Saturday Surprise — Minis & Critters

Good Saturday morning and welcome to, at long last …weekend


I came across something the other night so amazing I just had to share it with you!  I’d like to introduce you to Chris Toledo …Chris-ToledoChris has three things that I don’t have:  unlimited patience, artistic talent, and lots of time.  Chris has had a love of art and architecture ever since childhood, and he has combined the two to do some amazing miniatures.  Says Chris …

“Each model I create starts with extensive research of the era and time period I’m trying to recreate. Over the years I’ve collected home plans and building guides from the early 20th century to make sure my pieces are 100% accurate representations of the past.  The process for building my pieces is much like building an actual house or room. I start with simple layout drawings to make sure everything flows cohesively and harmoniously.

From there, I create a more detailed blueprint which I eventually construct on a 3D computer modeling program. This helps me visualize each project and allows me to make any changes before I begin construction of the actual piece.

I remember going to Disneyland as a child and being totally fascinated with the miniature buildings along the Storybook Canal Ride. About that same time, I discovered the world of dollhouse miniatures and I loved the idea of being able to build these tiny creations myself. I began with kits that I would find at local hobby stores and eventually moved onto creating my own designs,”

Take a look at some of his work …art-1art-2art-3art-4art-5art-6art-7art-8art-9art-10art-11art-12

Isn’t that just amazing?

I checked, but could not find what his pieces sell for, nor where he sells them, though he has a presence on both Pinterest and Etsy.  I’m sure it’s far out of my price range, whatever the price!  But isn’t this man super-talented?


So many tragic, heartbreaking stories of loss of wildlife have come out of Australia in recent months, but every now and then there is one with a happy ending.  Such is the tale of seven wallaby babies who lost their moms in the fires and are now in the tender, loving care of a non-profit organization, Agile Project, whose efforts are to rescue and care for wallabies.

According to project manager, Shai Ager …

“They’ve pretty much ‘bunny hopped’ from carer to carer up the coastline because we put a call out saying we’re here to help and take on joeys if needed.  When they first arrived in our care, they were very stressed as they’d all experienced some type of trauma. A few of them had some minor injuries but considering what they had been through, they were still in high spirits.”

wallabies-1As the joeys settled in and made themselves comfortable, their rescuers decided to give them all names — and wanted those names to pay tribute to all the people who have done so much to help Australia during this crisis.wallabies-2The two boy joeys were named Andrew and Geoffrey, after two firefighters who lost their lives. The five girls were named after Chris Hemsworth, Ash Barty, Margot Robbie, Celeste Barber and Rebel Wilson, to acknowledge the celebrities who have helped during this time of great need. Everyone at the Agile Project hoped the gesture would show how grateful they are for the support and showcase exactly who all that support is helping.wallabies-3The seven babies have since been placed with different carers through the Agile Project and are getting the help and healing they need. They’ll be released back into the wild once they’re around 14 months old, in an area that’s safe from the destruction of the fires. In the meantime, they’ll have lots of space to relax and tons of blankets to keep them cozy.


And speaking of those Australian bushfires …

Magpies are Australian birds who, rather like parrots, are known for mimicking songs and sounds that they hear in their environment.  Take a look at what this magpie has learned …

It’s sad that the bird has heard so many sirens of late that he’s got that act down pat.


And … I cannot end a Saturday Surprise without a cute animal video, now can I?  This one is actually a short compilation from back in 2016, but cute nonetheless.


Now … go enjoy the heck out of your weekend, for Monday will be here all too soon!

Discord & Dissension — Part III — Where Do We Go From Here?

Where do we go from here?

Last week Jeff did a marvelous job explaining much of what has led us to where we are today, a place I call The Great Divide.  This nation is divided more than at any other time since the end of the Civil War in 1865.  The divide is complex … not just white vs non-white, but Christian vs women, LGBTQ, & non-Christian, even once again male vs female.  And perhaps most notably, conservative vs liberal.  Those who are for smaller governments with fewer powers, for unlimited wealth, for uber-capitalism, versus those whose values are all about people, about using tax monies to help those in need, to reduce the ever-widening income disparity, to educate the nation’s youth, to provide such things as health care, housing and food for those who cannot provide for themselves.

Trump was able to rise to power largely because of those divisions.  He played them, he pitted one against the other, he instilled in his supporters a ‘fear of other’.  Since 9/11, people in this nation have worked to quell their fear of Middle-Easterners, and then along came Trump and fanned the flames of fear.

Today we stand at a crossroads, a place where we must decide to either accept the rifts, to allow a madman to divide and conquer, or to move past the things that divide us and search for common ground, to find ways to heal this nation.

