Snarky Snippets, Volume _____?

I’ve got just a couple of small snippets to start out your Sunday …


Many things have been put on hold during this time of pandemic crisis.  Though I may disagree with the way in which they were done (no thinking or planning involved), I can’t argue against the need for these measures such as the shuttering of restaurants and pubs, people working from home or in some cases being laid off from their jobs, the closing of schools.  But, the one thing that should never ever have been put on hold are environmental regulations – the few we have left, that is.  There is no logical justification and it will only lead to further decimation of our environment.

From an article in Friday’s issue of The Guardian

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suspended its enforcement of environmental laws during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, signaling to companies they will not face any sanction for polluting the air or water of Americans.

In an extraordinary move that has stunned former EPA officials, the Trump administration said it will not expect compliance with the routine monitoring and reporting of pollution and won’t pursue penalties for breaking these rules.

[…]

There is no end date set for this dropping of enforcement.

Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA, said that coronavirus had made it difficult for businesses to protect workers and the public while adhering to clean air and water rules.

According to an article in Reuter’s, this was triggered by a letter sent to Trump by the American Petroleum Institute, using the current pandemic crisis as an excuse to be relieved of regulatory requirements for the foreseeable future.  Here’s the kicker, though … they claim to need to be free of all regulation “in order to ensure steady fuel supplies”.  But … there is currently a market glut because … nobody is going anywhere, a large portion of businesses are shuttered, and therefore we don’t need anywhere near the amount of fuel we needed just a month ago!  Additionally, it is that time of year when households are using neither heat nor air-conditioning in any large quantity.  They could cut the supply in half and still have a surplus!  There is absolutely no justifiable reason that they need relief from environmental regulations, but all they had to do is ask Trump, and Presto Bingo … they got their wish.

Would someone please explain to me just exactly how in hell the coronavirus makes it difficult for businesses to follow the few provisions that remain in the Clean Water and Air Acts???  NO, this is just a sorry excuse by Trump and his cronies, his partners in crime, to further pander to their friends in the fossil fuel and other industries.  The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts have been in effect since 1963 and 1972 respectively and cannot simply be dissed because Trump and/or Wheeler say so!  THIS IS UNCONSCIONABLE!

I am not alone in my fury.  Says Cynthia Giles, who was head of EPA enforcement during the Obama administration …

“EPA should never relinquish its right and its obligation to act immediately and decisively when there is threat to public health, no matter what the reason is. I am not aware of any instance when EPA ever relinquished this fundamental authority as it does in this memo. This memo amounts to a nationwide moratorium on enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and is an abdication of EPA’s responsibility to protect the public.”

The sooner we become fully reliant on renewable energy sources and are able to tell the oil companies where to put their oil, the happier and healthier we will all be!  It is simply unconscionable that they are attempting to profit from this crisis!


You know those $1,200 checks that are going out to anybody who filed a tax return in 2018?  Well, it is reported that Donald Trump is insisting his signature be the one on the checks.  What an ego trip!  No, wait, this goes well beyond ego … this is the sign of a truly evil megalomaniac.  Fortunately, I will not have to see a check from him, for a) I was not required to file a tax return in 2018, and b) my daughter’s will be direct-deposited into her account, so I won’t have to face the temptation of wanting to rip that check into a thousand pieces.

My recommendation to those of you who can is if you receive a check with Trump’s signature, transfer it to a charity of your choice, such as a local food pantry or homeless shelter, local hospice or whatever suits your fancy.


Remember that a couple of days ago I mentioned the Trump re-election campaign had issued a “cease and desist” order to networks who were running an ad by a PAC called Priorities USA?  Well, at the time, I couldn’t find an embeddable copy of the ad, but I have one now.  Take a look …


And, for just a bit of humour, J.L. Cauvin of New Jersey is a comedian/satirist and he has done a video that … well, you must see if for yourself!  If you close your eyes, you’d swear it was trumpie.


Alright, friends, that’s all I’ve got for now … be back this afternoon!

About That ‘Stimulus Bill’ …

Let me just start by saying one thing:  No, Donald Trump, you have not done a great job.  Thanks to your bungling and mismanagement, the U.S. is quite possibly in the worst shape it has ever been in.  Thanks.  It speaks volumes that a number of television networks are editing or refusing to air Trump’s daily bragging sessions, otherwise known as ‘updates’ or ‘press briefings’ because they say he is providing too much misinformation.

