Da Queen of Snark Strikes Again!

There are so many things that have crossed my radar in the past 24 hours that my head is reeling and I don’t know where to begin.  I’ll try to be brief in my snippetry today …


Nobel PEACE Prize???  Surely NOT!

I guess every country has its share of nutcases in government.  I really thought Norway was better than this, but apparently I was wrong.  For the second time, Donald Trump, the person who stirs conflict wherever he goes and pits people against each other, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  His very nomination disgusts and sickens me, rather reminiscent of Trump awarding the Medal of Freedom to the very dishonourable Rush Limbaugh.

The person who nominated Trump this year is the same one who nominated him in 2018, far right, xenophobic member of Norway’s parliament, Christian Tybring-Gjedde.  He claims he is not a big fan of Trump, but that …

“The committee should look at the facts and judge him on the facts – not on the way he behaves sometimes.”

The facts are, Mr. Tybring-Gjedde, that Donald Trump is the most hateful, cruel person ever to lead this nation!  Donald Trump is the least peace-promoting person on this planet!  He has done more to divide the people of this nation than any other president in our history, and he is continuing to do so every day.  Peace???  HAH!  If he is awarded this prize, then every past recipient should return their awards, for they will have lost all meaning.

Hopefully, the Nobel Prize Committee will have good sense as they did in 2018, and ignore Trump.  His odds are at about 20/1, and the most likely projected winners are among the World Health Organization, Greta Thunberg, and Jacinda Ardern … all three are excellent choices … far more worthy than a cruel tyrant.  He does have the support of QAnon, however, and gun-totin’ member Marjorie Taylor Greene, possibly the next U.S. representative from Georgia tweeted her gushing support.  DISGUSTING!


We the People pay for Trump’s sexual harassment???  WHY???

Author E. Jean Carroll accused Donald Trump of rape, in a Bergdorf’s dressing room in the mid-1990s. After Trump denied ever meeting her and dismissed her story as a Democratic plot, she sued him for defamation.  There is much I could say here … I fully believe Ms. Carroll’s story, as well as those of the many other women who have accused Trump of everything from grabbing them inappropriately to out and out rape. Trump called Ms. Carroll a liar and said he did not know her, even though the two had been photographed together at a party in 1987 with Ms. Carroll’s former husband. However, none of that is my point today.

Ms. Carroll’s defamation suit is still pending, but this week, the corrupt Attorney General of the United States made a decision that means if Ms. Carroll wins her suit, it will be We the Taxpayers who pay the penalty, while Trump skates free.

The White House asked the Justice Department to replace Trump’s private lawyers in this suit.  The Justice Department’s intervention in the lawsuit means that taxpayer money will be used to defend Trump, and it threatens the continued viability of the case of the plaintiff, Ms. Carroll.

Mr. Barr defended the decision to intervene, arguing that it was routine for the department to take over lawsuits against federal officials — substituting the government as the defendant.  Ms. Carroll’s lawsuit has been reassigned from a New York State court to a Federal District Court judge in New York, Lewis A. Kaplan. If he signs off on the department’s certification that it meets the standards to substitute the government as the defendant, he could dismiss the lawsuit because the government has sovereign immunity and cannot be sued for defamation.

Ms. Carroll has requested a DNA sample from Trump to determine a match.  An innocent man would give up the sample and be done with it … case closed.  But, this is akin to his withholding of his tax returns … a man with nothing to hide would release the returns!

So, Trump rapes a woman and we pay the price.  Frankly, she should have done a Lorena Bobbitt on him when she had the chance!


Destroy the nation, but don’t make “Trump look bad”

Brian Murphy, who had previously served as undersecretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis within the Department of Homeland Security, filed a 24-page complaint on September 8th, alleging that he was instructed to halt the reports on Russian influence activities in the United States because they were making “the president look bad.” The report was delivered by Murphy’s attorney, Mark Zaid, to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

The report alleges that acting Secretary Chad Wolf, his predecessor Kirstjen Nielsen, and other senior DHS brass engaged in “a repeated pattern of abuse of authority, attempted censorship of intelligence analysis and improper administration of an intelligence program related to Russian efforts to influence and undermine United States interests.”

