The Conversation — Part I

On Tuesday night, as I was responding to comments on my post titled This Is Not A Game!!!, about climate change and the recently-released NCA climate change report, I came across one comment that provided so much food for thought that I knew I could not do it justice in a single, quick response.  The commenter is our friend Maryplumbago, and she has covered almost every single topic that is relevant to our nation today.

I asked and received her permission to use her comment as a foundation for this post.  Mary poses so many ideas and questions, that I’m afraid I stepped onto my soapbox and didn’t know when to step down, so this is Part I of … either two or three parts, depending on when you guys start throwing rotten tomatoes at me and yelling for me to step down!  While I have not left out a single word of Mary’s, I have taken the liberty of rearranging the order of her points in order to be able to break this into more manageable parts.  Mary’s original comments are in normal text, my responses in blue.

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So many thoughts here …

I believe, as do reasonable people, that climate change is real and that we contribute to it and have been warned about it for many years now and it’s coming close to being too late.

The problem is reasonableness … most people are apathetic to it and care only for their own selfish lives and not beyond that. Others think it’s all a hoax and buy into trump’s idiocy and republican greed for profit at any cost.  

I think that certainly greed and profit play a huge roll, but when you drill down to the level of the individual, resistance to change and convenience are the two driving factors.  Try telling John Doe that he must trade in that big gas-guzzling SUV for a more environmentally friendly car with better fuel-economy.  Try telling his wife that she must recycle her trash, segregating plastics from paper from metal from glass.  Try telling them both that they should forgo their vacation to Florida this year, eat less meat, carpool to work, or turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater.  They will not be happy, for it is an inconvenience, and one they don’t feel they deserve. 

Then there are the fewer reasonable ones … but what can we do? I’m afraid the answer is nothing.

Well, we cannot sit back and accept that there is nothing we can do.  I don’t pretend to know the solution, but a couple of things come to mind.  First, people typically tend to wake up and change their attitude really quickly when they are personally and directly affected.  I think that the more we publicize such catastrophic events such as the hurricanes of the past two seasons, and the devastating wildfires in California for several years now, but especially this year and last, it must make people stop and think, “what if that was me?”  Education … repetition … keep hammering the message home.  And, of course, it would be greatly helpful if our federal government would tell the truth for a change and stop pandering to the wealthy fossil fuel barons.

When you see lines blocks long for a lotto ticket, crowds pushing and shoving on Black Friday in a Walmart, a racist winning a political race, hatred for immigrants, hatred for the “other” and on and on … do you really think things can get better? That people will change even after trump is gone? And this stuff is spreading to other countries.

There’s the quandary, isn’t it?  Trump is merely the manifestation of those things that have lain dormant, simmering just beneath the surface, apparently, while the majority of us had little or no idea.  The greed, the rudeness to get that last toy on Black Friday … are, I believe, all signs of people who are not satisfied with what they have, but always seek ‘more’.  The blame?  To some extent, I think the blame falls largely on advertisers who, in their efforts to promote their products, create the illusion of “need”.  This has always been the case, of course, but today it is magnified 1000-fold by the internet, by social media where viewers are bombarded by constant targeted ads.  If, for example, you’re just pondering, say, a new washer & dryer, so you go visit a few sites just to see what’s out there and at what cost.  The next day, you will be seeing ads for the latest and greatest in washing and drying machines on every website you visit, as well as your email box being filled with ads for the same.  Pretty soon, you’re convinced that your happiness depends on that new washer & dryer – the one with all the bells & whistles. There is truly no such thing as ‘internet privacy’, and the advertisers have free reign to troll you and then target you in their marketing plan.

The hatred for immigrants is based on fear.  I cannot explain that one well, other than to look back at the European settlers’ treatment of Native Americans centuries ago, and our treatment of African-Americans as slaves until 1865, both based on he fear of ‘other’.  That fear continued until … well, apparently it has never ended.  We thought we had made remarkable progress during the Civil Rights Era, and perhaps we had, but much of that progress has since been lost. 

I used to think that yes, once Trump was gone we could set about un-doing the damage he had done and the ‘great divide’ would begin to heal.  I no longer think that, although I firmly believe he is exacerbating an already tragic situation, instilling fear, supporting white supremacists and attempting to isolate us from our allies.  That does not, however, mean that I don’t think things can improve — merely that I think it will take more than simply saying “bye-bye” to Mr. Trump.  Ideally, we need a true leader to emerge and begin to heal the illness in this nation.  We need another Martin Luther King, or John F. Kennedy, a person who is strong, intelligent, charismatic, and understands the divisiveness of today.  A person who will work with people to allay fears rather than to create them.

To be continued … Meanwhile, feel free to join in the conversation!

