Three Republicans Speak Up …

Yesterday, the three republican candidates challenging Donald Trump for the GOP nomination for president in 2020 — Bill Weld, Mark Sanford, and Joe Walsh — jointly penned an editorial that was published in The Washington Post.  I will share that editorial with you momentarily, but first, a few thoughts of my own.

The Republican Party has been making a concerted effort to ensure that Trump stays in office for a second term, whether by hook or by crook.  To this end, states have begun cancelling their republican primaries, for they apparently fear that if there is competition, Trump will not pass muster.  This, folks, is not … I repeat is NOT … how a democracy operates!  If a candidate cannot win on his own merit, then it becomes obvious that he or she is not qualified, is not the choice of the people.  When a state cancels a primary, that state is taking away the voice and choice of the people and can … nay, must … then be considered to be an authoritarian state.  Will we elect a president next year, or will one be shoved down our throats?

That three contenders for the same position have come together in agreement speaks volumes.  They are, in essence, saying that they stand together against the demolition of democratic principles, that they are united in their belief that elections should be fair, honest, and unfettered.  In U.S. politics today, that is almost unheard of, and I think it would behoove everyone in both parties to listen to these men.

The GOP, in throwing all their support to Trump, in ignoring or worse, stifling any and all competition, are shooting themselves in the foot.  They have virtually shot themselves in the foot and lost all credibility.  The party is on a downward spiral because of their support of an ignorant madman, but will republicans allow the central party to drag themselves down too?  It remains to be seen, but so far it seems that the cult-worship for Trump, trumps good sense, trumps democracy, trumps survival of the planet earth.

And now, the editorial by the three republican contenders

We are Trump’s Republican challengers. Canceling GOP primaries is a critical mistake.

republican-contenders

Republican presidential candidates, from left, Joe Wash, Mark Sanford and Bill Weld. (Associated Press photos/AP photos)

By Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh and Bill Weld

September 13, 2019 at 8:30 p.m. EDT

(Mark Sanford was governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011. Joe Walsh represented Illinois’s 8th Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. Bill Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. All three are seeking the Republican presidential nomination.)

The three of us are running for the Republican nomination for president in a race that will inevitably highlight differences among us on matters of policy, style and background. But we are brought together not by what divides us but by what unites us: a shared conviction that the United States needs a strong center-right party guided by basic values that are rooted in the best of the American spirit.

A president always defines his or her party, and today the Republican Party has taken a wrong turn, led by a serial self-promoter who has abandoned the bedrock principles of the GOP. In the Trump era, personal responsibility, fiscal sanity and rule of law have been overtaken by a preference for alienating our allies while embracing terrorists and dictators, attacking the free press and pitting everyday Americans against one another.

No surprise, then, that the latest disgrace, courtesy of Team Trump, is an effort to eliminate any threats to the president’s political power in 2020. Republicans have long held primaries and caucuses to bring out the best our party has to offer. Our political system assumes an incumbent president will make his case in front of voters to prove that he or she deserves to be nominated for a second term. But now, the Republican parties of four states — Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina — have canceled their nominating contests. By this design, the incumbent will be crowned winner of these states’ primary delegates. There is little confusion about who has been pushing for this outcome.

What does this say about the Republican Party? If a party stands for nothing but reelection, it indeed stands for nothing. Our next nominee must compete in the marketplace of ideas, values and leadership. Each of us believes we can best lead the party. So does the incumbent. Let us each take our case to the public. The saying “may the best man win” is a quintessential value that the Republican Party must honor if we are to command the respect of the American people. Cowards run from fights. Warriors stand and fight for what they believe. The United States respects warriors. Only the weak fear competition.

Across the aisle, the Democratic primary challengers are still engaged in a heated competition of debates, caucuses and primaries to give their voters in every corner of our country a chance to select the best nominee. Do Republicans really want to be the party with a nominating process that more resembles Russia or China than our American tradition? Under this president, the meaning of truth has been challenged as never before. Under this president, the federal deficit has topped the $1 trillion mark. Do we as Republicans accept all this as inevitable? Are we to leave it to the Democrats to make the case for principles and values that, a few years ago, every Republican would have agreed formed the foundations of our party?

It would be a critical mistake to allow the Democratic Party to dominate the national conversation during primary and caucus season. Millions of voters looking for a conservative alternative to the status quo deserve a chance to hear alternate ideas aired on the national stage. Let us argue over the best way to maximize opportunities in our communities for everyday Americans while the Democrats debate the merits of government intervention. Let us spend the next six months attempting to draw new voters to our party instead of demanding fealty to a preordained choice. If we believe our party represents the best hope for the United States’ future, let us take our message to the public and prove we are right.

Trump loyalists in the four states that have canceled their primaries and caucuses claim that President Trump will win by a landslide, and that it is therefore a waste of money to invest in holding primaries or caucuses. But since when do we use poll numbers as our basis for deciding whether to give voters an opportunity to choose their leaders, much less their presidents? Answer: We don’t.

Besides, the litigation costs these four state parties will likely be forced to take on in defending legal challenges to the cancellations will almost certainly exceed the cost of holding the primaries and caucuses themselves.

In the United States, citizens choose their leaders. The primary nomination process is the only opportunity for Republicans to have a voice in deciding who will represent our party. Let those voices be heard.

Jaw-Dropping Snarky Snippets …

The radar is busy tonight, so many different things on the screen that have me gritting my teeth and wearing the scowl that seems to be permanently etched on my face.  The first snippet is one that will give you nightmares.