In his complaint, Murphy claimed he was instructed by Wolf to stop reporting on Russian activities altogether and “instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran.” Wolf told him that the instructions came from Robert O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Murphy pushed back and said he would not comply “as doing so would put the country in substantial and specific danger.”homeland-securityTaken in conjunction with last week’s announcement by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe that he was suspending in-person briefings to Congress about foreign threats to the 2020 election, I think we all have ample reason to be concerned … very concerned.  Our government, led by a cruel tyrant, is withholding vital information from us, and from Congress.  THIS, my friends, is an abomination!  It’s as if … as if we are naught but cardboard cutouts with no ears, no eyes, no brains.  Funny, though, how the government that doesn’t even pretend to represent us still takes our taxes every week, isn’t it?


I’m not even halfway through my list, so you can count on more later!  On a brighter note, even though George Conway is no longer an active participant in The Lincoln Project, they are still turning out some great, hard-hitting ads!  Here is one of their latest …

Jaw-Dropping

“The virus has nothing to do with me. It’s not my fault. It’s — China let the damn virus out.”

“I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

The above are direct quotations from Donald J. Trump, as told to two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward in one of the 18 interviews the two had as Woodward prepared for his latest book, RAGE, which will be released next Tuesday.

As of this writing, 194,414 human beings in the United States have died … and yet, it has “nothing to do with …” Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who 330 million people expect to act in their best interests, the best interests of the nation.

CNN has obtained a preview copy of Woodward’s book, and also some of the tapes from his interviews with Trump, and I urge you to read the full article, but meanwhile here are a few excerpts …

By March 19, when Trump told Woodward he was purposely downplaying the dangers to avoid creating a panic, he also acknowledged the threat to young people. “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people,” Trump said.

Publicly, however, Trump has continued to insist just the opposite, saying as recently as August 5 that children were “almost immune.”

Even into April, when the US became the country with the most confirmed cases in the world, Trump’s public statements contradicted his acknowledgements to Woodward. At an April 3 coronavirus task force briefing, Trump was still downplaying the virus and stating that it would go away. “I said it’s going away and it is going away,” he said. Yet two days later on April 5, Trump again told Woodward, “It’s a horrible thing. It’s unbelievable,” and on April 13, he said, “It’s so easily transmissible, you wouldn’t even believe it.”

Trump has come under fire in recent days for reportedly making disparaging remarks about US military personnel and veterans. Woodward’s book includes an anecdote where an aide to Mattis heard Trump say in a meeting, “my f—ing generals are a bunch of pussies” because they cared more about alliances than trade deals. Mattis asked the aide to document the comment in an email to him. And Trump himself criticized military officials to Woodward over their view that alliances with NATO and South Korea are the best bargain the US makes. “I wouldn’t say they were stupid, because I would never say that about our military people,” Trump said. “But if they said that, they — whoever said that was stupid. It’s a horrible bargain … they make so much money. Costs us $10 billion. We’re suckers.”

Trump boasted to Woodward about a new secret weapons system. “I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before,” Trump said. Woodward says other sources confirmed the information, without providing further details, but expressed surprise that Trump disclosed it.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner also weighs in with some unusual literary insights about his father-in-law. Kushner is quoted as saying that four texts are key to understanding Trump, including “Alice in Wonderland.” Kushner paraphrased the Cheshire Cat: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there.”

Woodward discussed the Black Lives Matter protests and suggested to the President that people like the two of them — “White, privileged” — need to work to understand the anger and pain that Black people feel in the US. “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you,” Trump responded, repeating his outrageous talking point that he’s done more for the Black community than any president besides Abraham Lincoln.

These are but a few of the jaw-dropping, and yet I suppose not surprising, highlights of the article, which has now been picked up by other news outlets, even Fox.  Fox host Howard Kurtz said three days prior that …

“As a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has been writing books about presidents since Richard Nixon, he can’t simply be dismissed as a third-rate hack or someone with an ax to grind. Woodward has hundreds of hours of taped interviews with White House and other sources for “Fear,” along with internal documents.

Senior officials have rushed out denials of disparaging comments attributed to them. And Trump tweeted:

“The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General [Secretary of Defense] James Mattis and General [Chief of Staff] John Kelly,” he wrote on Twitter. “Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?”

Sorry, dismissing Bob Woodward as a possible Democratic operative simply doesn’t wash. He did a tough book on the Clinton White House and a revealing look at the Obama White House handling of military conflicts.

Another tweet – “Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?” — reflects the president’s larger frustration with the press. Under Supreme Court precedent, a public figure must prove that a journalist’s work is not only false but that he acted with malice or reckless disregard for whether or not it was true. How exactly would the president change that?”

