The border crisis: Julian Castro has a plan

There are many ‘hot topics’ on the docket for next year’s election, not the least of which is immigration. The immigration ‘plan’, if there can be said to actually be a plan, of the current administration is a disaster, with lives being lost at our southern border, and human rights violations that three years ago would have been unthinkable. So, where do the candidates stand on immigration? It isn’t something I’ve given a lot of thought to yet, but luckily our friend Jeff over at On The Fence Voters has. He has analyzed the platforms of two of the contenders for the democratic nomination: Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke. I find his posts on this topic enlightening, and I think you will too. This is the first of the two, and I plan to re-blog the second later this evening. Thank you, Jeff, for these two posts and your permission to share!

On The Fence Voters

To say the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is a disaster, would actually be a compliment. Let’s be honest, the policy is inhumane, chaotic, horrific, and unsustainable. And word this morning that 37 migrant children who had boarded vans last July in the brutal heat of a Texas summer, only to be forced to stay in those vans for up to 39 hours, exemplifies the incompetence we’ve seen when it comes to this issue.

The migrants were on their way to the Port Isabel Detention Center, hoping to reunite with their parents, who had been taken from them when the Trump administration began systematically separating migrant families who crossed the border illegally. Eventually, the children were reunited with the parents, but to endure such hardship is simply a disgrace.

Of course, this situation arose out of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which was officially in effect from April 2018 until June…

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GASP!!! Have They Found A Conscience?

Are republican senators finally finding their consciences?  More likely they are worried about their own patooties next election, but either way, it is encouraging to see them standing up to Trump for a change. Two stories in this morning’s news give reason to hope that the blinders are coming off, that Senate republicans are beginning to remember that their allegiance is to We the People, not the madman in the Oval Office.


The first issue is the tariffs that Trump has threatened to impose on goods imported from Mexico – another of his bullying tactics to attempt to force another country to bend to his will.  The tariffs would crush Mexico’s economy, as 80% of their exports are to the U.S., and it would hurt the consumers in this nation as well, though Trump either does not understand, or more likely simply does not care.

Yesterday, two “administration officials” attended a lunch with the Senate during which the proposed tariffs were discussed.  A number of republican senators expressed their opposition …

“I think the administration ought to be concerned about another vote of disapproval on another national emergency act, this time trying to implement tariffs. Tariffs are not real popular in the Republican conference.” – Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

“I want you to take back that you didn’t hear a single ‘yes’ in this room.” – Senator Ted Cruz, Texas

“We’re holding a gun to our own heads.” – Senator John Cornyn, Texas

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio questioned the administration’s legal rationale for levying the tariffs, asking the officials to explain how it could use a law that has never been implemented to impose tariffs — the International Emergency Economic Powers Act — to, in fact, impose tariffs.  Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado told the officials that they need to stop with the tariffs.

When asked if he felt that the Senate could come up with a veto-proof majority to block the tariffs, Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said, “I sure do.  There’s just a weariness of tariffs as the only tool in the tool kit that gets used.”  Even Mitch McConnell had to admit …

“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs — that’s for sure.”

Only time will tell if the senators are willing to put their vote where their mouth is and stand up to the bully in the Oval Office.  Trump, on being told that there was little if any support in the Senate for his tariffs took his usual mafia-sounding spiel …

“Oh, I don’t think they will do that. I think if they did it’s foolish.”


Last month, Trump declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries — including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the decision, saying …

“These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

At the time of the announcement, there was some bi-partisan support in Congress for blocking the sales, but the icing was spread on the cake yesterday when it was discovered that that Trump had allowed U.S. nuclear energy companies to share technology and other information with Saudi Arabia on October 18, 2018 — just 16 days after Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul — and again February 18, 2019, less than a week after the House voted to end U.S. backing for the Saudi-led military effort in Yemen’s civil war.  Both the House and the Senate voted for the bill to end U.S. participation in the war in Yemen, but Trump vetoed the bill, and neither chamber of Congress was able to come up with a 2/3 majority to override the veto.

As a result, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham are working together in an effort to block the 22 arms deals that would largely benefit Saudi Arabia, a move that seeks to quash the administration’s attempt to use emergency powers to circumvent congressional objections.  Given that Graham has long been one of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders and has defended the indefensible on more than one occasion, this is certainly encouraging news.