So, Jeff answered the question, “How did we get here?”, and I must attempt to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?”  My inclination is to answer with three words:  to the polls.  But, while that is obviously the short answer, there must be more.  We must find ways to reach out to that 40% I mentioned in our introduction two weeks ago … the 40% who did not bother to vote in 2016.  We must find ways to remind ourselves that we are all in this together and that if we don’t make some serious changes, we will all go down … together.

To those of us who are displeased with the corruption, greed, and lack of integrity in Trump’s administration, it is clear that we must vote him out of office.  No doubts there.  But, my friends, that is not the end of it, for Trump is not the entirety of the problem.  I have long said, and I still believe, that Trump is but a symbol of a greater problem.  Some 40% of the people in this country still, despite massive corruption and ineptitude among Trump and his cohorts, support him.  Even if Trump leaves the White House on January 20th 2021, those 40% are still out there, and they are going to be mightily displeased.

So, the problem is multi-fold.  First, we need to vote Trump out of office, for it is the opinion of this writer that he presents, as our friend Keith has often said, a clear and present danger to the future of this nation.  But then what?  How do we heal the ‘great divide’?  How do we find a middle ground, some common cause?  When I was doing graduate work back in the 1980s, one of my jobs was as a research assistant for a professor of Political Science, Joe Scolnick.  At the time, Joe was writing a paper on conflict management, and I well remember the theme.  According to his research, when the people of a nation are so seriously divided, often a threat from outside the nation is the only thing that will bring them together.

In our lifetime, we have seen how this works, albeit briefly.  Remember in the days and weeks following 11 September 2001, aka 9/11?  New Yorkers, notorious for their callousness and stand-offish personas (which is somewhat of a myth anyway) came together, they helped their neighbors, they volunteered both time and resources.  All around the nation, people were kinder, more human.  It didn’t last for long, but it was there … it was palpable.

I experienced this on a personal level.  I live in a neighborhood that is comprised of about 30% Middle-Eastern refugees.  They are all truly wonderful people, generous to a fault, kind and caring.  A couple of days after 9/11, a woman from down the street, a Pakistani woman, brought me flowers, a card, and said that she just wanted me to know how sorry she was.

But back to my point.  Governments have, at some points throughout history, created an external threat to bring about internal cohesion.  Think about that one for a minute.  Do we really need to have a threat from outside, whether real or perceived, to bring the people of this country together for the common good?  I don’t think so, but if we don’t find ways to heal ourselves, we leave ourselves open to that very real possibility.

I like to think there are more things that we have in common than there are things that divide us, though sometimes it certainly doesn’t seem that way.  For one thing, we are all humans with shared needs of family, food, clothing, shelter, jobs, friends … and love.  This is our country, our home.  All of those are basic human needs, far more substantial and important than the things that divide us.  Among those things that divide us, I think there are three that rank at the top of the list:  religious beliefs, income disparity, and bigotry.

So, our first goal must be the November elections, not only the presidential, but also the congressional and gubernatorial elections.  And, in the interest of staying focused, keeping our eye on that ball, we will focus most of our attention in this project toward that end, but keep in the back of your mind, that the problem does not end when Donald Trump walks out of the White House.

Now, beyond going to the polls on November 3rd, we have other things we need to do.

Every day, states are working on ways to disenfranchise minority and lower income voters.  Some of their tools are gerrymandering, voter ID laws, closing or reducing the hours of polling stations, purging voter registration rolls, making registration harder, and the list goes on.  Most of this we have little voice in, but there are things we can do.  The most important thing, I think, is … talk.  We need to work toward convincing people how imperative it is for them to vote.  And, we need to have conversations about the reasons Trump must be voted out of office.  This is the tough one, folks, but … we have been going about it all wrong, I think.  A few of you may remember my post from August 2017 about Daryl Davis,  a black man who befriended members of the KKK by listening to them, talking to them, reasoning with them, and had convinced more than 200 KKK members to lay down their robes.  He didn’t call them names, didn’t belittle them … he tried to understand them, and to help them to understand him.  This, I think, is the approach we must take, this is how we will help some Trump supporters understand what it is we want for this nation.

We have our work cut out for us, my friends.  There are just under 10 months until election day, just 286 days.  Right now, if I had to lay odds, I would say that if the election were held tomorrow, Donald Trump would get another 4-year term, for he has played the victim card on the impeachment issue, and played it well.  His fan base are typically single-issue voters, and the two most important issues to them are immigration and religious ‘rights’, including an abortion ban.  Let’s put our heads together, let’s try to find common ground with those who view the world through a different lens than we do.  In the long run, it will be worth our effort.