He can’t keep a secret …

Just yesterday evening, CNN reported that a Russian spy who was operating in a high-level capacity within Putin’s government, was extracted by the U.S. in mid-2017, in part because high-ranking intelligence officials feared that Trump’s inability to keep his mouth shut would put the spy’s life in danger.  Believe it or not, Trump sycophant Mike Pompeo, who was then the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was behind the move.

The decision was made shortly after the May 2017 meeting in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, much to the horror of the intelligence community.

There were other reasons the intelligence community felt the “asset” might be compromised, but think about this one for just a minute, folks.  The ‘man’ who holds the highest position in the government of a nation of some 330 million people, a ‘man’ who is privy to nearly every bit of classified information in the nation, is not trusted by his own intelligence people, cannot be trusted to keep a secret, to keep his mouth shut.  He needs a keeper … make that a tag-team of keepers … lest he give his buddy Putin the nuclear codes!  Ponder on that one as you drift off to sleep tonight.


Irresponsible to the nth degree …

I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry … instead I held my head and let forth a string of language that is not appropriate for this blog.  Former Goldman Sachs executive and current Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced that there will likely be more tax cuts in 2020!  What made me laugh about the whole thing was remembering 1988 when George Bush, Sr., said repeatedly – “Read my lips:  no new taxes”, and now I would applaud a president who promised “No new tax cuts!  My how times change.

“I think there’s no question the U.S. economy is in very good shape. As we look around the world, there’s no question that China is slowing, Europe is slowing — the U.S. is the bright spot of the world. And regards to a middle-class tax cut, you know, we’ll be looking at tax cuts 2.0, something that will be something we’ll consider next year. But right now, the economy is in very, very good shape.”

mnuchin-2

Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Treasury

Trump and Mnuchin obviously need lessons in how budgets and economies work.  Our national debt is spiraling out of control, currently at $22 trillion and growing every day, and they want to give another tax cut?  Crazy!  Why?  Because, my friends, next November 3rd we will all go vote for either Trump or a democrat … and Trump figures if he can tout another tax cut that won’t help any but his rich friends, we will all fall to our knees and kiss his feet and then go to the polls and vote for him.  This, my friends, is madness.  Just about the very last thing this nation needs is another tax cut.

To further cut taxes is the height of fiscal irresponsibility, yet those who are easily fooled will applaud, will believe that they are getting something … never mind that their grocery bills have increased by $40 per month as a result of Trump’s tariffs, and never mind that the cost of a gallon of gasoline has increased by 43% since 2016.  Meanwhile, the companies to whom you give your hard-earned dollars like Exxon, Amazon, Netflix, Delta, IBM, etc., will happily pay no taxes at all.  Don’t be fooled, folks … sooner or later, the economy will reflect the perfidy of cutting income by removing taxes from the ones who can most afford it.


Dynasty???  I think not …

Trump’s creepy re-election campaign manager, Brad Parscale, has a plan …

Parscale

Brad Parscale, Trump campaign manager

“The Trumps will be a dynasty that will last for decades, propelling the Republican Party into a new party. One that will adapt to changing cultures. One must continue to adapt while keeping the conservative values that we believe in. I think they’re all amazing people, with amazing capabilities. I think you see that from Don Jr. I think you see that from Ivanka. You see it from Jared.”

I think that Mr. Parscale defines the word ‘amazing’ much differently than the rest of us.  I find them all a bit ignorant and a whole lot ugly, both inside and out.  One Trump is more than enough, thank you Brad.  If I believed his prediction for a single minute, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post, but would be headed to the nearest point of exit from this country.


Science vs Trump …

wilbur-ross

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce

Remember last week’s fiasco with Trump, the sharpie, Hurricane Dorian and Alabama?  Well, today the New York Times reported that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross actually threatened to fire top employees at NOAA, the federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts, for correcting Trump’s dangerous misinformation.  I said last week that it is a very dangerous situation when any politician, but especially one with the power of the president, can control what scientific information the public has access to.  That Trump’s minion Ross was all too willing to do his bidding, to fire scientists to assuage Trump’s ego, is horrendous.

We also found out that it was Ross himself who contacted Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where Ross was traveling and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president.  Fix it???  It wasn’t broken!  It was accurate … it was Trump’s statement that needed fixing, that was erroneous.

So now, do all scientists need to petition Trump for permission to state their findings on every front?


Still more competition!

Mark-Sanford.jpg

Mark Sanford, 2020 GOP Candidate

Yet another republican has thrown his hat in the ring for the party’s nomination for the 2020 presidential election.  First there was Bill Weld, then Joe Walsh, and now Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina.  This one must really frighten Trump for some reason, as he became somewhat unhinged … oh wait, he was already unhinged, wasn’t he?  In a series of tweets, Trump attacked Sanford …

“When the former Governor of the Great State of South Carolina, @MarkSanford, was reported missing, only to then say he was away hiking on the Appalachian Trail, then was found in Argentina with his Flaming Dancer friend, it sounded like his political career was over. It was, but then he ran for Congress and won, only to lose his re-elect after I Tweeted my endorsement, on Election Day, for his opponent. But now take heart, he is back, and running for President of the United States. The Three Stooges, all badly failed candidates, will give it a go!”

‘Twould seem Trump is running a bit scared, eh?  I will have more about Sanford, but for tonight, I am out of steam!