Mind-Numbing, Jaw-Dropping Moments …

Two things in yesterday’s news were “Say WHAT?” moments.  Mind-numbing, jaw-dropping … the things that make you want to go live somewhere inside the Arctic Circle and forget you ever heard of the United States.

Ugly Trump“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it. You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.” – Donald Trump in interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, 26 November 2018

One of the problems I have with that statement is that I cannot decide whether it sends me into gales of laughter or fits of rage.  “High levels of intelligence”???  Even his most avid followers must surely be either shaking their heads or laughing hysterically at that one!  Intelligence is definitely not one of the words I would use to describe this pimple on the posterior of humanity!!!

People who are truly intelligent have no need to point it out to others.  People who are truly intelligent realize that there are some topics on which others may be more well-educated, and therefore they listen to the opinions of scientists, advisors, etc.  People who are truly intelligent do not act stupidly 99% of the time.  People who are truly intelligent read books.  I could go on and on in this vein, but I think you get the picture.  Trump is undoubtedly the least intelligent person to have been in the Oval Office in my 67 years at least.  And no, I don’t say that because I dislike him immensely.  I immensely dislike Vladimir Putin, but I consider him a fairly intelligent man.

The second problem I have with this statement is that the thing Trump was claiming to be “not necessarily” a believer in was man-made climate change and the need to work cooperatively toward cleaning up our planet.  That, in itself, is proof enough that he is not possessed of ‘high levels of intelligence’.pollution-2And, it goes without saying, the third problem I have with his statement is the lie that our air and water right now are “at a record clean”.  He removed regulations that prohibited coal companies from dumping sludge into creeks and streams, he has reversed other regulations that controlled the amount of CO2 industries could put into the atmosphere.  Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed to weaken or roll back three key public health safeguards directly limiting particle pollution: the Clean Power Plan, clean car rules, and methane standards for the oil and gas industry. These safeguards also indirectly cut particle pollution by fighting climate change—which is fueling larger wildfires and unhealthier wildfire smoke.  Compared to China, our air and water may be relatively clean, but we are doing a lousy job keeping them that way, and in the last week or two, since the smoke from the California wildfires made its way across the nation to the East coast, people with asthma can tell the difference.

So no, there is nothing highly intelligent about either Mr. Trump or his statement of ignorance.  But since he disgusts me, let’s move on to Mississippi …


Hyde-SmithThis is the face of an extreme racist.  This is the woman who will be sitting in the U.S. Senate for the next two years, fulfilling the term of former Senator Thad Cochran, who resigned earlier this year due to illness.  This is the woman who has said she would like to sit in the front row at a lynching.

Yes, Cindy Hyde-Smith won the run-off election against democrat Mike Espy on Tuesday night.  For a brief time, when the returns first began rolling in, Espy was ahead by a slim margin, but with only 1% of the votes counted at that time, I was pretty sure I knew what came next.  When next I glanced over that way, she had a 9% lead and so it remained for the rest of the evening.

As Hugh reminded me not long ago, we must be careful about painting an entire group with the same brush, but I still contend that for this racist woman to win by 7.8%, or 68,585 votes, tells us some things about the majority of people in Mississippi.

The headline in the New York Times read …

In Electing Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Stays True to Its Conservative Roots

Okay, ‘conservative roots’ are one thing, but blatant, crude, cruel racism is quite another – it is dangerous.  Regarding her win, Ms. Hyde-Smith said …

“The reason we won is because Mississippians know me and they know my heart. This win tonight, this victory, it’s about our conservative values, it’s about the things that mean the most to all of us Mississippians: our faith, our family.”

Translation:  The reason she won is that she is anti-immigration, pro-white supremacy, and her “values” mirror those of at least 54% of the state.  How much of this is due to voter suppression methods, I do not know.  Either way, though, 479,278 people voted for her.  479,278 people voted against Civil Rights, against equality, against LGBT rights, against women’s rights, and more.  Way. To. Go. Mississippians.


On that note, I am going to bed.  Good night, folks.  😴 💤

This Is Not A Game!!!

There are some stories that you can just look at the headline and call “BULL!”  Here are a few such:

Trump dismisses US climate change report

Trump: ‘We’re the cleanest’

Sen. Mike Lee gives a perfectly ridiculous reason to ignore climate change

G20 draft statement on climate change crafted to appease Trump, report says

California wildfires are the fault of ‘radical environmentalists,’ says Zinke

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when most people were either sleeping off the calories from the day before, else out pushing, shoving and fighting for the best deals on Christmas gifts, the NCA climate report, which had originally been scheduled for release in early December, was quietly released on what is known as “Black Friday”.  There may have been hopes on the part of Trump and his fellow climate change deniers that it would go largely unnoticed, but that wasn’t the case.Climate change Portland paperMajor national and regional newspapers such as the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Mercury News, Miami Herald, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times and Washington Post carried stories about the report on their front pages.