Yesterday, the House passed and Trump signed the “Coronavirus Aid Package”, aka bailout bill, aka emergency stimulus package.  The U.S. government doesn’t actually … have … $2 trillion … to spend, being $23 trillion in debt (this works out to approximately $69,696,969.69 worth of debt for every man, woman and child in the U.S.), but Donald Trump has always used other people’s money to do what he wants, so that’s nothing new.  But, let’s take a look at that ‘stimulus package’ and what’s actually in it:stimulus-pkgYou’ll notice that big corporations are getting almost as much as individuals.  Funny that, for the CEOs of the big corporations have plenty of money … in fact, they should be giving us money instead of the other way around.  And you’ll also notice that education was just an afterthought.  Close all the schools with no advance planning, no guidance or direction, and then throw them a biscuit.

But the thing I want to talk about today is that $339.8 billion for state and local governments.  Or rather, the strings attached to that money.

  • Trump demanded that governors show deference to the administration during the coronavirus crisis, saying, “I want them to be appreciative. I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job.”

  • Trump has sparred with a handful of Democratic governors who are asking for aid and medical equipment to help combat their coronavirus outbreaks, most notably Jay Inslee of Washington and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. On Friday, he called Whitmer “the woman from Michigan” and said “she has no idea what’s going on.”

  • Trump implied that he believed Vice President Mike Pence shouldn’t call them if they did not show the proper appreciation. “You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said.

I ask you, friends, is this the sort of person you really want leading the nation in a crisis (or at any other time, for that matter)?  It isn’t Trump’s money … it is our money!

I remember a time when my children were little, and my son wanted something at the store that I couldn’t afford.  I explained to him that I did not have enough money to buy it for him, and he responded, “But mommy … you gots a checkbook!”  He was probably 3 or 4 at the time, so it was understandable that he did not understand the concept of banking and money.  Donald Trump is 73 years of age and doesn’t it just seem like he should have figured this all out by now?

Another aspect of this ‘stimulus bill’ is that democrats insisted on a newly appointed Inspector General who would provide oversight in the disbursement of funds, especially the loans to businesses.  The democrats intent was to ensure that Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could not abuse the bailout fund. They feared that Mr. Trump, who has previously stonewalled congressional oversight, would do the same when it came to the corporate aid program.

Now, however, Trump is claiming that he can and will ignore the oversight provision.  Two hours after signing the bill, Trump issued a statement saying that as president, he can gag the special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., and keep information from Congress.

“I do not understand, and my administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the S.I.G.P.R. to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required.”

Checks and balances???  Congressional oversight???  Not for Donald Trump.  This, folks, is the behaviour of a dictator.  This is a Putin or an Erdoğan.  This is not in any way, shape or form, in accordance with the foundation of law in the United States, the Constitution.

In light of his authoritarian ways, his unconscionable lust for power, and his complete disregard for the laws of the land, it is more imperative today than ever before that this ‘man’ be removed from office.  It is more crucial than ever that we have a fair and honest election on November 3rd no matter what.

Discord & Dissension – Part XI -The Climate

The single most important issue in the 2020 election (apart from unseating Trump, of course) is climate change. We have stepped back 20 years in the last three years under Trump, and quite frankly, time is running out. The earth’s resources are finite and we are using them at an alarming rate. For this, Part XI of our series Discord & Dissension, Jeff discusses where we are, where we need to go, how we can get there, and what happens if we don’t.

On The Fence Voters

While the Republican and Democratic Parties disagree on most things these days, nothing epitomizes the significant divide more than does climate change. And it’s not just those who sit in Congress either. According to a recent Pew Research poll conducted in February of this year, among Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party, 78% said climate change should be a top priority.

However, among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, only 21% felt the same way. To put that in even more stark terms, Democrats view climate as a top priority by nearly three times that of Republicans.

And, it gets even worse when registered voters were asked whether climate change is a problem for the country today. 77% of Democrats/lean Democrat said yes, it was a huge problem, and 17% said it was a moderately big problem—a net of 94%. On the flip side, Republicans/lean Republican answered 13/27% for…

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Filosofa Is Angry …

Anger can be a good thing, when it motivates and inspires you to do something to change events or circumstances.  If, that is, that which makes you angry is something over which you have at least a modicum of control or influence.  But, when you must simply sit and watch the idiocy around you, anger becomes self-destructive and leads to depression.  I took a break from blogging yesterday, except for my music post, because everything I tried to write was beyond a snarky snippet, was even beyond a rant, but sounded like the ravings of a madman with more expletives than a trucker would use! rantI’m still angry, but I have, hopefully, corralled the worst of it.  Crises bring out the best in some people, the worst in others.  What we see every time we log onto any of the news media are the examples of the very worst of the human species.  And, of course, our own government is making a muckety mess of it all, doing everything exactly wrong, and … we have no control.  It is frustrating, at best, and I won’t say what it is at worst.  So … prepare for a bit of a rant … “Ranty Snippets”?


