It Can’t Happen Here …

sinclair lewis.jpgA few days ago, Robert Vella commented on one of my posts that those who think I am over-dramatizing my take on Trump & Co., might be well-advised to read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here.  Why hadn’t I thought of that comparison?  It has been around 50 years since I read the book, although I do remember the general premise.  Still, I went to Wikipedia for a brief synopsis, and I thought it apropos to share with you what I found:

“It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt.  Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.”

Anything in that paragraph sound familiar?

“In 1936 Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a charismatic and power-hungry politician, wins the election as President of the United States on a populist platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness …”

Power-hungry … populist platform … promising prosperity … greatness …

“Though having previously foreshadowed some authoritarian measures in order to reorganize the United States government, Windrip rapidly outlaws dissent, incarcerates political enemies in concentration camps, and trains and arms a paramilitary force called the Minute Men, who terrorize citizens and enforce the policies of Windrip and his “corporatist” regime. One of his first acts as president is to eliminate the influence of the United States Congress, which draws the ire of many citizens as well as the legislators themselves. The Minute Men respond to protests against Windrip’s decisions harshly, attacking demonstrators with bayonets. In addition to these actions, Windrip’s administration, known as the “Corpo” government, curtails women’s and minority rights, and eliminates individual states by subdividing the country into administrative sectors. The government of these sectors is managed by “Corpo” authorities, usually prominent businessmen or Minute Men officers.”

Want to know more?  Read the book.  But here’s my thought.  All of us have at least one or two friends who are still supporting Trump, whether because they truly believe in his lies, honestly think something he’s doing is right, or are just too ashamed to admit they were wrong about him.  The book isn’t expensive, so I say we should each buy one in paperback to give to each of our wayward friends or family members.  And if you really need a lot of copies, you can download it for free from the Project Gutenberg, or you can download the .pdf file, also free, then email it to your friends and relatives.

I just wish I had come up with this idea a week or two before Christmas, and we could have given a copy to those ‘in need’ of reading it for Christmas!

 

The Top 50 Trumpaus From The Atlantic

The Atlantic has done a series that I found to be both comprehensive and interesting.  What they did was … well, I’ll let Jeff Goldberg, Editor in Chief tell you …

In an October 2016 editorial, The Atlantic wrote of Donald Trump: “He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar.” We argued that Trump “expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself.” Trump, we also noted, “is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.”

In retrospect, we may be guilty of understatement.

There was a hope, in the bewildering days following the 2016 election, that the office would temper the man—that Trump, in short, would change.

He has not changed.

This week marks the midway point of Trump’s term. Like many Americans, we sometimes find the velocity of chaos unmanageable. We find it hard to believe, for example, that we are engaged in a serious debate about whether the president of the United States is a Russian-intelligence asset. So we decided to pause for a moment and analyze 50 of the most improbable, norm-bending, and destructive incidents of this presidency to date.

Our 2016 editorial was a repudiation of Donald Trump’s character as much as it was an endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. It was not meant to be partisan. The Atlantic’s founders promised their readers that we would be “of no party or clique.” This remains a core governing principle of the magazine today. What follows is a catalog of incidents, ranked—highly subjectively!—according to both their outlandishness and their importance. In most any previous presidency, Democratic or Republican, each moment on this list would have been unthinkable.

There are 50 articles in the series, and while I have not read them all, the ones I have read are spot-on.  I list them here, with links, so you can decide which, if any, you would like to read.  Click on any title to go directly to it … all links will open in a separate tab:

