A Billionaire With A Conscience?

I have written often about the income disparity between the 1% and the rest of us, and I’m often critical of millionaires and billionaires for hoarding their wealth when children are dying every day for lack of food, medicine and hygiene.  Today I came across an OpEd in the New York Times by a millionaire who is a bit different than most, Eli Broad.  While I do not agree 100% with everything Mr. Broad says, what he proposes is a start, a step in the right direction.  Mr. Broad has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion, so he can well afford a bit of philanthropy and a higher tax rate.  If we must have millionaires and billionaires, at least let them have a conscience. Take a look …


I’m in the 1 Percent. Please, Raise My Taxes.

Wealthy people like me should commit to reducing the ravages of economic inequality.

By Eli Broad

Eli-Broad.jpgThere’s a story we like to tell about American capitalism. Ours is a country that prizes merit, rewards risk and stands apart in its commitment to the collective success of open markets and the free flow of capital. We are a nation of strivers who can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps with the right combination of grit and determination.

That’s the tale we love to tell and hear. But take it from a person who has found himself on the fortunate side of that narrative: This story is incomplete. For most people, our system isn’t working.

I say this as the child of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania who came here with little more than an oversize belief in what America could offer. Their faith was well placed: My parents watched me build two Fortune 500 companies and become one of the wealthiest people in the country.

Two decades ago I turned full-time to philanthropy and threw myself into supporting public education, scientific and medical research, and visual and performing arts, believing it was my responsibility to give back some of what had so generously been given to me. But I’ve come to realize that no amount of philanthropic commitment will compensate for the deep inequities preventing most Americans — the factory workers and farmers, entrepreneurs and electricians, teachers, nurses and small-business owners — from the basic prosperity we call the American dream.

Some of us have supported closing the gulf between rich and poor by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, reforming our education system, expanding access to medical care, building more affordable housing.

But even in cities like my adopted hometown, Los Angeles, where many of these policies have been enacted, they have not adequately addressed the crisis. Our country must do something bigger and more radical, starting with the most unfair area of federal policy: our tax code.

It’s time to start talking seriously about a wealth tax.

Some will say I’m calling for the populist masses to take out the pitchforks and take down the titans of Wall Street. Some will say it’s just too difficult to execute. Others will call it a flight of fancy.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating an end to the capitalist system that’s yielded some of the greatest gains in prosperity and innovation in human history. I simply believe it’s time for those of us with great wealth to commit to reducing income inequality, starting with the demand to be taxed at a higher rate than everyone else.

This does not mean I support paying higher taxes without requiring government to be transparent, accountable and equitable about how it spends the revenue, particularly for health care, public education and other programs critical to social and economic mobility. But let’s end this tired argument that we must delay fixing structural inequities until our government is running as efficiently as the most profitable companies. That’s a convenient tactic employed to distract us from the real problems.

The enormous challenges we face as a nation — the climate crisis, the shrinking middle class, skyrocketing housing and health care costs, and many more — are a stark call to action. The old ways aren’t working, and we can’t waste any more time tinkering around the edges.

Democrats have offered an array of plans. Senator Elizabeth Warren would levy a 2 percent tax on every dollar of net worth above $50 million. There’s an overdue proposal from Senator Bernie Sanders to increase taxes on estates and inheritances. And then there’s the mark-to-market approach proposed by Senator Ron Wyden, which would treat capital gains income as what it is — actual income for the wealthiest people in America. Currently people who have stocks and other investments that appreciate in value — usually people of means — are taxed at lower rates and are allowed to defer taxes.

I’m not an economist but I have watched my wealth grow exponentially thanks to federal policies that have cut my tax rates while wages for regular people have stagnated and poverty rates have increased.

So when the Democratic candidates take the stage this week for their first debate, I invite fellow members of the 1 percent to join me in demanding that they engage in a robust discussion of how we can strengthen a post-Trump America by reforming our tax code.