*Note to Readers:  This project will be ongoing for … some time, we’re not sure how long yet, but we would like to keep up the momentum through election day, at least.  In keeping with that, we will cover various topics once a week for (with an occasional break) the next ten months, including how to motivate voters, the lifetime appointments of the judiciary, where we go from here, the role of the U.S. in the larger, global world, and more.  After the Democratic National Convention, when there is a final Democratic nominee, we will move more into the area of platforms and ideologies.  We hope you’re enjoying this project as much as we are and really would welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have.


Table of Contents to Project Discord & Dissension

Discord & Dissension — Part I — Introduction

Discord & Dissension – Part ll – “How did we get here? – Part 1”  

Discord & Dissension – Part ll – “How did we get here? – Part 2”

BAH HUMBUG!

I looked in the mirror this morning … I try to avoid doing that, but this morning I had something in my eye, and I had no choice.  I asked the person I saw there to please move out of my way so that I could see myself to check out my eye.  Then I realized the person I saw there, the person with deep gouges around her mouth, sad downturned eyes with dark circles ‘neath them, and a perpetual scowl on her mouth was, in fact, me.  And I got angry … not that I really look much different than I did three years ago, but … I have a perpetual sadness coupled with intense anger that wasn’t there before.  I growl a lot, even when I’m drifting off to sleep, I hear myself growling.  Every day, there is something new to growl about, so … since I don’t like to growl alone, here are my two for today …


Steven Mnuchin – Bastard of the Year

This isn’t the first time, nor will it likely be the last, that Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s Secretary of Treasury, has come onto my radar and caused my blood to boil.  This time, however, he has crossed a line … has unfairly criticized a 15-year-old girl who is trying her best to wake us up, to save the world, to save us from ourselves.  Obviously, I am speaking of the young environmental activist from Sweden, and Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg.

One of the things Ms. Thunberg has advocated is for investors to take their money out of fossil fuel stocks, invest instead in companies that are working to make renewable energy sources more efficient, more prominent, and less costly.  Apparently, Mr. Mnuchin owns stock in oil and/or coal companies, for he took umbrage and he did so in his usual snide, nasty manner …

“Is she the chief economist or who is she? I’m confused. After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”

Bastard.

Now interestingly, someone with even higher credentials in economics than Mnuchin disagrees with ol’ Stevie.  That someone is Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with nearly $7 trillion in investments.  In his annual letter to the chief executives of the world’s largest companies, Mr. Fink outlined some of the ways in which climate change is changing our world and then said …

BlackRock announced a number of initiatives to place sustainability at the center of our investment approach, including: making sustainability integral to portfolio construction and risk management; exiting investments that present a high sustainability-related risk, such as thermal coal producers; launching new investment products that screen fossil fuels; [emphasis added] and strengthening our commitment to sustainability and transparency in our investment stewardship activities.

Ms. Thunberg responded to Mnuchin on Twitter …

Thunberg-Time“My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up.  So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments.” 

My suggestion to Mnuchin is that perhaps he is the one who needs to go back to college and study a bit of climate science.  Y’know … people who are squawking about how to do what is needed to help stop the destruction of life on earth would cost too much, would interfere with world economies … they really need to sit in a quiet room and think for a few hours.  THINK, people!  What the hell is the economy going to matter if you cannot breathe the air, find potable water to drink, and sufficient food to eat???  In fact, the economy will be completely irrelevant at that point, but will have already crashed by then anyway.  Damn capitalists have a one-track mind and that includes Mnuchin and his effing boss!

mnuchin-wife-2

Steve Mnuchin and wife (apparently, like Melania, she doesn’t own a bra)

Oh, and by the way … a bit off-topic, but in case you were wondering, poor Mnuchin is practically on the welfare rolls, having a net worth of over $300 million.  His wife, Louise Linton, recently came under criticism for bemoaning the fact that they now have to pay more in taxes, and then bragging about her name-brand designer clothing on social media.  Nice people, those Mnuchins … I have more respect for Greta than Stevie.  Heck, I have more respect for a cockroach than I do for the Mnuchins.  BAH HUMBUG!


And in other environmental news …

On Thursday, Trump signed his long-promised regulation to remove millions of miles of streams and roughly half the country’s wetlands from federal protection, the largest rollback of the Clean Water Act since the modern law was passed in 1972.  Why?  Because the wealthy dudes who own the agriculture, home-building, mining, and oil and gas industries matter more than We the People, matter more than the wildlife that depend on those wetlands for their very survival.