The conclusion to this collection of snippets can only be one thing:  Trump must go!Trump-must-go

 

Another Dirty Trick …

I am not a republican, and most of you reading this aren’t either, however we have a vested interest in the GOP at this point in time, for their dirty tricks in 2016 placed the most unsuitable candidate in the history of the nation into the highest position, and the GOP is up to even dirtier tricks for next year’s election.

I mentioned a few days ago that Joe Walsh had declared his candidacy for president in 2020 on the Republican Party ticket.  Now, under the best of circumstances the odds are stacked against Mr. Walsh, in part because an incumbent president almost always has the upper hand.  However, what we can hope for from Mr. Walsh’ run is that it will detract some of the attention away from Donald Trump, and that he may be able to help republican voters see that there are better options than Trump.  But …

The GOP is doing everything in its power to keep Walsh’ name off the ballot next year.  Four states — South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas – will finalize the procedure to keep Joe Walsh off the primary ballot for the 2020 presidential election.  Think about that … republican voters will be robbed of their opportunity to choose a candidate other than Trump.  And this may well be only the beginning, for it will not surprise me at all if other states follow suit.

The question comes to mind:  What are they afraid of?  Mr. Walsh had the same thought …

Joe-Walsh

Joe Walsh

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states. It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft. Primary elections are important, competition within parties is good, and we intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do. We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.”

Good for him … I really hope that he raises such a stink that even the cotton balls republican voters are wearing in their ears are penetrated.  Another, less likely contender for the republican nomination, Bill Weld also weighed in …

“We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

The cancellations have been orchestrated by the Trump campaign, not the GOP itself, though these days, the Trump campaign seems to be calling the shots for the entire party.  You almost have to feel sorry for diehard republicans these days … like sheep being led to the slaughter, they are corralled, deprived of the freedom of choice, the freedom to think for themselves, and are apparently not informed enough to see what’s happening.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick made a statement that I take offense to …

“As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary.”

So … what if that incumbent has proven over the past four years to be totally incompetent and unfit to serve for another four years, such as the current incumbent?  Just because his fat patootie is already sitting in the Oval Office doesn’t mean it should stay there.  Being president should be an honour that is earned, not given by default!  And second … perhaps the republicans, not known for deep thinking these days, haven’t considered that if their own voters have become disenchanted with that incumbent, they may just either vote for a democrat or stay home on election day! 

Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald has an interesting and disturbing spin …

“It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte. We should be spending those funds to get all our candidates across the finish line instead.”

What I find so disturbing about that remark is the precedent it could potentially set.  To extrapolate … if it’s too expensive for states to hold primaries and caucuses, when we come up on the 2024 election, if Trump is still in office, does he decide the nation cannot afford to hold a presidential election and he’ll just stay in office?  No … wait … I hear you, and you’re right … that would be unconstitutional.  But think about it … Donald Trump has been trampling the U.S. Constitution for two-and-a-half years now.  Much of what he does goes against the text and intent of the Constitution, but nobody has bothered to stop him.  Can you imagine how much the Constitution will actually matter if he stays in office another 5.5 years?  My guess is that by that time people will laugh when they hear the word “constitution”.

Bottom line is that the people’s choice is being taken away from them.  Perhaps not unlawfully, but certainly immorally.  Will republicans sit down and take this?  Sure they will … they haven’t risen up against the injustices perpetuated by Trump and his minions yet, so there is no reason to believe they will over this, either.  If I were a republican, I would be screaming at the top of my lungs, but fortunately I am not.  We can only hope it turns the tables and proves to be an advantage to the democratic candidate as at least some republicans leave the GOP in disgust.

There’s A Plan??? Who knew???

Alexandra Petri is a columnist for The Washington Post who only recently came onto my radar.  I love her style … subtle yet unmistakable snarky!  In 2010 she became the youngest person to have a column in The Washington Post; she also runs the ComPost blog on the paper’s website, on which she formerly worked with Dana Milbank.  Her column yesterday was, I thought, brilliantly spot-on, and I decided you guys would get a bit of humour from it, too.


Trump has a plan! His plan is for nothing to go wrong.trump-iceberg

By Alexandra Petri
Columnist
August 30

Alexandra-PetriFirst off, do not worry about the economy. There is nothing to worry about. Who’s worried? If you were to worry, that would make the economy second-guess itself and grow agitated. Don’t worry about the economy. It’s fine. Worry about the Space Command.

Second, if there are any problems with the economy (there aren’t, but if there were), they would have nothing to do with the president. The last thing that would possibly impact the economy are his trade policies. It is “badly run and weak companies,” as he wisely clarified on Twitter.

Third, if there were to be any kind of downturn (not necessarily a bad thing, at hotels, people pay for such a service!), there is a plan. The plan is for it to be, as Mick Mulvaney told a gathering of donors last week, “moderate and short.”

This plan is without flaw, and, indeed, is the approach the administration is taking to all forms of crisis. That is, I am pleased to report, why there are currently no crises whatsoever.

Consider, for instance, the new rollback of methane regulations — even over the objections of people in the affected industries. A similar, ingenious philosophy is being applied here. To try to limit the amount of methane released into the earth’s atmosphere would send the earth a message that we thought it might be getting to the point where additional methane and CO2 could be dangerous to the planet, and that realization might cause the earth to panic, hyperventilate and destroy all human life.

Nothing depresses a planet so much as the suggestion that its continued health is hanging by a very fragile thread. The last thing we would want the earth to do is think there was a problem. If we were to take any steps that made it look as though we were aware of a problem and were addressing it, well, that would be the end, for all of us. No, we must keep it in a state of blissful ignorance.

