Good People Doing Good Things — Don Stephens, Et Al …

I’d like to introduce you to Don Stephens, founder of Mercy Ships.

Don-Stephens

Back in 1978, Don and his wife Deyon purchased an ocean liner, the Victoria, for scrap value of $1 million.  It took them four years to convert the retired ocean liner into the hospital ship MV Anastasis. Anastasis sailing at seaThe 9-deck, 522-foot ship was equipped with three operating rooms, a dental clinic, an x-ray machine, a laboratory and 40 patient beds.  Since then, they have outfitted three other ships for the same purpose, with a fourth in the making.  And what, you may be wondering, is that purpose? 

The purpose is to provide humanitarian aid like free health care, community development projects, community health education, mental health programs, agriculture projects, and palliative care for terminally ill patients.  Mercy Ships has operated in more than 57 developing nations and 18 developed nations around the world, with a current focus on the countries of Africa.Deyon-DonBut just what inspired Don and Deyon to dedicate their entire lives to this project?  Don says one major motivator was the work of the international hospital ship SS Hope. Stephens’ research showed that 95 of the 100 largest cities in the world were port cities. Therefore, a hospital ship could deliver healthcare very efficiently to large numbers of people. The birth of Stephens’ disabled son, John Paul, also inspired him to move forward with his vision of a floating hospital. And finally, a visit with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India, further deepened his commitment to serving the world’s neediest people.

Now, Don and Deyon are certainly good people, having invested their money and time … their lives, really … into this venture.  But, with the limitations of both time and space, there are many other good people in this story.  As Don noted in a July interview when asked how he came to found Mercy Ships …

“The real story of Mercy Ships is the thousands of volunteers and supporters who are now a part of this journey. These are the ones at the ‘coal face’ of bringing hope and healing …”

I chose just a couple of those volunteers at random to highlight here.

Emmanuel-EssahEmmanuel Essah left his native home in Benin, Africa, and flew all the way to Texas to become a Biomedical Technician—and finished top of his class. Then he joined the Africa Mercy. Today, Emmanuel is a long-term crew member, supporting the hospital and helping with repairs and calibration of the hospital equipment.

Dr-Sherif-EmilAfter growing up in a family of doctors, Sherif Emil thought he would like to try something different and carve his own path. He completed an undergraduate engineering degree before coming to the realization that he really did want to pursue medicine. “I like the personal aspect, I like the interaction and I like the human aspect of it.” That change in career path would lead him to specializing in pediatric surgical medicine in the United States and Canada and eventually would bring him to Mercy Ships. Dr. Sherif began preparations to visit the ship as a volunteer surgeon. Recently those plans came to fruition and he was able to experience the joy of serving in the operating theatre aboard the Africa Mercy.

heather-morehouse.jpgSeeing the before and after pictures and the ability of Mercy Ships to meet a basic need touched Heather Morehouse. “I was heartbroken to see what people live with. They don’t have access to help themselves and there is such despair that comes with that.” Heather decided that she needed to be a part of the organization for seven weeks during its 2013-2014 field service in the Republic of Congo. She quickly realized that seven weeks wasn’t long enough. “My time in the Congo changed me; it changed what I wanted in life. I rented out my house, quit my job and came back.”

These are just a few of the people who are dedicating their lives to the betterment of humankind.  But, let’s take a look at some of the good work that Mercy Ships has done and is doing.


Aicha was three months old when her parents started noticing there was something wrong with her vision. She wasn’t moving or looking around the same way her two older siblings had at her age. By the time she was starting to crawl, it was obvious that she could hardly see what was around her. Aicha-beforeFatmata and her husband, Mohamed, were nervous to trust strangers with their daughter’s eyesight, but they decided to bring Aicha to a Mercy Ships eye screening.Aisha-lightWhen they met with the screening team, it was unsure whether there was hope for Aicha’s eyesight. Having her cataracts from such a young age could mean that her vision had stopped developing — making her permanently blind. But, as they shone a flashlight in the baby’s eyes, all tension broke. A toothy grin spread across Aicha’s face; she grabbed the flashlight closer, her eyes not leaving its beam.

According to Ophthalmic Clinical Technician Larina Brink …

“I knew that the surgery would turn out well because of her being able to follow the light as I moved it around. My heart was filled with joy to be able to offer her a surgery that would open the world up to her.”

