Mad As Hell! (Part I)

Okay, folks, I’ve had enough.  All day, there has been a slow burn building up and it’s just about to ‘splode, so hold on to your hats.

Today will be the first official day of the Impeachment Trial of one Donald F. Trump.  This is a serious affair, for Mr. Trump has abused the power of his office, has utterly failed to uphold the Constitution he took an oath to uphold, has used the office of president for his own personal gain, and in so doing has put the entire nation at risk.  He has already, and will remain throughout history, a dishonoured, impeached president, but now it is up to the U.S. Senate to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to convict him, thereby removing him from office and protecting the nation from further atrocities.

Now, if the Senate carefully reviews the evidence, listens to witness testimony, and then decides to acquit Trump, I will be disappointed, but I will not scream from the rooftops.  But, as of this writing, it appears that there will be no such thing as a fair and honest trial, as impartial judges, and We the People will not be served.  First, as I reported previously, Senator Mitch McConnell said he would conduct the trial according to the wishes of the White House, and Senator Lindsey Graham blatantly said he had no intention of being fair and impartial, but that he had already decided to acquit Trump.

The “White House” sent its first ‘legal brief’1 yesterday, all 171 pages, signed by twelve of the attorneys representing Trump.  171 pages!  Twelve lawyers!  I found it highly interesting to note the name of Jordan Sekulow as one of the signers of the document.  Jordan Sekulow is the son of Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal lawyer.  Both Jay and Jordan are talk radio show hosts, as well as lawyers.  The document begins with the Executive Summary that starts …

The Articles of Impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution and to our democratic institutions. The Articles themselves—and the rigged process that brought them here—are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected.

Rigged???  Sounds just like something coming out of Trump’s mouth, doesn’t it?  A dozen lawyers and this is how they start a 171-page legal brief?  But more importantly are those last three words, “must be rejected”.  The document goes on to urge senators to “immediately” acquit the president of the charges that will be formally presented at his trial that starts in earnest this week, even before hearing evidence or testimony!  Trump’s legal team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, wrote that Trump “did absolutely nothing wrong” as it accused the House Democrats who impeached the president of attempting to overturn the results of the 2016 election and “to interfere in the 2020 election.”  SAY WHAT???

“The only threat to the Constitution that House Democrats have brought to light is their own degradation of the impeachment process and trampling of the separation of powers.”

Trampling of the separation of powers.  Now, isn’t that funny, coming from the lawyers representing the ‘man’ who has refused to allow congressional oversight time and time and time again.  This from the ‘man’ who ordered an assassination of a high-ranking foreign general without cause and without bothering to mention it to Congress.  This from a ‘man’ who forbade people both within and outside the administration from answering congressional subpoenas.

I am not a lawyer … I took a few Constitutional Law classes during my post-graduate studies, but I am in no way an expert.  Still, I know bullshit when I hear it, I know that these guys, under other circumstances, in a fair and honest trial, wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting their client off.  But, these are not other circumstances, and this is not at all likely to be either a fair or honest trial.

The seven House members who will be prosecuting this case submitted a 9-page response2 … nine pages to respond to 171 pages.  Tells you that a) most of the 171 pages were just what I said, bullshit, and b) the House members have better things to do with their time.  The response begins …

The American people entrusted President Trump with the extraordinary powers vested in his Office by the Constitution, powers which he swore a sacred Oath to use for the Nation’s benefit. President Trump broke that promise. He used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit. In doing so, he jeopardized our national security and our democratic self-governance. He then used his Presidential powers to orchestrate a cover-up unprecedented in the history of our Republic: a complete and relentless blockade of the House’s constitutional power to investigate high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment. That is a chilling assertion.

It is, indeed, a chilling assertion. Any other president in the history of this nation would have been tried, convicted, and escorted out of the White House, probably in handcuffs by now for the many abuses of power Trump has committed, both before his election and since taking office.  Any other president would have been impeached and removed from office after the release of Robert Mueller’s report last year.  But, no other president in the past 233 years, not even Richard M. Nixon, has abused the office of the president in the many ways Trump has.  Since he has gotten by with it thus far, he seems to believe that he is invincible.

And maybe he is, since he has rid the government of those with morals and integrity, surrounding himself with characters who have little experience to qualify them for their jobs, but are slavishly dedicated and loyal to Donald F. Trump.