The bitch …

Gerrity’s Supermarket is a small family-owned chain in northeastern Pennsylvania. Like grocers nationwide, it has been deluged with orders and has struggled to keep basics such as chicken breasts and toilet paper on the shelves. Employees have been working overtime, pausing only for five-second breaks to wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes.

Two days ago, on Wednesday afternoon, a woman entered the store, proceeded to the produce section where she intentionally coughed all over every bit of the produce in the store!!!  ON PURPOSE!!!  Two weeks I tried to buy a damn green pepper and this woman, in a single malicious act, destroyed some $35,000 worth of food … food that we have been struggling to buy!

The store’s co-owner Joe Fasula said that they had no choice but to toss every bit of the produce.

GerritysIt didn’t take long for employees to realize what the woman was doing, and they quickly escorted her out of the store and called police.  Turns out, the woman is known to the local police for having caused problems in the community before.  WHY, in these times of so much grief and trouble, would anybody be so cruel???  But, this isn’t an isolated incident.

  • A New Jersey man was charged with harassment and making terroristic threats after purposely coughing on a Wegmans grocery store employee and saying he had coronavirus.
  • A Carlisle, Pennsylvania man is facing multiple charges after deliberately coughing near an elderly citizen wearing a medical face mask.

There have been hundreds of such reports.  The Carlisle man was 57 years old, and the New Jersey man was 50 … not some teenagers pulling a prank that they thought funny, but full-blown adults!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


First Amendment is still alive, yes?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

I understand that for three long years and two long months, Donald Trump has been trampling the U.S. Constitution.  However … we will not allow him to completely remove, destroy, reverse, or otherwise restrict our 1st Amendment rights!!!

The latest …

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign sent cease-and-desist letters to local television stations on Wednesday, threatening them with legal action and potentially their broadcast licenses if they continue to air an ad from a Democratic group, Priorities USA.  The ad plays audio of Trump downplaying the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic over a chart of the mounting number of cases in the U.S. — now at more than 85,000 — but the Trump campaign objected only to one clip, of Trump saying “this is their new hoax.”

That quote comes from a Feb. 28 rally at which Trump repeatedly called his handling of the epidemic “one of the great jobs” and compared the Democrats “politicizing” of the coronavirus to the Russia investigation and Ukraine scandal.  HE SAID IT!  There’s no denying that it is a fact, it is the truth, it is on tape for all to hear!  The president’s re-election campaign does not have the right to stifle free speech or free press!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


The loons are coming out of the woodwork! 

Rick Wiles is an American far-right conspiracy theorist and non-denominational senior pastor at Flowing Streams Church in Vero Beach, Florida.  Mr. Wiles claims that God is spreading the coronavirus in synagogues because he is “dealing with those who oppose his son, Jesus Christ.” And here is where those epithets really, really want to come out, but I am biting my tongue in the interest of professionalism and of not stepping on any toes.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

While schools and college campuses around the country remain closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Liberty University is set to allow the return this week of up to 5,000 students. The plan was announced by the private evangelical university’s scandal–plagued president, Jerry Falwell Jr., an ally of President Trump.  Falwell’s ‘University’ is located in Virginia, a state that recently closed all schools for the rest of the school year.  Members of the community are not happy with Mr. Falwell, but he claims their concerns are ‘overblown’.  Nevertheless, the campus is said to resemble a ‘ghost town’.


Say WHAT???

On a final note, before I throw my laptop at the nearest wall, as of midnight tonight, Trump’s overall approval rating has reached an all-time high of 45.3%.  His previous high was reached on February 18th at 44.9%. 538 pollWould somebody PLEASE tell me what this jackass has done that people are approving of???  Since we first heard of the coronavirus back in January, Donald Trump has risked our lives every single bloody damn day by taking every single wrong turn he could take!!!  WHAT THE HELL are people approving of???  Oh … is it that whopping $1,200 check?  Well friends, guess what?  You will pay that back in spades.  Oh yeah … YOU the taxpayer will pay it back.  The United States does not have $2 trillion … it is effectively bankrupt.  It is borrowing that money and the day of reckoning will come.  Remember, the wealthy and corporations don’t pay their fair share in taxes, so you, the average taxpayer, will pay that $1,200 back with interestGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


And now, my heart rate has once again traveled into that danger zone, so I shall stop for tonight.  Hope you are all well and safe, my friends.  Stay tuned this afternoon for Part XI of mine and Jeff’s project, Discord & Dissension.