  1. Children are taken from their parents and incarcerated
  2. “Very fine people on both sides”
  3. The president still hasn’t released his tax returns
  4. Putin and Trump talk without chaperones
  5. James Comey is fired
  6. Trump declares war on black athletes
  7. Trump picks the wrong countries for his travel ban
  8. The president calls his porn-star ex-paramour “horseface”
  9. Covfefe
  10. “I have the absolute right to pardon myself”
  11. Trump throws paper towels at Puerto Ricans
  12. A new term enters the presidential lexicon: “shithole countries”
  13. Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford to a cheering crowd
  14. You know you’re in a constitutional crisis when…
  15. The CIA dead become a TV prop
  16. Public humiliation comes for everyone in the White House
  17. Trump threatens to press his “nuclear button”
  18. The president lies constantly
  19. The president learns about the Justice Department
  20. The president learns about separation of powers
  21. Rain stops Trump from honoring the dead
  22. The UN General Assembly laughs at the president
  23. America gets a first daughter
  24. The president can’t stop talking about carnage
  25. “We’re gonna have the cleanest air”
  26. Trump helps the Saudis cover up a murder
  27. Turkish agents assault protesters near the White House
  28. Trump tweets the wisdom of Mussolini
  29. The president tries to kick transgender service members out of the military
  30. The buck stops over there
  31. The White House punishes a CNN reporter for asking questions
  32. Trump disseminates Soviet propaganda
  33. The chief justice of the United States corrects the president
  34. Trump leads the country to the longest government shutdown in American history
  35. Mueller’s “witch hunt” is good at finding witches
  36. Trump threatens to strip security clearances from his critics
  37. The president just wants to go home
  38. Trump holds a top secret confab on the Mar-a-Lago dining terrace
  39. A White House economist creates facts for the president
  40. The president’s most trusted adviser is his own gut
  41. Trump waits 19 months to pick his science adviser
  42. The first president to complain about an election he won
  43. The nation loses its consoler in chief
  44. The WikiLeaks president goes silent
  45. A name-calling feud ends with the secretary of state’s ouster by tweet
  46. Trump tells the Boy Scouts about a hot New York party
  47. An overcompensating press secretary lies about crowd size
  48. The president praises the congressman who body-slammed a reporter
  49. A Cabinet officer likes private planes too much
  50. Donald Trump touches the magic orb

Snakes Slithering From ‘Neath The Rocks …

Two stories in the New York Times’ race-related section this week caught my eye … and turned my stomach.

The first …

Arizona state legislator, Representative David Stringer, who represents the Yavapai County area of the state, attended a public lecture at Arizona State University, during which a history professor, Donald Critchlow, discussed the 2018 midterm elections.  After the lecture, Mr. Stringer met privately with a group of students.  Here are a few snippets of what he told the students …

David Stringer“Uh, the African American vote is probably over 90% Democrat, and it’s been that way for decades. The Asian-American vote, the Asian Americans are an educated culture, affluent, relatively speaking, and in our society are not an under-class, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic. The Hispanics, even middle-class Hispanics, they vote overwhelmingly Democrat, because the number one issue is immigration, and bringing more of their co-religionists and people like them, into the country.

Also, diversity in our country is relatively new.  [A student asks what he means, citing that his own grandparents were Irish and Italian] They were all Europeans. By the 2nd or 3rd generation, everybody looks the same, everybody talks the same, but that’s not the case with African-Americans or other racial groups because they don’t melt in. They don’t blend in, they always look different.

The difference between the Polack, I shouldn’t say Polack … the difference between the Polish-American immigrant and the immigrant from say, Somali, is that the 2nd generation Polish immigrant looks like the Irish kid and the German kid and every other kid. But, the immigrant from Somali does not.”

Lovely, huh?  67,023 people in the State of Arizona voted for this white supremacist, more than twice as many as voted for his opponent.  His racism can’t possibly come as a surprise to them, for back in the fall when he was running for re-election, he told a room full of people that immigration is an “existential threat” because “there aren’t enough white kids to go around” in public schools.  Not for the first time, Stringer faces calls for his resignation from a host of prominent fellow Republican leaders, but refuses to step down, claiming that the election results last month prove that the people in his district want him in office.

The second …

Three weeks ago, two swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur were spray-painted on the walls of a Jewish professor, Elizabeth Midlarsky’s office at Columbia University in New York.Columbia hate crimeAnd then last Sunday, a student dressed in a blazer and button-up shirt went on a racist tirade on Columbia’s campus, screaming …

columbia racist“White people are the best thing that ever happened in the world!  We are so amazing!  I love myself and I love my people!  We invented the modern world … Europeans invented the modern world!”


Since the October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left eleven people dead and six wounded, including four police officers (good guys with guns?), there have been multiple anti-Semitic incidents around the nation.  A Brooklyn synagogue was defaced with graffiti, including the phrase “Die Jew Rats”.  Two swastikas were found spray-painted onto a concrete outpost on the Upper West Side of New York City. two swastikasThe hate goes on … and on.  It escalates.  Where is the outrage?  Why don’t we see these items on the front page of the newspaper, on the nightly news?  Where is the condemnation by the nation’s leaders?  Instead, these are minor stories buried somewhere on the back pages, if at all.  I don’t deny that the hate has likely always been there, but since the king cobra slithered out from under the big rock in June 2015, incidents like the ones I mentioned have been on the rise.  Are we becoming inured?  Have we reached the saturation point where it’s just another shoulder-shrugging story?  I hope not.

