Snarky Snippets Are Baaaack!

It’s been a while since I released a full stream of snarky snippets … been taking it a bit easy, trying to keep the snark at bay, but … well, that only works for so long, y’know.


Say WHAT???

Harry-PotterWhen Miss Goose was young, I read to her the first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (first published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK).  I liked it much better than she did, and I went on to read the next 2 or 3 in the series … by myself.  Although I’ve never been a fan of fantasy fiction, I have to admit they are fun books.  Harmless fun with lovable characters.  But apparently the Catholic Church doesn’t think so.

St. Edward Catholic school in Nashville has removed the Harry Potter books from its library, saying …

“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”

Oh bullcrap!  Yes, that noise you hear is me stomping my feet, not the presence of evil spirits!

According to Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Catholic diocese of Nashville …

“We really don’t get into censorship in such selections other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries are age-appropriate materials for our classrooms.”

Well if this isn’t censorship, lady, then I must not understand the meaning of the word.  I was not aware, but the Harry Potter series has drawn criticism from religious groups before.  In 2001, the pastor of Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico oversaw a book burning of the Potter books, and a local library responded with a dedicated display, telling the public that “Harry is alive and well at the library”.

While he was still a cardinal in 2003, the future Pope Benedict XVI described the books as “subtle seductions which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly”.

Wake up churches … we have entered the 21st century!  Harry Potter books are fun!  They are harmless!  There ain’t no evil spirits planning to descend upon those who read these books!


A veteran speaks …

Last week, a spokesperson for Bozo in the Oval announced that “in certain cases”, children born to U.S. service members or government employees stationed abroad may not automatically be eligible for citizenship under the new Trump rules.

Tammy-DuckworthTammy Duckworth is a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who has served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois since 2017.  While serving in the Iraq War as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, Ms. Duckworth suffered severe combat wounds, which caused her to lose both of her legs and some mobility in her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war. Despite her grievous injuries, she sought and obtained a medical waiver which allowed her to continue serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Senator Duckworth penned a letter to Kevin McAleenan, the acting director of homeland security, stating her objections to the new policy.  Her letter bears reading …

Duckworth-1duckworth-2.pngDuckworth-3What’s next, folks?  Trump claims to love the military, love veterans, but thus far his policies have done nothing positive for them.


Spittin’ in the wind?

I really didn’t set out with the intention of picking on religion tonight … I try hard to bite my tongue where religion is concerned, but at the moment, my tongue is already bleeding.

Florida is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian.  I’ve seen countless pictures of people filling sandbags, boarding windows, helping others move inland, stocking up on supplies, and more.  But, these people …pray-ers

… gathered on the Jacksonville Beach Pier to pray the storm away.  Yes, you heard me right!  They say they are telling the storm to “calm down”.  I put this one right up there with people sending “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting, but then admittedly I am a cynic.  The group says they did the same thing two years ago while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irma.  Did that work well for them?  Well, let’s see …

Hurricane Irma delivered an $85 million hit to the city of Jacksonville, according to the city’s most recent cost estimates.

The biggest share of the total is about $40 million for hauling away all the debris left behind by the storm, followed by $16.6 million for dunes and berms, and $15.3 million for personnel and equipment costs for emergency response operations.

The total financial impact on city government is almost twice the $45 million expense dealt by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

I’m thinking maybe not so much.  And during Irma, they even had the help of some 59,000 people who had the brilliant idea to point fans toward the east and blow the hurricane back out to sea!  Imagine how much worse Irma might have been if she hadn’t been thwarted by all that hot air!fans-Irma

fans-irma-2


Okay … I’m done snarking for tonight.  I’m fairly certain I’ll have more soon, though.  Meanwhile, to all my friends and readers in the path of Hurricane Dorian, please keep safe and let us know you’re okay.  Love you all!

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.

Ralph Nader Speaks …

Ralph Nader is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney, noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform causes.  I hadn’t heard anything from Nader for years, but he has a blog titled In the Public Interest where he writes once a week or so.

Nader has a long history of activism, which has been directly credited with the passage of several landmark pieces of American consumer protection legislation including the Clean Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. He has been repeatedly named to lists of the “100 Most Influential Americans”, including those published by Life Magazine, Time Magazine, and The Atlantic, among others.