Let’s admit out loud what we all know to be true: A wealth tax can start to address the economic inequality eroding the soul of our country’s strength. I can afford to pay more, and I know others can too. What we can’t afford are more shortsighted policies that skirt big ideas, avoid tough issues and do little to alleviate the poverty faced by millions of Americans. There’s no time to waste.

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The House Is Afire!!!

Donald Trump … he claims to have made only one mistake during his 29 months in office.  Can you guess what it is?

Helsinki?  Charlottesville?  Family separations?  Nope, nope, and nope.

Failure to ‘drain the swamp’?  Nope.

Pulling out of the Paris climate accord and rolling back many important environmental regulations?  No way.

Triggering the longest government shutdown in U.S. history in a futile attempt to get funding for a border wall – or subsequently declaring a national emergency to divert money from the military?  Not a chance.

His quest to expel transgender service members who are willing to die in combat, his mockery of the #MeToo movement or his demonization of African American athletes?  Nay, nay, nay.

Throwing paper towels at Puerto Ricans, and then trying to minimize how much federal funding these U.S. citizens get to rebuild their devastated island?  Hardly.

Firing James Comey as FBI director, or the other nine cases of obstruction of justice outlined in Bob Mueller’s report?  Wrong again.

Trump says his only mistake was … wait for it … hiring Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. Attorney General, because he hired him fully believing that Sessions would protect him by putting an end to the Russian investigation led by Special Counsel Bob Mueller.  When Sessions recused himself and thus could not protect Trump, he became Trump’s only mistake, at least in Trump’s mind.

When concerns were raised about the high turnover in Trump’s administration, he responded …

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.”

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Sonny Perdue

And it is in this context, the “my opinion is the only one that matters” monologue, that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under Trump appointee Sonny Perdue, has decided to bury the results of dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change.  WHY?  Because … climate change is damned inconvenient.  An example …

If a person is watching a really good television program (are there actually any “really good” ones these days?) and suddenly smells smoke, he has two choices:  go investigate, or ignore the odour.  If he ignores the odour, odds are that the house will be on fire before the next commercial break, but hey … don’t want to miss seeing the guy beat his wife, right?

The house is on fire, and our government, led by Bozo Trump, is in favour of ignoring it, for to acknowledge it means having to take action to try to put the fire out, and means missing out on the big love scene where thousands of people chant “lock her up” because they are so happy with Trump.

The studies that the USDA is refusing to make public, range from a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment — a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people world-wide whose diet consists mostly of rice — to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle.  All have been peer-reviewed by scientists and cleared through the non-partisan Agricultural Research Service, one of the world’s leading sources of scientific information for farmers and consumers.

Researchers at the University of Washington had collaborated with scientists at USDA, as well as others in Japan, China and Australia, for more than two years to study how rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could affect rice — humanity’s most important crop. They found that it not only loses protein and minerals, but is also likely to lose key vitamins as plants adapt to a changing environment.

The study had undergone intensive review, addressing questions from academic peers and within USDA itself. But after having prepared an announcement of the findings, the department abruptly decided not to publicize the study and urged the University of Washington to hold back its own release on the findings, which two of their researchers had co-authored.

The person sitting in the burning house, watching television, is also admonishing the neighbors not to call the fire department and to simply pretend they don’t see or smell the smoke either!  Let the entire neighborhood burn down, but don’t arouse the man from his bloomin’ television show!

There is an election in less than 17 months that will, hopefully, remove not only Trump, but also most of his boot-lickers from office.  People need to be informed in order to make smart voting choices.  How can the public be well-informed if the government is withholding facts, simply because the facts don’t agree with what Trump wants???  I guess, if we are not to be told the facts, but rather only the falsehoods propagated by Trump & Co., then the best thing is to remember Trump’s own words …

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.”

Is that really the person you want at the helm of this ship? Think about it.

Cruel And Inhumane …

aoc.jpg“This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis. And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as “the mass detention of civilians without trial.” And that’s exactly what this administration is doing.”