Yes, folks, bigotry in all its forms is alive and well in this nation and not only that, but it is promoted every damn day from the folks in the White House.

An Overflow Of Snarky Snippets …

Today is your lucky day!  I have far more to do than I can possibly accomplish, nearly everything in the news sets me off on a grouse or a grumble, and my family has long since tired of listening to me, telling me to “go write a blog post or something”.  And so you are the beneficiaries of today’s snarkiness!  Thrilled, aren’t you?


I have lost count of how many times I have said we need to overturn Citizen’s United, need to remove money from the equation of elections.  The utterly obscene amounts of money that are spent by corporations and lobbyists to promote candidates come with a hefty price tag … one that We The People always pay.

On November 6th, Americans spoke loud and clear when we sent a number of women and minorities to the House of Representatives.  We said, “We are sick and tired of being left behind.  We are sick and tired of our voices not being heard, of only those people who have millions, or billions of dollars being listened to.  We are sick of our government representing only the top 1% and to hell with the rest of us.”  And so, we elected new blood, people who are not yet so jaded that they cannot see the forest for the trees.  And they will do the jobs they have been elected to do, despite pressure from others to ‘conform’ to the old ways.

On Tuesday, the incoming freshman lawmakers attended an orientation event sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.  The event was billed as a bipartisan event and on its website the school says the sessions are designed to help incoming House members “forge bipartisan relationships and learn practical skills of lawmaking just one month prior to taking the oath of office.” Uh-huh.

Who were the speakers at this event?  Corporate CEOs and Corporate lobbyist groups.  Guess who else was there?  Donald Trump’s former chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn.  Hold on to your hats … you’re going to love what he told the newbie members-elect …

“You guys are way over your head, you don’t know how the game is played.”

Say WHAT???  This, Mr. Cohn, is not a game … this is people’s f-ing lives!!!

Goldman Sachs, the financial behemoth where Cohn was CEO before joining Trump’s administration were at the event.  The heads of General Motors, Johnson and Johnson and Boeing were there. There was not a single labor leader or community activist, nobody who represented the average citizen.  Only people who represent that all-important upper echelon, the infamous 1%.  And we wonder why we have the most corrupt lawmakers ever in the history of the nation?  Wonder no more.


The FBI has changed its mind and decided that one of the currently most radical white supremacist groups in the nation is not, after all, an extremist group.  What, they’re just a bunch of kindergarten kids going around the country promoting political violence?

According to the Proud Boys website …

Proud boys.jpg

Lovely looking bunch of “proud boys”, don’t you think?

“The basic tenet of the group is that we are “Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.” Like Archie Bunker, we long for the days when “girls were girls and men were men.” This wasn’t controversial even twenty years ago, but being proud of Western culture today is like being a crippled, black, lesbian communist in 1953. Our group is and will always be MEN ONLY(born with a penis if that wasn’t clear enough for you leftists)!”

The group claims not to be white supremacist, however according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) …

“Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Indeed, former Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped to organize the event, which brought together Klansmen, antisemites, Southern racists, and militias.”

In November, the FBI categorized the group as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism”.  That was actually fairly mild, if you ask me, for I would categorize them as a bunch of bigoted, chauvanistic, murderous white supremacists.  But yesterday, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone of good sense, the FBI recanted, saying they did not mean to designate the whole group, rather to characterize the potential threat from individuals within that group.  Would somebody please explain to me what the Sam Heck the difference is?  Nobody would join the group for any reason other than to follow their violent, bigoted ways, so … why is it only certain unnamed individuals and not the entire group that pose a threat?  Oh wait … perhaps one of Donnie Trump’s family is a member and that is why the designation had to be changed!  I call B.S.


On November 6th, We The People spoke.  We spoke loud and clear.  We made clear that we are not all a bunch of bigoted louts as some would like us to be, and we made clear that we value substance over form.  We elected to the U.S. House of Representatives two very qualified women who are of the Muslim faith.  Why?  Because they are the best qualified to make laws that are in the best interest of the people of this nation … that is, ALL the people, not just the wealthy few.

Ilhan Omar (left) and Rashida Tlaib

The two, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are both Democrats and both well-qualified for the jobs to which they were elected.

