy?” When I saw that today, it ripped my heart out and fueled a burning rage inside. How dare the right wing destroy everything we’d been taught to believe in!

Now, lest you think that I am just mad ’cause we lost in 2016, I should point out a couple of very disturbing things. Key among them are irregularities in the election process, such as Russian hacking and dissemination of Democratic party emails with the intent of influencing voters to elect Donald Trump, and a sophisticated, but illegal gerrymandering process initiated by the GOP designed to establish and perpetuate minority rule in this country. How, un-American can you get?!

Earlier this week at my local Drinking Liberally meeting in Windsor, CT, I got to hear author David Daley discuss the Republican Party’s audacious and un-democratic moves that he articulates in his book “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (Liveright). It is both compelling and freakin’ scary. As Daley emphasized every so often in his presentation, “You may want to order another drink!”

Simply from his synopsis, I would highly recommend buying and reading his book. At the same time, I would also hide any firearms because you might be tempted to pick them up and start a war all on your own. But don’t, yet. We still have options and we can always hope Mitch McConnell dies a horrible, painful death. No, I’m not advocating that anyone attack him, but I sure as hell won’t refrain from celebrating anything bad that happens to him.

Sorry, I digressed, but I feel much better. Anyway, Daley’s book describes how the GOP used lots of outside, dark money (thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision) to gain control of select state legislatures in order to gerrymander redistricting to create perpetual Republican districts. As a result, while total votes favor Democrats, districts are set up to guarantee a Republican victory. It essentially dilutes and even negates non-Republican votes on a scale that reeks of dictatorship.

An article on Daley’s book in The New Yorker highlights this even better with a quote from “Turd Blossom” as he was called by George W. Bush.

“People call us a vast right-wing conspiracy,” Karl Rove told potential donors to the project at an early fund-raiser in Dallas. “But we’re really a half-assed right-wing conspiracy. Now it’s time to get serious.”

Using this “conspiracy,” Mitch McConnell and the whole Red Menace of GOP stalwarts stole the Supreme Court position they just elevated Neil Gorsuch to fill. Here’s hoping he has a fatal accident on the way to take his post. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving right-wing hack!

So what do we do? First, buy all the assault weapons and ammo you can. Then bury them somewhere safe. (I am not advocating violence, but if they think we’re as well armed as their right wing militias, they’ll think twice about starting anything.) Next, stand united with your fellow protestors. This is a communal effort.We are in this together! (Never forget that!) Then, rally to hold the governorships because they can veto any further GOP gerrymandering!!!! Plus, hang on to all state and local seats!!! We have to stop the GOP locally!! Then, we can move up the chain. It’s like the FBI taking out the Mob underlings to get at the bosses!

Our democracy may be on life support at the moment, but it’s not dead! And it’s up to true “blue” patriots to bring it back from the brink! It’s about activism, being united and never surrendering!

DEFEAT THE REPUBLICAN RED MENACE!!!!!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Exercising Our Rights: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

“Use it or lose it!”

We use that line to talk about a number of things, but it is most appropriate when referring to our rights in a democracy. While it’s most frequently applied to voting, which is critically important, it also applies to demonstrations, marches, holding your elected representatives accountable and other forms of active, participatory democracy.

Although I grew up in the era of the Civil Rights protests and the Vietnam War protests, I was mostly too young to participate, plus I lived in a conservative area where protests of any kind were pretty much non-existent. However, at the still young age of 62 (survival tip: it’s safer to agree with me here than to argue), I was inspired by the Women’s Marches right after the inauguration. Since then, as regular readers of this blog know, I have joined the ranks of activists locally to take action in trying to defend the rights of all against the imminent threats from Trump and the far right since the election.

Today, I took another step by participating in my first protest march, an Equality March in Hartford, CT. It may not have been a huge affair compared to the Women’s Marches, but it was important for those of us who took part. Among the salient points that I took from today’s event:

First, we were a very diverse group of people supporting equality and rights over a broad spectrum of groups: Trans Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Civil Rights, Animal Rights, Workers’ Rights, Immigrant Rights and more. Within this diversity, there was a definite sense of camaraderie and fellowship because we recognize that we are all in this together. There can be no equality until we  achieve equality for all! So, we marched and chanted together for each other.

Second, we were all on the same page about making it a peaceful march. We can all be passionate without being violent about it. And there was no reason for even a cross word. Several people waved and gave us a Thumbs Up in support. We also had a police escort to help us get across intersections as a group, so we weren’t worried about anyone bothering us.

Third, the Hartford P.D. officers were very nice and respectful of us and we were respectful of them. Every situation is different, but mutual respect goes a long way in  minimizing “incidents.”  Can’t always guarantee it on either side, but it helps to try at every opportunity.