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.  The report is required by Congress every four years and is issued by 13 federal agencies and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  More than 1,000 people contributed to the report, including 300 leading scientists, roughly half from outside the government.

The report (link below) is 1,656 pages, but is handily broken into groups, with a nice summary.  I highly recommend you take at least a brief look at it, for this is important. Let’s take a look at the twelve key points:

  • Communities – Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.
  • Economy – Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.
  • Interconnected Impacts – Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders.
  • Actions to Reduce Risks – Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.
  • Water – The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.
  • Health – Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.
  • Indigenous Peoples – Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems.
  • Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services – Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being altered by climate change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative impacts on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such transformational changes.
  • Agriculture – Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.
  • Infrastructure – Our Nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure is further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being.
  • Oceans & Coasts – Coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.
  • Tourism and Recreation – Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.

The report supports the data from the IPCC report, issued last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to review and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.  Currently 195 countries are Members of the IPCC, and thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC.

So, we have two independent reports with data from a wide variety of the scientific community, both saying essentially the same thing.  Both should be a wake-up call to everyone.  But is the so-called leader of the United States, Donald Trump, awake?  No.  He told reporters on Monday that he had “read some of” Friday’s report, but the ‘man’ who still doesn’t understand the difference between ‘climate’ and ‘weather’ takes no responsibility and largely says he doesn’t believe either of these reports.

“You’re going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia and all these other countries, you know, it  addresses our country. Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So I want clean air, I want clean water, very important.”global warmingThink of the wildfires in California.  Take a look at this graph showing the increase in expenditures to fight wildfires since 1985:

wildfire graph

Consider the severe hurricanes we have experienced over the past two years.  There can be no doubt in any thinker’s mind that we are destroying our environment.  Trump and the other climate change deniers claim that increased fossil fuel use creates jobs and boosts the economy.  They claim that removing constraints and regulations from industries enhances corporate profits, thereby adding to the economy.  All of which is, first off, lies, and secondly, irrelevant if we bring about the extinction of not only the human race, but every other living creature on this planet.  And that, folks, is exactly what we are doing.  You don’t have to understand the science to know that it is credible. All you have to do is look around, read the newspaper, think!

Other nations would be well within their rights to be furious with the U.S. for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and reversing course on environmental protection.  I would hazard a guess that ultimately, the United Nations will issue an edict that, if ignored, will lead to a war.  This is too important to ignore.  Trump thinks this is a game, thinks it is all about money.  It isn’t a game, and frankly, all the money in the world won’t matter if we don’t wake up and smell the coffee … SOON!

Links to reports (all links open in separate tabs):

NCA Report

IPCC Report

On Draining the ‘Swamp’ …

swamp-1Remember back in 2015-2016, that long, ugly, disgusting, tiresome campaign Trump conducted?  Yeah, who could forget, right, especially since he doesn’t seem to realize that the 2016 election has ended and the campaign is over, so he keeps holding more and more of his really crappy rallies where he still has his minions chanting “Lock her up!”, even though they have forgotten who it was he wanted locked up.  One of the many things that he spent that year-and-a-half (have I mentioned that it was a very looooooong year-and-a-half?) shoving down people’s throats was how he was going to “drain the swamp”, a euphemism for getting rid of corruption in the federal government.  Well, we now know, thanks to Kellyanne Conway, that Trump uses a different dictionary, a different vocabulary than we do, called ‘alternative facts’, and that by ‘drain the swamp’, what he really meant was he was planning to bring in much more lethal, corrupt, greedy, criminal gators ‘n crocs.

One of my favourite comedians, John Oliver, has applied his own special brand of humour to the notion of Trump ‘draining the swamp’, and it is worth a watch … both educational and humorous …

Thank you, John!swamp-4

Snarkier Than Usual Snippets — Part II

As promised, I have more snippets deserving of my sardonic wit today …


Lock her (Ivanka) up!!!

ivankaRemember the rallying cries of Trump supporters when they chanted “Lock her up!!!”, with only minimal prompting from Trump?  The ‘her’ was Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential race, and the reason for the chant was that Trump called her use of a private email server for government business when she was Secretary of State, criminal.  Well, he who laughs last, laughs best, and guess what, folks?  Ivanka Trump has just been found to have done that very thing that Hillary, cleared by the FBI, was accused of.

According to The Washington Post

Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence.

White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.

The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. He attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account as secretary of state.

Burn, Baby, Burn … Maybe this will finally get her out of the White House and we won’t have to look at her fat posterior and grotesque fingernails on our screens every day!