Heretofore, the law required those industries to obtain permits to discharge pollution into waterways or fill in wetlands, and imposed fines for oil spills into protected waterways.  According to Janette Brimmer, Earthjustice attorney who fought for the Clean Water Act after the Cuyahoga River fire in 1969 …

“President Trump’s administration wants to make our waters burn again. This all-out assault on basic safeguards will send our country back to the days when corporate polluters could dump whatever sludge or slime they wished into the streams and wetlands that often connect to the water we drink.”

Even the EPA’s own scientists disapprove of this move, saying that in addition to potentially losing fully half of the nation’s wetlands, as much as 94 percent of Arizona’s waterways could lose Clean Water Act protection under the regulation, as well as 89 percent of Nevada’s.

Environmental groups are already planning lawsuits, and rightly so.  But, do you realize that NO administration in the history of this nation has been embroiled in as many lawsuits as Trump???  And guess who pays for all those lawsuits, my friends?  Not Donald Trump or EPA head Andrew Wheeler.  Not the rich bitches who got a huge tax cut in 2017.  Nope … me and you, the very people who are struggling to pay our rent and buy food, despite Trump’s claims that we are so much better off.  BAH HUMBUG!


Stay tuned this afternoon for Part III of mine and Jeff’s project, Discord & Dissension — Where do we go from here?

And Then There Were Two … More … Snarky Snippets

I have just two bits of snark … well, actually I have around 15, but I won’t make you listen to them all …


Remember when almost immediately after moving into the White House, Trump initiated a travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslin nations?  The courts struck it down almost as quickly as he initiated it, and after much back and forth, he got some watered-down version of it.  Well, now he is considering another travel ban, this one expected to be implemented next Monday, to mark the 3-year anniversary of his original travel ban.  I am thoroughly confused by the countries he intends to include in this ban:

  • Belarus
  • Myanmar (also known as Burma)
  • Eritrea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania

I can see not one shred of justification for banning people coming from a single one of those nations, can you?  However, it is interesting to note that four of those countries are African nations.  Hmmm … nah, surely fair and equitable Trump wouldn’t discriminate based on something like skin colour … would he?  Yes, of course he would, and my guess is that for those four nations, that is precisely his reason.

I have read no less than 7 articles on this topic, trying to get a feel for the method behind the madness.  One article promised …

Trump’s call to dramatically expand the travel ban, explained

… but it lied … it explained nothing that I didn’t already know from the other articles.  Now, back in 2018, the Supreme Court affirmed that Trump has broad authority to restrict immigration where national security demands it. But to the best of anyone’s knowledge, these countries do not pose any threat to national security.  Every time somebody in Trump’s cadre mentions the threat of terrorism from the outside, I want to scream, for the terrorism we have experienced in the last several years has been domestic terrorism … homegrown nutcases.

So, I still puzzle over the connection of these seven nations, and why on earth he wishes to ban people coming to the U.S. from those countries.  I also, at this point, puzzle over why anybody from any other nation would even want to come to the U.S.  Take my word for it, folks … if you don’t have a good reason, you’d be better off going to almost anywhere but here!

It is interesting to note, however, that other, similar nations … nations where Trump, Inc. has businesses, say hotels, golf courses and the like … nations like Turkey, Egypt, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Suadi Arabia are never mentioned in talk of a travel ban.  Hmmmmm …

This has largely flown under the radar, in the shadow of the impeachment trial and Trump’s trip to Davos, but I think it bears watching.


Yesterday, our friend Scott (sklawlor) sent me an article about a proposed bill in the Kentucky State Legislature, Senate Bill 89 that would give police new powers to stop people on the street and demand that they identify themselves and explain their actions, rather like New York’s stop-and-frisk laws that ended two years ago.  The program was highly discriminatory, with officers stopping disproportionately larger numbers of African-Americans and Hispanics than others.

By the end of the day, the Kentucky Senate bill had been withdrawn, but it left a bad taste in my mouth and disturbed both Scott and me that after the experience with stop-and-frisk in New York, any lawmakers would even consider such legislation.  So, I did a bit of digging … and … I was truly shocked to find that no less than 24 states … nearly half the states in the nation … have some form of “stop-and-identify” statutes!  So, in the following states, if you are walking down the street, you can be stopped by a police officer and forced to show identification and explain why you are walking down the bloody street!