Fourth, while rarely will a single action / march / protest result in change by itself, the effects are cumulative so we need to keep it up. The only way to get the other side to understand that we are serious is to outlast them. This is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. And the race has just begun. However, we all have to pace ourselves. When we were talking amongst ourselves before the march started, we all realized there are so many events going on that it’s hard to keep track of them all. That’s good, because there’s always something going on that you can be a part of somewhere. We all need to do what we can, while still taking care of things like work, family and life.

For those of you in CT:

Saturday April 1, from 2:30 – 4 PM, the CT Rally to Support Trans Youth will take place on the steps of the CT Supreme Court building (231 Capitol Ave. Hartford) For more details, visit www.GLSEN.org .

Tuesday April 4th there will be a Teach-In: The Immorality of Inequality starting at 6 PM at the Shiloh Baptist Church (350 Albany Ave., Hartford). For more details visit www.FightFor15.org

There’s so much still to be done, so the keep the faith and stay active, my friends.

And remember to chant: We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!

Victory will be ours!!!

Equality Through Peace and Unity

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

This Is War: The Fight To Save Our America Is Just Beginning

It has been just a little over 8 weeks since Herr Donald took office as Liar-in-Chief and proceeded to continually prove his unfitness to occupy our nation’s highest office. Not because he is inept (I wish that was simply the case), but because he is a devious con artist who engages in trickery and deceit to keep everyone distracted while he and the Republicans in Congress dedicate themselves to stripping away our rights and protections in order to give more power and money to a ruling class of wealthy individuals and corporations.

Call it Libertarian. Call it Conservative. Call it whatever you choose, but it is a dire threat to our progressive values and our freedoms as individuals. It replaces government protections with licenses for the wealthy, corporations and religious extremists to bully and discriminate against anyone (especially immigrants, LGBTQ, seniors, poor and low income Americans), pollute our environment, mistreat workers, invade our privacy and more. Even worse, they are also working hard to leave us with no recourse through the court system to stop these abuses.

Now, it is true that we “supposedly” live under a democratic form of government in which citizens vote and governing is done by majority rule. It has become quite apparent, however, that our system has been “corrupted” by the Citizens United court decision, which essentially allows elections (and thus politicians) to be bought with unlimited campaign contributions, and Russian intervention in our political process, especially since it appears that Trump benefited from that intervention. This calls into question the actual validity of the election results and, consequently, the validity of the current government.

With his initial budget proposal, Donald the Destroyer, has take a slash and burn approach to the “liberal enemies” of the far right and corporate rule — such as those notoriously slacking seniors who are served by Meals on Wheels, those future protesters and criminals who are served by free school meals and other beneficial programs, those lewd anarchists in theater, music and painting who benefit from support of the arts, and those elitist revolutionaries served by public broadcasting. At the same time, he is proposing a massive investment in our military, but why? What are they protecting? An underpaid, overworked and over-taxed population of drones who have no healthcare, no rights to privacy, no safety nets and no protection from corporate abuses. Hmmm, maybe that’s really why Trump wants his wall — to keep us from escaping!

Well, enough is enough! The longer this goes, the harder it’s going to be to stop it. And stop it, we must. Any way we can! Many of us have already begun to fight back, but this is going be a  long war. Yes, I did say war, because it is nothing less than a war against tyranny, against ignorance, against prejudice and against the rule of money. It will require many battles and many sacrifices. Freedom does not come cheap. For now, we have a number of peaceful means at our disposal that we must use to the max, including mass public displays of protest, contributions to organizations that are battling for us, access to our representatives at all levels and the ability to organize in groups to stay focused and active in the fight. We must also get involved in local politics to build the kind of progressive government we want and need.

However, we need to recognize this may not be enough. If that time comes, we need to be ready to “just say no!” No, we will not comply! No, we will not surrender! No, we will not disperse quietly! No, we will not accept this anymore! How far do we go with this civil disobedience? As far as necessary! We simply cannot compromise our values, because they define who we are. We cannot acquiesce to their surrender.

We are powerful when we are united in righteous indignation. A government that does not fear the people has no checks on its power. Let them tremble!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Like A Sci-Fi Movie, Republicans Selling Out Our Rights To Corporations

Face it, folks, we live in the scariest of times. Responding to the bidding of their rich corporate masters, Republicans in Congress along with Trump the Terrible are in the process of stripping away our rights in the interest of making corporations even more profitable and powerful. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to go to the bathroom at home without your boss’ permission (or even worse, without him or her watching).