One more thing …

In the event that at least four republican senators vote to hear witness testimony, Trump’s lawyers and sycophants in the Senate are preparing a “Plan B” to ensure that John Bolton will not be allowed to testify, or that if he does, his testimony will be kept from the public.  Another abuse of the power of the office, another denigration of the separation of powers.  I hope … I sincerely hope that John Bolton has the cojones to give an interview to the New York Times or another credible media outlet and tells all.

If you have any remaining illusions that this is still, as Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, you’d be wrong.  This is a government of, by, and for the wealthiest few people in this nation, including Donald F. Trump.  We the People are NOT being served, but rather are being royally screwed.

White House legal brief

House Prosecutor’s response

A Few Mini-Rants …

I am growling today.  Every headline I read raises my hackles and makes me wish I had never heard of the United States, let alone have to live here.  Typically, I blame 90% of it on Donald Trump, and certainly he deserves the lion share, but I also have to blame the blind 40% of this nation that still … STILL … after the corruption, the childish temper tantrums, the shredding of the Constitution and the ill will he’s brought from our allies … they STILL effing love him!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …


Ditch the veggies – give the kids burgers instead!

Donald Trump’s main mission in life, it would seem, is to attempt to erase President Obama from the annals of history.  It must be miserable to be so jealous of one man.  Granted, Obama was far wiser, much better looking, had integrity, dignity, spoke well, and had a genuinely beautiful family … all those things that Trump lacks.  But, his envy is costing us in so many ways.  First, there was the rollback of all the environmental regulations that had been put in place during Obama’s tenure to try to do our part to combat climate change.  Then, there was the rollback of law enforcement oversight to try to better screen and train law enforcement officers as we hoped to reduce the tragic shootings by police of unarmed black men.  Then there was the utterly ludicrous pulling out of the Paris Accords and the terrible decision to leave our allies holding the bag on the Iran nuclear deal.  And all for one reason and one reason only:  because he is jealous of President Obama.  But this latest …

You may remember that Michelle Obama’s key initiative during her time as First Lady was fighting childhood obesity and providing better nutrition in school meals.  A worthy endeavour, indeed.  Well, that’s the latest thing being rolled back.  Yes, pick your jaws up off the floor, but the USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps proposed new rules for the Food and Nutrition Service that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries to students.

Why, you ask?  Well, the gobblety-gook explanation Mr. Lipps gave was something about having to provide students with two bananas to meet dietary guidelines.  Okay … sooooo … bananas are cheap … what’s the problem?  Well, the real problem is that it was under Obama that we began taking school nutrition seriously, and both Obamas were instrumental in providing more healthy foods and less fat to kids in school.  Can’t have that now, can we.

Another likely reason is the potato lobby that has been pushing for this change, and that the potato industry was behind a change that happened quietly last March making it easier to substitute potatoes for some fruit in weekly breakfast menus.  Once again, corporate profit over the well-being of people.  Sigh.


Senator Martha McSally, bitch extraordinaire

The incident in and of itself was bad enough.  A CNN reporter, Manu Raju, asked Senator McSally a legitimate question …

Raju: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?

McSally: You’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you.

Raju: You’re not going to comment, Senator?

McSally: You’re a liberal hack, buddy.

Whoa!  McSally is quite a step down from her predecessor, the late Senator John McCain.  McCain once interjected when, at a campaign event while he was running against Barack Obama, a fan was being critical of Obama, calling him an “Arab” among other things.  McCain did not let the woman finish, but took the microphone from her and said, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign issue is all about.”  And here is his successor calling a reporter a ‘liberal hack’ simply because he asked a very valid question.  Yes, that would have been bad enough, but …

McSally was so proud of her behaviour that she put a video of the incident on Twitter.  And, McSally’s re-election campaign is already using the incident as a fund-raising tool!

McSally-tweet

Now, McSally faces re-election later this year, as she was only appointed to finish the term vacated by reason of John McCain’s death.  She ran for the other Senate seat from Arizona in 2018, but lost to Kyrsten Sinema.  And, she wasn’t even Governor Doug Ducey’s first choice to fill McCain’s seat … he initially chose Jon Kyl, but Kyl resigned due to health concerns.  With such low values as she has shown, I don’t care if it’s Moe from the Three Stooges running against her, I hope she loses big-time.  Where is the decency in politics today???  Oh … I guess she’s just following this example …Trump-mocking-reporter


A great bunch of people … NOT!

