An Update … And A New Twist …

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Joe Arpaio

On July 2nd I wrote a post about the former Sheriff of Maricopa Country, Arizona, Joe Arpaio.  You may remember that he had lost his bid for re-election in 2016, after serving for 24 years, since 1993.  At the time of my last post, Arpaio was standing trial in federal court on charges of ‘criminal contempt of court’.

In December 2011, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow ordered Arpaio’s office to halt detentions based on nothing more than suspicion that a person might be in violation of federal immigration law. Arpaio’s response?  “I’m still gonna do what I’m doing. I’m still gonna arrest illegal aliens.” And he did keep on doing what he had been:  racial profiling and inhumane treatment of prisoners, refusing to investigate sex crimes, and closing cases without investigation, to name a few.  I meant to write an update to that story when a decision was handed down by the court, but I got sidetracked and failed to do so.  I shall do so now, with another, new interesting twist.

On July 24th, United States District Judge Susan R. Bolton found Mr. Arpaio, age 85, guilty of criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. In her decision, Judge Bolton wrote, “Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise.”

His lawyers, of course, immediately said they would appeal the verdict.  Some supporters of stricter immigration enforcement rallied behind Mr. Arpaio. Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the election of President Trump had vindicated Mr. Arpaio’s policies.

“Clearly Joe Arpaio won the war, even though he lost this particular battle. Like any good American citizen, he recognized his obligation and was willing to pay the price for a form of civil disobedience.”

At this point it bears remembering that Arpaio’s tent-city jail required prisoners to wear pink underwear and sleep in tents in the brutal Arizona heat. They were served only two meatless meals per day, often consisting of moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food.  Prisoners were frequently denied care for serious medical and mental health needs.  At one point, Arpaio made the statement that even if he had a billion dollars he wouldn’t change the way he runs his jails.  Now, this is the man who Mr. Stein claims “paid the price”.  No, the prisoners – Arpaio’s victims – paid the price for his racism and inhumanity. It was precisely this that earned Arpaio my Idiot of the Week award last October.

Which brings me to the present. With all the news about last weekend’s horrors in Charlottesville, this tidbit went largely unnoticed:

“President Trump told Fox News he is “seriously considering” issuing a pardon for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. Trump told the news outlet during a conversation in Bedminster, N.J., that the pardon could come quickly, perhaps in a matter of days.

“I might do it right away, maybe early this week. I am seriously thinking about it,” Trump said, according to Fox News. He said Arpaio was a “great American patriot” who had “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.”

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump said, according to Fox News. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.” – Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post, 14 August 2017

Arpaio told Fox News, “I would accept the pardon because I am 100 percent not guilty.”

I predicted in my last post about Arpaio that he would never serve a single day of prison time, even if found guilty.  My main reason for believing so at that time was primarily his age.  He is 85 years old, and I thought an appeal was likely, which could drag on for another year or two, and at that point I expected his attorneys to plead for leniency based on Arpaio’s age.  Never in my wildest dreams did I even consider a presidential pardon.

There can be no denying that Arpaio is a racist.  That much is obvious and he doesn’t even bother to deny it.  So … if Trump pardons Arpaio, what message do you think that sends to the very white supremacist groups who perpetuated the violence and death in Charlottesville last weekend?

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Walter Shaub

Remember Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) about whom I wrote last month  ?  He resigned his position because the Trump administration was making a sham of the word ‘ethics’ and Shaub felt that he was no longer able to do his job.  Today, Shaub posted a single tweet about Trump’s proposal to pardon Joe Arpaio …

“Scrambling to reassure the white supremacists and nazis that he didn’t really mean what he said to the “normies” today…”

Can anybody disagree?  I said to another fellow blogger earlier that I could picture Trump on the phone with Richard Spencer or David Duke after his speech, saying, “Don’t worry … I didn’t mean a word I said, but you know … my staff told me I had to say all that stuff or else we might have riots here in Washington … but I am in your court, so … no worries.”

