The Measure Of A Man …

In my 68 years, presidents have come, and presidents have gone.  Some have been better than others in one area or another.  None have been perfect … nor will any ever be, for it is a job in which decisions must be made without having perfect information, leading a nation of people with differing opinions in many areas.  Harry S. Truman was president when I was born, and there have been eleven since, not counting the current office-holder, whom I refuse to refer to by that title.

But never, since the founding of this nation, has there been such a corrupt, power-hungry president than we have today.  Making it worse, however, is that in the second line of defense, the U.S. Congress, we also have far too many corrupt senators and representatives. When I say ‘corrupt’, in this case, I mean selfish, greedy, putting their own best interests ahead of those of the nation and the 330 million people living within its borders.

Donald Trump is facing impeachment in the House of Representatives.  I won’t argue that there could have been many more articles of impeachment than the two that have been issued, for that was a strategic decision and I can both understand the reasoning behind it, and on the flip side, rue an opportunity missed.  A few short days ago, I would have said that every single democrat in the House of Representatives would vote their conscience and it was a sure bet that Trump would be impeached.  Today, it is somewhat less certain.

Mind you, I am still 90% certain that Trump will be impeached in the House, but it seems that some of the democrats in the House are putting their own political future ahead of what is right and just, namely impeaching a corrupt president in order to protect the democratic principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

It seems that democrats who represent districts that Trump won in 2016, fear losing their seat in next year’s election if they vote to impeach.  Some have said they will vote for only one of the two articles of impeachment, in an attempt to show their constituents that they are operating independently of the party.  Others are considering voting against both articles.

Yes, it is almost a certainty that some democrats in the House will lose their bids for re-election next year as a result of the impeachment.  But, there is a greater purpose here that must be considered.  If Donald Trump is not held accountable for his actions, his horrific behaviour toward the people of this nation, of the entire world, will continue.  If his nearly unlimited power is not checked, then not only the United States, but every nation on this planet will become a little less safe.  But there is still yet an even wider consequence.

If Donald Trump is not impeached for his actions, then what is to stop the next president, and the one after, and the one after that, from acting out of self-interest to the detriment of the nation?  We are at a crossroads in this nation where we must decide whether we wish to continue as a democratic republic, even with all its inherent flaws, or if we are willing to hand over the reins to corrupt politicians who will, no doubt, act as autocrats.

It is up to us to ask our elected officials if their intent is to make this a better nation, a team player in the bigger world, or if it is to further their own self-interests.  I have asked this of my representative, Warren Davidson, and his response was, in essence, that he will follow those things that will secure his own wealth.  I have asked it of others in the republican party, who have assumed me to be a rather stupid being, hence they attempted to convince me that their own net worth and that of the nation are one and the same.  Pity those who mistake me for an idiot only because I have wrinkles and grey hair.

Martin Luther King once said …

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

This is where this nation stands, my friends. This is the test our elected officials in Congress must either pass or fail.  The ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office has already failed the test … what will the rest do?  What will your senator or representative do?  Ask them!  Let them know your opinion!  Challenge them!  They are, after all, our employees, not Donald Trump’s!  Hold. Them. Accountable.  We may not get another chance, my friends.

Okay Folks … ‘TOON Time!!!

There are just so many awesomely apt ‘toons out there in ‘toonland these days … I am truly in awe of these guys and their talent!  Take a look …


To start, I want to pay tribute to two people who made a positive difference in this world, who died last week.  The first, Caroll Spinney, was an American puppeteer, cartoonist, author and speaker most famous for playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street from its inception in 1969 until 2018.

And the second was Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, who helped shape American economic policy for decades, notably by leading the Federal Reserve’s brute-force campaign to subdue inflation in the 1970s and ’80s.


A few days ago, Trump went on some strange, unhinged rant about toilets and plumbing, saying people were flushing their toilets 10-15 times instead of once, and so his solution to the made-up problem is to have the Environmental Protection Agency look into ‘rolling back’ water efficiency regulations as he did with energy regulations.  Needless to say, the pundits had fun with this one.