Yesterday, Trump announced that Alan Dershowitz; Ken Starr, the independent counsel during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial; former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi; as well as  Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr at the Office of the Independent Counsel during the Clinton administration; and Jane Raskin, who helped defend Trump during the Mueller probe, would join White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow in defending the president on the Senate floor.

I don’t know much about some of them, but let me share with you what I do know.  For one thing, Dershowitz, Starr, and Ray have made roughly 300 appearances on Fox News in the past year, which should tell you something about their integrity right there.

Ken Starr was named the 14th president of Baylor University in Waco in 2010 and chancellor in 2013. After the mishandling of campus sexual assault allegations, he was ousted as president in 2016 and resigned as chancellor and law professor shortly after, cutting all ties with the university.

Alan Dershowitz defended Trump’s ol’ buddy Jeffrey Epstein in his sex abuse cases, and was himself accused by no less than three women.

Pam Bondi was Florida State Attorney General back in 2013 when her office was investigating the now-defunct Trump University on charges of fraud.  Donald Trump wrote a check for $25,000 to Bondi’s re-election campaign and suddenly there was no longer an investigation.

So, Trump has a fine, upstanding legal team.  Doesn’t matter, does it, since the jury reached their decision before there was even a case to try.  Welcome to the tinpot dictatorship of America.


I shall now retire to my dark tower to growl in private and practice howling at the moon.  Have a fine weekend, if you can.

Nightmare

Well, the day has finally come … we will be leaving first thing in the morning to find our new home.  It has been a nearly two-year process, trying to find a nation that would accept refugees from the U.S., so hated in the world is this nation.  Who would have believed a short ten years ago, when Master Trump won the 2016 election, that it would come to this?  Sure, we knew he was inept and inexperienced, but we all thought he wouldn’t last the first four years, let alone stay in office for ten full years!

We applied for asylum first in the UK, for we have many friends there, but after Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to assassinate members of the royal family there, all Americans are persona-non-grata in the United Kingdom.  Next, we tried Australia, but ever since those fateful fires in the early 2020s, their economy has been suffering and they simply cannot afford to take on refugees, for they struggle to feed their own people.  We tried Mexico but were told “¡Vaya con el Diablo!” We petitioned France, but they stopped accepting refugees from the U.S. after Master Trump had the Statue of Liberty re-carved with his image in place of Lady Liberty’s and renamed it after himself.

And just last week, when we had lost hope of being able to flee the terror that is now our waking nightmare, we received a letter from the Canadian government telling us that we would be welcomed in Canada. We will have only 90 days to prove ourselves useful by finding gainful employment, else we will be sent packing. I am not worried, for I think we will be able to find jobs, even if only in some fast food restaurant. The alternative would be unthinkable and would almost certainly lead to our execution, or at least mine.  Now our only concern is getting across the border tomorrow night.

thought-policeMany have criticized my comparisons of the U.S. today to Germany of the 1930s, but in many ways, this is even worse.  Technology and the age of electronic spying have led to a complete loss of privacy.  Remember Orwell’s 1984 when he wrote of the ‘thought police’?  That is exactly what today’s world is, at least here in the U.S.  So far, I have been arrested four times for my writing that was critical of the government.  The last time, what I wrote was in a private email to a friend, and within 30 minutes of sending that letter, the police were pounding on my door.

If only people had listened back in 2016, or even 2020 … if only people had voted the madman out back when we still had a chance.  We no longer have elections, no longer have a voice in government.  We no longer have an independent media … all information, such as it is, is now disbursed by state-run media outlets and carefully censored.

In nearly every city, new prisons are being built to house the political dissidents, those of us who remember what it was like to have freedom of speech and who continue to speak out.  There are near-daily executions … very public executions, intended to serve as a lesson for those of us who still think we are allowed to have a voice.  “Master Trump” as we must call him now, allows for no differing opinions, and all privileges are only for those who wholeheartedly support him.  Our grocery stores are state-run and one must show a valid state ID to even buy food.  Many of us have taken to growing vegetables in our small yards in order to survive, for the amount and quality of food available to those of us who are not wealthy is poor.