The surgery was, indeed, successful, and one week after her surgery, Fatmata and Aicha returned to selling fruit. Now that Aicha can see, she tries to grab hold of every colorful item around her: the orange handed to her; the red cap of a water bottle; her mother’s dangling earrings. There’s joy and excitement in the air, and Aicha’s no longer the recipient of strangers’ jokes. Instead, she’s a little miracle.Aisha-after


Sekouba-before It was an ordinary morning when then 10-year-old Sekouba first noticed a tiny bump in his mouth. He showed it to his mother, M’mahawa, who thought it would simply go away on its own. But it didn’t. What began as a button-sized growth inside Sekouba’s mouth, grew as big as a tennis ball. It was a dangerous tumor. Breathing soon became difficult, threatening his life.

SekoubaSekouba loved school, but he dropped out. The shame was too much. Even his brothers were embarrassed to be seen with him. No one saw Sekouba for himself anymore. All they saw was the growing tumor that had filled his cheek. Sekouba’s family couldn’t afford the surgical costs needed at a regional hospital. So, a neighbor told them about Mercy Ships.

After being admitted onboard the Africa Mercy, Sekouba received surgery to remove the maxillary mass, followed by several weeks of appointments to closely follow his recovery process. Surgery was a success. The first thing Sekouba said he wanted to do after returning home was to get back in the classroom to continue his studies. Then he shared that he had his eye on a girl who he never stops talking about. “Now, I’m going to be able to marry her one day,” he beamed.Sekouba-after.png


There are many, many more success stories here, and I could have made this post at least 5 times as long as it already is and still not have finished.  But, as I am out of both time and space, I encourage you to visit Mercy Ships website, for there is a plethora of heartwarming stories and information. I wish I could share them all.  Meanwhile, I would like to give a huge shout-out to Don and Deyon Stephens for having the vision and the motivation to start this wonderful project, and to all the volunteers who give so much to helping people.  Earlier this year, Mercy Ships celebrated performing it’s 100,000th free surgery.  Thumbs up!!!  I leave you with a short video clip of one young patient’s story.

Human Rights Day …

Today is Human Rights Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt played a key role as chairperson of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I initially considered using her speech before the United Nations as the basis for this post.  However, the speech is long … over 4,000 words … and I decided instead to listen to some of the voices from the past, including Eleanor Roosevelt, speaking of human rights.


11B-Mahatma-Ghandi

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it—always.” – Mahatma Ghandi


Eleanor-Roosevelt

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


nelson-mandela

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela


Martin-Luther-King

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King


desmond-tutu

“I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.” – Desmond Tutu


cesar-chavez

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” – Cesar Chavez


These are but a few of the thousands of people who have worked tirelessly to bring about equality and fairness for everyone, not just for a select few.  Let us hope that today and into the future, there are many more like them.

The Day That Lives On — December 7, 1941

On this day in 1941, at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appeared out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

Today, I came across a piece on the Jon S. Randall Peace Page about one of the heroines of that day, and I thought it a good thing to share with you …

On December 7, 1941, Japanese dive-bombers and Zero fighters screamed overhead at Pearl Harbor and Army hospitals on the island were overwhelmed with burn victims. At Hickam Air Field Station Hospital, amid the noise and confusion, dealing with shortages of supplies and even beds, one woman stood out, working ceaselessly and calmly despite the enormous loss of life around her.

First Lieutenant Annie G. Fox, Chief Nurse at the hospital, assisted in surgical procedures, administered pain medicine to the injured and prepped some for travel to nearby hospitals when the 30-bed facility was overwhelmed.

She was one of many recognized for their exemplary service on that tragic day in American history, and she would become the first US service woman to receive the Purple Heart, which she received for her actions during the attack.

Even though she was not wounded, at that time, the US military awarded Purple Hearts for “singularly meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service.”

But, two years after being awarded the Purple Heart, the criteria was changed to only those who received wounds by enemy action. Her Purple Heart was rescinded, and she was instead awarded the Bronze Star medal on October 6th, 1944, using the same citation for the Purple Heart originally awarded to her.

Fox was born on August 4, 1893 in Pubnico, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia.

There is not a lot of information on Fox online, but according to the War Time Heritage Association, “she served during the First World War from July 8, 1918 to July 14, 1920 and in the Second World War. Throughout the 1920’s and 30’s she served in New York, Fort Sam Houston in Texas, Fort Mason in San Diego, California, and Camp John Hay in Benguet and Manila in the Philippines. After sometime back in the Continental US, she was assigned to Honolulu, Hawaii in May of 1940. She was granted an examination for the promotion to Chief Nurse on August 1, 1941, promoted to 1st Lieutenant and transferred to Hickam field in November of 1941.”

After Pearl Harbor, Fox was awarded the Purple Heart on October 26, 1942 for her “outstanding performance of duty.”