There is also bi-partisan support for blocking the arms sales in the House of Representatives where it is said members are also considering re-writing the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 to impose tighter restrictions on the use of the “emergency authority” provision, tightening the loophole Trump used to justify the sale so it could only be used for “true emergencies”.

Again, time will tell whether the republicans in Congress are finally ready to re-assess their blind support of everything Trump demands and represent the people of this nation, or if they will once again fall prey to the bullying of the madman at the helm.

Da Snarky Snippets Keep On Coming

Believe it or not, just a few years ago I was a mild-mannered person who rarely engaged in being snarky, or bouts of temper … yeah, right, who do I think I’m kidding?  Anyway, today I find that I have plenty of little snippets upon which to unload my snark.


Trump vs CNN – round #14

On Monday, little Donnie took umbrage … again … over CNN’s coverage of his _____________ (fill in the blank).  Could have been his proposed tariffs on imports from Mexico, could have been his meddling in the affairs of the UK, or perhaps his juvenile criticisms of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, or any number of other things he has done or said.

CNN is not alone in critiquing Trump’s words and actions, and they are not alone in drawing Trump’s ire, for he has frequently called out the New York Times and The Washington Post, calling them ‘fake news’, ‘failing’, and more.  But, he seems to have taken a particular dislike to CNN, and today he crossed a line.  Well, in truth, he has crossed many lines in the past and I’m inclined to say that every time he opens his mouth, he crosses a line.  However today, he called on the U.S. public to boycott AT&T, the parent company of CNN.  This, my friends, is unconscionable.

It is neither the job nor the right of the president to attempt to bring down a company simply because they don’t agree with him.  And it is damn sure not his right to attempt to manipulate the press … the FREE press.  Hell, the majority of people in the nation don’t agree with him … what’s he going to do … call on his shrinking base to ‘de-friend’ us on Facebook? In the opinion of historian Jon Meacham, who has written biographies of several presidents …

“For a president to call for punitive action against a corporation in an effort to shape news coverage is, to say the least, highly unusual. It’s the kind of behavior more commonly associated with authoritarian regimes, not democratic ones.”

More commonly associated with authoritarian regimes … what have I been saying for two years now?


Get em, Tiger!

“Unfortunately, your actions are part of a pattern. The Trump administration has been engaged in one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate, extending from the White House to multiple federal agencies and departments of the government and across numerous investigations.”

The above is an excerpt from letters written to both Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross yesterday by Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.  Both Barr and Ross have defied the panel’s subpoena for information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Last week, we learned of a plot, if you will, to redistrict (gerrymander) political maps that would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites”, based on answers to a proposed citizenship question on the upcoming (2020) census form.  The information came to light following the release of documents belonging to the late Thomas Hofeller, a major republican strategist.

The republicans, from Donald Trump down to the lowliest cabinet member, are engaging in a dangerous game of cat and mouse in order to preserve their “dominance” in our government.  I hope that if Barr and Ross do not turn over the requested information, they both land behind bars in orange jumpsuits.  The same goes for Mnuchin, Trump, and all the others who think they are above the law.  It’s time to restore law and order to this damn country!


Jared Kushner deserves a medal … for ignorance

KushnerThere is likely a reason why Jared Kushner, son-in-law and boot-licker of Don Trump, doesn’t do many interviews … his utter ignorance and stupidity come out … in spades.  On Sunday, an interview he did with Jonathan Swan of Axios was aired.  A couple of snippets …

The first was about the false claim by Trump that Obama was not born in the U.S.

Swan: Was birtherism racist?

Kushner: Um, look, I wasn’t really involved in that.

Swan: I know you weren’t! Was it racist?

Kushner: Like I said, I wasn’t involved in that.

Swan: I know you weren’t! Was it racist?

Kushner: Um, look, I know who the president is, and I have not seen anything in him that is racist. So, again, I was not involved in that.

Swan: Did you wish he didn’t do that?

Kushner: Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.

Then when asked about his father-in-law’s ‘values’, or lack thereof …

Swan: Has your father-in-law ever challenged your values?

Kushner: Um, in what regard?

Swan: Well I mean when you were on the campaign you had Access Hollywood? There’s been other things you’ve had to deal with since then. I mean, like, it’s a sensitive question, but I mean it in the sense of you’re a son-in-law, you’re a husband, you’re a senior advisor. Does it make it sometimes harder to, to tell him the truth?

Kushner: No, I think he, he respects people who are willing to be honest with him. When I do disagree, you’ll never read about it in the press and I won’t say it publicly but I will say there’s a lot more things I agree with him on than disagree.

