The Question Is … WHY?

It’s a sad state of affairs that I will believe literally anybody over Trump.  The latest?  Trump claimed on Thursday that the U.S. military downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.  Why would he lie about that?  But, I think he did lie, for Iran denies that it happened, and has even released video they say proves that it was a lie.  If this had happened three years ago, under President Obama, I would never have questioned it, but whatever Trump says, I find there is usually at least a partial lie.

Why would Iran lie?  Tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran, and Iran would almost certainly be hopping mad and making threats if we had shot down one of their little boys’ toys.  (Needless to say, I have little respect for the use of drones). But I question the reason behind Trump’s lie, for undoubtedly there is an underlying, likely malicious reason.  You may recall that Iran did shoot down one of our drones last month.  Trump claimed it was in international airspace, but it turned out it was, in fact, in Iranian airspace and was spying on Iran.

Iranian leadership have frequently mocked Trump, and we all know that is the one thing that he cannot stand.  Back in May 2018, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said Trump “does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues,” and added that he “only understands the language of force.”  All of which is true, but surely got under Trump’s thin skin.

Ever since, there has been a back-and-forth poking by both parties, and Trump has at times seemed determined to plunge the U.S. into a war with Iran that nobody … nobody in this nation wants.  For the most part, Trump is filled with bluster and a sense that he is the all-important player in this game-that-is-not-a-game, while Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, taunts back, but seems to be finding humour in it all.

So, why is Trump trying so hard to provoke Iran, and why did he lie about shooting down the drone?  I don’t know the answers but have a few thoughts on the topic.

First, at the beginning of his term, Trump unconscionably withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement with no reason, for even our own intelligence community agreed that Iran was upholding their end of the deal.  But … it was a deal that had been signed by President Obama, and that was the only reason Trump was so insistent on withdrawing.  He demanded that our European allies also withdraw, and when they didn’t, when they worked collectively to try to salvage the deal even without the help of the U.S., Trump made threats, as he is wont to do.  When our allies didn’t give in to his threats, but largely ignored him and continued trying to preserve the deal for the sake of world peace, he got even angrier and imposed sanctions on Iran.

Last month, then, two oil tankers, one of Japanese registry, the other Norwegian, were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.  Trump & Co. claimed to have video footage showing that Iran was behind the attacks, but the footage was fuzzy and really showed nothing of value.  Plus, the crew of one of the tankers stated emphatically that it was not Iran.  More lies on the part of Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo.  Iran denied culpability and said that Trump was spreading disinformation and warmongering.

Then they shot down our spy drone that was in their airspace, and now Trump claims, sans evidence, to have shot down their drone.  WHY???

A few possibilities come to mind …

First, the red herring theory.  Trump is coming under a great deal of fire from the public lately … not his base, of course, but the majority of us … for a number of things:

  • Conditions at the detention camps where children are being held in captivity, separated from their parents, denied such essentials as medical care, soap, toothbrushes, beds, blankets
  • His outrageously expensive and pointless, not to mention tasteless and insulting parade and “celebration” on July 4th that nearly bankrupted the city of Washington, D.C., and cost the taxpayers a bundle that we couldn’t afford
  • His heinous racist denigration of four members of Congress, all U.S. citizens, whom he told to get out of the country and go back where they came from

No doubt, Trump is eager to stop the bleeding that is a result of all these things (and more).  So … what better way than a red herring … something to distract attention from his domestic screw-ups … than an international “incident”?  Wouldn’t be the first time.

And second … there is a proven theory that when a nation is so divided that it is literally eating itself from within, as the U.S. is doing today, an external threat will bring the two sides together, if only temporarily, to fight the external threat.  If that is the thinking … and it would have come from either Pompeo or Bolton, for Trump hasn’t the intelligence to think of it on his own … then he has two choices:  North Korea or Iran.  Since he still seems to hold tight to the idea that his snow job on Kim Jong-un worked and that they now love each other, despite the fact that his summit failed to produce any tangible results, that leaves Iran.  National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both had itchy fingers for a long time … decades, in fact … to bomb Iran, to affect a regime change.  They are a well-matched pair of warmongers.

