Toto, Where Have We Landed?

I grew up in a rural Wisconsin home with rather firm codes of how to live life. Not old-fashioned as much as one where values were taken seriously. Not just talked about, but lived.

It was frowned upon to cheat on your wife; straying from marriage vows was not looked at as being manly. It was not so much a religious view, but rather one about character, or the lack thereof. Fathers imparted, through their actions, lessons for boys to learn and live as they, too, came of age.

So today, I had reason to think about Danielle Mitterrand who invited her husband’s mistress, Anne Pingeot, and their 21-year-old daughter Mazarine, to the funeral service for former French President François Mitterrand. I recall that news story from many years back and can still recall the oddness of how it landed when first hearing it. Who lives that way? Or accepts living that way?

This all comes to mind as Donald Trump took his third wife to the funeral for his first wife. I felt sad for the grown children who lost their mother but also who had lost years ago that sense of what a real home and stability and a healthy family unit look and feel like. Today the third wife must have also felt like, well, just another spoke in the life and times of the troubled rich. After all, she too, is just a spoke in that family which all spins around Donald.

It just is hard for me to even know what type of ‘family’ dynamics are at play where something like that which played out today is considered normal, or dare I say, acceptable. My perspective of which I write is not political, but rather just the feelings about where I think the guardrails on society should be placed. We can see what does happen when those constraints are not acknowledged.

I have written often on this blog about the need for good parenting and proper role models. That need continues.

Three Questions For Amoral NRA and Soulless Gun Manufacturers To Address

Has the NRA offered to pay for any of the funerals in Highland Park or assist in millions of dollars in hospital costs for the injured?

How do the NRA and soulless gun manufacturers expect gun victims without adequate health insurance to pay for the enormous costs associated with mass shootings?

Do the NRA and soulless gun manufacturers push for a blood drive where mass shootings take place and scores are wounded and rushed to local hospitals? Or are they too busy counting blood money from their gun sales?

Why Are Guns More Important Than This Kid Being Able To Walk?

Why do we fight for gun control in the nation?

No one needs their personal gun(s) more than this child needs to walk. Period.

This 8-year-old boy shot in the 4th of July parade in Highland Park is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Cooper Roberts, one of the Roberts family’s twin 8-year-old boys, had remained in critical condition for several days with a severed spinal cord.

On Friday, Cooper was removed from the ventilator and was conscious for the first time, but it was confirmed that the boy is paralyzed from the waist down, close friend and family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said in a statement.

“Cooper is asking to see his 8-year-old twin Luke and his dog George,” the statement said.

The reason there is so much legitimate anger, revulsion, and utter repudiation for the selfish and soulless gun advocates and those within the blood-soaked NRA is that their actions and amoral behavior create the conditions where Cooper is to live his life in a wheelchair.

If you have in any way supported the NRA or voted for their political puppets who have undermined gun legislation in our nation then you must carry the weight that is now the future of a kid who can not walk.

Cooper was described as a boy who likes to play sports and is a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.

But at least some angry men around the nation have their guns today. And can buy more this weekend! Maybe even get their father to ‘sponsor’ them so they can get a high-powered weapon.

Front Page Of Texas Newspapers Tell Story Of National Gun Crisis, 21 Dead From Assualt Weapon

It was Tuesday in America. More gun violence. Another mass shooting.

The result of allowing this continuing assault on our children, our communities, our common sense, and our decency is now defining who we are as a nation, and a people.

The mass shootings and use of weapons designed for military purposes must be addressed in our nation. These assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines being allowed for purchase are pathetic and very much earn us the ridicule from nations around the world who have passed gun control laws so to protect their societies from what we glibly call ‘our right’.

Last night, we turned into the Late Show with Stephen Colbert as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was a guest. The tragic alignment of events in Uvalde and her appearance on the show made for a meaningful conversation to watch.

On the program, she talked about her country instituting strict gun-control laws and a gun-buyback plan in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. It was a far-right extremist who killed 51 people which alerted the nation that something was required for the safety of their society. It needs to be noted that in just weeks the nation passed a bill, with only one lawmaker out of 120 opposing, that has–and the data proves the point–curbed gun violence in the nation.

New Zealand’s elected officials did not ask any NRA goonish type organization how to proceed, or what they might do to deflect their national conversation away from the gun issue that stared them in the face. They did not whimper and kneel to gun makers and their lobbyists.

Gosh, the elected officials found their role as leaders to be paramount, and then acted.

So, it can be done.

That we do not act is shameful. The world knows that, too.

Gunmakers, NRA, Unconscionable Clowns Within GOP Need To Be Held Accountable For 19 Dead School Children

We drove back into our driveway at about 8 P.M Tuesday evening. James took some food we picked up at a local restaurant into our home and I made my way to the front of the house. Our American flag was flying at full staff and so I took it all the way down, as is proper at such times, and then brought it back up to half-staff.

