Another Special Election, Another Bad Candidate

We all remember the special election in Alabama last month, where republican Roy Moore ran against democrat Doug Jones for the senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.  There is another special election heating up, this one in Pennsylvania.  While the republican candidate, Rick Saccone, is not a former judge who was twice thrown off the bench, nor is he, as far as I know, a pedophile and a sexual abuser, he comes with his own set of issues that make him largely unqualified to become a member of the U.S. Congress.

Saccone-2.pngThe special election on March 13th is to fill the vacancy left when republican Tim Murphy resigned amid allegations that he asked a woman he was having an extramarital affair with to get an abortion. Now for a bit of background on Mr. Saccone …

Saccone was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2010 by a very narrow margin.  He is considered to be among the most conservative members of the General Assembly and is a strong advocate for gun rights.  Just how strong? Last year, Saccone sponsored at least four bills seeking to expand the rights of gun owners; one such bill would amend state law to prohibit discrimination against gun carriers; a co-sponsorship memorandum for the bill criticized Chuck E. Cheese’s for its “policy barring customers from carrying firearms inside” the venue.  Are you hearing this?

cHUCK e cHEESEChuck E. Cheese is a chain of American family entertainment centers and restaurants that caters mostly to the under 10-year-old crowd.  Can somebody please explain to me why we need people toting guns into a restaurant filled with toddlers and small children?  Or better yet, could somebody please explain to Mr. Saccone the potential outcome of such a move?


Going back a bit …

In 2013, Saccone introduced and sponsored a bill, the National Motto Display Act, that would have required public school districts in Pennsylvania to post “In God We Trust”  in every school building.  Freedom of religion?  Oh sure, as long as your religion is the same as his religion. The bill failed, but another, similar bill was introduced three years later that merely ‘recommended’ the display, rather than require it, and that bill did pass.

Also in 2013, Saccone sponsored a “day of prayer” resolution, seeking to designate April 30 as a National Fast Day. This man seriously does not understand the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

And going back just a bit further …

In January 2012, Saccone introduced Resolution 535 to declare 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania. As far as I’m concerned, he just declared his complete disdain for the 30% in this nation who do not share his religious beliefs, and thereby has no business in the U.S. Congress.  Not to mention that he has denigrated the concept of separation of church and state.

However, Donald Trump and the GOP, not surprisingly, disagree with me.

The headline in Politico read …

Trump Races To Head Off Aanother Special Election Debacle

Trump will travel to southwestern Pennsylvania next week in an effort to avoid a second electoral embarrassment in two months.

The district in question is a conservative district that Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016, so you can imagine what a slap in the face it would be for Trump if the district voted for Saccone’s opponent, Conor Lamb.  Trump himself is planning to visit next week, Mike Pence plans to visit twice between now and March, and various other administration officials and cabinet members will also be visiting.  While certainly hoping to plant Saccone’s name firmly in the minds of voters, these visits are also fund-raising efforts, for apparently Saccone has not been doing too well.  White House political director Bill Stepien said Saccone wasn’t raising enough money and asked to be kept updated on his progress.

Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to toot his own horn, plans to visit a manufacturing plant outside Pittsburgh to promote the republican’s ‘donor tax reform’ bill that was passed by the republicans in Congress last year, without any popular support.

Two observations here:

  • It speaks volumes about the waning popularity of republicans when a republican candidate in what is considered to be a ‘safe’ district for republicans, cannot even raise enough funds to manage his campaign, and requires the president and his entourage to boost his efforts.
  • If you are not a registered republican, you should be incensed that your tax dollars … many of your tax dollars … will be spent so that Trump & Co. can go bolster the campaign of a single republican candidate. You have no choice … you will pay for Trump to ride on Air Force One, along with his entire retinue, including Secret Service, and probably some of his family members, to support a bigot.  Think about that one for a minute.

