The foxes in Alabama’s polluted henhouse

Jerry Waters, Contributor

This week, The Center for Biological Diversity, The Sierra Club and The Center for Environmental Health have joined together to notify the states of Alabama and Mississippi that they intend to file suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to ensure that these states are not filling their environmental protections boards with people who have conflicts of interests regarding the fossil fuel industry and pollution.

With climate change denier Scott Pruitt heading up the EPA, it’s no wonder that red states are following the President’s lead by appointing people to environmental protection boards that seek to destroy the environment for financial gain. This is truly a case of the foxes watching the henhouse. It may be more apropos to compare it to Trump’s “drain the swamp” analogy which has become code for actually filling the swamp with more toxic waste and genetically-engineered monsters.

Pruitt is a very special kind of asshole who has not only funded his previous political campaigns with fossil fuel money, but he’s also sued the EPA fourteen times prior to Trump appointing him to head up the agency. He profoundly hates the Humane Society, free-range chickens, and scientists. That’s right, Pruitt fired all the scientists on the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors so he could replace them with fossil fuel industry executives. Pruitt doesn’t think carbon dioxide is a primary cause of global climate change, but does believe that coal is headed for a major comeback.

So now, Alabama is going to take Pruitt’s lead. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s not like Alabama has ever had a problem with conflicts of interests. It’s not like in 2010 when the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s (ADEM) Anita Archie was also hired as a lobbyist for the Business Council of Alabama for the sole purpose of helping people in the fossil fuel industry get air and water pollution permits. It’s not like Alabama is home to Superfund pollution sites or the home of 3M dumping Teflon waste in drinking water. See, there’s nothing to see here.

Of course, we might get concerned if Alabama was rated second-worst in the nation for drinking water or twelfth-worst in the nation for air pollution coming from coal and oil-fueled power plants. Oh, well, yeah, so there is that. Cough. Alright, so it’s not like Alabama uses all kinds of pesticides that are toxic and- oh, yeah, there’s that, too.

Just this year, the Southern Environmental Law Center had to file suit to try and stop the Black Warriors Mineral Mine #2 from dumping waste into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. You know, that source of drinking water for the good people of Birmingham, Alabama. They’re also dumping toxic crap into Turkey Creek and threatening endangered species.

Maybe ADEM could see if some of these coal miners want to take a quick shower and sit on the board to protect the state’s streams from coal pollution. Maybe ADEM could get some frackers on there, too.  Also, there’s probably plenty of room on the board for people who make chemical herbicides and pesticides… it’s not like it’s poison, right? Why can’t people just spend a little more on some Brita water filters and quit acting like they have some kind of deeply personal relationship with the flattened musk turtle? Who cares if a few people get sick because they forgot to wash their produce before they ate it? Don’t they know better?

Well, let’s hope these environmental legal warriors win their suit against the EPA or else we’re going to have a whole bunch of genetically-mutated, three-headed foxes guarding a very, very polluted henhouse.

Resisting only counts if you vote

Clete Wetli, Contributor

After the shocking election of a narcissistic con-man as President of the United States, it’s only natural for intelligent citizens with a heart to embrace the idea of active resistance. Trump’s regressive agenda deserves the most powerful opposition that we can muster. But, it’s important to remember that all of this passionate and earnest resistance will only count if you vote. That’s why our message has to resonate forcefully amongst people who think their vote just doesn’t matter. They have to be persuaded how their voice truly matters and why joining the resistance is worth their valuable time, effort, and resources.

For the 2016 presidential election, 59.7% of registered voters actually got up off the couch to cast their ballots.  Believe it or not, that’s actually 1.1% more than in 2012, but it still means that even in a contentious race that 2 out of 5 registered voters didn’t even bother. Honestly, it could have changed everything.

Indeed, our ability to dramatically increase voter turnout is the most critical thing we can do to elect candidates that will move our nation forward.

Conservatives shudder in fear at the thought of more people voting. That’s why they’ve fought so hard to restrict access to the ballot box with voter ID laws, the elimination of early voting, and refusing to allow elections on any day but Tuesday. It’s precisely why they’ve turned gerrymandering into a science.