Speaking of being respectful …

Adam Schiff is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a democrat who has served in Congress since 2001.  Remember Trump’s propensity for making up derogatory nicknames for people he doesn’t like, which means anybody who doesn’t bow down to him and lick his dirty boots?  Remember “Lyin’ Ted (Cruz)” and “Crooked Hillary (Clinton)”, “Little Marco (Rubio)”, “Pocahontas (Senator Warren)” and all the others?  Well, Trump doesn’t like Representative Schiff, so he not-so-subtly changed Mr. Schiff’s last name in one of his nefarious tweets …Trump-tweet-SchiffNo, my friends, that was no typo … that was fully intentional and so far beneath what I would expect from any leader of a nation that my jaw actually dropped.  This ‘man’ is a jackass extraordinaire.  For his part, Mr. Schiff responded with humour, saying …

“Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?”

I think that We The People of this nation have a right to expect better from the ‘man’ whose salary we pay and to whom we have entrusted our lives, our country, our futures.  Someway, somehow, this ‘man’ needs to be removed from the Oval Office, for he is not … I repeat, he is not … even a man, let alone a president.  Apologies on behalf of the sane people in this nation to Representative Schiff.


Trump in California …

Donald Trump should be shackled with leg irons to his chair in the Oval Office, for every time he is allowed out, he makes a fool not only of himself, but also of this nation.  After his royal screw-up in France last week, he decided to go to California over the weekend to see how many photo ops he could get in the burned-out town of Paradise.  Trump, you see, was jealous that the media was more interested in the California wild fires that were devastating the state, than in covering his every move.

Trump was not given the royal welcome he had expected, for two reasons.  First, he had made his now-famous tweet on November 10th, saying …

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

Californians, watching their homes be burned to the ground, frantically trying to find missing loved ones, didn’t take kindly to Trump’s bombast.  And the second reason the red carpet wasn’t rolled out for him is that the good people of California were too busy trying to fight the fires, salvage what they could of their lives, etc.  Anyway, the red carpet was burned up in the Camp Fire.

Trump-California

It just can’t get any uglier

He got his photo op, although it wasn’t what he expected, and at least he didn’t throw rolls of paper towels to the victims – I suppose we should be thankful for that.  But he embarrassed us all once again when he couldn’t resist repeating his prior statement and embellishing on it by saying that Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto told him that his country doesn’t have the same problem with fires because it spends “a lot of time on raking and cleaning” the forest floors.  President Niinisto says he did not say any such thing, and now Finland is having great fun, at Trump’s (and ours) expense.Finn-vacuums-forest

mocking-trump.png

more mocking trumpWell, you get the picture.  But that wasn’t the end of his ignorance.  The town of Paradise was completely destroyed, only Trump couldn’t be bothered to even get the town’s name right …

“I mean, as big as they look on the tube, you don’t see what’s going on until you come here. And what we saw at Pleasure, what a name, right now.”

And just minutes later …

“We just left Pleasure.”

beating head in disgustshaking_head_in_disgust_anim_md_wm


This concludes my two-part miniseries of ‘snarkier than usual snippets’, and presumably explains why I have slipped back into the rabbit hole.  Never in my life have I seen so much chaos, ignorance, corruption and cruelty in this nation.  Thanks to all who voted for the abomination in the Oval Office for ruining our lives, our nation.

A Dose of Snark …

I haven’t done any ‘Snarky Snippets’ for a week or so, for the elections and the surrounding detritus have taken up a large portion of my time and energies.  But today, I am settling back in and had a few things to say about this ‘n that.


fires-2California is currently suffering three major wildfires, one of which, the Camp Fire, is now the most destructive recorded in state history. The blaze destroyed the entire town of Paradise, north of Sacramento, and has killed at least nine people. About three dozen more remain missing.

Donald Trump had nary a word to say about the fires until 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning, when he tweeted …trump-tweet-fires.pngWhat a guy, eh?  So caring, kind and compassionate for the people who have lost loved ones, lost their homes and businesses …  But, setting aside his typical inhumanity for the moment, with his words he has, once again, shown his ignorance.  He did not bother to do his homework, to attempt to learn something about the situation before spouting off at the thumbs.fires-1Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has acknowledged that a downed power line is most likely the cause of the Camp Fire, although no official cause has yet been announced.  High winds are the major factor in the rapid spread of the other two fires, and overall, a lack of rainfall contributed to all three.fires-3I’m sure the people of California, not to mention the firefighters who are risking their lives to try to save lives and property, must be heartened by and appreciative of Trump’s words … not!  Think before you tweet should become his new mantra and somebody in his administration should plaster it over all the walls in his office and living quarters!