The 1st Amendment vs Donnie Trump

Imagine, if you will, President Barack Obama, ready to give a press conference, telling his aides that only people who agree with him completely are to be allowed in.  Or, better yet … imagine George W. Bush giving a televised address to the nation after 9/11, but insisting that media companies black out his address to all democratic households.  Fantasy, right?  Silly at best.  And yet, that is exactly what Trump has tried to do.  His preferred venue for communicating his … er, um … thoughts … is Twitter.  I honestly think he must spend 4-5 hours per day tweeting from his throne (bet there’s no shortage of toilet paper there!) 

In 2017, within months of taking the Oath of Office (remember that oath, Donnie?) Trump began blocking Twitter users who dared to disagree with him.  Seven of those users felt that if that is the only means by which he is going to communicate, then We the People must be able to question and yes, even disagree with or criticize him.  And so, those seven convinced the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University to file a lawsuit on their behalf.  Well, the wheels of justice turn pretty darn slowly sometimes, and the case was first heard by Judge Naomi Buchwald in May 2018.  Her 75-page ruling, in a nutshell, said that,  “No government official — including the President — is above the law.”  Hmmmm … perhaps Attorney General William Barr could learn something from her.

Well, Trump and his cadre of lawyers, naturally, appealed the case and in July 2019, a New York-based appeals court upheld Judge Buchwald’s ruling, saying that public officials who take to social media for official government business are prohibited from excluding people “from an otherwise open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”

Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit …

“In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

Justice Department lawyers defending Trump said in court that @realDonaldTrump is a personal account on a privately owned digital platform and that Trump may block followers he “does not wish to hear.”  Sounds rather like censorship to me.

And … sigh … of course the lawyers picked up their briefcases and headed back to court to file yet another appeal.  Yesterday, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit denied the Trump administration’s request to revisit the July 2019 ruling.  Of the nine judges who considered the Trump administration’s request, only two said they would have revisited the earlier decision.  The two are both Trump appointees, Judge Michael H. Park and Judge Richard J. Sullivan.  Judge Park wrote in his dissenting opinion …

“The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.”

Sea ditz.

The last sentence of the article I read … “The Justice Department is reviewing the ruling, a spokeswoman said.”  Translate that as … Trump’s legal eagles will file yet another appeal to a higher court — United States Supreme Court.  Remember something, folks … you and I are paying for all the time these lawyers are wasting, we are paying the judges salary and all their clerks who must review and type their 75-page rulings, we are paying for both legal teams … we are paying through the nose for Trump to have his hand slapped time and time and time again.  And, what happens when the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court?  Well, let’s see … there are the two Justices he leads around using the rings in their noses – that would be Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.  Then there is  Chief Justice John Roberts who, ever since a few private tête-à-têtes in the Oval Office, has been just as much a Trump boot-licker as Kellyanne Conway.  So, I give you three guesses.

Now, Filosofa, though no legal scholar, is going to weigh in on this one just for a minute.  In the first ruling on this case, Judge Buchwald said that no one, not even the president, is above the law.  And yet, Attorney General William Barr has said that as long as Trump’s fat arse is sitting in the Oval Office, he is above the law.  My best guess is that this will be the argument the high-paid DOJ lawyers will use at the Supreme Court level, and because Bill Barr said it’s so, then … gasp … of course it must be so.

But back to the starting point.  Trump’s attorneys argue that @realDonaldTrump is a private account.  However, I would argue that by default it has become a government account, since Trump conducts nearly all communication with his portion of the public, his 62 million Twitter followers, via Twitter using that account.  The 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives We the People the absolute right to speak out against our government officials.  If I attend a speech in another venue, I certainly can express my own opinion, so … why not on Twitter.

If the case goes to the Supreme Court and if the Court rules in Trump’s favour, We the People must engage in a very forceful protest.  Coronavirus be damned … this is the future of all Americans that is at stake here, for centuries to come.  We simply cannot let him continue chipping away at our Constitutional rights, my friends … it’s really all that remains between us and a full-blown dictatorship.

On Dead Flowers, Fools, and More

I woke this morning to another dark, dreary, rainy day, as they have all been for the past two weeks.  At least my hallway wasn’t flooded by rain being blown under the door, as it was Saturday.  Our neighborhood looks ugly right now … in fact, I woke thinking the whole world looks ugly, so I opened the front door, hoping to brighten my outlook by seeing my 20 or so crocuses that bloomed last week … only to find them … dead. Must have been the torrential downpours and sub-freezing temperatures over the weekend.  And thus starts another week …

dead-flower


They walk among us …

Last night, in a really rotten mood to begin with, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook …

rob nealeigh

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, my fingers hit the keyboard in response.  I thought about it for just about a half-second before hitting ‘send’, and then thought no more about it.  Needless to say, when I logged onto Facebook this morning, I received a pop-up saying that Rob Nealeigh is no longer my friend.  I really didn’t mind, for he is the son of a man I used to work with, and while I greatly respect his father, I don’t know the son very well.  But I am still scratching my head …