Those are the words of freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on June 18th.  I fully agree with her words.  She has been taken to task by republicans, and even by Yad Vashem, of the Holocaust research center.  I have read the arguments, pro and con, and I still agree with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.  The conditions under which we are holding people, particularly children, against their will and for no legitimate reason, is unconscionable, is a crime against humanity, and defies international law.  It is not much different from what the concentration camps in Germany were in the early days of Hitler’s regime, before the death camps.

What crime have these children committed?  None.  What crime have their parents, then, committed?  In most cases none, unless it is a crime to flee from violence and seek a safe haven for one’s family.

What, exactly, are ‘crimes against humanity’?  The United Nations Human Rights Council defines crimes against humanity as …

“… murder, extermination, torture, enslavement, persecution on political, racial, religious or ethnic grounds, institutionalized discrimination, arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, rape, enforced prostitution and other inhuman acts committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a Government or by any organization or group.”

Warren Binford is a law professor at Willamette University in Oregon, and one of the few lawyers that visited a Customs and Border Patrol detention center in Clint, Texas, where 250 infants, children and teenagers are being held.  According to her report, these children are denied adequate food, water or sanitation.  Listen to what she said about the conditions in this facility …

There is a 1997 federal court ruling that came as a result of abuses dating to the 1980s, that strictly limits the government’s ability to keep children in immigration detention.  This is known as the Flores Settlement, and it requires the federal government to do two things: to place children with a close relative or family friend “without unnecessary delay,” rather than keeping them in custody; and to keep immigrant children who are in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible.

Trump has fought to overturn or circumvent the Flores Settlement, but it is one thing he cannot legally accomplish via executive order, so the republicans in Congress have proposed legislation that would effectively overrule the decree.  Last week, the government was in federal court to argue that it shouldn’t be required to give detained migrant children toothbrushes, soap, towels, showers or even half a night’s sleep inside Border Patrol detention facilities.  Yes, you read that right.

Arguing the government’s case was Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian who faced a three-judge panel.  Ms. Fabian was, as she should have been, shredded by the judges, for there can be no legitimate case for depriving children of the most basic necessities.  She hedged and deflected, lied and stuttered, and at the end of the day she looked like the fool that she is.  Take a look …

Her only real argument was that the Flores Settlement does not specifically list the items that must be provided in border facilities, and that it created a problem of “enumerating certain hygiene items”.  Circuit Judge William Fletcher responded …

“It wasn’t perfume soap. It was soap. It wasn’t high-class mild soap. It was soap. And that sounds like it [falls in the category] of safe and sanitary. Are you disagreeing with that?”

I wonder how Ms. Fabian would like to sleep in her clothes, on the floor, with only a piece of tin foil for a blanket, then wake the next morning unable to either shower or brush her teeth?  Or Donald Trump?  Perhaps they should have to spend a night or two in the conditions they have imposed on these children.

Six migrant children have died in the “protective” custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).  How many more … how many more must die before someone in the Department of Justice or the administration has the guts to stand up and say, “ENOUGH!!!”?  The federal government of the United States already has blood on its hands.  Donald Trump has blood on his hands and is as guilty of murder as if he had personally killed those six children.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is essentially correct, these are no better than concentration camps.  I hear my representative, republican Warren Davidson, referring to how “proud” we should be of our country.  His only concern these days is something or other to do with “cryptocurrency”.  I hear Trump say how he’s made this such a “great country”.  I disagree.  Right now, I am not proud of this nation … not one little bit.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Plenty.  Last month, Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, signed a bill into law giving a specific church the right to have their very own police force.  The church is Briarwood Presbyterian Church, one that has a history of racism and bigotry.  The law, in summary …

Relating to law enforcement; to amend Section 16-22-1, Code of Alabama 1975, to authorize the president or chief executive officer of Madison Academy and Briarwood Presbyterian Church and its integrated auxiliary Briarwood Christian School to appoint and employ one or more suitable persons to act as police officers to protect the property of the school or academy.