Conor Lamb (left) and Rick Saccone (right)

Saccone’s democratic opponent, Conor Lamb, is an Ivy League-educated 33-year-old attorney and Marine Corps veteran. Let us hope that there is nothing in his background that would give the republicans feed for the scandal machine, for that is the current way campaigns are run … not on platforms or ideologies, but on mud-slinging and scandal-mongering.

This election is seen as a harbinger of what November’s mid-term elections will bring, and the republicans are running scared, as they should be.  They have proven time and time again in the past year that they have no concern for the populace of the nation, and now their chickens may be coming home to roost.

Pennsylvania political analysts G. Terry Madonna and Michael L. Young recently noted that, “In this mix, Republican Saccone’s perceived ultraconservatism, coupled with Lambs’ perceived moderation, and Trump’s unquestioned unpopularity [emphasis added] could nationalize the race — nationalizing it may bring a Democratic victory,”  Let us hope so.

A Bit of This and A Bit of … I Forget …

You’ve heard me complain of my condition that I term ‘mind bounce’ … it is when I simply cannot stay focused on any one topic for more than a few minutes at a time.  Today, it is so bad that I started to put my socks on, put the right sock on and then moved onto the next task of gathering towels … and I still don’t remember where the left sock is.  So, long story short, I could not write my usual afternoon post that typically runs between 800-1,200 words, for my mind bounced to another topic after only 57 words.  So, today I present you with a few snippets that may later lead to full-length posts … or not.  Hopefully this bout of mind bounce won’t last more than a day.

Mass Exodus

Rats deserting trump ship

Rats deserting a sinking ship

Today, Republican House member Darrell Issa from California announced that he will not seek re-election in November.  This brings the total number of members of Congress leaving office on or before January 2019 to 48, or nearly 9% of the total legislative branch.  And with more than ten months to go until the November 6th election day, I am convinced this number might double before then.  Of the 48 leaving, 32 are Republicans, 16 are Democrats.

I wish I could say that they are beginning to see the light, find their consciences, and simply cannot work with Donald Trump any longer, but sadly, I don’t think that is the case for most.  Some are leaving in shame, having been accused of sexual misconduct, and others are leaving to run for a different office, such as governor of their state, or senator.

An article in CNN this morning refers to this as ‘strategic retirement’, which somehow gave me the feeling that this is a huge chess game, with We The People as the pawns.

I also wish I could say that the retiring members of Congress will use this opportunity, these next ten months while they are lame ducks and have nothing to lose, to stand firm against Trump and his plutocratic agenda.  But we have already seen with the votes by Bob Corker and Jeff Flake that this is not the case … they are still pandering and boot-licking.  The good news is there will be at least 48 vacant seats with no incumbent in November, and typically the party of the sitting president does not fare well in mid-term elections.  A bit of a bright spot, anyway.

Nuke ‘Em Donnie

Trump-nukeWhen you alienate all your friends, and start hanging out with those bullies who would love to catch you in a dark alley, beat you up and steal your lunch money … then you better watch your back.  Kids do this sometimes, because they think life is a popularity contest and their circle of true friends are to ‘wimpy’ or ‘nerdy’, so they swat away their friends and start hanging with the ‘cool’ guys, the badasses.  But let the buyer beware …

Little Donnie Darkness seems to believe he needs a ‘tough’ image, though for the life of me I cannot see anything ‘tough’ about the image of a fat old man with a terrible complexion, an oddly shaped mouth, and fake, straw-coloured hair. Still, Donnie thinks he, and by extension the nation, need a tougher image, so he has been pushing away our friends and allies ever since before taking office.  He has insulted, threatened and bullied our allies and brought shame to our nation by pulling out of the Paris Accords. He has insulted one of our two nearest neighbors and allies by referring to its citizens as murderers and rapists and threatening to build a border wall and force them to pay for it.  And then … he cozied up to our antagonists (I try to stop short of using the word ‘enemy’, but interpret as you will), such as Vladimir Putin of Russia. He has praised leaders who have made a mockery of democracy and are violators of human rights, such as Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.  And now, he seems to feel the need to ‘watch his back’.

