Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Political Cartoons of the Week, No. 37

Resisting Both The Conservative And President Trump's Agendas

Thomas Jefferson
Donald Trump presents a silver lining that if realized may be the panacea for a red state like Texas and other red states as well. In an odd kind of way, Trump just may be the catalyst the Progressive movement needed.

President Obama emerged at a time when the American political establishment, Republicans, and Democrats alike, had given the keys to the plutocracy. Trickle-down economics under Reagan and Bush along with the repeal of Glass-Steagall and NAFTA under Clinton made every poor and middle-class American nothing but widgets and commodities.

President Obama created a coalition twice to win two elections healthily. But the ex-President did not create a movement. He did not nurture the coalition post-election. Instead, he spent most of his time attempting to change the policies he believed in to make it more palatable for Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans. That process emboldened the opposition which is a numerical minority who became a political majority. That stance ultimately decimated the Democratic Party throughout the country. Had President Obama nurtured and grown his nascent movement, he would have had a better Affordable Care Act, a better stimulus, and a much more engaged grassroots to mitigate Republican fallacies and sneak attacks.

So far Donald Trump continues to prime his constituents, albeit a small but vocal movement. President Obama rarely did that. Trump is in constant contact with his supporters, and he does almost nothing to undermine them; even the most petulant of them. Many times President Obama would seem to throw his left under the bus.

Americans are no longer waiting for a Messiah. They have finally taken one of President Obama’s most effective messages to heart. “You are who you have been waiting for.” A document purportedly prepared by a few political representatives’ staffers have caught fire. It gave millions of Americans a little guidance to become the catalyst for a real grassroots movement that’s been building organically. The Indivisible Guide is everywhere. It is in the hands of working Americans, homemakers, middle-class people, poor people, activists, and those who have never protested or been activists in their lives.

The Indivisible Movement, the resistance, is real. More importantly, it is attached to no party. It is decidedly progressive like most of the country. Many fail to acknowledge our Progressive proclivity in polls, but when asked about our wants and desires in policy and life, they follow the Progressive tenets irrespective of party affiliation.

The fallacy of an overtaxed average American built the TEA Party. Bread and butter issues that are afflicting most Americans is building an already significant Indivisible Movement.

Middle-class and poor Americans never benefit from tax cut windfalls. In fact, it cost them more. That tax cut is a direct transfer of wealth from the middle-class and poor to those with the most means.

When we cut taxes, those with unseemly amounts of underserved earnings and capital get the largest share of these cuts.  The middle-class and poor are asked to pay more for tuition, more on toll roads, increased licensing fees, increased health care costs, and many other increased fees that would otherwise be taken care of by fair taxation. Americans are figuring that out.

Donald Trump convinced many in the right areas that the establishment, Republican and Democratic alike, screwed them. Trump made himself the establishment annihilator. To be clear, Hillary Clinton had policies that were decidedly progressive if even with too much of a corporate bias. It would have been orders of magnitude better for Americans than the return of trickle-down economics on steroids under Donald Trump.

The 2016 election did not enthuse most Americans. They were willing to accept Hillary Clinton, but they did not go out in droves to the polls. The election of Trump caught them completely off guard. Trump did not fool most; they just thought he simply could not win. Unfortunately, America is not a democracy because of the electoral college, an ancient constitutional aberration. It does not matter what every American wants. It is about who you are and where you vote. America only comes close to democracy if everyone votes.

Americans realize that they must do something. The burgeoning Indivisible Movement is their tool. In Houston, there are almost daily rallies, letter writings, meetings, and other events forcing the hands of their politicians. As a political blogger, I get tons of emails. Many people reading my posts on recent protests and actions make contact about getting involved.

This morning I received some icing on the cake. My phone rang early this morning. It woke me up. The woman on the other side of the line told me she has been scanning the internet and ran across my name and number and decided to call because she wanted to get involved. She said she has never been politically active but had to get off of the sidelines. She said her husband is staunchly Republican and she did not know what she is (read soft Republican). The woman said she wanted to get involve because she understands that she needs to do her part. The lady told me she does not want to be ‘too out there’ out of respect for her husband, but he knew that she intended to activate. She will be activated.

The Indivisible Movement and a more enabled Progressive Movement is real. The resistance is as real in Texas as it is throughout the country. Politicians dismiss it at their peril.

The Photography of David Vance

The Biography Of David Vance In His Own Words
Birth: December 20th, 1941, in Knoxville, Tenn.
Hometown: Oklahoma City. He grew up in Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort Kentucky.
Family: Two sons: Matt in Oklahoma City and Troy in Fort Hood, Texas.
Claim to Fame: He was vice-president and chief operating officer when Remington Park was built. He was also vice-president and general manager of 1975 ABA Champion Kentucky Colonels.
Best times I've ever had: Vacations with my family, anything I've done with my sons or my mom, the ABA championship, and any great horse race.
Person I'd most like to meet: Jesus Christ.
Favorite movies: "It's a Wonderful Life," "Hoosiers," and "The Natural."
If I were 19 again: I'd plan to retire when I was 40 with $10 million in the bank.
Favorite bands (or artists): Elton John, Shania Twain and Mariah Carey.
My pet peeve: It is anytime I have a large vehicle in front of me because I can't stand not being able to see around it.
Favorite month: December. That is because there's a real spirit that's going on with love and giving.

The Photography of David Vance

Monday, February 27, 2017

And The Oscar For Best Villain Goes To....

