Grounded

Those of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for more than a year may remember a series of posts that I re-blogged by justascottishgirl, a young woman from Scotland who, in late 2015 to mid-2016 took time from her own life to volunteer helping refugees on the Greek Isle of Kos. Her tales were often heartbreaking, but I was so impressed with what she and others were doing – giving of themselves for the cause of humanity – that I shared her story a few times in March 2016. She eventually returned to Scotland, but has now moved to the Greek Isle of Kos. She has started a new blog, titled From Greece With Love, and shares her very astute thoughts on not just the refugee crisis, but the terrible inhumane incidents taking place around the globe. I am sharing, with her permission, the first post on her new blog where she starts with a question: How does one stay grounded with all the terrible things happening around the world? She concludes with: “Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.” Just A Scottish Girl is an excellent writer, thinker, and humanitarian extraordinaire, and this post is well worth the read. Please take a few moments to read her words, for they reflect what most of us are thinking in these troubled times. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for all you do, for your beautiful heart, and for permission to share your thoughts and words.

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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♫ Bernadette ♫

Tonight it’s back to that unbeatable Motown sound and The Four Tops.  Bernadette is another written by the team of Holland–Dozier–Holland.  Was there really a girl named Bernadette, you ask?  Yes, in fact three of them, I am told.

According to Lamont Dozier …

“There were three Bernadettes, and they were all different girls. We sorta kept that to ourselves that we all had our own Bernadette. We always said, we’d never bring a girlfriend’s name into the songs. We had this hidden thing when the name came up, so we didn’t say anything. So at least two of us were thinking about the Bernadettes we knew.”

In Dozier’s case, “Bernadette” was inspired by his unrequited love for a girl when he was 12; a “beautiful Italian girl with eyes for somebody else.”

And now I bring you … Bernadette

Bernadette
Four Tops

Bernadette, people are searchin’ for the kind of love that we possess
Some go on searchin’ their whole life through
And never find the love I’ve found in you
And when I speak of you I see envy in other men’s eyes
And I’m well aware of what’s on their minds
They pretend to be my friend

When all the time they long to persuade you from my side
They’d give the world and all they own for just one moment we have known

Bernadette, they want you because of the pride that gives
But Bernadette, I want you because I need you to live
But while I live only to hold you some other men
They long to control you
But how can they control you Bernadette
When they can not control themselves, Bernadette
From wanting you, needing you
But darling, you belong to me

I’ll tell the world you belong to me
I’ll tell the world, you’re the soul of me
I’ll tell the world you’re a part of me

In your arms I find the kind of peace of mind the world is searching for
But you, you give me the joy this heart of mine has always been longing for
In you I have what other men long for
All men need someone to worship and adore
That’s why I treasure you and place you high above
For the only joy in life is to be loved
So whatever you do
Bernadette, keep on loving me, Bernadette, keep on needing me Bernadette

You’re the soul of me
On that dream, you’re a ? to me
And Bernadette, you mean more to me
Than a woman was ever meant to be

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland
Bernadette lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

A Day For Snarky Snippets …

Today just seems like a good day to release a bit of snark, don’t you agree?  I’m fed about up to the gills with Trump, his mouth, his rhetoric, his immaturity, and I’m ready to vent, so …


Mr. Kellyanne ConwayGeorge ConwayGeorge Conway has the misfortune of being married to Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s “senior advisor”, or right-hand man woman.  George Conway is an attorney who was actually offered a high-ranking position at the Department of Justice last year but turned it down (smart man).  Conway has been a frequent critic of Trump and his policies, his rhetoric, and recently, he participated in an 80-minute wide-ranging discussion on Yahoo News’ Skullduggery where he didn’t pull any punches when it came to Trump.

Conway has created a group consisting of conservative lawyers called ‘Checks and Balances’, of which he says …

“It’s about the principles, it’s about the rule of law. You don’t have to stay silent when you see something that you don’t like that is inconsistent of these timeless principles.”

In speaking of the position he turned down at the Justice Department, he says he feels like he dodged a bullet …

“It’s like the administration is like a shit show in a dumpster fire, and I’m like, I don’t want to do that. I realized, you know, that this guy is going to be at war with the Justice Department. He’s going to be at one end, and if I get this door prize, I’m going to be in the middle of a department he’s at war with. Why would anybody want to do this?”

Trump, for the record, claims not to know George Conway …

“You mean Mr. Kellyanne Conway? He’s just trying to get publicity for himself. Why don’t you ask Kellyanne that question, all right? She might know him better than me. I really don’t know the guy.”

While Conway did vote for Trump, because he says he didn’t like the Clintons and felt Trump was the ‘lesser of two evils’, when asked if he would vote for him again, he says …

“Faced with the choice again, I would probably move to Australia.”

Conway is in favour of impeachment, saying …

“I’m open to supporting what’s constitutionally appropriate, and if any constitutional officer commits an impeachable offense, then they should be subject to potential impeachment and removal under the Constitution. Including any president.”