The citation read:

“During the attack, Lieutenant Fox in an exemplary manner, performed her duties as head nurse of the Station Hospital . . . [She] worked ceaselessly with coolness and efficiency and her fine example of calmness, courage, and leadership was of great benefit to the morale of all with whom she came in contact.”

Although her Purple Heart was replaced with the Bronze Star, “the United States Armed Forces still recognizes Lt. Annie G. Fox as the first woman to ever have been awarded the Purple Heart medal,” according to the Purple Heart Foundation.

The Foundation states, “At 47 years old, Lt. Fox was for the first time placed in the middle of battle. There was gunfire, bombs detonating, and the sound of airplanes whipping over the hospital. It was not long after the attack began that the Japanese pilots turned their attention near Hickam Field and Station Hospital. While the “hellfire” rained down outside the hospital, Lt. Fox cleared her mind and jumped into action. She assembled her nurses and sought after volunteers from the base community to help her look after the wounded that started to arrive.”

Fox, according to the Wartime Heritage Association, “went on to be promoted to the rank of Captain [on] May 26, 1943 after transferring to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, California. Annie Fox had a number of posts in the Army Nurse Corps serving as Assistant to the Principal Chief Nurse at Camp Phillips, Kansas. She served at Camp Kansas from 1943 to 1944. While there she was promoted to the rank of Major. Prior to her retirement from active duty December 15, 1945 she also served at Fort Francis E Warren in Wyoming. She eventually settled in San Diego, California where two of her sisters resided. She never married.”

She died on January 20, 1987 in San Francisco, California at the age of 93.

In March 2017, Hawaii Magazine ranked her among a list of the most influential women in Hawaiian history.

According to the Wartime Heritage Association, “regardless of the [Purple Heart’s] evolution over time or what it was decided would be awarded based on the circumstances, it is clear Fox acted with great heroism, courage and service to her fellow servicemen and women.”Annie-Fox

Saturday Surprise — Saving Bees!

bees-toonI almost didn’t do a Saturday Surprise again this week, for as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been unable to corral my mind and it just wasn’t working.  But then, I was going through some notes I had of saved topics and realized I could do Saturday Surprise on a topic I’ve been wanting to do for a while, just never found time … BEES!  Don’t worry … I promise you won’t get stung!

Now, we all know that the bee population in the U.S. and globally has been declining for years.  Most of the reasons are attributable to humans … loss of habitat and bee-killing pesticides being two of the main causes.  And, all living creatures depend on bees for food … one-third of all our food depends on bee pollination, so those little guys are pretty important!

Since this is a Saturday Surprise post, one of the rules is ‘no politics’, so I won’t mention what some governments are doing to exacerbate the decline of the bee population, but instead will focus on some of the good things people are doing to try to save the bees!  Rather a hybrid of Saturday Surprise and Good People!


Let’s start with a trip to the Netherlands, the city of Utrecht, to be specific.  This city has transformed all 316 of its bus stops into bee sanctuaries.  The Netherlands is home to 358 different bee species but more than half of them are already endangered and have been placed on the Dutch Red List of threatened species.utrechtThese bee sanctuaries or rather ‘bee stops’ are essentially standard bus stops with grass and wildflowers planted on the roofs to encourage pollination. Not only do bee stops support the city’s biodiversity by attracting honey bees and bumblebees, they also help capture fine dust and store rainwater.

Bee stops are tended to by workers who drive around the city in electric vehicles. But the scheme requires little maintenance because the roofs are mainly composed of sedum plants, which are a favourite among pollinators and require very little water to survive. To improve facilities for the human visitors, the bus stops have also been fitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches.utrecht-2This is just one of the many measures Utrecht has introduced to improve urban biodiversity. It also runs a similar scheme which allows residents to apply for funding to transform their own roofs into bee sanctuaries. And as part of its clean transport goals, the aim is to introduce 55 new electric buses by the end of the year and to have “completely clean public transport” by 2028. The electricity used to power these buses will come from one of the Netherland’s most iconic attractions: windmills.

Now THAT’S what I call an environmentally conscious city!  And one of the most bee-friendly I know of.


You all know actor Morgan Freeman from such movies as Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and others, but I bet you didn’t know that he owns a 124-acre ranch in Mississippi that he has turned into a bee sanctuary! morgan-freemanFreeman’s foray into beekeeping began in 2014, where he discussed his new hobby with Jimmy Fallon during The Tonight Show. Freeman had taken up beekeeping just a couple of weeks before appearing on the show and talked about his experience keeping bees and the need to preserve and save wild bees for healthy environments.