Did these people ever hear of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution?  I know it’s Alabama, and they are just nuts enough to like a doofus like Roy Moore, but still … last I looked, Alabama was still one of the 50 states comprising the United States.  Thus, they fall under the law as set forth by the Constitution and as upheld by the Courts.

The Establishment Clause begins quite simply …

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …

What … WHAT is so hard to understand about that?  That the Alabama State Legislature AND the Governor of the State are all so uneducated about the law is simply astounding!

The law is scheduled to go into effect in the fall, but I’m thinking that if there are any judges in Alabama with more sense than the legislature has, it will never see the light of day.  What could possibly go wrong with racist white people toting guns and given a badge, told to protect those good white Christians, eh?  Remember George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin?  Need I say more?

Saturday Surprise Is On Temporary Hiatus …

Once again, I must put Saturday Surprise on hiatus for this week.  Sorry folks, but I will try to bring it back next week.  Meanwhile, I have a couple of things that I came across in the last day or two that have me … well, filled with a snarky attitude, and you know what that means …snarky-toon


Rerun in Alabama …

First up … good ol’ racist, twice de-throned federal judge, and sexual abuser Roy Moore is back in the running … once again for a seat in the U.S. Senate, once again challenging Doug Jones, who won the special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ senate seat in 2017.  According to Moore …

“I will run for the U.S. Senate in 2020. Can I win? Yes, I can win. They know I can. That’s why there’s so much opposition.”

moore-3However, thus far I have only read of opposition to his candidacy, even from Trump!  The GOP plans to do everything in their power to block his candidacy.  Even ol’ Turtle-head Mitchell McConnell is opposed to Roy’s candidacy.  A few of the objectors …

“Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men.” – Republican Senator Martha McSally of Arizona (I’m not a fan of Ms. McSally, but I LOVED this comment!)

“The people of Alabama are smarter than that. They certainly didn’t choose him last time, why would they choose him this time?” – Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado

“Roy Moore is going against my father and he’s doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country in the process.” – Don Trump, Jr., a nobody

“We’ll be opposing Roy Moore vigorously.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

AlabamaNow, one would think that it’s a no-brainer Moore won’t even get the republican nomination, let alone win the general election against Doug Jones, right?  But wait … it’s Alabama, folks.  They nominated him last time, despite credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors.  Despite having been thrown off the judicial bench, not once but twice, for failure to uphold the law, putting his personal beliefs above the law of the land.  Alabamans do not care if Donald Trump has cheated on three wives and sexually abused minors, they don’t care if Roy Moore has done the same.  Alabamans want whoever will guard their precious anti-LGBT and anti-abortion views, and nothing else matters to them.

According to an analysis in FiveThirtyEight

Moore still has a passionate base of support, particularly among conservative evangelical Christians. So the main question for his candidacy moving forward will be whether he can attract voters beyond his base.

As things stand, he could have enough backing to reach a primary runoff — Alabama requires a nominee to win a majority of the primary vote or the top-two candidates must face off in a subsequent election. However, while Moore would probably struggle to win the majority support necessary to advance to the general election, others in the field might have weaknesses Moore could exploit.

moore-4In other words … yes, Roy Moore could conceivably win the republican nomination, and could win the election against Jones, for Alabama is a heavily republican state that heavily supports Trump.  As I said, their prejudices are more important to them than the welfare of the nation.

Dear Alabamans:  While your holier-than-though bigotry may drive you to tolerate such an ass as Mr. Moore, please note that you do NOT have the right to inflict his brand of racist misogyny on the rest of the nation … we already have one such creature sitting in the Oval Office, and one is one too many.  If you want him, then make him a state senator, but do not under any circumstances send him to Washington D.C.


Where are they hiding?