I still have to wonder what the conversation at the supper table is like in that household.


Here we go again …

I am so tired of this same ol’ threat coming from the ugly mouth of the ugly man in the Oval Office.  It’s really getting old and tired and somebody ought to shut him up.  The latest?  He thinks now would be a good time to shut down the federal government if he doesn’t get funding for his abominably expensive and thoroughly useless, unnecessary southern border wall.  Yawn. govt shutdown.jpgWho thinks it’s a good idea to shut down the government to assuage Donnie’s ego?  Virtually nobody.  The republicans in Congress don’t think so.  The democrats in Congress don’t think so.  And We The People, at least the thinking majority of us, don’t think so.  It’s like the 8-year-old kid who wants a BB gun for Christmas.  It’s dangerous, it’s a horrible idea, but he will throw a temper tantrum until he finally wears mommy and daddy out and gets his way.

Never before in less than two years have there been threats of shutdowns as many times as since Trump took office.  It’s lost its clout, Donnie … grow a pair and give up on your damn wall.  Put the nation ahead of your ego, or take your ego and go play in somebody else’s yard, please.


In the matter of the medal of honour being awarded to Miriam Adelson

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with the Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian award of the United States.  Don’t let that fool you, for it doesn’t necessarily mean that the recipient did a damn thing to promote freedom within the nation.  The intent is to “recognize those people who have made ‘an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors’”Trump-AdelsonThe Medal of Freedom was established in 1945 to honour civilian service during World War II.  Somehow, last week’s recipients pale in comparison to anyone who received the medal under other presidents.

Donald Trump draped the Medal of Freedom around the neck of Ms. Miriam Adelson, the wife of Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate who donated some $30 million to Trump’s campaign toward the end of 2016.  Frankly, I think she should be stripped of this medal, for instead of promoting freedom, she and her husband have contributed to robbing the citizens of this nation of their freedom.

Robert Weissman, president of public interest group Public Citizen, said it was difficult to believe the decision to recognize Miriam Adelson was based on merit …

“It’s emblematic of the corrupt and transactional presidency of Donald Trump, and it is a shame, but not a surprise, that he is corroding and corrupting a civic treasure, an honor like the Medal of Freedom.”

According to E Fletcher McClellan, a political science professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, there are no limitations and Trump has total discretion regarding who should receive the medal.  Frankly, after Adelson receiving it, I don’t see that it has meaning any longer.  Such a slap in the face to truly deserving people who have received the medal in the past.  At least it didn’t cost the taxpayers much … the medal is made of brass alloy and is said to cost $29.98.

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Score One For The Freedom Of The Press …

I awoke yesterday morning to the little blue light flashing on my phone … breaking news from both The Washington Post and the New York Times.  Jim Acosta and CNN had won round #1.  I did a gleeful cackle.  Earlier in the week, after Acosta’s press credentials were revoked by the White House for no real reason other than that Acosta held Trump’s feet to the fire, asked a damn uncomfortable question, CNN filed suit against the White House. 

The case, CNN v. Donald J. Trump, has come to symbolize the dysfunctional dynamic between the White House press corps and a president who denigrates its work as “fake news” and refers to it as “the enemy of the people”.

Yesterday morning, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of United States District Court in Washington ruled that the White House had behaved inappropriately in stripping Mr. Acosta of his press badge and ordered that his credentials be restored.  It is a small victory and a temporary one, for it is pending the outcome of the trial which could drag on for months, or even years.  BUT … the part that gave me cause for glee was that Judge Kelly was appointed by none other than Donald Trump! There may be some Trump appointees who are so grateful to Trump that they will sacrifice justice to please him (think Brett Kavanaugh), but obviously there are some who still believe in the letter of the law and in upholding the Constitution.

Judge Kelly criticized the administration for its false claim that Mr. Acosta had placed his hands on a White House intern during the news conference. The judge called it “likely untrue and at least partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy.”  He also said that the White House’s decision-making was “so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me … who made the decision.”

Acosta has had widespread support among the media.  More than a dozen news outlets — from the Associated Press to USA Today, The Washington Post and Politico, and even Trump’s own Fox News have filed friend-of-the-court briefs to support CNN and Jim Acosta’s lawsuit against President Trump and several top aides.  Fox went further than most other media companies on Wednesday, issuing a statement that said, “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.”  CNN and Fox have been rivals, sometimes bitterly so, for two decades — but Jim Wallace, president of Fox News, said this case is about the free press.