Conservatives want people to feel like their voices are just drowned out and that their votes don’t count for much. This is how they win. When you couple that with their obsession with gerrymandering, it’s why they have more seats even when we have more popular votes.

It’s time for liberals to get really serious about GOTV efforts. It’s also time for us to find messages that universally resonate, rather than trying to align one-hundred distinct messages crafted around one-hundred different interest groups. GOTV only works if the message is concise, clear, and compelling.

Liberals have got to start touting their successes and counteract the constant negativity of conservatives who have painted our government as corrupt, ineffective, and oppressive. They have used this narrative not only with our government, but also with our media and it’s worked for them because it’s caused voter apathy and disillusionment with our most sacred institutions.

We’ve got to help people remember that our representative democracy works when people get involved and, most importantly, vote. We know, of course, that our government won’t solve every problem or cure every societal ill. However, we also know that the “wrecking ball” approach or “dismantling of the administrative state” will do irreparable harm to America.

This last election was a crossroads for America. Unfortunately, we are already seeing what can happen when the wrong choices are made. Liberals, this is our wake-up call and this our time to rise up like we have never done before. Each day, the conservatives are destroying the real progress that we have made as a united people. Make no mistake, they seek to take us backward and they seek to thwart our progress. They will always put profits over people, power over independence and oppression over diversity. Now you may think this is hyperbole, but ask yourself about their agenda, their accomplishments, and the agenda of those who support their causes.

Under Trump, they are emboldened as never before and it is up to us to stop them. The only way we can do this is to rally around a concise, clear, and compelling message and to convince people why their vote is so critical.

Resistance is futile if you don’t vote.

Opioid addiction is a US epidemic

Jerry Waters, Contributor

Now that it’s finally reached headline-grabbing epidemic proportions, Blue Cross Blue Shield just released an eyebrow raising report that opioid addiction has increased 494% from 2010 to 2016, yet medication-assisted treatment for opioid addicts has only increased by 65%.  Worse, the Republican healthcare bill doesn’t seem to be addressing this as any type of a health crisis. And if that wasn’t horrifying enough, many judges across the nation refuse to accept medication-assisted treatment such as methadone or suboxone as legitimate substance abuse treatment. They demand abstinence-only treatment and continue to impose harsher sentences on addicts who relapse.

Ironically, the very hallmark of addiction is relapse. Let that sink in just a moment.

Admittedly, the judges do have a point that many methadone clinics are profit driven and there isn’t enough emphasis on titrating addicts off medication, but that’s something that can be fixed with sensible regulations. The bigger problem is that many judges just don’t understand medication-assisted treatment and think that either the addicts are getting a legal high, or that they just lack the will power to stop on their own. Also, there’s a difference between someone who is an opioid addict and someone who uses medication-assisted treatment for legitimate, chronic pain management. When it comes to these stark distinctions, it’s time for the judiciary to catch up.

If we go back to the time before Obamacare and we allow insurers to be able to pick and choose what they think are essential benefits in a healthcare plan, substance abuse treatment will be surely one of the first things to get cut. This will hurt the people who need treatment the most.

Sadly, doctors are still being incentivized by Big Pharma to write opioid prescriptions like they’re going out of style. Further, they’re not actively checking patients to ensure that they are not becoming addicted to the medication they’ve prescribed.

We live in an un-nuanced chiaroscuro culture where we love to criminalize and penalize the addict, but refuse to hold the people who write the prescriptions responsible unless their actions are so greedy or grotesque that someone finally takes notice.

Insurers shouldn’t be determining the parameters, modality, or qualifications for substance abuse treatment. They have a conflict of interest that’s worse than a monkey trying to sell bananas. Besides, weren’t these the geniuses who came up with the 28-day Minnesota treatment model because it fit neatly into their billing cycle? It’s taken decades and mountains of research to debunk their arbitrary treatment model, but it’s still going strong in many parts of the country.

Culturally, we seem obsessed with one-size-fits-all solutions. Maybe we can get our legislators to explain the difference between an opioid addict, a methamphetamine addict, a cocaine addict, and an alcoholic.  We’d love to hear their take on co-occurring disorders and even though they haven’t the first clue, they’re happy to write legislation about these things. They’re more than happy to let people with strong profit motives, like insurers and drug companies, tell them what addicts need to get sober.

