The Gladys Kravitz of the World

Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. Yemen. Somalia. Libya…Niger. I did not list those countries in any particular order, with the exception of Niger. Niger receives special placement on this list as it appears to be the freshest of American entanglements, or at least in the consciousness of the American people.

Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama entered our country into  various on-going conflicts when they were in office. We could debate the necessity of our involvement and the issues in each country, but that never happens. Maybe we should have a presence in all the countries listed above, who knows.

Iraq was the last real debate, regrettably a demonstrably dishonest one, and that was back in 2003. The U.S. military has remained busy since then. America now sneaks into war and conflict under cloak of darkness, it’s citizens – and politicians – apparently none the wiser.

And now the demented, tangerine colored septuganerian that occupies the White House is supposed to make rational decisions to make all of this better – great. Oh, and I am not even including Iran and North Korea on this list because they represent unique nuclear challenges unrelated to our War on Terror activities listed above.

So this brings me back to Niger, a country I am sure most Americans have never heard of and are secretly mistaking for that abominable “N word” we are all taught never to say, has an extra G, and remains popular at Ku-Klux-Klan and Trump rallies.

Why didn’t we know that America had close to 1,000 service members in Niger? Why didn’t we have this discussion as a country when President Obama decided to send the first soldiers to Niger over two years ago? Why did things seemingly escalate under President Trump without discussion or coverage? I mean we all know those Kardashian sisters copulated and are pregnant. Why did the current President of the United States say yesterday and I quote, “I didn’t specifically approve this mission.” Huh? What? So much for that civilian control of the military as our founders intended, sheesh! Now I will be partisan for a moment, could you imagine if that had of been President Obama’s response to say – Benghazi? I digress.

I am not going to debate the merits of America’s continued behavior as the Gladys Kravitz of the globe, peeking over fences and peering into the windows of countries looking for boogeymen and monsters. I am not opposed to American intervention in the world, but I am opposed to the autopilot approach our country seems to be on since 9/11 where it comes to supposedly rooting out terror.

And frankly, I am beginning to be more fearful of Americans with guns shooting me at the Whole Foods than I am about terrorists in Niger or Syria or anyplace else for that matter. I am probably more likely, in America, to be shot on the street – for no reason – than by a terrorist from Niger. Oh, and  the bullets that might come flying at me could come from a cop, a gang member, or a “domestic terrorist” – the title we reserve for any person of color who commits mass murder with a gun who isn’t a white male. So many ways to die – how fun.

I hope the four service members who died in Niger rest in peace and that their families find solace. I believe that our country should have known about their sacrifice before they died. I hope that our government, specifically members of Congress, remember they have the power to authorize and declare war – not the Executive. They also control the purse strings. Senator Graham and Senator Schumer shouldn’t be on television saying they didn’t know about the number of soldiers in Niger – it’s outrageous. America, as is the case with so many things, needs to do better.

 

 

Time To Dust Off Your Conscience

I have a conscience. It generally keeps me honest, striving to do and be good, and when I behave like an ass (which happens), it serves as an internal alarm bell to self-correct and change course. It also has this annoying way of gnawing at me when I see wrong and inappropriate things happening right in front of me.

I like my conscience. I suspect you have a conscience too. While they seem to be in short supply in Washington D.C., it turns out that Bob Corker, John McCain, and Jeff Flake have one as well.

For those who did not see Senator Flake’s remarks on the Senate floor yesterday, it is worth the time to read the transcript or find a clip. Flake’s comments are too long to recount here, but surprise – he will not be seeking re-election and apparently finds the current POTUS to be unpresidential – among other truthful and disparaging thoughts. It was quite the rebuke of  a sitting President by a member of his own party. Of course, just a few hours before, Senator Corker – also a Republican – was once again lamenting the behavior of the person who currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He talked about his propensity to lie, his moral failings, and inability to govern. Ouch.

It is refreshing to hear a few Republicans not mince words about Trump. After all, the possession of a conscience is not tied to one’s partisan beliefs, right? Sadly, all three of the men I have mentioned are retiring (Flake, Corker) or will most likely not finish their term (McCain). It would be nice if we could get some courage from someone planning to remain in office. Oh well, small steps.

One’s conscience is a powerful thing. I know we live in hyper partisan times, but I cannot fathom, cannot fathom, how anyone cannot see or understand that Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy and the world. The values he tramples upon, the boorish behavior he displays, is not a “Republican” or a “Democrat” thing. How do we get more people, despite party affiliation, to wake up and realize that? How do we have more people finally have a Jeff Flake moment?