Swan: So you agree with him on economics and foreign policy. Where do you stand on abortion?

Kushner: Again, I was not uh the person who was elected.

Such brilliance, yes?  No wonder he has been put in charge of a Middle-East peace plan!  If you’re interested, you can find the full transcript in .pdf form here.


A royal welcome …

Donnie is over in the UK this week, sure to cause more problems than he solves.  But the Brits know how to make a guy feel welcome.  The baby blimp will fly later today, but here are a few pictures from yesterday’s many protests …

protest-1protest-2protest-3protest-4protest-5protest-6protest-grassProtest Against Donald Trump's State Banquet in LondonProtest Against Donald Trump's State Banquet in LondonProtest Against Donald Trump's State Banquet in London

I guess that proves how much everybody loves him across the pond, eh?


Well, I think that’s it for this morning.  Have a great Tuesday!

There He Goes Again …

Tomorrow, Donald Trump goes to visit our friends in the United Kingdom.  I offer my apologies to my UK friends in advance for all the terrible things he is sure to say and do, and I hope you won’t hold it against us … or at least those of us who did not, could not, and would not vote for him.  But really, you guys invited him … what were you thinking???queen-elizabeth-iiLast July Trump visited the UK and was honoured with a visit to the Queen.  I shuddered when I heard that would take place, for he is known for being crude and crass, without a shred of grace or dignity to his name.  And, true to form, he disrespected the Queen in numerous ways, humiliating and embarrassing us.  He began by arriving late, looking sloppy as usual, and keeping Her Majesty waiting for a full ten minutes.  Then he shook her hand instead of bowing.  But the most glaring faux pas by far was as they were preparing to review scarlet-clad troops assembled in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle. He turned his back on her and walked ahead of her.  Now, to people in the U.S. that may not sound like a big deal, but there are protocols in the UK about how one addresses the Queen and how one acts in her presence.

So, now he is returning at a time when the UK is already having serious troubles and really doesn’t need Trump and his ignorance to add to the mix.  But, if you are holding out some hope that he will behave and act like a world leader, splash yourself with cold water and wake up from that dream, for he has already insulted the nation in the days leading up to his trip … let me count the ways.

Trump has an obnoxious habit of sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong … in UK politics, namely the Brexit situation.  First, speaking about that which he knows less than nothing, he said that Theresa May “messed up” Brexit.  Then, he said that he supports Boris Johnson who he believes would be “an excellent choice” to become the country’s next Prime Minister.

Boris-Donnie

I think Boris and Donnie both buy their toupees at the same place

“It’s something that I find very interesting. I actually have studied it very hard. (He has never even read the U.S. Constitution, but he has studied Brexit “very hard”?  I think not.) I know the different players. But I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent. I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person. He has been very positive about me and our country.”

He sees himself as being very influential in UK politics, claiming that other contenders had approached him asking for his public support …

“Other people have asked me for an endorsement too. I have been asked for endorsements. Well, I don’t want to say who but other people have asked me for endorsements, yes. I could help anybody if I endorse them. I mean, we’ve had endorsement where they have gone up for forty, fifty points at a shot.”

Despite the protests by the British people, the huge Baby Trump balloon, Donnie thinks the people in the UK love him!

“Now I think I am really, I hope, I am loved in the UK.”

I’m still laughing over that one!  Somehow, he who cannot make a single trade deal thinks he knows best about Brexit …

“Get the deal closed. If they don’t get what they want, I would walk away … If you don’t get the deal you want, if you don’t get a fair deal, then you walk away.”

And because he is so bloody smart and knows so much, he says that the UK’s #1 idiot Nigel Farage should have been put in charge of negotiating Brexit …

“He is a very smart person. They won’t bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.”

Nigel-Donnie

I think Donnie and Nigel go to the same fake tanning salon

And as if it weren’t bad enough that he is sticking his bulbous nose into things that a) he does not understand, and b) are none of his business, he had the unmitigated gall to call Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, “nasty”.  Meghan, a U.S. citizen by birth, married Prince Harry in 2018 and the couple have a son who was born on May 6th of this year.  So, what is Trump’s beef with the Duchess?  Back in 2016, while Trump was on the campaign trail, Meghan supported Hillary Clinton and, calling a spade a spade, she said Trump was “misogynistic and so vocal about it”.  I’m betting that no U.S. president in the history of this nation has ever before publicly called a member of the royal family “nasty”.  Too bad we aren’t still in the times when the Queen could have said, “Off with his head!”