Between Trump’s appointments from the wealthy insiders’ club and the GOP corporate lackeys in Congress, the government is trying to eliminate all citizen protections from Wall Street greed, corporate pollution, debilitating health care expenses, hazardous workplaces, unpaid overtime, corporate restrictions on what we can access on the internet, and NOW forced genetic testing by employers.

According to a story in the Washington Post, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives would allow employers to require that employees submit to genetic testing as part of a wellness program. And, if employees refuse they could be penalized! Holy invasion of privacy, Batman! (Read story here.)

“Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a bill approved by a U.S. House committee this week becomes law.

“In general, employers don’t have that power under existing federal laws, which protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed Wednesday by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would allow employers to get around those obstacles if the information is collected as part of a workplace wellness program.”

Conspiracy theory? It would be hard not to see this as part of a vast conspiracy to undermine our fundamental rights and transfer all power to a vast corporate oligarchy. They are setting it up so that you can’t afford to leave a company because you can’t afford to buy health insurance on your own, while at the same time they can use your genetic testing to raise the amount you pay for company coverage. Eventually it will become like the company store where miners were paid in script that could only be redeemed at the company store, where products were over-priced and miners could quickly get in over their heads and “owe their souls to the company store.

This sudden onslaught of fresh efforts to transfer our last remaining liberties to the corporate monster is very much akin to the rise of the evil galactic empire in Star Wars. As the Dark Lord of the Rich, Darth Trump, consolidates his power with the help of his henchmen, we will soon find ourselves imprisoned in the mind-controlling corporate matrix or clawing for survival as ciphers in the barren wastelands.

So, how do we fight back? First, we contact our representatives and tell them to block this bill in any way possible, even if we have to make it a scorched earth policy. We should also look carefully for the corporations that donate to the GOP and start boycotting their products until they stop. And in the event that this bill passes, we should organize protests and boycotts against any companies that try to institute such testing.

There are some lines we can’t allow to be crossed!

Let the R.A.I.N. make the revolution grow!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

The R.A.I.N. Catcher: Bad Mojo In N.O. For Transwomen … State AG’s Step Up To School Right Wingers On Trans Student Rights … Another False Claim As Trump Shows He Has Some Wires Loose … Roger Stone: Stone Cold Stupid

Welcome to another edition of The R.A.I.N. Catcher, a blog feature where I try to gather together a quick overview of the latest developments in our battle against the forces of darkness which threaten our progressive ideals and the basic human rights we have up ’til now always taken for granted.

Well this past week right through this weekend has brought forth a stream of issues to be concerned about (and at least one that shows some politicians have a backbone), so let’s get started.

Bad Mojo: Two Transwomen of Color Murdered in New Orleans

Being transgender in America can be dangerous and transwomen of color are the most likely to be the victims of violence just because of who they are. (Read the Story Here.) While the N.O.P.D. hasn’t actually ruled that the two victims were murdered  because they were transwomen, it’s probably a safe bet that these were hate crimes. Unfortunately, conservatives like to paint the picture that we’re all deviants and undeserving of the right to exist. That creates the atmosphere for this kind of outrage! Report violence and threats of violence against anyone, because that’s not the America anyone should have to live in! Contact the ACLU and the HRC to see what you can do!

A Lesson In Human Rights: States Attorneys General Stand Up For Transgender Student Rights

This week, there was some good news as Attorneys General representing 19 states and the District of Columbia signed “onto a brief to the Supreme Court in support of a transgender teenager who wants to use the boys’ bathroom at his Virginia high school. (Read Story here.)

“The friend-of-the-court brief, filed with the court Thursday night, cites the ‘shared experience’ among the states that allowing transgender people to use bathrooms matching their gender identity creates no public safety, privacy or financial burdens.”

(Seriously, folks, this whole issue was made up by conservatives with no facts, no evidence and no reason except to stir up hate! Hate to tell you, but we’ve been using the same bathrooms as you for years with no problems!)

The Attorneys General took this step to protect the rights of transgender students in traveling to other states. And, that’s important, because we should all have the same rights throughout this country!!!  Nice to see politicians with backbones!!!

Looney Toons: Ding-A-Ling Donald Shows He Has Some Loose wires In Latest False Accusation

Sleep well, America, because the guy who has access to the nuclear launch codes has totally lost connection with reality. Now, of course, that is nothing new. We’ve heard him spout off about massive election fraud without any proof among other things. However, in his most recent unsubstantiated tweet, he accused President Obama of wiretapping his phones. He’s now at odds with his own Justice Department. (Read story here.) Seriously? He is suffering from paranoid delusions without a doubt. At the same time everyone is focused on his insane claims and the Russian connections, the GOP is sneaking bills through Congress that will dismantle just about every protection we have against a corporate police state. Time to join the resistance (See Web Sites Below)!