There is a bill under consideration in the Oregon state legislature that would limit greenhouse gas emissions and would require carbon-producing businesses to purchase pollution credits.  Over time, the state would decrease the number of credits available, thereby lowering the level of emissions allowed.  It is just the sort of bill that is needed in every state in the union, or better yet, at the federal level, but … sigh … we have Donald Trump up there.

Long story short, the republican lawmakers in Oregon didn’t like the bill, just as republicans everywhere in this nation seem opposed to such things as clean air, potable water, safe and healthy food … or in other words, a livable planet.  They apparently felt so strongly about it that rather than simply vote against the bill, which would have passed anyway, for the democrats in Oregon hold a supermajority (2/3 or more), these republicans simply went away.  Yep, the cowards left the state.

The republicans claim that their fear is the passage of the bill would increase fuel costs, affecting the trucking and logging industries.  Oh well, says I. 🤷 The trucking industry is a large contributor to carbon emissions, and the logging industry is decimating our forests, thus further destroying our environment, so I have zero empathy for either.

The republicans’ presence is requisite to achieve a quorum, without which the bill cannot be voted on.  So, they fled in dereliction of their duty to their constituents.  But … Governor Kate Brown had an ace, or what appeared to be an ace, up her sleeve … she called the police!  She instructed the Oregon State Police to track down and round up any lawmakers on the lam, an order that authorizes authorities to put the elected officials in patrol cars and drive them back to the Capitol in Salem.

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Governor Kate Brown with student climate activists

One big, bad senator, Brian Boquist, threatened violence, saying …

“Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”

BrianBoquistResistsOooooohhh … hear me quaking in my shoes?  Sheesh … and these ‘men’ are supposedly intelligent enough to have been elected to the State Senate?  What were Oregonians thinking?  Are they no brighter than the Alabamans?

And the next thing that happened was that right-wing militia groups began mobilizing across the entire Pacific-Northwest to prevent the State Police from arresting the senators!  That’s right … you heard me right … the thugs are going to fight the cops to protect the men who are trying to speed up the destruction of our planet, in a nutshell.  Sounds vaguely like a Sci-Fi flick, doesn’t it?  What could possibly go wrong, eh?  Another right-wing militia group, this one in Idaho where it is believed the senators are hiding out, is working with the Oregon group.  Said spokespersons of Real Three Percenters Idaho …

“We’re doing what we can to make sure that they’re safe and comfortable.  We will stand together with unwavering resolve, doing whatever it takes to keep these Senators safe.”

So … I guess these senators, like the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, are above the law?  It’s just the ‘little people’ like you and me who are obliged to follow the law, and expected to give an honest day’s work for a day’s pay.  When the heck are people going to wake up and understand that we are burning down our home???  All this game playing is … it is criminal … it is murder!


What?  I’m over 1,200 words already?  But … but I was just getting started … I had at least three more snippets!  Okay, fine … I shall return soon with the other three, and I shall try to be less verbose in he future … though I make no promises.  Have a happy weekend, and hopefully Saturday Surprise will return next Saturday.

Humour To End The Week …

It’s Friday … finally!  The end of a loooooong week for us all.  Let’s start the weekend off on the right foot … let’s laugh at some of the stupidity of our government.  We can effect change over time, but there is no immediate solution, so that which you cannot change … you laugh at!


One of the two biggest stories of the week was Trump kicking off his 2020 campaign.  Now, I don’t understand why this is a big deal, considering he registered to run for re-election on the very day he was inaugurated after stealing his first election!  But, a big deal was made by the trumpians, so it made the news.

2020-Trump2020-Trump-22020-Trump-3Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump launches 2020 Campaign2020-Trump-52020-Trump-6


And the democrats mostly launched their campaigns already, though with somewhat less fanfare …

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The second big news item was the escalation of tensions between Trump and Iran.  Note that I did not say ‘between the U.S. and Iran’, for this attempt to bully Iran into a war is solely a creation of team Trump-Pompeo-Bolton … the rest of us have no interest in starting a new war in the Middle East, especially one that is built on lies and false premises.