However, there is one man, Earl Walker Jackson a protestant minister and wanna-be politician, who doesn’t think these two women should be in Congress. Why?  Because he claims …

E.W. Jackson

E.W. Jackson

“Folks, I’m still trying to get over this whole issue of Nancy Pelosi allowing these women — these Muslim women — and apparently other women in Congress are now going to start, if this movement takes root, are going to start wearing the hijab on the floor of Congress. So what are we now gonna do? We’re going to turn Congress into an institution of Sharia law? I mean, folks, this stuff is just crazy … Lord help us. Floor of Congress is now going to look like a, it’s going to look like an Islamic republic.”

Mr. Jackson, by the way, is African-American and a disgrace to his race, for he has often made statements that were derogatory to gays, blacks, and Democrats and other minority groups.  However, he is outdone this time, for representative-elect Omar had the best imaginable response to Jackson’s bigoted statement …

“Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America … and you’re gonna have to just deal.”

clappingYes indeed, folks, we’ve got some new blood coming into Congress!


And now I hope I have gotten enough of the snarky out of my system so that I can proceed with the weekend, for I have much to accomplish this weekend and little enough time and energy with which to do it.  Have a great weekend!

The Ugly Face of Racism …

Until a few days ago, the name Cindy Hyde-Smith had no meaning to me, but it has popped up on nearly every media outlet I’ve seen in the past several days.

Who is Cindy Hyde-Smith? 

Hyde-SmithCindy Hyde-Smith is the junior United States Senator from Mississippi, in office since April 2018.  A member of the Republican Party, she was previously the Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce and a member of the Mississippi State Senate.  In 1999, Hyde-Smith was elected to the Mississippi State Senate as a Democrat. She represented the 39th district from 2000 to 2012. In 2010, Hyde-Smith switched parties and became a Republican, citing her conservative beliefs.

On March 21, 2018, Governor Phil Bryant announced his intention to appoint Hyde-Smith to the United States Senate seat being vacated due to the resignation of Thad Cochran due to health issues.  She ran in the November 6th mid-term elections to finish out Cochran’s term until 2021.  She was the front-runner, but as she did not receive 50% of the votes, there will be a run-off election between herself and the democratic candidate, Mike Espy, on November 27th.

Hyde-Smith is a lifetime NRA member, anti-abortion, opposed to same-sex marriage, and supports Trump’s unnecessary and costly wall … pretty typical republican, nothing out of the ordinary, right?  FiveThirtyEight, which tracks congressional votes, reported that as of October 2018 she had voted with Trump’s position 100% of the time.  Another boot-licker in the pocket of the NRA … yawn.

So why is she all over the news?

Because … on November 2nd, at a campaign stop, while posing with a supporter … a white supporter … she said …

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Say WHAT???  Have I mentioned that Hyde-Smith’s opponent, Mike Espy, is African-American?

Amid the hue and cry over her remark, at least five corporations asked for their donations back. AT&T, Leidos, and Walmart had donated a total of eight thousand dollars to her campaign but reversed that decision earlier this week. Smaller companies Union Pacific and Boston Scientific have also asked Hyde-Smith to return their donations.

And then, somebody dug up a photo that Hyde-Smith had posted to her Facebook account in 2014 that further inflamed the perception that she is a racist …Hyde-Smith-rifleA rifle and a confederate hat, and she wrote “Mississippi history at its best!”  Say WHAT???

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump jumped to her defense, saying …

“She made a statement, which I know she feels badly about it, and it was just sort of said in jest. She is a tremendous woman and it is a shame that she has to go through this.”

Excuse me, Mr. Trump, but there are some things that we do not joke about, and lynching, giving this nation’s shameful history, is one of those things.  I know you eschew political correctness and respect for others, but the majority of people in this nation are sensitive to the feelings of others.  This was not “in jest”, it was a cruel and racist remark from a woman who has no business representing the people of this nation in Congress.

On Tuesday, 18 days after her heinous statement, Ms. Hyde-Smith issued one of those meaningless ‘apologies’ that politicians are wont to do when they aren’t at all sorry for anything, but they’re taking some heat and … well, you know … elections?

“You know, for anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements. I have worked with all Mississippians. It didn’t matter their skin color type, their age or their income. That’s my record. This comment was twisted, was turned into a weapon to be used against me, a political weapon used for nothing but personal and political gain by my opponent. That’s the type of politics that Mississippians are sick and tired of.”

And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Hyde-Smith was at yet another campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi, when she offered her view on voting rights:

“And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”

For the third time, Say WHAT???

Ms. Hyde-Smith was maintaining a healthy lead in the polls over Espy until the beginning of November when she made her initial racist remark about lynching.  Since then, Espy’s numbers have come up and it is a very “tight race”.  It should not even be close, folks.  Anybody who would even consider casting a vote for this woman at this point cannot possibly be considered anything other than a racist, a bigot of the very worst sort.  If Hyde-Smith wins the election next Tuesday, it speaks volumes for the state of Mississippi and its people.  This is definitely NOT the sort of person we want to see in Congress!!!

