A Real President’s Last Flight

On November 30, 2018 at 10:10 George H.W. Bush, our 41st President, went to be with his beloved wife Barbara and the 3 yr old daughter they lost to leukemia, in his heaven. 

Bush 41 was one of only 2 Republican candidates that I ever voted for to be President of the United States of America; the first was Reagan.  Yes, in my youth I was more Republican leaning. I didn’t know any better and I was raised very strictly by a very Republican father, plus add my military bearings and viola! I voted Republican for those two presidents. Then I started to pay more attention to policy, economics, legislation and how government operated. My thoughts on these things changed with time, evolving always.

#41 got thrown a good amount of adversity during his 4 year tenure as President. He was a soft sort of man, kind and gentle, but quite determined to do what was right for our country. Unlike the current person who holds the office now (won’t even mention his name out of respect for #41). Bush conducted himself with the utmost of dignity and respect to our country.

He was a WWII naval fighter pilot who flew 58 combat missions and was shot down by the Japanese and rescued after 4 hours in the water. He served as VP to Reagan for 8 years, as a Congressman, as an ambassador, CIA chief, and diplomat, among other positions. He served the USA his whole life, from the age of 18, honorably and with the highest of dignity. He came from a privileged family, born into money, but he chose a life of service. I respect him for that and I thank him.  I may not have always agreed with his policies or his decisions, but I know he made them in the name of what was best for America at the time and not what was best for him or his family. He was a REAL president.

I remember when the Berlin Wall came down. I was fishing out in western Massachusetts with an old friend and had brought along my radio to listen to the event. I knew it was a HUGE thing that was happening; the end of the Cold War, during which I had served. The tearing down of that wall represented freedom from the cruel oppression and separation that it had come to symbolize for so long. I remember the shivers that went down my spine that day as the crowds yelled “Tear Down That Wall!!!” over and over and the sledge hammers pounded away until the wall fell in ruins. Germany was reunited. The Soviet Union was done. We won the Cold War, without firing a shot.

I’ve been watching the reflections on #41’s life and his legacy. Even though he was a 1 term president, he proved that even 1 man with 1 term can make a difference in the world. His body now is laying in-state in the Capital Rotunda in Washington DC where the public is invited to pay their respects. Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 has been declared a National Day of Mourning, and is the day of his funeral in DC.  Then he will be taken back to Houston, where his family and close friends will say good-bye before burying him next to his wife, Barbara. 

The precision and grace of the military ceremony has been great to see.  Quite the honor for him and his family, thanks to all of those military men and women involved for making this a fitting and dignified ceremony. 

Sully, his service dog, escorted his master’s body back to Washington. The photo of him guarding the flag-draped casket before they departed is so sad. The dog knows his master has gone ahead of him, and he’s dutifully taking the last watch. His mission with #41 is completed. Sully will move on back to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in DC and will become someone else’s dedicated companion and assistant. Whoever gets the honor of his service will be very blessed. 

So, good-bye George H.W. Bush, our 41st President, and one I respected and who showed millions how a real president carries himself and represents our great country. He was a damned good Commander in Chief. May others who come after him look to him as a shining example of modesty, honor, bravery and compassion for people. Rest in Peace President Bush, you deserve it now. CAVU, Mr. President. Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited….fly on.

Peace and Kindness.  ~ MB

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World AIDS Day 2018…My Day of Reflection

Yesterday was December 1st, which is designated as “World AIDS Day”. This year was the 30 year marker for observance of this day. HIV and AIDS have been around long before this day was designated to bring the crisis to front-mind awareness.

I was diagnosed in August of 1993. I had been in a “no-risk” space at that point for approximately 3+ years…so, I was infected in the late 80’s. I actually am one of the rare few who know exactly when and where I was exposed to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It was a one-time share of a needle, which was very out of character for me, but it happened due to the situation at that moment. I don’t know if it’s “good” or “bad” that I actually know my infection route. I guess it’s good in the sense that I never wonder “how” I got the virus. Yet, it’s bad in the sense that it makes me “blame” someone else in some ways, when it actually was entirely my choice to share that night and thus my own fault. I have always worked to take responsibility for my own actions and I made a split second choice that night that was the wrong choice and thus changed my life – or at the very least altered the trajectory. We never know what’s going to be handed to us in our lives, we just never know. 