Once again, our nation is forced to reckon with yet one more dastardly mass shooting. Nineteen children were blown to pieces (as of this posting), along with a school teacher because our nation has knelt down to the gun lobby, NRA, and the most unconscionable clowns who reside below the curbside within the Republican Party.

We had been out for a long afternoon drive and outing celebrating our 22nd anniversary as a couple. Sirius radio from the 50s and 60s played throughout the day, and we dodged most of the sprinkles. Life was good.

In Middleton, I had switched to AM 780, WBBM Newsradio from Chicago, thinking some early primary election returns would be reported. Instead, President Biden was speaking. Before he had finished no more than a few words, and with only the gravity of his tone to alert me, made me reach my hand out and grab James’ forearm.

Something dire had occurred.

The second-deadliest shooting at an elementary, middle, or high school on record in the United States had occurred in Uvalde, Texas.

The school children, ranging from second through fourth-graders, were in that frame of mind that we all know so well. Only a couple more days of classes, than a summer break with vacations, friends, and county fairs. The last day of school was to be Thursday.

Then a gunman wearing body armor came into the classrooms and used his assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine to shred the bodies of boys and girls sitting at their desks. The carnage and images that some children witnessed will require therapy and counseling.

Adolfo Hernandez described to the media what his nephew, who was in the building at the time of the madness, witnessed.

“He actually witnessed his little friend get shot in the face. The friend, he said, “got shot in the nose and he just went down, and my nephew was devastated.”

From the White House, President Biden reacted as the bulk of the nation is doing.

“It’s just sick,” he said regarding the insanity of allowing weapons designed for the battlefield to be able to be purchased and used by anyone who can buy one.

“Where in God’s name is our backbone, the courage to do more and then stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action.”

But Biden, as much as I appreciate him, did not come anywhere near to how a very large segment of the nation feels tonight.

Our national revulsion tonight is aimed at the greedy and soulless manufacturers and merchants of deadly guns, the callous and subhuman lobbyists of the National Rifle Association, and the dregs of the Republican Party who have no other skills than to ape the nonsense they hear from their puppet masters on FOX News and conservative politicians.

Investigators say the 18-year-old gunman was able to get his hands on a handgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, high-capacity magazines, and body armor.

It was also reported this evening on NPR that the NRA will hold its annual meeting in Houston starting on Friday. Not for the first time on this blog do I offer a way for the amoral members of that association to understand what they are doing to the nation.

We have long known the NRA is thy most dangerous lobbying group in America.  The bullshit response of ‘guns don’t kill, people kill’ gags the nation like rotten eggs left in a Texas car in mid-July.   Only the most severely uneducated rube or overly blind partisan would ever make such a stupid claim.

I think the top lobbyists and promoters of the NRA should be taken to this Texas school and once the bodies of the victims are removed have their noses rubbed in the mess that remains on the floor of the school.  Let them smell the results of the deranged policies they advocate.

Make those same NRA leaders attend every single funeral for the students.

Force the NRA to explain to the locals of Uvalde why gun interests are more important than the children of that community.

There is a great need in this nation to no longer allow the tail to wag the dog when it comes to gun control measures. There was a blood-letting today that will make the headlines, but the NRA is counting on most Americans to forget this horrible story by the time they finish their fifth beer on the couch Friday night. The NRA counts on not being mentioned again until another mass shooting.

And on, and on, it goes.

The NRA will continue to torpedo gun control legislation, and threaten politicians. The NRA will use the most base and clueless within the Republican Party to repeat and regurgitate the vile trite crap and use the echo chamber of conservative media to beat home the insane and factless talking points. We have seen this playbook all before.

Spring will turn to summer. Summer to fall. 2022 will blend into 2023. Folks, we have seen this bullshit before, mass shooting, after mass shooting.

More guns will continue to be sold, and countless rounds of ammunition will be bought.

Untold amounts of weapons will be fired.

And we all know that some of those will be fired into innocent kids, like what happened today.

We need to find our balls on this issue and stand up and demand from our legislators that they also find their own set!

The NRA needs to know they are no longer in charge. Our nation is too important to allow the games the NRA plays to continue.

If you think I am wrong, talk to a parent of a dead child in Uvalde.

Action Alert: Moral Imperative To Help Afghans Who Helped U.S. Military

I implore my readers to call your member of Congress to help expedite visas for those who aided us in the Afghan war before they or their families are murdered by the Taliban. We must keep our word. (202) 224-3121 is the Capitol switchboard, an operator will connect you to your representative’s offices.

There is no wiggle room on this issue. No two ways to look at the matter. Rather, there is the right way, the moral path, the only one our nation can undertake. And we must take that path. Now.

As the Taliban take their final military steps to control the whole of Afghanistan there are now thousands of people, who were mighty helpful to the American efforts, who now face certain death. The retribution from the Taliban is not a question of if, but only when.