Meanwhile, in the State of Washington …

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is not exactly known for having a great deal of intellect or common sense, so nothing that comes from them should surprise us.  However, I was a bit taken aback by their latest proposal … well, a proposal by at least one of their members … that the Eastern half of the State of Washington secede from the rest of the state.  Every time I think people cannot possibly get any more stupid, they stubbornly prove me wrong!Washington State mapHere’s what happened:

Early this year, Washington state introduced a package of gun control measures known as Initiative 1639, or I-1639 to be voted on at the 2018 mid-terms on November 6th.  The package is not earth-shattering, but it is a start and includes a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles for those under the age of 21, stricter background checks and a waiting period for those who do purchase them, and safe-storage requirements for all firearms.  Common sense measures and in my book it doesn’t go nearly far enough, but as I said, it’s a start.

Enter the NRA who in May filed suit against the State of Washington, claiming the initiative “seeks to further restrict the Second Amendment rights of Washington’s law-abiding citizens.”  Look again at what is included … banning assault weapon sales to those under 21 … seriously?  Is that what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment, hormonal teens running around with AR-15s?

The initiative would only be placed on the November 6th ballot if those supporting it could garner enough signatures … 259,622 to be exact.  They did get the required signatures and more … some 380,000, and in August, Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst of the Washington State Supreme Court rendered the decision that Initiative 1639 would, indeed, appear on November’s ballot and the NRA was left to cool its jets.  The NRA began an ad campaign, saying that I-1639, if passed, would “criminalize self-defense”.NRA poster.jpgOn November 6th, nearly 60 percent of the state’s voters rejected the gun group’s political arguments and voted in favour of common sense gun legislation.  Score one for common sense and thumbs up to 60% of the people in Washington state.

But, the NRA doesn’t know when to concede graciously.  Jim Lydigsen is the NRA’s official “Frontline Activist Leader” for the city of Selah, Washington.  After the election, he penned a letter to the editor of the Columbian, a Washington local newspaper, to demand secession for his part of the state.  Obviously, a knowledge of the U.S. Constitution is not a requirement for being an NRA official, nor is a modicum of intelligence.

Jim Lydigsen.jpg

NRA’s Jim Lydigsen

“Following passage of I-1639 it has become clear to me that now, more than before, Eastern Washington MUST separate from Western Washington. This means forming a new state ‘Liberty.’”

Now, Lydigsen isn’t alone in calling for the secession of the eastern half of the state.  He is joined by a representative in the Washington state legislature, one Matt Shea.  Although Matt’s reasons go far beyond just I-1639, he supports secession based on his “biblical” beliefs.  In the week before the election, Shea published a manifesto titled “Biblical Basis for War” in which he calls for a ‘surrender to biblical obedience’ and an end to abortion and same-sex marriage.  His manifesto is basically a demand for war.

Matt Shea-1.jpg

Representative Matt Shea

Under a section listing “Rules of War,” it dictates that an offer of peace must be made before declaring war, but no negotiation or compromise is acceptable. Only a surrender “on terms of justice and righteousness” is acceptable, which includes stopping all abortions, no same-sex marriage, no idolatry or occultism, no communism, and an obedience to Biblical law. “If they do not yield — kill all males,” it states.  Feeling a bit of a chill?  This guy is a nutcase, but yet he sits in the Washington State legislature, making laws for the State of Washington and its people.   Here are his top ten reasons for calling for secession …Matt-Shea-reasons.jpgShea, by the way, has an A+ rating from the NRA … bet that surprises you, doesn’t it?

This whole thing is rather ridiculous, for nobody has the right to split up a state in this manner, and if either of these “gentlemen” had bothered to read the Constitution, they would realize that.  So, why am I wasting my time on this ridiculousness?  Because these are men with power … much more power than somebody with so few brain cells ought to have.  These men are dangerous and sadly are a product of our current environment.  Whether it is populism or Trumpism that has opened the door to such outlandish ideas is arguable and I don’t claim to have the answer.  What I do know, however, is three-fold:  a) we need even stricter gun control laws that those passed by Washington’s I-1639; b) the NRA has entirely too much power and too much control over our elected officials; c) people like Matt Shea, who attempt to inject their own religious views into our secular government and impose them on the rest of us, have absolutely no business being in government.  Period.  I rest my case.