In the 1990’s I lost quite a few friends in the height of the AIDS epidemic. Prior to knowing my own positive status I was working with local organizations to spread prevention information.  In the summer of 1992 there was a March on Washington (I’m sure that many of you remember) and it was one of the very last times that the AIDS Quilt was displayed in it’s entirety on the Mall in Washington DC. I was there that day; I walked the quilt with my best friend, Nancy. I was moved to tears over and over that day. Each of those panel represented someone’s life. Each panel is 3 ‘x 6’ in size, representing the basic size of a coffin. Every panel was handmade by someone who loved that person or even a group of people would together make a memorial panel. There was something cathartic in the whole scene. 

I vividly remember sitting down on one of the benches on the edge of the Mall with Nancy, taking in the enormity of the display. It covered the whole Washington Mall. Quite the feat of volunteerism to get it displayed with huge amounts of care and dignity shown by all of them. The quilt idea was borne of Cleve Jone’s incredible mind. It’s called The Names Project and is still in operation today. The quilt now travels in smaller displays around the country. I’m not sure how big it would be to be once again displayed in it’s entirety. I highly recommend that you visit the Quilt’s page and take some time to look it all over, reflect, learn and NEVER FORGET. 

The display that day brought my mind very close to beginning to think about getting tested myself. Up to that point I had not sought out testing for myself. I naively figured that since I hadn’t been using illicit injection drugs for over 3 yrs. and I hadn’t been sexually promiscuous with anyone who I thought of at that time as a risk, that I couldn’t possibly have gotten infected. That was pretty standard thinking at that time. We have learned so much since! I recall having a physical reaction as I walked through the miles of panels and I shudder to think that now the Quilt has more than doubled in size. It still gets displayed, in partial displays, around the world.

So, that was the beginning of me thinking about getting tested. Finally in July of 93 I got pneumonia and my then therapist urged me to get tested; just so I would at least know if there was any chance I had been exposed during my drugging days. So, in mid-August I visited the Feminine Health Center. I was paired up with a great counselor, Assiah, who interviewed me in-depth about my history and possible risk factors. Then we drew blood and it was sent out to the lab for testing. The whole process I remember cost me $25. But in my mind I was going to come back negative and those who kept urging me to get tested would shut up. The tests at that time took 2 weeks to process and you had to go back in person to receive your results. On Aug. 31, 1993 I went back for my results.  

I was taken into the private discussion room by Assiah. She quickly closed the door, spun around and said “You’re positive.” then burst into tears. I stood there stunned. I didn’t know what the fuck to do at that point. She was obviously upset at having to tell me this news. Come to find out, as she told me later, she had never had to inform a woman of a positive outcome before, only men. And the fact that I was lesbian and was HIV+ was very unique. Lesbians are known to be in the least-risk group for infection and were usually on the front-lines of care and prevention.

I remember sitting down and putting my head in my hands. I was super confused. I felt like I had literally been gut punched and was gasping for air. There was now an expiration date stamped on my forehead. Fuck. I knew this was not going to be a good experience; nope, not good. I asked for a second test and had more blood drawn for it, but I knew the result would still be the same. I now had to figure all of this out. I had to first tell my family, and I knew that would be the hardest thing. And I had to get educated; to learn how I was going to beat this beast within.

I have lots of side stories of telling various people in my life about my infection and how it related – or not – to them and our relationships. My family all gathered at my home at the time, and I told them all together. They, of course, had lots of questions, were very upset and concerned for me, all while bursting with love and support for me. Thank my lucky stars for this, I don’t know what I would have done had my family shunned me, as happens in so many instances. Things would have definitely turned out very differently had that been my case. I am super grateful that it was not, but I feel deeply for those who do encounter that kind of response – especially from family and close friends.

My life changed on that day. It was a definitively distinct change. I could no longer be as casual as I had previously been about love, life and living. I quit drinking immediately. I also discovered on that same day that I am co-infected with hepatitis C, a common hepatitis for IV drug users to contract. I had been an on again off again kind of alcoholic. If I wasn’t shooting hard drugs I was drinking myself into comas. Yes, some serious self-destructive behavior, I know. I figured I wasn’t going to live long at that point. Back then the average time between diagnosis and death was 3-5 years, sometimes a little longer for women. I just concluded that my future was over; I had no future in my mind at that time. But I was determined to educate myself and those around me so I could live as long as possible, as healthy as possible. 