IranIran-2Iran-3


The immigrant situation at the southern border continues, or perhaps worsens as Trump announced that he is going to deport some 11 million immigrants … the fact that it isn’t true matters not to his base, for as long as he says it, they lap it up like a cat laps up cream …

immigrationTom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190517.tifimmigration-3immigration-4


The media was its own news this week, when the New York Times announced the firing of its political cartoonists (baaaad move) and when Trump announced that his primary mouthpiece, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, would be leaving at the end of June (YAY!!!)

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A few ‘toons about the abomination that is Trump …

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Have a great weekend, my friends!

Then … And Now

Two days ago, June 17th, marked the 134th anniversary of the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour.  The statue arrived dismantled, in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases, and it would be October of the following year before it was fully re-assembled and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland.  The statue was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and came to symbolize freedom and democracy.

In 1892, Ellis Island opened as America’s chief immigration station, and for the next 62 years Lady Liberty, as the statue is nicknamed, stood watch over the more than 12 million immigrants who sailed into New York Harbor.

In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Lazarus’ now-famous words, which include “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” became symbolic of America’s vision of itself as a land of opportunity for immigrants.

This is that vision today …

immigrant-children-3immigrant-children-2immigrant-children-4immigrant child-2

immigrants-2immigrants-3immigrants-4immigrants-6

It’s funny that the longer humans are on this earth, the more ‘developed’ our society becomes, the better educated we become, the less tolerant and compassionate we are.

By the way, in case anyone is interested … today is World Refugee Day.  Ironic, isn’t it?

liberty cries

Never-Ending Snarky Snippets …

Good morning and welcome to a peek inside my mind, a mind that is currently filled with all manners of angst, which undoubtedly results in an abundance of snarky snippets.


He who has the most toys wins???

The headline in the New York Times reads:

Trump Raises $24.8 Million in 24 Hours, Swamping Democrats’ First-Day Totals

So what?  Is next year’s election to become a race to see who can raise the most money?  Of course Trump can, for a couple of reasons:  a) all his friends are filthy rich and can afford to donate obscenely huge sums; and b) the fossil fuel and other industries that stand to gain from his scorched earth policy of deregulation will donate millions; and c) he has no scruples and will take money from anybody, including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and probably Porn Society of America.  And the other thing to consider is that the RNC is throwing 100% of their contribution to Trump, rather than having to dilute it by spreading it among multiple candidates as the DNC must do. But, other than the obvious that money helps pay for such things as campaign rallies and air time for advertising, it should not matter.

His $24.8 million did not come about because people liked him.  The people who like him don’t have much money, so their contributions were likely under $25.  The money came from his own kind, wealthy, greedy people who have no concern for the environment or for those who have less than themselves.  These people don’t even like him, but they like what he can do for them, like tax cuts for their ‘class’, de-regulation of their industry, and general pandering to their own interests.  I wonder how much of his war chest will be used to pay off his paramours so they don’t go public with his affairs right before the election?

Next year’s election should not be about who can collect the most money, nor should it be a popularity contest, though in my opinion that is exactly what the democratic primary will end up being … a mandate on who has the best chance to beat Trump.  We are a sad lot, you know that?  How many children could be fed for a year with what is spent on political campaigns?


Even the republicans don’t want to  …

… sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.  The good news is that the Senate will vote later today on 22 separate measures to block Trump’s proposed sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.  According to The Hill

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will hold three votes on the 22 sales that would also send weapons to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Two standalone votes will be on resolutions to block sales to Saudi Arabia. Senators would then have a third vote that would condense the remaining 20 resolutions of disapproval into one vote.

The resolutions blocking Trump’s arms sales are anticipated to be able to pass the Senate, where they only need a simple majority. At least four Republicans are expected to vote with all 47 Democrats to block the arms deal.