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!

A Shared Opinion …

There are a number of opinion writers who I read regularly, and Charles Blow of the New York Times is one.  His column on Sunday struck a chord, for much of what he says mirrors my own thoughts very closely, especially when he says, “I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.”  I initially intended to only provide a few snippets from this column, but after I studied and pondered it a bit, I decided to share the entire column after all.  Give it a read … I think you’ll be able to relate to much of what he says …

You Have a Right to Weariness

The struggle for goodness and decency is an eternal struggle, not a seasonal one.

Charles BlowBy Charles M. Blow, Opinion Columnist

Do we have a right to weariness in an era of animus? More precisely, can we afford it, or is exhaustion a luxury reserved for those whose wealth, privilege and status insulate them from the losses the rest of us could suffer? Does patriotic defense of country require perpetual, obsessive vigilance, or is it permissible to retreat occasionally for one’s own mental and spiritual health?

These are questions I ask myself regularly, and ones that are frequently asked of me, if not in those exact words. People are trying to figure out the proper posture to take in a world riven by deceit and corruption, a world in which the leadership of the country represents an assault on decency.

This is a conundrum, I must confess.

I, as much as anyone else, feel trapped by our current predicament. I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.

I feel compelled by what I view as history, fundamental and consequential, playing out right before me with nothing short of the life of the republic at stake. And yet, at a certain point, words begin to fail, or the obvious has already been stated. Once you have pointed out that Trump is a liar, you can then note only that he is telling more lies. The same goes for his racism, bullying, anti-intellectualism, corruption and grift.

At some point, it becomes clear that the abnormal, outrageous and unacceptable have become a constant, and even the rolling boil of righteous folk’s indignation reduces to a simmer.

People often ask me, “When will it end? What can we do to get him out of there?”

My answer always is, “I doubt it will end soon, and there’s very little anyone can do to change that.”

I hate to bear that message, but it is the only one I can deliver if I wish to be honest rather than popular.

As much as there was to celebrate last week, with liberals winning control of the House of Representatives, and doing so with such a diverse slate of candidates, it was also clear that Republican control of the Senate means that any hope of removing Trump via impeachment has shrunk to nearly nothing. Even if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate remains highly unlikely to remove him.

Democrats are even debating how far they can take oversight in the House without turning off people politically.

The only hope is that the Robert Mueller investigation may deliver something so damning that some Senate Republicans view it as unacceptable. But there is no evidence as of yet that anything would sway them.

Trump is taking steps to severely hamper Mueller’s efforts. Last week, he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. The F.B.I. is currently investigating corruption at a company where Mr. Whitaker sat on the advisory board.

At this point, it may be more prudent to view what comes from the Mueller probe as fodder for the 2020 presidential campaign. It may not pave the way for an impeachment conviction by the Senate, but could well pave the way for an electoral “impeachment.”

It is very likely that we are stuck with Trump until the 2020 election, and even then the Democrats can take nothing for granted if they wish to defeat him.

That is the root of people’s distress. How can Republicans in Congress abide this behavior and use it for political positioning? How can so many of our neighbors condone open hostility to minorities, the press and the truth?

Or maybe the questions are for us. How could we not have registered fully just how hostile a substantial portion of America is to inclusion and equality? How could we not have registered the full depths of American racism and misogyny? How could we not remember that American progress has always been like a dance with a disagreeable partner, stumbling backward as well as moving forward?

I remember calling my mother when Trump was elected, and she was not nearly as distraught as I thought she’d be. Her stated reason: We’ve been through worse. She is an elderly black woman from the South. Her sense of history and heartbreak are long and fraught.

Recently, I’ve delved even more deeply into this line of thinking, reading about how black people positioned themselves during both Reconstruction and Jim Crow, when the political structures were largely arrayed against them.

I wanted to know how they survived and made progress against open hostility. The recurring themes are to never lose hope in the ultimate victory of righteousness; to focus your fire on the things you are most able to change; and to realize that change is neither quick nor permanent.

The struggle for goodness and decency is an eternal struggle, not a seasonal one.

Don’t beat yourself up if you need to tune out every now and then and take a mental health break. There is no shame in it. This is a forever fight. Once you have recharged, reapply your armor and rejoin the fight with even more vigor.

Just for a chuckle …

I’m sorely in need of a laugh … okay, I’ll settle for a chuckle … and figured perhaps you are too, so just for a laugh at the end of the day, I give you … Andy Borowitz …

Putin Loses Control of the House