Either Trump’s handlers have not learned their lesson, or they are not up for the job and we need to hire new handlers, aka babysitters.  I would have thought that by now they would have learned not to let the man leave the country.  He does not play well with others. He does enough damage here at home, but every single time he has traveled abroad, he has further damaged our relations with our allies.  Friday was no exception.Trump-MacronTrump arrived in France Friday to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I and meet with world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron. Moments after landing, Trump tweeted an attack on Macron …trump-tweet-macron.png

Given the level of venom Trump has directed toward European leaders in the past, who can blame members of the EU for feeling a need for protection, even against the U.S.?  Yet another case where “think before you tweet” might have been sound advice.


Remember a week or so ago, right before the mid-term elections, when Trump was so scared of his party losing their majority in the House that he was grasping at straws, trying to inject a new level of fear in voters in hopes of winning their votes?  And remember how, as a part of all that, he sent U.S. troops to the southern border, claiming that the caravan of migrants that was, at that time, some 1,000 miles away, was just filled with ruffians, criminals and even … gasp … Middle-Eastern terrorists!!!  And the whole thing, he claimed, was funded by George Soros and his band of merry democrats!

Well, everything was a huge lie, except that he did send troops to the border.  No reason, really, but he couldn’t very well claim there was an impending “invasion” without looking tough by sending troops, now could he?  Besides which, the ‘man’ has been dying to play with his new toys (the military) for nigh on two years now, and here was the perfect trumped-up (pun intended) excuse!

playing cardsOnly thing is … while there is a migrant caravan, it is not anything but poor, starving migrants fleeing the violence in their own country, trying to protect their innocent children.  And they won’t even arrive at our southern border until sometime in December.  So … what’s going on now with the nearly 6,000 men and women who were ordered to go down there and quell the “invasion”?  Gin rummy.  Poker.  Sitting ‘round a campfire telling dirty jokes.  No electricity.  Won’t be home for Thanksgiving.

Pentagon officials privately derided the deployment as an expensive waste of time and resources, and a morale killer to boot.  ‘Privately’ … I guess they are all afraid to do their jobs and advise their commander of the realities.  But the other thing is … guess who’s paying for all this and guess how much it’s costing?  Yes, my friends, you and I are paying for it, even though we neither need nor want it.  As to the cost … a final cost estimate of the deployment has not been made available. But Defense Department budget officials say that if the number of troops sent to the border does reach the 15,000 Trump has threatened, the price tag could hit $200 million, with no specific budget allocation from which to draw.  Remember those “tax cuts” that only benefited the wealthy 1%?  Do the math.


So concludes today’s batch of snarky snippets … but I still have more in me, so … stay tuned!

And We Thought Trump Was Horrible?

On Sunday, October 7th, Brazilians elected a new president, Jair Bolsonaro.  Until this man was elected, I thought that the U.S. was alone in having lost its collective mind, as evidenced by the election of Donald Trump.  Bolsonaro is every abominable thing Trump is … and much more.  I have to question the sanity of the 55% of Brazilians who voted for this demagogue.  But then, I have long questioned the sanity of those in the U.S. who voted for Donald Trump, also.  Oh, and guess who worked on Bolsonaro’s campaign?  None other than Trump’s former campaign advisor, Steve Bannon!!!Bolsonaro-TrumpFirst let’s look at some similarities …

  • Opposes most all forms of gun control
  • Strongly opposed to same-sex marriage
  • Opposes environmental regulations
  • Opposes women’s right of choice
  • Opposes affirmative action
  • Opposes land reforms
  • Opposes secularism
  • Plans to pull out of Paris climate accord
  • Plans to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
  • Is on his third marriage (yes, it’s irrelevant, but still says something, I think)

But then there are those ideas and rhetoric that take him beyond even what Trump dares to say …

He has made statements in defense of the former Brazilian military regime (a dictatorship known for constant human rights violations). He claims that torture is a “legitimate practice” and says that he would try to pass new legislation regarding the introduction of life imprisonment to the Brazilian penal code.

Bolsonaro said that “the error of the dictatorship was that it tortured but did not kill”.

Brazil has the world’s largest tropical rainforest in the Amazon basin. Bolsonaro has chafed at foreign pressure to safeguard the rainforest, and he served notice to international nonprofit groups such as the World Wildlife Fund that he will not tolerate their agendas in Brazil. He has also come out strongly against lands reserved for indigenous tribes. Bolsonaro advisers additionally say that he plans to expand nuclear and hydroelectric power into the Amazon.

In a 2017 speech, Bolsonaro stated, “God above everything. There is no such thing as this secular state. The state is Christian, and the minority will have to change, if they can.”