His latest entry came onto my radar yesterday, and I thought it was worth sharing … it is both a summation of where we are today, and a warning of where we may be heading.


From Trump Tower to Dictatorial Trump Power Over Law

ralph-naderBy Ralph Nader
August 30, 2019

 

Donald Trump is “dumb as a rock” (to use his phrase) when it comes to the programs and the policies of the federal government agencies over which he is allegedly presiding. However, when it comes to defending and expanding his own political power, Trump is shameless and profoundly cunning.

Trump turns accurate appraisals of himself into accusations that he levies at others. Earlier this month, he questioned whether Joe Biden “is mentally fit to be president.” 

But Trump has found way to spread his toxicity beyond his lying tweets. He has carefully developed formidable barricades to shield himself from the gathering storm regarding his countless impeachable offenses and other serious misbehaviors.

Trump’s remarks, decisions, and asides reveal his plans to stay in office. Trump heaps praise and extra funding on the military. In his travels, Trump likewise incessantly praises the police regardless of the local situations.  Trump has openly said these constituencies are the core foundation against his adversaries that will keep him in office. His White House will keep the military and the police very well endowed.

He also makes sure that big business is happy with him. Some of the bosses are getting anxious about the uncertainty associated with Trump’s use of tariffs and his caustic remarks about leaders of the countries where U.S. companies do business. However, Trump knows that as long as he cuts corporate taxes; deregulates health, safety, and economic requirements on Wall Street; and continues the crony capitalism of subsidies, handouts, and bailouts; the corporate bosses will continue to pay obeisance to Trump.

Manipulating the mass media is child’s play for Trump. He taunts them about how they have to give him top billing because of the profitable ratings his performances brings them. Some in the mass media, nonetheless, expose his wrongdoing with thorough features. Trump, though irritated, ignores these exposés and repels them like water off a duck’s back. It’s all “fake news,” he shouts. His approval polls, though lower than previous presidents, stay firm. So far Trump has faced no real consequences from the revelations of his misdeeds.

The courts, meanwhile, are Donald’s Trump card for endless delays. Who has been sued as president more than Trump? Over two and a half years into his term, litigation against Trump grinds on. Nobody knows how long these court actions will take, what with Trump’s delay tactics and appeals. The top appeal is to the Supreme Court which he believes is 5 to 4 for him on just about everything relating to runaway presidential power and immunities. Trump has appointed 146 judges while in office, including two Supreme Court justices. Trump’s chosen Supreme Court justices are partisan actors who will suit his purposes nicely—it is as if they came from “central casting” for him. Trump has declared unlimited presidential pardon powers, musing that he could even pardon himself.

Labor unions are another big joke to Trump. As they decline, Trump reminds the pro-Democratic Party union leaders that many of their rank and file members voted for him. A troublingly large minority of union workers—over a third— defected to Trump’s camp in 2016, enough to make the union leaders skittish about seriously confronting him.

That leaves the Congress with which he toys. The Republicans are frightened chickens in a coop, peering out at the insatiable Fox. When they look back at their place in history, they’ll have to squint. Sycophants all, except for the late Rep. Walter Jones and Rep. Justin Amash.

As for the Democrats, Trump is blocking subpoenas and orders for witnesses to testify. Trump is also turning down major demands for documents from several House Congressional Committees. Exercising their constitutional authority to oversee the executive branch, the Committee Chairs are filing one law suit after another. Trump laughs and tells his attorneys to keep stonewalling and appealing—which can mean years. That’s how he operated during his sordid failed business career.

Donald Trump, selected by the Electoral College, is daring the Democrats to impeach him. He knows Democrats are divided and can use the Republican dominated Senate as an excuse for inaction. Of course impeachment is a constitutional duty for the House, not a simple political calculation. It is certainly warranted for the most impeachable president in American history.

Trump is thumbing his nose at Democrats daily, blocking oversight, allocating appropriated funds by executive dictate, brazenly freezing enforcement the laws or revoking regulations that protect the health, safety, and economic wellbeing of the American people, enriching himself through emoluments, and also casting aside the Constitution and the rule of law regarding his military and foreign policy aggressions.

Trump has neutralized our country’s checks and balances and separation of powers, including judicial accountability. He adds to his monarchal presidency by unleashing the Republican Party’s suppression of the vote and other electoral shenanigans.