Arizona Ari. Rev. Stat. Tit. 13, §2412 (enacted 2005) & Tit. 28, §1595
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. [1]§ 5-71-213 – Loitering
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-3-103(1)
Delaware Del. Code Ann., Tit. 11, §§1902, 1321(6)
Florida Fla. Stat. §901.151 (Stop and Frisk Law); §856.021(2) (loitering and prowling)
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. §16-11-36(b) (loitering)
Illinois Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 725, §5/107-14
Indiana Indiana Code §34-28-5-3.5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2402(1)
Louisiana La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann., Art. 215.1(A); La. Rev. Stat. 14:108(B)(1)(c)
Missouri (Kansas City Only) Mo. Rev. Stat. §84.710(2)
Montana Mont. Code Ann. §46-5-401
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §29-829
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §171.123
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §594:2, §644:6
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. §30-22-3
New York N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law Laws of New York → CPL §140.50 (requires suspicion of crime)
North Carolina State v Friend + N.C. Gen.Stat. § 14–223
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code §29-29-21 (PDF)
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code §2921.29 (enacted 2006)
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §12-7-1
Utah Utah Code Ann. §77-7-15
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann., Tit. 24, §1983
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §968.24

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.  After one lawsuit, Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, made its way to the Supreme Court in 2003, the Court upheld the legality of officers stopping people so long as there was “reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement”.  Well, that’s probably fair enough … if you’re skin is pale and you speak flawless English.  But if you are black or brown, or speak with an accent … how fair do you suppose it is?

An August 16, 2019 article in the Los Angeles Times says that getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America.

My friend Rob, an African-American, told me a couple of years ago that about half the time he drives downtown, he is pulled over for no reason or some minor reason … something a white person almost certainly would not have been pulled over for.  His son has been stopped more in the few short years he’s been driving than I have been in my entire lifetime.  After the blatant racism that has resulted in killings of unarmed black men by police – Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddy Gray and more – do you trust police to act only when there is “probable cause”?

I don’t.


Okay friends … now that I’ve given you something to frown about, let me finish by giving you something to laugh at … well, sort of anyway.

Mad As Hell! (Part II)

Last week I wrote a post titled “Mad as Hell!”, and then after some thought, I had a sneaking suspicion that there would be more to come, so I added “(Part I)” to the title.  Lo and behold, I was right.  I can only wonder how many parts I will end up with.

The word of the day is … well, actually there are several words of the day:  stonewall, injustice, dishonesty, and I could think of more, but why bother?  Yes, I am talking about the Mitch McConnell Dog-and-Pony show happening as we speak in the Capitol building in Washington D.C.  McConnell and his cronies seem to be programmed to say one word only:  NO.  No, you can’t subpoena documents from the White House.  No, you can’t call John Bolton or Mick Mulvaney or Robert Blair or Michael Duffy or virtually any other witness.  No, you cannot subpoena documents from either the Department of Defense or the Office of Management and Budget.  What a SHAM this trial has already, after only one day, turned into.

My question … at least my first one … is this:  If McConnell and the other 52 republican fools in the Senate truly believe that Donald Trump is NOT guilty of any wrongdoing, then why the hell are they so afraid of any witness testimony or document review?  It seems to me that if they believe he is innocent, they would welcome such witnesses and evidence, to show the American public once and for all that Trump did nothing wrong.  So … all this subterfuge, all the games that McConnell is engaging in … they point heavily to the fact that McConnell and the entire rest of the right side of the aisle in the Senate are altogether too well aware that the defendant, Donald Trump, is guilty as charged … and then some.

And if you thought that Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts presiding over the trial would bring even an element of fairness, then think again, for he is proving himself to be naught more than just another of Trump’s hired goons.  History will not be kind to him, nor to any of the actors in this dog-and-pony show, but they don’t seem to think past the nose on their faces.

Granted, we all knew that at the end of the day, Trump will be acquitted because … for some reason that as yet eludes me, they seem scared shitless of Trump and will throw their very careers in the trash to bow to his wishes.  However, one would think they would at least … at the very least … give the appearance of a fair trial.  But nooooooo … they might as well stand up and say, “Trump is guilty as hell and we therefore find him innocent.” 

The thing that disturbs me most about this is not that Trump will remain in office until he is (hopefully, fingers crossed) voted out in November … I already had that one pegged from the first time the word “impeachment” was mentioned.  No, what is most disturbing and should scare the hell out of us all is the precedent this sets.

At just over 8,000 words, the U.S. Constitution does not cover all bases, but merely lays the foundation for a government based on democratic principles.  Specifics are left to two things:  laws and precedent.  Both, once set, are difficult to reverse.  If a fair trial, at least on the surface, is conducted and Trump is yet acquitted, it would be no different than when Bill Clinton was impeached but acquitted at trial.  However, if this trial continues to be a sham, a circus according to the wishes of Mitch McConnell, the precedent it sets is that no president is ever likely to be impeached again.  But … even that is not the worst of it.