“More open and offers itself to the press more than ever before”???  Does it, then, not matter that everything that is said to the press is 95% certain to be a lie? As long as they say something, it matters not whether we can believe it? Transparency???  It will take a decade after Trump leaves office to find all the things they have done that we knew nothing about, all the lies that have hidden reality, all the monies that have been siphoned from the public coffers.  And there’s that meaningless phrase again: “Trump tells it like it is”NO NO NO … Trump lies!  He lies even when there is no reason to lie!  If you asked him the colour of his tie, he would say it is blue when it was really red, just because he is a pathological liar.  Lying and transparency are two entirely different things!

One time, back before the 2016 election, I asked another friend to be more specific when she said, “Trump tells it like it is”.  What, exactly, do you mean by that … what has he said that was “telling it like it is.”  She told me I was just another ‘libtard’ and by the next morning she, too, had unfriended me on Facebook.  There is no answer to that question … it’s a buzz-phrase they’ve been taught to say, and they have no idea what they’re even talking about, yet we are ignorant for trying to pin them down.

And “… they continue to win for the American people”???  What the Sam Hell have they ‘won’???  We are no longer trusted by our allies, we have become the most racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, homophobic nation in the western world, and we are more internally divided than at any time since 1865.  Funny, but if this is winning, I think I’d rather be a loser!

I think I’d like to propose that all who are so blindly enamoured of Trump be made to wear their maga hats when out in public so that we know to stay away from them.  Else we can imprint a Trump tattoo on their foreheads … anything that identifies them, for these are dangerous people!  Yet further proof that our education system is failing miserably.


The headline on the BBC website reads

Trump to Deploy National Guard to Fight Virus

Seriously???  The National Guard can fight and kill the coronavirus?  Hmmmm 🤔.  Somehow, I don’t think so.  I think what is meant is that Trump plans to use the National Guard against us!  We are told that …

“Troops will be used in New York, California and Washington to deliver medical aid and set up medical stations …”

But, do we believe a word Trump says?  No, sadly we cannot.  I think it is only a matter of time before he declares martial law, at least in some areas.  It is a sad state of affairs that we cannot trust our own government, the very people we elected and whose salaries we pay, but … they are not working in our best interest.  Trust?  Nope … not a crumb.  The one thing, the most important thing right now, is that we must guard and protect our November 3rd election.  I sense it is in grave danger.


And about that bill in Congress …

Even in times of crisis, the United States Senate led by the ignoble Mitch McConnell, cannot get their act together and work in a bi-partisan manner.  The Democrats want the emergency stimulus bill, which is worth almost $1.4 trillion, to include more money for state and local governments and hospitals, while Trump’s Republicans are pushing for quick action to reassure financial markets.

Let’s call a spade a spade.  Trump and the Senate Republicans want the bill to shore up: a) the fossil fuel industry; b) the hotel industry; c) the airline industry; and d) the casino industry.  None of which helps We the People in the least.  Cooks, dishwashers, servers, clerks, cashiers, bartenders … hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of them are now without a paycheck.  They can apply for unemployment, but it takes time and will only be between 50% – 67% of their income.  Still, the rent comes due, the electric bill must be paid, groceries must be bought, and the children will outgrow their shoes.

This bill should be … nay, must be … about helping the people … the average people, not the wealthy CEOs who will fare just fine without help — they won’t miss a meal and I guarantee they can pay their mortgage … and even find toilet paper to buy.  It is interesting to note that the bill failed to pass the Senate on Sunday, getting 47 votes and thus falling short of the 60 needed in the 100-member chamber. So, apparently at least 4 republican senators voted against it.  Hmmmm … veddy interesting.


And I end with more macabre humour, the only kind there is these days …toon

Sneaky

This, my friends, is how democracies die …

“The Justice Department has quietly [emphasis added] asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States.

Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted.

[…]

The move has tapped into a broader fear among civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics — that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. Already, he has cited the pandemic as a reason for heightening border restrictions and restricting asylum claims. He has also pushed for further tax cuts as the economy withers, arguing that it would soften the financial blow to Americans. And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak.

The DOJ requests — which are unlikely to make it through a Democratic-led House — span several stages of the legal process, from initial arrest to how cases are processed and investigated.”

You can read the rest of the article here, but let’s talk a bit about what this could mean.