Freeman imported 26 bee hives from Arkansas to his ranch in Mississippi. There, Freeman works to feed the bees sugar and water and has help planting bee-friendly magnolia trees, lavender, clover, etc.

“There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation…”

bee-thumbs-upTwo thumbs up to Morgan Freeman … and a sincere ‘thank you’ from all of us who care about the future of life on this planet.


Ever hear of the National Pollinator Garden Network?   Neither had I until a few hours ago.  What is it?

The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) is a partnership between conservation organizations, gardening groups, volunteer civic associations and participating federal agencies to inspire people and organizations to create more pollinator habitats. The nine founding organizations launched NPGN in June 2015.

The focus of the NPGN is: to inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices, habitat conservation and provide these groups the tools to be successful.

The organization launched an initiative called the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, in hopes of getting one million organizations and individuals to plant and maintain ‘pollinator gardens’, consisting of pollinator-friendly plants and wild grasses that are both native and non-invasive species. Well, they now have more than met their goal with 1,040,000 as of last February.

Since the campaign launched, many gardening centers have also contributed to the challenge by offering more pollinator-friendly plants, services, and education.

Increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country.

cute-beeBe sure to check out their website … if you have a garden and can take part, this is certainly a worthy venture to join!  We plant bee-friendly flowers in our tiny 2’ x 4’ postage-stamp ‘garden’ and have for years, but I haven’t got quite enough space to make much of a difference.


It’s encouraging to know that people are becoming more aware of just how crucial the bee population is to life … all life … on earth and are doing something about it, don’t you think?  And now, since I always try to end Saturday Surprise with a cute animal video, I thought this one would be appropriate today!

Have a bee-ootiful weekend, my friends!

A Few Mini-Rants … Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

It was going to be just another mildly Snarky Snippets piece, but suddenly I discovered I really felt a rant building up.  And so …


Another unqualified candidate on the bench …

Her name is Sarah Elizabeth Pitlyk, she is 42 years of age, her only judiciary experience was clerking for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh, she has never tried a case as a lead or co-counsel, has never examined a witness, and yet now she is a federal judge for the U.S. District Court in St. Louis!  The American Bar Association (ABA) gave her a “not qualified” rating … you can read their letter if you wish.

So, what has she done?  What, exactly, made Trump think she was a good candidate for the federal court?  Did she bat her eyes just right, or swing her hips just so?  Oh no … here it is … “Sarah Pitlyk has spent most of her career defending our most fundamental freedoms, including religious liberty.”

Vanita Gupta, a former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said of Pitlyk’s confirmation …

“She is exactly the type of judicial nominee that Trump promised to fill the courts with: an individual who threatens reproductive rights and access to abortion. With Pitlyk’s confirmation, the administration is betting on her to carry out their agenda for decades to come.”

Another setback to women’s rights!  One lousy republican, Senator Susan Collins, found enough compunction to vote against this woman’s confirmation.  To the rest of you damn republicans … go soak your heads in a vat of boiling oil, please!!!   Hear that low growl emitting from my throat?


Let them eat cake!  Oh wait … they cannot afford that, either

Scrooge McTrump is at it again!

The Agriculture Department gave its final approval to the first of three rules that are ultimately expected to cut more than three million from the food stamp rolls.  According to the Department of Agriculture, the economy has improved under the Trump administration, and assistance to unemployed, able-bodied adults was no longer necessary in a strong job market.

sonny-perdueSonny Perdue, head of the Department of Agriculture and one of Trump’s many yes-men, aka boot lickers, is a millionaire.  Not one night in his worthless life has he gone to bed hungry!  This is the problem with too damn many rich people in this administration … they have no concept … NONE … of what the average person deals with.

Cut food stamps, cut other social service programs, but increase military spending.  Oh yeah … let’s not forget … cut taxes on the wealthy.  Is this any way to run a government?  No, it is not.  Again, as I have said so many times before … this is a government of, by and for the wealthy and to hell with the rest of us.  The growl gets louder …


Jim Jordan …

jim-jordanI think it speaks volumes when one of the Republican Party’s loudest mouthpieces is a man who is implicated in a sex scandal at Ohio State University (OSU).  It says much about the values – or should I say lack of values – of the GOP.

Mind you, Representative Jim Jordan is not accused of sexual abuse himself, but when he served as Assistant Coach from 1986 – 1994, numerous students went to him with complaints that the campus doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, had abused them.  Strauss has been found to have abused at least 177 male students during his tenure at the university.  Jim Jordan did nothing when students took their concerns to him, but simply blew them off.