Indeed, we have taken this attitude broadly in all areas of our lives. Take health care, for instance. If you do not have a plan that allows for bad things to happen, you will be amazed, for instance, how many fewer times you will visit the doctor and how much less prescription medicine you will obtain! Probably this is because you are healthier.

Similarly, imagine what might happen if we were to make any effort to regulate guns. If guns knew we were thinking of regulating them, why, something terrible might happen in America, on a regular basis, even.

This is why we are not even contemplating a plan for removing bedbugs should they ever come to the Doral resort. If you devised a plan to remove them, then for that plan to work bedbugs would have to show up in the first place — simply unthinkable!

We must stand firm in our refusal to plan for anything but good outcomes.

The second you make a plan for something bad to happen, you may as well be sending it an engraved invitation. If we make any plans that will invite people to see us as not confident, and then the bears of the economy will fall upon us and destroy us. Oh no, I have mentioned them! Now they will hear us.

No. Our plan for if the economy is ʙᴀᴅ (shh, not so loud, you must not frighten the economy) is for it not to be ʙᴀᴅ. If we have a ʀᴇᴄᴇssɪᴏɴ (hush), our plan is for it not to be the bad kind, and for it to leave quickly.

Umbrellas invite rain. Safety harnesses inspire people to drop from great heights. Do not get me started on what helmets do.

This is why the Titanic brought so few lifeboats on board. To bring too many is to imply that a disaster might happen, in which case such lifeboats might be needed and might lead the ship to lose confidence in itself and capsize. This would have been disastrous!

The last thing we need is to invite disaster.

It Started With A Letter …

In my personal email this morning, I received one that floored me …

Dear Jill,

Sorry to see you have promoted little Greta… the most incredible and complete shill to hit the news in some time…. Just as ‘Climate change’ is one of the the biggest hoaxes to ever be perpetrated on this planet…. just pay Al Gore your carbon tax and we can all breathe a little easier.  PLEASE…For God’s sakes do some research on this issue.

IT’S ALL A GIANT CON GAME… JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE THE LEFT IS PROMOTING. THEY WANT WORLD GOV’T ( A NEW WORLD ORDER) AND WILL LET NOTHING STAND IN THEIR WAY.

BE WELL

BJ

He included a link I could follow, presumably so that I could do that “research on this issue” that he recommended.  The link was to a site called “anticorruptionsociety” — sounds like a fact-based, scientific site, doesn’t it?  I did not click on the link, not because I’m so close-minded that I don’t read opposing opinions – I actually do.  But, I have no idea who this person is and the source seemed questionable.

My initial reaction was … I wanted to strike back … I wanted to reply to his email and ask him when he escaped from the mental hospital.  I wanted to tell him that in fact Donald Trump is the most complete “shill” to hit the news.  But, sigh, I know that the best response is no response, so I have not and will not respond.  Still, this letter, first thing this morning, set the mood for my day, and I have found it impossible to focus, to settle in to finish any of the posts I have started.  And so, I shall ramble for a bit, if it’s alright with you guys.

It isn’t that I’m thin-skinned and can’t take criticism … if that were the case, I wouldn’t write this blog!  I can fight fire with fire and have often fought rhetoric with facts.  But … the denial of climate change is something else altogether, for the deniers are not reasonable people and they bend or ignore facts to suit their purposes.

All the talk about the economy, Trump claims the economy is strong, but still wants the Federal Reserve Board to lower interest rates yet again.  Hopefully, Jerome Powell will stand his ground, for it would be very foolish to lower the rates at this time.  But, the fact is that if we continue to ignore the environment, the economy is not going to make one damn bit of difference to anybody.  Which would you rather have:  a million dollars, or fresh air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat?

The United States, since Trump took office, has done less than any other western nation to address environmental issues.  In fact … it has done nothing.  Under President Obama, we were on the right track, though we still had a long way to go.  But, Trump has undone almost every environmental regulation that was put into place under the Obama administration.  Just yesterday, he announced that he is planning to roll back rules on methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change. It’s the 84th environmental rule to be targeted by President Trump.  Why would he do that?  A number of reasons …

  • He is so jealous of President Obama that he is hellbent and determined to undo everything he did
  • He is deeply indebted to his campaign donors who mainly asked for two things: tax cuts, and a rollback of environmental regulations
  • He is a fool

I see a couple of possible outcomes to this perfidy.

The first, and best-case scenario is that in just over 14 months, this nation elects a new president and replaces enough republican senators that environmental issues will once again be placed at the top of the priority list.  We re-join the Paris Climate Accord and work cooperatively with the rest of the world to try to solve the problems, largely eliminating fossil fuel use, expanding renewable energy sources, promoting improvements for electric vehicles, banning toxic chemicals, finding alternatives to single-use plastics, protecting wildlife, and more.

Another scenario, however, is if Trump is re-elected and continues to hasten the demise of the planet.  Think about it this way.  Say you live in a neighborhood where everybody tries to keep their yards tidy, most have flowers, shrubbery, and green grass.  A new neighbor moves in and every single day he throws his trash in everybody else’s yard.  How long will it be before the neighbors take action against this one slovenly neighbor?  Not long, I think.  If Trump continues to disregard the environment while other nations are working to try to bring it back into balance, don’t you think that eventually they will take action against the U.S.?  Think about that one for a minute.

sad-imgThose who truly believe that climate change is a hoax are delusional, most fall in line with the conspiracy theory of the day and are largely irrelevant.  It is, rather, those who do understand that there is a problem, but refuse to address it that are complicit in the destruction of the earth.  For some, they “live for today” and to hell with tomorrow.  For them, greed has overtaken caring.  For others, they believe that one morning they will awaken and find that their god has miraculously cleared the air, removed all the plastic from the oceans, removed the chemicals from our water and soil, re-forested the rain forests, and put everything back to rights.