Recently, Trump’s Department of Agriculture announced phase I of a three-phase program that would ultimately take away food stamp assistance to some 3 million people.

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Naturally, impeachment is the first thing on everybody’s minds, superseding even thoughts of “oops, I forgot to buy a gift for Aunt Helen”, and “where will we put a tree this year?”, and “did you call the piano tuner?”  It is a serious process, but there are a number on the right-hand side of the congressional aisle that are doing everything in their power to turn it into a three-ring circus.


Well, folks, that’s a wrap for this time, but you know I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more!  If we don’t find a way to poke fun at our situation, we will go nuts for sure, so keep those smiles handy.

The Majority of the People Want Better Gun Governance

One of my biggest pet peeves, as most of you know, is the gun culture in this nation. Were it within my power, I would revoke the 2nd Amendment, and I’m fairly certain that the Founding Fathers would kick themselves if they could see what a misinterpretation we have made of it. Our friend Keith has written an excellent post pointing out that the majority of the people in this nation actually SUPPORT stricter gun legislation, yet … our legislators ignore us. Thank you, Keith, for this excellent, eye-opening post!

musingsofanoldfart

From an article called “Polls find Americans mostly are supportive of stricter laws on guns” by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughn of the Raleigh News and Observer, please note the following cited survey results. Note these results have been fact checked by the paper’s Fact Checking Project.

– Gallup’s poll from August, 2019 noted “61% would support a ban on semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles.”

– The Civitas Institute (a conservstive policy group) poll from September, 2019 showed “58% of respondents saying gun laws were not strict enough.” Note of the Civitas poll respondents, “48% either owned a gun or had someone in their home who owned a gun.”

– A Quinnipac University poll from May, 2019 showed “61% of Americans support stricter gun laws. The same poll showed 94% of Americans support required background checks for gun buyers. And, 77% of those polled support ‘requiring individuals to obtain a license…

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Nancy Pelosi Spoke Today-Loud and Clear

Our friend Jeff at On the Fence Voters has done it again! I wish I had his way with words. This post is an excellent summation of the events yesterday in the House of Representatives, and he reminds us why the impeachment process is not only justified, but essential to the principles of the Constitution. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Nancy Pelosi spoke today, and Donald Trump’s day of reckoning fast approaches. For only the fourth time in the history of this republic, articles of impeachment were submitted against a sitting president of the United States of America. Two articles, one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress, were released by the House Judiciary Committee. You can read them here.

In all, the document consists of only eight pages, a nod towards an increasing attention-averse population. The entire inquiry proceeded in this manner. Just short of 80 days, we’ve seen the committee do its work in swift and sweeping fashion. The Republican Party is left with no other option than to whine and complain to whoever is within shouting distance. President Trump is about to be impeached. As Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said in his press conference weeks back, “Get over it!”

There’s an…

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Human Rights Day …

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


11B-Mahatma-Ghandi

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


Eleanor-Roosevelt

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


nelson-mandela

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


Martin-Luther-King

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


desmond-tutu

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


cesar-chavez

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


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

Just A Bill … Sittin’ Here On Capital Hill

Last Saturday night, a Police Sergeant in Houston, Texas, was killed when he responded to a call of domestic abuse.  The officer was Sergeant Christopher Brewster, he was 32 years old, and now he is irrevocably dead.  Just another statistic?  There is the danger, that with more than 36,000 gun fatalities already this year, each one becomes just another statistic.

But Houston Chief of Police, Art Acevedo, has seen enough and he is angry …art-acevedo

“We all know in law enforcement that one of the biggest reasons that the Senate and Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are not … getting the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized is because the NRA doesn’t like the fact that we want to take firearms out of the hands of boyfriends who abuse their girlfriends.  And who killed our sergeant? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend.”