If the law ever catches up to Trump, he has many toadies who are willing to engage in “wag the dog” distractions. They are his war-hawk on steroids, national security advisor lawless John Bolton and the militaristic Secretary of State Michael Pompeo who travels the world threatening half of it. The new Secretary of Defense, from the Raytheon Corporation, presents no restraint in contrast to his predecessor Jim Mattis, cashiered by Trump.

If Trump wins, America loses. The outcome is up to you in November 2020. Be alert and prepared for tumultuous upheavals should Trump lose by a narrow margin.

Text dividers

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.

 

Climate Snippets

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the environment, about climate change and the way we’ve ignored it for so long that we are now in a crisis, and the way so many are still ignoring it, placing their convenience, their profit before the future of life on the planet.  People buy the best locks, outfit their homes with security systems, alarms, cameras, keep a gun in the nightstand … all in the name of protecting their family.  But yet … those things … they cannot protect against the impending climate crisis, and they refuse to do a single thing to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land and sea from whence comes our food supply.  Why is that, I wonder?  Arrogance?  Lack of foresight?  Greed?  Ignorance?  Religion?  I don’t know, but I think we need to figure it out and act now, or it will soon be too late.

So, with that said, I thought it was time for a few environmental snippets.  I have notably not included the fires in the Amazon rainforest, for I am working on a separate post about that, probably for tomorrow.


She’s HERE!!! And She’s Speaking Out!!!

Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City yesterday.  Crowds had gathered for hours beforehand, ready to welcome Thunberg’s arrival on the unconventional solar-powered craft.Greta-ThunbergShe spoke briefly with the press before moving on … a few snippets from that speech …

“We need to stand together and take action because otherwise it might be too late. Let’s not wait any longer. Let’s do it now.  It is insane that a 16-year-old would have to cross the Atlantic to take a stand … [against] the climate and ecological crisis is a global crisis and the biggest humanity has ever faced.”

When asked if she had a message for Trump, she said …

“I say, ‘Listen to the science’. And he obviously does not do that. If no one has been able to convince him about the climate crisis and the urgency, why would I be able to?”

Ms. Thunberg will be participating in UN climate summits in New York City (September) and Chile (December).  And while she is here, she also is expected to participate in protests slated to start Sept. 20 as part of a Week of Action to pressure U.N. member states to make systemic changes that will reduce their planet-heating emissions, such as transitioning to renewable energy.


And speaking of the Global Climate Strike …

At least four major U.S. companies will close their doors on September 20 to encourage employees to take part in the Global Climate Strike in order to send a clear message that they will not conduct “business as usual” while the world’s children are demanding action to stop the climate crisis.climate-strikeBen & Jerry’s, Lush Cosmetics, Patagonia, and Seventh Generation all pledged support Wednesday for the strike, which millions of people of all ages are expected to take part in next month as part of a Week of Action before the UN Climate Summit.

“The climate crisis is a human issue—affecting all of us. We are inspired by the youth activists who have led a global movement, and Patagonia is calling for urgent and decisive action for people and our home planet. We invite the business community and all those concerned about the fate of our planet and humankind to answer with action and join us.” – Rose Marcario, President & CEO, Patagonia

Slowly but surely, some are actually getting it.  Not, of course, the fool on the hill …


The fool on the hill, the forest he will kill …

Tongass-2The Tongass National Forest covers 16.7 million acres of Alaska.  Not quite the size of the Amazon rainforest at 1.359 billion acres, but nonetheless relevant, as together with British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest in Canada, it is the planet’s largest intact temperate1 rainforest.  Well, guess what, folks?  Ol’ Donnie has ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest to logging, mining and other corporate development projects.Tongass-1Under the Clinton-era “roadless rule,” construction of roads were barred in the forest, thereby restricting commercial logging, energy, and mining projects (only certain road projects approved by the Forest Service were allowed).

The rule has faced challenges over the years, including by President George W. Bush who tried unsuccessfully to reverse it. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy and Senator Lisa Murkowski, both republicans, have also called for Trump to exempt the state from the rule.Tongass-3The pristine forest includes thousands of islands along with glacial fjords and old-growth cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees — old-growth trees are those that have generally grown undisturbed for at least 120 years. The area supports countless wildlife, including all five species of Pacific salmon, brown bears, wolves, and Bald Eagles.