We the People of this nation have given far too much power to one ‘man’ whose only concern is money and his own welfare.  When I first read the CNN article, then a few others, my jaw dropped to the floor, but after I thought about it all for a few minutes, I realized we shouldn’t really be surprised … everything Trump has done has given us proof that he cares for nobody and nothing but himself.  No other president in the history of this nation has done as much harm to the people he was supposed to represent, the people who gave him the power of the office of presidency.  Let us remember in eight short weeks, that he has horribly abused that power and that he is undeserving of the title and the office.  PLEASE, my friends, let us remember that … our lives depend on it.

The First 100 Days …

If a president serves his entire four-year term, he will have been president for 1,459 days.  The first 100 days are some sort of a marker, though they are less than 15% of his expected tenure, because there is always an analysis of what a president accomplished in his first 100 days.  Additionally, a part of a candidate’s campaign platform also includes “What I plan to accomplish in my first 100 days”, which is later used as a benchmark for the aforementioned analysis.

I would like to clear some things up regarding Joe Biden’s “First 100 Days To Do List”.  Donald Trump seems to think he has a copy of Joe’s list, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t.  Donald Trump has falsely declared that in his first 100 days, Biden plans to …

  • Implement a $4 trillion tax hike
  • Demolish the U.S. energy industry
  • Shut down the entire U.S. economy to combat the coronavirus pandemic
  • Remove windows from homes and offices (Say WHAT???)

Now, obviously Trump has made all of this and more up in that demented mind of his, but … remove windows???  Where does he get this shit?  Anyway, I thought it prudent to take a look at what Joe Biden actually plans to accomplish in the early days of his presidency.

  • Rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO) and restore our leadership on the world stage
  • Rejoin the Paris Climate Accords
  • Contact NATO allies, saying “we’re back and you can count on us again.”
  • Work with Congress to pass hate crime legislation
  • Send a bill to Congress repealing liability protections for gun manufacturers, and closing background-check loopholes
  • Send an immigration bill to Congress creating a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants and retaining rights for “dreamers,” who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
  • Move to eliminate tax cuts passed under Trump in 2017
  • Direct his secretary of housing and urban development to form a task force and provide a road map for ending homelessness
  • Restore federal worker’s right to unionize
  • Reinstate federal guidance, issued by Obama and revoked by Trump, that would restore transgender students’ access to sports, bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.
  • Issue new sweeping ethics standards that would apply to members of his administration
  • Give the inspectors general full power to investigate any allegation of improper influence

And there is more, but I think you get the picture … none of his goals and plans are ‘evil’, none are power grabs, none favour only the wealthy, and all are things that will benefit the people … We the People.

Joe Biden’s plans for his first 100 days and beyond are necessarily ambitious, for Donald Trump has broken much that needs to be fixed … PRONTO!  And, whether Biden is able to accomplish his initial goals largely depends on whether Mitch McConnell and his band of republican thugs continue to hold a majority in the Senate, for if they do, Biden and the rest of the Democrats in Congress will have to fight tooth and nail for every inch of progress.

Now, let’s think for a minute about what Donald Trump actually did during his first 100 days in 2017.  I can sum it all up in three words:  He Broke Stuff.  In April 2017, Trump touted that …

“No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.”

I guess it all depends on how one defines an accomplishment.  If I kill my neighbor, did I accomplish something, or am I a murderer?  In his first 90 days, it is true that Trump signed bills and issued executive orders … but not a single one did anything to help the people of this nation, or to make us a better nation.  Many of his orders were overturned within that same 90-day period, such as his ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries.  His executive orders overturned and reversed environmental regulations that were put into effect to protect and preserve the air we breathe, the water we rely on, and the ecosystems that are essential to life on this planet.

He attempted to reverse the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) that enabled millions of citizens to have affordable health care.  He did manage to place Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, after bribing Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire, thus ensuring that the Supreme Court would lean to the right in most decisions – not a good thing for We the People if we are women or people of colour or non-Christians.

But to my original point.  Donald Trump has no idea what Joe Biden has pledged to do, and he is making up ridiculous lies, rants, to attempt to slur Joe Biden.  I saw a post by a (former) friend on Facebook tonight accusing Joe Biden of being a pedophile, and most every comment pertained to Roe v Wade, accusing Biden of wanting to “rip poor unborn children …”.  I could not help myself … I rebutted a number of the comments before finally asking myself why I was wasting my time with these low-life misogynists.  My point here being that, while Trump’s accusations are obviously uneducated, inaccurate, and blatant lies … some of his less intelligent followers will believe every word.  Therefore, I think it is important that we tell the public … over and over and over again … what Joe Biden really stands for and what he truly hopes to accomplish in his first 100 days.  Joe Biden is a good man with integrity and good values … something that has been sorely lacking in the Oval Office for the past 1,327 days since Trump’s inauguration.  Joe Biden cares about people, he cares about our planet.  Donald Trump cares only about … Donald Trump.  Your choice, my friends.