Jordan claims that he did not know, but numerous students and even a referee have come forward to say that they went to Jordan, hoping he would help them, but instead he blew them off, saying, “Yeah, that’s Strauss.”  Where there is so much smoke, there is a fire somewhere.

And this is one of the faces of the GOP today.  How low they have sunk since the days when GOP stood for ‘Grand Old Party’.


The laughingstock of the world …

All throughout Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, when nobody thought he could possibly win the election (and for the record, he didn’t), he was the laughingstock of both the nation and our allies.  Here in the U.S., we stopped laughing in the wee hours of November 9th, 2016.  The rest of the world kept laughing until probably mid-March 2017, when they saw that he was not only a threat to the U.S. and its people, but to the entire world.

Now, he is seen abroad as a fool, but a dangerous fool, and world leaders spend a bit of time in the days leading up to a summit or conference he will attend, trying to head off any dramatics, any crisis.

It was reported on December 2nd that NATO leaders had done everything in their power ahead of this week’s NATO summit to ensure that there would be no disruptive incidents.  But, wherever Trump goes, he insists on being the center of attention, and if he isn’t, then he will find a way to make it so.nato-trump.jpgYesterday, he stormed out of the summit in London after seeing a video of a group of leaders, including Boris Johnson, ridiculing him at Buckingham Palace for staging lengthy press conferences.  I suppose it hurt his itty-bitty feelings, punctured that thin skin of his, and he took his toys and went home.  He fully deserved the ridicule, and those who dished it out … Princess Anne, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French president Emmanuel Macron, and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte … were not aware they were being recorded, nor that the recording would be shown to Trump.  But, let’s face it folks … the bully got just exactly what he deserved.  As one commentor noted, the conversation wasn’t even newsworthy until Trump made it newsworthy.

And, I laugh, but at the same time I wonder, for Trump is a bully, he retaliates against those who would mock him.  Perhaps cooler heads will convince him to drop it.  Wait … are there any cooler heads left in the White House???

And Putin smiles …


Okay, well, it’s getting late and what started as a low growl is now a full-throttle roar, so it’s time for me to stop ranting and get a few hours of nice, peaceful sleep.  And I leave you with a bit of chuckle-inducing humour from our friend Jimmy Kimmel …

About Those Amazon Fires …

The Amazon rainforest plays a significant role in mitigating the effects of climate change, by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.  It is the largest such ‘carbon dioxide sink’ on the globe.  While it is not at all unusual for fires to occur in the Amazon during the dry season, this year’s fires have been particularly intense and have led to international concern, for obvious reasons.

Bolsonaro-2

Jair Bolsonaro

During the summer, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who had previously stated his intention to destroy parts of the rainforest to make way for agriculture, mining, and other business development, mocked the environmental groups who were expressing concern about the fires.  In August, as the fires intensified and photographs of the ongoing fires and impacts caught international attention and became a rising topic among world leaders, suspicions that at least some of the fires had been deliberately set were noted in the press.

The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil (INPE) reported that at least 74,155 fires had been detected in all of Brazil, which represents an 84-percent increase from the same period in 2018.  Bolsonaro mocked the INPE data, and mocked the concerned environmentalists, even going so far as to call himself “Captain Chainsaw”.  This, combined with Bolsonaro’s declared intent to destroy parts of the rainforest, led to speculation that perhaps he was responsible for the setting of some of the fires.

But on Wednesday, August 21, Bolsonaro said he believed non-governmental organizations could be behind the fires as a tactic “to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil.”

“The fire was started, it seemed, in strategic locations. There are images of the entire Amazon. How can that be? Everything indicates that people went there to film and then to set fires. That is my feeling.”

In August at the G7 summit, a special meeting was called to discuss the Amazon fires.  Trump, by the way, did not attend and lied about his reason for not attending, but what’s new?  At the meeting, the group pledged $22 million to assist with putting out the fires.  The next day, Bolsonaro rejected the offer.

In September, at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, leaders from around the globe offered assistance in fighting the fires, but Bolsonaro rejected the offers of help, and said that he would use the rainforest’s resources as he sees fit. The Amazon isn’t in flames, he told the group, but brimming with riches. And Brazil will decide how to develop it.  Rather like seeing your neighbor’s house afire, offering to assist in putting the fire out, and being told to go home, that there was no fire and he would appreciate you minding your own business.  You can plainly see that it is afire and could easily spread to your own home, thus making it your own business, but … what can you do?