Trump baby blimp-2I hear the good people of the UK have some great surprises planned, like an even bigger Baby Trump balloon than last year’s, and something to do with a milkshake dowsing!

Oh, and by the way … in case you’re interested, this trip is estimated to have a total cost to U.S. taxpayers of $22 million.  Trump is taking all three of his adult children AND their spouses which will require a second plane.  But we cannot afford to fix our highways or feed our poor, right?  And with 10,000 police said to be protecting Trump, you can imagine what it is costing the UK!  Why they ever invited him, I will never know.  They were hoping to negotiate a trade deal, but frankly … look how well that has worked out for other nations, such as China, Canada and Mexico.  His way of ‘dealing’ is to hit the other country with tariffs, so look out Ms. May and whomever succeeds her!Trump-Boris-NigelCan we hope he wakes up with blisters on his feet or something tomorrow so that he feels too poorly to make the trip?

WTF is “Natural Law”???

Mike Pompeo is the nation’s Secretary of State.

Mike-PompeoCreated in 1789 by the Congress as the successor to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of State is the senior executive Department of the U.S. Government. The Secretary of State’s duties relating to foreign affairs have not changed significantly since then, but they have become far more complex as international commitments multiplied. These duties – the activities and responsibilities of the State Department – include the following:

  • Serves as the President’s principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy;
  • Conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs;
  • Grants and issues passports to American citizens and exequaturs to foreign consuls in the United States;
  • Advises the President on the appointment of U.S. ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other diplomatic representatives;
  • Advises the President regarding the acceptance, recall, and dismissal of the representatives of foreign governments;
  • Personally participates in or directs U.S. representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies;
  • Negotiates, interprets, and terminates treaties and agreements;
  • Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries;
  • Supervises the administration of U.S. immigration laws abroad;
  • Provides information to American citizens regarding the political, economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian conditions in foreign countries;
  • Informs the Congress and American citizens on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations;
  • Promotes beneficial economic intercourse between the United States and other countries;
  • Administers the Department of State;
  • Supervises the Foreign Service of the United States.

In addition, the Secretary of State retains domestic responsibilities that Congress entrusted to the State Department in 1789. These include the custody of the Great Seal of the United States, the preparation of certain presidential proclamations, the publication of treaties and international acts as well as the official record of the foreign relations of the United States, and the custody of certain original treaties and international agreements. The Secretary also serves as the channel of communication between the Federal Government and the States on the extradition of fugitives to or from foreign countries.

That is the official job description for the position of Secretary of State, taken from the U.S. Government’s own website.  Please note that NOWHERE in all that verbiage does it say that the Secretary of State is in charge of setting the moral guidelines for the citizens of the United States!

Without the usual pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies announcements by the Trump regime, yesterday the State Department quietly announced the formation of a new committee to be called the Commission on Unalienable Rights, to be headed by Mike Pompeo.  According to the notice, the “nature and purpose” of the commission is …

“The Commission will provide the Secretary of State advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters. The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

Ponder on this one for a moment, if you will.  “… departed from … founding principles of natural law”???  What is “natural law”?  One definition is …

“Natural law is a philosophy asserting that certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature, endowed by nature—traditionally by God or a transcendent source—and that these can be understood universally through human reason.”

Mike Pompeo is one of those evangelicals who are anti-everything … anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim … and the list goes on.  On April 3rd, Brunei legalized the stoning to death of LGBT people.  Most of the western world was appropriately outraged.  Actor George Clooney called for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.  The governments of the EU and UK publicly called on Brunei to abandon the law.  Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo were silent. When pressured by the media to comment, Pompeo finally said he was “concerned”, but neither he nor Trump condemned the brutality.

And now, Mike Pompeo, the evangelical, the man who is only ‘concerned’ about the brutal murder of people in the LGBTQ community, is in charge of a commission on ‘natural law’.  Be afraid, people … be very afraid.

In recent weeks, we have seen numerous states infringing on women’s human rights by passing draconian laws banning a woman’s right to an abortion, even if to save her life.  We have seen laws repealed that prohibited the discrimination of LGBTQ people in almost every area, including health care.  In short, we have seen that this regime does not respect the rights of either women or the LGBTQ community.

The State Department already has an entire bureau devoted to the issues of human rights.  Human rights advocates and activists are worried that the true purpose of this commission is to strip both women and LGBTQ people of protections against discrimination.