Labor Day 2020

I had decided not to write a ‘Labour Day’ post this year, for my heart simply wasn’t in it. Then I came across Brosephus’ post that pretty much summed up my own thoughts, only more eloquently than I likely could have done. Thank you Brosephus, for this thoughtful post. Let us hope that next year will be better for everyone.

The Mind of Brosephus

Just like the year 2020 has been so far, Labor Day isn’t a “happy” day either. While the real-life Fantasy Island host, Donald Trump, tries to paint a rosy picture,

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1302985926809923589

Reality tells an entirely different story.

The truth about job growth is that the sitting president has very little to do with creating jobs outside of filling federal job vacancies. Job growth or loss is dictated by the private sector and the decisions made in corporate boardrooms across the world.

That said, there’s a cottage industry built upon the notion that a president is responsible for jobs in his term. In reality, decisions made during one term will determine the direction of the country years after those decisions are made. For example, the job growth in his term that Trump tries…

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It is Happening Again, Not in Nazi Germany: The Campaign Against “Life Unworthy of Life”

I think we’ve all been horrified by Trump & Co’s lack of a viable response to the pandemic and lack of compassion toward the hundreds of thousands of lives lost and forever changed. Our friend Padre Steve gives us some chilling historical context that I would urge you to read and consider. Thank you, Padre, for this thought-provoking post.

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I am reflecting about the present in light of the past, and how policy wise, the Social Darwinist policies of the Trump Administration, and the words of his cult propagandists about the value of human life during the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic since it first began. Throughout the pandemic President Trump and his ruthless enablers have done all tat they can to ensure that the pandemic has killed and infected more people in the United States than any nation in the world, and for a nation that represents barely 4% of the world population with one of the most advanced medical systems in the world that is saying a lot. The only answer for such a disaster is that Trump and his Cult want this to happen. Why else would he first deny the infection, then minimize it, then issue a series of contradictory guidance, leave…

View original post 3,258 more words

Musings From The Rabbit Hole — Trust

One of the things about spending large quantities of time in the ‘rabbit hole’ is that one lies awake at night pondering on such things as trust, respect, responsibility, honesty, humanity and whether there are enough lemons in the fridge to make lemon chicken for supper tomorrow.

Trust.  It’s a funny thing … one may spend a lifetime earning the trust of others, yet it can be shattered in a single moment.  How many people do you trust … I mean, really trust as in you would trust them with your life?  I’m guessing you can count them on one hand … I can, and I would still have a thumb left over.  How many people trust you in that way? trust-1When we speak of trust in the broader sense, of trusting people who hold our well-being in their hands, it’s a bit different than trust on the more personal level.  We should be able to trust these people … our members of Congress, state governors, police officers, and certainly the president and his minions … to at least make the best possible decisions based on the information they have for the good of the whole.  None of us will be pleased with every decision that comes out of any administration.  As much as I admire and respect President Obama, there were times I disagreed with his decisions.  However, I always felt that he was listening to his advisors, was studying every situation and staying well-informed, and that at the end of the day, he made what he thought to be the right decision for the nation as a whole.  I have felt that way about nearly every president this nation has had in my 69 years, both republican and democrat.  Until the current one.

Trust is important in any relationship, parent-child, husband-wife, teacher-student, employer-employee.  It is equally important that the people of any nation be able to trust their chosen leaders to be honest, to tell them the truth as much as possible, and to make decisions that take into account the entire nation, not just a few.  Leaders will make mistakes, for they rarely have perfect information on which to base their decisions.  But, when leaders lie to the people, the bond of trust is broken and is unlikely to ever be restored.  This is what happened with Richard Nixon in 1974.  But even worse than Nixon’s lies are those of Donald Trump, for his entire administration is filled with the most corrupt and dishonest people in the nation.  There can be no trust in a ‘man’ who has been caught in over 20,000 lies in just over three years and has hired people who have been almost equally dishonest.trust-3How do we trust a ‘man’ who told us the coronavirus was just a minor thing, nothing to worry about, really … when a short six months later more than 180,000 of our friends, family and neighbors have died from it?  How can we possibly be expected to trust an administration that has spent money we didn’t have for frivolous things, all the while giving special perks to the very wealthy people who don’t even know we exist?  How do we trust a ‘man’ who cozies up to dictators, who asks foreign nations to help him cheat in an election?  How can we trust an administration that has turned its back on the most important global issues that affect all our lives:  the environment, the pandemic, and systemic racism?