We talk about the economy, about health care, about infrastructure and building walls, but in truth, there is only one issue on the docket, for if we do not take drastic action to address climate change, none of the rest will matter … not one bit.

 

Stealing From ‘We The People’ … Again

We never get a break from the horrors of the Donnie Show anymore … rarely does a single day go by that there isn’t some new abomination to stir our ire, to cause a wtf to emit from our voicebox before we can catch it.  Today’s came before I was even out of bed, thereby jump-starting my day, though not in any good way.

There are a number of reasons that Trump was able to garner enough electoral votes to win the election in 2016:  gerrymandered districts, Russian propaganda, Hillary’s lack of popularity, and “The Wall”.  He fostered fear among the predominantly un-and-under-educated … fear of immigrants who, he said, were “bad hombres”, were rapists and drug lords, who must be stopped.  He alone, he said, could fix this, and his solution was … well, it started out being a “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border that “Mexico is going to pay for”.

Early on, like the moment he first said the words, it was clear that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for a damn wall or anything else.  Why should they?  Why would they?  So, that part of the conversation simply died, and Trump’s cheering section quickly forgot about it.  Now, 31 months into his term, the “big, beautiful wall” is to be an ugly black fence, and he is planning to steal from We the People to build said fence.  Before election day 2020.  Why?  Because it is the only thing, when all the detritus is set aside, that he proposed that rallied the masses in 2016, and as of right now, he has accomplished absolutely nothing.  It is a safe bet that the economy will be in worse, not better, shape by the time election day rolls around, so he needs something with which to appease his base.

The wall, or fence as it were, has been undisputedly proven by experts to be useless, unnecessary, and a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.  That, in and of itself, would be bad enough, but now he is so obsessed with his damn fence that he is planning to steal from landowners, and steal money from disaster relief funds that exist to help people after such things as hurricanes, wildfires and more.

According to The Washington Post …

Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.

[Trump] has told senior aides that a failure to deliver on the signature promise of his 2016 campaign would be a letdown to his supporters and an embarrassing defeat.

When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land.”

The article goes on to tell of Trump’s insistence on painting the fence black, even though it will add significantly to the cost, simply because he likes the way it looks.  Billions of dollars will be spent, people will have their land stolen from them, and worse yet, irreparable damage will be done to the environment.  All so Trump can say he kept his promise … sort of … to his supporters.  It’s a fence, not a wall.  It’s being paid for by We the People, not Mexico.  It will kill flora and fauna.  And it won’t do a damn thing to resolve the issue of people crossing the border without proper authorization.

Tropical storm Dorian is brewing in the Atlantic, expected to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane.  Puerto Rico, still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017, is in its path, and then it is likely to head to Florida as it gains even more strength.  Will Puerto Rico once again be denied disaster assistance, this time because Trump spent all the money in the pot on his abomination of a fence … a useless fence?

It is my opinion that since this fence’s only real purpose is to give Trump bragging rights for his 2020 re-election campaign, the money for the wall should come from his campaign war chest.  Surely all his wealthy donors, all those people to whom he gave tax cuts amounting to millions of dollars, would be willing to chip in to ensure he pleases his gullible base with this ignoble wall?  Here’s what his top ten donors have given him …

  1. Robert Mercer, Renaissance Technologies – $13.5 million
  2. Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corporation (LVS) – $10 million
  3. Linda McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) – $6 million
  4. Bernard Marcus, Retired – $7 million
  5. Geoffrey Palmer, G.H. Palmer Associates – $2 million
  6. Ronald M Cameron, Mountaire Corp. – $2 million
  7. Peter Thiel, Palantir Technologies – $1.25 million
  8. Walter Buckley Jr, Actua Corporation (ACTA) – $1 million
  9. Cherna Moskowitz, Hawaiian Gardens Casino – $1 million
  10. Peter Zieve, Electroimpact – $1 million

You want a wall fence, Donnie … pay for it with something other than our money!  Get your donors to up the ante by a few million each.  We the People have better things to do with our money, like providing health care to our citizens, repairing broken infrastructure, providing relief to Puerto Rico to re-build, providing funds to California when the inevitable wildfires hit later this fall, and finding ways to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.  Frankly, we have more to fear from you than from immigrants crossing the border.

The Twilight Zone Presidency

A day late to the party, I was reading Jeff’s post over at On the Fence Voters, and he was doing a wrap-up of yesterday’s news … you know, Trump referring to himself as the “chosen one”, picking a fight with Denmark, gloating over conspiracy-theorist Wayne Allen Root’s nauseating praise of Trump … and suddenly my jaw dropped. I try to stay on top of the news, but I had missed this one. There’s a new media outlet in town, folks, and this, as Jeff says, will leave you feeling like we truly are living in the Twilight Zone. Take a look at what he has found out about Epoch Times … but first, take a few aspirins and perhaps have an antacid handy, for you may feel ill by the time you get to the end. Thank you, Jeff, for this enlightenment …

On The Fence Voters

I was too young to remember the original television series The Twilight Zone, which ran on CBS from 1959-1964. But I do remember watching those same shows, which ran in syndication for several years in the late 60s and 70s. Yes, I’m dating myself here. So for those who have no recollection of the series, the host, Rod Serling, would appear at the beginning and introduce each show with a short monologue explaining what we were about to see.