Bolsonaro argued that men and women should not receive the same salaries, because women get pregnant; adding that he believes federal law mandating paid maternity leave harms work productivity.  Bolsonaro said that he had five children, that the first four were male and that for the fifth he produced a daughter out of “a moment of weakness”.

Bolsonaro said that “I would be incapable of loving a gay son,” and added that he would prefer any gay son of his “to die in an accident…”  Seriously???  Wow, what a dad, huh?  He went on to say that if a gay couple moved in next door to him, it would lower the market value of his house. Bolsonaro linked homosexuality to pedophilia, claiming that “many of the children who are adopted by gay couples will be abused by these couples.”  I have to ask … what rock did this pos slither out from under???  “If I see two men kissing in the street, I will beat them.” He then publicly defended beating gay children by saying: “If your child starts to become like that, a little gay, you take a whip and you change their behavior.”

On October 4, 2018, Bolsonaro said: “A father does not want to come home and see his son playing with a doll by the influence of school. Homosexuals will be happy if I become president”

trump-jr-eduardo-bolsonaro

Don Trump, Jr. (center) with Eduardo Bolsonaro (second from left)

Trump and Bolsonaro both indicate they plan to work together to improve relations between the U.S. and Brazil, and their sons have already met.  Eduardo Bolsonaro, Bolsonaro’s eldest son, met with Don Trump Jr. in Las Vegas. “They went to a shooting range together—not a major meeting but they got to know each other a bit,” according to a member of Bolsonaro’s party.  Following Bolsonaro’s victory, Trump tweeted …

“Had a very good conversation with the newly elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who won the race by a substantial margin. We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else!”

Bolsonaro-2Bolsonaro’s election is another feather in the cap of the populist movement.  He won by tapping into a deep well of resentment at the status quo in Brazil — a country whiplashed by rising crime and two years of political and economic turmoil — and by presenting himself as the alternative.  Unlike Donald Trump in 2016, Bolsonaro actually won the popular vote by 55%, but one thing they both said that is striking is that “I alone can fix this”.  And they have in common their loudness, their crassness, their utter contempt for such things as respect, common courtesy and quiet dignity.  They are both loud, ‘in your face’ sorts.  Both countries have a large women’s protest movement … in the U.S. it is “Never Trump” and in Brazil it is “Ele Nao” (Not Him).

Like Trump, Bolsonaro has been a divisive figure in Brazil and those who love him seem to do so mainly for his tough talk.  Having seen what nearly two years of Trump has wrought upon this nation, I can only empathize with the people of Brazil.  Is this, then, the face of things to come, the type of ‘leader’ that people around the world will choose in the future?  Let us hope not.

Score Four For Justice!!!

There are some signs that perhaps judges and the courts are finally getting a bit fed up with the shenanigans of Donald Trump and his fellow GOP bullies.


Yesterday in Georgia, U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross ruled that Georgia’s restrictive voting laws are likely to result in the violation of voting rights for a large group of people and needed to be halted immediately.

As I noted in a previous post the republican candidate running for governor, Brian Kemp, currently holds the position of Secretary of State and as such is the overseer of elections. Kemp has implemented strict “exact match” laws that may disqualify voters based on simple discrepancies, such as a dropped hyphen between the persons voter registration and other identification, such as a driver’s license.  Last month, a coalition of civil rights groups filed suit against Kemp.

In Friday’s ruling, Judge Ross said Kemp’s restrictions raised “grave concerns for the Court about the differential treatment inflicted on a group of individuals who are predominantly minorities.”  The preliminary injunction she issued required the state to change its procedures immediately to allow those flagged, some 3,100 individuals, to prove their citizenship more easily, with a U.S. passport or similar documentation.

Kemp was also ordered to issue a news release explaining how those flagged for potential citizenship issues could still vote by proving their citizenship, as well as offering a phone number for them to call with any questions.  Kemp’s actions as Secretary of State have been scrutinized in the wake of a report from the Associated Press that he had stalled more than 50,000 voter registrations by disproportionately black voters under the state’s exact-match requirements.

Score one for justice!  ⚖️


Did you think that with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court last month, the Court would be naught more than a mouthpiece for Trump and his policies?  Think again.  Yesterday, the Court refused a request by the Trump administration to delay an upcoming trial in which a number of states and civil rights organizations allege there was an improper political motive in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  The trial will begin as scheduled on Monday.

Administration lawyers had more than once asked the Supreme Court to disallow challengers from questioning Ross and other administration officials about their motivations in adding the question.  When they were unsuccessful, they then asked that the trial be delayed, presumably until some point after the mid-term elections.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have granted the Trump administration’s request to delay the trial.  It is unknown how Kavanaugh voted.