How do we trust a ‘man’ who has spent his entire adult life lying, cheating, discriminating, breaking the law, and stealing?  How do we trust a ‘man’ who claims credit for things he did not do, and refuses to accept responsibility for those he did do?  How do we trust a ‘leader’ who represents less than half the people of the nation and spends his days denigrating the rest?  How do we trust a person who praises racists and bullies good people?

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made myself clear … when we elect a person, whether a member of Congress, president, or city councilman, we expect … we have a clear right to expect … that person to act in our best interests.  We give that person a certain level of trust simply by voting for him or her.  But, when they act in their own best interests, causing us financial ruin, job loss, loss of homes and in some cases loss of our very lives, that trust is gone.  Forever. trust-2Trust.  A small word, but so filled with meaning.  The breaches of our trust since January 20th, 2017 have been so numerous and so deadly that it amazes me to find that some people do, in fact, still trust the current occupant of the White House.  To them, apparently truth, honesty and integrity do not matter.  To me, without them there can be no trust.  Today, I have neither trust nor respect for anyone in the administration whose salaries I help pay.  Damn shame, isn’t it?

Snarky Snippets or Mini Rants???

Debatable

Nancy Pelosi has said she thinks there should be no presidential debates, and it is a thought I had myself a few days ago. Her reasoning is much along the same lines as my own was, that …

“I don’t think there should be any debates. I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him [Trump], nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States.”

I agree.  Mostly. Or at least I did. I would dearly love to see Joe Biden tell Trump that he would not lower himself to a debate with such an ignoramus who has never even read the damn U.S. Constitution.  However … can you imagine what Trump would do with that?  He would convince his base that Biden had something to hide or was afraid of him.  So no … it isn’t the right option, but it sure would be fun!

On a brighter note, though, Biden can mop the floor with Trump’s ugly hairpiece if he plays his cards right.  Biden is all the things that Donald Trump is not:  intelligent, compassionate, caring, experienced, and an all-around good man.  For the record, he does plan to participate in all three debates and I fully expect to see Trump make an arse of himself, while Biden shows himself to be a leader.  My biggest concern is that Trump will turn the debates into a three-ring circus as is his wont, and Joe Biden’s intelligent statements will be lost in all the noise and detritus.

We’ll find out soon, for the first debate is in just over a month, September 29th.  Although I rarely watch more than a few minutes of the debates, I think I will have to watch this one in its entirety … unless it causes me to throw my laptop across the room!

Pop Art Stressed Business Woman Throwing Laptop to the Trash Bin


“We can trust him”

It is encouraging to see that some republicans, of the more educated and knowledgeable sort, are fed up with Trump.  Over 100 of late Senator John McCain’s former staff members have signed off on a letter endorsing Joe Biden for President.  A few key parts of the letter …

“We trust that as President, Joe Biden will lead an urgent, comprehensive national effort to contain the COVID pandemic. We trust he will call on Americans to remember our common interests and responsibilities, and not worsen the grievances that have polarized our politics. And we trust that he will defend American interests and values from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Given the incumbent president’s lack of competent leadership, his efforts to aggravate rather than bridge divisions among Americans, and his failure to uphold American values, we believe the election of former Vice President Biden is clearly in the national interest.”

But they aren’t alone!  A group of former staff members of George W. Bush’s administration have also written a letter endorsing Joe Biden in the November election.  Among the signatories are former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Bush domestic policy adviser Sally Canfield, former Ambassador James K. Glassman and former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin.  A few key parts …

“We are a group who served in George W. Bush’s administration. We have seen the importance of leadership up close and we know Joe Biden is the choice we need to make in November. Character matters in our leaders. Joe Biden has proven himself over years of public service. We have seen him respectfully reach across the aisle, consider a different point of view and make a thoughtful decision to benefit the nation. Joe Biden is courageous and will tell the American people what we are facing, but will also have a plan to guide us through this difficult time.