The show was unique for its time and entered into strange and often highly imaginative themes that bordered on the bizarre and extreme. After the last few days of President Trump’s continued hijacking of all available oxygen in the media world, I found myself remembering the legendary series and thinking that we have indeed entered The Twilight Zone. Even a guy with the innovative imagination of Rod Serling would have had…

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Steve King — Riding Off Into The Sunset?

Well, it looks like U.S. Representative Steve King from Iowa may have finally crossed one line too many.  Maybe.  King is an unapologetic bigot in every sense of the word, and yet his district has re-elected him every two years since 2002!  Says something about the people in Iowa, doesn’t it?  A recap of some of his most egregious offenses …

  • He has a long history of white-nationalist affiliations. The Washington Post described King as the “Congressman most openly affiliated with white nationalism”. His racist comments resulted in him being stripped of all his committee assignments earlier this year.
  • In an interview with the New York Times, King questioned why “white nationalist,” among other terms, are deemed racist language.
  • On the House floor in July 2006, King suggested building a border wall along the country’s southern border and said the top of the fence could be electrified. “We do that with livestock all the time.”
  • In March 2008, King said terrorists would celebrate a Barack Obama presidency and that al Qaeda “would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror.”
  • While talking about “Dreamers” in a July 2013 interview for Newsmax TV, King claimed that for every young immigrant who becomes a school valedictorian there are “100 out there that, they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

steve-king-2  steve-king-3

This is but a sampling of his atrocious views … in fact, I awarded him my coveted Idiot of the Week award in March 2017 … check it out to read about more of his idiocy!  In short, he is against anyone who is not white, straight, Christian and preferably male.  But his latest seems to be, perhaps, the straw that broke the camel’s back, even in ultra-conservative Iowa.

King has long been a foe of women’s rights, particularly the right to choose to have an abortion.  On Wednesday, he was giving a speech at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, when he attempted to justify his reason for refusing to support abortions even in cases of incest or rape …

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?  Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.  I’ve got 174 people who say they don’t want exceptions for rape and incest because they understand it is not the baby’s fault, to abort the baby, because of the sin of the father, and maybe sometimes the sin of the mother too. And so I refused to do that.”

Even the republicans were riled over that one … well, some of them anyway.  House Republican leaders broke from their August recess to publicly chastise him.  Liz Cheney, the party’s third highest-ranking member, tweeted that King’s comments were “appalling and bizarre … it’s time for him to go.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the minority whip, both said Mr. King’s comments underscored why he had been removed from his committees.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has said she will no longer support Mr. King. Even #MoscowMitch McConnell has said that King should resign!

King faces a republican contender in the primary, State Senator Randy Feenstra, and a number of republicans have said they will support any republican who is not Steve King!  If campaign donations are an early indicator, Feenstra stands a good chance, with $260,000 in donations as compared to King’s significantly lower $62,000.  And, even if King survives the primary race, he will face democrat J.D. Scholten who almost beat him in 2018, losing by only about 10,000 votes.  Perhaps the people of Iowa are tired of King’s perversion, his hateful rhetoric, his bigotry?  Let us hope so.

Sorry Snarky Snippets … Sigh

With apologies to all, Saturday Surprise is on hiatus for this morning.  If perchance I find a bit of humour somewhere in my heart later today, you may see a ‘Sunday Surprise’ tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I am filled with snarky angst, and so I shall share with you some snippets of snark, ‘k?


What an honour … NOT!

I wrote a few days ago about Trump’s rambling speech at the site of a new Shell facility in Pennsylvania where he turned what was to have been a speech into a campaign rally.  It gets even better (where better is worse).  The facility is Shell’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania that is currently under construction.  An ethane cracker plant is one that takes oil and gas and breaks it into smaller molecules, to create ethylene, which is used in plastics manufacturing.  Not one thing environmentally friendly to see here, folks.  But, to my point …

Take a look at the photo below to see how well-attended the event was by Shell workers …

Shell-workersA dedicated bunch, devoted to being good little Trumpeters, right?  Only problem is that … well, take a look at the memo they received prior to Trump’s visit …

workers-Trump-attendanceFor my visually impaired readers, the relevant points of the memo are as follows:

  • All personnel will be bused to the Trump speech location. Prepare to stand for several hours. You will be standing through your normal lunch period. Lunch WILL NOT be provided.
  • No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event. An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the labour unions.  Your building trades leaders and job stewards have agreed to this.
  • Your attendance is not mandatory. This will be considered an excused absence.  However, those who are NOT in attendance will not receive overtime pay on Friday.

So, in order to receive their overtime, they must attend a Trump rally, keep their mouths shut, play nice, and stand idly on their feet without lunch for several hours.


It was only a matter of time …

How many times have those of us with functioning brains said that guns in schools are a bad … really bad … idea?  It was only a matter of time before it happened.  Luckily, this time no child was shot, but it will happen … the clock is ticking.

It happened at Highland Elementary School in South Bloomfield Township, south of Columbus, Ohio.  Vicky Nelson, the transportation director for the district, was one of those selected to carry a concealed weapon in order to “protect” the students.  One day back in March (for some reason, this was not made public until just this week), Ms. Nelson had her 6-year-old grandson who attends the school, and another first-grader in her office when she left the office briefly to go to the bathroom.