So much has gone on in my life since that hot August day in 1993. Life has a way of changing continuously. We grow. We learn. We lose. We win. And life just continues to go on. I had been handed a massive challenge and there’s nothing that I like more than a good fight! I put my whole being into becoming as educated and informed as humanly possible. I began living a cleaner, healthier life. I learned to love those who loved me with a renewed fierceness and determination. I stopped being a total asshole and adopted a kinder, gentler way of conducting myself. And I fought. 

Today, I am healthy and doing very well. My journey hasn’t been so smooth sometimes; I’ve struggled with addiction all of my adult life. It rears it’s ugly head occasionally and it’s a battle to the death for me. I’ve had many, many good years; fun years and years full of awesome memories and tons of love. I’ve travelled, farmed, built, raised, and let go of things when the time came. I’ve had a couple of spectacular relationships that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I discovered real love and basked in it like a snake in the sun. I’ve lived a pretty decent life; being lucky enough to have access to great medical care and the cutting edge in medication I remain healthy and happy.

So, yesterday is my annual day to reflect on these years of living with HIV and to remember those friends of mine who didn’t have the good outcome that I’ve been gifted. I remember their faces, their voices, the laughter and the crying; every one of them beautiful and a gift to earth in their own ways. May they be dancing wherever they are. 

Peace ~ MB

Catching Up…Mueller’s Week!

Whew…the world feels like it’s moving so very fast lately. It’s like “stop the merry-go-round, I wanna get off!” It’s post-mid-term elections, holiday season, and the tension of waiting for Mueller’s report is palpable. 

This year, 2018, is definitely one of huge proportion. The year of collusion, corruption, and murder. Never in my 56 (almost 57) years have I witnessed such incredible debauchery in my own country. We have been reduced to the laughing stock of the world; a country no longer trusted or revered, with an authoritarian leader who is hell-bent on destroying every good institution in our federal system. Sad. 

Families have become divided over things that Trump is doing or had done. Gatherings are often strained or even combative. The GOP (Republican’s Grand Ole Party) has become silent in their collusion with Trump and his destruction of our political systems and our judicial system.

Extreme weather has devastated the gulf coast of Florida and the surrounding region. Wildfires ravaged Paradise California and Malibu Beach leaving thousands homeless after they lost everything in those fires. It’s been a very tough year on America as a country. I can only hope that 2019 will bring some righteousness and healing because we all need it pretty badly. 

Personally, 2018 has been a pretty good year for me. It brought my woman into my life and lots of great times spent with her. My recovery is going great, and my health has never been better!   I have a wonderful home, a wonderful girlfriend, 2 very healthy little dogs, and a supportive, loving family behind me. So, I have all of that to be grateful for and happy about. 

I put my Christmas tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. A little holiday cheer in the house is a good thing. I even got Lulu and Nola new Christmas jammies that are so damned cute on them.

Wow!  It’s Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018…and I do believe that Cohen just confirmed Russian collusion between Trump and his family and members of the Trump campaign team.  Holy Fuck. It’s finally going to get put out in the open for all to see and know that all of Trumps “I don’t have anything to do with Russia” bullshit is just a huge pack of outright lies to cover the fact that he made a deal with the Kremlin and Putin in exchange for their help in getting him elected to the American Presidency.  And I think this is just more of Mueller being super smart and circling the slow-motion train wreck called Team Trump.

Holy crap!  Now it’s Friday…the fucking week has been a blur of Mueller letting little pieces of the puzzle of Trump being compromised by Russia (and I believe he will also point to him being compromised by Saudi Arabia and Ukraine as well when it’s all said and done).  It’s been a crazy ass week for US political news junkies like me. This has become a sort of daily soap opera where you can NEVER imagine what is going to drop next. It’s impossible to predict this shit! You couldn’t write this script if you tried! It’s been a full week of finding out for certain, through the disclosure of factual evidence, that Trump is an un-indicted co-conspirator in obstructing justice, lying to Mueller/FBI/Congress, collusion with Russia, pay off plans to gift Putin with a $50M penthouse, and oh so much more is coming down the Mueller pipeline! 