The opioid epidemic is real and it wasn’t caused by a bunch of middle-aged folks who went to doctors drug-seeking. This was caused by the profit motivations of doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical giants. This was caused by a still broken healthcare system that focuses on illness instead of wellness and pathology over prevention.

It’s time for people across the country to take a deep breath and reflect on the failed War on Drugs. It’s time to put people first again and not be so quick to put them in jail because they have an addiction problem.

Maybe, we can switch from saying “Just say no!” to “We can help you recover”.

The Twitterwocky

Franklin, Contributor and Poet

‘Twas swampy, and the slimy suits

Did covfefe in the krole;

All sorries were the crony whites

And tweeted bigly troll.

 

“Beware the Twitterwock, my boy!

The jowls that spew, the hands that grab!

Beware the Kush and never toy

With Bannonsnatch’s wicked wab!”

 

He took his inky pen in hand;

Long time this twittled foe he sought-

So scribbled he, deplorably,

And oranged was his thought.

 

And, as in citric thought he stood,

The Twitterwock, with tiny hand,

Came twittling in a way no good,

Spewing burble through the land!

 

To print! To print! And the story went-

The Twitterwock with skin so thin,

He found it dumb and left it mum,

That orange head will always spin.

 

“And did you shut up the Twitterwock?

Give me a hug, my bookish lad!

It’s Independence Day! Whoo-hoo! Hooray!

And all the land was glad.

 

‘Twas swampy, and the slimy suits

Did covfefe in the krole;

All sorries were the crony whites

And tweeted bigly troll.

On Trump’s philistine tweets

Clete Wetli, Contributor

It’s morning in America and the birds are silent, but vulgar, philistine tweets fill the air in their place. Morning turns to mourning as we awaken to realize that the world’s respect for our nation is diminished. Perhaps, the birds are likely silent out of profound embarrassment and, now, they’re probably contemplating permanent relocation to Canada like many other disheartened Americans. The dignity of the office of the President of the United States is in dire jeopardy because the immature septuagenarian that sits behind the desk can’t stop himself from tweeting misogynist insults to his imaginary foes.

This latest boorish tweet denigrating the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” certainly wasn’t his first or his last venture into middle-school indecency. Lest we forget, his tweets are the smallest tip of an iceberg of undisciplined behavior that is characterized by childish selfishness, unrepentant greed, and gaudy chauvinism. Sadly, the First Lady, in her self-proclaimed role as America’s champion against cyber-bullying, has expressly lauded her husband’s attach tweet by claiming it his right to “punch back ten times harder.” One wonders if she is speaking about a past experience that she would prefer to forget, or if someone else in the White House had a hand in writing that bizarre statement.

For years, the conservatives have railed against intellectualism because they thought it foundational to liberalism. They have eschewed science and they have fooled America into thinking that its institutions were crumbling under the weight of their own excesses, incompetence, and conspiratorial malign intent. Trump is the malign fruit of this conservative womb. Trump is the deplorable bastard son of their illicit affair between extremist rhetoric and misplaced indignation. He purposely lies with every breath in an inane attempt to hide his many shortcomings in skill, character, and, most importantly, moral fiber.

His inability to articulate verbally is only surpassed by his the misspelled idiocy of his mean-spirited tweets. Of course, America has had presidents that were deeply flawed, but Trump is plumbing whole new depths of what it means to be an ignoramus that truly endangers our ability to civilly self-govern and function as a representative democracy. His misinformed “wrecking ball” approach to foreign affairs is already upending global alliances and hurtling the world toward tragic, but preventable, conflicts.

Arrogance, intimidation, and unearned inheritance have been the keys to Trump’s past success. We’ve learned this through his ghost-written self-praising books and countless hours of interviews in which he tells people how and why they should worship at the feet of Trump. His sickness is evident and it’s the antithesis of sound leadership and sober statesmanship. Yet, we suffer this fool and conservatives keep defending his every moronic move in outrageous defiance of their own common sense.