The most worrying part, to me, is that term “natural law”, which is typically associated with religion.  The United States is a secular nation.  Some will claim it is a ‘Christian nation’, but that is not the way the Constitution, the framework for our government, is designed.  We welcome people of all or no religions to practice whatever religion … or none … they choose, but … BUT we do not design our laws in accordance with Christianity or any other religion.

For Mike Pompeo, who holds strong and narrow-minded religious views, and a group of his choosing to have input into the legal processes of this nation is a dangerous proposition … it poses, in this writer’s view, a distinct threat to the concept of separation of church and state, and it poses a threat to women and the LGBTQ community at the very least.

Few facts are available about what the commissions goals and processes are to be, and the State department refused to provide further details to the media, but this is something to keep an eye on, folks.  This may well go the way of Trump’s “Voter Fraud Commission” in 2017 and simply fade into oblivion, but what if it doesn’t?  Think about it.

Mitch McConnell: Enemy of the People

Senator Mitch McConnell has gone too far, has far overstepped his bounds.  In fact, it would seem that there are no limits, no boundaries to what McConnell believes is within his rights.

There is hard, irrefutable, fact-based evidence that the Russians interfered in numerous ways with our 2016 election, likely the only reason we have a madman in the Oval Office today.  Set aside for the moment the issue of how involved Donald Trump’s campaign was with the Russian efforts, for while that is important, today I wish to address something else. mcconnell-2Our intelligence agencies have warned that the Russians are already up to their shenanigans in an effort to do a repeat performance in 2020.  Even Trump’s butt-kissing Attorney General Barr has said that conditions still exist that would allow this scenario to repeat in 2020.  FBI Director Christopher Wray and Robert Mueller have warned that if we do nothing, the 2020 election will be compromised.

Last year, a bill with bipartisan support in the Senate, the Secure Elections Act, that would have …

  • Promoted better information sharing about cybersecurity threats
  • Funded improvements to state election systems and processes through federal grants
  • Established a bug bounty program to uncover new vulnerabilities in election systems

Not enough, but a darn good start.  The bill was squelched just 90 minutes before it was set to be heard on August 22nd.  We now know who squelched it … Mitch McConnell.  Today, there are three bills in the Senate that address election security:

  • Protecting the Right to Independent and Democratic Elections (PRIDE) Act
  • Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act
  • Honest Ads Act, which would give online political ads the same disclosure requirements as political ads on television and other media

All three were introduced last year and re-introduced this year after the 115th Congress failed to act.  And, it looks as if the 116th will also fail to act, all because of one man:  Mitch McConnell.mcconnell-1Last week, it came to light from another senator, Roy Blunt of Missouri, that McConnell has made it quite clear that he will not allow the Senate to consider any election security bills.  Process that for a minute.  One man … one single man has the power to ensure that we will have an election, perhaps the most important election in our lifetimes, that completely lacks integrity.

His reason appears to be that any talk of the 2016 Russian interference upsets Donald Trump, and McConnell, among others, lacks the courage, the guts, to stand up to Trump and do the right thing.  How does such a wimp get elected to the Senate to begin with, let alone stay there for thirty-four years?  Mitch is 77 years of age … he’s well past his prime and is another of those old, bigoted white men that we need to purge from Congress!

This is the third time in a week that I have heard of people doing the wrong thing for the sole purpose of protecting Don Trump’s fragile ego.  Wake up, people!  Don Trump is 72 years old, not two.  If he couldn’t take the heat, he should have stayed out of the kitchen!

There is but one republican in all of Congress who I can respect, who has courage, who is not attached by puppet strings to Donald Trump, and that is Justin Amash.  But again, that is a story for another day.

I don’t know about you folks, but I am livid at the thought that an elected official, one who has been taking taxpayer money for 34 years now, would so blatantly act against the best interests of every single person in this nation in order to keep Trump happy, for everyone knows that if you make Trump angry, he will call you names.

Consider for a moment the results of the Russian interference in 2016.  We ended up with the most corrupt president the nation has ever seen.  A madman, a warmonger, a fool who acts first and thinks later, if he thinks at all.  And now, according to McConnell, we may well end up stuck with him for at least another four years, just because Mitch wishes to stay in the good graces of that same fool?  Not only that, but quite possibly the interference will filter down to congressional elections also, and it may be that he who gets the most votes … loses.