And how, you ask, does he plan to do that?  Well he plans to ‘loosen’ the existing constraints on the use of nuclear weapons!  Every person I have spoken to over the past year says they are at least “very concerned” about the fool in the Oval Office having access to the nuclear codes.  And now, folks … now he is planning to make it even easier to use those nukes! Has anyone mentioned to him the terms “arms control” and “nonproliferation”?  Has anybody ever explained SALT to him?  Has it been explained that we are trying to reduce the number of nuclear weapons around the world to ensure a safer world?

Score One For Da Judge

Trump seems to be trying very hard to get rid of people … first there was the Muslim ban, then he wanted to deport the ‘Dreamers’, and now he is threatening to deport all immigrants from El Salvador.  But he got his little hand slapped yesterday, when Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco wrote that the administration must “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis”.  Needless to say, this will be challenged and ultimately end up on the docket of the Supreme Court, just as happened with Trump’s Muslim ban, but still … it is a win for the young people who have lived most of their lives in this country and know no other home.

trump vs judgeTrump, needless to say, wasn’t happy, calling the court system “broken and unfair”.  Doesn’t that just remind you of a toddler who doesn’t get his way, saying “No fair!!!”.  It is rather a shame, and speaks volumes, that my first real laugh of the day was reading that Trump is unhappy!  I call this ‘inverse happiness corelation’.  Oh, and one more note on this … Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the judge’s ruling “outrageous”.  Sigh.  Another boot-licker.

trump tantrum

And that wraps up my bits ‘n pieces for the day.  I shall spend the rest of this day trying to control the bounding balls in my mind and settle in to provide you with my typical snarky babbling tomorrow!  I’m fairly certain that my problem, the reason for the mind bounce, is just too much news all at once.  By the time I awaken in the morning, I usually have no less than 4-5 ‘breaking news’ updates awaiting on my phone.  It’s too much … it’s boggling my mind!

bounce ball

(Sour) Cream of the Crop — Part II

Those of us who do not live in Wisconsin have likely never heard of Paul Nehlen.  He ran in the 2016 Republican primary against House Speaker Paul Ryan, and lost … bigly … by about 70%. When Steve Bannon and Breitbart come out in support of a candidate, that should tell you all you need to know.  Paul Nehlen will be once again running in the GOP primary in Wisconsin against Paul Ryan, and it is important we know just what he stands for.

Nehlen is a white supremacist in extremis who blasted House Speaker Paul Ryan for criticizing white supremacists in the days after the rally/march in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

Paul-Ryan-tweetAt the same time, Nehlen tweeted that the rally was an “incredible moment for white people.”

Breitbart on NehlenA few things we all need to know about Nehlen …

Nehlen was also a major proponent of Mike Cernovich’s imaginary “Pizzagate”  conspiracy theory and told the Associated Press in August that he still believed it to be true.

In 2016, when Ryan   was vacillating about whether to endorse then-candidate Trump, Trump connected with Nehlen and praised him for supporting him in his war of words with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim Army captain. Nehlen called Paul Ryan a “double agent” who is working for Hillary Clinton because he disagreed with Trump on Khan.

In an interview with a Chicago radio host in 2016, he was asked if he supported deporting all Muslims from the U.S.  He responded, “I’m suggesting that we have a discussion about it. That’s for sure. I am absolutely suggesting we figure out how do we, we, here’s what we should be doing. We should be monitoring every mosque. We should be monitoring all social media.”

dump-truckHis invective against Paul Ryan is jaw-dropping. “A  soulless globalist from the Democrat wing of the Uni-Party.” An “open borders politician” who was “grown in a petri dish in D.C.” and added, “He is all in for the cheapest possible labor for Wall Street. That’s what Paul Ryan’s in for. Paul Ryan’s in for Paul Ryan. He is not an American Patriot – he is a Globalist.”  