Ladies and Gentlemen … the man who is occupying the White House, the man who refers to himself as “president”, is in bed with the worst bunch of people to be found in the United States.  Expect many more weekends like the past one.

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Where Were They???

In truth, I had no intention of writing again about Saturday’s horrific events for a few days yet.  I wanted to step back for a day or two … needed to step back for just a breather.  But, every news site I visit, international or domestic, Charlottesville IS the news.  And as I perused, almost against my will, page after page, two things drilled so heavily into my mind that … well, here I am again.

The first thing that is bothering me is, with all the violence, the hatred, the threats, injuries and deaths, why were so few of the white supremacists arrested?  Why are they not running their tin cups along the bars and dressed in prison orange tonight?  In addition to the driver of the car that crashed into a crowd of counter protestors, three of the white supremacists were arrested.  THREE!  Three whole people out of a crowd that numbered well into the hundreds, if not thousands!

James Alex Fields Jr., 20 years old, the driver of the car that plowed into the crowd, killing one and injuring 19 others, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.  In addition to Fields, the other three arrests were:

  • Troy Dunigan, 21, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
  • Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault & battery.
  • James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

Last month, the KKK held a rally in Charlottesville where 23 people were arrested.  There were no injuries or deaths related to that event, yet 23 people were arrested.  Compared to three this past weekend.  What the Sam Heck were the police doing???

According to an article in The Washington Post …

“Anger over how the police responded came from all directions and intensified after the death of a woman struck by a car that plowed into a group of counterprotesters. Experts said police appeared outnumbered, ill-prepared and inexperienced.

At one point, police appeared to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend to the injured. Complicating the dynamics was the fact that several dozen groups of armed militias — men in full camouflage toting assault-style weapons — were in the middle of the crowds.

Cornel West, the Princeton professor and writer who attended a morning church service at First Baptist Church in Charlottesville with a large group of clergy members, said “the police didn’t do anything in terms of protecting the people of the community, the clergy.””

Another report said that when violence first broke out, police stood on side streets behind barricades, but made no attempt to stop the melee. Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signor spoke out, justifiably, against Donald Trump for his inadequate, milquetoast response to the tragic events on Saturday.  I support Mayor Signer 100% in this.  But, I would like to see the mayor looking into the question of why men toting assault rifles in the middle of the city, threatening and browbeating others, and beating people with sticks and shields, were not arrested.  I expected to awaken on Sunday morning to the news that the jail in Charlottesville was filled to overflowing.  WHAT HAPPENED??? We have a right to know why those who threaten our very lives are not in jail!

Enter the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and its head, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions.  Sessions talked the talk: “The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice. When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.” But will he walk the walk? I have doubts, as at this time, the investigation by the DOJ is limited to the homicide caused by James Fields.  A much broader investigation is needed, one that includes the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that caused the chaos of the weekend.

Granted it is early days yet, and the investigation could certainly be expanded in the coming days, but frankly I do not trust Mr. Sessions to do so, for it is a known fact that he, himself, was denied a judgeship during the Reagan administration based on his racist remarks and attitudes.

The other thing that struck me as I perused the news on Sunday was that the White House was busily making excuses for Trump’s lame, ineffectual response. Never before in my memory has a president and his entire administration been so out of tune with what the majority of the people in this country think, want and need.

The White House … and for the life of me, I wish they would stop with that, for I would like to know precisely who is saying what, and I am smart enough to realize that the White House itself cannot speak, so it was a person within the administration, but WHO???  The “White House” official defense was …

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

I don’t want to hear the “White House” defend, justify or explain Trump’s remarks.  I want to hear from Trump exactly what he meant.  I want to hear Trump come out and call a spade a bloody shovel, call this act by its rightful names:  terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.  I want to hear him say that he will do everything in his power to put down white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.  I don’t care what Kellyanne Conway or Sarah Huckabee Sanders or some anonymous “White House spokesperson” has to say … I want it out of the horse’s mouth, and if the horse is too damn cowardly to speak out against the racists that put him into office, then I want an apology from him and I want him to admit that he is not capable of doing the job and step down.  Period.