Listen up, people!  There are not enough trees to meet the oxygen requirements to sustain life on earth into the future as it is, and you want to chop and burn them down???  Where the Sam Hell are your brains, in your back pockets???

Give me trees over ugly buildings any day of the week.  The folks we have sent to Washington seem not to understand that the economy is not going to amount to a hill of beans if they don’t aggressively protect the environment.  Stupid people.

1 Temperate rainforests are cool, as opposed to tropical rainforests like the Amazon that are warm and moist. 


Last night, my friend Herb sent me a video clip by the Parody Project.  I had never heard of this, but according to the website …

The Parody Project was founded in August of 2017 by Film-maker/composer Don Caron, as a means of surviving the current political and social mire by laughing and helping others to do the same.

Others are more humorous, but this one is most relevant to the topic of the day  Please take just 3 minutes to watch it … you won’t regret it, I promise!

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.

Why Do I … ???

Friends say to me, “Why do you spend so much time worrying about politics?  What will be, will be.  Why not spend your time enjoying life?  You’re going to drive yourself to an early grave.  Just chill and have fun.”  This post is my response to those people.

Why do I spend so much time worrying about politics?  I don’t.  I spend that much time worrying about what is happening in this nation, in the world.  I spend that much time speaking out, sometimes ranting, about the injustices I see in this world.  I look at our government taking innocent children from their parents’ arms, tossing them into detention centers with naught but a piece of tinfoil for a blanket, and I say, “This is wrong!”  I see decisions being made by a few in the upper echelons of government that completely disregard the concerns of scientists and environmentalists … decisions that are hastening the end of life on this planet, and I say, “This is wrong!”

I see a ‘man’ who is supposed to represent this nation, who is supposed to represent the ideals of a nation founded on “liberty and justice for all”, denigrating people in the LGBT community, calling Hispanics and Muslims terrible names, making racial, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs and more, and I cannot help but say, “This is wrong!”  I see decisions made that ensure the rich get richer while the poor are denied adequate health care, housing, food, and the basic necessities of life, and yes, once again I say, “This is wrong!”

A number of my friends claim that I just don’t like Trump.  No, I don’t like him …anti-TrumpBut, it isn’t only Trump … it is also those who either support or applaud the policies of this administration, policies that are discriminatory against minorities, against women, against non-Christians, against LGBT, and against the poor.  Policies that put this nation and its people in grave danger.  Policies and rhetoric that alienate our allies, while patronizing our enemies.  And it is also the people who turn a blind eye, who know that these things are wrong but bury themselves inside their bubble, their comfort zone, and pretend they don’t see the children in cages crying themselves to sleep at night.  It is those who believe that they have no obligation to do their part to clean up our environment, who tell me that somehow some magical creator of the universe will make everything right again in good time, so they can continue tossing away their plastic bottles, driving their gas-guzzling SUVs, and living life just as they have always done.

And it is those who believe that somehow, they are better than others, either because of the colour of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, or their ethnicity.  Those who worry that the people with pale skin will someday not be the majority, will not have the final say in what this nation will be.  It is the arrogance, the ignorance, and the greed that I do not like, can no longer tolerate.

Those same friends then say, “Well, you cannot fix the problems, so why not relax, enjoy life, have some fun … lighten up.”

No, I cannot fix the problems by myself … no one person can.  But I can do my part, and I can keep using the little voice I have to make others aware of the many injustices happening right under our very noses.  There is an old saying that, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink”.  I am attempting to lead the horse to the clear, cool stream in hopes that he will drink.  I cannot do otherwise, it is who I am.  But, I am getting tired …

Tired of seeing people surrounding themselves with so much noise that it drowns out the things that actually matter.  Tired of people burying their heads in the sand, wearing their rosy-coloured glasses, sticking their fingers in their ears and singing, “La-la-la-la-la … I can’t hear you!”

Why do I do what I do?  Because it matters, at least to me.  Because we are on a collision course, and much like the passengers aboard the Titanic, the majority will still be dancing, posting pictures of their last meal on social media, and pretending they just don’t see, when the ship hits the iceberg.  We all have a choice to be a part of the solution, or a part of the problem, but there is no neutral choice.  If you choose to ignore it all, if you choose not to be part of the solution, then you ARE the problem.  We have all contributed to the problem for long enough.  Now it is time to be part of the solution.