And a third possibility is financial.  War is profitable for arms manufacturers, and some of Trump’s best buddies manufacture arms.  Why do you think he’s trying so hard to sell arms to Saudi Arabia?  He has proposed often enough that we need to build up our supply of arms, but the proposal is not, overall, met with cheers of approval, for we have the largest national debt in our history, and more tanks just doesn’t seem as important to most of us as healthcare and feeding the poor.  But, if we enter a war …

Again, I don’t know what is behind Trump’s taunts, mockery and lies, but these are just the result of my sleepless nights spent thinking, spent pondering on the “why” of it all, and I think there is some thread of logic to these thoughts.  And now, I return you to your Sunday evening activities.

Snarky Snippets From The Bouncing Mind

Good Sunday morning, my friends!  I haven’t unleashed my snarky side for several days now, and it’s bubbling over.  So, what better way to start Sunday than with a few snarky snippets?


Election security?

While Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to even allow the Senate to consider election security bills that have passed the House already for fear it would upset the tender feelings of Trump, there are some positive things happening in the area of election security.  Tentatively.

The intelligence community (IC) is picking up slack where the Senate is falling down on the job.  Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has installed a new czar to oversee election security efforts on a large-scale basis.  His choice is Shelby Pierson, an intelligence veteran.  According to Coats …

“Election security is an enduring challenge and a top priority for the IC. In order to build on our successful approach to the 2018 elections, the IC must properly align its resources to bring the strongest level of support to this critical issue. There is no one more qualified to serve as the very first election threats executive than Shelby Pierson, whose knowledge and experience make her the right person to lead this critical mission.”

It’s good to know that somebody in our federal government ‘has our back’… but wait.  You will note that in the first paragraph, I added “tentatively”.  There’s a reason for that.  See, Donald Trump doesn’t want to talk about election security, doesn’t want to hear about it.  Why?  Because, it was the very lack of adequate election security that enabled him to be placed, albeit not elected, into office.  The proven Russian interference, without which it is highly unlikely he would be sitting in the Oval Office today, is a sore spot, a blow to his ego.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she was told to keep any efforts at election security “below his level”.  Never mind that when it comes to the security of the nation, his personal feelings ought not to matter … everyone in his administration is so scared shitless of him that they will go to great lengths to hide things from him. trump tantrum

Consider this … earlier this month, it was reported that no less than five people in Trump’s administration said (anonymously, of course) that he is eager to tell Dan Coats to “hit the road, Jack!”  If that should happen, then all bets on election security are off.  This wouldn’t be the first time Coats has butted heads with Trump.  He has been critical of Trump’s relationship (bromance?) with Russia’s Vladimir Putin (who hasn’t?) and he told a Senate panel that North Korea is unlikely to be willing to give up their nuclear weapons, contrary to Trump’s claims and his relationship (another bromance?) with Kim Jong-un.  We now know that Coats was right, Trump was wrong, but that does put Coats in an awkward position.

Speculation is that Trump is considering replacing Coats with Fred Fleitz, former chief of staff to National Security Advisor John Bolton.  Fleitz met with Trump recently, and has made no secret that he would like to scale back the Office of the Director of National Security significantly.  If that happens … there can be no doubt that election security will become the lowest of all priorities, if it doesn’t fall off the bottom of the priority list altogether.


Partisan … straws???

You’ve heard, unless you’ve been living on a desert island without communication for the last few years, about the effort among environmentalists to reduce and eventually cease the use of single-use plastics, right?  Plastic straws are one of the worst culprits, for they are so numerous, they do not decompose or biodegrade, therefore they stay in landfills, or worse yet end up in oceans, and unlike some other plastics, there is a relatively simple solution … good old-fashioned paper straws!  But guess what, folks?

Paper straws are ‘liberal’, read democratic, and therefore plastic straws are republicans!  Who decided this?  Well, none other than Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale.

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Brad Parscale

“I’m so over paper straws, and I’m sure you are too. Much like most liberal ideas, paper straws don’t work and they fall apart instantly. That’s why we just launched our latest product – Official Trump Straws. Now you can finally be free from liberal paper straws that fall apart within minutes and ruin your drink.”