H.R. 1585: The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, is one of more than 250 bills that have been passed by the House of Representatives and are now languishing in what has come to be known as “Mitch McConnell’s graveyard”.  McConnell has called himself the “grim reaper” of progressive policies in the Senate.McConnell-graveyardSome of the other bills that have not seen the light of day in the Senate …

  • H.R. 1: For the People Act – aims to require states to provide an online option for voter registration and allow voters to register the same day they go to the polls. It would also require states to automatically register citizens who don’t register themselves. To protect elections from any foreign meddling, the bill mandates that states use paper ballots and that the Department of Homeland Security evaluate threats to election systems 180 days prior to an election and inform states of their conclusions. The bill includes campaign finance and ethics reform measures, including mandating presidential candidates release their tax returns.
  • H.R. 5: The Equality Act – seeks to provide comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in employment, education, federal funding, housing, public accommodations and more.
  • H.R. 6: The American Dream and Promise Act – would protect young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children — known as Dreamers — and establish a path to citizenship for more than 2 million immigrants without legal status.
  • H.R. 8: The Bipartisan Background Checks Act – seeks to expand background check requirements on private sales, including those at gun shows, on the internet or through classified ads.
  • H.R. 9: The Climate Action Now Act – would block the Trump administration from exiting the Obama-era Paris climate agreement.
  • H.R. 987: The Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act – seeks to lower prescription drug prices, bolster the Affordable Care Act and protect care for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • H.R. 1644: The Save the Internet Act – would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s party-line vote in 2017 to repeal net neutrality that prohibited broadband companies from blocking, throttling or prioritizing certain websites.

im-just-a-bill-6These and a couple hundred more bills have run into a brick wall named Mitch McConnell as they passed from the House to the Senate.  Now … as I see it, it is the job of the senators, including McConnell, to legislate.  That means, we are paying them $174,000 per year … except McConnell who, as Senate Majority Leader is being paid $193,400.  For. Doing. Nothing.

Chief Acevedo places Sergeant Brewster’s death firmly at the door of McConnell and others who are stubbornly and without purpose ignoring their duty.  I would agree, and I would also ask how many others have died because of the inaction of the Senate?  More than once, McConnell has said he will refuse to consider any legislation that does not have Trump’s support.  WTF???  Trump is not the employer of the U.S. Congress!!!  WE THE PEOPLE are their employers!

Now, we have an election coming up next year, and Mitch McConnell is up for re-election.  We can hope that the people of Kentucky have had enough by now and will vote him out.  Or …

Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution provides that “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”

Yes, I know it’s a longshot, for most of the republicans in both chambers of Congress have drunk Trump’s poisoned Kool-Aid and are too cowardly to stray from the party line.  In other words, my friends, they have set aside their oaths of office, have set aside their duty to We the People, and are intent only on pleasing the ‘man’ in the Oval Office and their big-money donors such as the NRA and fossil fuel industries.  And the ‘man’ in the Oval Office has also set aside his oath of office … well, actually he never had any intention of honouring his commitment to the people of this nation … and is about to be impeached for doing so.

Folks … our government is B-R-O-K-E-N.  We are on a rudderless ship that, as I have said before, is headed for a big iceberg (one of the few left).  How much longer are we going to put up with this?  We damn well better make some sweeping changes on November 3rd, 2020, else we WILL hit that iceberg.vote-animated

 

A New Batch Of Snarky Snippets … Grrrrr

There are a number of relatively minor things that have cropped up in the last couple of days with seemingly the sole purpose of stirring my ire.  So … you know what that means … it must be time for some snarky snippets, yes?


Let’s start with Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and some speculate next vice-presidential running mate for Trump in 2020.  As governor, I had a great deal of respect for Ms. Haley.  As ambassador, I had less, for she fell in line with Trump’s ideology, if he can be said to actually have one.  She became one of his sycophants, and I lost much of my respect for her.Nikki-Haley.jpgSo, why is she raising my hackles today?  Well … last Friday she was being interviewed in a podcast on conservative Glenn Beck’s radio program.  One segment of the podcast was about Dylan Roof who, in June 2015, opened fire in an African-American church, killing nine people.  Roof was an avowed white supremacist who had posted pictures of himself posing with the Confederate flag prior to his attack.

dylan-roof-confederate-flagMs. Haley said …

“Here is this guy who comes out with his manifesto, holding the Confederate flag and had just hijacked everything that people thought of. We don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s always the small minority who are always going to be there, but people saw it as service, sacrifice and heritage. But once he did that, there was no way to overcome it.”