Over the past four years we, as a nation, have struggled with truth. Conspiracy theories have been legitimized and facts have been dismissed. The expertise of world-renowned scientists and physicians have been sidelined while the opinions of pundits have been embraced. Meanwhile, more than 170,000 Americans are dead due to this mismanaged crisis. As a nation, we have lost our moral compass. Children should never be separated from their parents and caged for seeking asylum in the US. It is cruel and inhumane. We need to get back to basics: facts matter, there is right and wrong. We can do that with Joe Biden in the Oval Office. He will listen to and work with experts to craft and execute plans to solve problems and ease suffering. Joe will act with integrity, he knows no other way to lead. We can trust him.”

We can trust him.  Think about that one for a minute, folks.  Remember, these are all republicans who have worked under other republican presidents, and yet, they are saying of Joe Biden … We Can Trust Him.  Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?


Sick and Tired?  Yeah … so???

So many times in recent weeks, I have heard or read comments that “I’m so sick of it all”, “I’m fed up with it all”, “I am going to tune it all out”.  I get it … I’m sick, I’m fed up, I’m exhausted.  BUT … I’m in this fight to the finish!  No, I won’t whine about being exhausted and sick, for I think we all are, and no I won’t quit, just retreat into my shell while the bad guys take over the world!  I’m going to FIGHT, dammit!  If you need to take a break for a day or two, fine, I get that.  But if you give up, if you let the bastards win, then … it’s as if you never entered the fight to begin with.  You cannot rest on your laurels here, for this is a fight to the finish.  Take a break, but don’t drop out, for this is too important … this is about the future of our children and grandchildren, but it is more than even that.  It is about the survival of individual freedom in the United States, it is about our ability to be a part of the larger world, and it is, ultimately, about the survival of the planet, or rather life on Planet Earth.

Trump’s Campaign Platform: Abortion

In this year, a year of pandemic, global strife, a looming recession, sky-high unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, millions without health insurance, etc., there are any number of things that I would expect to see on the platform of any candidate for the presidency.  Among them, in no particular order, are …

  • Climate change and environmental issues
  • Education
  • Gun policy
  • Immigration
  • International relations
  • Civil rights
  • Election security
  • Health care
  • Affordable housing
  • Income inequality
  • Minimum wage
  • Campaign finance
  • Taxation
  • Consumer finance protection

And the list goes on.  You may notice that nowhere in my list do you see the word “abortion”.  Abortion is not … or at least should not be … a political issue!  As I’ve said at least a hundred times before, if you think abortion is wrong, then don’t have one!  But don’t impose your religious or moral beliefs on the rest of us!

While it should be a personal issue, not a political one, a good chunk of time on Tuesday night was spent by the republicans at the Republican National Convention, dissing and discussing a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body.  These people call themselves “pro-life”, but in fact they are not that at all, for most of them support the death penalty, and few of them are in favour of their tax dollars going to help support low income families who are struggling to feed their children.  Most of them seem unconcerned about the extremely high number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., relative to every other nation.  Most of them own guns and put their right to do so ahead of the rights of the public, and even their own children, to be safe … that in itself puts paid to the “pro-life” argument!

The religious right in this country has become a strangling, suffocating movement whose foray into the political forum is not welcome by the majority of us!  I very intentionally stay as far away as I can from any discussion or opinion on religion, for I truly believe that everyone has the right to believe as they will, and it is not my place or anyone else’s to attempt to bend others to my own beliefs.  HOWEVER … I also expect the same courtesy in return!  I do not expect to have evangelicals or any other religious group tell me what I can do based on the tenets of their religion … tenets that even they do not follow, except when it suits them!  This is exactly why we have separation of church and state.

Separation of church and state means that no religion or religious group has the right to set public policy.  There is good reason for this.  We are a very diverse nation with hundreds of different religions and a good number of us (23%) who ascribe to no religion, as is our right.  It is our right.  We … most of us … do not wish a specific religion to be taught in our schools.  We do not wish to be held to honour laws that are created by and for a particular religious sect, for they may very well go against our own beliefs.

For the right-wing religious extremists to call for government to interfere with a woman’s rights is beyond unconscionable … it is nearly a return to the days when women were considered second-class citizens, subservient to their menfolk.  For no matter how women view this issue, it is largely men who are making the laws in this country, even today.  In fact, one of the speakers at the RNC on Tuesday was a woman named Abby Johnson who sermonized on the ‘evils’ of abortion.  Ms. Johnson’s anti-women ideology goes much further, however, for back in May she spoke of her support for the idea of “household voting”, where only the “head” of each household would be allowed to vote …

“I would support bringing back household voting.  Each household would get one vote. In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

If you are reading this and are not sputtering or spouting obscenities, then I’d have to question what planet you were born on.  And then, on Tuesday night she yammered about abortion …

“This election is a choice between two radical anti-life activists and the most pro-life president we have ever had. That is something that should compel you to action, go door-to-door, make calls, talk to your neighbors and friends, and vote on November 3.”