Um … I remember the 1950s, before the advent of plastic straws, when all we had were paper straws and they worked very well, thank you.  However, if there is anyone reading this who really wants to make sure they are getting bona fide republican straws, you can head on over to the Donald Trump campaign store (yes, there really is such a thing … where do you think people get all those ugly red hats?) and pick up a 10-pack of reusable plastic straws, which are red and emblazoned with “TRUMP” in silver, for a mere $15. trump-straw-2What a deal, eh … $1.50 for one lousy straw that … who could put something in their mouth with that word on it???  Oh, and shipping takes two weeks.  Meanwhile, try explaining to your grandchildren why your use of a plastic straw was more important than their life.  Oh, and one other thing … there is yet a third option … you can pick the cup up, bring it to your lips, tilt it a little bit, and drink without any straw!  What a novel idea, yes?


“We will do our best to go on without him …”

Trump was scheduled to attend the 110th annual national convention of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) this weekend.  Historically, presidents of both parties have spoken and attended a Q&A session at the annual meeting of the oldest civil rights organization in the United States.  As a candidate in 2016, he declined an invitation to attend.  Trump declined to attend the convention in 2017 … no reason given.  But this year, he had accepted the invitation … until he found out about the Q&A session.

“I very much wanted to go, but we had a date. The date got changed and unfortunately they wanted to do it in the form of a question and answer.”

The date was set far in advance and did not change.  Nor did the format, but he thought he would just give a speech and leave.  In light of his recent racist tirade that is largely dominating the media these days, he was apparently afraid to face questions by a civil rights group.

Wendell Anthony, the NAACP Detroit Branch President, said …

“He blew an opportunity quite frankly, but we will do our best to go on without him.”

Dripping sarcasm … I love it!  He continued …

“There is a format; every candidate has said that he or she would be glad to participate in. It’s beyond us as to why that would be of some discomfort for the president. We are American citizens. We have a right to question our presidents and ask the leader of the free world what our future will be.”

Absolutely.  If Trump wishes to continue playing ‘president’, then he must play by the rules of the game … oh wait … for him, there are no rules, right?  Take heart, however, for intelligent people who know how to speak and have something of importance to say will be there:  Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Stacey Abrams, Rashida Talib and Bernie Sanders, to name a few.  Who needs Trump anyway?

The interesting thing is that this wasn’t widely published in the media.  I only saw it on BET’s website and a local Detroit station.  Puzzling.  Muzzled?  Chicken?


Well, that’s your daily dose of snark for this Sunday … now go have some fun, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Dorothy Thompson, the Journalist Who Warned the World About Adolf Hitler

Have you ever heard of Dorothy Thompson? I hadn’t either until our blogging-buddy Mary posted a link to another blog that she thought relevant to my topic-of-the-moment, Trump’s racism. Turns out that Ms. Thompson was a quite notable journalist during WWII, and had the distinction of being the first U.S. journalist to be expelled from Germany by Hitler! This post is noteworthy for three reasons: 1) it is fascinating and I learned much that I didn’t already know; 2) it is very well-written; 3) parts of it are chilling, as you will see, when compared to the situation in the U.S. today. Please take a minute to read and think about this post. Thank you, Peter, for permission to share this with my readers!

Life Unscripted

I write for fun, but not everyone has that luxury. A great many people in the world write to earn their living and I have always thought that to be a tough way to go: deadlines are a pain, and I can attest to that after publishing a small journal for a few years. There is this challenge to stay relevant and also inspired enough to write every day are the fabric of nightmares and sleepless nights, but some people excel at it.temerity

I was struck over this past weekend by the brazen cowardice of the U.S. Congress. It astounded me that a sitting president would tell elected members of Congress that they should go back to some country they “came from” and that

seehearspeakThe U.S. Congress

Congress would sit by silent as brass monkeys. Yet… that is what happened.

One word that has largely disappeared from our vocabulary is…

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Dying For The Fiction – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

The single most important thing that should be on everyone’s mind today is the environment, for if we don’t take steps to stop the bleeding, none of the other issues will matter before long. Blogger-friend Paul lives in Western Australia and he writes poetry. Most times, I can even understand his poems, which is saying something, for I am often find it difficult to understand the subtle, hidden messages in most poetry. Last night, I visited Paul’s blog, as I try to do a few times a week, and was stunned by his poem of the day. Please take a minute to read it … it’s short but says an awful lot in a few words. Thank you, Paul, for your generous permission to re-blog “Dying for the Fiction”.