Let’s call a spade a bloody shovel here.  The Confederate flag never stood for “service, sacrifice and heritage”.  It has always stood for a lifestyle that included slavery, the ownership of other human beings simply because of the colour of their skin.  Period.

Ms. Haley’s argument was that the Confederate flag was noble until Dylan Roof made it appear to represent white supremacy.  IT DOES represent white supremacy, fool!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, shot back on Twitter …

“Really, Nikki?! The Confederate Flag represented ‘service, sacrifice and heritage’? To whom? The black people who were terrorized & lynched in its name? You said it should never have been there. Roof didn’t hijack the meaning of that flag, he inherited it.”

Racism, folks … it’s alive and well in the United States of America.


Seema Verma has flown beneath my radar since she was appointed by Trump, then confirmed by the Senate in March 2017 to the position of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  This is the agency that oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and the insurance markets.Seema-verdaNow, Ms. Verma came into the job with some conflicts of interest, and had the Senate done its job, she likely would not have passed muster.  She is the founder and previous CEO of SVC Inc., a health policy consulting firm, which was acquired by Health Management Associates (HMA) just prior to Verma’s nomination to head CMS.

One of her first actions was to send a letter to the nation’s governors urging them to impose insurance premiums for Medicaid, charge Medicaid recipients for emergency room visits, and encourage recipients to get jobs or job training.  In her role as CMS administrator, Verma spent more than $2 million of taxpayer funds on Republican-connected communications consultants and other expenses to boost her visibility and public image.  She has made numerous speeches and attacks against the concept of Medicare-for-All … enough so that she is now the defendant in a lawsuit claiming she is in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials engaging in political activity.

But what placed her on my radar was a trip she took back in August.  She claims that jewelry, clothing and other possessions, including a $5,900 Ivanka Trump-brand pendant (that she owned one speaks volumes about her character, in my book) were stolen from her luggage during that business-related trip.  Okay, fine … if that were me or you, we would file a claim against the airline and maybe, if we were lucky, get reimbursed for some small portion of it.

But, Ms. Verma decided that We the Taxpayers ought to reimburse her for what she claims was the value of her ‘loss’.  To the tune of $47,000!!!  More than most of us make in a bloomin’ year!  And what sort of a numptie (been listening to my Brit friends too long) takes things of that value on a business trip anyway?  And why is it my fault or yours?  And why should we pay for her ignorance???  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Her claim included $43,065 for about two dozen pieces of jewelry, based off an appraisal she’d received from a jeweler about three weeks after the theft.  Who takes 24 pieces of jewelry on a business trip, then fails to insure them?  And the claim further included $2,000 to cover the cost of her stolen clothes, a $325 claim for moisturizer and a $349 claim for noise-cancelling headphones.  My entire wardrobe does not consist of $2,000 worth of clothing.  My moisturizer costs $4.99, and my headphones are Skullcandy, $29.99 at Best Buy!  Just one more alligator in the huge swamp that Trump built.

Not to worry, though, for the federal health department that oversees her agency decided to reimburse her for only $2,852.40 of OUR money.


owen-shroyerOwen Shroyer … ever heard of him before?  Neither had I.  He’s a host on Alex Jones’ Infowars program, which I thought had long since met its timely demise since being banned from Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  Apparently, they still exist somewhere on the fringes.

It would seem that there is no screening process for entrance to the impeachment proceedings, for Mr. Shroyer managed to get in yesterday.  Moments after Representative Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, opened the hearing, Shroyer rose from his seat in the packed hearing room and shouted …

“Jerry Nadler and the Democrat Party are committing treason against this country! Trump is innocent!”

owen-shroyer-2Police quickly removed him from the room, during which time he was livestreaming to his personal Twitter account and yelling at the top of his lungs …

“So I’m being arrested right now for disrupting Congress. I’m a criminal for my First Amendment rights.”