It is incredible that McConnell is actually allowing this to be brought for a vote, and even more remarkable that it is expected to pass, that at least some republicans in the Senate are not, for once, giving carte blanche to Trump.  The bad news, of course, is that Trump will veto the bill once it hits his desk, and there is very little if any reason to believe that either the House or the Senate could garner the 2/3 majority necessary to override the veto.  So, at the end of the day, we will likely sell arms to the very person who ordered the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and who will use those weapons to murder innocent civilians in Yemen and other places.


The crowd he attracts …

On Tuesday, in Orlando, Florida, Trump held a rally to announce his candidacy for 2020, even though he announced it on 20 January 2017 when he rushed right out after his inauguration to register.  I have no desire nor interest to write about his speech, and in fact I have not read it nor do I plan to.  Boring.  However, what does interest me is the sort of people he attracted.

There were members of the right-wing conspiracy group, Q-Anon …

Q-Anon.jpg

Notice that the stadium is NOT packed to the gills, as Trump will claim

And those ultra-white supremacists who call themselves the “Proud Boys”, though they’ve nothing to be proud of …Proud-Boys.jpgThe ‘boys’ were heard chanting that Roger Stone did nothing wrong, and praising former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.  Both groups were denied entry to the area where anti-Trump demonstrators were peacefully protesting, but they made their presence known.

What a lot of nice people follow and support Trump, eh?  He draws them like honey draws flies.  Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?


Certifiable …

Laura-Ingraham.jpgFox ‘persona’ Laura Ingraham is certifiably insane.  No, I’m not a psychologist, but this ‘woman’ is nuts, people!  For reasons of my own health and well-being, I cannot watch or even listen to her, but every now and then a snippet crosses my path online.  This time it is a series of podcasts she has done … the premise of which is that the democrats are “replacing Americans” with immigrants in order to further their agenda of big government and socialist ideals.  A snippet from one …

“No, you’re for replacing the current American population, or swamping the current American population, with a new population of people who are perhaps more hospitable to socialist ideals.

Perhaps they are more hospitable to big government, perhaps they want more across the board social spending, they want to — they want Spanish to be at least on par with English as a national language. I mean, pick your issue, but that’s what they’re hoping for.

They can’t risk — they can’t risk a situation where a guy like Trump keeps getting elected. I mean, they tried to knock him out with the stupid Russia investigation, and that backfired, but they — they can’t risk that again.

So, they have to have a new electorate — and the new electorate, they think will be new immigrants who are just — they’re not in tune, at least in this current — going through this current public schools situation that we have, they’re not in tune with the American founding, or even taught to love the American founding.”

This … this is the utter stupidity that is promoted by Fox ‘News’ and that is being spoon-fed to those who know no other news source, or who believe Trump’s false claim that all the other sources are “fake news”.  It seems to me that a major network like Fox ought to be held to a standard of truth, honesty, and integrity.  Sigh.  But what do I know, eh?


I have more snark that is as yet unreleased, so … stay tuned.

This Speaks Volumes …

Last night I came across this editorial from the Editorial Board at the Orlando Sentinel.  It speaks for itself …

Orlando-Sentinel.jpgOur Orlando Sentinel endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump | Editorial

By ORLANDO SENTINEL EDITORIAL BOARD

| ORLANDO SENTINEL |

JUN 18, 2019 | 5:30 AM

Donald Trump is in Orlando to announce the kickoff of his re-election campaign.

We’re here to announce our endorsement for president in 2020, or, at least, who we’re not endorsing: Donald Trump.

Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent.

Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump.

After 2½ years we’ve seen enough.

Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies.

So many lies — from white lies to whoppers — told out of ignorance, laziness, recklessness, expediency or opportunity.

Trump’s capacity for lying isn’t the surprise here, though the frequency is.

It’s the tolerance so many Americans have for it.

There was a time when even a single lie — a phony college degree, a bogus work history — would doom a politician’s career.