Since the annual rains started last month, though some fires are still burning, for all intents and purposes the majority have been quelled.  So, I hear you wondering why I am bringing all this up now.  Well …

Bolsonaro’s latest round of the blame game is pointing the finger at none other than actor Leonardo DiCaprio!  Now, this would be laughable just in and of itself, but … Leonardo DiCaprio is an environmental activist who, in August pledged $5 million to help save the Amazon!  Bolsonaro has vowed to drive environmental NGOs from Brazil, and so on Friday he told a group of his supporters …

“This Leonardo DiCaprio’s a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money for the Amazon to be torched.  Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning of the Amazon.”

It would be bad enough, thinking of the plant and animal life lost, if these fires had only affected Brazil.  The people of Brazil, after all, elected this narcissistic, arrogant, ignorant fool, and it could be said they deserve what they get, just as the people of the U.S. deserve the chaos they invited upon their nation.  But, in this case, it is estimated that the Amazon rainforest is responsible for some 20% of the world’s oxygen.  I said … 20% OF THE WORLD’S OXYGEN!!!  Think about that one for a minute.trump-bolsonaroIf that means that 1 in 5 people are going to have to stop breathing, I vote that Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump should be the first two to stop, and then all the rest of the climate deniers should simply be forced to stop breathing, then perhaps there will be enough oxygen for the rest of us.

It is estimated that it will take between 20 – 40 years for the trees that were burned to be fully replaced.  We don’t have that kind of time, folks.  Did Jair Bolsonaro bankroll the destruction that was caused this summer?  Perhaps we’ll never know, and perhaps at this point it no longer matters, except … he’s still the president of Brazil and he’s shown the world how little he thinks of protecting the environment.  If the human race is determined to extinct itself, as appears to be the case, we have certainly made a good start at it.

The Licensing of the Presidency (White House for Sale)

I rarely follow new blogs these days, as I don’t have time to keep up with the ones I already follow, but recently one crossed my path that seemed exceptional, so I followed it. The blog is Enigma in Black, and according to the authors bio it is “one man’s opinion about matters primarily involving politics, education, and race.”
We all know that Trump is profiting from the presidency, that he sees this nation as his own private domain and that his hired thugs are profiting as well. This post, however, shines some new light on it all and is appropriately titled, “The Licensing of the Presidency (White House for Sale)”. Thank you, Enigma, for both this excellent post, and your permission to share.

ENIGMA IN BLACK

It’s how Trump has done business the past couple of decades. After six bankruptcies, Trump did learn a new trick and started selling his name and not trying to run a profitable business. Trump doesn’t really own many of the properties with his name on them. In 2015, his name was on seventeen properties in New York of which he owned only five. At present, the number of buildings in New York with his name has dwindled to eleven, as the six“Trump Place” properties elected to have the Trump name removed. The Trump Organization continues to manage the properties. A typical deal involves Trump licensing his name which once attracted buyers/renters for a fee while also being paid for management duties.

Trump’s new business model allowed him to eliminate risk while raking in a percentage, whether the venture succeeds or fails. When The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower…

View original post 786 more words

Just Two Snarky Snippets …

Well, guys, Thanksgiving is over and it’s time to get down to business here.  Filosofa is back on the job with a dose of snark to start your Friday with a grrrrrrrrrowl!


Donnie goes on the campaign trail … in London!

Guess what, folks?  Trump is going to be visiting the UK again next week.  Yep, he’s going back to embarrass us some more, demean our allies yet again, but that’s not all!  He’s also planning to hold a fundraiser there, whereby he plans to collect $3 million in donations from the Brits.  You can pick up your jaws from the floor now … yes, you heard me right … he’s going on a campaign rally, albeit a high-class campaign rally, in London.  But, more about that in a minute.

The initial reason for his trip is the annual NATO summit.  Trump has bullied and threatened until finally the NATO leadership has given in to at least one of his ‘demands’, and they have reduced the amount the U.S. contributes to the alliance’s central budget.  According to the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg …

“The U.S. will pay less, Germany will pay more, so now the U.S. and Germany will pay the same.”

The concession was made in hopes that there would be no grandstanding and drama at the summit, but I’m not holding my breath, for no doubt Trump will find something else to bitch about, will find yet another way to humiliate the citizens of the U.S.  To all my UK friends, please accept my sincere apologies in advance.

Now, about that fundraiser …

The invitation lists three tiers of donors:

  • For $125,000, a donor can join a roundtable, get a photo with the president and attend the reception.
  • For $50,000, a donor gets the photo and reception.
  • For $35,000, they can just attend the reception.