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dVerse Poets – Poetics – Climate Crisis

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Cartoon found at sites.duke.edu

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”  Rachel Carson

Dying For The Fiction

They filled in the wetlands and gave me a house
of dreams filled with death,
and we cut down the trees that gave us life
that we might see the views of the city lights,
in a panic we scorched everything in the
belief that we must perpetuate production,
the very poison that kills all,
while giving happiness in spades of plastic that
smothers reality and makes us long for more
fictions that soothe and inspire
how self murder is so healthy for us,
I awoke this morning to find
my limbs removed,
my lungs cut down
and plastic in my gut,
I am Eco,
I…

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Mandela Day …

I did not realize that today is Mandela Day, until I was skimming my e-mail late this afternoon and came across this one from the Obama Foundation …

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Hi Jill,

Ten years ago today, the world celebrated the first-ever Mandela Day, on Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday. Mandela himself was honored, but he emphasized that the day should not be a holiday to recognize him, but a day devoted to service. “Our struggle for freedom and justice was a collective effort,” he said. “Mandela Day is no different.”

Now, ten years later, I’m asking you to take part in another collective effort—to dedicate your time toward improving your own community.Obama-MandelaNo gesture is too small; no act of service too modest. Whether you donate books to your local library, volunteer at a shelter, or commit to mentoring someone in your neighborhood, every action is a step toward building a more gracious, more generous world. That is the world Mandela himself sought to build.

Earlier this week, the Obama Foundation convened 200 of Africa’s best and brightest young leaders in Mandela’s home country of South Africa to help them sharpen their skills, share their hopes and ideas, and build a network that can help chart the future of the continent. But before they left our Leaders: Africa convening, they gathered together to volunteer at a nearby primary school.

They didn’t sign their names on murals or stand idly by, waiting for recognition—these leaders simply gave their time in service. It’s the kind of example that true leadership demands. And I can think of no one who better defines that spirit of leadership than Madiba himself.

So this Mandela Day, commit some time to making a difference in your community. But don’t do it for yourself or even just to recognize him; do it because it’ll make our world better.

Thanks,

Barack Obama

Mandela-1Nelson Mandela International Day aka Mandela Day, is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010.

The Mandela Day campaign message, according to a statement issued on Mandela’s behalf is:

  • Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We’re asking you to start with 67 minutes.
  • We would be honoured if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace, reconciliation and cultural diversity.

A little bit about Nelson Mandela.

By the time of his death, within South Africa Mandela was widely considered both “the father of the nation” and “the founding father of democracy”.  Outside of South Africa, he was a global icon, with the scholar of South African studies Rita Barnard describing him as “one of the most revered figures of our time”.

When some attempted to portray Mandela as a modern-day messiah, his response was …

“I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.”

gandhi-king-mandelaHe is often cited alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of the 20th century’s exemplary anti-racist and anti-colonial leaders.  Mandela’s international fame had emerged during his incarceration in the 1980s, when he became the world’s most famous prisoner, a symbol of the anti-apartheid cause, and an icon for millions who embraced the ideal of human equality. In 1986, Mandela’s biographer characterized him as “the embodiment of the struggle for liberation” in South Africa.

Mandela generated controversy throughout his career as an activist and politician, having detractors on both the right and the radical left. During the 1980s, Mandela was widely labelled a terrorist by prominent political figures in the Western world for his embrace of political violence. According to the UK’s Margaret Thatcher, for instance, the ANC was “a typical terrorist organisation”. The US government’s State and Defense departments officially designated the African National Congress (ANC) as a terrorist organization, resulting in Mandela remaining on their terrorism watch-list until 2008.

In the words of South African historian/biographer Bill Freund …

“The significance of Mandela can be considered in two related ways. First, he has provided through his personal presence as a benign and honest conviction politician, skilled at exerting power but not obsessed with it to the point of view of excluding principles, a man who struggled to display respect to all … Second, in so doing he was able to be a hero and a symbol to an array of otherwise unlikely mates through his ability, like all brilliant nationalist politicians, to speak to very different audiences effectively at once.”