Thankfully, I don’t have young children or grandchildren, for the schools are now segregated by level of wealth, with the average person’s children receiving only the barest of education, and by age 16 being expected to enlist in the military.  For a time, I was teaching the neighborhood children in my own home, the lessons of history and government, but once I was discovered, I was no longer allowed to have children in my home.  The history books that are used in the schools are all new … history has been revised by Master Trump – a ‘man’ who has never read a history book in his life.  It is whatever he says it is on any given day.

Well, I must go pack the meager bit that I will be able to carry to cross the border tomorrow night.  We will be driving up to the Canadian border during daylight, find a place to rest for a few hours, then crossing the border on foot with only a backpack each to carry our belongings.  I hope it is a good sign that tomorrow starts a new year – 2027 – and hopefully a new life for me and the girls.  Wish us lu – who is that pounding on the door at this hour of the ni …………………..

thought-police-2

It Has Begun …

Just a short while ago, I received ‘breaking news’ on my phone that Iran has launched missile strikes aimed at US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani last week.  Reports vary, but at least 20 U.S. servicemen are left dead.  Their blood, as well as the blood of every man, woman and child, is on the hands of Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham.  It isn’t their children who will be coming home in body bags, but ours.

Trump was told to pull troops out of Iraq, but he was too stupid and too stubborn to do so.  This, then, is only the beginning.  Where is the ending?  I have no idea, but somebody better get rid of Trump before he gets us all killed.  And to any who still support Trump … stay the hell away from me!

A Rose By Any Other Name …

Edward Gallagher is a war criminal.  It matters not that Donald Trump issued a pardon in November … he is still a war criminal.

gallagherGallagher was found guilty of posing for a grisly trophy photo with the dead captive’s body.  He was initially charged with other war crimes, including charges that he shot at civilians and killed a wounded captive with a knife while serving as a platoon leader in Iraq.  I strongly suspect, based on what has been said by those who served with Gallagher, that he was at least complicit in the other charges that he was not convicted on.  Either way, Eddie Gallagher is a nasty piece of work.

In the videotaped statements of SEAL members, several broke down in tears as they recounted Gallagher’s behavior in Iraq. They told Navy investigators that Gallagher shot civilians without cause, bragged about the number of people he’d killed with his sniper rifle, including women, and went on “gun runs,” which means indiscriminately firing a heavy machine gun into civilian neighborhoods.  They said of their former platoon commander that he “is freaking evil,” “toxic,” and “perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving.”

Some of Gallagher’s former platoon members – who defied an unwritten code of silence within the Navy SEALS to testify against him – even said they thought Gallagher had purposely exposed their unit to enemy fire out of the belief that an increased number of casualties among his men would increase his chances of being awarded a Silver Star.

But, all that did not matter to Donald Trump, an equally nasty piece of work, as he not only chose to pardon Gallagher, but also demanded that his rank be restored.  He issued a direct order to the Navy that Gallagher was not to be demoted.

So, what has Eddie Gallagher been up to since his undeserved pardon?  Well, partying with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, for one. gallagher-mar-a-lagoYes, folks, Trump invited Eddie and his wife to his Florida resort to be wined and dined, and invited Gallagher and the other two war criminals he pardoned to join him on the campaign trail this year!  But wait … there’s more.

Eddie Gallagher has started his own line of clothing, called “Salty Frog Gear”.  He is also endorsing products of other clothiers that include t-shirts with the words “KILL BAD DUDES,” and websites that features t-shirts reading “Waterboarding Instructor,” which suggests that he’s perhaps a bit too comfortable with acts that fall into the category of war crimes.  He is, in other words, capitalizing on his war crime and ignoble presidential pardon.

I find it strange that Donald Trump, when he initially announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, made a comment whereby he referred to immigrants from Mexico as “bad hombres”.  In my book, this Gallagher person is the ‘bad hombre’.  He has shown no remorse or introspection about the accusations against him.  He’s referred to the SEALs as “mean girls” and has consistently attacked them on social media.  He has also appeared on Fox News, though he has banned the New York Times from his Instagram page and refused to speak with NYT journalists, saying he only gives interviews to “legitimate media” … like FOX???

Eddie Gallagher calls himself a “patriot”.  Donald Trump praises Eddie Gallagher, calling him “one of the ultimate fighters”.  Perhaps I would have a bit more respect for Trump’s opinion if he had actually served in the military, rather than having his daddy buy his way out.  Trump’s pardon of Gallagher and two other war criminals in November is a slap in the face to the honourable men and women who put their life on the line every day for this nation.  Michael A. Cohen, writing for The Boston Globe, sums it up best …

“Having a president who appears to take no issue and even encourages the committing of war crimes certainly doesn’t help – and I fear for the impact on the US military, and good order within its ranks, when the president is so brazenly endorsing acts that violate the training that members of the military receive. I fear even more for the SEALS who bravely spoke out against Gallagher – and for future whistleblowers who will now have little motivation to come forward.

But worst of all, with the benefit of Trump’s support, Gallagher has become another weapon in America’s toxic culture wars – and I suspect that much of the support for him from conservatives is a result of the fact that liberals are so outraged by his actions and the president’s intervention on his behalf. Gallagher has become a heroic figure for far too many. It is yet one more example of how tribalism is overwhelming our national character and the extent to which America has become an increasingly divided and broken nation.”

The Rich Get Richer …

Last night, I came across a short piece by Robert Reich, whose work I’ve shared here before.  I hadn’t, to the best of my knowledge, heard of Paul Singer before, so after reading Reich’s piece, I did some digging.  Paul Singer is one nasty man … a very wealthy, nasty man.

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich
27 December at 19:40

From time to time, I’m going to write in some detail about how the American oligarchy is shafting Americans by siphoning up the wealth of the nation for itself and corrupting our politics. Please let me know if you find these short summaries helpful.

Today’s example: Billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management hedge fund, which has launched a campaign to lay off workers, sell off key assets, and extract huge short-term profits at AT&T – the iconic $270 billion company with 257,000 employees.Paul SingerSinger wants AT&T to save up to $10 billion a year by outsourcing jobs, closing corporate retail stores and outsourcing to dealers, selling off assets (such as its Puerto Rican network).

And instead of using these savings to invest in better services and high-speed broadband internet, Singer wants AT&T to buy back its stock in order to get higher short-term share prices – a boon to Singer’s hedge fund, which has been buying up AT&T.

If Singer succeeds, he will hollow out a major U.S. employer and critical provider of broadband and wireless services.

Singer’s Elliott Management is a leading vulture capitalist with a track record of destroying jobs, reducing wages, abandoning communities, and pumping up share prices in the short term.

Its wrecking ball is worldwide. One of Singer’s few unsuccessful campaigns, to block a merger within Samsung, eventually led to the impeachment and imprisonment of the South Korean President after Singer’s opponents became so desperate to fend off his attack that they allegedly began bribing government officials.

Singer’s ventures generated average annual returns of almost 14 percent, making him and his executives hugely wealthy. The mere news that Elliott has invested in a company often causes its stock price to go up—creating even more wealth for him and his hedge fund. Singer’s own net worth is $3.5 billion.

Singer has been investing some of his riches in Republican politics. In the 2016 election he contributed $24 million, and continues to donate to the Republican National Committee and to individual Republican congressional candidates. Singer contributed $1 million to Trump’s Inauguration, and the two have met at the White House, at Trump’s request.

Not surprisingly, many policies enacted under Trump and Senate Republicans have benefitted Singer — including corporate tax cuts, the shrinking of governmental agencies, and the aggressive elimination of regulations, particularly in the financial industry.

This is how the American oligarchy works, friends.

And now, let me tell you just a bit more about Mr. Paul Singer …

Singer made a lot of his money by purchasing sovereign debt from financially-distressed countries, usually at a massive discount. Once a country’s economy regained some stability, Singer would bombard its government with lawsuits, until he made his money back with interest. The practice is called vulture capitalism — feeding off the carcass of a dying nation.

Over the past couple of decades, Elliott has made billions by buying large stakes in American companies, firing workers, driving up short-term share prices, and in some cases, taking government bailouts. Bloomberg News has described Singer as “the world’s most feared investor,” which tells you a lot.

Some countries, including the United Kingdom, have banned this kind of behavior. It bears no resemblance to the capitalism we were taught about in school. It creates nothing. It destroys entire cities. It couldn’t be uglier or more destructive. So why is it still allowed in this country? Because people like Paul Singer have tremendous influence over our political process. Singer himself was the second biggest donor to the Republican Party in 2016. He’s given millions to a super PAC that supports Republican senators. You may never have heard of Paul Singer. But in Washington, he’s rock star famous. That may be why he’s almost certainly paying a lower effective tax rate than you or me. Just in case you’re still wondering if the system is rigged.

In October 2015, Singer’s hedge fund disclosed an 11 percent stake in Cabela’s, the sporting goods retailer, and set about pushing the board to sell the company.  Cabela’s management, fearing a long and costly fight with Singer, announced it would look for a buyer. At the time, Cabela’s was healthy. The company was posting nearly $2 billion a year in gross profits, off $4 billion in revenue. There was no immediate need to sell. But they did anyway. One year after Singer entered the equation, Bass Pro Shops announced the purchase of Cabela’s. The company’s stock price surged. Within a week, Singer cashed out. He’d bought the stock for $38 a share. He sold it for $63. His hedge fund made at least $90 million up front, and likely more over time.

But in Sidney, Nebraska, it was a very different story. The residents of Sidney didn’t get rich. Just the opposite. Their community was destroyed. The town lost nearly 2,000 jobs. A heartbreakingly familiar cascade began: people left, property values collapsed, and then people couldn’t leave. They were trapped there. One of the last thriving small towns in America went under.

Oh … one last thing … in case you were wondering, Trump applauds Singer’s investment in AT&T, which owns CNN …

Singer-Trump

Still think you’re living in a “democracy”?

A New Batch Of Snarky Snippets … Grrrrr

There are a number of relatively minor things that have cropped up in the last couple of days with seemingly the sole purpose of stirring my ire.  So … you know what that means … it must be time for some snarky snippets, yes?


Let’s start with Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and some speculate next vice-presidential running mate for Trump in 2020.  As governor, I had a great deal of respect for Ms. Haley.  As ambassador, I had less, for she fell in line with Trump’s ideology, if he can be said to actually have one.  She became one of his sycophants, and I lost much of my respect for her.Nikki-Haley.jpgSo, why is she raising my hackles today?  Well … last Friday she was being interviewed in a podcast on conservative Glenn Beck’s radio program.  One segment of the podcast was about Dylan Roof who, in June 2015, opened fire in an African-American church, killing nine people.  Roof was an avowed white supremacist who had posted pictures of himself posing with the Confederate flag prior to his attack.

dylan-roof-confederate-flagMs. Haley said …

“Here is this guy who comes out with his manifesto, holding the Confederate flag and had just hijacked everything that people thought of. We don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s always the small minority who are always going to be there, but people saw it as service, sacrifice and heritage. But once he did that, there was no way to overcome it.”

Let’s call a spade a bloody shovel here.  The Confederate flag never stood for “service, sacrifice and heritage”.  It has always stood for a lifestyle that included slavery, the ownership of other human beings simply because of the colour of their skin.  Period.

Ms. Haley’s argument was that the Confederate flag was noble until Dylan Roof made it appear to represent white supremacy.  IT DOES represent white supremacy, fool!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, shot back on Twitter …

“Really, Nikki?! The Confederate Flag represented ‘service, sacrifice and heritage’? To whom? The black people who were terrorized & lynched in its name? You said it should never have been there. Roof didn’t hijack the meaning of that flag, he inherited it.”

Racism, folks … it’s alive and well in the United States of America.


Seema Verma has flown beneath my radar since she was appointed by Trump, then confirmed by the Senate in March 2017 to the position of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  This is the agency that oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and the insurance markets.Seema-verdaNow, Ms. Verma came into the job with some conflicts of interest, and had the Senate done its job, she likely would not have passed muster.  She is the founder and previous CEO of SVC Inc., a health policy consulting firm, which was acquired by Health Management Associates (HMA) just prior to Verma’s nomination to head CMS.

One of her first actions was to send a letter to the nation’s governors urging them to impose insurance premiums for Medicaid, charge Medicaid recipients for emergency room visits, and encourage recipients to get jobs or job training.  In her role as CMS administrator, Verma spent more than $2 million of taxpayer funds on Republican-connected communications consultants and other expenses to boost her visibility and public image.  She has made numerous speeches and attacks against the concept of Medicare-for-All … enough so that she is now the defendant in a lawsuit claiming she is in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials engaging in political activity.

But what placed her on my radar was a trip she took back in August.  She claims that jewelry, clothing and other possessions, including a $5,900 Ivanka Trump-brand pendant (that she owned one speaks volumes about her character, in my book) were stolen from her luggage during that business-related trip.  Okay, fine … if that were me or you, we would file a claim against the airline and maybe, if we were lucky, get reimbursed for some small portion of it.

But, Ms. Verma decided that We the Taxpayers ought to reimburse her for what she claims was the value of her ‘loss’.  To the tune of $47,000!!!  More than most of us make in a bloomin’ year!  And what sort of a numptie (been listening to my Brit friends too long) takes things of that value on a business trip anyway?  And why is it my fault or yours?  And why should we pay for her ignorance???  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Her claim included $43,065 for about two dozen pieces of jewelry, based off an appraisal she’d received from a jeweler about three weeks after the theft.  Who takes 24 pieces of jewelry on a business trip, then fails to insure them?  And the claim further included $2,000 to cover the cost of her stolen clothes, a $325 claim for moisturizer and a $349 claim for noise-cancelling headphones.  My entire wardrobe does not consist of $2,000 worth of clothing.  My moisturizer costs $4.99, and my headphones are Skullcandy, $29.99 at Best Buy!  Just one more alligator in the huge swamp that Trump built.

Not to worry, though, for the federal health department that oversees her agency decided to reimburse her for only $2,852.40 of OUR money.


owen-shroyerOwen Shroyer … ever heard of him before?  Neither had I.  He’s a host on Alex Jones’ Infowars program, which I thought had long since met its timely demise since being banned from Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  Apparently, they still exist somewhere on the fringes.

It would seem that there is no screening process for entrance to the impeachment proceedings, for Mr. Shroyer managed to get in yesterday.  Moments after Representative Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, opened the hearing, Shroyer rose from his seat in the packed hearing room and shouted …

“Jerry Nadler and the Democrat Party are committing treason against this country! Trump is innocent!”

owen-shroyer-2Police quickly removed him from the room, during which time he was livestreaming to his personal Twitter account and yelling at the top of his lungs …

“So I’m being arrested right now for disrupting Congress. I’m a criminal for my First Amendment rights.”

Is there any doubt in anybody’s mind that Alex Jones was behind this, that it was naught more than a publicity stunt?  At what cost?

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Shroyer actually called for President Barack Obama to be lynched just this past June …

“Barack Obama is a treasonous…he belongs in jail. He belongs in Guantanamo Bay. I mean look, I’m not saying this should happen but Barack Obama, you know, find the tallest tree and a rope.”

All my life I have been a proponent for 1st Amendment rights to free speech, but in the past year, maybe two, I have begun to re-think it.  It has been abused so much, by so many unsavouries such as Mr. Shroyer, Mr. Jones, Mr. Carlson and a few thousand others, that I’m coming to believe there must be limits.  As our friend Roger said to me the other evening, “Free speech is not a right; it is something which has to be earned.” I’m not so sure the people of this nation have earned it. Rather a damn shame for the rest of us who use our rights responsibly, don’t you think?


I had one more, but … I shall stop here and give you a chance to breathe.  Make America great again, says Mr. Trump?  I think not … I think he has placed the United States in the worst light it has been in in all of its 232 years.

Little Devin’s Feelings Are Hurt 😭

One of the not-so-illustrious faces of the GOP today, Devin Nunes, is suing media outlet CNN … for $435,350,000.  Yep, folks … you read it right.  $435 million and change!  I would love to know how he came up with that figure … heck, his life isn’t worth that much!  His net worth is estimated at $158,001 (the extra dollar … who knows … maybe the Tooth Fairy?).  He may well be the poorest member of Congress!

So why, you ask, is he suing CNN?  He is suing because last month CNN published what Nunes now claims to be a “demonstrably false hit piece.”  The story reported that in December 2018, while serving as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes traveled to Vienna and met with Ukrainian former prosecutor general Victor Shokin to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.  Funny, isn’t it, that the entire focus of Trump & Co these days is on Joe Biden?

Now, I don’t claim that CNN or any of the other news outlets are above embellishing on a story from time-to-time, but unlike Fox, Breitbart and others, they are not into conspiracy theories.  They report actual news.  Their source for the November 22nd story was an attorney for Lev Parnas, a now-indicted business associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani.  The attorney, Joseph Bondi, says Mr. Parnas would be willing to testify to Congress under oath.  CNN contacted Nunes’ office multiple times before publishing the story, asking for a response from him, but he refused to return their calls.

Nunes’ complaint is 47 pages long … lawyers always manage to write 50 pages for what could easily have been said in 2-3 sentences … and accuses Parnas of manufacturing a narrative that he hoped would help him negotiate a deal with federal prosecutors or obtain immunity from Congress.  So … why isn’t he suing Mr. Parnas?

Records disclosed Tuesday in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry report show phone calls between Nunes and Giuliani as well as between Nunes and Parnas earlier this year.  Nunes says he remembers speaking with Giuliani, but that it was all perfectly innocent, and he doesn’t remember speaking with Mr. Parnas.  I guess he has a ‘convenient memory’ like Trump, eh?

Nunes claims that CNN published the story in order to damage his reputation and ensure his removal from the ongoing impeachment inquiry.  It seems to me that Nunes is trying to catch up to Trump in the number of lawsuits to his name.  Trump has been either plaintiff or defendant in over 6,000 lawsuits during his 73 years, so while Nunes has some catching up to do, he’s certainly trying (in more ways than one).

Devin-Nunes-criesIn March, he filed a lawsuit for $250 million against Twitter, claiming that two parody Twitter accounts (one called “Devin Nunes’ Cow”) and a Republican political consultant defamed him with mean tweets.  Awwww … pobrecito!  In August, he sued McClatchy news organization for another $250 million, alleging defamation.  And in October he sued Ryan Lizza and Hearst Magazines for $77 million, claiming that a story in Esquire about the Nunes family farm in Iowa defamed him.

An interesting aside … the Devin Nunes’ Cow Twitter account had only about 1,000 followers until Mr. Nunes filed the lawsuit, and then it’s readership skyrocketed to 667,000! nunesIt seems to me that Mr. Nunes has very thin skin.  As I was writing this post, the thought occurred to me that perhaps it would be fun to mail him a box of tissues to dry his tears.  Hey, maybe he would then sue me!  That could be fun, for as the old saying goes, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip”!

The irony here is priceless, for in 2017, Devin Nunes co-sponsored HR 1179 – Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act.

Just think, if Nunes were to win all these lawsuits, he would increase his net worth from his present $158,001 to $1,012,508,001.  That’s it, folks!  I’ve got it now!  He wants to become a billionaire like so many of his peers!  All these lawsuits could put him just over the billion-dollar mark!  Except … one small problem … I don’t think he’s likely to win a single one of them!Devin-Nunes

Give Us Back Our Elections …

One of my pet peeves is the 2010 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (FEC), in which the Court ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.  In a nutshell, it opened the door to unlimited donations by wealthy corporations, such lobbying groups as the NRA, and others to basically buy our politicians.  This is why we have a Congress that is unwilling to enact gun regulations, despite the fact that some 80% of the people in this country are in favour of such things as enhanced background checks and a ban on assault weapons.  This is why our very lives are placed at risk by the rolling back of environmental regulations that are so crucial to preserving life on earth.  And this is why there is an ever-widening income gap between the billionaires and the rest of us who live payday to payday.  And this is why ours is no longer a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’, but rather of, by, and for only the wealthy and powerful people.

I have featured Robert Reich on this blog a few times before.  He is an economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.  He, better than most, understand the inner workings of our government.  Sans partisanship, he explains why we simply must overturn Citizens United, must get the big money out of politics, and return our elections to We the People.  Please take three minutes to watch …

Day One of Inquiry-Media Already Drops the Ball

Since I couldn’t bring myself to write about yesterday’s televised hearings, I will share with you Jeff’s take on the media’s response which was, to say the least, largely lackluster. Thanks, Jeff, for a great assessment … you are spot on!

On The Fence Voters

So day one of the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump is now in the books. Ambassador William Taylor and Under Secretary of State George Kent gave testimony for over five hours. Day two is tomorrow, with former Ukrainian Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch set to take the stand. I thought day one went well for the Democrats, and I planned on giving my overall opinion on some of what I observed–until I saw the following tweets:

Unfortunately, my mood changed quickly. Really NBC News and Jeff Mason of Reuters? Is this is the best you can do? A “lack of pizzazz,” “boring,” and “hearings begin…

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