First of all, who in their right mind would pose for a picture with him???  But, to pay $125,000, or even $50,000 for it???  What comes to mind, though, is … what would anybody in the UK donating to his campaign have to gain?  Now, your ordinary person like me or you might kick in $25 to a presidential hopeful, and if we did, it would be only to help the candidate we believe best qualified for the job, for we are not in a position to trade favours.  But, when people donate hundreds of thousands of dollars, they do so in exchange for political favours.  Ponder on that one for a bit.

It is said that he is expecting to attract expatriates, and that donors must present a valid U.S. passport in order to attend, but … I guess I just have a suspicious mind.  And … if an expatriate is living in London, it seems unlikely to me that he would have an interest in helping Trump win next year’s election. Trump-State-VisitThe fundraiser will be hosted by Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, co-chair Tommy Hicks Jr., national finance chair Todd Ricketts, and Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale.  I sincerely hope the Brits put on their best display and that the baby Trump balloon is flying high!


Donnie’s twin across the pond?

I have long said that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shared DNA with Donald Trump.  Two peas in a pod.  Granted, Boris is smarter and more literate than Donnie, and even slightly easier on the eyes, but beyond that, they think alike, which is no good thing for either the U.S. or the UK.  As we all know, Donald Trump and his band of thugs have done everything in their power to roll back environmental regulations, putting animals, people and our very planet at risk.  Apparently, Boris isn’t much of a believer in climate change either.

On Thursday, a British television station, Channel 4 News, hosted a climate debate ahead of next month’s election.  Neither Prime Minister Johnson nor Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage bothered to show up.  Nigel’s excuse was that the discussion wouldn’t be about Brexit, apparently the only topic he knows how to talk about, but his absence was no great loss.  One would think, however, that the nation’s leader would be concerned enough to want to attend, to share his own views with those who will be voting in just a couple of weeks.ice-sculpture-2The Brits know how to do things up right, though.  Since Boris and Nigel failed to show up, their places on the debate stage were occupied by ice sculptures with their party’s logos.  Melting ice sculptures.  The network said the ice sculptures “represent the emergency on planet Earth.”  Seems fair enough to me.  Nigel’s absence wasn’t much noted, but Boris’ absence fueled criticism that he has sought to avoid both the public and tough questions from the press during the election campaign. In typical Trump fashion, Boris’ party, the Conservative Party, accused the network of ‘partisan bias’ just as Trump continually claims the U.S. media are biased and ‘out to get him’.  And again, in a Trumpian-style movement, the party has threatened to ‘review the network’s broadcast license’ … but not ‘til after the election.  Boris and Donnie … possibly twins separated at birth?  Both sore losers, both with juvenile temperaments, neither putting the best interests of their nations in the foreground.  Oh yeah, and both with really fake hair that looks like the straw in a horse’s stall.  And apparently, I’m not the only one who sees the resemblance …

twinstwins-2twins-3twins-4twins-5

‘Toons, ‘Toons, and More ‘Toons!

It’s a busy day for all of us.  I don’t have time to write the post that is bouncing around in my head, for I am busy in the kitchen today, and you don’t have time to read it anyway, for you are likely either busy in the kitchen or watching football.  So, what better day than today for some ‘toons?


Since it is Thanksgiving, and since da turkey is da bird of choice for most, including moi, a few turkey ‘toons seem a good way to kick off the post!turkey-1turkey-2turkey-3turkey-4turkey-5turkey-6


Last week, Trump pardoned convicted war criminal Edward Gallagher, but he didn’t stop there.  He ordered the U.S. Navy to restore Mr. Gallagher to his former rank of Chief Petty Officer, while at the same time, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer was arranging for Gallagher’s discharge.  Long story short, Secretary Spencer crossed Trump and denied his order, and last Sunday he was fired.  gallagher-1gallagher-2gallagher-3


Of course the Ukraine has seen more headlines in the U.S. in the past month than in the entire past century, and it all started with a phone call … a perfect, beautiful phone call, according to Trump.  But now, the web seems to reach far and wide, entrapping many such as Giuliani, Nunes, and others.ukraine-2Ukraine-3ukraine-4Corruptionukraine-6


And let us not forget Russia and Putin’s latest puppet …RussiaRussia-2


The GOP originally stood for Grand Old Party, but they lost that distinction long ago.  Lately, however, they are selling their collective souls downriver in their efforts to defend the indefensible — Donald Trump.  They have put aside their oaths of office, have stopped even pretending to care about the people of this nation, and their new designation should be POL … Party Of Lies.GOPGOP-2GOP-3


And that’s it for today, my friends!  Have a great day and go for a long walk after you stuff yourself!  Except for Hugh, who will likely be shoveling instead of walking!

snow shovel

Short, Snarky Snippets

If you think that the fact that it’s Thanksgiving, the fact that I have a turkey to roast, stuffing to make, potatoes to cook, and all the other stuff is going to keep me from being a snarky you-know-what today, then you don’t know me well.  Last Thanksgiving, I managed my usual two posts plus a music post, and while I may or may not have a second post today, I at least have some short snarky snippets to share with you!  I consider it my civic duty … it’ll give you something to discuss over your turkey & gravy!