Is there any doubt in anybody’s mind that Alex Jones was behind this, that it was naught more than a publicity stunt?  At what cost?

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Shroyer actually called for President Barack Obama to be lynched just this past June …

“Barack Obama is a treasonous…he belongs in jail. He belongs in Guantanamo Bay. I mean look, I’m not saying this should happen but Barack Obama, you know, find the tallest tree and a rope.”

All my life I have been a proponent for 1st Amendment rights to free speech, but in the past year, maybe two, I have begun to re-think it.  It has been abused so much, by so many unsavouries such as Mr. Shroyer, Mr. Jones, Mr. Carlson and a few thousand others, that I’m coming to believe there must be limits.  As our friend Roger said to me the other evening, “Free speech is not a right; it is something which has to be earned.” I’m not so sure the people of this nation have earned it. Rather a damn shame for the rest of us who use our rights responsibly, don’t you think?


I had one more, but … I shall stop here and give you a chance to breathe.  Make America great again, says Mr. Trump?  I think not … I think he has placed the United States in the worst light it has been in in all of its 232 years.

The Scope Of Impeachment

The big question about Trump’s impeachment is whether the scope should be narrow or broad.  Initially, Nancy Pelosi seemed determined to keep the focus on Trump’s attempts to bribe/blackmail Ukrainian President Zelenskyy for personal gain.  That, in and of itself, is enough for impeachment, but there is so much more … should the House expand the horizon and include Trump’s other violations of his oath of office?  There are mixed feelings about it among the experts and journalists.  Today, I would like to share New York Times columnist David Leonhardt’s view, for it is one with which I largely agree.

The Eight Counts of Impeachment That Trump Deserves

The lessons from Nixon and Clinton.

david-leonhardtBy David Leonhardt

Opinion Columnist

During Watergate, the House Judiciary Committee considered five articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon — and voted down two of them. During the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the House voted on four articles — and rejected two.

That history serves as a reminder that impeachment is not a neat process. It’s a chance for Congress and voters to hear the evidence against a president and decide which rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

My own instincts have leaned toward a targeted, easily understandable case against President Trump, focused on Ukraine. And that may still be the right call. But the House shouldn’t default to it without considering a larger airing of Trump’s crimes against the Constitution. A longer process, with more attention on his misdeeds, seems unlikely to help Trump’s approval rating.

So last week I posed a question to legal experts: If the House were going to forget about political tactics and impeach Trump strictly on the merits, how many articles of impeachment would there be?

I think the answer is eight — eight thematic areas, most of which include more than one violation.

In making the list, I erred on the side of conservatism. I excluded gray areas from the Mueller report, like the Trump campaign’s flirtation with Russian operatives. I also excluded all areas of policy, even the forcible separation of children from their parents, and odious personal behavior, like Trump’s racism, that doesn’t violate the Constitution.

Yet the list is still extensive, which underscores Trump’s thorough unfitness for the presidency. He rejects the basic ideals of American government, and he is damaging the national interest, at home and abroad. Here’s the list:

  1. Obstruction of justice.

Both the Nixon and Clinton articles included the phrase “prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice,” and Trump’s impeachment should start with his pattern of obstructing investigations.

He has admitted that he fired the F.B.I. director to influence the investigation of his own campaign. He has harassed Justice Department officials who are Russia experts, including Andrew McCabe and Bruce Ohr. Trump also directed his White House counsel to lie about their conversations over whether to fire Robert Mueller. Most recently, the White House tried to hide evidence about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president, by improperly classifying material about it.

  1. Contempt of Congress.

Another article of impeachment against Nixon said that he had “failed without lawful cause” to cooperate with a congressional investigation. Trump has gone much further than Nixon, outright refusing to participate in the constitutionally prescribed impeachment process. As a result, the country still doesn’t know the full truth of the Ukraine scandal.