Saturday’s events were horrific in and of themselves.  But they were compounded by a lack of law enforcement on the scene, and an almost uninterested response from the man who the white supremacists put into office last November. As I have said many times of late, I thought we were better than this.  Today, I realize that, while some of us ARE better than this, and it is unfair to judge all by the actions of a few … still, as a nation, the way we will be judged by other nations … we are not better than this.  Can we be someday?  I don’t know … that depends on the path the leadership and the people take.  I am encouraged by the voices, previously silent, that are speaking out against white supremacy, against hate.  But is it enough, when we do not have humanitarian and compassionate leadership?  I do not know.

The Bright Red Line

Fellow-blogger Erik Hare, writing as Barataria, has written a thoughtful, honest post about the lessons of history as they relate to last Saturday’s tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. Please take a minute to read, as he has made his point far better than I could have. Thank you, Erik, for this post and permission to share.

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

This weekend a line was crossed, a bright red line painted in the blood of over 400 thousand Americans who died to end the scourge of Nazism forever. Chanting “Blut und Broden”, or its easy translation, children with far more energy than sense attempted to define Americanism by what has been demonstrated and defined to be its exact opposite.

Like their apparent heroes, they are losers. But they having chosen the losing side of history for predictably bad reasons beyond a simple moral failure. Their inability to learn from history is a feature of a nation incapable of learning from history and thus in need to constantly redefine itself.

As much power as there is in constant redefinition, there is also a need for constant vigilance. History is calling us today. Millions of ghosts are watching us waiting for us to make the right decision.

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The Great Divide Just Got Wider

Today the Great Divide that exists in the United States, got even wider.  Today, in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, at least 3 people died and countless others were injured by a gang of thugs – white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Who, What, When, Where, Why

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Jason Kessler

A ‘man’ named Jason Kessler organized a rally in Charlottesville called ‘Unite the Right’, a rally that would include white supremacists, KKK members, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee Sculpture from Emancipation Park, a public park. People on both sides of the political aisle are divided on whether confederate monuments should be removed or allowed to stay in public squares and parks, but regardless of anyone’s opinion on that, this rally was wrong.  This rally was ostensibly about protesting the removal of the statue, but in reality, this rally was about nothing so much as hate.  Hate for those of us who are not white ‘Christians’.

The cast of characters was a veritable “Who’s Who” in the field of white supremacist hate, Richard Spencer and David Duke among them.  David Duke stated that the rally was intended to fulfill the “promises of Donald Trump”.

The rally was scheduled for noon, but by 11:00 a.m. there had already been so many outbreaks of uncontrolled violence that Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and ordered hundreds of people out of the downtown park. “I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours,” McAuliffe said.

Counter protestors included members of the clergy, Black Lives Matter, and prominent Princeton professor Cornel West. Men in combat gear — some wearing bicycle and motorcycle helmets and carrying clubs and sticks and makeshift shields — fought each other in the downtown streets beginning on Friday night. Both sides sprayed each other with chemical irritants and plastic bottles were hurled through the air.

After police managed to clear the park, a large group of counter-protestors was moving up Fourth Street, near the mall, when a gray sports car came down the road and accelerated, mowing down several people and hurling at least two in the air. Details are not confirmed as of this writing, but it is said that the car plowed into the crowd, backed up and rammed forwards again at least once.

Charlottesville-car-bodies.jpgAt least one person was killed in this incident, and at least 19 injured.  The driver of the car was 20-year-old James Fields from Ohio.  I do not have many more details at this time, though I am certain more will be available in the coming days.  I do know that Fields was arrested on charges of second-degree murder.

Charlottesville.jpgThe reactions

Governor McAuliffe gave a press conference in the afternoon, saying “I have a message for all the white supremacists and Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you. You pretend that you’re patriots, but you are anything but a patriot. You came here today to hurt people. And you did hurt people. But my message is clear: We are stronger than you.”

“Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.” – Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan

“The hate and bigotry witnessed in #Charlottesville does not reflect American values. I wholeheartedly oppose their actions.” – Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion… People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love… …For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela, quoted by President Barack Obama

“We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets [sic] come together as one! Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!” – Donald Trump

In his later press conference, Trump said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence, on many sides,” repeating the last phrase twice.

Many, including this writer, felt Trump’s words were inadequate, that he should have voiced condemnation of white supremacy and its followers. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said, “The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of ‘many sides.’ It is racists and white supremacists. lawmakers, including members of his own party.”

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden criticized the president’s remarks in even stronger terms, saying, “What happened in Charlottesville is domestic terrorism. The President’s words only serve to offer cover for heinous acts.”

“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.” – David Duke, former imperial wizard of the KKK

My take?  If the driver of the car that maliciously mowed down a crowd of people had been of Middle-Eastern descent, a Muslim, Donald Trump would have been screaming “TERRORISM!!!” at the top of his lungs, and shamelessly using this terrible tragedy to spread fear and justify his hateful Muslim ban.

I will likely address this in more depth at a later date, when more information is available, when the dust has had a chance to settle a bit, and when feelings are not so raw. In closing, I would like to share the reaction of my friend Bruce, a long time conservative republican Christian minister, and a genuine, decent human being:

“I’m a white, conservative, Christian American, and I denounce the hatred and racism demonstrated at UVA, as well as other previous expressions that I have, until this moment, been too timid to denounce. There is nothing “right” about it; it’s not Christian, nor is it conservative, and it is absolutely not American. To my Christian friends who want to “whitewash” this as simple free speech or as some kind of evidence of frustration at political correctness or the condition of our country: keep it to yourself, reread the Bible, repent, and, if necessary, unfriend me here.”

Well spoken, my friend … I am proud of you.

Tonight, our nation is more divided than it was this morning.  The causes for this will be picked apart, analyzed and reported on at great length in the coming days, but in this writer’s opinion, there is only one cause:  arrogance.  The arrogance of those who believe that somehow having pale skin, believing in the rules and rituals of the Christian doctrine, make them superior to the rest of us.

Tonight my heart breaks not only for the good people of Charlottesville, Virginia, but for each and every one of us who find ourselves living in this country that we no longer recognize.

Friedman On The Escalating Rhetoric Between Trump And Kim Jong-Un

Today, my friend Gronda has shared the astute, well-reasoned words of one of my favourite political analysts, Thomas Friedman. This post needs no introduction from me, as it speaks for itself. Excellent post, Gronda … thank you!

Gronda Morin

Image result for images of kim jong unOne of my favorite columnist/ thinker, Thomas L. Friedman has shared his take regarding the situation with N Korea and Its leader, Kim Jong Un.

Here’s the rest of the story…

On August 10, 2017, Thomas L.  Friedmam of the New York Times penned the following opinion piece,  “Be Strategic, Not Impulsive, On North Korea.

Excerpts:

“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Americans who are concerned about the situation in North Korea “should sleep well at night.” Of course! Donald Trump and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un — neither of whom has any aides who can stand up to them — are trading fire and brimstone threats with their fingers cocked on nuclear weapons. What could possibly keep a person up at night? Surely Tillerson jests or is high on Ambien.”

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“Have we already become so inured to the madness of the Trump administration that we have…

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Worst Idea Ever …

The headline in The Washington Post:

In A New Poll, Half Of Republicans Say They Would Support Postponing The 2020 Election If Trump Proposed It

Noooooooo.jpgThus far, Trump has not proposed such a move, but if he gets wind that half of his party would support it, I would not be surprised to see him begin thinking along those lines.

It started over Trump’s claim that there was widespread voting fraud last year that ultimately cost him the popular vote.  That really seems to eat at him, even though he is the one sitting in the Oval Office … or, rather, on a golf course in New Jersey at the moment. The claim has been proven to be a lie, there was no widespread voter fraud, and Trump actually lost the election despite Putin’s best efforts.  But … perhaps more importantly, a substantial number of republicans believe Trump, even though his claim has been disproven multiple times.