We’ve heard a lot about ‘obstruction of justice’ lately … is what McConnell is doing not also obstruction of justice?  He is, after all, keeping Congress from doing their job and denying the people of this nation, the people who pay his salary, the right to a fair and unfettered election.

Live For Today???

If there is a stack of dirty dishes in the sink and laundry piled halfway to the ceiling, will you wash the dishes and the clothes, or go sit down and read a book, hoping that the mess will go away?  If you choose the latter, then please contact me, for I have a lovely bridge for sale … cheap!  I’ll even throw in a book of fairy tales for free!

We in the U.S. have many worries these days.  We have a madman at the helm who is steering our ship toward a huge iceberg.  Our civil rights are being stripped, bigotry is on the rise, education is seriously deficient, income disparity is greater than at any other time, and the list goes on.  But, frankly, none of those things hold a candle to the seriousness of one single issue:  the environment.

Climate change is not going away on its own any more than your dishes and laundry are going to wash themselves, folks.  Just this past weekend, many areas of the Midwest have seen devastating tornadoes, including several last night a mere 20 miles north of my own home.  Remember last year’s wildfires in California, and right now, as I write this, there are two wildfires in Alberta, Canada, eating everything in their path.  Remember the hurricanes, the floods, last summer’s excessive heat?  And still, Don Trump and his minions not only fail to act, but take great pains to further the devastation.

The latest?  As if it wasn’t enough that Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords, making us the only nation on the globe not onboard to address the crisis.  It wasn’t enough that he has, by means of executive order thus bypassing democratic process, rolled back most every environmental regulation on the books.  It wasn’t enough that he has tried everything in his power to stifle the development of renewable energy sources in his support of the coal and oil industries that are wrecking our environment in multiple ways.  No, none of that was enough.  Now, he is launching a new assault on our planet, on our health, on our very lives.

In the next few months, Trump plans to officially rescind what’s left of Obama-era regulations to curb emissions from tailpipes and power plants.  But it doesn’t stop there.  U.S. Geological Survey Director James Reilly — a former petroleum geologist appointed by Trump — has ordered his office to only study the effects of climate change up to 2040.  Scientists say that would give a misleading picture because the biggest effects of current emissions will be felt after 2040. Models show that the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. From that point until the end of the century, however, the rate of warming differs significantly with an increase or decrease in carbon emissions.

And … remember the National Climate Assessment that was released last fall saying, “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities”?  Since that didn’t fit in with Trump’s policy to support the fossil fuel industry, it will not be included in the National Climate Assessment or other scientific reports produced by the government.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking of the melting of glaciers in the Arctic at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland, said this …

“The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore. Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade [that could] potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days. Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.”

Think about that one for a minute …

William-Happer

William Happer

Trump is said to be in the process of creating a scientific review panel with the intention of disputing the findings of climate scientists and discrediting the idea that climate change is a national security threat.  The man he is considering to lead the panel is named William Happer.  Let me tell you something about Mr. Happer.  He does not believe humans are responsible for climate change. In fact, he once likened CO2, the greenhouse gas most responsible for warming temperatures, to the Jewish people during the Holocaust. “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”  Say WHAT???  No, Mr. Happer, you are comparing apples to oranges.

Happer has received money from the ultra-wealthy Mercer family, one of the principal causes of which is to deny climate science. The Mercer family also supports Trump.  Are you beginning to see a pattern here?  Trump and his wealthy donors, most of whom are benefitting greatly from Trump’s rollbacks and might actually see their profits reduced if proper regulations were in place, see no further than the tip of their nose.  Their motto?  Live for today and to hell with tomorrow.  As long as they are raking in the dollars and enjoying their hedonistic lifestyles, it matters not to them whether our children and grandchildren can breathe the air or have food and water in 30-40 years.  It matters not to them if every living thing on earth is gone by the end of this century, for they will have lived their lives.  Just because we won’t be here to see it doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to future generations!

For those of us who do care about the future of this planet, consider this:

  • The U.S. is the second largest total emitter of carbon dioxide
  • The U.S. is the largest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide
  • The U.S. is the nation that is doing the least to reduce carbon emissions

CO2 emissions by nation.png

A number of states are enacting their own regulations, as are some corporations, but without consistency, without support from the federal government, it simply is not enough.  Not only is our ignorance and greed dooming our own nation, but the rest of the world as well.  There will be a price to pay … probably sooner than we think.