Nehlen campaigned for Roy Moore, the Senate candidate from Alabama who was twice removed from the judicial bench and also accused multiple times of pedophilia and other sexual misconduct, claiming to have raised more than $1 million for Moore’s campaign.

After a back-and-forth debate on Twitter regarding gun rights, Nehlen tweeted to New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, “Do us all a favor, Podhoretz. Eat a bullet.” He also told Podhoretz, “self-deport you steaming dung heap.”

Nehlen-4On social media, Nehlen shares memes — like Pepe the frog — associated with the “alt-right,” and has appeared on the podcast Fash the Nation, a project of white nationalist Mike Peinovich. Nehlen has also praised Identity Evropa, a self-styled “identitarian” group that holds to the basic white nationalist belief that whites are doomed to extinction amid a “rising tide” of brown and black people controlled or manipulated by Jews.

Though Steve Bannon and Breitbart have supported Nehlen, that support appeared to come to an end late last month.  Amid rumours that Speaker Paul Ryan is considering stepping down this year, Nehlen upped his ante and espoused his white nationalist, white supremacist position more strongly than ever.

nehlin-bannonOn December 18, Nehlen was a guest on a Breitbart radio show, Whatever It Takes with Curt Schilling. During the interview, Nehlen explained that he has adopted increasingly radical positions to “move the Overton Window”  to the right. The Overton Window refers to what the public considers acceptable political discourse and policy at any given moment and how conservative or liberal politicians can be and still win elections. The Overton Window is frequently discussed by white supremacist groups, who believe their current mission, rather than directly impacting national policy, is to push the Overton Window further to the extreme right in order to legitimize white nationalist ideologies. ie., bigotry and racism. The interview was posted on Breitbart’s site, but shortly thereafter was removed, and now Breitbart claims that they cut all ties with Nehlen months before.

Breitbart deletedEleven days later, on 29 December, Schilling tweeted an invitation to Nehlen:  “@pnehlen let’s have you on the show Wednesday, some things I think people want to hear and some questions I think you need to answer. 1:19 PM – Dec 29, 2017”  Nehlen replied: “Sounds great, Curt. Looking forward to it.  …3:57 PM – Dec 29, 2017”

I think it becomes obvious that Breitbart has not, in fact, cut all ties with Nehlen, however after ThinkProgress reported on the scheduled interview, it was abruptly cancelled.   At least twice since December 2016, Nehlen has appeared on “Fash The Nation,” a white supremacist podcast. Nehlen is also promoting his candidacy on Gab, a social media network that caters to white nationalists. Its app was banned by Google and Apple for hate speech.

I could cite endless tweets and comments from Nehlen that would turn your stomach, but I think you get the picture.  He is indisputably a nasty character, an arrogant and bigoted person. Just as I said about Jan Morgan a few days ago, this person would have been run out of town on a rail two years ago, but suddenly, I have no confidence that the people of his state will not support him. Times have changed with the election of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office. While I am not a big fan of Paul Ryan, as he has been licking Trump’s boots for a year now, he looks nearly like a saint when held up in comparison to Nehlen.

Why, you may ask, am I highlighting these unlikely and unsavory candidates?  I think they bear watching.  I think their ability to garner any significant support, even if they do not win the election in November, speaks of the national temperament.  Frankly, I spent more than six hours reading and researching Mr. Paul Nehlen, and now that I am finished, I feel dirty … I need a long, hot shower, for I feel that I have delved far too deep into the rabbit hole and am infested with the filth I encountered there.