When she returned, the gun (loaded) was on the desk … the children had found it in the desk and removed it from its ‘concealed’ location to plain view.  This was a near miss but imagine what might have happened.

You’ll be pleased to know that Ms. Nelson has been removed from the school’s concealed carry program and that the school is “currently reviewing the concealed carry program.”  More than once, I’ve envisioned a teacher leaving his gun in his desk drawer, stepping outside for just a minute, and BANG!  It isn’t worth the risk, folks.  Those teachers with guns are not going to stop a shooter with an assault weapon, and it isn’t their job … their job in such a situation would be to see to the safety of the children in their care, not add more bullets to those already flying around!


Prayers for WHAT???

A former co-worker posted a prayer request on Facebook last night.  The reason?  Three days prior, her television had gone out, the television repair person was unable to find the problem, and she was asking for prayers because she thought she had been “pretty patient for 3 days without t.v.”  I nearly choked on my coffee when I read that … children separated from their parents at the border, kept in horrid conditions.  People struggling to put food on the table, others living on park benches on the streets.  People dying of starvation in third world countries.  Air that will soon be unfit to breathe, and water that is becoming increasingly scarce.  Families that cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor.  And this woman is asking for prayers for an effing t.v.???  Consumerism has run amok.  I wonder how people like her will survive when someday Russia compromises our power grid and there is no electricity for months?  Just thought I’d share that one with you … give you something to think about.


Oh yeah???

Trump held another campaign rally in New Hampshire on Thursday.  When does this guy ever work?  He’s always flitting about the country, playing to his masses, sucking up potential votes for next year … and we’re paying him for this???  Anyway, I just wanted to share with you one thing he said at the rally that really set my teeth on edge …

“See, the bottom line is, I know you like me and this room is a lovefest and I know that, but you have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k)s … down the tubes. Everything is going to be down the tubes.  So whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”

I would willingly swallow a cyanide capsule before I would vote for him.


Greenland is NOT for sale, but …

The current occupant of the big White House isn’t satisfied with just one nation to ruin … he is now seeking, so say certain of his aides, to purchase Greenland.  Well, methinks li’l Donnie is in for a rude awakening, but you just don’t wake up one morning and decide to buy a country.

Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark.  Greenland’s Premier Kim Kielsen stated in no uncertain terms …

“Greenland is not for sale, but Greenland is open for trade and cooperation with other countries, including the USA.”

Foreign affairs spokesman for Denmark, Soren Espersen, went a step further …

“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad. The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous.”

So, I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be buying Greenland, but what, even, was Trump’s motivation for saying, repeatedly, that he wanted his aides to look into it?  Is there coal under Greenland that Mr. Piggy would like to get his hands on?  Here’s one possibility …Trump-tower-GreenlandBut, last night friend Ellen sent me the latest by humourist Andy Borowitz, writing The Borowitz Report for The New Yorker, and this sounds like a much better idea!

borowitz-andyCOPENHAGEN (The Borowitz Report)—After rebuffing Donald J. Trump’s hypothetical proposal to purchase Greenland, the government of Denmark has announced that it would be interested in buying the United States instead.

“As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale,” a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. “We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale.”

“Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government,” the spokesperson added.

A key provision of the purchase offer, the spokesperson said, would be the relocation of Donald Trump to another country “to be determined,” with Russia and North Korea cited as possible destinations.

If Denmark’s bid for the United States is accepted, the Scandinavian nation has ambitious plans for its new acquisition. “We believe that, by giving the U.S. an educational system and national health care, it could be transformed from a vast land mass into a great nation,” the spokesperson said.

That “key provision” appeals, does it not?


Enjoy your weekend, my friends!

VOTE!!! – Part II — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob

This is Part II of a guest post on voting in the 2020 election, by our friend, Roger Jacob … Roger has a clear view from across the big pond of what is happening in the U.S. today, and has some words of wisdom, from a historical context, that we all need to hear.  Many thanks, Roger, for your wise words, and for taking the time out of your own writing schedule to write this post for us.

USA Not Voting Is No Longer A Luxury You Can Indulge

Part II

The Unhappy but Unavoidable Basics

“Democracy is a very bad form of government. But I ask you never to forget: All the others are so much worse.”

This stirring and wise little statement is from the opening credits of each episode of the brief CBS drama 1963-1964 Slattery’s People. The outline being the local politics and a state legislator James Slattery.

Churchill’s earlier version was, one of his less erudite and not so stirring “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”, which it is argued was not one of his own and probably explains why it lacks a Churchillian ‘something’

Thus when you objectively compare the other forms of government (or antics masquerading as government) the ask yourself this ‘Would I like to live there for the rest of my life?’. For make no mistake, in this current era of Human history of large aggressive states and huge corporations central government of a nation by a small group of people is the only alternative, unless you can find a very small piece of isolated land that no one wants and survive on it…while hoping no one finds valuable resources thereupon. You are dealing with a 7.7 billion sized very flawed but inventive species here, hiding out and surviving can be difficult.

On Democracy and more Unavoidables

Having to accept the fact that someone is going to run the place wherever you live and thus have an impact on your life, having a say in who gets there is an attractive option. As you are going to vote in people and not saintly beings there will be mistakes, flaws, compromise, disappointments and all the other baggage humans drag around with them. This is also unavoidable. This is the Current Reality. If you are looking for perfection in government. Sorry that era has not arrived yet…hopefully it will, if we survive that long.