And you might ask how the White House responded to the news …

“We will end up back in court, and we will win.” – Donald Trump

“We support a free press, but freedom of the press doesn’t mean freedom to be disruptive, freedom to be rude, freedom to interrupt and impede the ability of colleagues from actually being able to do their jobs, as well as White House staff being able to do theirs.” – Sarah Huckabee Boot-Licker Sanders

Sarah’s daddy, Mike Huckabee, a once-respected politician (governor of Arkansas), was asked to fill in for Sean Hannity on the Sean Hannity show on Friday.  His guest?  None other than his own daughter, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  Take a look …

Now, I have no problem with expecting a certain level of civility and ‘decorum’ if you will, but … I’m scratching my head here, for it seems to me that the person who has been most bombastic, most disrespectful and uncivil, most … horrifyingly cruel and vicious … is none other than Donald Trump himself!  I have thrice watched the segment of the press conference that cost Jim Acosta his credentials, and have not found a single sentence of disrespect from Acosta.  Trump, on the other hand, was crass and rude.  So … who should have his access to the White House revoked?

Every president in history has, from time-to-time had difficulties with the press.  It is nothing new or unusual.  Other presidents, however, have always understood that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the press the right to do their job, to inform the citizens of the U.S. about the actions of their government.  Trump forgets … or plain doesn’t care … that we have a right to know.  Trump once, long ago, promised to ‘drain the swamp’, and to make government more transparent.  Instead, he has brought in a new, especially virulent breed of swamp critter and instead of transparency, he is attempting to put up black-out shutters on the White House.  He has threatened to revoke the credentials of any reporter who isn’t nice to him.  He and Sarah speak of ‘respect’ and ‘decorum’, but neither of them treat the press or the public with respect or decorum.  

The first round in what may be a long and ugly battle has gone to CNN, and I hope they persevere, but there isn’t a doubt Trump will fight to the bitter end, because he believes he has the right to control what the people of this nation can know.  Foreign Policy magazine recently published an article titled “10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator”.  Number one on the list, the very first thing, was “Systematic efforts to intimidate the media”.  Let us hope that Judge Kelly continues to rule with the Constitution in mind and does not bend under pressure from Trump & Sarah.  We have a right … both moral and legal … to know what our government is doing and why, and our only avenue to gain such knowledge is a free press.  We must keep the press free … free from being stifled, free from being harassed, free to tell us what our government is doing.  Keep your eye on the ball, folks, for this was only round #1.

♫ As Tears Go By ♫

This song was written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham, and was one of the first original compositions by Jagger and Richards, as until that point The Rolling Stones had chiefly been performing blues standards. A story surrounding the song’s genesis has it that Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen in order to force them to write a song together, even suggesting what type of song he wanted: “I want a song with brick walls all around it, high windows and no sex.”

In a 1992 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Keith Richards said: “… suddenly, ‘Oh, we’re songwriters,’ with the most totally anti-Stones sort of song you could think of at the time, while we’re trying to make a good version of (Muddy Waters’) ‘Still A Fool.’ When you start writing, it doesn’t matter where the first one comes from. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? So Andrew locked Mick and myself into a kitchen in this horrible little apartment we had. He said, ‘You ain’t comin’ out,’ and there was no way out. We were in the kitchen with some food and a couple of guitars, but we couldn’t get to the john, so we had to come out with a song. In his own little way, that’s where Andrew made his great contribution to the Stones. That was such a flatulent idea, a fart of an idea, that suddenly you’re gonna lock two guys in a room, and they’re going to become songwriters. Forget about it. And it worked. In that little kitchen Mick and I got hung up about writing songs …”

And per Mick Jagger …

“I wrote the lyrics, and Keith wrote the melody. It’s a very melancholy song for a 21-year-old to write: The evening of the day, watching children play – it’s very dumb and naive, but it’s got a very sad sort of thing about it, almost like an older person might write. You know, it’s like a metaphor for being old: You’re watching children playing and realizing you’re not a child. It’s a relatively mature song considering the rest of the output at the time. And we didn’t think of doing it, because the Rolling Stones were a butch Blues group. But Marianne Faithfull’s version was already a big, proven hit song… It was one of the first things I ever wrote.” 

The song was first recorded by Marianne Faithfull in 1964, and a year later the Stones recorded their own version.  I prefer the Stones version, but I understand that Faithfull’s was more popular in the UK, so I offer both here.  First, The Rolling Stones …

And then, Marianne Faithfull …

As Tears Go By
The Rolling Stones

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Smiling faces I can see
But not for me
I sit and watch
As tears go by

My riches can’t buy everything
I want to hear the children sing
All I hear is the sound
Of rain falling on the ground
I sit and watch
As tears go by

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Doing things I used to do
They think are new
I sit and watch
As tears go by

Songwriters: Andrew Loog Oldham / Keith Richards / Mick Jagger
As Tears Go By lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc, T.R.O. Inc.

Saturday Surprise — Thanksgiving!

Last Sunday I was at the grocery store doing my usual weekly food shopping when I noticed at the back of the store where the butcher shop and meat reside, a coffin filled with turkeys.  Hmmm … my thoughts were that they were jumping the gun a bit, that it was too early for turkeys to start appearing.  Then on Wednesday I had an email from Betty Crocker, the subject of which read “Only 8 more sleeps ‘til Thanksgiving”.  Say WHAT???  No way!  It can’t already be … I looked at my calendar … FORNACAZONI!!!