I bet Trump never saw his November coming to this kind of end. He’s got a big Christmas present coming! The American people are getting to the truth, and it’s not pretty for the Trump family at all. Personally, I will be happy to see him put out of office – one way or another. He’s done nothing short of destruction over these last 2 years and it’s time to put an end to this bullshit.

America needs a LEADER. One who will stand tall, be respected and respectful in world dealings, be looked up to by young people, who treats everyone equally and with dignity. We want to get on with normalizing the political climate here and get on with business like improving our infrastructure, fixing immigration, getting healthcare under control and making sure everyone has good access to affordable care. We’re tired of being embarrassed on the world stage by a man who only think of himself and what he can gain from any situation or interaction. We want to be more at peace here at home, while promoting more peace abroad. We want to get our troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and stop helping the Saudis slaughter the Yemen people and give more help to Ukraine to retake Crimea and force the Russians out of their lands. We want Putin to return the 24 Ukranian sailors he has taken hostage and imprisoned with 13 yr sentences for violating “his” border ideas. We want fair trade policies, not tariffs and over taxation of our trade partners. We just want an end to Trumpism and hatred it has caused.

I’m happy it’s the weekend. I am going to go to a Christmas parade tomorrow morning and to a craft fair at the local high school.  It’s supposed to be a nice day, so I should also be able to finish up my leaf raking and yard clean up before it snows again on Sunday – as predicted. I’m happy; I feel loved and life is good. 

Peace.  Be Kind.  ~ MB

Democrats Succeed at Mid-Terms

Trump has gone into hiding and is having a full-on meltdown. 

It’s a weird and scary time to live in the United States.

What I mean is it’s weirder and scarier than it had been before the 2016 presidential election! The US always seems to have some undercurrent of things to be wary of when you hail from a marginalized community – mine being the LGBT community. While 2018 isn’t anything like it was in the 1970’s when I was a teenager, as far as being out and gay, it’s beginning to remind me that my being out doesn’t and hasn’t come without a price to pay and a fight to continue fighting.

Our mid-term elections were held November 6th and the lead up was very heated between the parties and due to all of the division that Trumpism has brought to the surface here, as evidenced by the massacre at the temple in Pennsylvania and the bombs sent to major players of the Democratic party. Our televisions were abuzz with hateful advertisements accusing this candidate, ridiculing that one and spreading out-of-context misinformation. I personally hate political advertising like that. Any candidate that has to resort to cutting down their opposition because they don’t have a decent platform of their own to tout will never get a vote from me. Voting for anyone who runs that type of ad is just condoning it and feeding their hatred. I choose to ignore it, note who did it and not to vote for whomever it is running the ad.

I wish we would do some campaign reform here in America. Starting with getting PAC money OUT of all politics. Then requiring candidates to pay for their own ads and media content and they should not be allowed to accuse, ridicule or point at anyone else, but only talk about themselves and what they will bring to the table if elected. Get the hate out of political advertising. And no one should be allowed to lie – it’s false advertising!  And it’s just unappealing because it’s just gone too far. We also need major campaign finance reform, i.e. do away with PACs and outside funding. Make the playing field more even for everyone. The PACs and other donors give this money and pump their chosen candidate so that they can get a “foot in the door” so to speak by holding their candidate up to do their bidding in legislation and regulation. It’s all about the money. Fucking money sucks.

We had record voter turn out on both sides of the slate. Democrats really put a ton of effort into getting out the vote and getting people psyched up to get to the polls. There is no duty more important, in my opinion than showing up and voting when you’re called on to do so. Elections are how we the people have our say in governing the country and steering it in directions that are good for us, not just for the politician and their donors. A prime example is the Trump Tax plan of 2017. He was put in office by money and outside influence and a sheepish base who believed he would be “different” somehow. HIs tax plan gave trillions of dollars to big corporations and the uber-rich across the board. It did nothing for the middle class, working stiffs of America. Wages remain stagnant and profits of corporations are skyrocketing while our national debt is through the roof and climbing by the minute. This will be Trump’s legacy – the financial ruin of America.