Sunday Snarky Snippets …

Sunday afternoon seems a perfect time to share a bit of snarkiness, don’t you think?  As usual, I didn’t have to look far to find some targets for my sharp tongue.


Don’t believe it for a minute

On Thursday, this headline appeared in The Washington Post:

Racial prejudice has declined as a reaction to Trump’s presidency, a new study suggests

Racial prejudice has not increased among white Americans since the explosive 2016 election, argues political scientist Daniel J. Hopkins. It has actually decreased by some measures, he found, possibly as a reaction to Trump’s unexpected ascension to the White House.

… Hopkins believes the study provides evidence that the racially incendiary rhetoric and policies issuing from Trump’s White House have pushed the majority of Americans in the opposite direction.

Unbelieving, my jaw dropped.  Sorry folks, but I’m not buying this one.  Look at the number of people clamoring for Trump’s horrendous border wall to keep out Mexicans and Central Americans … is that not racism?  Look at the people pushing for laws to remove protections from LGBT people … is that not homophobia?  Look at the people who denigrate Muslims … is that not Islamophobia?  And then this from the Associated Press …

Hate makes a comeback in the Pacific Northwest

White nationalism has been on the rise across the U.S., but it has particular resonance along the Idaho-Washington border, where the Aryans espoused hate and violence for years.

In 2018, at least nine hate groups operated in the region of Spokane and northern Idaho, including Identity Evropa, Proud Boys, ACT for America and America’s Promise Ministries, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Keegan Hankes, a researcher for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the number of hate groups is growing across the U.S., driven in part by a toxic political culture. The human rights group counted 784 active hate groups in the U.S. in 2014 and 1,020 in 2018. In particular, white supremacist groups are growing because of fears that the country’s racial makeup is changing.

That is an increase of 30% in just four years.  But racial prejudice is declining?  I think not.


How quickly they forget …

Remember back in November when I wrote about Cindy Hyde-Smith, the junior United States Senator from Mississippi who had said that if she were invited to a lynching, she would be “in the front row”?  It was discovered at that time that she has a history of making racist comments, and had posted this picture, captioning it with “Mississippi history at its best!” Hyde-Smith-rifle

When that news broke, a number of companies requested a refund of campaign monies they had previously donated to Ms. Hyde-Smith.

However, memories are short and this is, after all, the era of Trump, the era of white supremacy in the United States.  Hyde-Smith won her special election last November, despite her racist ways, and is now campaigning for re-election in 2020.  And the following companies are lining up to contribute to her campaign:

  • ExxonMobil ($5,000), the fossil fuel behemoth
  • National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors ($5,000), the trade association for distribution companies
  • National Chicken Council ($5,000), the trade association for the poultry industry
  • National Association of Realtors ($3,000), the trade association for real estate agents
  • American Waterways Operators ($2,500), the trade association for the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry
  • T-Mobile USA ($2,500), the telecom giant
  • Genentech ($2,500), the biotech company that makes Tamiflu and Boniva — now a subsidiary of Roche
  • Foley & Lardner ($1,000), a large legal and lobbying firm
  • General Dynamics ($1,000), the defense contractor and aerospace company
  • Resolute Forest Products US ($1,000), the American branch of a Canadian pulp and paper manufacturer

Hyde-Smith also received the legal maximum donation of $10,000 from Dirigo PAC, the leadership PAC controlled by Senator Susan Collins of Maine.  I’ll leave you to make of that what you will.


I though Japan had better sense …

Trump traveled to Japan this weekend (on our tax dollars) and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rolled out the red carpet.  Understandable, I suppose, given that Japan is currently experiencing an economic slowdown and Abe is hoping for a lucrative trade deal from Trump.  Still …

It began with a round of Trump’s favourite activity, golf.  I wonder if he cheated?  Silly me, of course he did!Trump-Abe-fatman

Trump-Abe-golf

Why am I suddenly reminded of that t.v. show, “Jake and the Fatman”?

Then there was the sumo wrestling “basho”, complete with a special new trophy, a 60-pound ‘President’s Cup’ trophy designed just for Trump to present to the tournament winner, Asanoyama.

Trump-sumo

Twins???

Trump-sumo-2

Trump-sumo-toonDinner was a lovely affair … wait!!!  We paid for Melania to go too???  I can’t afford a weekend trip to the Smokies and … Sheesh!

Trump-Abe-dinner

Presumably Trump and Abe managed to find some time to talk business, as Trump said …

“The prime minister and I talked lot today about trade and military and various other things. I think we had a very productive day.”

