There are a number of relatively minor things that have cropped up in the last couple of days with seemingly the sole purpose of stirring my ire. So … you know what that means … it must be time for some snarky snippets, yes?
Let’s start with Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and some speculate next vice-presidential running mate for Trump in 2020. As governor, I had a great deal of respect for Ms. Haley. As ambassador, I had less, for she fell in line with Trump’s ideology, if he can be said to actually have one. She became one of his sycophants, and I lost much of my respect for her.So, why is she raising my hackles today? Well … last Friday she was being interviewed in a podcast on conservative Glenn Beck’s radio program. One segment of the podcast was about Dylan Roof who, in June 2015, opened fire in an African-American church, killing nine people. Roof was an avowed white supremacist who had posted pictures of himself posing with the Confederate flag prior to his attack.
Ms. Haley said …
“Here is this guy who comes out with his manifesto, holding the Confederate flag and had just hijacked everything that people thought of. We don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s always the small minority who are always going to be there, but people saw it as service, sacrifice and heritage. But once he did that, there was no way to overcome it.”
Let’s call a spade a bloody shovel here. The Confederate flag never stood for “service, sacrifice and heritage”. It has always stood for a lifestyle that included slavery, the ownership of other human beings simply because of the colour of their skin. Period.
Ms. Haley’s argument was that the Confederate flag was noble until Dylan Roof made it appear to represent white supremacy. IT DOES represent white supremacy, fool! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, shot back on Twitter …
“Really, Nikki?! The Confederate Flag represented ‘service, sacrifice and heritage’? To whom? The black people who were terrorized & lynched in its name? You said it should never have been there. Roof didn’t hijack the meaning of that flag, he inherited it.”
Racism, folks … it’s alive and well in the United States of America.
Seema Verma has flown beneath my radar since she was appointed by Trump, then confirmed by the Senate in March 2017 to the position of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the agency that oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and the insurance markets.Now, Ms. Verma came into the job with some conflicts of interest, and had the Senate done its job, she likely would not have passed muster. She is the founder and previous CEO of SVC Inc., a health policy consulting firm, which was acquired by Health Management Associates (HMA) just prior to Verma’s nomination to head CMS.
One of her first actions was to send a letter to the nation’s governors urging them to impose insurance premiums for Medicaid, charge Medicaid recipients for emergency room visits, and encourage recipients to get jobs or job training. In her role as CMS administrator, Verma spent more than $2 million of taxpayer funds on Republican-connected communications consultants and other expenses to boost her visibility and public image. She has made numerous speeches and attacks against the concept of Medicare-for-All … enough so that she is now the defendant in a lawsuit claiming she is in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials engaging in political activity.
But what placed her on my radar was a trip she took back in August. She claims that jewelry, clothing and other possessions, including a $5,900 Ivanka Trump-brand pendant (that she owned one speaks volumes about her character, in my book) were stolen from her luggage during that business-related trip. Okay, fine … if that were me or you, we would file a claim against the airline and maybe, if we were lucky, get reimbursed for some small portion of it.
But, Ms. Verma decided that We the Taxpayers ought to reimburse her for what she claims was the value of her ‘loss’. To the tune of $47,000!!! More than most of us make in a bloomin’ year! And what sort of a numptie (been listening to my Brit friends too long) takes things of that value on a business trip anyway? And why is it my fault or yours? And why should we pay for her ignorance??? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Her claim included $43,065 for about two dozen pieces of jewelry, based off an appraisal she’d received from a jeweler about three weeks after the theft. Who takes 24 pieces of jewelry on a business trip, then fails to insure them? And the claim further included $2,000 to cover the cost of her stolen clothes, a $325 claim for moisturizer and a $349 claim for noise-cancelling headphones. My entire wardrobe does not consist of $2,000 worth of clothing. My moisturizer costs $4.99, and my headphones are Skullcandy, $29.99 at Best Buy! Just one more alligator in the huge swamp that Trump built.
Not to worry, though, for the federal health department that oversees her agency decided to reimburse her for only $2,852.40 of OUR money.
Owen Shroyer … ever heard of him before? Neither had I. He’s a host on Alex Jones’ Infowars program, which I thought had long since met its timely demise since being banned from Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Apparently, they still exist somewhere on the fringes.
It would seem that there is no screening process for entrance to the impeachment proceedings, for Mr. Shroyer managed to get in yesterday. Moments after Representative Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, opened the hearing, Shroyer rose from his seat in the packed hearing room and shouted …
“Jerry Nadler and the Democrat Party are committing treason against this country! Trump is innocent!”
Police quickly removed him from the room, during which time he was livestreaming to his personal Twitter account and yelling at the top of his lungs …
“So I’m being arrested right now for disrupting Congress. I’m a criminal for my First Amendment rights.”
Is there any doubt in anybody’s mind that Alex Jones was behind this, that it was naught more than a publicity stunt? At what cost?
Oh, and by the way, Mr. Shroyer actually called for President Barack Obama to be lynched just this past June …
“Barack Obama is a treasonous…he belongs in jail. He belongs in Guantanamo Bay. I mean look, I’m not saying this should happen but Barack Obama, you know, find the tallest tree and a rope.”
All my life I have been a proponent for 1st Amendment rights to free speech, but in the past year, maybe two, I have begun to re-think it. It has been abused so much, by so many unsavouries such as Mr. Shroyer, Mr. Jones, Mr. Carlson and a few thousand others, that I’m coming to believe there must be limits. As our friend Roger said to me the other evening, “Free speech is not a right; it is something which has to be earned.” I’m not so sure the people of this nation have earned it. Rather a damn shame for the rest of us who use our rights responsibly, don’t you think?
I had one more, but … I shall stop here and give you a chance to breathe. Make America great again, says Mr. Trump? I think not … I think he has placed the United States in the worst light it has been in in all of its 232 years.