Just over 113,000,000 people turned out to vote. I am pleased that Democrats did very well all across the country.  We elected 235 Democrats to the House and 47 to the Senate.  This gives Dems majority control of the House of Representatives while leaving us as the minority party in the Senate. This is really very good for now. It means that the Republican party is no longer in full control of our federal government and Trump no longer gets a blank check. Across America, Democrats replaced 335 state-level Republican legislators. We turned many formerly red states and areas blue. Yes, we got our Blue Wave regardless of what Trump says because of course, he’s claiming victory despite major Republican losses in key states.  Here are some of the outcomes explained more specifically.https://www.politico.com/election-results/2018/

Over 100 women were elected to go to Washington DC; as well as many men and women of diverse backgrounds, minorities, and LGBT are going to be serving us. They are younger, more diverse, enthusiastic and ready to bring progress and civility back to US soil. This is a sign of the future of government in America; a very positive, incremental sign. Congress is finally starting to look like a representation of the population. We really have some terrific people now in office! I have high hope that they will serve us wisely by putting forward a positive agenda and doing much-needed oversight of our government workings.

I was impressed with Democrats as a whole. There was no huge celebration or a big gloating party upon their wins. Calm and classiness has been maintained and the only people suing and complaining are the sore-loss Republican candidates in some particular states, such as Florida. Florida’s elections were overseen by the Governor, who also ran for re-election – talk about the referee playing in the game!  Their voting machines broke down, they tried to suppress votes, discouraged voters, as well as threatened and frightened people. It’s a real mess, but it was mostly expected and primarily was a Florida issue. I don’t understand what it is about that state that they can’t seem to get their electoral system up to par and always seem to have problems, but I hope that someone will pay attention this time and FIX the freaking problem! The state, as well as many others, is also gerrymandered to death. Hopefully, now that Dems have majority control across the country we can remedy this issue when the district lines are redrawn to make it a more fair and balanced system. Gerrymandering has cost us dearly and must be stopped. 

Here in Maine, where I reside, we turned the state blue again. We have one single Republican left – Senator Susan Collins. We elected a Democratic governor, Janet Mills from Farmington Maine, and now our state house is also filled with Democrats. After 6 years of LePage and his Trump-like antics and personality, we were sick and tired of all of the hate and of him disregarding the will of the people. He would go against things we voted to do and try to prevent laws from being enacted after the people voted to enact them! It’s been very aggravating for us here. We voted to expand Medicaid here, and he refused to enact it. He withheld the funding and just wouldn’t allow it to happen – even after a court order to do so! So, his hateful ass is out of here. I hear he’s moving to Florida! Hahah…they can HAVE him. I’m hopeful that Gov. Mills will stick to her promises and start with addressing the opioid crisis here, then healthcare, the environment, and education. It has to get better.

Of course, Trump has been freaking out. He’s gone into hiding, for the most part, Tweeting outrageously about the Mueller investigation and that people are changing clothes to vote twice. He’s not doing his presidential duties, is brooding over his loss of control and the possibility that his kids are going to prison for bilking America. Plus a whole lot more…but I’m tired of his shit show. And he somehow feels less threatening at the moment. The fact that his own party has been pretty much silent since the mid-terms is great too, although it does make them complicit in his dirty deeds in my opinion. But they are peeling off slowly, starting to whisper behind his back that they need to distance themselves from him. America voted on Nov. 6th and HE was the main reason his party lost. America stood up and said NO to Trumpism. 

In 721 days we vote again. This next time to replace Trump. I’m sooo looking forward to that one!!!

Peace & Kindness!  ~MB

Veteran’s Day

Today is Veteran’s Day and also the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, 11/11/1918, the end of World War I.  As a US Army veteran, and the offspring of a US Marine, born on a Marine base even, I honor all Veterans on this day – and every day.  Thank you to those who served, and those who supported them and especially to those who gave all and their Gold Star families.

 

WSMR 1984 SP4Angela Lawrence

Me, at White Sands Missile Range in White Sands New Mexico circa August 1984.  I was 22 yrs old and full of hell.  I really liked the Army, and had it not been an issue that I was so out and proud I may have chosen to make a career out of it.

Peace ~MB

American Leadership

Continental DivideElections were held on Nov. 6, 2018, our mid-terms, across the nation.  There was a very big build up to these mid-terms this time around and for very good reason. We have a tyrant in the position of POTUS and the citizens of the USA are being divided by this man on a constant basis. And the division was very well represented in the numbers seen in the election. More people voted this time around than voted in any previous mid-term cycle since Watergate happened back when Nixon was in office.