Score another for justice!  ⚖️


Also, on Friday evening, the Supreme Court once again ruled against Trump in the case filed by 21 young people who argue that the failure of government leaders to combat climate change violates their constitutional right to a clean environment.  The suit is currently pending before a federal judge in Oregon, but the Trump administration sought to halt the lawsuit, claiming that the “suit is based on an assortment of unprecedented legal theories, such as a substantive due process right to certain climate conditions, and an equal protection right to live in the same climate as enjoyed by prior generations.”

The goal of the lawsuit is to compel the government to scale back its support for fossil fuel extraction and production and to support policies aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

This is by no means the end, and the case is almost certain to ultimately land back in the laps of the Supreme Court justices, but for now, Trump did not have his way.

Score yet another for justice!  ⚖️


And finally, also on Friday, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Maryland, denied Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is violating the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments.  Apart from the ruling against Kemp in Georgia, this is the one that had my heart doing a happy dance.

Additionally, Judge Messitte sharply questioned the president’s position that his business does not improperly accept gifts or payments — called emoluments — as defined by the Constitution.

The plaintiffs in the case, the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland, contend that the Trump hotel unfairly competes with convention centers and hotels in their jurisdictions. Among other documents, they are expected to seek records that reveal the identity of hotel guests who visited the White House on official business, as well as how much the president has profited. Ultimately, they could try to go after the president’s tax returns.

The Justice Department asked for the judge’s permission to appeal his rulings and to delay discovery in the meantime. But Judge Messitte said the department could follow the typical legal process and appeal when the case is over.

“If the president is permitted to appeal the court’s decisions in piecemeal fashion, ultimate resolution of the case could be delayed significantly, perhaps for years. That, as a matter of justice, cannot be countenanced.”

The judge also dismissed the president’s argument that discovery would be unduly burdensome, noting that Mr. Trump had threatened to sue his former campaign chief and others. “The president himself appears to have had little reluctance to pursue personal litigation despite the supposed distractions it imposes upon his office,” he wrote.

Score one more for truth and justice! ⚖️


Some of these cases may turn in the coming weeks/months, but for today, the judicial branch has shown Trump that he is not yet a dictator and that there is still a demand for both truth and justice, honesty and integrity in the American system.

On Re-defining Language …

Way back in the first days of Trump’s administration, Kellyanne Conway said that there can be ‘alternative facts’.  Trump and then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer made wild and visually-disputable claims that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was ‘the largest ever’, and even ‘larger than Obama’s’, neither of which were even remotely true.  When questions, Kellyanne said, “Well, you know, there can be alternative facts”.  No, Kellyanne, there cannot, for facts are proven and undisputable.  Nonetheless, alternative facts became the norm in the Trump administration, although most of us have another name for them:  lies.

Not only did Trump and his minions hold tight to the use of alternative facts, but they took it a step further and began to re-define various words.  ‘Good’, for example, when used by a trumpeter, can generally be assumed to have the opposite meaning.  When a republican lawmaker says he supports something, such as healthcare protections, it generally means he voted to gut ACA.  And the list goes on.

Last Monday, Trump took on the definitions of two more words:  globalist and nationalist.

“Radical Democrats want to turn back the clock. Restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists. You know what a globalist is, right? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much. And, you know what? We can’t have that.”

“You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, ‘Really? We’re not supposed to use that word,’ You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. OK? I’m a nationalist. Use that word. Use that word.”

According to Merriam-Webster …

Definition of nationalism

1 : loyalty and devotion to a nation

especially : a sense of national consciousness (see CONSCIOUSNESS sense 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups

Intense nationalism was one of the causes of the war.

Throughout history, words have evolved, and while there is nothing sinister about the first part of this definition, “loyalty and devotion to a nation”, the rest of the definition brings on images of jackboots on cobblestones.  It dates back to the 17th century and rose into prominence during the uprisings in the 18th century that produced the American and French revolutions. But the word attained even more of a negative connotation during the 20th century as it become associated with the nationalism movements in Europe that helped lead to World War I and World War II. Today the word is often associated with the far-right, racist ideologies of white nationalists.

Nationalism has been on the rise worldwide, as evidenced by the success of nationalist political parties in Europe. And it had a double bang in 2016, as it powered Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump as US President. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former top strategist, said Trump used an “economic nationalist agenda” to win.

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘globalism’ …

A person who advocates the interpretation or planning of economic and foreign policy in relation to events and developments throughout the world.

Trade, protection, the environment … these are all issues that require global cooperation.  Remember 11 September 2001?  U.S. airspace was shut down, yet there were incoming planes filled with people with nowhere to go.  What happened?  Our friends the Canadians opened their airports, as well as their homes and their hearts, let our planes land, took stranded passengers into their homes, fed them … this is part of what globalism is about … see anything evil in that?