  1. Abuse of power.

The House will almost certainly adopt a version of this article, impeaching Trump for turning American foreign policy into a grubby opposition-research division of his campaign.

The most haunting part is that if a courageous whistle-blower hadn’t come forward, Trump most likely would have gotten away with it. He would have pressured the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of the Bidens, and we in the media would have played along, producing the headlines that Trump wanted to see.

  1. Impairing the administration of justice.

That phrase appears in the second impeachment article against Nixon, which detailed his efforts to use the I.R.S., F.B.I. and others to hound his opponents. It’s a version of abuse of power — but distinct from the previous item because it involves using the direct investigatory powers of the federal government.

Trump has repeatedly called for investigations against his political opponents, both in public and in private with aides. For example, as the Mueller report documented, he pressured Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, to investigate Hillary Clinton: “You’d be a hero,” Trump said. This behavior has violated the constitutional rights of American citizens and undermined the credibility of the judicial system.

  1. Acceptance of emoluments.

The Constitution forbids the president from profiting off the office by accepting “emoluments.” Yet Trump continues to own his hotels, allowing politicians, lobbyists and foreigners to enrich him and curry favor with him by staying there. On Sunday, William Barr, the attorney general, personally paid for a 200-person holiday party at Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington.

The Democratic-controlled House has done an especially poor job of calling attention to this corruption. It hasn’t even conducted good oversight hearings — a failure that, as Bob Bauer, an N.Y.U. law professor and former White House counsel, told me, “is just astonishing.”

  1. Corruption of elections.

Very few campaign-finance violations are impeachable. But $280,000 in undisclosed hush-money payments during a campaign’s final weeks isn’t a normal campaign-finance violation. The 2016 election was close enough — decided by fewer than 80,000 votes across three swing states — that the silence those payments bought may well have flipped the outcome.

  1. Abuse of pardons.

The president has wide latitude to issue pardons. But Trump has done something different: He has encouraged people to break the law (or impede investigations) with a promise of future pardons.

And he didn’t do it only during the Russia investigation. He also reportedly told federal officials to ignore the law and seize private land for his border wall, waving away their worries with pardon promises.

  1. Conduct grossly incompatible with the presidency.

This is the broadest item on the list, and I understand if some people are more comfortable with the narrower ones. But the “grossly incompatible” phrase comes from a 1974 House Judiciary Committee report justifying impeachment. It also captures Trump’s subversion of the presidency.

He lies constantly, eroding the credibility of the office. He tries to undermine any independent information that he does not like, which weakens our system of checks and balances. He once went so far as to say that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence — a claim that damages the credibility of every criminal investigation.

You may have forgotten about that particular violation of his oath of office, because Trump commits so many of them. Which is all the more reason to make an effort to hold him accountable.

You Can Do WHAT Online???

A couple of weeks ago, November 20th to be exact, I received an email from a group called Concealed Online.  The email read …

“It was penned like this in December 1791…’A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’

Today, almost 228 years later, The World Has Changed… I am writing to urge you to GET YOUR CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT!

This week we celebrate our nations birthday… 243 years old (using the average human lifespan that’s just over 3 lifespans ago).

In that short period of time we have fought in 5 major wars, elected 45 presidents, and have passedover 20,000 laws…

Unfortunately, many of those laws have moved us further and further from freedom all in the name of order and protection. The truth is protection starts at home and our forefathers knew it… they knew this day of BIG GOVERNMENT would sneak up on us all…

This is why I encourage you fellow patriots exercise your right to bear arms HERE AND NOW!

I just wanted to encourage you that you should Get Your Concealed Carry Permit while it is still legal and easy… California Democrats has already made it nearly impossible to get one there and the Liberals are slowly advancing their agenda in Congress.

This site helps people get their CCW Permit through online certification… They are truly patriots, they are available by phone as well if you just want more information.