Where did summer go?  Where has the year gone?  How did this happen?

Well, the reality is that Thanksgiving is only 5 days now, and I, who am usually well-prepared, with menus planned, supplies and groceries bought, am wondering if the local pizza place delivers on Thanksgiving.  Sigh.

Well, knowing that I wasn’t going to make it go away by ignoring it (I tried that once – it didn’t work), yesterday morning I bounced out of bed, cleaned out the fridge to make room for a 24-pound turkey, spent a few minutes with our friend & neighbor, Maha, discussing the arrangements, and then trotted out after Chris got home to buy the turkey.  I haven’t named him yet, so feel free to offer suggestions.  Last year’s was either Ralph or Rusty … I forget which.  What?  Of course I always name our turkeys!  How else would I distinguish this one from another one?  He died just to grace our table and fill our bellies … the least we can do is give him a name!

So anyway, in honour of the fact that next week is Thanksgiving, I thought I would make today’s post a bit of Thanksgiving humour!

I really loved this one … especially the punch line …

The Turkey Popped Out of the Oven

🦃

The Turkey popped out of the oven

and rocketed in to the air;

It knocked every plate off the table

and partly demolished a chair.

It ricocheted into a corner

and burst with a deafening boom,

Then splattered all over the kitchen,

completely obscuring the room.

It stuck to the walls and the windows,

it totally coated the floor,

There was turkey attached to the ceiling,

where there had never been turkey before..

It blanketed every appliance,

it smeared every saucer and bowl;

There wasn’t a way I could stop it;

that turkey was out of control.

I scraped and I scraped with displeasure

and thought with chagrin as I mopped,

That I would never again stuff a turkey

with popcorn that hadn’t been popped.

written by Jack Prelutsky


No Turkey Died – But….

When I was a kid in Indiana, we thought it would be fun to get a turkey a year ahead of time and feed it and so on for the following Thanksgiving. But by the time Thanksgiving came around, we sort of thought of the turkey as a pet, so we ate the dog.  Only kidding.  It was the cat. – David Letterman

jon stewart

From the Butterball hotline …

butterballThanksgiving Dinner on the run. A woman called 1-800-323-4848 to find out how long it would take to roast her turkey. To answer the question, the Talk-Line home economist asked how much the bird weighed. The woman responded, “I don’t know, it’s still running around outside.”


Then there’s the time a lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?” The stock boy replied, “No ma’am, they’re dead.”


And how about a few Thanksgiving ‘toons …

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5toon-6toon-8toon-Maxine

toon-yHave a fun ‘n tasty holiday, my friends, and if you travel for the holiday, do so safely!

Anything To Save The Prince

It is a complex tale of murder and mayhem worthy of John le Carré or Vince Flynn, but no writer of fiction made this one up.  The question is, will the real killer go unpunished?  I doubt there is a thinking person on the globe who doesn’t believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the brutal murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, but the Saudis are doing their level best to insulate the prince from paying the price.

The facts:

Missing Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiance Hatice Cengiz

Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiance Hatice Cengiz

Jamal Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain documents he needed to get a license to marry his fiancé, Hatice Cengiz.  This was on September 28th, but he was told he would need to return at 1:30 p.m. on the afternoon of October 2nd.  On the morning of the 2nd, embassy staff were instructed not to report for work.  Meanwhile, Saudi officials traveling in two charter planes arrived at the consulate early that morning. Khashoggi entered the consulate after telling his fiancé, who remained outside, to get help if he did not return.  He was never seen again outside the consulate. 

His murder, according to Turkish officials, was brutal, including torture, strangulation, beheading and dismemberment. 

The lies:

The Saudi government has told so many lies that it’s hard to keep up.  At first, the Saudi government said that Khashoggi had left the consulate via a back entrance shortly after arriving.  They claimed the reports of his disappearance were “completely false and baseless”.

On October 20th, the Saudi government changed its story and said that Khashoggi had indeed died inside the consulate, but that it was an accident, simply a fistfight gone bad.  And then, a few days later, they changed the story yet again, still denying any involvement, and said that his murderers had been trying to kidnap him to return him to Saudi Arabia, and that his death had been unintentional, a ‘choke-hold’ gone bad.  They also claimed it was a ‘rogue operation’ that was not sanctioned by the government.

The Turkish government was investigating, but at this point the Saudis opened their own investigation, saying that they had arrested 18 Saudi nationals and terminated 2 Saudi officials as a result of their findings.  Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir described the killing as “murder”, yet still denied that Crown Prince bin Salman was involved.

On October 25th, the Saudi public prosecutor said the evidence pointed to a ‘premeditated’ murder.  Although the Saudi government denies it, bin Salman is on record as having told Trump, in a phone conversation, that he considered Khashoggi to be a ‘dangerous Islamist’.