Another facet of democracy is that folk who have very strong opinions will make sure they can get out there and vote. Now you may not care for the folk with the Strong Opinions, but if you don’t vote then they will have a disproportionate say in your life. Again you don’t get to avoid this. Yes you can protest, yes you can organise campaigns and you might win a few, but ‘they’ the elected of the ‘Strong Opinions’ will still be there and the only chance you will get to remove them will be at the next election.

This is how the flawed process of Democracy works. Participation is the only stable, civic way you can ensure it remains Stable and Civic.

Narrowing in. The USA in 2020

I address this portion to the citizens of voting age in the USA.

You will not need me to list, report or otherwise enumerate the controversial decisions, statements and persons who have appeared upon the political stage since the election of 2016. You have them burned into your memory and possibly your hearts. You know full well that the temperature of the political atmosphere has risen and thus increased the level of toxicity. You know, as I suggested before Consensus is a very endangered species, in some regions it is extinct.

Now it may be, it is possible that many of the folk associated with the current administration are not racists, homophobic, anti-minority, narrow-minded reactionaries or religious zealots. It maybe. However by the actions and statements coming out of the administration these views have been given an air of respectability, they can be howled out under the guise of the much-abused term ‘Free Speech’. There are people striding about the public domain who back in the 1960s & 1970s would have labelled ‘wackos’ and generally laughed at. Now they have far too many followers.

In this situation I will ask those of you who do not vote this very hard question. Are you content with that situation? Are you not bothered about what is happening along the US Mexican border? Are you at ease with the mass shooting? Are you at ease with the Hate-Crime and unprovoked attacks on minority peoples? Are you? Now be careful with your reply as you might feel inclined to reply to me, because whatever you write however you argue, I will be replying too … with those questions. For there is no option if you choose to stay in the USA. Are you content with this administration and its followers? Are you?  Are you willing to stand by and do naught but simply write an impassioned piece in Social Media in the belief that somehow that will change things? For ‘they’ write impassioned pieces too.

We dial back to the previous post. And that that 60,000,000+ folk voted from this administration and rest assured they will vote again, and again, and again. This 25%-30% of the numbers. But they are not the majority…they were not the majority in 2016 … thanks to a narrow margin and a freak of your system they ‘won’. So do they truly represent anyone other than themselves. Are you content with these people telling you how the nation is going to be run. Are you?

For the non-voter by principal here is your paradox which in this case has to be answered. You might well have very strong views on government, which is why you do not vote. I will again  come back to the earlier point. Someone is going to run the nation. Are you content with this administration running it, or would you rather chance another, and yes risk those disappointment? Some might say ‘better the devil you know’… Let me say from a study of American political history ‘Well folks, if you are content with a devil …’

This I will hammer home again, and again. Are you content? Are you willing to let things go on the way they are? Do you truly think that an alternative will be The Same? Do you? Are you willing to risk the lives and well-being of minorities to satisfy your own views? Are you content for them to lay there upon some allegorical petri dish while you muse over your own political philosophies hoping to gain some ephemeral moral high-ground. Sorry, but that is not the real world you are living in. Oh yes you can talk about change and I would not challenge that but in this climate you do not get the chance to make that change because it comes by steady, slow evolution and right now we are looking at a possible political extinct event.

Polemic? Yes of course. Because currently American politics is a place of polemics from both sides and in that toxic environment your way does not have a hope. Civil War does. But not yours. Not at this time. The atmosphere is too toxic.

Your only option to change is to get out there and vote.

Defeatism

This is something of fall-back cop-out which comes in many forms. Let us leave the lazy ‘What’s the point’ excuse, I’ve put up enough arguments against that in the above words. NO need to repeat. There are others worries. These needed to be address by activism

Gerrymandering- Yes, they will do that. You need a rather dull and stodgy UK style Boundaries Commission to guard against that and even then there is huffing and puffing. However you are in pre-war situation here and propaganda  plays a part. Imagine the result when Trump’s dream gerrymandering has worked. For Trump 65,000,000. Against Trump 90,000,000. Imagine what the media and world media would make of that. It would be quite comic, and the streets would be clogged with protestors. And where is Trump’s mandate? Also that would have many a congress or senate member worrying about the next election.

Not Eligible – This is an old trick which was used in the South to keep ‘those people’ out of the booths when the local politicians were queasy about ‘good ol’ boys’ with clubs. This takes finesse as what would be required would be a strongly created website were folk denied the vote could register their names and the reason. Imagine millions of  names turning up? Of course that does need, as I said a very good site.

The Russians – Yeah. That’s another old one from the European book of tricks. Influence the nation, or make you think they are influencing the nation and thus erode the feeling a vote will count. Get out there and vote and make a noise about it. As with the other two problems it is all about raising the opposition profile.

Summary

Your nation is on tracks for an extremist disaster. Trump is only a small part of it. The main issue is the polarisation. The only way that can be defeated is by The Active Moderate, who demands their voice be heard. The one who will not be silent, and the only way they will listen by is the counting of the votes and the voice of those who voted.

Anything else is quite frankly fluff the current administration will blow away with its own propaganda.

The administration’s supporters will vote you can be sure of that. By not voting you are simply supporting them and stoking the fires.

Are you content with that?

Are you comfortable with the persecution of minorities?

Are you at ease with the erosion of the environment?

Are you glad the rich are getting richer?

If you don’t vote out of choice, then you must be.

Stands to reason.

Note to readers:  I will be re-running these two posts, as well as others, in the days leading up to election day.  Meanwhile, feel free to use these to help try to convince people you may know who claim it is too much bother to vote, or have other excuses.