Who knew …

… That those of us whose humanitarian values have led us to be called “liberals”, as well as some other less savoury names, were trying to change the name of the holiday presently known as “Thanksgiving”?  Funny, but I hadn’t heard that one until this morning when I was reading that in Trump’s rally yesterday, he claimed …

“But now we’re going to have to do a little work on Thanksgiving. People have different ideas why it shouldn’t be called ‘Thanksgiving,’ but everybody in this room I know loves the name ‘Thanksgiving,’ and we’re not changing it.”

And the crowd cheered.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no movement to change the name of Thanksgiving.  There were numerous humorous responses on Twitter, but one of the responses to his foolish remark was spot on:

“Well, many Natives, like myself, call it #nationaldayofmourning & as far as I’m concerned, if you don’t like it, grab a ship back home and shove some crumpets up your bum and let us repair this land.”

He also returned to one of his favourite themes, what he refers to as “the war on Christmas”.  He claims that he has now “made” everyone say “Merry Christmas”, rather than “Happy Holidays”.  Bullshit.  I typically go for the “Have a great holiday” line, though sometimes I may say “Merry Christmas”.  Thing is, see … not everyone celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday.  Many of us celebrate it as a secular holiday, a way to begin the long, dark winter season with light and festivity.  If you choose to celebrate it according to your religion, fine.  If you don’t, then that’s fine also.  Once again, Trump has overstepped his boundaries.


And about that rally …

Not surprisingly, Trump used much of his time at his aforementioned campaign rally in Sunrise, Florida, talking about his pending impeachment.  He cast the impeachment inquiry as a desperate effort by democrats to win back the White House in 2020. He went so far as to call the impeachment proceedings ‘bullshit,’ prompting a new audience chant containing the expletive. And he put those proceedings in the same category as the Mueller investigation, labeling all of it a ‘scam’ and a ‘hoax.’

“They’re attacking me because I’m exposing a rigged system that enriched itself at your expense and I’m restoring government of, by and for the people.”

Say WHAT???  I’m still speechless and have steam coming out of my ears over that blatant, bald-faced lie!

“The radical Democrats are trying to overturn the last election because they know that they cannot win the next election. It’s very simple.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 👿


Tucker said WHAT???

tucker-carlsonTucker Carlson of Fox News fame is a grade-A jerk.  No surprise there, we’ve known that for years.  But, he may have crossed a line this time.

“Why do I care … what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious. Why do I care? Why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am?”

After the predictable backlash from those who remember that Russia is a domineering, bullying nation that is seeking to restore an ‘empire’ ala the Soviet Union, ol’ Tucker said, halfheartedly, that he was only joking.  Right, Tuck.


Spencer speaks …

Funny, isn’t it, that Trump who dodged the draft back during the Vietnam War, who has never served a single day in the military, is now micromanaging the military of which he knows absolutely nothing?  Ousted Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, has written an OpEd in response to his firing.  The thing he wrote that struck me as being 110% true is that Trump …

 “… Has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

Can’t argue with that … Trump has no clue what the words “ethically” and “rules” mean.  Commander-in-Chief???  Hah!  The most unlikely of candidates for that job.


For the love of animals?  Doubtful

In December 2010, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan bill, H.R.5566 – Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, that banned videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of torture.  On Monday, Trump signed into law another bill, H.R.724 – Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, that is essentially an expansion of the original.  This one makes such cruelty to animals a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Since the bill had bipartisan support in Congress, and since it is basically a no-brainer, there would have been absolutely no justification for Trump to not sign it, but some have found a morsel of redemption for Trump in the signing of this bill, saying, “See … he did something good!”  We are, it would seem, desperate for him to have one little redeeming quality.  But wait …

Do you see the irony here?  Trump’s two elder sons are both big game hunters who have killed numerous beautiful animals for sport.  No contest, they are guided by experts, they have big guns, the animal is in a preserve and has no guide, no gun.  Senseless slaughter, pure and simple.  Sorry, folks, but this bill does not apply to people who slaughter animals for food or to those who hunt, trap and fish.  Too little … far too little.


And now, I leave you to enjoy your Thanksgiving with friends and family.  Have a great one, my friends!