There may not be an option for you to legally carry next year. Tomorrow may be too late. Get your permit while its still legal to do so.”

And then they provided a link where I could “Start the online process”.  It wasn’t the first such email I had received, but it was the first one I decided to take note of … for I was curious … is it really so simple for a person to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon as simply logging onto a website?  And so, I did a bit of digging.

When I followed the link, their website begins with an introduction that said all I had to do to obtain a Virginia (note that I don’t live in Virginia, but Virginia has a reciprocal agreement with 28 other states) concealed carry license was to watch a short video, answer 12 multiple choice questions, fill out an application, send them $65 and PRESTO!  I could go around with a gun stuck in my waistband, pocket, or maybe even a holster under my shirt.  Wow, huh?

No, I didn’t watch the video or take the 12-question test, for the simple reason that I don’t want to be on these people’s radar.  I don’t know how they got my email address, but I have no intention of giving them a reason to keep bothering me with such emails.  But, I did do some digging and found that in last year’s election cycle, this organization spent mega bucks … some $2 million … advertising on Facebook.

Its ads warned about the “blue wave.” “MOB RULE IS COMING!” read one series of ads before the midterm elections.  And after: “IT’S ALMOST OVER! The Gun Control Dems are IN.”ConcealedCarryAd-01Concealed Online launched in 2016, three years after Virginia started allowing people to take online courses to qualify for concealed carry permits. Those permits are recognized in states across the country, and even nonresidents of Virginia are eligible. The company’s owner saw a business opportunity in that. So, he developed an online training course, where people can watch a video on gun safety, take a test, and instantly download a certificate of competency with a handgun for a fee. You can take the test as many times as you need, making it nearly impossible to fail.

A writer for WIRED, Issie Lapowsky, says she took the test and intentionally answered a few questions wrong, and still passed – though she had not even watched the ‘safety’ video!

The Better Business Bureau gives Concealed Online an F rating, in part because it has received 25 complaints—primarily from people who paid for the certificate only to find out that Virginia’s permits aren’t recognized in their state.  The company’s owner says Concealed Online sells certificates to people living in states like California and Colorado, which don’t accept Virginia permits, because they can use them when they travel to states that do.

Think about that one, folks.  John Doe can decide to go on a shooting spree and get permission to carry a concealed gun in 28 states within a matter of minutes, and for only $65.  Is it any wonder that the U.S. has the highest rate of deaths by gun in the world?  Is it any wonder that as of November 19th, there have been 45 school shootings in the U.S.?  Is it any wonder that as of October 31st there had been 370 mass shootings, killing 441 people and injuring another 1,466?  And is it any wonder that as of today, December 8th, there have been 36,734 gun deaths in the U.S. this year – 14,162 murder/homicides, and 22,572 suicides.  And those so-called “prolife” people worry about abortion???

Oh, and by the way … you can also buy a gun online.buy-guns-online

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Today’s Toons To …

I seem to have that mind bounce thing again, and am unable to focus on any one thing for more than 93 seconds, just over a minute-and-a-half, or even finish a thought.  So … what better time for some ‘toons, eh?  Perhaps a chuckle or two will clear out the cobwebs in my head!


Earlier this week, a law scholar mentioned Melania’s son’s name: Barron.  He did not do any harm, did not criticize or say anything about the child.  His statement was simply that Trump can name his son Barron, but he cannot make him a Baron.  In other words, there is no royalty in the U.S., and Trump is not a monarch.  But, Melania took umbrage.Barron


The economy … it’s the only thing, really, that Trump has going for him, and frankly he had little or nothing to do with it, and in fact his widespread tariffs are taking a toll already.  But, the fact that he touts a low unemployment rate … well, there’s another side to it all.economy-1


But of course, the main topic of the day is the impeachment process that is taking place in Congress, and the republicans’ attempt to denigrate the process and turn it into a carnival atmosphere.  Frankly, I’m surprised they don’t have a popcorn vendor outside the door.

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Have a great weekend!  Hopefully my bouncing mind will settle soon!