Really?  So, the republicans honestly think this election is about … abortion???  What about climate change, what about civil rights, what about education, what about health care, what about our relations with other nations, what about gun violence, what about … all of the things that really matter?  Frankly, if abortion, or rather anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, is the only issue the republican voters care about, then there is a definite lack of understanding within the Republican Party.  There are far more monumental issues to be concerned about.

To the best of my knowledge, no woman in the United States has ever been forced to have an abortion against her will, and only about 1% of abortions are performed after the fetus becomes viable, those only in extreme cases to save the mother’s life.  Yet Trump claimed back in March …

“Virtually every Democrat candidate has declared their unlimited support for extreme late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth.”

It is this sort of verbiage that seems to fire up Trump’s base, despite being devoid of any facts.  In fact, not one single democrat has advocated for such.  I would remind voters that possibly the biggest, most lethal single issue that should be what they are considering, is that of the environment.  Frankly, if we do not re-implement environmental regulations, if we do not take fairly drastic measures and work with other nations to curb the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that we are emitting every minute of every day, you won’t need to worry a heck of a lot about whether a woman has an abortion or not.  You’ll be too busy fighting for every last breath to be worried about seedlings.

The Blood on Trump’s Hands — Is Ours

I have shared Nicholas Kristof’s work before, and I do so again today.  Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist whose major interests are human rights and social injustices.  He is more than just an opinion writer – he is a scholar, a deep thinker, and a man of great intellect.  What follows is his column in the New York Times yesterday evening.


‘We Did the Exact Right Thing,’ Says Our Glorious Leader

So why does the United States have 4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of coronavirus deaths?

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

What a relief!

I’d worried about the coronavirus, but we’re fine! I’ve been watching the Republican National Convention, and it turns out that while everyone else stood helpless before the pandemic, our national lodestar, President Trump, stepped up and saved millions of lives. Whew!

“From the very beginning, Democrats, the media and the World Health Organization got the coronavirus wrong,” according to a G.O.P. propaganda film shown at the convention. Fortunately, “one leader took decisive action to save lives: President Donald Trump.”

“We did the exact right thing,” Trump said in his speech on Monday. “We saved millions.” He has moved seamlessly from the fantasy that the virus would “go away,” as he has said some 31 times, to the fantasy that he has already dispatched it.

I feel well equipped to cover the Republican convention, having covered personality cults in China, Iraq and North Korea. But this grotesque manipulation deserves a response, for it dishonors and erases the 180,000 Americans confirmed to have died from Covid-19.

“The Trump administration is responsible for the single worst public health failure in the last 100 years,” Peter J. Hotez, a global health expert and dean at the Baylor College of Medicine, told me.

Devi Sridhar, an American who is professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said it had been “astounding” to watch the Trump narrative from afar. In Scotland, she noted, children are now back in school because the government there was committed to suppressing the virus.

“The biggest obstacle to an effective Covid-19 response is President Donald Trump,” Sridhar told me. “There is a path through this crisis, but it requires strong leadership, transparency and letting scientists lead the response.”

That’s the problem in America: Trump fought science, and the virus won — so the public lost.

(The hostility to scientific expertise is also evident in the Republican National Convention’s obliviousness to climate change, even as California is in flames and a hurricane bears down on Texas and Louisiana.)

The consensus among health experts is that while local leaders and citizens sometimes messed up, and that luck matters along with other random factors we still don’t fully understand, huge responsibility lies with that “one leader.”

Some 40,000 confirmed infections are being reported each day in the United States, and another American still dies of the virus every 90 seconds. The University of Washington model projects that about 310,000 people will have died by Dec. 1 — a figure greater than the number of American combat deaths during World War II.

So portraying this toll as a tribute to Trump’s leadership takes real chutzpah.

Trump initially dismissed the coronavirus as like the flu, scoffed that it was “totally under control” and insisted it would disappear “like a miracle.” He imposed some travel restrictions on China (with enormous exceptions), which may have helped modestly, but he fumbled testing, didn’t ensure adequate protective equipment, and offered confused messaging.