The speculation:SaudisFour of the men arrested have ties to the crown prince, and another, Maher Mutreb, served as a colonel in Saudi intelligence and was based at the country’s embassy in London.  The group brought a bone saw into the country and one of its members was the head of forensics at the National Intelligence Service and specialized in post-mortems.  This was no fly-by-night operation, but rather one that was relatively well-planned and well-funded, given the 4-day time period.  According to Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, “The necessary equipment and people were previously brought in to kill and later dismember him”.MBSSources both in and outside the Saudi government claim that this ‘hit’ could not have taken place without the knowledge and consent of none other than Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  Turkish President Erdoğan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government. The former head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, has described Saudi claims that Prince Mohammed was unaware of the murder plot as a “blatant fiction”.  Prince Mohammed’s most influential domestic aide, Saud al-Qahtani, has been forced to leave. Qahtani is accused of being the figure who organized the hit squad. The crown prince’s critics, and even some loyalists inside the kingdom, say it is inconceivable that such an operation could have been ordered without his authority.

The scapegoats:

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia announced it will pursue the death penalty for five suspects charged.  While I have no doubt that these five men were complicit in the murder and deserve harsh punishment, charging them was done in an attempt to draw attention away from the crown prince, away from the head of the government who, it is almost certain, ordered the killing.  These five, and likely more to follow, are scapegoats being sacrificed to save the hide of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Too many lies were told, the story changed too many times for this to be anything but an order from the highest-ranking official in the government.  Jamal Khashoggi had been critical of both bin Salman and Donald Trump.  And now, though the U.S. has imposed sanctions freezing assets of 17 Saudis said to be involved in Khashoggi’s murder, Donald Trump refuses to even discuss implicating bin Salman.  No mystery there, for both Trump’s and Jared Kushner’s companies do business with the Saudis. 

Conclusion:

Who is more guilty, the men who carried out the execution or the man who ordered it to be done?  While none are without guilt, and I would certainly expect to see everyone who was involved, either directly or indirectly, tried and sentenced to life in prison, I think the greater punishment ought to be for the one who said, “Do it.”  There are, I’m sure, many good people in Saudi Arabia … Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is NOT one of them and in the minds of most, he caused the death of a man whose only crime was honesty.  Nations around the globe are calling for the truth, condemning the Saudi government and most of all, Mohammed bin Salman.  The U.S., meanwhile, is more concerned about the profits of Trump & Co.  Mr. Khashoggi was a permanent resident of the U.S. and employed by one of the most reputable news sources in the country, yet Trump takes a lackadaisical approach, merely shrugging his shoulders. Once again, the U.S. stands alone, not by the choice of the nation, but by the whims of one ‘man’ … and on the wrong side of justice.

Is ‘Rule of Law’ Dead?

Whether Trump’s firing of Jeff Sessions was warranted or ethical is not the question.  Whether Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General is constitutional is not the question, nor is the question whether Whitaker should recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. The question tonight is whether this nation has become one where ‘rule of law’ applies only to those without wealth & power?  I would begin by asking just what gives one single man, Mitch McConnell, the power of life and death over the Mueller investigation?

It’s funny how just the day before, Mitch McConnell wrote that OpEd piece promoting bipartisanship and bemoaning the fact that he didn’t believe democrats would be willing to reach across the aisle … not that Mitchell has ever once reached across that aisle.  But now, there is a bipartisan effort by Republican Senator Jeff Flake and Democratic Senator Chris Coons to pass legislation that would offer protection to the investigation that has been ongoing for a year-and-a-half, but McConnell has blocked that legislation.  Single handedly he stamped it “null and void”without consideration. 

“As you can imagine, I talk to the president fairly often, no indication that the Mueller investigation will not be allowed to finish, and it should be allowed to finish.  We know how the president feels about the Mueller investigation, but he’s never said, ‘I want to shut it down.’ … I think it’s in no danger, so I don’t think any legislation is necessary.”

I cry FOUL!  This legislation is very necessary and if Trump can get by with it, he will shut it down in a heartbeat.  Just listen to Trump’s latest rant against Mueller and the investigation …

“The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to  our Nation and don’t care how many lives the [sic] ruin. These are Angry People,including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years.They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”

For the record, Bob Mueller is a registered republican, and a much-decorated former Marine who served in Vietnam and came home with a Purple Heart from being shot in the leg. 

“I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have made it out of Vietnam. There were many—many—who did not. And perhaps because I did survive Vietnam, I have always felt compelled to contribute.”

Trump mixed up his facts a bit … Mueller was Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for twelve years … eight under President George W. Bush, and four under President Barack Obama.

The only … the one and only thing that has kept Trump from taking action sooner was the fact that he cannot fire Mueller directly, Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General had recused himself, so he couldn’t fire him, and Rod Rosenstein is a man of integrity and wouldn’t fire him.  But now, with Whitaker in the position of Acting Attorney General, and Whitaker having licked Trump’s boots more than once already, echoing Trump’s rhetoric about the investigation being a ‘witch hunt’, the conclusion is obvious.  The only question is ‘when’?