Stone Cold Jerk: Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone Tweets Proof He’s Just An Ass

Saw a story today about this right-wing mouthpiece’s disgustingly rude tweets to liberals who dare question his outlandish claims. I won’t repeat them here out of respect for my readers, but you can read the story here. While not usually one to advocate violence, I don’t think too many people would be that upset if his thumbs got accidentally broken and his mouth washed out with lye soap. Consequences? Hmmm, just saying …

Join The Fight: Check Out These Web Sites For Information And Tools To Take a Stand Today

https://www.aclu.org

http://www.hrc.org

http://resistancereport.com

https://www.indivisibleguide.com

https://www.resistancemanual.org/Resistance_Manual_Home

https://ourrevolution.com

Keep Up The Good Fight Because We Are At War!

Let the R.A.I.N. wash away the hate and make America progressive again!!!

The Divine Miss Bri

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Lies, Damn Lies and Trump’s Address To Congress

Calling out Trump for not just stretching the truth, but ripping it up and spitting on it has become rote because he does it all the time. As Yogi Berra used to say, “It’s like déjà vu all over again!” And while Yogi’s lines were alway humorous, this situation is quite disturbing.

Sadly, Americans accept a lack of integrity on the part of politicians as a fait accompli — it’s just the way things are. I used to say the same thing, but not anymore. As I’ve said before, it’s time we demanded a much higher standard of truthfulness and accountability from those who seek and hold office at any level in this country.

Unfortunately, politicians tell us what we want to hear to get our votes regardless of whether what we want to hear is actually the truth. This goes back a long, long way, so we can’t necessarily blame today’s politicians for starting it, but we can  certainly demand that they stop it here and now. These falsehoods that they’ve perpetuated are what continues to drive us farther apart on so many issues.

For example (and you should’ve been expecting it), let’s take Donald Trump’s speech to Congress last night. I will give him credit for improving his presentation by leaps and bounds in terms of style. On the other hand, as I pointed out in my last post, his facts were essentially alternative facts or, in plain English, untruths.

Just to clarify, I used two different sources that fact checked his speech and both reached the same conclusion based on real facts. Trump must love Burger King because he was peddling some “whoppers” last night.

I will focus on just a few here, but I encourage you to check the links below to read the full stories yourself on WashintongPost.com and MSN.com. It definitely changes the perspective on just how things really are.

To quote from the intro to the WashingtonPost.com article: “An address to Congress is such an important speech that presidents generally are careful not to stretch the truth. The ’16 words’ in George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address that falsely claimed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein sought uranium from Africa led to significant turmoil in the administration, including the criminal conviction of a top aide.

“President Trump’s maiden address to Congress was notable because it was filled with numerous inaccuracies. In fact, many of the president’s false claims are old favorites that he trots out on a regular, almost daily basis.”

For example, Trump spoke about draining the swamp and his order banning executive branch officials from lobbying for 5 years after leaving. However, it’s not what it seems. The ban only applies to an official lobbying the department/agency he/she actually worked for. It doesn’t stop them from becoming  a lobbyist and doesn’t apply to legislative branch officials. The truth is a whole lot less impressive than his alternate facts.

In another example of vastly overstating his early accomplishments, “Trump again takes credit for business decisions made before his election.”

Ford’s decision to expand a plant in Michigan and not build a plant in Mexico was driven by sales results and long-term business goals, while Fiat Chrysler’s plans to invest $1 billion in a factory in Michigan were put into place over a year ago. Trump had no influence on these decisions to name a few, yet claimed credit for them. That’s not an encouraging sign.

And, to quote from the MSN.com article, Trump “cherry-picked the findings of a recent report, saying it found immigration costs U.S. taxpayers ‘billions of dollars a year.’ The report said immigration ‘has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth.’

“Trump said ’94 million Americans are out of the labor force,’ a figure that includes the retired, college students and stay-at-home parents. The vast majority — 88.5 million — said they didn’t want a job.

“Trump said he would ‘promote clean air and clean water,’ a vague claim that came hours after he had signed an executive order to roll back a 2015 ‘Clean Water Rule.'”

I again encourage you read the full analysis in both articles so you can see for yourself why we should all be concerned. It’s not being fair to the American people to make policy decisions based on false facts. That helps no one but these in power who have a vested interest in perpetuating the big lies.

Call and write your representatives in the House and Senate as well as the media to demand real transparency and accountability from all levels of government. NO MORE LIES!

Let the R.A.I.N. come down and let the truth shine through!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather