The Words Of A Wise Man

Thomas Friedman is a weekly columnist for the New York Times, a well-respected author of seven books, numerous documentaries, and the recipient of three Pulitzer prizes.  His forte is foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues.  Yesterday, his latest column crossed my desk and I felt it worthy of sharing.


It’s Not Trump vs. the Dems. It’s Trump vs. the Country’s True Defenders.

Public servants who swore to protect the Constitution also set the impeachment process in motion.

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by Thomas L. Friedman

Last Thursday and Friday, two important Americans bore witness to the state of our nation. One was President Trump, addressing political rallies. The other was Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine until suddenly told to get “on the next plane” — because Trump wanted her removed — without explanation.

Every American should contemplate their remarks, which I excerpt later, and then ask two questions: Whose speech would you want to read to your children’s civics class and which speaker do you think represents the America you want to see evolve and leave to your kids?

This exercise is vital because this impeachment process was not set in motion by the Democratic Party. It was set in motion by civil servants — whistle-blowers from the intelligence community, now supported by National Security Council staffers and diplomats. These public servants also took an oath to serve the country and protect the Constitution, and they have shown remarkable courage to risk their careers, and maybe more, to call out the president for violating his oath.

They are like antibodies fighting the cancer in our political system. John Bolton spoke for all of them when, while national security adviser, he reportedly instructed Fiona Hill, the N.S.C. Russia expert, to tell White House lawyers that he wanted no part “of whatever drug deal” the president’s cronies were cooking up as part of an off-the-books diplomatic effort being led by Rudy Giuliani to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

It is breathtaking that virtually no Republican lawmakers have manifested similar courage — when all they have to lose is $174,000 in salary and free parking at Reagan Washington National Airport.

This point can’t be stressed enough. Because if Trump is removed from office and the country is healed afterward, it will only be because a majority of Americans understand that this is, at its core, a fight between these noncorrupt, apolitical civil servants — whose norms and institutions make America’s government so envied and respected around the world — and Giuliani and Trump and their pals, who care only about serving themselves and their conspiracy theories.

Trump and his enablers at the state-directed Fox News want to portray this as just another partisan fight — between Trump and his Democratic rivals — in the hope that the public will shrug and say, “There they go again.” They don’t want Americans to understand that this fight is about guarding the most cherished norms and institutions that define us as a nation.

We can’t let that happen. In service of that goal, I repeat some of Trump’s and Yovanovitch’s remarks.

Here’s Trump in Louisiana: “The radical Democrats’ policies are crazy. Their politicians are corrupt. Their candidates are terrible. And they know they can’t win on Election Day, so they’re pursuing an illegal, invalid and unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.”

And here’s Trump in Minneapolis about Joe Biden: “He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”

And here’s Yovanovitch in her opening statement to the House impeachment investigators: “For the last 33 years, it has been my great honor to serve the American people as a Foreign Service officer, over six administrations — four Republican, and two Democratic. I have served in seven different countries, five of them hardship posts, and was appointed to serve as an ambassador three times — twice by a Republican president and once by a Democrat. Throughout my career, I have stayed true to the oath that Foreign Service officers take and observe every day: ‘that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’ and ‘that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.’”

She added: “My parents fled Communist and Nazi regimes. Having seen, firsthand, the war, poverty and displacement common to totalitarian regimes, they valued the freedom and democracy the U.S. represents. And they raised me to cherish these values as well.”

She continued: “From August 2016 until May 2019, I served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Our policy, fully embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike, was to help Ukraine become a stable and independent democratic state, with a market economy integrated into Europe.”

Then Yovanovitch added: “I have heard the allegation in the media that I supposedly told the embassy team to ignore the president’s orders ‘since he was going to be impeached.’ That allegation is false. I have never said such a thing, to my embassy colleagues or to anyone else. … With respect to Mayor Giuliani, I have had only minimal contacts with him. … I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me. But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”YovanovitchAnd then she explained that after being asked in early March “to extend my tour until 2020, I was then abruptly told in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine ‘on the next plane.’ You will understandably want to ask why my posting ended so suddenly. I wanted to learn that, too, and I tried to find out. I met with the deputy secretary of state, who informed me of the curtailment of my term.

“He said that the president had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador. He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018. He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

Alas, Secretary of State Pompeo did nothing to protect her.

Yovanovitch continued: “Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the president, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives. …

“I have served this nation honorably for more than 30 years. … Throughout that time, I — like my colleagues at the State Department — have always believed that we enjoyed a sacred trust with our government. … We repeatedly uproot our lives, and we frequently put ourselves in harm’s way to serve this nation. And we do that willingly, because we believe in America and its special role in the world. We also believe that, in return, our government will have our backs and protect us if we come under attack from foreign interests. That basic understanding no longer holds true.”

If this is how our government will now act, great long-term harm will be done to “our nation’s interest, perhaps irreparably,” Yovanovitch concluded. We will lose “many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants,” and “bad actors” in countries beyond Ukraine will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system. In such circumstances, the only interests that will be served are those of our strategic adversaries, like Russia, that spread chaos and attack the institutions and norms that the U.S. helped create and which we have benefited from for the last 75 years.”

In both Minnesota and Louisiana, Trump supporters chanted “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.” at his red-meat lines. Read these two transcripts and then ask yourself, who’s really protecting and honoring “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.”?

The Video …

By now, I’m sure you have all heard of “The Video”.  That would be the video that was played at a three-day conference, which was held by a pro-Trump group, American Priority, at Trump National Doral Miami.  A conference, I might add, that was attended by Trump’s son, Junior, as well as by former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, among others.

I watched this video tonight, and halfway through I felt ill and had to turn it off.  Folks, this is the most disgusting thing I have seen in the world of politics in all of my 68 years.  It is vile, it is violent, it is horrific and far beneath the dignity of … well, anybody, except possibly Charles Manson.  But worse yet, it is dangerous.  It was designed for one purpose and one purpose only:  to rile the masses, Trump’s base.

The video was taken from the 2014 movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” and showed the actor Colin Firth in a gory church massacre scene. In the movie, the people killed are members of a fundamentalist  church.

The doctored video depicts a scene inside the “Church of Fake News,” where parishioners rise as Trump — dressed in a black pinstripe suit and tie — walks down the aisle. Many parishioners’ faces have been replaced with the logos of news media organizations, including PBS, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and NBC.

Trump stops in the middle of the church, pulls a gun out of his suit jacket pocket and begins a graphic rampage. As the parishioners try to flee, Trump fires at them. He shoots Black Lives Matter in the head, and also shoots Vice News.

Some of those in the church try to apprehend Trump. He fends them off and makes his way toward the altar, knocking over several pews. He wrestles a parishioner with a Vice News logo as a face to the ground and then shoots the person at point blank range. In the background, the former F.B.I. director, James Comey, is seen trying to get away.

From there, Trump attacks a range of his critics. He strikes the late Arizona senator John McCain in the back of the neck. He hits the television personality Rosie O’Donnell in the face and then stabs her in the head. He strikes Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California. He lights the head of Senator Bernie Sanders, one of his democratic rivals, on fire.

He takes Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, hostage before throwing him to the ground. Then he strikes former President Barack Obama in the back and throws him against a wall.

Others shown in the video include Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; former President Bill Clinton; the film producer Harvey Weinstein; and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is overseeing an impeachment inquiry of Trump.

The clip ends with Trump putting a stake into the head of a person with a CNN logo for a face. Trump then stands on the altar, admiring his rampage, and smiles.

I am not embedding the video here, for I don’t recommend watching it, however if you have a stomach of iron, or as I did, feel that you should watch it to see for yourself, here is a link.

Trump did not create this video, nor do I hold him accountable for its creation.  It is the work of an unidentified creator who operates under the name of “The GeekzTeam” and who has proclaimed on Twitter to be a “red blooded American with ZERO tolerance for the liberal agenda.”  However, Trump himself is not without blame.  Since early in his campaign, he has denigrated the press, calling them “fake news”, and worse yet, “the enemy of the people”.  He has made up nasty nicknames for any who disagree with him, for with Trump, there can be no middle ground … you’re either 100% for him, or you are “the enemy”.

Much of Trump’s most avid base is, obviously, comprised of the less-educated … people who could care less about those things they don’t understand:  Syria, alliances, immigration, tariffs, policy goals, Russians, taxes (unless it’s their own).  They care only about what affects them directly and noticeably.  Tariffs affect them, but they don’t notice if the price of apples jumps by 50 cents a pound, and if they do notice, they don’t connect it to tariffs.  The mistrust of our allies, based on Trump’s foreign policies, if they can even be called policies, is naught but a concept to them, and they don’t understand that it makes our own nation a lot less safe.

And … most of them own guns.

So, when a video such as this one is shown online, when those most avid among Trump supporters see it, at least a few are quite likely to get ideas.  They’ve heard Trump tell them that the press is the enemy, and there he is in the video, killing members of every legitimate news outlet.  They’ve heard him put down people like Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Adam Schiff, and the woman he will always resent, for she beat him in 2016, Hillary Clinton.  Now, I see you thinking that no sane person would watch that video and then try to act violently against any of those people.  And most wouldn’t, not even those die-hard Trumpeters.  But …

Remember Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., the man who sent pipe bombs to Obama, Biden, Clinton, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Maxine Waters, and others including CNN?  He believed certain conspiracy theories he had seen on Sean Hannity’s Fox Network show, and thought that Trump’s critics were dangerous, unpatriotic, and evil.

Remember the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that posited Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a pedophilia and human trafficking ring in the basement of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria?  Edgar Maddison Welch took it seriously, took an AR-15 assault rifle to the restaurant with the intent of killing whoever he found there.  Luckily, he was stopped before anybody died, but think what might have happened.

Remember Jarrod Warren Ramos who entered the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in June 2018, began shooting and killed five people?  Though he did not cite Trump, most believe that newspapers and news outlets are increasingly susceptible to violence as a result of Trump’s near-constant criticism.

Remember Brenton Harrison Tarrant?  You probably don’t for his name was intentionally not made noteworthy, but he was the man who killed 57 people in two separate mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this past March.  In his “manifesto”, he cited Trump as part of his inspiration, calling him “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.

Now, is it really so far-fetched to think that someone, somewhere, might see this video and go after members of the media or some of those people who Trump has called names, said they should be “locked up”, or threatened to sue?  Or maybe even a simple little blogger who is anti-Trump and whose blog he just happened to see one day?

Think about it.

Guilty As Charged!!!

The ultimate betrayal …

Donald Trump is now, in my book, if not officially, guilty of genocide.  He was already guilty of treason, having conspired with a foreign nation not one, but twice, in order to influence a U.S. election and to benefit himself, thereby putting our nation in grave danger.  And now he is guilty of the likely murders of potentially thousands of Kurds … Kurds who have long been our allies!  There are estimated to be between 1.4 million and 2.7 million Kurdish people — human beings — in Syria whose lives, thanks to Donald F. Trump, are now in jeopardy, as Turkey begins to implement its plan for a ground invasion of northern Syria.

What happened?  Trump had a phone call with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey.  We all know these days about Trump’s phone calls to foreign leaders, right?  Whether or not he asked Erdoğan to help dig up dirt on his political opponents is not known, but what is known is what he promised Erdoğan.  Very soon after the Monday morning phone call, the United States began withdrawing American troops from Syria’s border with Turkey.  Erdoğan has made no secret of the fact that he wishes to kill the Kurds, and the only thing standing in his way were U.S. troops in northern Syria.  Trump promised to step aside and let Erdoğan have at it.  The Kurds are … were … our allies, people!!!  Great friends we have proven to be, yes?  What next, Donnie?  You gonna bomb the UK?  Perhaps you’d like to send troops to overthrow the government of Germany?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Not only did he betray an ally in the most horrific of ways, but he proved to the world, as if they didn’t already know, just how utterly stupid he is.  Take, for example, this tweet …

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

First … what sort of bloomin’ eejit claims to have “great and unmatched wisdom”???  I really, really had to hold onto my hands to keep from throwing something when I read that.  And second, he has never obliterated the “Economy of Turkey”, unless he’s talking of the kind that make their way to the dining table on Thanksgiving!

One journalist, Richard Engel of NBC News, commented …

“’I, in my great and unmatched wisdom …?’  Who talks or writes like this?  The closest I can come up with was Qaddafi. Not Mubarak. Or Ben Ali. Or Assad, let alone any European leader.  Really can’t remember a current or recent example.”

Qaddafi.  Trump.  Two peas in a pod?

Surprisingly, even his republican cronies were aghast at his decision to stab our allies in the back.  EVEN MITCH MCCONNELL split with Trump on this issue, saying …

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

Republican Senator Patrick Toomey from Pennsylvania rang in with …

“This betrayal of the Kurds will also severely harm our credibility as an ally the world over. President Trump should rethink this decision immediately.”

The bottom line is that Trump has made a disastrous decision on an issue of which he has zero understanding.  He does not have great and unmatched wisdom – he has the wisdom of a five-year-old.  He does not understand the Middle East at all.  And worst of all, he is once again pandering to an autocrat, just as he has in the past to Putin, Kim, Bolsonaro and others.  His actions yesterday will have dire consequences, at the very least for our allies, the Kurds, and quite possibly for the entire globe.

And speaking of betrayal …

Now, transitioning to another story here, Lindsey Graham, that ignoble Senator from South Carolina, also spoke against Trump’s foolhardiness in pulling our troops out of Syria at this moment, saying …

“By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible — America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways. No matter what President Trump is saying about his decision. It is EXACTLY what President Obama did in Iraq with even more disastrous consequences for our national security.”

Strong words for a republican senator, eh?  Taking the right side for once in his life, yes?  But wait … Senator Graham had something else to say on another topic …

Lindsey-Graham-2“Here’s what’s going to happen: if the whistleblowers’ allegations are turned into an impeachment article it’s imperative that the whistleblower be interviewed in public, under oath, and cross-examined. If that doesn’t happen in the House, I’ll make sure it happens in the Senate.”

This … this essentially amounts to signing a death warrant for the whistleblowers and would ensure that nobody … nobody … would ever again come forward with the sort of information that our government officials may be attempting to bury to suit their own purposes.

There are laws that protect those people who come forward with information that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within a private or public organization.  Is Lindsey Graham planning to break those laws?  Does he see himself, as Trump sees himself, as being above the law?  And, is this a threat that he hopes will keep the House from following through with the impeachment proceedings?  Impeachment proceedings that, I might add, are long overdue.

It seems to me that there are a heck of a lot of people within the Republican Party who wish to break down the very foundations of our government, and they don’t care how they do it.  Now, admittedly there are some less-than-stellar people in the Democratic Party as well, but … today, the republicans win the honour of being the biggest jackasses in the nation.


Note to readers:  Stay tuned for the next installment of ‘The Brexit Conundrum’ where we will hear Colette’s views at 3:00 p.m. EDT, 8:00 p.m. BST.

An interview with Putin in 2035

Apocalypse Now? Our friend Keith has stated what I’ve only had the nerve to whisper under my breath. Please read!

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Good morning. This is Natalia Smirnov with Fox/ RT News. I am here with Tsar Vladimir Putin in the first of a series of interviews looking back on his career. Good morning Comrade Tsar.

Q – Comrade Tsar, what do you see as your greatest achievement?
A – I believe the reconstitution of the New Soviet Republic. We are once again a country of great importance.

Q – What were the key events leading to this ascension?
A – Clearly, the fall of a united west was most critical, but that took a lot of planning. I also believe our alliance with China helped show the world that we are the future.

Q – You mention a lot of planning, what do you mean by that?
A – It took proactive and reactive planning to accomplish our goals without using military might. My training allowed us to take advantage of…

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Yes, Virginia … There Are Still More Snarky Snippets

The best fiction writer in the world couldn’t have made this one up … and by ‘this one’, I mean all the back-and-forth, all the ranting, the lies, the deflections and obfuscations that have become the ‘norm’ in our government of late, and especially the past two weeks.  Whew … I don’t know about you guys, but I’m both exhausted and depressed as hell.  Can’t somebody just lock Trump up in a room without his tweety-machine for just one day and give us a chance to catch our breath?  But, of course, it isn’t only Trump, but his minions as well.


Trump and Xi – you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours?

Already under intense scrutiny over his attempt to bully and blackmail Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy in order to enlist Zelenskyy’s assistance in digging up non-existent dirt on presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, Trump had the unmitigated gall to then call on China to also investigate Biden!  In front of the press, nonetheless!  Boy, he must really be afraid of Joe is all I can say. I’m curious … what’s he going to do when, as I believe will happen, Elizabeth Warren overtakes Biden in the polls?  Never mind … I don’t even want to think about it.

Anyway, there’s another angle to this story.  Now that it’s been discovered that a number of Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders had been moved to a server where few knew of them, things are beginning to come to the public eye.  One of those things is a phone call that Trump had in June with Xi Jinping, the president of the People’s Republic of China.  In that phone call, Trump promised Xi that he, and by extension the U.S., would remain silent about the Hong Kong protests, and he also just happened to mention not only Joe Biden, but also Elizabeth Warren.  I have not seen the transcript of the call, so I don’t know the context, but … why would he even mention them?  When questioned about it, so-called White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham responded …

“World leaders need to be able to speak freely in their conversations with the President–that is a key component to effective diplomacy. And that is why such conversations are kept confidential. We are not going to start discussing the contents of every conversation President Trump has with world leaders, other than to say his conversations are always appropriate.”

Oh, wait just a moment, Ms. Never-Speaks-To-The-Press Secretary … I think we will discuss whatever We the People deem is important to discuss.  Trump is already on the wrong side of the law … that law that he claims doesn’t apply to him because he’s “got that Article II”.  Oh yes, we will discuss why U.S. officials have been banned from supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.  And we will discuss why a so-called president is discussing his campaign with the leader of a communist country!  We will, ultimately, demand to see a transcript of that phone call and others.

For the record, the U.S. should be fully supporting the Hong Kong protestors who are fighting for their democracy, fighting, in fact, for their lives.


Moscow Mitchie – still an asshole

Mitch McConnell, still recovering from a fall that broke his shoulder, is back in the saddle.  But, that didn’t stop him from running a new campaign ad on Facebook.  A snippet from that ad …

“Nancy Pelosi is in the clutches of a left-wing mob. They’ve finally convinced her to impeach the President. All of you know your Constitution. The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority, with me as majority leader. Pelosi is obsessed with impeaching President Trump, and your conservative Senate Majority is the ONLY THING standing in her way. But I need your help. Please contribute before the deadline.”

A ‘left-wing mob’, eh?  So, according to Moscow Mitch, the man who has worked with Putin to undermine the democratic processes of our elections, the man who refuses to even consider election security measures, is calling We the People a ‘left-wing mob’.  Well, Mitchie … if you want, why don’t you just have every one of us arrested for being part of a mob?  Oh … because then we couldn’t work and thus couldn’t pay the taxes that pay yours and your wife’s salaries!

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Crazy women!

Donald Trump uses and abuses women.  He treats them like chattel and obviously thinks that the only purpose women serve is for the pleasure of a man.  There is plenty of evidence to support that statement.  Part of his campaign promise was that he would appoint to the Courts, judges who would not uphold women’s rights, ie., overturning Roe v Wade.  His nasty remark about women that was released in 2016 on the Access Hollywood video.  The fact that he has had three wives and cheated on every single one of them, including the current wife.  He has had numerous affairs, and paid off two women to buy their silence during his campaign three years ago.  He is a male chauvinist pig, and yet …

“According to the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, fewer Republican women (7 percent) than Republican men (10 percent) support the impeachment inquiry. When asked whether Trump could, in theory, do something that would cause them to support impeachment, 44 percent of Republican men said yes. Only 33 percent of Republican women agreed.”

What a bunch of fools they are.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


What an impression that must have made …

On Wednesday, Trump hosted Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö in the Oval Office.  As is typical with Trump, he went off on a tear and made a fool of himself, venting about Adam Schiff and other topics near and dear to his … whatever.  A couple of pictures capturing the look on Niinistö’s face tell the story.

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What is this guy … a fruitcake?

Trump-Finnish-pres-2

Help?  Somebody?  I need to be rescued?  Oh why didn’t I stay home?

Trump-Finnish-pres-3

Get. Your. Hand. Off. My. Knee. Fatso.


The one good thing …

The one good thing to come of all this corruption and chaos is that the late-night talk show hosts are having a blast with it all.


Well, folks, I hope you’re enjoying your weekend and that my snarkiness and growling didn’t put a damper on it.  Have a great one.

Too Much Noise …

There is entirely too much noise these days.  Merriam-Webster defines noise as “loud, confused, or senseless shouting or outcry”, and Wikipedia defines it as “unwanted sound judged to be unpleasant, loud or disruptive to hearing”.  Both are apt descriptions of what we are experiencing today.  The noise is coming from the White House, it is coming from the GOP, and it is coming from the evangelicals.  Mostly, it is coming from the Fool on the Hill, Donald Trump, and his hired sycophants.  The noise is obnoxious and annoying, but worse, it is dangerous.

Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor who, by the way, won Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award in November 2016 for his bigoted and mindless bleating, is back in the news this week.  He appeared on Fox News’ program Fox and Friends Sunday where he said …

“I don’t pretend to speak for all evangelicals but this week I have been traveling the country and I’ve literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians, I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office, overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process. And they know that the only impeachable offense President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him. And I do want to make this prediction this morning: If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I’m afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.”

A ’Civil War-like fracture’?  I would rebut that Donald Trump has intentionally and with purpose caused the divide that is driving people apart in this nation.  He has denigrated everyone in one way or another, except of course his loyal fan base who don’t seem to understand the effect of his words and actions.  But, Mr. Jeffress’ words are dangerous, for some may well see them as a call to action.

The United States is a secular nation … that is, no religion determines policy, but policy is driven by the good of the nation as a whole.  The U.S. Constitution calls for separation of church and state.  And yet, Mr. Jeffress objects to that, as well …

“There is no such thing as a separation of church and state in the Constitution.  We have allowed the secularists, the atheists, the humanists to hijack our Constitution and pervert it into something our forefathers never intended.

And I’m gonna say this. I’m gonna say this, and it may cost me some book sales, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Thank God we have a president like Donald J. Trump who understands that. I don’t like seeing my friend under attack like he is under right now, but I don’t like the prospect of what’s going to happen in America if we allow the left to seize control of this country again.”

‘Scuse me, Mr. Jeffress, but I am in the group that you say have hijacked our Constitution, and I am not taking your words sitting down.  This nation wasn’t founded only for you evangelicals, but for all who live here, regardless of their religious views.  I have worked and paid taxes in this country since I was 13 years old, some 55 years ago.  I am a citizen, though not proud to be at this moment.  I vote … I vote in every election.  I have a voice in the government of this country.  I have taken no less than three graduate-level courses in Constitutional Law.  I have actually read the entire U.S. Constitution … many times … have you?  So just how the Sam Hell do you think I have fewer rights than you and your bigoted followers?

I respect your right to believe as you wish, to follow the tenets of whichever religion you choose, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to take away my rights to have as much say in the governance of this nation as you do.  And frankly, I’m a hell of a lot nicer than you are, for I care about people, about animals, about nature and our planet, whereas the only thing you seem to care about is wealth and your cockeyed religion, even though your interpretation of your religion is about hate, not love.  If I could award you Idiot of the Week a second time, I surely would.

See, folks, this is what all that noise does … it makes us all angry, puts us in fight mode, even when we don’t want to be.  It gives us ulcers, nightmares, and sleepless nights, loss of appetite for food and too much appetite for other substances.  And, perhaps most importantly, it keeps us rattled and distracted so we may not be keeping our eye on the ball as we should.  Perhaps that is the intent?