The very worst is that in using his office, his power, for personal gain and political purposes, Trump effectively tore down any constraints or barriers to unlimited power.  Checks and balances?  Where???  Congress is tasked with overseeing the executive branch, and yet they have handed him the keys to the kingdom and said, “Do whatever you wish … we won’t stop you.”  The judiciary has largely said the same.  Where, my friends, do you suppose that leaves us … the 330 million people of this nation whose voices have been stifled by the very people we voted into office and whose salaries we pay?

We have laws in this country … laws that are not being enforced today, laws that are being laughed at by the very people we have entrusted to enforce those laws.  Imagine if you vandalized your neighbor’s car and ten people were standing on the street and saw you.  One of them finally calls the police while you continue to use your baseball bat to break every window in the car.  Now imagine that at your trial, not a single one of those ten people are called to testify.  A neighbor’s home security camera caught the whole incident on video, but that is not allowed at your trial, either.  That is exactly what this impeachment trial is.  There is no doubt that what Trump did was wrong, nor is there doubt that he did attempt to use the leverage of assistance to the Ukraine in order to force them to publicly announce an investigation into Trump’s political opponent, Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.  There’s not a shred of reasonable doubt.  But … if no evidence is allowed to be presented, if no witnesses are allowed to tell what they know … where’s the damn justice???

Too many times already in the past three years, Trump has gotten by with abusing the power of his office, with obstruction of justice, with endangering the nation and its people.  If he is not held accountable now, then folks, we have an autocrat, an “Imperial President” who has no bounds, no conscience, and no reason to honour his oath of office.  The republicans in Congress are in the process of creating a monster, one that will destroy this nation.

I have emailed the republican senator for my state, Rob Portman, twice within the past ten days and have not received a single response, which leads me to believe that as a citizen and taxpayer, I have no voice in my government.  And that leaves me mad as hell!

Snarky Snippets Hot Off The Press!

Yesterday I had a bad case of mind bounce … it happens every so often … and the best I could do was an afternoon re-blog.  Today, however, I am back on my game and filled with snark!  Here are just a few of the things flying about on my radar today.


He should have stayed home …

Every time Trump is allowed to travel abroad and attend international conferences or events, I cringe.  Not because I fear he will embarrass us … there is never a doubt but that he will … but because I wonder how much long-term damage he will do to our relationships with the rest of the world, how much more he will tarnish the image of the U.S. in the eyes of the world.

This week, he is in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.  This year’s forum is focusing on seven themes: Fairer economies, better business, healthy futures, future of work, tech for good, beyond geopolitics and how to save the planet. Young climate activists and school strikers from around the world will be present at the event to put pressure on world leaders over that last theme.  In my opinion, that last one is about the only one that really matters, for if we do not address climate change, none of the rest will be required 100 years from now.

But, of course, Donald Trump feels differently.  He boasted that his support for the coal and oil industries meant the US was self-sufficient in energy.  He attacked climate activists …

“To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the errors of yesterday’s fortune tellers and we have them and I have them and they want to see us do badly, but we don’t let that happen.”

Greta Thunberg, who was also invited and is attending the forum, was apparently one of those “perennial prophets of doom” to whom he referred, as he later said he didn’t know much about her other than that she seemed “very angry”.  She’s not the only one!

Beyond that, he tooted his horn a lot, bragging about the economy, about trade deals, even claiming he would soon be making a “very good deal” with Boris Johnson of the UK, and even had the unmitigated gall to claim proudly that the U.S. is the #1 producer of oil and natural gas – definitely not a boast-worthy claim, whether true or not.

Then, of course, he was asked about his impeachment, and he used the opportunity to whine …

“It’s just a hoax. It’s a witch hunt that’s been going on for years, and frankly, it’s disgraceful.”

Oh, and he also claimed that he and his minions are preparing another “middle-class tax cut”, that he will announce details in 90 days, but that he will only enact it if he is re-elected, the republicans gain control of the House, and hold the Senate.  Well duh … that’s the only way he’ll get any legislation passed, but … ain’t gonna happen, Donnie boy!  And, his last so-called middle-class tax cut actually hurt the middle class and gave the tax cuts to the wealthy 1% and corporations, many of whom pay less in taxes than you or I do.

So, once again, We the People ask forgiveness of our friends across the pond, for the abomination we unleashed on the world in 2016.  Sigh.


And in other news …

Kellyanne said WHAT???