Trump’s last round of tweets was beyond embarrassing, beyond reason, and beyond the scope of basic human decency. We must resist this monster of a person and persist in our resolve to fight his agenda. He has no capacity for improvement. There will be no “pivot” other than a more pronounced turn into dysfunction.

America has always sought to be a more perfect union by recognizing its mistakes and atoning for its sins as best it can. These struggles are evidenced by the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage, ensuring equal opportunities for people with disabilities, and many more vitally important struggles too numerous to list. The point is that we are one nation; not this Trump dystopia of rich versus poor, environmentalist versus denier, pro-cop versus BLM activist, men versus women, Christian conservative versus LGBTQ person, or Republican versus Democrat.

We are America and we should be ashamed that we elected a vulgar, poster boy for white privilege, charlatan as our president who can’t stop tweeting in between flirting with reporters, lying about golfing, and trying to impress heads of state with the button on his desk that he uses to get more Diet Coke.

So, when you get done talking to your children about his latest tweet, ask yourself again why this ill-mannered idiot is our president.

As proud Americans, we should hold his tweets to be self-evident. Maybe, someone in Trump’s inner circle can explain to him what that means in one hundred-forty characters or less.

Senate Republican’s healthcare bill is cruel and unusual

Clete Wetli, Contributor, As Originally Published on al.com on June 27, 2017

Instead of trying to fix America’s healthcare system by making sensible, obvious adjustments to the Affordable Care Act that would lower costs and ensure more universal coverage, Republican’s continue to make cruel and unusual proposals that seem to only benefit the wealthiest. Of course, our incoherent president contradicted himself by first calling the House version of the bill “incredibly well-crafted”, but then went on to say it was “mean”. Honestly, Trump doesn’t seem to really care what’s in the bill just so long as he can claim a victory lap.

C’mon, Republicans have had over seven years to come up with something that makes sense. Yet, it seems the only thing they can agree on is more tax cuts for the wealthiest and making it harder for the poor to get or keep affordable care.

The cruel part is the crafty, political double-speak they’re using to sell their mean-spirited prescription. They have been emphasizing the idea of “access” to purchase insurance, knowing full well that it’s not the same as actually “having” coverage. “Access” to purchase a Lamborghini isn’t the same as making the monthly payment and parking it in your driveway.

The unusual part is the bold lying by Republicans on television to pretend that their “give the rich more money” plan is somehow a life-saving cure for our nation’s healthcare system. We’ve come to expect that from the forked tongue of Kellyanne Conway, but now, they’ve got HHS Secretary Tom Price in on the carnival barking act. Price and Conway want people to really believe that the Senate plan won’t cut Medicaid and that “no one will have the rug pulled out from under them”. Their audacity is unusual, disturbing, and laughable in a gothic, cynical sort of way.

The hardliner Republicans are unhappy because they don’t think the bill is cruel or unusual enough, because they fundamentally believe that healthcare is a privilege, not a right. As lovers of an unfettered, unregulated free market, they believe that insurers should make as much money off the sick as the market will allow. So what if grandma goes bankrupt trying to pay her medical bills- maybe, she should have gotten a better job when she was younger, right?

One of the amazing things has been watching a bad bill get substantially worse as it moves through the process. It’s happening because the base of the Republican Party doesn’t like the notion that everyone should have health coverage. They like the idea that poor people have no coverage (they get what they deserve) or a plan that covers basically nothing, while they whip out their employer-subsidized platinum card.

As this new Republican Senate bill is being made more cruel and unusual, it’s worth noting that the Republicans are also advocating for the rights of insurance companies to sell junk plans again. Oh, they’re innovating like a think-tank running on nitrous oxide as they put in provisions to make that enormous tax break for the rich retroactive so they get another huge bonus, aside from the joy of watching poor folks lose insurance.

The other cruel and unusual thing about this whole fiasco is the artificially fast timeline that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has put on the whole process. Heck, why even get a CBO score? So what if no one has time to read any of the legal mumbo jumbo in it? Who’s got time for that? Whatever happens, you can rest easy knowing the senators will still have a good, government subsidized health plan.