Quite by coincidence, as this post was a work-in-progress this morning, I saw a comment by our friend Roger who offered the following quote by Elie Wiesel …

“Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Think about it.

Snippy Snarkets … Er… Snarky Snippets!

There is so much on my mind that needs venting that I didn’t know where to start, so you know when that happens I have to unload some of it in a round of snark snippets, yes?

He should have been locked in his room …

Every time little Donnie is allowed out to play with the other kids, I get nervous.  Last year at the G7 summit he embarrassed us all by suggesting that Russia, who was ousted in 2014 from what was once the G8 for their forcible annexation of the Crimea, should be let back in.  He has already started on that tired old claim again this year.  His stated reason?

“Because we should have Russia at the negotiating table. You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.”

His real reason, however, is that Putin, in exchange for doing everything in his power to shove Donnie, despite the wishes of the voters in the U.S., into the Oval Office, in return expects Donnie to do his bidding.

Trump fails to understand that the G7 is meant to solidify policies on the basis of shared values and interests. If Putin were there, he would not be cooperative. Quite the contrary, he would render the group ineffective.

Trump’s minions are apparently pissed that France is focusing much of this year’s G7 meeting on such things as climate change and human rights … the Trump team apparently only wanted to discuss trade.  Quite frankly, in this I side with the French, for there is no single issue more relevant, more urgent than climate change and in fact, it is really the ONLY issue that matters very much at the moment.  If we don’t act on climate change NOW, nothing else will matter in just a few short years.  And I will always think that human rights are more important than trade.  At this time in our history, the U.S. is guilty of more serious human rights violations than in the past 155 years, since the end of slavery.

According to aides, Trump left for the G7 fully intending to promote his isolationist “America First” viewpoint, but hopefully the other six nations, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, UK, and Japan, will keep the conference to more relevant topics.  Otherwise, next year Trump may not need to worry about attending, and it may be called the G6.  According to Jon B. Alterman, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies …

“There has been a complete realization on the world stage that the U.S. is not playing its traditional role and may never again play the role it’s played for 75 years. But it’s unclear what role the United States will play, and what the consequences of that might be.”

European Council President Donald Tusk noted that …

“For me it’s absolutely clear that if someone, for example … the United States and President Trump, uses tariffs and taxation as a political instrument, tool for some different political reasons, it means that this confrontation can be really risky for the whole world, including the E.U. Under no condition can we agree with this logic. If the U.S. imposes tariffs on France, the E.U. will respond in kind.”

I’m sure I’ll have more about this after tomorrow, but for now, suffice it to say that Donald Trump fails to understand the concept of international cooperation, his ego requires that he be the center of attention at all times, that his demands are the only ones that matter.  He literally sucks all of the air out of the room when he’s in it.


She’s baaaaaaack …

I suppose you’ve all heard the news that former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the woman who sold her soul for the chance to lick Donald Trump’s boots, has taken a job over at Fox “News”?  As one person tweeted, “In a way, Sarah, you’ve been a Fox contributor all along.”  True dat.

Now, last I heard, when she left her position in July, she was planning on making a 2020 run for Governor of Arkansas.  Wonder what happened to that?  Oh wait … it’s perfect, now that I think about it!  She can be her own best source of advertisement … unlimited exposure, hundreds of opportunities to toot her own horn, to be seen by all the good people of Arkansas.  Who needs to worry about campaign contributions when they are on state-tv every day?

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather tweeted that her new role was “about as surprising as water flowing down hill.”

Comedienne Chelsea Handler: “I’m not surprised Sarah Huckabee Sanders is joining Fox News, but I will be surprised to see what she looks like as a blonde,” an obvious reference to the fact that most of the female personalities on Fox are blonde bimbos.

The jokes on Twitter were endless.  I will only say I’m thankful that I don’t watch Fox, for I had enough of watching Sanders lie for Donnie-boy for two years.  I only hope that the people of Arkansas are smart enough not to elect her governor.


A bit of humour …

I end with just a bit of humour … I debated about including this one, for in a way it’s not exactly tasteful (pun intended), but I simply couldn’t resist.

Apparently, Chicago doesn’t like Trump very much (does anybody, really???), and a Chicago eatery has found a new way to mock him.  The eatery is called Weiner’s Circle, and from what I understand it is a very popular hot dog stand.  Chicago is, after all, famous for hot dogs!