Trump’s mouthpiece, Kellyanne Conway, once again opened her rather large mouth … a mouth that seems to be completely detached from anything remotely resembling a brain.  It was during a news conference yesterday, Martin Luther King Day, and Kellyanne was asked why Trump’s public schedule of events on Monday did not include any functions meant to commemorate Dr. King.

kellyanne“The president … agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and agreed with for many years, including unity and equality. And he’s not the one trying to tear the country apart through an impeachment process and a lack of substance that really is very shameful at this point. I don’t think it was within Dr. King’s vision to have Americans dragged through a process where the president is not going to be removed from office, is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes or misdemeanors.”

Somebody really needs to shut this woman up, for she knows not what she says … she just opens her mouth and out comes stupid.


The hovering dentist

Dr. Seth Lookhart is was a dentist in Anchorage, Alaska.  One of his patients was a woman named Veronica Wilhelm, who one day needed a tooth extracted.  Simple procedure, right?  Well … Dr. Lockhart performed the procedure … while on a hoverboard!  But wait … that’s not even the worst of it!

First, he sedated Ms. Wilhelm, filmed himself extracting the tooth while on his hoverboard, and … wait for it … sent the video clip to at least eight of his friends!

Turns out this wasn’t his only crime, for he has been billing Medicaid for types of expensive sedation not typically covered by private insurance.  His misdemeanor medical assistance fraud offenses carry a possible sentence of up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $25,000 and he could be ordered to return funds to the state of Alaska Medicaid program and his former business partners.


Okay, folks, that’s all I’ve got for today … time to go look in on the impeachment trial …

The bushfires and climate action

The Australian bushfires continue to burn. Last I heard, some 14 million acres had burned or were burning. The devastation and loss of wildlife are simply heartbreaking. Our friend Anne Lawson has written a highly informative post about it that I ask you to take a look at. There are several links to additional information, as well. Thank you, Anne, for this excellent post and for all the information. Keep safe, my friend.

Anne Lawson Art

You know that there are mega-fires burning in Australia.

You know that fires have been burning for months now.

You know that lives have been lost, many houses burnt and huge areas of bush land scorched. If you would like to read more depth about the fires, including the background to the extended fire season and the extent of the fires and scary videos, read this article and/or this one. My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones and their worlds. And a huge amount of gratitude to the fire fighters who have done such an incredible job, sometimes sacrificing their lives.

You know too that the generosity of people from around the world has been overwhelming. More about donations later.

So, read elsewhere for the facts and figures; I want to give you my opinions.

There have been horrifying images of injured and dead…

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There is a reason the US president does not want people reading evidence

There have been new developments in the impeachment case against Donald Trump, and our friend Keith has summed them up nicely for us. It is to be hoped that the testimony of Lev Parnas will be heard in the trial and that perhaps it will open the eyes of some of those republicans who have been wearing blinders. Thank you, Keith!

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In an editorial by Neal Katyal and Joshua Geltzer yesterday in The Washington Post called “Lev Parnas and Rudy Giuliani have demolished Trump’s claims of innocence” (see link below), it lays bare false reasons of the US president using strong-arm tactics in Ukraine. Per the editorial:

“Americans who have been wondering why President Trump has taken the extraordinary step of trying to block every document from being released to Congress in his impeachment inquiry need wonder no longer. The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate. These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging: that he was really fighting corruption when he pressured Ukraine on matters related to the…

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Blame It On Nancy

I stumbled upon this last night, and thought you might find some wisdom and humour from it.

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cjones01172020

Yesterday, A Canadian CEO blamed Donald Trump for the lives lost by Iran shooting down the Ukrainian airliner.

Iran was responding to the United States killing its top general while he was on his way to the airport in Baghdad. The general was killed after Donald Trump ordered his assassination. The CEO, Michael McCain, chief executive of Canadian food packaging company Maple Leaf Foods, says one of his colleagues lost his wife and 11-year-old son when the airliner was shot down.

Iran has taken responsibility for shooting down the plane a few hours after shooting rockets at bases in Iraq where American troops where stationed. Iran’s attack was a response to Trump’s ordered hit.

McCain, who’s probably going to incur Republican wrath for his last name alone, lashed out on Trump through Twitter, and not just his private account, but his company’s. He said the 57 Canadians killed in this…

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Snarky … grrrrrr … Snippets

I thought I had gotten rid of most of the snarky yesterday afternoon, but it turns out I had more.  And one of my beloved readers said that yesterday’s snarky snippets were too mild and asked if I was coming down with something.  So, let me see if I can do better today …


Send Lindsey to Siberia … please!

Lindsey-Graham-2-facesYesterday, after Nancy Pelosi appointed the seven impeachment managers who will prosecute the case against Donald Trump, the seven hand delivered the two articles of impeachment to the Senate.  Weasel Lindsey Graham, he who cannot remember which side of the fence he sits on, had this to say …

“The best thing for the American people is to end this crap as quickly as possible, to have a trial in the Senate, bipartisan acquittal of the president. And on Feb. 4, when the president comes into the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union, he will have been acquitted by the Senate.”

