PHIL-osophy, February 17th, 2020

CHARITY.  Yes, it begins at home and extends into the community and beyond.  Ahmed Alwan came up with an idea and implemented it in his Bronx store.  Read about it here – I think you’ll like it.  He made everything available but the cat if they could do one simple thing.

THE WALL.  Despite promises not to disturb Native American burial sites and being told of them by tribal leaders and archeologists, the US Department of Homeland Security (more like insecurity!) is blasting and bulldozing right through sacred burial grounds to build trump’s wall on the Mexican border.  At the same time, they are destroying some of the protected organ pipe cactus within the national monument created to protect them.  Read more about it here.

FOLLOWING YOUR HEART.  He gave up a promising career as an actor at an early age to become a zoologist and fight for the environment.  Regretfully, he died at 25 years of age.  You probably know his work.  He played the part of Eric Brown in Nanny McPhee.  He was Raphael “Iggy Fox” Coleman.  Learn more about this young man here.  Maybe some of us can learn to follow his ways.

QUOTE: Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.  ~ Albert Einstein

FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL.  Per this Snopes article, there are 5 pillars to denying climate change.  The article includes the truth about each and who is funding denials.  Read it to understand how to counter the arguments.

GUNS.  In his State of the Union Address (okay, it was really a political speech), trump stated that the “illegal immigrants” needed to be controlled to make the nation safer.  He went on to denounce those he claims are taking away the Second Amendment rights of gun owners and followed that up with how he wants to protect children.  One of the people in the gallery audience during the speech spoke out briefly in opposition and was escorted out.  The man’s daughter lost her life in the Parkland school shooting and it was not by one of trump’s “illegal immigrants”.  Here is the father telling his story in a brief video.

CONVERSION THERAPY.  It’s about trying to make homosexuals into heterosexuals, usually using religious education to do it.  The health community rejects the practice.  Oklahoma is likely to be the 20th state (add two more for Puerto Rico and Washington, DC) to ban it.  Virginia is one of 19 states considering it.  Read more about it here.  Happily, there is a bill in Congress that may lead to a nation-wide ban if Congress will ever take action on it.

HE DID IT AGAIN.  During his State of the Union speech (still a political speech), trump talked about the good his Opportunity Zone program was for veterans, ex-felons, and struggling African-Americans, then pointed out one person in the audience who benefited from it.  As it happens, that person never benefited from the program.  Yes, he did go from living in his car to having a good job, but he took the job four months prior to the zones being specified, with a company that never benefited from the tax breaks, and in an area not qualified to be one of the zones.  Read more about it in this Snopes article.  Yes, he lied – again.  Why?  Probably because the man he used as an example is an African-American and he needs African-American support to be reelected.

SCREWING THE TROOPS.  He did it again.  In his latest budget request, trump eliminated all funding for Stars and Stripes, the newspaper that has served our troops since the Civil War.  You can read about it in this Stars and Stripes article.  The paper is Congressionally mandated to preserve First Amendment principles, but it seems trump doesn’t like that it shows he is an idiot.

WHAT TOO MANY CONSERVATIVES DO.  The conservative Washington Examiner had a problem – a big problem.  Their managing editor referred to women crudely.  He rewrote articles inserting sensationalist material that was almost always false.  The material was picked up and propagated by other ultra-conservative media organizations and trump without fact checking.  The editor-in-chief, who fired the managing editor, hired a breaking news editor who had been “convicted of multiple counts of bank fraud and larceny” and “served five years in state prison.  He lasted 10 months.  There is more – much more.

These certainly are not the actions of anyone truly progressive.  These also are not the actions of a person who is truly conservative.  They are the actions of people who mislead the public for their own benefit.  It is a con game seen far more frequently in the “conservative” camp than the progressive camp.  They do not represent what is good and right for our country and people.  You can read more about it in this revealing CNN article.

I still insist that the last real republican President was Dwight David Eisenhower.

LEARNING FROM HISTORY.  We do need to study the past to avoid repeating past mistakes and learn how to make more progress.  Here is one person’s view on what Democrats can learn from Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

VOTING.  Although the March 3 election is all about selecting a Democratic candidate for President, don’t forget that in June, there will be another primary for other offices.  It is very difficult for a President to honestly work an agenda without the support of all the other branches of government and of local and state elected officials.  Support our candidates at all levels – VOTE!

And finally, a column from Charles Uphaus and published in The Winchester Star:

The Chastened President

Well. Those Republican senators who actually claimed to believe that the President would be “chastened” by the impeachment process have just had their words stuffed down their throats. How do they taste, Senators Ernst, Alexander, Collins – a little bitter, maybe?

What was going to result from the acquittal was clear all along to those who had eyes: retribution (commencing with Alexander Vindman), mockery (of Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Mitt Romney et al.), self-aggrandizement, more trashing of norms (viz. the spectacle of the National “Prayer” Breakfast), the non-stop spewing of epithets (“sleazebag,” “corrupt,” “scum,” “leakers,” “liars,” “vicious,” “mean,” “lowlifes,” “non-people,” “stone-cold crazy,” “bullshit”).

The president has been accorded carte blanche to do whatever he pleases, and, oh, is he ever going to use it. Corrupting the electoral process is just the beginning. 

Contrast the president’s words with those of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, fired for standing in the way of his and Rudy Giuliani’s corrupt scheme to use the resources of the US Government to pressure the Govt. of Ukraine to influence a U.S. presidential election: 

“We did this (speak out against this effort) because it is the American way to speak up about wrongdoing. I have seen dictatorships around the world, where blind obedience is the norm and truth-tellers are threatened with punishment or death. We must not allow the United States to become a country where standing up to our government is a dangerous act. It has been shocking to experience the storm of criticism, lies and malicious conspiracies that have preceded and followed my public testimony, but I have no regrets. I did — we did — what our conscience called us to do. We did what the gift of U.S. citizenship requires us to do.”

How do the servile actions of Trumpians in the senate, who swallow all their principles to avoid the wrath or mockery of The Donald, stand up against the actions Colonel Vindman and Ambassador Yovanovitch? Who would you rather have on your side when the chips were down – a bunch of toadies and mercenaries, or persons of integrity? There was a time when the party formerly known as Republicans claimed to value integrity and character. Those were the days.

Do we really want four more years of this? Is the current occupant of WH one you’d want to point to as an example for your children and grandchildren to emulate? I know I wouldn’t. 

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