Trump has now declared that he is against globalism and is a nationalist, yet the majority of the people in this nation do not want to be an isolationist nation for we see the very real dangers.  We need our friends around the globe, just as they need us, and Mr. Trump has it all wrong … ALL WRONG … if he thinks that shunning other nations makes us safer, for in every sense of the word, it endangers our lives.

Further, Mr. Trump seems to be playing to the white supremacist arm of nationalists who eschew any who are not white, Christian, and of European descent.  Hence, his desire for a wall to keep Hispanics from Mexico, Central and South America out of our country.  Hence, his stepped-up deportations of even legal immigrants.  Hence, his aversion to immigrants from the Middle East.

The United States will not survive as an independent nation if we shut ourselves off from international affairs.  Technology has made the planet smaller and in today’s world, no nation can thrive without the help of others.  Trump would lead us down a path of certain destruction, given his way.  He is wrong, but sadly there are those who do not understand such things as trade, the environment, national debt, and global cooperation.  Nor do they care to take the time to educate themselves.  It is time to put the brakes on Trump’s out-of-control train, and the only way to do that is to vote the republicans out of Congress, for they have proven for the past two years that they will give him free rein.  Trump and this 115th Congress have done much damage, some that will take decades to repair, but the real nightmare comes with what could be done in another two years of an unchecked madman at that helm.

Meanwhile, Back in Hawaii …

Amid all the news of bombs sent to former leaders yesterday and the surrounding conspiracy theories, you may have missed the fact that the U.S. has shrunk by approximately 11 acres.  More to the point, we have lost one of the Hawaiian Islands.  Yes, folks, it is true.   East Island has vanished after coming into contact with Hurricane Walaka, an intense storm that hit Hawaii earlier this month.  You remember that, right … I mean, all the news outlets were covering it, right?  No?  Hmmmm …

According to a story in The Guardian:

Scientists have confirmed the disappearance of the 11-acre island after comparing satellite images of the surrounding French Frigate Shoals, part of an enormous protected marine area in the north-western Hawaiian Islands.

“I uttered a swear word. I had a ‘holy cow!’ moment, somewhat in disbelief that it had disappeared,” said Chip Fletcher, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Hawaii. Fletcher and his colleagues were in the process of researching East Island through drone videos and taking samples of sand and corals to ascertain the age of the island and gauge its future prospects in the face of climate change.

“The island was probably one to two thousand years old and we were only there in July, so for it to be lost right now is pretty bad luck,” Fletcher said.

“We wanted to monitor the island so we are disappointed it has gone, but on the other hand we have learned these islands are far more at risk than we thought. I thought the island would be around for a decade or two longer, but it’s far more fragile than I appreciated. The top, middle and bottom of it has gone.”

Despite its size, the island played an important role for wildlife, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, a species that numbers just 1,400 individuals, with many of the seals raising their young on East Island. Green sea turtles, which are also threatened, and seabirds such as albatrosses, which often had their young preyed upon by circling tiger sharks, also depended on the island.

And just what, you may ask, does it matter if such a tiny little island is lost?  Nobody lived on it, right?

If conditions align, an atoll would always be at a small risk of being erased by a powerful hurricane. But climate change is causing the ocean and atmosphere to warm, making storms fiercer, while there’s evidence that hurricanes are moving further north into the latitudes where East Island once lay.

Rising sea levels are also eroding away low-lying islands, with several fragments of land in the Pacific vanishing in recent years.

“The take-home message is climate change is real and it’s happening now,” Randy Kosaki, a senior official for the Hawaii monument at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Honolulu Civil Beat, which first reported the disappearance of East Island. “It’s not a hoax propagated in China as some folks have said.”

And then, just this morning in The Washington Post

Extreme Category 5 typhoon, the worst U.S. storm since 1935, leaves Northern Mariana Islands devastated

The Northern Mariana Islands are yet another U.S. territory to have been pummeled by a strong hurricane in the past two years. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico suffered calamitous strikes in the 2017 hurricane season, and Guam was recently struck by Typhoon Mangkhut.

Overall, the escalating impacts on U.S. island territories in the Pacific and Caribbean underscore that as seas rise and storms worsen in the face of climate change, small islands face some of the most extreme risks on Earth.

And despite all this, the U.S., the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide (China is #1), not only refuses to acknowledge the cause and effect of carbon dioxide emissions on the environment but refuses to acknowledge climate change altogether!  Worse yet, the government of the United States is actively doing everything in its power to increase the burning of fossil fuels and cancel or impede regulations on industries that are intended to help slow the effects of climate change.

Today, it was an 11-acre uninhabited island.  Tomorrow?