This could mean, if somehow either Congress passed it, or failing that, Trump took his ‘executive power’ to an unprecedented level, that you might be arrested for any or no reason.  Say your state is under a mandated “lock down” (something that is outside of the law to begin with), and you are out for a walk in your neighborhood.  A police car is patrolling the area, sees you, stops and the officer arrests you simply for being outside.  He couldn’t do that under normal circumstances, and if he did, you would be able to appear before a magistrate, explain the situation, and almost certainly be released immediately.  But, if this suspension of constitutional rights were to fly, you could be arrested, tossed in jail, and not go before a judge “until this crisis is over” … possibly months or even as long as a year.

That scenario is frightening enough, but let’s project a bit.  If allowed to suspend constitutional rights, what other areas of our civil liberties might be affected?  The one that worries me the most is the 1st Amendment, our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  Already, our right to peaceful protest has been suspended by default with the ruling that no more than ten people are allowed to gather in one place.  What next?  Could it become unlawful to … say, speak against our government, to call Trump out on his lies and ignorance?

I don’t know where this will go, and I hope that the Democratic-majority House of Representatives will put a stop to such nonsense, but I do not have a crumb of trust in our government at this time – not Donald Trump, not William Barr and his Department of ‘Justice’, not the Republican-led Senate under Mitch McConnell.  I don’t trust our law enforcement agencies, nor our Departments of Labour, Education, Health and Human Services … none of them.  They are led by people who do not care about the people of this nation but will do almost anything to enhance their own profits and power.  Just something to think about.  Let’s keep our eye on the ball and hope our free press does the same.


And just one little snippet that I found humorous in a macabre sort of way …

“In Rhode Island, among businesses cited for ignoring social-distance warnings was Wonderland, a strip club, where customers were still receiving lap dances last weekend.”

Gotta get your priorities straight, y’know!

Beyond the Pale Snarky Snippets

Today’s fare is a bit beyond Snarky Snippets and more into the territory of full-fledged rants.


Assholes …

You know it’s bad when a republican does something so wrong that even Tucker Carlson calls them on it …

tucker-carlson“[Burr] had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening, but he didn’t warn the public. He didn’t give a prime-time address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he’d written just 10 days before claiming America was ‘better prepared than ever’ for coronavirus. He didn’t do any of those things. Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent. Now maybe there’s an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate …”

No, there was no ‘honest explanation’ for what either Senator Richard Burr or Senator Kelly Loeffler did, for they were operating out of their own self-interest, not … not looking out for their constituents or the people of this nation, as they are paid to do.  Burr, by the way, has a net worth of more than $3 million, and Loeffler, who is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, has a reported net worth of $500 million, though I’m betting that between she and hubby their net worth is in the billions.

On January 24th, these two assholes were briefed by senior government scientists about the seriousness of the coronavirus and its likely impact on the nation.  And then, they moseyed out of the briefing and sold stocks they expected to tank.  Not only that, but Loeffler, who began selling her stock within hours of the briefing, actually turned around then and purchased stock in Citrix, a technology company that offers teleworking software and whose share price is one of the few that has risen since the crisis began.

These two jackasses had been given information that was being withheld from the public by Donald Trump, and they used it to gain significant profits, while the rest of us lost a huge chunk of our 401(k)s, which were a pittance anyway, compared to Burr’s and Loeffler’s wealth.  And to add insult to injury … we pay these assholes to work for us!!!

Write your senators and demand the immediate impeachment of these two … they do not deserve the honour of representing the people of the United States, for in truth they have been representing only their own interest.

And while we’re on the topic … I wonder what Trump had his broker dump on the same day?


The story of life according to Donald Trump …

Mike Pence and his wife were both tested for coronavirus, using up two of the often-scarce test kits, even though as Pence said he had “no reason to believe” he was exposed to the virus.  A number of NBA teams and individual players have also been tested, again taking up valuable test kits.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch where most of us live, people are being told that the tests are reserved only for those exhibiting symptoms or already hospitalized.

So, in one of his photo-ops that are misnamed ‘press conferences’, Trump was asked …

“How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can’t get them? Do the well-connected go to the front of the line?”

Trump seemed as if he would object, but then merely shrugged and said …

“Perhaps that’s the story of life.”

The “story of life”.  Take care of the rich and famous first, and f*ck the rest of us.  And yet, his approval rating has barely dropped from a month ago!  Do the damned evangelicals and others still honestly believe that he is “on their side”, or “for the average person”???  If so, they are more ignorant than we first thought.


Son-of-a-bitch

The same reporter that asked about the coronavirus testing, Peter Alexander of NBC News, asked another question …

“What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now, who are scared?”