I am a proud American. I am a military veteran who served my country for 6 years proudly, loyally and honorably. I want what is best for America and also what is good for the world and ALL good people. I am not a nationalist, I believe in global thinking. To limit my thinking to just America would be selfish and closed-minded. We are a connected world in many, many ways. We depend on one another across the board.

Here in the United States of America we are all the products of immigrants from hundreds of other countries coming to this continent in search of a better life for themselves and their heirs. No one other than the Native Americans who were here for thousands of years, peacefully, before the Vikings and then Columbus invaded their land and took it in the name of Kings. Now we are all here, occupying this same soil, and we must all strive to get along. I know that sounds simplistic, but if we just start with that basic idea – to just get along – maybe we can begin to heal the divisions that #45 has caused, inflamed and encouraged with his words and actions. We the people of the United States must rise above the hatred and bigotry of this “man” and refuse to allow him to further divide and polarize us as American citizens.

I do not know how #45 got to where he is; how he convinced the Republican party to allow a man of his nature to become a candidate – backed by them – and then actually become president of the USA. (POTUS).  I have much respect for all people, regardless of political affiliation, and I want to believe that all people are good and really do want good things for themselves and the country at large. I have voted Republican and I have voted Democrat and I have identified as Independent. I vote the issues, the character of the candidate and I take the time to make sure I know and understand the facts. I wish that everyone would adopt a similar way of thinking, but I do understand that some are so brainwashed or perhaps not properly educated on the real facts, that they think they have to only vote one way – the way their chosen party wants them to vote.

After the elections were tallied I watched as the “leader” of my country mocked and ridiculed candidates of his own party (Republicans) for losing to the Democrats, while he blamed their losses on their not being properly loyal and in line with him and his egotistical, maniacal and hateful priorities. I have never seen this kind of blatantly hateful behavior from ANY former US President – NEVER. It is not right or proper for the leader of the party to belittle those beneath him in stature – for ANY reason. He shouldn’t even be involved in individual state-level politics in my opinion. The President of the United States should remain neutral and out of the way to allow states to hold their own fair and balanced elections. He should not be out there demanding their loyalty and alignment with his personal ideals. He backed 74 candidates and 53 of them lost last Tuesday, most for being Trump backed to begin with. And now 3 states are facing recounts because of razor-thin margins and Trump tweets out that Democrats are “stealing” elections – with no proof, no grounds, and no reason. These elections are being monitored VERY closely by both parties and independent monitors. Election fraud is very front-of-mind in America and we are ensuring it’s not happening. All the people want is a FAIR count of EVERY vote cast in every election. It’s not right to “call” an election before every single vote is counted, i.e. free elections. That is how democracy works. Here is the definition.

Democracy according to Merriam Webster Dictionary:

1a: government by the people especially: rule of the majority. b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. 2: a political unit that has a democratic government.

This election was huge for the USA. We changed the make-up of our representation dramatically. Democrats claimed 235 seats in the House of Representatives with 102 of them being claimed by women to include 40 black women, 2 Muslim women, and several lesbian identified women. So women now make up 25% of the Congress. Democrats also reclaimed at least 333 state legislative seats across the country, and 9 governorship positions – including my state, Maine. Democrats routed the Republican party and the American citizens sent Trump and his small base a warning signal that we do not like or agree with the direction he is trying to take our nation morally, ethically or internationally.

Yes, we had a blue wave…although Trump won’t admit it – of course, he won’t, that would mean he didn’t get what he wanted and he’s not going to ever admit to anything that is TRUE.  It may not have been the tidal wave we wanted, but it was definitely a geography changing wave that will change the Congress drastically for his next 2 years in office.

In fear of what this Democratically controlled Congress will do Trump immediately fired his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and installed a low-level guy named Matt Whitaker who is a sworn Trump loyalist and has spoken harshly against the on-going probe into improper Russian collaboration in the 2016 election. This move is entirely unconstitutional and will be recified very soon I believe. Whitaker is not the right man for this job, he has no experience, no credentials, is currently under FBI investigation for defrauding people out of millions of dollars with a troubled company he represented, he’s stated his opposition to the special counsel,he’s an extreme partisan and cannot serve as an unbiased AG, it’s just not possible. Plus, he must be confirmed and that’s just not going to happen as he will never pass the vetting process.