Weiner’s Circle has put a new item on the menu, named the Trump Footlong.  It is three inches long.Trump-footlong

“The special item will be dressed exactly the same as a Chicago dog, only smaller in size. Customers can enjoy a single Trump footlong for $2.69; a Trump Package with two hot dogs, fries and a drink for $8.30; or the Super PAC for $12.56, which comes with four hot dogs, fries and a drink, according to RedEye. Wiener’s Circle is doing a little decorating as well… “

Trump-footlong-2Wiener’s Circle employees are also wearing hats that say, “Make Wiener’s great again.” The Trump-style hot dogs are available Friday through Sunday.


And on that note, I shall quietly slip away for a bit, but stay tuned, for I have more …

‘Toons To Jump-Start The Weekend!

Whew … what a week, eh?  Take heart, my friends, for it’s Friday and hopefully we’ll have a two-day break from any major screw-ups by you-know-who.  I think he usually spends the weekends golfing and pigging out at one of his golf resorts … on  our dime, of course.  What better way to head into the weekend than with a few ‘toons, mostly at ol’ what’s-his-name’s expense?


Of course the biggest news item of the week was Trump’s idea that he could just pick up the phone, contact Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, and purchase Greenland.  Never mind that Congress had not authorized such a purchase, never mind that Greenland is an autonomous nation … he had a wild hair and acted, foolishly, on it.  Well, at least the cartoon artists had some fun with it.

COLORgreenland-2Nick Anderson cartoongreenland-4greenland-5Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and Greenlandgreenland-7


The saddest, most maddening news was that Trump has decided to strip the Endangered Species Act, placing profit ahead of life, ahead of the earth.  All living things are part of earth’s ecosystem and when we lose one species, it disturbs the balance.  Sadly, the only ‘balance’ that Trump and his cronies are concerned about is the one in their investment portfolio.  

animalsanimals-1animals-2animals-4animals-5

sad


Economists have been warning for a while now that there are signs of a pending slowdown … or worse.  Still, da man in da Oval lives in his own little world, listens to nobody, and says he trusts his ‘gut’ more than all the experts.  Sure is enough of his gut, isn’t there.  Anyway … for two weeks now, certain indicators of a potential recession have caused some market fluctuations.  Trump has an economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, who doesn’t even have a degree in economics … he, apparently, listens to Trump’s ‘gut’, too.  Trump has been bouncing off walls … first he’s going to cut payroll taxes, then he’s not.  He’s demanding that the Federal Reserve lower interest rates even more (really bad move, folks), and when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that a huge cut was unlikely, Trump called him “the enemy”, said he didn’t know whether our real enemy was China or Powell.  And as if that weren’t enough, so far he has blamed both the democrats and the media for trying to crash his economy just to make him look bad.  As if he needed help with that … 

economyeconomy-2economy-3economy-4


As we all knew he would, he reversed course on backing any new gun legislation, such as expanded background checks or red flag laws … {yawn} … it was only a matter of time.  We the People are far less important than his buddies over at the NRA …

gunsguns-2


I particularly liked this one …

Trump-tweets


And lastly, I just couldn’t resist a poke at the ginormous ego that is part and parcel of Donald Trump.  He was giving a press conference, when suddenly he stopped, looked up at the sky, and declared, “I am the chosen one”.  Please, somebody, shut this man up!!!  First, I have to ask … the chosen WHAT???  And chosen by whom?  Vladimir Putin? 

chosen-onechosen-one-2


Have a great weekend, my friends!

United We Stand … Divided We ???

Sean Spicer … remember him?  The first to claim that Trump’s less-than-stellar inauguration had drawn bigger crowds than Obama’s in 2009, he soon tired of being forced to tell so many lies on behalf of Trump that he resigned his position as White House Press Secretary and returned to private life.  So, what’s he doing now, you ask?  Why, he’s Dancing with the Stars, of course!DWTSThat’s right, folks, Sean is going to be paid between $125,000 and $295,000, depending on how long he remains on the show … as compared to the $180,000 per annum he earned as Trump’s mouthpiece.  Now, the show’s host, Tom Bergeron, is not at all pleased with Sean’s gig, and put out the following statement:Bergeron-statementNew York television critic James Poniewozik also sees it as a bad … really bad idea …

“To treat Spicer, and his reason for notoriety, as a harmless joke is to whitewash the harm of what he did, which was to say things so absurdly false that he invited his political side to join him in denying their own eyeballs, to encourage people to believe that facts don’t matter if they hurt your team.”