A Christian Reminder for Trump Supporters

Just a reminder to my Christian brothers and sisters that liberals and most of the American people are going through a rough time and that many people are pretty low on hope these days.
We care deeply about the environment, but we are standing helpless as this administration destroys the air, water, and land we care so deeply about. We want to see working people earn a living wage, have a safe job site, be able to support a family and even be able to own a home without getting ripped off too hard if they work hard for it. LGBT people want equality, and they are seeing that taken away, dreamers who grew up in this country are scared to death of being deported to a country they have never known. Women are afraid of being reduced to second class status. Minorities are afraid of being racially stereotyped.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Many liberal people have worked their entire life to try to make these things a little better, and they are seeing their entire life’s work come in danger of being crushed before their eyes by a rich billionaire who cares about nothing other than himself.

As you sit in your church today, finding hope in the message of Christ, I should remind you that the majority of Americans voted against Trump and that most people who did not vote opposed Trump. In other words, the majority of Americans are pretty low on hope these days.

Dr James Dobson Says Donald Trump Has Accepted Jesus Christ. 
What Does He Know That Most People Do Not?

Luckily, you hold a message of hope, and you can offer that message of hope if you just open your mind, your heart, and your arms. If your message is that you want to preach the Gospel to the poor, proclaim freedom to the prisoners, recovery of sight to the blind, to love your neighbor as yourself, to provide sanctuary for foreigners and immigrants, to give what you have to anyone in need, and all the other things the Bible commands, then the fields will be ripe unto harvest and you can usher in the largest Christian movement the world has ever seen.

On the other hand, if you stay the course, hold to the Republican Party, preach the message of Trump, desire to see immigrants deported, say the poor and the sick deserve what they get, condemn gay people, and support the destruction of the planet, then your numbers will continue to shrink, and your church of the frozen chosen will eventually close down and become nothing more than a museum to times gone by.

Who Would Believe: Jesus or Trump

It comes down to a question. Do you love Christ or Trump more? If you love Christ more, follow him and give hope to a hurting world of people who are low on hope. If you love Trump more, follow him and continue hurting people, but know that your church will suffer in the long run. You cannot serve two masters. (King James Bible: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.)

Pope Francis called Trump ‘not Christian’

The choice is yours and I hope you choose the right one.

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison, Georgia
On February 27, 1864, the first of the captured Union Forces inmates began arriving at Andersonville prison, which was still under construction in southern Georgia. Andersonville became synonymous with death as nearly a quarter of its inmates died in captivity. Henry Wirz, who ran Andersonville, was executed after the war for the brutality and mistreatment committed under his command.
Henry Wirz
The prison, officially called Camp Sumter, became necessary after the prisoner exchange system between North and South collapsed in 1863 over disagreements about the handling of black soldiers. The prison camp was rectangular in shape and had a 15 foot tall stockade around the grounds. The stockade which was hastily constructed using slave labor was located in the Georgia woods near a railroad but safely away from the front lines. Enclosed in sixteen acres of land, the prison was supposed to include wooden barracks but the inflated price of lumber delayed construction. However, the Yankee soldiers imprisoned there lived under open skies protected only by makeshift shanties called “shebangs,” which were constructed from scraps of wood and blankets. A stream initially provided fresh water, but within a few months human waste had contaminated the creek.
Nineteen feet inside the wall of Andersonville Prison there was a fence built, often referred to as 'the dead line', which meant that any prisoner who touched the dead line was shot by guards.
Andersonville was built to hold 10,000 men, but within six months more than three times that number were incarcerated there. The creek banks eroded to create a swamp, which occupied a significant portion of the compound. Rations were inadequate, and at times half of the population was reported ill. Some guards brutalized the inmates and there was violence between factions of prisoners.
The Andersonville Raiders were a group of prisoners that would often raid other prisoners and steal their belongings, including clothes, food, and any other items they felt were valuable. A second group called the Regulators rose up against the Andersonville Raiders and punished them for their crimes, even hanging some of them.
Andersonville was the worst among many terrible Civil War prisons, both Union and Confederate. Wirz paid the price for the inhumanity of Andersonville because he was executed in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Wirz's execution

While the trial of Henry Wirz was by far the most famous of the military tribunals at the end of the Civil War, it was not the only one. In fact, there were nearly 1,000 military tribunals in which Confederates, both regulars and guerrillas, were charged with various violations of the laws of war  mostly related to the treatment of prisoners of war. Some of these trials even led to acquittals.
For example, the camp commander at Salisbury Prison, Major John Gee, was arrested in the fall of 1865 and charged with similar crimes as Wirz. Unlike Wirz, Gee was unanimously acquitted in the spring of 1866. After the war, General Grant actually prevented the tribunal of another of Salisbury's commanders, Bradley T. Johnson, who faced charges of negligence at the prison and for burning Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1864.
Even among those convicted, Wirz did not stand alone for the atrocities of Andersonville. James Duncan, who worked in the quartermaster's office at Andersonville, was arrested and convicted of manslaughter by a military tribunal for his role in intentionally withholding rations from prisoners. He was sentenced to hard labor at Fort Pulaski but he escaped a year later.
The prison records kept count of the number of escapees. Of the 351 that escaped, most were recaptured. Approximately 32 of the escapees returned to the Union side while others returned to normal civilian life.
The Andersonville National Cemetery is the resting place for the Union prisoners who died at the prison as well as more recent war veterans. There are 921 graves marked 'unknown' at the cemetery because the names of these Union soldiers are not known.
Pictures of The Andersonville Prison


Pictures of Andersonville Memorials