Mandela-2Like Gandhi, King, and a handful of others, Nelson Mandela left the world a little bit better place than he found it.  This is something few of us will achieve, but that we should all strive for.Mandela Day

Bad People Doing Bad Things …

red circleLook at the circle above.  What colour do you see?  What?  Red?  No, I call that blue … definitely blue.  You still claim it’s red?  Then you will not be allowed to speak about the colour of the circle, for your view does not match my own, and thus is wrong.

Dr. Rod Schoonover was a senior intelligence analyst with the U.S. State Department and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.  Last week, Dr. Schoonover left the employ of the State Department.  Why?  Because he is a scientist.  Because he looked at that circle and called it red, even though Donald Trump and his administration warned him to say it was blue.  And then, Trump taped his mouth so he couldn’t say it was red.  And Dr. Schoonover decided he had enough and resigned his position.Rod SchoonoverDr. Schoonover was invited to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on June 5th about the security risks the United States faces because of climate change.  The Trump administration, according to leaked internal memos, tried to force Dr. Schoonover to change his prepared speech, but the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research refused and ultimately he was allowed to speak before the committee.  However, when it came time to publish his written testimony, the administration blocked it.

Why? Because it did not match the Trump administration’s views.  According to Myron Ebell, who was once considered to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before Trump settled on Scott Pruitt, Trump’s re-election campaign consultants told him …

“We have polling showing that you need to stress your environmental accomplishments and not start controversial things that will get you bad press, like going after climate science.”

Let that one sink in for a minute, folks.

Policy decisions and governance are now being mandated by Donald Trump’s campaign for next year’s election.  Not the welfare of the country and its people, not our safety and well-being, but what will play well in the rallies, what his ‘base’ wants to hear, what will give him the best chance to spend an additional four years destroying our nation, our lives.

One of the statements White House officials objected to was this observation:

“Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change.”

On Monday, July 8th, Trump did, in fact, give a speech where he stated that his White House was working “harder than many previous administrations” on the issue of the environment, adding: “Maybe almost all of them.”

Given that he has spent his entire two-and-a-half years in office destroying environmental regulations, pulling out of the Paris climate accord, encouraging the fossil fuel industry, destroying wildlife protections, opening federal lands to drilling and mining, environmentalists’ jaws dropped when they heard his speech.  We shouldn’t be surprised … the man has yet to speak an honest word!

The environment and climate change should not be … should not be an issue of partisan politics!  And yet … it is.  According to a recent survey, 81% of Democrats said climate change was “very important,” compared with more than the 56% of independents and a measly 26% of Republicans.  Yo Republicans!!!  Wake up and remove your head from your arse!!!  You are killing us!

Daniel Q. Greenwood, Trump’s deputy assistant in the White House office of legislative affairs, said that Schoonover’s written testimony was unacceptable because …

“The testimony still has serious concerns with internal components and focuses heavily on the science. Because it doesn’t reflect the coordinated IC position, or the administration’s position, there is no way this can be cleared ahead of the hearing.”

It focuses too heavily on the science???  And it doesn’t reflect the administration’s position. Apparently, Dr. Schoonover didn’t read the republican’s bible that states, “Ye shall put forth no facts, but only whatever fantasy his Trumpship wishes on any given day”.

You can see and download the .pdf file of Dr. Schoonover’s written assessment, with comments and suggested changes written by Trump lackeys.  It is said that most of the comments came from William Happer, a ‘theoretical physicist’ and White House adviser on the National Security Council who denies the established scientific consensus on global warming.  Certainly that makes him uniquely qualified to edit a scientific document on climate change, doesn’t it?

Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, droughts, melting ice caps, algae blooms, a declining bee population … all far in excess of what has been the normal range.  Where I live, we have had “air quality alerts” every day for the past two weeks, and today for the first time ever, I received an “excessive heat warning”.  This coming weekend, I will not be able to leave my house because the temperatures are expected to be around the 100° (F) mark (38° C), and I cannot survive in such.  I have lived in this general area since 1987 and have never once seen temps reach 100°.  In fact, as a rule, I can count on my fingers the number of days the temps are over 90°.