But Sean sees it differently.  He claims his appearance(s) on DWTS will “bring the country together” …

Sean Spicer Visits "Extra"

“My overall hope is that at the end of this season that Tom looks at this and says, bringing people together of very diverse backgrounds, whether it’s in politics or other areas, and allowing them to show America how we can engage in a really respectful and civil way, is actually a way to help bring the country together as opposed to bring it apart.”

Which brings me to my topic of the day: the divisiveness in this nation.

In any nation at any time, there will be conflicts, issues that divide the pro-business right and the pro-humanitarian left.  It has always been so, and that isn’t going to change, probably ever.  Most often, this is a healthy thing, leads to the best possible solution, a meeting of the minds.  But, today that divisiveness, which I have often enough referred to as ‘the great divide’, is at the highest level since the end of the Civil War in 1865.  Having a highly controversial political figure on an entertainment show is not going to change that.  And make no mistake, Sean Spicer is still lying for Donald Trump, as a senior advisor and spokesman for a pro-Trump super Political Action Committee (PAC) called America First.great-divideToday, there is no middle ground … the right has gone to the extreme right, and the left has moved further left than ever before.  There is no room for moderates, no tolerance for bipartisan lawmaking, and very little civil discourse taking place.  You’re either with us, or you’re ‘agin us’. Social media is a large part of the culprit here … sites like Facebook and Twitter could be venues for respectful, meaningful dialog, searching for answers to better understand ‘the other side’, but instead people have turned these sites into a venue for spewing hate and ugly reactions.

While I fully support the 1st Amendment right to free speech, there are times that unfettered freedom of speech does far more harm than good.  Conservatives and liberals, right and left, will never completely see eye-to-eye, will always be ideologically divided, but the state of affairs we see today cannot endure.

On June 16, 1858, President Abraham Lincoln gave an address after accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination as that state’s US senator.  An excerpt from that speech is apt today …

“A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

The situation was different then, the ideology different, but in some ways not so different after all.  Then, as now, there were some who believed that people with darker skin had less value.  That, certainly, is one of our issues today, but others are more complex.  Today, we fight over whether there is more value in large corporations having nearly-unlimited profit margins, or in protecting our environment and rescuing all life on earth.  Today, we fight over whether it is the role of government to assist those who cannot, whether temporarily or permanently, meet their own financial needs, or whether those people should simply be left to die.

Today, we fight over whether health care is a right for everyone, or a privilege for only the few.  Today, we fight over whether or not every Tom, Dick and Harry should have access to guns that were meant for one purpose only:  to kill.  Today, we fight over whether LGBTQ people are to be afforded the same civil rights as the rest of society, or whether they should be looked down on and treated as ‘sub-human’.  And today, despite the mandate for a separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, we fight over whether one specific religion has the right to impose their beliefs, their will, on all in this secular nation.

The above are only a few of the issues dividing this nation, but they are highly-charged, emotional issues, and they are leading us down a path that can only end in disaster.  Shortly after Lincoln’s speech, we ended up in a Civil War.  In that war, there was a line of demarcation – there can be none this time, for on any given street in this country, you will find people on both ends of the spectrum.  In the Civil War, the north wore blue and the south wore grey … in this war, everybody looks essentially the same.  The civil war divided families, brother fought brother.  This ‘war’ has already divided families, destroyed decades-long friendships, and led to bloodshed.

Sadly, the people who we have elected to govern this nation, are only widening the divide.  It is in their power to bring the two sides together, to ‘reach across the aisle’ and set an example for the people of this nation.  It is their responsibility and duty to do just that, but they have chosen to shirk those duties, to help widen the gap, to breed even more hatred and division across the nation.  Unless things at the top change drastically, this is not going to end well, my friends.  Sean Spicer is not an ambassador for good will, but rather is as much a part of the dividing wedge as any.  Watching him tap dance and likely end up on his arse is not the cure for what ails this nation.

I offer no solutions, for if I were that smart, I would be sitting in the Oval Office, or have an office on Capitol Hill.  I only know that we must do something soon, else the United States will be torn asunder, and likely end up in tatters.  All I ask is that you … think about it.