The Republican Senate looks like they’re taking a “mean” bill and turning it deliberately into something profoundly cruel and pathologically unusual.

Why we should take Stephen Hawking very seriously

Jerry Waters, Contributor

At a recent arts and science conference in Norway, famed scientist Stephen Hawking pleaded with humanity to expedite interplanetary exploration because he believes the Earth has a very short and finite lifespan. Hawking said he thinks that creative applications of Einstein’s theories will result in our ability to travel on beams of light to reach galaxies that are impossibly far away.

So, is Hawking a crackpot or an enlightened prophet with a dire warning for mankind?

First, it’s important to understand that the 75 year old theoretical physicist has done groundbreaking research by developing a cosmological theory that unifies the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. His work has been universally praised and he’s won just about every scientific honor imaginable.

Most people may not even understand his contribution to science, but they will certainly benefit from his research and theories.

Second, Hawking, like many with the courage to question the status quo, has had some humiliating scientific defeats. His most recent was his insistence that Higgs boson, an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics, would never be authenticated. However, thanks to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, Higgs boson was proven to exist in 2012 and Higgs won the Nobel Prize for Science in 2013 by definitively proving Hawking wrong.

The point, though, is that Hawking is one of the most brilliant minds in the world; a genius who truly understand the rigors of intense scientific inquiry. He is not given to wild speculation, nor does he care about the popularity of his conclusions.

For these reasons, we need to listen when Hawking says he believes that perpetual human existence on our planet is unsustainable. Given his record, he’s not saying this out of hysteria or religiosity, rather as a scientist considering the overwhelming evidence of grave and imminent threats or the real chance of the random and unforeseen.  He mentions things like nuclear holocaust, climate change, genetically-engineered viruses, asteroids, and a host of other things that are probable and rational threats to our very existence as a species. Hawking even considers the dark side of artificial intelligence which, in diabolical hands, could be used to perpetrate genocide or unwittingly cause great harm to humanity.

Hawking isn’t just prophesying the demise of Earth; he is showing us a path to survival. This is why he believes so strongly in taking science seriously. With science, interplanetary and intergalactic travel is not only possible, but obligatory. With science, colonization of other worlds is a necessary safeguard to ensure that our species survives. It’s also a way to decrease the drain of natural resources on Earth and give the planet a fighting chance to recover and heal from its most rapacious inhabitants.

This is why we need to take Hawking seriously. He isn’t peddling vague notions or careless speculations, but purposefully searching for real answers to dilemmas that may have catastrophic consequences if left unanswered.

Hawking embodies an everyman who looks at the obvious aftermath of rampant human consumption and self-serving vices and, wisely, chooses to look for a way to achieve universal redemption and realistic salvation. Hawking doesn’t believe that will come from prayer, but will come from our collective intellect applied creatively to our common problems.

In this age of Luddites, who eschew facts and science, we must ensure that great and accomplished men like Hawking are heard above the Facebook memes and internet noise. It’s time to celebrate science, including the science that gives us nightmares.

We need to take Hawking seriously because he’s not only shown us what will likely happen if we don’t act; he’s given us a rational, achievable plan so we can act collectively with purpose and survive to avoid our own demise.

Resist Trump’s Assault on the First Amendment

Clete Wetli, Contributor

Since taking office, our whining toddler-in-chief has shown that he loves to dish shit out, but that his artificially orange skin is too thin to endure any type of criticism. So, Trump, also known as Twitler, has taken to playing games with the White House Press Corps. He’s abruptly cancelled press conferences, kept reporters in rooms with trash-bags blocking the windows while he’s been on the road golfing, and even instructed that they not be allowed to film or record audio of press conferences.

Trumplethinskin wants to ease up libel and defamation laws so that he can continue his part-time job as America’s most prolific litigator. Yet, Drumpf thinks it’s okay for him to call women pigs, grab pussies, and lie every time his mouth is open, but he wants to make damn sure that he can sue the shit out of anyone who says anything that offends his delicate sensibilities.

So, what are we going to do about little Donnie small hands and his disregard for our most basic constitutional rights?