Bottom line — climate science is unpopular with Trump’s base, and there is an election in just over 15 months, so the entire planet must be doomed to the whims and vagaries of an uneducated group of people who like Donald Trump because he says there is no such thing as climate change … and oh yeah, besides that he’s gonna build a damn wall and have Mexico pay for it.

Last Chance

And speaking of climate change, and those who would deny its existence for the sake of their profit and convenience, fellow-blogger justdrivewillyou has written an excellent, hard-hitting post about the topic that I wish I could send to all those who simply shrug their shoulders at the topic. Thank you, justdrive, for an excellent post and your kind permission to re-blog!

just drive, will you?

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CLIMATE CHANGE, IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE IT, WILL LEAD TO OUR EXTINCTION.

Did anybody miss that? Let me say it again.

CLIMATE CHANGE, IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE IT, WILL LEAD TO OUR EXTINCTION.

There is no greater threat to humanity. Not ISIS. Not illegal immigrants.Not even delusional, despotic Presidents.

None of them are a match for Mother Nature.

If you’re still a Denier, well, pardon me but, pull your head out. This is real, it is urgent, and denying it won’t keep it away.

It’s not a Democratic issue, a Republican issue, or even an American issue. It is a human issue, and it demands all our attention.

If we fail to give it, we’re done for. Period.

Are you all with me? Good, listen up:

Last week, a resolution was introduced to Congress declaring a Climate Change Emergency. The resolution, H.Con.Res.52, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders…

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An ostrich pulls his head out of the sand

With all the news this week being about Trump’s horrendous behaviour toward certain members of Congress, and his latest attack on asylum seekers, and Kellyanne skipping out on subpoena, you most likely missed a few tidbits. Our friend Keith has dug up one, which brings a bit of positive news, a hope that perhaps the GOP are not quite as united on denying climate change as we’ve been led to believe. Thank you, Keith, for bringing us this news … these are things we need to know that are being missed by the media during this feeding frenzy.

musingsofanoldfart

This story should not be newsworthy as it is long overdue, but unfortunately it is. A headline from a USA Today last week proclaimed “Trump ally Lindsey Graham says president should ‘admit climate change is real’.” Senator Graham went on to say per the article:

“‘I’m tired of playing defense on the environment,’Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday as he and other GOP lawmakers announced the formation of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, which will ’embrace and promote constructive efforts to resolve conservation and environmental problems.'”

I have written often about addressing climate change. Progress in fighting climate change is happening, but it desperately needs the leverage of the US federal government. Plus, we must alter harmful deregulation to our environment.

Rather than belabor these points, let me say I left the Republican Party about a dozen years ago, in part due to its stance on climate change. My thesis…

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‘Toons To Brighten Your Sunday …

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I decided that instead of something dark and depressing, I would give you something to chuckle about … ‘TOONS!  Well … now that I think about it, some of these might be a bit dark and depressing … but at least there’s an element of humour in them.


The most crucial issue facing the nation … the globe … today is the environment, and frankly the U.S. is doing damn little to improve it.  Still, the cartoonists find food for the grist mill …

environmentenvironment-2environment-4Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190708.tifCOLORenvironment-7


Ol’ Jeffrey Epstein, the monster who has committed heinous crimes against women and children, who got off with a slap-on-the-wrist once before, who has long been a close personal friend of another sex abuser who happens to sit in the Oval Office, has once again been arrested for sex-trafficking, and so is back in the news …

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Although Trump claimed this week that he is giving up the fight to have a question about citizenship added to the 2020 Census, I suspect we haven’t heard the end of it.  

census-1census-2Trump Census Policye6f3115c63a069634c132d373fa843cdcensus-5


There was never any doubt that Trump would run for re-election in 2020, especially given that he registered to do so on the day of his inauguration in 2017!  