In addition to Jeffress, we have people starting conspiracy theories that are too idiotic, too inane to even mention.  And it’s not just the crew over at Fox, though they are certainly doing their fair share of it. The republicans are coming out of the woodwork with theories about FBI agents, Adam Schiff, Obama, and others that have absolutely no basis in fact, but … I guess it’s simpler than having to admit that you threw your lot in with a president who is almost certainly guilty of violating the very laws he took an oath to uphold, and who is facing impeachment by, at the very least, the House of Representatives.

There is one part of me that truly wishes the media would stop publishing his every word, would stop covering the fools who are trying to cover his sorry patootie.  Yes, I know … First Amendment rights, need to know, and freedom of the press, which I support fully … 100%.  But, responsible reporting … yes, we need to know what is happening, but I’m not sure we need to know every ignominious, hate-filled bit of rhetoric that Trump tweets.  Most of it is meaningless, almost every word is a lie anyway.  There must surely be room for balance.  If it is relevant or apropos of anything, then yes, we need to know.  But his eternal and meaningless rants do nothing more than rile us all, and that is not healthy for us or for the nation.

Your thoughts?

The End … DOES NOT … Justify The Means

Trump-MachiavelliIt doesn’t matter that he never actually said it, but the quote has so long been attributed to Niccolò Machiavelli that he might as well have said it.

The end justifies the means.

Step all over truth, honour, and justice to achieve your goals, for it is only reaching the goal that counts, not how you got there.  Trump and his minions obviously believe that, for he is willing to burn the U.S. Constitution, trash the values of the office of president, and trample the people of this nation to achieve his goal:  the establishment of an absolute, lifetime autocracy.  He has proven that he will lie, cheat, steal, and then lie some more in order to achieve his goal.

The law does not apply to the president, so we are told by Attorney General William Barr.  Oh … but only this president, for the law definitely applied to the last president … and the one before him … and the one before … well, you get the picture.  The others tried to do the right thing, tried to abide by the law, but along comes Trump under whom we have seen unprecedented corruption, and all of a sudden, the law does not apply to him.

Lawless-govt-quoteHe can attempt to blackmail another world leader in order to rig next year’s election in his favour, an act that for any other president would constitute treason, and the Department of Justice and the Republican Party see no problem.

In a speech given to the United States Mission to the United Nations yesterday, he called the whistleblower who uncovered his attempted blackmail, a spy and intimates that he (or she) should be punished as spies used to be punished … by execution.

“I want to know who’s the person that gave the whistle-blower the information, because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right? We used to handle them a little differently than we do now.”

guillotineMy knee-jerk reaction to that one is to ask French President Macron if they have an old guillotine lying around somewhere that we could borrow to punish our treasonous president in the way they used to.

And, of course, his woes are always the fault of the press.

“These animals in the press. They’re animals actually. Some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet. Fake news, fake news. They’re scum, many of them are scum. You have some good reporters but not many, I’ll be honest with you. And that’s one of the things we battle. You’ll find out, but they’ll probably like you better than they like me, but I had to get us here right? But they’re total — just terrible dishonest people.”

Never … never in my life have I heard a president, or any politician in the U.S. for that matter, speak in such a manner.  He has virtually painted a target on every member of the press, and why?  Because if his base believe that the media is ‘scum’, ‘animals’, and ‘dishonest’, then they will not believe anything that is said about Trump in the press.  And folks … it’s working.  I saw a clip on BBC last night where they interviewed a number of people in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  A few of the comments …

  • I don’t believe it, that he did anything … uh … wrong
  • He’s a businessman … he knows what the heck he’s doing. He’ll figure something out … he’s got something up his sleeve (said with a grin)
  • You mean the president? He has permission to do a number of different things that … you know … you or I wouldn’t be able to get away with, but then again, heading into the election next year, there shouldn’t be that much dirt being dug up and everything.

Welcome, my friends, to the United States of Ignorance – a nation where the head of government and many of his trusted lieutenants believe that ‘the end justifies the means’, and almost half the people just don’t care.  If the goal is to win an election, then they will lie, cheat, steal, blackmail, and perhaps even murder to win that election.  If the goal is to build a damn wall, they will rob funds intended to help people recover from a hurricane, or intended to help educate the children of military personnel overseas, in order to build a wall.  If the goal is to turn a diverse, secular nation into an all-white nation of religious zealots, then perhaps it’s okay to deport, imprison, and yes, even murder those who don’t fit the image. If the goal is to exchange a democratic republic for a dictatorship, then they will bring down an entire nation of 330 million people to do so, and never look back, never have any regrets, never say, “I’m sorry”.

As for me, I do not believe that the end justifies the means.  That was the belief in 1945 when the U.S. bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, many children, on a mass scale was supposed to justify ending a war.  Was it justified?  I don’t think so, but some do.  The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was named “Little Boy”, and the larger one dropped on Nagasaki three days later was named “Fat Boy”.  Donald Trump is Little Boy and Fat Boy all rolled into one, only his destruction is to his own nation, the country he took an oath to protect.  Think about it … think long and hard between now and November 2020.

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Snarky Finds Humour In Snippets …

So much fodder for the gristmill out there these days that it’s hard to know where to start!  Fortunately, there are some nuggets of humour amidst all the anguish of having so much chaos in our government.  My snarky side loves humour …


Perish the thought!

I had just taken a sip – fortunately only a small sip – of my morning coffee when I read of Devin Nunes’ opening statement in the testimony before the House Intelligence Committee of acting DNI Joseph Maguire, and I literally damn near choked with laughter.  Nunes’ exact words …

“Democrats on this very committee negotiated with people who they thought were Ukrainians in order to obtain nude pictures of Trump.”

Say WHAT???  Why on earth would anybody want a nude photo of the ugliest piece of human flesh on the planet???  I still have to chuckle over that one!  It’s bad enough having to see his ugly mug every day, but to have to see the flabmeister in the raw?  Thanks, Devin, but no thanks!  I seriously doubt that anybody is trying to get nude photos of Donald Trump, but thanks for the laugh.


Oopsie!

Many former and current members of Trump’s administration have claimed that ‘chaos’ is the defining feature of the White House under Trump.  I think we all assumed as much, but now we have proof.  And, if you ever thought that there was a large degree of incompetence in the administration, we now have proof of that, also.  It wasn’t an earth-shattering thing, but one that makes you roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, and say wtf???

Amid all the back-and-forth about Trump’s July phone conversation with Ukraine’s President Zelensky, officials in the White House were preparing their rebuttal, their ‘talking points’, as it is called, to counter the charges of corruption.  This is standard practice, rather like preparing notes for a speech or a debate, but what isn’t standard practice is sending your talking points to your opponent!

Tori Q. Symonds, a White House communications staff member, sent an email to people within the administration, explaining how they should respond to the allegations that Trump attempted to blackmail Zelensky for his own personal gain.  Now, I don’t know who all was on the intended list of recipients, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t intended to include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who just two days ago announced that she would open a formal impeachment inquiry.  But, she did receive the email, as did a number of other democrats including Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. from New Jersey, who shared the talking points on Twitter …talking-points-e1569517538204.png

Once she realized her mistake, Ms. Symonds attempted to recall the email, but … oops, too late!  I wonder if Ms. Symonds still has a job?  Yep, folks, seems that chaos, corruption, and incompetence are the three words that best define Trump’s administration!


Good ol’ Lindsey …

Lindsey Graham … the very name makes me want to throw something.  You’ll remember he was once Senator John McCain’s best friend, but then turned on McCain like a rabid dog shortly before McCain’s death.  That, in itself, is enough to make me sick.  But of late, he isn’t quite sure whether to praise and defend Donald Trump, or whether to distance himself from Trump’s idiocy.  Perhaps it depends on the day of the week, the weather, or perhaps he has a spinner by his bedside and decides how he will act each day by spinning the wheel … round and round it goes, where it stops only Lindsey knows!

Anyway, to the point (yes, I have one … be patient), yesterday Lindsey spoke, and while not exactly defending Trump, he said …

“From my point of view to impeach any president over a phone call like this would be insane. Joe Biden is a very good friend, but we can’t have a country where one side looks at and the other one does not.”

Look out Joe, for we know how Lindsey treats his “very good friends”!  But now think about this one for a minute, folks.

In January 1999, during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying to Congress about a consensual sexual liaison, here’s what Lindsey had to say …

“A President doesn’t even have to be convicted of a crime to be impeached. Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office. So, the point I’m trying to make is that you don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role.”

Restoring ‘honour’ and ‘integrity’ to the office!  Where did those values go over the past 20 years?  Seems to me that Mr. Graham has been too long in Congress and his moral compass has flown the coop.


While I believe that impeachment is the right and proper thing to do, the only way to maintain the principles on which this nation was founded, the unfortunate thing is that it will suck all the air out of the room.  There are many, many important issues that need to be addressed by our federal government and are likely to be pushed aside by lawmakers and the media, as they focus on impeachment and the crimes of Trump.

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Yes, We Still Ban Books 📘

This week, 22 September thru 28 September, is Banned Books Week.  According to the American Library Association (ALA) …

banned booksBanned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

And yet … and yet, schools and libraries are still banning books.  Take a look at some that were banned just last year …

  • George by Alex Gino – banned because it features a transgender character
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss – banned for LGBTQ content, political & religious viewpoints
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey – banned because it includes a same-sex couple, and also was felt to ‘encourage disruptive behaviour’

Are you starting to see a pattern here?  How the heck are we ever to break the chain of homophobia if we don’t allow young people to be exposed to the LGBT community???

  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier – banned because it features LGBTQ characters
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – banned because it deals with teen suicide
  • Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner – banned because the lead character, a Siamese cat, ‘depicts cultural stereotypes’
  • This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman – banned because of illustrations of a Pride parade

Good grief.

In 2018, more than half the books that drew complaints did so because they contained LGBTQ content, according to ALA. Other reasons include profanity, sexually explicit content, religious viewpoints and materials that candidly portray injustices and inequality experienced by people of color.

Now, mind you I do understand that there is such a thing as age-appropriate content, and I wouldn’t necessarily want a third-grade child to be reading Mein Kampf.  But, to ban books because they might open a young readers mind to the possibility that there are other acceptable lifestyles and viewpoints besides the ones they are exposed to at home is simply narrow-minded bigotry.

In 2017, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was banned because some felt it would ‘lead to terrorism’ and ‘promote Islam’.  How is that not racist and Islamophobic?  In the same year, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was challenged because of the use of the ‘N-word’.  Heck, when I was 10 years old, I was bedridden for a period of time, and every evening my father would read to me from Catcher in the Rye!!!  I suppose today’s society would be aghast, yes?

banned-booksIn 2016, the Little Bill series written by Bill Cosby was banned because of the sexual allegations against Mr. Cosby … not because of anything in the books, and frankly I have read those books to my granddaughter and it is an excellent series.  But some, it seems, would throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Some that have been banned in year’s past … makes no sense at all …

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein was banned because it was interpreted as being sexist. Some readers believe that the young boy continually takes from the female tree, without ever giving anything in return. As the boy grows up, he always comes back to the tree when he needs something, taking until the tree has nothing left to give him.
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss was banned … this one will really make you roll your eyes … because it was believed to portray logging in a poor light and would turn children against the foresting industry.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak has been challenged numerous times, as it is considered by some “too dark”, and psychologically damaging and traumatizing to young children due to Max’s inability to control his emotions and his punishment of being sent to bed without dinner.

banned booksToday, with the far-right evangelicals attempting to impose their own beliefs on society as a whole … a group that is anti-LGBT, anti-women’s rights, anti-immigrants, anti-everyone-who-is-not-Christian … it is more important than ever that we guard against censorship in our schools and libraries.  Books open pathways in our minds, delight us with the unknown, and teach … teach us about other cultures, other lifestyles.  I find it frightening that some communities would stifle the knowledge and pleasure that is to be found in books of all sorts.  Censorship is just another form of bigotry.

The Big Picture

We all know the many atrocities Trump has committed in his 32+ months in office and they are never far from our minds, but there are so many that sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture.  David Leonhardt’s column in the New York Times today simply lists, line by line, 40 of the worst atrocities committed by the man who calls himself ‘president’.  Note that there are many not even on this list, such as his rollback of environmental regulations and his 12,000+ lies.

Take a look at the list … some you may have even forgotten, in light of newer, more vitriolic ones.  And after you look at all 40 of these, ask yourself a question:  How can anybody in their right mind possibly support this ‘man’?  And yet, in the past week, his approval rating has actually gone up!  If you still have any Trump-supporting friends left, show them this list, and ask them the question.  It has become one of life’s greatest mysteries to me … even greater than how many stars are in the sky!

Donald Trump vs. the United States of America

Just the facts, in 40 sentences.

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By David Leonhardt

Opinion Columnist

Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to look at the full picture.

He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.

He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

He divulged classified information to foreign officials.

He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.

He hired a national security adviser who he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.

He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.

He genuflects to murderous dictators.

He has alienated America’s closest allies.

He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.

He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.

He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts.

He often declines to read briefing books or perform other basic functions of a president’s job.

He has aides, as well as members of his own party in Congress, who mock him behind his back as unfit for office.

He has repeatedly denigrated a deceased United States senator who was a war hero.

He insulted a Gold Star family — the survivors of American troops killed in action.

He described a former first lady, not long after she died, as “nasty.”

He described white supremacists as “some very fine people.”

He told four women of color, all citizens and members of Congress, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

He made a joke about Pocahontas during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II veterans.

He launched his political career by falsely claiming that the first black president was not really American.

He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as “rapists.”

He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.

He enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting multiple teenage girls.

He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.

He has encouraged his supporters to commit violence against his political opponents.

He has called for his opponents and critics to be investigated and jailed.

He uses a phrase popular with dictators — “the enemy of the people” — to describe journalists.

He attempts to undermine any independent source of information that he does not like, including judges, scientists, journalists, election officials, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Congressional Budget Office and the National Weather Service.

He has tried to harass the chairman of the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates.

He said that a judge could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage.

He obstructed justice by trying to influence an investigation into his presidential campaign.

He violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money to cover up two apparent extramarital affairs.

He made his fortune partly through wide-scale financial fraud.

He has refused to release his tax returns.

He falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping him.

He claimed that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence, thereby damaging the credibility of criminal investigations across the country.

He has ordered children to be physically separated from their parents.

He has suggested that America is no different from or better than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

He has called America a “hellhole.”

He is the president of the United States, and he is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for.