Today Trump is in Paris, regrettably. He’s supposed to be there to commemorate Armistice day yet he skipped going to the battlefield cemetary yesterday because of rain. The soldiers that lay there dead didn’t cancel because of rain, it was raining bullets as they fought for the freedom of the world from fascism and nationalism 1914 to 1918. His lack of respect for the military is disgraceful. He talks a big talk of how he supports our soldiers, yet he has not even gone to Afghanistan or any other place where we are currently engaged to visit the troops – and he’s had 2 whole years to do so. He’s a draft dodger who is STILL afraid of war, even though he seems to want to create one all the time.

This morning all of the other world leaders walked in a huge line down the middle of Paris in a show of solidarity. Trump did not. He took his own motorcade. Thus, the USA was not represented in that show of solidarity. Disgraceful and disgusting. And it was VERY much noticed by the whole world. He has no respect for veterans, he only talks about the military as a way to try to reach his dwindling little base. His generals don’t even trust him or agree with him, especially when it comes to sending all those troops unnecessarily to the Mexican border. He has not comprehension of how the military works or how he is supposed to use it – or not use it – given particular situations. His performance in Paris was regrettably demeaning to us as veterans and US citizens.

The United State of America has long been viewed as the bastion of Democracy; a free land governed by the people where justice and equality are high priority. Trump does not see this nation as such. He wants to be King and run it as he sees fit, regardless of the fact that he PLEDGED to uphold the Constitution of the United State of America. I am willing to BET that he has NOT read the document, let alone that he does not understand or comprehend the words and principles of it.

What we want here in America is some return to civility. We want to focus on the problems we have; homelessness, healthcare for all, infrastructure, education, economic equality and an economic atmosphere that benefits us all, as well as a myriad of other focused important issues such as improved immigration policy for one. We want to be good world citizens and neighbors to our allies. We want to be a proud country that represents what is good in people and the world; with good ethical behavior, attention to higher morals, and protection for those in need.

We do not want a leader who denigrates people for no reason. Who cannot handle being asked questions about what he says and does without calling people derogatory names and being an outright bully. We want a leader who will not cow to the Russians or kiss Putin’s ass so publically. We want a leader who will treat other world leaders with respect and appropriately, not one who picks fights, calls names, tweets out racist slurs, or sees other counties as “shitholes”. We want a leader who can filter his mouth for hells sake.

I really sincerely hope that the Republican party will find and fully vet a good, respectful, decent and intelligent candidate to challenge Trump for the 2020 chance to run for President. I know they can do FAR BETTER than having to “walk the line” with this egotistical man-boy they got stuck with in 2016. Yes, people wanted change, but they DIDN’T want a tyrant to destroy every limb of our sacred governing body. We want a leader who believes in justice for all; that no one is above the law – not even him/herself!!! We want a leader we can be proud of to represent us to the world; one that our kids can look up to and say “that guy is awesome, he cares about people and I want to be like him” – I know there aren’t any kids out there emulating Trump right now, there just can’t be.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said today

“Patriotism is the opposite of nationalism.  Nationalism is the betrayal of patriotism.” By saying, ‘Our interests first, who cares about the others,’ we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.”

These are very poignant words. I believe as he does, that we all need to be more caring and more civil and work toward the good of the whole world while taking good care of our own countries as well. We need to share the burdens, cooperate to solve the problems and work toward the benefit of all people. I want a president in my country who also believes this – with all his heart, and who tells only the TRUTH to us citizens.

Peace & Kindness.  ~MB

 

Another Mass Killing in America

candle

I woke up this morning and shuffled out to my kitchen to get my ritual cup of extra strong, dark roast coffee.  Once I sat down in my spot on the couch where my computer rests on the table in front of me and my TV is across the room, I picked up the TV remote and clicked on the squawk box.  I was immediately visually assaulted with the headlines “Breaking News” and yet another report of a mass murder in America, this time in Thousand Oaks California a suburb of Los Angeles. My heart sank. My stomach turned as I listened to the horrific report.

This is the 307th mass killing (4 or more people) in America this year alone, 328 people have lost their lives as a result and 1, 251 have been wounded. Astonishing numbers. Sad numbers. Repulsive numbers. And somewhat preventable numbers.