The likelihood that I agree with any of the policy pronouncements espoused by Corker, Flake, or McCain are slim. They are self described conservatives with checkmarks beside all the little boxes one needs to mark in order to belong to that group. And you know what, that’s ok. However, I don’t question their overall morality, sanity, or their ability to understand the most basic tenets of our government and disagree with their policy views. 

I have a conscience. I would like to believe that more leaders in Congress have one, or hell, can afford to purchase one if they came assembled without one. The time for everyone to find their conscience whether on Main Street, or on Capitol Hill, is now. It is unthinkable that there are people out there either so blindly partisan or gleefully ignorant to think that the ride on the Trump train is normal and will come without consequences. The ability for people to lead prosperous, healthy, and dignified lives is at stake. The reputation of our country is at stake. The safety of our country, and the world, is at stake.

Ivana and Melania Trump Prepare For Battle On The South Lawn

Ivana Trump came roaring back as our modern day Alexis Carrington, here to inform the kids who’s boss and THE Mrs. Donald Trump. For those who are unfamiliar with Dynasty and Alexis played by the divine Joan Collins, spend sometime on Youtube during a rainy weekend. It’s over the top soapy goodness!

But all jokes aside, my the Trump clan is so classy. It’s not enough that Donald has brought his incompetence and blatant corruption to the White House, now his wives are going to duke it out over the china pattern used at the next State Dinner.

How did America get to a place where we pick a President who has been married three times, and the first wife (that would be Ivana) goes on national television to brag about her access to the White House, saying she speaks to the President often, and crowning herself THE first lady. She also said she didn’t want to cause any jealousy or “anything like that” for having a “direct line” to the President. I just love it!

It would be great if this were a soap opera. Ivana is basically the classic bitch from every great soap opera. She’s Alexis in the aforementioned Dynasty, Cookie in Empire, Nikki Newman on The Young and the Restless. Coming back to remind the folks who started it all! I could go on with this list. Ivana’s here to let us know she’s not thinking about these hoes. Yes, Melania, you would be the hoe in this equation although Donald cheated on Marla with you and cheated on Ivana with Marla. Damn it, I am getting my hoes out of order! I digress.

When I started blogging again, I told myself I would write once a week as I am editing a story and working on another. And as I’ve already said, writing about efforts to take away people’s healthcare and to deport innocent children really was depressing me. So it is a rare that a Trump story brings a smile to my face, but I loved this one.

Because of global warming it’s too damn hot in my apartment to sip on a big cup of tea like Wendy Williams would but if were ten degrees cooler, as it should be in October, I’d turn on the kettle!

The current Mrs. Trump apparently did not enjoy the former Mrs. Trump’s appearance on Good Morning America yesterday and, so, her office released a statement. It’s a little long winded about her loving being a First Lady and other stuff that no one cares about or believes, so I will just quote the good stuff. “There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-see and self-serving noise. She plans to use her title and her role to help children, not sell books.”

The claws are out! Hysterical. Between Senator Corker over the weekend and Melania’s office yesterday, and we know it’s Melania’s office because we learned during the campaign she doesn’t write her own speeches (ask Michelle Obama), we all need to take classes in Washington D.C. on how to write shady and icy retorts.

How does Ivanka feel about stepmammy dissing her mother like this I wonder? To be a fly on the wall. Ah, who am I kidding, she probably doesn’t care. She knows, as the rest of us do, that she’s his favorite wife that her can never officially have.

Morons and Adult Day Care Centers

Rex Tillerson and Senator Bob Corker are my new heroes. Yes, I know that this is an exceedingly low bar for heroes as these two have not actually done anything tangible that will protect the nation and the world from our orange lunatic.

Let’s start by talking about Mr. Tillerson. Mr. Tillerson should have never been appointed to his current position in the first place, let’s not forget that. He was another woefully unprepared person picked to lead a department of extreme importance, which seems to be the thing the Trump Administration does in their continued efforts to handicap the federal government.

Putting that aside, I understand Rex’s concerns. Being woefully unprepared does not make you an idiot. Mr. Tillerson strikes me as someone who at least knows what he doesn’t know, which is more than can be said for the President. So his description of the President seems fine and fair to me. We all have had at least one boss in our lives who we thought was a moron. Actually, slight correction, he supposedly said that Mr. Trump was a f*cking moron which, again, appears accurate.

Here’s the thing though. Why is Rex still there? It certainly is not for the money or the prestige of working at the State Department, as neither Tillerson nor the President seem to believe in diplomacy or to know much about it. But if Trump is such a moron, and in my experience morons cannot help but be anything other than morons, why not leave? Respectfully offer your resignation, pack up your papers and parcels, and leave. Yes, Trump is a moron, but Tillerson looks like a whiny, spineless sap – who is a coward and without principles. He’s shooting off at the mouth, but still shows up for work everyday to take more crap.