Well, we’re going to keep talking, writing, publishing, inquiring, and (don’t take this the wrong way) probing. Cheeto Benito really hates getting probed, we hear. We’re going to keep being Americans and demanding that our free press holds our government accountable. If we have to, we’ll go to jail over it, but we sure as hell won’t stop. We’re going to ensure that Americans understand what happens when the state controls the press.

Benedict Donald’s funky haircut soulmate, Kim Jong-Un knows a lot about controlling the press. His state run media plays nothing but masturbatory homage to Kim in between showing lots of images of the White House enveloped in a mushroom cloud. So, as Americans, is this what we want for own country? Is that what’s next; twenty-four seven coverage of Fuckface Von Clownstick giving us virtual tours of his new Trump Somali Casino Golf Resort and Strip Club in between sycophants like Jeffrey Lorde telling us how awesomely great America is because of our great leader, Mango Mussolini? Maybe, they’ll throw in a few clean coal documentaries and cooking shows with recipes for frying spotted owls.

I don’t know about y’all, but I plan to call The Fraud of Fifth Avenue out on every single lie he utters. I intend to criticize his disregard for our institutions and societal norms. It’s my right to speak and Hair Furher isn’t going to silence me. I hate his policies and, worse, I hate the incompetent, self-serving, money-grubbing assholes he’s put in positions of power. Their cruel brand of Social Darwinism is beyond despicable and beyond forgiveness.

This is why we must resist. It’s why we must organize. It’s why we must vote.

Some of these folks aren’t just selfish or incompetent, they are actually evil. Take Steve Bannon’s whole shit sandwich that he calls “the deconstruction of the administrative state” with a side of Russian dressing. I’m sure it took awhile for Steve to explain to The Angry Creamsicle what those big words actually meant. Well, in part, it means eroding our ability to resist by denying us our First Amendment rights.

They want us to tone down the rhetoric after they spent decades vilifying liberals and encoding dog-whistle euphemisms into our public discourse. Well, with no due respect, they can fuck themselves. It’s our right to opine, our right to question, our right to satirize, and even our right to use coarse language to get our point across, so long as the little people are in bed dreaming of a world free of The Fanta Fascist.

So, you want to effectively resist Trump’s assault on the First Amendment? Then, keep reading twentytwentynews.com, write an article yourself, pick up the mic at a protest, and never forget it’s your inalienable right to criticize the government, no matter what the Human Tanning Bed Warning Label says.

Get your tiny little hands off my First Amendment, Pudgy Mc Trumpcake.

Whew! That feels better… now, Imma just gonna wait for my cease and desist letter from Mr. Short-fingered Vulgarian while I knock back a few orange sodas…

Republicans are only as sick as their secrets

Clete Wetli, Contributor as Originally Published on AL.com on June 20, 2017

After falsely spinning the formation of Obamacare as some nefarious clandestine plot, Senate Republicans are now working in secret to craft new healthcare legislation and they should all be diagnosed with incurable hypocrisy. It’s been said that “you’re only as sick as your secrets” and this crew is not only infected, but dangerously contagious. Whether it’s White House press briefings that won’t allow recording devices or Trump refusing to definitively indicate if he’s secretly bugging the Oval Office, the Republicans seem to be overdosing on secrecy these days.

Most of us grew up understanding that transparency was essential for democracy as insurance against corruption and unethical agendas. Yet, Republicans seem to have adopted a new love for the backroom deal. We saw it in Alabama when the Republicans played whisper games under the pay-for-play leadership of “Mr. Transparent”, Mike Hubbard, with the infamous Alabama Accountability Act and now we’re seeing it in Washington as Republicans play partisan tricks to keep America in the dark.

It’s the same shadowy approach that they’ve been using to gerrymander every district they possibly can across the country. Recently, it’s become so bad that the Supreme Court is finally getting involved. In many states, the electorate is closely divided, but Republicans drew gerrymandering plans in secret to ensure lopsided victories that account for the disproportional advantage in state legislative districts.