Trump-2020trump-2020-2trump-2020-3


The thing that I find most frightening about the Trump presidency circus is the fact that he believes himself to be above the law, his hand-picked Attorney-General, William Barr, confirms that he is above the law, the Senate allows him to be above the law, and the republicans both in and out of government see nothing wrong with him being above the law …

above-the-law.jpg


And I end with a few random ‘toons just for kicks …

politicsTrump-cuckooTrump-school


Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

The Playground Bully Strikes Again …

The headline in the New York Times

British Ambassador to U.S. Resigns After Leak Enrages Trump

The condensed version is that Britain’s ambassador to the U.S., Sir Kim Darroch, had included in some of his memos, less than flattering words about Trump & Co.  What exactly did he say?  He described Trump as inept, insecure, and incompetent.  All true.  He said that Trump’s administration is uniquely dysfunctional.  Again, true.  According to the UK’s The Mail, Sir Kim …

  • Describes bitter conflicts within Trump’s White House – verified by his own sources – as ‘knife fights’;
  • Warns that Trump could have been indebted to ‘dodgy Russians’;
  • Claims the President’s economic policies could wreck the world trade system;
  • Says the scandal-hit Presidency could ‘crash and burn’ and that ‘we could be at the beginning of a downward spiral… that leads to disgrace and downfall’;
  • Voices fears that Trump could still attack Iran.

Every single one of those things is a true statement of fact.  Call a spade a spade.  He also said …

“We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”

Again, every single word in that statement is fact-based … the truth.  One of the duties of an ambassador is to keep his own nation’s leaders informed about the situation in their host country.  That was what Sir Kim Darroch was doing – his job.  He was informing his government about the chaos and ineptitude that now defines the U.S. government.  He did not leak those memos, but somebody else did, no doubt with the intent of stirring the cauldron, and that is exactly what happened.  My best guess is that it was an associate of either Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage who leaked the documents, but that is for the UK intelligence agencies to determine.

It should be noted, however, that shortly after the 2016 election, two months before Trump was to take office, he suggested that the UK send Nigel Farage as their ambassador to the U.S.  He was promptly informed that he doesn’t get to choose who he would like as UK’s ambassador to the U.S.

In a statement, the British Foreign Office, upholding Sir Kim’s position said …

“The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country. Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid. Just as the U.S. ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities.”

Donald Trump can dish out the insults hour after hour on Twitter, day after day.  Not a day has gone by during his term in office that he wasn’t calling some perceived enemy nasty names.  But … like the playground bully, he can dish it out, but cannot take it.  He is extremely thin-skinned and flies into a rage at the slightest hint of disapproval.  And predictably, that is exactly what he did.

He described the ambassador as “wacky,” a “very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool,” and called Prime Minister Theresa May “foolish” for ignoring his advice on Brexit.  Wow, such maturity, eh?  And then Trump said that he would no longer “deal” with Sir Kim.  Trump, never running out of nasty things to say, then continued, via a series of unhinged Twitter messages …

“The wacky ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was handled. I told her how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way – was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don’t know the ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool. Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world, by far and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger.”

Let that one sink in for a minute.  The ‘man’ who has failed this nation in every single foreign policy aspect thus far, “told” the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom how to handle a situation about which he is even more clueless than my cat.  A buffoonish, playground mentality is running this ship, folks … and there is an iceberg dead ahead.

Unfortunately, Boris Johnson, one of two candidates in the running to become the next Prime Minister later this month, pandered to Trump rather than supporting Sir Kim.  As one writer for The Guardian aptly said …

“The national interest would hardly be served by Her Majesty’s chief representative in Washington sending back sanitised and euphemistic dispatches. Governments rely upon thorough, honest and frank information and advice from their diplomats.  If the memos are unusually strong stuff, that is because the US administration is a wholly abnormal one. Indeed, the ambassador’s verdict of a dysfunctional, faction-riven and inept White House is not only blindingly obvious to any observer but looks decidedly diplomatic when set beside some of the accounts which have emerged from the leaky Trump administration itself. There are multiple reports of senior figures describing him as an idiot, a moron or unhinged.”

It is the opinion of this writer that Donald Trump has made yet another serious faux pas, another in a long string of foreign policy blunders that are putting us on a collision course.  Such juvenile behaviour coming from the ‘man’ who sits in the highest seat in government is inexcusable and unacceptable.  There is no doubt that he has single-handedly driven a wedge in US – UK relations, even if his buddy Boris does become the next Prime Minister.  I call on Nancy Pelosi to stop waiting for some perfect moment and open an impeachment inquiry NOW, before the United States has no friends left, and is left with only a warmonger whose itchy finger is moving closer and closer to the button.