That is why the House, in late June, voted overwhelmingly (366 to 46) to speed up the process that would allow these brave people to immigrate to the United States. There are over 18,000 Afghans who worked for the United States as interpreters, drivers, engineers, security guards, and embassy clerks.

Over the past months as we faced a pandemic we have heard of essential workers in this nation. Well, my readers, these men and women in Afghanistan were ALSO essential workers.

But they are now stuck in a bureaucratic mess that should not be allowed to continue. They did the proper paperwork and applied for the Special Immigrant Visas. Such visas are for people who face threats because of work they have completed for our government.

With each day that passes without a resolution of this matter, the lives of these people become more dire. So to put it into more stark, but accurate terms, every minute counts. And you can help make for a positive outcome.

While I am very aware that we can recount the ways and means of how American foreign policy over the decades has betrayed those who have supported this nation, this is not the time for such academic posturing. The barn is on fire, and the need to extinguish the flames is paramount. The back-biting and sniping can wait until the smoke at least clears.

Therefore, I implore my readers to call your member of Congress to help expedite visas for those who aided us in the Afghan war before they or their families are murdered by the Taliban. We must keep our word. 202) 224-3121 is the Capitol switchboard, an operator will connect you to your representative’s offices.

Say No To Shopping At Any Business On Thanksgiving

Each year Caffeinated Politics makes no bones about the importance of Thanksgiving to our nation.  Equally expressed is the low regard given to those who place profit above family, friends, and national values by finding excuses for opening their doors to make some money.

Thanksgiving has meaning and purpose in America, but businesses would have us think that the foundation of the Holiday does not matter. That only the need for greed and cash matters as stores and places of business gear up for sales.

But there is good news to report, and it is a trend that has been growing over the past years.  A large segment of the nation is not only rejecting the notion of shopping on this Holiday, opting instead to be with family and friends at homes coast to coast, but also voicing their opposition to the attempted destruction of Thanksgiving.

In recent years, the Black Friday craze has inched further and further into Thanksgiving. With stores opening as early as 5 P.M. on Thanksgiving Thursday, it means that festive dinners are being overshadowed by shopping frenzies. But there are still some stores that allow workers to stay home and enjoy the holiday.  I offer that listing below.

These are the stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2019:

Ace Hardware
Barnes & Noble
Burlington Coat Factory
Costco
Guitar Center
Hobby Lobby
HomeGoods
JO-ANN
Lowe’s
Marshalls
Menards
Office Depot
OfficeMax
Petco
PetSmart
Sam’s Club
Staples
Stein Mart
T.J. Maxx
True Value

Vile Video Of Fake Trump “Shooting, Stabbing And Brutally Assaulting Members Of The News Media”

There is no doubt whatsoever Donald Trump is responsible for a climate that is so hateful, so hostile toward journalists that it spawns videos like the one that is at the center of news reports today.

“A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake President Trump shooting, stabbing and brutally assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week,” the NYT’s Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman reported Sunday night.

The “meme” is simply and utterly despicable.  There is no other way to describe it.  The hosts of the conference, American Priority, say they reject “all political violence,” and “this matter is under review.”  But that begs the questions about the genesis of such a wretched video.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, called the video “Vile. And dangerous.”

New York Magazine’s Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi tweeted: “How disconnected from humanity must you be to find humor in a depiction of a mass shooting of journalists inside a church — knowing, surely, that Americans have been slaughtered in churches & newsrooms, that it’s not a fantasy for the families that those shootings made incomplete?”

But me most clear about this matter.  This is about so much more than a single video. It is about what happens when you plant seeds of hatred and division. It is about what happens when you give your supporters permission to hate and dehumanize people that Trump views as opponents.  It is what happens when journalists and reporters are debased and treated as traitors. 

As a former radio news reporter, I am most aware of the role that the media and reporters play in a democracy.  I also know from reading history the dangers of what happens when tyrants try to undermine the press.  History proves that point in far too many instances.

So I was very pleased with the many newspapers and media outlets across this land in August 2018 who launched a widespread effort aimed at combating the constant attacks from Trump on newspapers, reporters, and television correspondents.  Trump’s perverse political agenda aimed at ginning up negative feelings about the media’s role in society is not only harmful to the political process, but extremely dangerous to our foundation as a country.

We now have clear irrefutable evidence of that fact with this video.

To combat the outrages and bombast from Trump more than 300 newspapers around the nation joined together last summer to each publish editorials that explained the role of journalists and amplified the positive role journalism plays in society.  It seems sad to me that something like this was even required.

And obviously required again.

But given Trump plays to a certain demographic that does not grasp loud and obnoxious does not equate with erudite and reasoned means we needed journalists around the country to stand up and speak out.  What is making news headlines today about this video is not to be tolerated or allowed in a republic.

And so it goes.