There is no ‘witch hunt’, else Mueller would not have brought indictments against 32 people and 3 companies thus far, including Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time attorney and ‘fixer’, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman. 

Even Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, another who has stayed in Congress far too long and is a Trump sycophant, has said that he would back the bill to safeguard the investigation.  Jeff Flake has, perhaps, used the most important leverage of any in saying that he would refuse to advance any judiciary nominees until or unless the bill is passed. McConnell really wants to get as many of Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed as possible in order to stay in Trump’s good graces, if in fact there is such a thing.

Mitch McConnell has been in the Senate since 1984 … thirty-four years, and at least 22 years longer than he should have been or would have been if limits of two or even three terms had been in place.  Unfortunately, there is no recall provision such that the people of Kentucky could vote to recall McConnell from the Senate.  However,  Under Article I, Section 5, clause 2, of the Constitution, a Member of Congress may be removed from office before the normal expiration of his or her constitutional term by an “expulsion” from the Senate (if a Senator) or from the House of Representatives (if a Representative) upon a formal vote on a resolution agreed to by two-thirds of the Members of that body present and voting.  Okay, so we all know that this is about as likely to happen as my cat growing wings, but it should.  If McConnell ever had a conscience or a soul, he has long since sold it downriver and he does no service to the people of his state nor to the people of this nation. 

If the Mueller investigation is halted, or if it is shackled in such a way as to render it pointless, then it will serve as proof that Trump and his minions are all considered to be above the law and have always been, for the crimes being investigated took place before Trump’s election … he was not president at the time he and his campaign staff conspired with the Russians to adversely affect the outcome of the 2016 election.  Trump’s lawyers would argue that you cannot indict a sitting president, so … does that mean that if it were discovered tomorrow that Trump had killed an entire family and buried their bodies somewhere under Mar-a-Lago, Trump could not be charged?

Rule of law is defined as …

“The authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; the principle whereby all members of a society are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes.”

The principle whereby all members of a society are considered equally subject …  ALL members.  Is Donald Trump above the law?  If he is, then he is not a member of this society, therefore cannot be a president, and instead is a dictator.  Can’t have it both ways, folks.  I have attempted to contact Mr. McConnell by phone and by email to let him know in no uncertain terms that We The People want this investigation to continue to its logical conclusion, that we want to know the results, and we want every single person who acted against the law to be held accountable by a court of law.  EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.

Has Anybody Seen My Mind …?

Some call it multi-tasking … I call it ‘losing my mind’.  An example.  Yesterday morning, after the usual morning ritual of hair & toothbrushing (different brushes, thankfully), bed-making and tidying the bedroom/bathroom, I headed downstairs.  Being caffeine-deprived and not yet quite “with the program”, I forgot to stick my cell phone and smokes in my pocket.  It was an hour or so before I realized my oversight, and trotted (yes, trotted, for by now I had 20 ounces of lovely caffeinated coffee running through my veins) back upstairs to retrieve the errant phone and cigs.

forgetfulOn the way up, I grabbed the spare Tide pods that were waiting on the stairs for somebody to take them up to the supply rack in the hallway.  When I got to the top of the stairs and tried to place the pods on the rack, however, there was no space.  So, I tidied and organized the rack to make room for the Tide pods.  Much better … now there was actually extra space, for I had found a couple of empty light bulb boxes that nobody had bothered to throw out, so I trotted back down the stairs to toss the empty boxes.

confused-pandaWhere was I …???  Who knows … okay, must be time to fold the towels I washed a while ago.  That done, I sat down to take a break, check the news and … wait … where are my smokes?  Oy Vey!!!  I remember now … I went upstairs to get them but got sidetracked by the rack.  Okay … back up the stairs (the trotting has slowed just a bit now).  Into the bedroom … now what did I come up here for … oh yes … cell phone and cigarettes … wait, what’s this on the night table … a receipt?  Oh yes, my last grocery trip … I haven’t put that receipt into the computer yet … better do that while I’m thinking of it.  Back downstairs, reach for a smoke and … where are my blasted cigarettes???  Oh yeah …

Well, you get the picture, right?  It might not be so bad if I could just chalk it up to a one-time thing, but … this, my friends, is my life!  Every. Single. Day.

Ziggy-job-interviewI once interviewed for a job and the interviewer asked me how well I was able to multi-task.  That was back when I was 30-something and still (mostly) had my wits about me, but even then, I told her that in my opinion, multi-tasking was a fallacy, that nobody actually managed it, and that it cut down on efficiency and productivity.  Lovely speech, don’t you think?  I didn’t get the job.  That’s okay … there was another job I didn’t get because the interviewer, who was a head-hunter (recruiter) didn’t like my shoes!  And another I didn’t get because the interviewer asked me a stupid question (If you could be any animal, what would you be, and why?) and I told her it was a stupid question and had nothing whatsoever to do with my qualifications for the position.