Your tax dollars hard at work.


On that note, I shall leave you with something to ruin your appetite so you don’t eat too much this holiday weekend …Trump-as-sumo

 

Open Letter to Members of Congress

 

26 May 2019

Dear Representative/Senator,

In the last single week, a mere seven days, Donald Trump has trampled our Constitution and made a mockery of the office of president multiple times.  Let me note just a few …

  • He has bypassed Congress in order to sell military weapons to Saudi Arabia, a nation who has been attacking Yemen for more than three years, killing more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, and pushing millions more to the brink of starvation. Both chambers of Congress voted on a bill to end U.S. military support to Saudi Arabia in April, but Trump vetoed the bill.  Now, he chooses to illegally continue sending arms to the Saudis with which they will kill more innocent people.  His rationale is to claim, falsely, that there is an ‘emergency’ with Iran.  There is not, though not for lack of trying on his part, but facts do not seem to matter.  He continues to pander to strongman Mohammad bin Salman, despite the fact that bin Salman ordered the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a fact that seems not to bother Trump in the least.

  • He has delegated to Attorney General William P. Barr the authority to access and declassify the intelligence community’s most closely held secrets as Barr investigates the investigators who tried to stop Russian penetration of the Trump campaign. Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous?  First, it is well-documented that the Russians did interfere in our 2016 election and why would we not want an investigation?  I don’t know about you, but I expect to have a fair and honest election where my vote is properly tallied, and where I have not been fed falsehoods.  We did not have a fair and honest election in 2016, and Trump is well aware of that.  Second, and perhaps most importantly, the de-classifying of national security information puts this nation at risk, and it risks blowing the cover of the men and women who have risked their lives in service to this country.  Even Donald Trump does not have that right.

  • He has threatened a private citizen, intimidating former White House counsel Don McGahn with the sole purpose of keeping him from testifying before the House Judicial Committee that is investigating already-proven cases of obstruction of justice by Trump. He is stopping Congress, a separate and equal branch of the United States government, from doing their job.

  • He has given notice that as long as the various committees in Congress are investigating his corrupt activities, he will not work with Congress on any legislation, such as infrastructure. In other words, he has stated in no uncertain terms that he will not do his job, but instead will jaunt off to Japan for a round of golf!  At our expense!

  • He has viciously attacked the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, referring to her as “crazy Nancy”, saying she is “a mess”, and falsely claiming that she does not know how to do her job (she has decades more experience than he and a significantly higher I.Q.), and he even assisted in spreading a digitally manipulated video of Ms. Pelosi that attempts to make her appear intoxicated. Is this how we expect a president to behave???  Is this the behaviour of an adult???  No, it is not!

  • He has claimed, with ZERO evidence, that a number of people including former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, President Barack Obama, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are guilty of treason, and further that they “deserve to be executed”. No evidence, only the wild imaginings of a lunatic, and he speaks of execution.  Does this not bother you?  Frankly, it sends chills up my spine.  This is the United States, not Saudi Arabia, not Russia, not Turkey!

These are only a few of Trump’s abhorrent behaviours in the past week.  The purpose of my letter is to inform you that as a citizen, a taxpayer, and a voter, I want Donald Trump removed from office by whatever means is most expedient.  This is not, or at least should not be, a partisan issue, but one of national security.  This nation has become seriously imperiled ever since he took office, but just in the past month, he has done terrible things that threaten both our national security and the very basis for our freedom, the U.S. Constitution.  If you continue to pussyfoot about him, if you continue to allow him to break the law and turn the Oval Office into a three-ring circus, I and others will do everything in our power to see that you are not re-elected when your term is up, and I will campaign vigorously to ensure that the public knows you are naught but a Trump boot-licker.

Now go, Representative/Senator, do your job … act like a human being, act like you have courage and a conscience.  Help rid this nation of the pimple that is festering on its hindside!

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison – Citizen, Taxpayer, Voter

Eric Swalwell: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 14th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. Eric Swalwell is on deck today. I know next to nothing about Mr. Swalwell, other than that he is currently serving his 4th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He seems to have the right ideas, but with 23 candidates currently in the running, I don’t see anything that stands out and says, “Pick me!” Nonetheless, I believe all the candidates should be given fair consideration, for you never know where you will find a diamond in the rough. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Swalwell!

Political⚡Charge

swalwell Rep. Eric Swalwell

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. Each of them brings their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve gathered quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in…

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