The president resisted masks and embraced miracle cures — some dangerous ones, like injecting household disinfectants. He encouraged followers to “liberate” states with lockdowns and his administration pressed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise testing guidelines to exclude those without symptoms. He has suggested that his aim is to “slow the testing down,” so that fewer people will test positive; that’s like trying to reduce cancer fatalities by ending cancer screening.

Trump still doesn’t have a national Covid-19 strategy any more than he has a 2020 campaign platform.

The United States does not, as many Trump critics believe, have the highest death toll from the coronavirus on a per-capita basis; deaths per million have been higher in Belgium, Peru, Spain, Britain, Italy, Sweden, Chile and Brazil.

Yet while other countries made terrible mistakes — especially initially — they learned from them. China at first put more effort into suppressing warnings of the virus than into suppressing the virus itself. Italy delayed a lockdown. Britain at the beginning didn’t take the risks seriously.

Yet those countries were able to self-correct and bring infections down, although imperfectly and with risks of a return. Italy brought infections and deaths down and currently has a death rate over the last seven days just one thirty-second that of the United States. In contrast, Trump never learned and still tackles the virus with magical thinking while resisting a coherent national strategy driven by science.

Pandemic control involves not a single tool but a broad set of skills, making it a measure of good governance. It’s not surprising that Germany — led by a disciplined scientist, Angela Merkel — has done particularly well, with a death rate now only one forty-eighth that of the United States.

If Trump had managed the pandemic as well as Merkel, some 143,000 American lives could have been saved.

Think about those people’s lives when you see Trump try to rewrite history this week. The indisputable truth is this: The United States has 4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of the world’s confirmed coronavirus deaths.

While California Burns … Trump Fiddles

It should come as no surprise that this year’s wildfires in California are even more devastating than those of 2019.   The wildfires, largely sparked by lightning strikes and exacerbated by very dry conditions, have now burned through more than a million acres.  The fires have claimed hundreds of homes and threaten tens of thousands more, forcing more than 100,000 to flee amid a coronavirus pandemic that vastly complicates evacuation decisions.wildfire-1At least six are known dead, and hundreds yet unaccounted for.

The fires started early this year, on August 14th, with literally thousands of lightning strikes setting off the dry timber.  In just over a week, the California blazes have charred more than 1 million acres, according to Cal Fire, more than tripling the area burned during a typical fire season (a little more than 300,000 acres). The area burned is larger than the state of Rhode Island.wildfire-2California has seen a significant uptick in large-wildfire activity because of a combination of climate change, land-use practices and other factors. Large fires have also increased across other parts of the West, which climate studies tie to human-caused climate change that alters the timing of precipitation, makes summers hotter and vegetation drier, and leads to more days with extreme weather that enable fires to spread rapidly.

And just when California, which is, by the way, part of the United States, most needs help, the person at the head of the federal government is doing what he does best … mocking, denigrating, and being an all-round ass.  You may remember that at the height of last year’s wildfires, Trump admonished California Governor Gavin Newsome, saying he should have “raked the forest floor”.  Well, he’s at it again …

“I see again the forest fires are starting. They’re starting again in California. I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up. Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.”

WTF is this “them”???  There is no “them”.  It is we , not ‘them vs us’!  This country is called, in case Señor Trump has forgotten, the United States, and California is one of those states!  In fact, with nearly 40 million people, it is the most populous state in the country! I am so sick and damned tired of Trump’s ignorance costing lives in this country!  It was, in part, his rollback of nearly every environmental regulation on the books that has added to the massive problem of human-caused climate change, so in one sense, Trump himself has helped create this nightmare scenario.  He damn sure hasn’t done anything to help the state of California … or any other state, for that matter!wildfire-3Trump’s suggestions have prompted head-scratching from experts who say his prescriptions — more raking, less water released into the ocean for environmental purposes — suggest he does not understand the science of wildfires. Critics also point out that most of California’s wildlands are federally managed.

It should be noted that the president is elected by the people of all 50 states.  It should further be noted that he takes an oath to “… faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  That oath does not say he will only be responsible and accountable to people living in states that voted for him, or that have a republican governor, or a republican majority, or that “like” him!  The good people of California pay taxes the same as the people of Florida, Mississippi, Michigan and New York!  And in return, they are treated by the federal government as one of those “shithole countries” Trump refers to!

Hennessey Fire Burns In Napa County

It is time for our government to step up to the plate and help the State of California.  If Trump won’t do it, then Congress damn well better.  Off your ass, Mitch McConnell, and do something good for once in your life!wildfire-5