But in the end, it was for the best that I got none of those jobs, for it wasn’t long until somebody saw what a great accountant I was and hired me almost on the spot.  Okay, they were desperate, and I had a big strike against me, as I had recently quit a job in favour of my ethics.  You know what?  Ethics can get you in trouble in corporate America.  In the situation to which I refer, I was asked to fudge some numbers, to break the law and risk losing my CPA license were it ever revealed so I refused and resigned before I could be fired.  But, it remained a black mark on my record.

confused-donkeyHow the Sam Heck did I get off on THAT topic?  You see what I mean?  I simply cannot stay focused … I wander, I drift, and I end up in places, not having the foggiest idea how or why I got there!  And then today in my email, I had an offer from an “assisted living” place to come and tour their facility!  And I keep getting notices in the mail from funeral homes, informing me of the urgency of planning now for the inevitable!  Sheesh … just because it takes me 14 trips up the stairs to finally remember to get my phone and smokes, they think I’m ready for the ash heap?  I’ll have them know that I am just … where is my coffee … where are my smokes … why am I eating a bowl of tuna???maxine-forgetful

♫ Flashdance … What A Feeling ♫

There is no rhyme nor reason for deciding what song I will play on any given night.  Sometimes it is one that has been stuck in my head all day and I want to get it out of my head and stick it in yours.  Other times, I might play a song for a specific person, and then there are nights that I go flipping through my Ipod playlist to jog my memory.  Tonight’s song popped into my head as I was folding the never-ending towels, and since it was still there (in my head) when I sat back down at the computer, I decided to take a quick listen.  Within seconds, it was like a one-two punch, the breath had left my body and I knew … this is the one for tonight!

This song is from the 1983 film Flashdance, written by Italian composer Giorgio Moroder (music), Keith Forsey and Irene Cara (lyrics), and performed by Cara. In addition to topping the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming Cara’s only #1 song, it earned a platinum record, the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  Not bad, eh?

Flashdance…What A Feeling
Irene Cara

First when there’s nothing
But a slow glowing dream
That your fear seems to hide
Deep inside your mind

All alone I have cried
Silent tears full of pride
In a world made of steel
Made of stone

Well, I hear the music
Close my eyes, feel the rhythm
Wrap around
Take a hold of my heart

What a feeling
Bein’s believin’
I can have it all
Now I’m dancing for my life

Take your passion
And make it happen
Pictures come alive
You can dance right through your life

Now I hear the music
Close my eyes, I am rhythm
In a flash
It takes hold of my heart

What a feeling
Bein’s believin’
I can have it all
Now I’m dancing for my life

Take your passion
And make it happen
Pictures come alive
You can dance right through your life
What a feeling

What a feeling
(I am music now)
Bein’s believin’
(I am rhythm now)
Pictures come alive
You can dance right through your life

What a feeling
(I can really have it all)
What a feeling
(Pictures come alive when I call)
I can have it all
(I can really have it all)
Have it all
(Pictures come alive when I call)
(Call, call, call, call)

I can have it all
(Bein’s believin’)
Bein’s believin’
(Take your passion)

Make it happen
(What a feeling)
What a feeling
(Bein’s believin’)
Happen
(Take your passion)

Songwriters: Irene Cara / Giorgio Moroder / Keith Forsey
Flashdance…What A Feeling lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Fool On The Hill — Mitch McConnell

The date was 23 October 2010 — nearly two years into President Barack Obama’s first term and two weeks before the first midterm elections of his presidency. Speaking to the National Journal, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a now-infamous statement: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”  A statement that congressional republicans intended to do everything in their power to thwart President Obama could not have been any clearer.  But, listen to what McConnell had to say on Fox News earlier this week …

“Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?”

Say WHAT???

Here is McConnell’s OpEd, enhanced by Filosofa’s snarky comments in blue:

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) There are worse pictures of him.Last Tuesday I was proud to see that the American people voted keep Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate. But we also learned that, come January, the Republican Senate majority will be dealing with a House of Representatives under Democratic control. What goes around, comes around, Mitchie.

Needless to say, the past two years of unified Republican government will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.  Define productivity???  You haven’t done a damn thing worthwhile!

Both houses of Congress have taken swift action to right-size a bloated federal regulatory state. The Senate has shattered records in confirming the president’s well-qualified judicial nominees, including two outstanding jurists to serve on the Supreme Court.  Um… Mitchie … ever hear of a little thing called “climate change”?  Those regulations were in place in an attempt to save our earth.  And one of your “outstanding” jurists is a sexual predator!

And together, we passed the first comprehensive reform of the nation’s tax code in a generation. Already, Americans’ paychecks are growing, consumer confidence is high and unemployment has reached a near 50-year low.  Have you looked at the federal debt/deficit estimates lately?  And do you realize that your damn tax reform robbed from the poor and gave to the rich?  Rather a reverse Robin Hood!