Not so for Trump, who claimed in 2017 that he lost the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally (they didn’t). In 2018 he said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat (it is). And in 2019 he said windmills cause cancer (they don’t). Just last week he claimed the media fabricated unfavorable results from his campaign’s internal polling (it didn’t).

According to a Washington Post database, the president has tallied more than 10,000 lies since he took office.

Trump’s successful assault on truth is the great casualty of this presidency, followed closely by his war on decency.

Trump insults political opponents and national heroes alike with middle-school taunts. He demonstrates no capacity for empathy or remorse. He misuses his office to punish opponents, as when he recently called for a boycott of AT&T to get even with his least favorite media outlet, CNN. He tears down institutions, once airily suggesting the U.S. should try having a leader for life as China now allows. He seems incapable of learning a lesson, telling an ABC interviewer last week — just two months after Robert Mueller’s report on election interference was released — that he would accept dirt on an opponent from Russia or China.

Trump has diminished our standing in the world. He reneges on deals, attacks allies and embraces enemies.

This nation must never forget that humiliating public moment in Helsinki in 2018 when the president of the United States chose to accept Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election over the unanimous assessment of the American intelligence community.

Such a betrayal by a U.S. president would have been the unforgivable political sin in normal times.

As if that’s not enough, Trump declares his love for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, a genuine villain who starves and enslaves his people and executes his enemies with antiaircraft guns and flamethrowers.

But he wrote the president a “beautiful letter.” Flattery will get you everywhere with this president, and that’s dangerous.

Domestically, the president’s signature issue — immigration — has moved in fits and starts. Happily, he abandoned pursuing an outright — and unconstitutional — ban on Muslims entering the U.S., opting instead to restrict travel for people from a handful of nations, most of them majority Muslim.

He’s tried separating families, sending troops to the border and declaring a national emergency. For all of that, illegal border crossings are, as the president himself calls it, at crisis levels.

He blames House Democrats because casting blame is Trump’s forte. But Republicans controlled the House and the Senate for two full years. That seemed like an ideal time to fix what the president believes ails our immigration laws.

Even with Democrats now controlling the House, where is Trump’s much-touted deal-making mojo, an attribute he campaigned on?

“But the economy!”

Yes, the market has done well since Trump’s election.

The S&P 500 was up about 21% between Trump’s inauguration and May 31 of his third year in office. Under President Obama, it was up about 56% in that same period.

Unemployment is headed down, as it was during seven straight years under Obama.

Wages are up, and that’s a welcome change. But GDP increases so far are no better than some periods under Obama. Deficit spending under Obama was far too high, in part because of the stimulus needed to dig out of the Great Recession. Under Trump, it’s still headed in the wrong direction, once again pushing $1 trillion even though the economy is healthy.

Trump seems to care nothing about the deficit and the national debt, which once breathed life into the Tea Party.

Through all of this, Trump’s base remains loyal. Sadly, the truest words Trump might ever have spoken was when he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his supporters.

This non-endorsement isn’t defaulting to whomever the Democrats choose. This newspaper has a history of presidential appointments favoring Republicans starting in the mid-20th century. Except for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, the Sentinel backed Republican presidential nominees from 1952 through 2004, when we recommended John Kerry over another four years of George W. Bush.

As recently as 2012 we recommended Republican Mitt Romney because of what seemed at the time to be Obama’s failure to adequately manage the nation’s finances.

If — however unlikely — a Republican like Romney, now a senator from Utah, or former Ohio Gov. John Kasich successfully primaried the president, we would eagerly give them a look. Same if an independent candidate mounted a legitimate campaign.

We’d even consider backing Trump if, say, he found the proverbial cure for cancer or — about as likely — changed the essence of who he is (he won’t).

The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that.

We can do better. We have to do better.


The comments ran about 2-1 in agreement with the Sentinel, praising its high standards and integrity in taking this stand.  I think it speaks volumes when a newspaper that has consistently endorsed republican candidates for more than half a century refuses to endorse this republican incumbent, Donald Trump.