The question was a perfect opening for Trump to act like a real leader, to say something encouraging to the 330 million people he was elected to represent, but instead …

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. … I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism, and the same with NBC and Con-cast. I don’t call it Comcast, I call it Con-cast. Let me just say something, that’s really bad reporting. And you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I’ve been right a lot. Let’s see what happens.”wtf

It. Is. Time. For. Him. To. Go.


One might expect that in times like these, our elected officials would be working overtime, making sacrifices, to keep us informed and protect us to the best of their ability.  Instead, this sorry lot of jerks is what we have leading the way.  These people must go now … I don’t think this nation can tolerate this bunch of crooks until next year … they need to be removed now by whatever means is available.  Their lives have no more value than yours or mine … likely less, for they are not honest people, have no integrity and were apparently born without that key component the rest of us have:  a conscience.

Only In The U.S.

The following snippets came from The Trace, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States.


The gun companies defying a stock market shock

Business closures and lockdowns have dealt withering blows to the economy. But after roughly two straight weeks of stock market declines, the nation’s three publicly traded gun companies have posted dramatic gains.

American Outdoor Brands, the parent company of Smith & Wesson; Vista Outdoor, which owns several ammunition companies; and Sturm, Ruger & Co. all posted dramatic gains through the past week. As of March 17, American Outdoor Brands showed the strongest weekly change in stock price — a more than 40 percent increase — of any company in the Electronic Technology sector, which includes brands like Texas Instruments and Apple.

“There’s so much money to be made in making the population fearful of its individual security.” – Caroline Light, Harvard professor whose field of study includes “America’s love affair with armed self-defense”


And already …

Police say a man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who armed himself with a shotgun “due to the coronavirus that was going around,” unintentionally killed his 13-year-old cousin, believing it wasn’t loaded.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a dispute between roommates over coronavirus restrictions led one to shoot and kill the other in self-defense, authorities said.

A man in North Carolina killed his wife and five other family members before turning the gun on himself.

A roving active shooter killed four people, including a police officer, and wounded a civilian and another officer in Missouri.

“They’re guarding their toilet paper, pretty much.” – Marty Patterson, assistant manager of National Armory in Moon, Pennsylvania, on the surge of coronavirus-related gun-buying.


We don’t need a virus to kill us … we’re just going to kill each other.

Discord & Dissension — Part X — Bernie or Bust?

Although Hillary Clinton actually won the 2016 election by nearly three million votes, thanks to gerrymandering and the anomaly of the Electoral College, Donald Trump now occupies the Oval Office.  There were a number of factors that allowed him to gain as many votes as he did and win the electoral vote.  One, of course, was the influence of Russian propaganda intended to denounce Hillary Clinton with misinformation fed to the unwitting public.  There was significant voter suppression in a number of states that denied the vote to poor, minorities and youth.  Another was FBI Director James Comey’s ‘October Surprise’, and yet another was Hillary Clinton herself.  Despite the fact that it makes no sense, you would be surprised how many people vote for a candidate based on looks or that “warm, fuzzy” persona.  Clinton was highly qualified, had both the experience and education to have made an excellent president, but for some her forthright manner was off-putting.  And then, of course, there was that moment when she used really poor judgement in her comment about ‘deplorables’.

But the biggest single factor that handed Donald Trump enough votes to win the Electoral College was the fans of Bernie Sanders.  Let’s take a brief walk back through those times, shall we, for there are large parallels between 2016 and 2020.

Although Bernie was an Independent, when he threw his hat into the ring on May 26, 2015, he did so as a member of the Democratic Party, for the odds are so stacked against an Independent that most often they cannot qualify for debates, and will not be allowed on the ballots in many states. Bernie-Sanders-logoBernie ran his campaign much as he has this year, on a platform of populist, socialist, and social democratic politics, which gave him the support of a large portion of the under-40 crowd.  Then, as now, he focused on income and wealth inequality, which he argued is eroding the American middle class, and on campaign finance reform. Unlike most other major presidential candidates, Sanders eschewed an unlimited super PAC, instead choosing to receive most of his funding from direct individual campaign donations.

By the time of the final primary election in June, it was obvious that Clinton would be the nominee, and on July 12th, Sanders officially endorsed Clinton at a unity rally with her in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  But then … On July 22, 2016, various emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the governing body of the Democratic Party, were leaked and published, revealing apparent bias against the Sanders campaign on the part of the Committee and its chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  I have always believed this was part of the Russian campaign to put Trump into the Oval Office, but as far as I know, there is no evidence to support it, so I can only speculate.