After this prolific run, I was not surprised to be asked over the past week about just how much the American people can expect from the next Congress under divided leadership. What can we realistically accomplish?  Restoration of sanity and accountability is my hope.

I have good news: reports of the death of bipartisanship in Washington have been wildly exaggerated. In fact, some of the most significant accomplishments of this Congress have been delivered with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.  Eh?  Such as?  Name one, please?

Under bipartisan committee leadership, we took major steps toward restoring regular order to our appropriations process. The Senate passed more funding measures before the beginning of this fiscal year than at any point in the last two decades.  Funding for what?  Certainly not to help the poor, the homeless, the ill.  Nothing that I can see that benefits the people in any practical manner.

The measures included the largest year-on-year increase in defense funding in 15 years, which put an end to the Obama-era atrophy of our armed forcesGeez, Mitchie … the U.S. already had the largest military budget in the western world!  How is that “atrophy of the armed forces”???  Ever hear the term ‘guns or butter’?  We. Don’t. Need. More. F***ing. Military. Toys.  Get it?  We need help for the poor, we need healthcare!

Working closely with counterparts in the House, we found common ground on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. In fact, America’s Water Infrastructure Act – designed to improve interstate commerce, water quality and flood safety – passed the Senate by a vote of 99-1.  Let me just pop over to Flint, Michigan and see how much help you’ve given them …

And in August, the Senate voted unanimously to expand Americans’ opportunities to receive technical and career-focused education.  Meanwhile, you’ve done nothing to improve our public schools, and have made a college education damn near out of reach for the average citizen!  There is much, MUCH more to education than technical and job training …

We’ve passed 22 pieces of legislation produced by the bipartisan work of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. From improving the efficiency of Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities to enhancing access to post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits, each of these pieces of legislation was designed to help America keep its promises to returning heroes and their families.  Not what I’m hearing from the vets.  Have you talked to anybody from AMVETS lately?  I have.

And last month, the Senate passed a landmark package of targeted resources to combat the opioid epidemic. The legislation was produced by five bipartisan committees and included direct input from 72 different senators.  Whoopee.  Meanwhile, those of us who need medications such as insulin to stay alive, cannot afford them. 

Of course, these are just a few highlights of a Congress that has conducted as much serious, cooperative work as any in recent history.  Hah! Let me ask Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi if that’s true …

So make no mistake. The Senate has proven its ability to reach bipartisan solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.  I think you mistake the meaning of “bipartisan”.  I’ve seen naught but infighting and chaos in the 115th Congress.

And looking ahead to the coming year, there will be no shortage of opportunities to continue this impressive record of cooperation across the aisle and across the Capitol.  Opportunities, yes.  But will you put aside your love of all things Trump and join the democrats in holding him accountable?  Will you put the 99% ahead of the 1% just for once?  Will you act with the interests of the nation in mind?

What we can make of those opportunities will depend on our Democratic colleagues. Will they choose to go it alone and simply make political points? Or will they choose to work together and actually make a difference?  Look in the mirror and ask that question, Mitchie.

Last week, the American people made it abundantly clear that they prefer that Congress focus on making a difference.  Is this a new concept to you?

That message may have been lost on a few House Democrats, who have made clear their preference for investigations over policy results. After years of rhetoric, it’s hardly news that some are more interested in fanning the flames of division than reaching across the aisle.  Not ‘fanning the flames of division’, Mitchie … it’s called ‘accountability’.  Look it up in the dictionary.

But however Democrats interpret the latest message from voters, Senate Republicans will continue our commitment to delivering results.  Continue???  When did you start?

We’ll keep working to lift the burden on American job creators and small businesses. We’ll stay focused on helping communities across the country seize new opportunities and realize greater prosperity. We’ll seek new ways to make life easier for working families.  “Lift the burden”???  WTF???  The burden is on the poor and middle-class, not the big corporations whose so-called ‘burdens’ you seek to ‘lift’.

Most importantly, in the face of whichever tactics the far left chooses to employ next, we’ll continue to stand for the rule of law. We’ll continue to confirm more well-qualified nominees to serve on our nation’s courts.  Rule of law?  Where is that, Mitchie?  Where was rule of law when Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath?  Where was rule of law when you and your cohorts refused to ban assault weapons because you are in the pocket of the NRA?  Where, indeed, is rule of law in Trumpdom?

This is what the Senate’s Republican majority was elected to do. And we’ll continue to get it done.  Bull. You’ll keep right on licking the boots of the fool in the White House.

It is obvious to me that McConnell was doing damage control, making it clear to the Fox viewers, which likely includes Trump’s & McConnell’s followers, that whatever goes wrong in the next two years will be the fault of those mean ol’ democrats.  Mitch McConnell has been in Washington far too long … time for him to retire!