And then there is Senator Corker from Tennessee, who might be my favorite person of the week. He wasn’t having any of Trump’s shenanigans over the weekend. As the President attempted to start one of his Twitter feuds, Corker essentially ended it with a delicious verbal smack down. “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.” OUCH. There is a level of messy cattiness to that quote that I just love. I don’t think the Twitter-in-Chief responded to that one. Score One for Corker! But unlike Tillerson who I think should resign, Corker is leaving the Senate, which I think is terrible. Will Tennessee voters do what was done in Alabama and give us someone more conservative and wacky like Roy Moore, the man who believes homosexuality should be illegal and 9/11 was some sort of moral retribution?

Senator Corker is not running for re-election so he has nothing to lose and while I love his retort to the President, it isn’t exactly brave. Is there anyone in Washington willing to speak up while they actually have something on the line? Can anyone speak up AND decide to stay in the fight? When did everyone become so cowardly? After all, we are only talking about the future of our country. If everyone secretly believes the emperor has no clothes, when are they going to do something about it?

Blogging Again

I’m Back!

I have returned to blogging with my health care and citizenship intact. Hey, even though I was born in America, I am a black and gay and so one must always be leery of new diabolical schemes developed by Beverly Leslie, I mean Jeff Sessions, and his Justice Department’s quest to take away my rights. If you have not seen Will & Grace and you don’t know who Beverly Leslie is, it is worth your time and energy to look it up folks! Laughs are hard to come by these days.

Moreover, I have a roof over my head. I am not suffering in Puerto Rico without much recourse because we have a President who really is uninterested in helping people of color. So, things have been with me for the last five months. Kanye West was wrong all those years ago when he said President Bush hates black people. Where is that potato sack designing fool now to make political statements when you need him? As an aside, has someone put a stop to that “fashion” line of his? Who would ever wear that stuff? Who would ever vote for Trump? Life’s mysteries. I digress.

My last post was in May and I remember the next post was going to be about Philando Castile. I wrote a draft and I pondered, how on Earth do I make this light, fun, and meaningful? After all, there was nothing humorous about the umpteenth murder of a person of color by the hands of law enforcement – that was caught on tape. I really struggled with what to say. I would write and delete and then start a post on some other indignity and it would go pretty much the same way my Castile post went. I was frustrated and angry.

As the Trump train of catastrophe continued to roll down the tracks, I was beginning to question my original blog concept. Instead of Pop into Politics, maybe I should have called it “Hell Watch” or “Old White Republican Male Politicians Doing Fucked Up Shit Again.” Oh well, hindsight is twenty-twenty and “Pop into Politics” it is. In theory, my idea of writing about politics in a lighthearted way and throwing in some pop culture stuff didn’t seem crazy. However, I don’t think I fully appreciated how bad all of this would get. How exhausting it would be to watch day after day as “our” President basically defecates on the values of this country. How come all these folks upset about flag protests aren’t upset about that? Guess that can be my next post!

Anyway by May 2017, the blog was just not fun to do. I mean how many times were we going to try and take health care away from millions of people (a ton apparently)? How do I write about that and keep it light? And from Muslim Bans, to pulling out of Climate Deals, to the constant slamming of dicks on the table between our President and King Jong-un in a quest to see who has the bigger junk, I just needed a break.

I have not stopped paying attention to the happenings in D.C. (how could I), but I needed to not write about it several times a week. So in between my last blog post and today, I started writing – and finished – a totally frivolous and absurd novel. The process was fun and it made me smile. As there have been no shortages of noteworthy items that would be perfect to discuss on this blog, I intentionally chose to shake my head and keep moving along.

Now I am working on the editing portion of the novel (not nearly as fun) that gives me a moment to return to the blog. For me, writing is an itch that always needs to be scratched in some way.

I am going to re-commit to writing the blog, maybe once a week, if for no other reason than to express my feelings. I also can only write so much fluff. Plus it also serves as a nice little diary of America’s decline into abject moral failing on issues such as immigration, the environment, racial justice, and even humanitarian aid to our own citizens in Puerto Rico (among other things). I mean the President of the United States actually said, “they want everything handed to them” when talking about citizens who are in an absolute crisis! Who are they? I absolutely shudder to think we chose him over Hillary Clinton. Anyway, when we all wake up four years now and wonder, what country is this, maybe my little blog will be a helpful little road map in the stops along our journey to hell.