Of course, Trump is still hiding his top-secret tax returns. Sessions is keeping secrets about how many visits he had with the Russian ambassador and is even more cryptic when he’s asked why. While Kushner has been put in charge of fixing everything under the sun, his wife and White House Advisor, Ivanka, has a job so secret she doesn’t even really know what it entails. Kushner, of course, has been accused of trying to set up a super secret “back channel” to communicate with Russia for reasons that are, well, mysteriously confidential.

As America watches the myriad of hearings on Russia, they take on a farcical tone because the answer to almost every significant question is “It’s classified.” Also, let’s not forget about the clandestine meeting in the Seychelles last January that Blackwater founder, Eric Prince had with emissaries from Russia and the United Arab Emirates on behalf of Trump. The Republicans sure seem to be enjoying all this cloak-and-dagger intrigue because more, and more of it, appears to be leaking out.

Republicans want you to believe that all this covert, enigmatic secrecy is normal and that it’s the leaking of these secrets that’s the real threat to our democracy. There is, indeed, a grain of truth in their assertion, but it sure doesn’t explain why there seems to be an obsession with secrecy in their party unless they’ve got a whole lot of things to hide. Ironically, it’s likely that the leaks are coming from folks within their own party, probably because they still harbor some lame, old-school beliefs- like a transparent government that works for everyone.

If Republicans are serious at all about “Making America Great Again”, then they could start by demanding that the Oval Office turn over all of its cards.  Keeping secrets in the interest of preserving national security is one thing, but keeping them to cover up shady bank deals, presidential blunders, or unethical politics is quite another. In fact, the bizarre fixation on secrets just keeps begging the question, “What is it that these folks are trying so hard to hide?”

If you’re only as sick as your secrets, the Republicans better get some emergency care quick before they vote to end their own healthcare benefits.

Move Over Old White Guys, Winter is Coming

Elizabeth Dawson, Contributor

On Tuesday, the country was in an uproar over the special election in peach-loving, Jesus-thumping, land of cotton and the Confederacy, Georgia, between Handel and Ossoff. Democrats heralded it as a referendum against Trump and Conservatives heralded it as a mandate for their policies. Before yesterday’s polls even opened, I saw disaster coming like a train through a pigeon.

The Democratic Party has a problem if their strategy to win the mid-term elections is to let the Republicans sh*t the bed and that be enough to win millennial voters. Yesterday was a clear example of how that strategy is going to lose miserably. Rather than the party standing for something, they are too busy standing against Republican policies. And just like Ossoff demonstrated yesterday, running as Republican-lite isn’t going to get you a clear majority. What will get you a clear majority? Courting millennial voters.

Millennial voters make up the same proportion of the U.S. voting population as did the Baby Boomers. If the powers that be continue to pat us on the head and say that we are everything that is wrong in the world, you are going to lose miserably. Millennials are hard-core liberals, possibly willing to take socialism out on a date and a drink and see where it goes. This is the reason Bernie was so popular and spawned the so-called Liberal Revolution if only the DNC had not gotten in the way of the will of the people.

Millennials are the most educated, hard-left politically, socially liberal generation yet to come and they have little tolerance for the hate-mongering rhetoric of the hard right. They are also open to the economic redistribution of wealth and universal health care that makes conservative voters gasp and swoon.  Millennial voters aren’t into this because they are lazy and not willing to work. It is because we would rather not work three jobs to make one wage that was so readily given to our grandparents and parents. We would like the same financial advantages our predecessors had and the scales have been tipped off balance to prevent us from doing so. In fact, we are on the hardest working generations because we have been financially screwed from day one. The multiple wars, the 2008 crash, crushing student loan debt to get a minimum wage job… any of this sound familiar?

America’s most impoverished, powerful and morally driven generation wants a seat at the table or we will just take it from you. This generation values authenticity and integrity over political experience any day. We are the generation of the selfies and showing the real you – not the fake corporate façade of the 80s and 90s. We see through carefully crafted messages and spin faster than you can spin it yourself. We are the opposite of everything our predecessors have told us to be and we are turning industries on its head. The revolution is coming and if the Democrats and Republicans can’t get with the program then they will be thrown out of power. Winter is coming and if the politicians cannot adapt to the winds of the change, then they will be left out in the cold.