Lindsey-Graham-2NOT SO FAST, you little jerk!  The president having already been impeached, this is serious business and you get paid to take it seriously.  Obviously, Lindsey is not qualified to sit on the jury, for he has already shown bias.  Can you imagine during jury selection for a murder trial, if a potential juror said “let’s just end this crap quickly and acquit him”?  Get him out!  Send him … and Moscow Mitch along with him … to Siberia … without winter coats!

Now, there isn’t much hope that the Senate will ultimately convict and evict Trump, but there is now some ray of hope that they will be forced to allow witnesses and testimony, which Mitch had initially said he would not allow.  Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lamar Alexander, and Lisa Murkowski appear to be willing to call witnesses, including John Bolton.  Two other senators have indicated that they are not willing to rush the trial just to have it done with before Trump’s State of the Union on February 4th.


Lies, lies, and still more lies …

Trump and his tweets … don’t believe a single thing that comes out of his mouth or his tweety-thumbs.  A few examples from yesterday …

Trump: I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare.

False. In fact, Trump has done everything he can to undermine protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, from spending two years trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s protections, to authorizing the sale of short term health plans that don’t have to cover pre-existing conditions so Americans unknowingly lose their protections.

Trump: …if Republicans win in court and take back the House of Representatives, your healthcare, that I have now brought to the best place in many years, will become the best ever, by far.

False. The Trump Administration is currently in the courts trying, yet again, to get the entire Affordable Care Act struck down, which would mean 20 million Americans lose their care and all the protections put in place, including protections for pre-existing conditions, would go away — immediately.

Trump: I will always protect your Pre-Existing Conditions, the Dems will not!

False. Trump STILL hasn’t put forward a health care plan that would do anything other than make millions of Americans lose their care and mean worse health insurance for millions more. He’s had three years to do it.


Send Junior to fight the fires …

Much of Australia is being devastated by the bushfires that have been burning out of control for weeks now.  I hadn’t heard much news on this side of the pond about what the U.S. was doing, other than having sent firefighters, so I went in search of.  Now, between the Soleimani assassination, Iran’s missiles fired in retaliation, impeachment, and the downed Iranian jetliner in Iran, the Australian fires and most everything else have been relegated to the back pages, so I turned to sources outside the U.S.

What I found was that Trump had “sent love” to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison.  That was about it for Trump’s response.  Go figure.  But Junior had his say … a chip off the ol’ lying block, Junior falsely claimed that the fires were all a result of arsonists, not climate change.

After Junior’s tweet, conservative media outlets quickly picked up and amplified the story. They championed it as finally revealing the true cause of the catastrophe, not to mention undermining the legitimacy of climate change and adding that extra thrill of a conspiracy theory.

But Junior’s wasn’t the only conspiracy theory, nor even the worst of the lot.  One conspiracy bizarrely claims bushfires have been lit to clear a path for high-speed rail down Australia’s east coast. Others baselessly claim Islamic State is instructing its followers to wage war on the country with fire, that Chinese billionaires are using lasers to clear the path for new cities, or that eco-terrorists are trying to spur action on climate change by manufacturing a catastrophe.

Anything to keep from having to admit that climate change is a real threat and that if we don’t change our ways, we will destroy all life on this planet.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison, like Donald Trump, is largely a climate denier, always seeking other excuses.  Animals are dying by the thousands, people’s homes are being destroyed, and the only thing people can seem to think about is making up trashy conspiracy theories?  Some days I hate humans!


Well, I’ve got my blood pressure up and heart racing now, plus I’ve likely worn the lettering off another key or two on my laptop, so I think I shall stop snarking … there, was that snarky enough for everyone?  Oh, one aside … today is National Nothing Day.  According to the National Day Calendar people …

“The observance was created as a day to provide Americans with one National Day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing or honoring anything.  While it may be a good day to celebrate nothing at all, we suppose putting nothing in a glass and setting it on a table might suffice for celebration. You might leave your diary page blank on every January 16th. Don’t mark anything on the calendar on the 16th, either. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you sent a blank email dated January 16th. How many replies would you get saying, ‘There’s nothing here.’ 

For people whose birthday lands on January 16th, wrap an empty box. That should elicit and a nothing response appropriate for the celebration.  When asked, “What are your plans, today?” your response should definitely be, “Nothing.” What else would your answer be on a day like today? Now that we think about it, “Nothing” works well as an answer when recognizing the day.”

So, have a Happy Nothing Day!