(Sour) Cream of the Crop – Part I

With ten months left until the 2018 mid-term elections, all eyes are on the potential candidates, the campaigns, and of course the voters.  It is my intention to follow closely some of the key races and contenders from both sides of the aisle as those ten long/short months’ progress.  In the past week, two potential candidates have come onto my radar, and while it is a bit too early to speculate, I can only say that if either of these people win the GOP primary in their state, it will send a loud signal about what republicans want.  Let us look at the first of the two:

Jan-Morgan-2Jan Morgan, 54, will be running for governor of Arkansas in November, against incumbent Asa Hutchinson.  I will let her tell you a bit about her platform in a moment, but first let me tell you a bit about Ms. Morgan. She is a businesswoman, owner of a gun range in Hot Springs, Arkansas, called The Gun Cave.  She made headlines in 2014 when she announced she would not allow Muslims at her gun range: “Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me or other innocent people simply because we refuse to submit to Islamic authority.”

If that wasn’t enough to set your teeth on edge, remember Sebastian Gorka who served as a ‘deputy assistant’ to Trump until August 2017?  He left the White House under mysterious circumstances, but a good guess is his membership in a Nazi-allied group in Hungary led to his ouster. Well, in September, Ms. Morgan tweeted a picture of herself with Gorka and the caption, “Would walk a mile barefoot on a road paved with broken glass to meet my hero, @SebGorka !”

Morgan-GorkaLet’s hear from Morgan herself …

“I’m Jan Morgan, a born again Christian, a genetically conservative wife, mother, small business owner, certified firearms instructor and yes, like our Vice President of the United States, I ride a Harley!” What the Sam Heck is “genetically conservative”???  Firearms instructor should certainly be requisite for a governorship.  Pence on a Harley … who knew?

“We must ensure we have the resources to protect the public. This means prioritizing funding for our prisons, courts, and law enforcement over welfare programs and non-essential functions of government.”  Filosofa’s translation:  The poor are non-essential.

“That giant sucking sound you hear is Texas, Tennessee and Florida sucking our jobs, companies, college graduates, and affluent citizens out of our state.” She doesn’t want the poor, but let’s not lose those ‘affluent citizens’.

“Rino alert : when your “Republican” Governor stands with Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and anti gun radical group “Moms Demand Action” to support Expanded Background Checks ..” Wait … A group of moms who want to make the world a safer place for their children are a “anti-gun radical group”? So, does that mean that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are also radicals?  Someone want to explain the term ‘radical’ to this woman?

Jan Morgan

Jan Morgan

But Morgan’s signature issue is guns and gun ‘rights’.  In the wake of the Orlando mass shooting in June 2016 and surging gun sales, she said …

“Well of course they’re on the rise, they’re going to continue to be on the rise until we do something about ISIS in this country. People are afraid, they do not trust this administration [President Obama’s] to protect them, and who blames them? What kind of government is more concerned about appeasing Islamic terrorists than they are protecting the constitutional rights of the American citizen? The largest group of people buying guns right now in America is women. Women are buying guns; I’ve trained over 8,000 people across the United States over the past year as a state police certified firearms instructor and a majority of those people taking those classes are women. And interestingly enough, they’re also seeking concealed handgun permits.”

Asa Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

In the primaries, Morgan will face incumbent Asa Hutchinson, who won the gubernatorial election in November 2014 by 14 percentage points.  In a recent poll, Hutchinson was ranked third among the ten most popular governors in the nation. Now, historically it is rare for an incumbent  governor to be defeated in his party’s primary, especially one as popular as Hutchinson. But these are strange times, with Trump having opened the door to all manners of chaos and making the unacceptable suddenly acceptable.  Remember Alabama candidate Roy Moore, the pedophile, who came very close to winning a U.S. Senate seat?  Political commentator and host of Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, sums it up …

“Another example where the more outrageous, the more serious the candidacy becomes? What will this headline and ones like it look like to America in 2068?”

Again, I would have laughed off a candidate as unlikely as Ms. Morgan four years ago, or even last year, but if a semi-literate sexual abuser can win the Oval Office, and a pedophile nearly win a seat in the Senate, then why not a gun-totin’, hog-ridin’ woman in the governor’s mansion?

Up next … anti-Semitic congressional candidate, Paul Nehlen. Stay tuned, folks …