I completely support the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution, we have the right to bear arms, I get it and I support that right wholely. I also think it’s high time for us to come up with some common sense gun legislation to start protecting the innocent. If you are a legal, conscientious gun owner you should not object to following some basic, protective rules. Only the criminally minded will object, them and the paranoid among us. We must do something to curb the madness.

There are always going to be the people who say that guns don’t kill, people, do. Or that it’s a mental health issue. Or that no matter what criminals will find a way to get a gun if they want one. Yes, there will always be the nay-sayers and the skeptics. That doesn’t negate the fact that 67% of Americans believe that it is high time for some more restrictive gun control laws.

Basic things like background checks, age restrictions, restrictions on criminals and the mentally incompetent, banning high-capacity magazines while also banning bump stocks and out of the ordinary modifications to any type of gun, would be a start. I personally do not see why anyone would be against any of those things. It’s all common sense and each of those things will add a little bit more awareness and protection in some way.

I am in high hopes that the new Congress will move to take up gun control legislation at the beginning of 2019 when they convene. You can bet your ass that I will be writing to my representatives urging them to do just that and I urge each of you to take an hour and do the same. You can easily Google to see the names and addresses of those who represent you; stay on them and write to them often about issues that concern you and your family, community and the world. It will be through constant communication with these representatives that we will be able to elicit changes in this and other critical issues across the board.

Tonight there are 12 families grieving after the cold-blooded murder of their innocent, young loved ones. These young people went to the Borderline Bar to enjoy Country College Night, where those under 21 are allowed entry to dance and party – sans alcohol – in what’s supposed to be a safe atmosphere. Some were security guards and employees, who were killed as well. Eleven others were wounded and fortunately, they have all now been treated and released – except for one. He was the officer that died.

There are the parents of the killer. I feel bad for them, they are not to blame for the actions of their son, who they also lost as he took his own life after curtailing 12 other young, vibrant lives in a span of 3 minutes. Tonight I am sure they are bewildered, ashamed and also grieving for their own loss as well as for the damage their son caused so many others.

RonHelus

Deputy Sheriff Ron Helus, the officer who ran into the Borderline Bar and was shot multiple times before succumbing to his wounds, died a hero today. I’m sure that is no consolation to his wife and young child, who I am sure are suffering unimaginable pain and grief. He was 54 and only a year from retirement; he had served 29 years with the department and was highly respected and much loved. I watched as they took his body, with a large law enforcement contingent escorting the hearse, from the hospital to the coroner’s office. It was so very sad, yet chilling thing to witness. Too many times this has been the case. Too many times.

Perhaps I am being overly dramatic. I feel like these kinds of incidents have become routine; part of our daily lives, unfortunately. I don’t want to see America become numbed to this kind of horrible violence and death. Instead, we need to band together, get angry, support the victims and their families and push for stricter gun laws across the country.  Our federal government chooses to turn a blind eye (probably due to their dependence on NRA money and support) and ignore our cries for help.  And our “president” could care less, he’s too absorbed in his own ego to have empathy for any other human being. No, if anything is going to change; if we are going to have more common sense legislation regulating gun sales and ownership, it’s going to have to come from the people of America. We have to learn to talk to each other civilly and with respect; to hear all arguments and measure the effectiveness of making good, solid laws.

It feels crazily unsafe to go anywhere nowadays. We’ve seen time and time again mass murderers attacking malls, movie theaters, churches, parks, ball fields, schools, supermarkets, yoga studios, and even driving on the highways. It’s insane. We cannot have armed guards at all of these places, it would just be ridiculous and is not feasible. What we can do is be very aware. Be aware of those around you, of their mindsets, of their moods and if you get any sort of strange feeling do something! Call someone, send up a warning flag of sorts. And when in public places always be very aware. So many of us spend our time with our heads down looking at our phones and not enough time to watch what’s going on around us until it’s too late. Public awareness can save lives – perhaps your own.

In closing, I want to say that my heart goes out to all of those affected by today’s killings. Everyone should hug your loved ones extra long tonight and be glad you have them with you. Call your mothers and fathers; reach out to your siblings. Just spread some love and concern to those you care so much for in this world. And know that you are loved.

Peace and Kindness.  ~ MB

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