Although the race was close, with Clinton leading by only 291 delegates before the superdelegates weighed in at the nominating convention, Hillary won the party’s nomination.  Sanders threw his support to Clinton, campaigned with her, and asked his supporters to please vote for Hillary Clinton.  But … his supporters were bitter about a number of things, especially the leaked DNC emails.  They also believed that the media had short-changed Bernie by covering his campaign significantly less than Clinton’s or Trump’s.

And thus began ‘Bernie or Bust’, a movement by some of Bernie’s die-hard supporters with the goal of taking votes away from Hillary Clinton.  They urged Democrats to write in Sanders, vote for a third-party candidate such as Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, or not to vote at all.  Sanders repeatedly said he would vote for Clinton in the general election in order to avoid a “disastrous” Trump presidency and encouraged his supporters to do the same, but few of his supporters listened.  If every Bernie supporter had given his or her vote to Hillary Clinton, we would have been talking and writing about President Clinton these past 38 months, even despite the Russian interference, despite Jim Comey, despite Hillary being “anatomically incorrect” in the eyes of some, and despite her lack of a ‘warm & fuzzy persona’.

All of which brings us to today and the looming 2020 election.  This year, it is Joe Biden vs Bernie Sanders, or as I’ve been calling it, the Bernie & Joe Show.  The circumstances are much the same as they were four years ago, with Biden leading in delegate count and almost certain to become the Democratic nominee in July.  Just this past Tuesday, in the three states that held Democratic primary elections – Illinois, Florida, and Arizona – Joe Biden was the clear winner in all three.  And already, “Bernie or Bust” and “Never Biden” movements are in full swing.

Allow me to share with you some of the comments from Bernie supporters …

  • “I can’t vote for Joe Biden. It feels like the party doesn’t want us — the people who were pushing for Bernie Sanders and were enthusiastic about it. I think it just means I don’t vote for president.”
  • “The rationale for us is that our votes need to be earned and that we’ve been taken for granted, and the party never moves to us. If they install Joe Biden, I will not vote for Biden. … This is not democratic what’s happening in the Democratic primary.”
  • “If we lose to Trump then hopefully within the next four years maybe an AOC or Rashida Tlaib would be able to run. Maybe there would be a better chance to save the planet.”
  • “I don’t think that I should put aside my values and vote out of fear. The DNC needs an overhaul, it lacks values, real leaders that represent the people not its donors.”
  • “For me not voting would be to send a message: what you’ve done is not OK. I wish there was a way to vote for Biden and still send that message.”

And those are just a sampling.  But I think what those comments tell us is that the Democratic Party has some work to do.  Unity.  The party is deeply divided at present, and you know that saying, “United we stand, divided we fall”?  It’s true.  I think that Joe Biden stands a very good chance to beat Donald Trump, especially considering that Trump has been shooting himself in the foot these past few weeks.  BUT … it will not happen unless both the party and the man get busy and unify the party.

The best-case scenario probably would have been for Joe Biden to pick Bernie to be his running mate, but that is not going to happen.  To his credit, Biden did say in Sunday night’s debate that he would chose a woman to be his running mate, which should help with women voters, at any rate.  The most likely is Kamala Harris, second most likely is Stacey Abrams.

My own personal choice was Elizabeth Warren, and when she dropped out, it became Bernie Sanders.  However, I believe Joe Biden to be at least as qualified as Hillary Clinton was in 2016, I believe that Bernie will support Joe if Joe is the nominee, and I will most assuredly vote for Biden.  I think that many of the younger voters who comprise “Bernie or Bust” fail to understand what another four years under Donald Trump would mean.  I think, based on all the comments I’ve seen, that they want to shake things up within the Democratic Party, and I understand that, for I share their frustration with the Party. Bernie-or-BustHowever, having watched the progressive destruction of our constitutional democratic republic over the past three years, and having studied at some length the current incumbent, his lack of values, lack of intelligence, and his monumental ego, I will throw my full support behind Joe Biden if he is the Democratic nominee, because I honestly believe that by 2024 the United States of America under Donald Trump would be a full-blown dictatorship, plain and simple.  If Trump is handed another four years, I do not believe there will be an election in 2024, but that Trump will have found a way to circumvent or disavow the U.S. Constitution and extend his term.  Nope, I am neither a conspiracy theorist nor a drama queen, but rather I am an observer with enough knowledge to understand what we are seeing.

What I ask of you is twofold.  First, please VOTE on November 3rd for whomever the Democratic nominee is.  Second, please, when you hear someone say they will throw away their vote either by staying home, writing in Bernie Sanders, or voting for a third-party candidate, try to talk to them.  Try to explain the dangers for the future if Trump is re-elected.

Discord & Dissension — Table of Contents