With that in mind, The Washington Post performed a survey of 1,325 Americans from June 5th through June 20th. Granted, this is too small a sample to be considered representative, but nonetheless, it is chilling. The questions asked were whether Trump won the popular vote, whether millions of illegal immigrants voted, and how often voter fraud occurs. Then they were asked two additional questions:

  • If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election?
  • What if both Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote? Would you support or oppose postponing the election?

And the results are that nearly half of Republicans surveyed (47%) believe that Trump won the popular vote. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68%) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73%). 52% said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56% said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this.

As the Post cautions, “Of course, our survey is only measuring reactions to a hypothetical situation. Were Trump to seriously propose postponing the election, there would be a torrent of opposition, which would most likely include prominent Republicans. Financial markets would presumably react negatively to the potential for political instability. And this is to say nothing of the various legal and constitutional complications that would immediately become clear.”

Do I think it likely to happen?  No, not under the current circumstances.  Then why do I even bring it up?  Because, while I do not think it likely, or even possible, under the current circumstances, I can see circumstances altering, if Trump remains in office until 2020, that may change that assessment dramatically.  As has been his trademark thus far, his incitement of violence and fear could convince a large portion of the nation that there is a credible threat, real or contrived, that must be dealt with in a manner that must ‘temporarily’ suspend a portion of our democratic freedoms.

I am merely speculating, but I do not think we can afford to dismiss the idea as the ravings of a nutty Filosofa.  In the words of David Frum writing for the Atlantic …

“No society, not even one as rich and fortunate as the United States has been, is guaranteed a successful future. When early Americans wrote things like “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” they did not do so to provide bromides for future bumper stickers. They lived in a world in which authoritarian rule was the norm, in which rulers habitually claimed the powers and assets of the state as their own personal property.

The exercise of political power is different today than it was then—but perhaps not so different as we might imagine. Larry Diamond, a sociologist at Stanford, has described the past decade as a period of “democratic recession.” Worldwide, the number of democratic states has diminished. Within many of the remaining democracies, the quality of governance has deteriorated.”

I think it behooves us to be “eternally vigilant”.

Boys with Toys

I have left the situation between Trump and Kim Jong-un alone, mostly because it is a volatile situation that I truly do not know how to address. I do not think it behooves us to panic, but we also must be aware that it is a potentially dangerous situation for humanity around the globe. Blogger-friend Keith has written a short, but excellent post that deserves to be shared. Please take a moment to read and ponder. Thank you, Keith, for your calm and reasoned voice in the middle of the chaos and turmoil, and for allowing me to share your words.

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In the James Bond movie “Goldeneye,” Polish born actress Izabella Scorupca played my favorite Bond female character Natalya Simonova. She gave Bond the devil for his penchant for using violence with any weapon or machinery around. “What is it with you boys with toys,” she admonished him.

I think of this line as two separate countries are led by a man-child who are both acting like “boys with toys.” The scary part is the toys include nuclear weapons and both are beating on their chest like apes ready to do battle.

I have written a parable about the younger of the two leaders called “A Monkey with a Hand Grenade.” Since the hand grenade is a substitute for a nuclear weapon, we must be careful, judicious and diligent in our actions and words. Just a few days ago, our Secretary of State said the right things about “not advocating for…

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A Peek Inside Of Filosofa’s Mind-Bounce

Well, I cannot seem to settle into a topic tonight.  There is too much to write about, too many ‘goings-on’, and my mind seems to be on overload.  So, forgive me if I indulge in a bit of mind-bounce, but that may be my only hope for regaining a degree of focus.

I try very hard to avoid commenting on ignorant political opinions and ridiculous memes on social media.  I try, I tell you … I really do.  And usually I am successful, for I have too much to do to waste my time on it.  However, as I mentioned, tonight my mind is all askew, and I was just cruising around on Facebook, hoping a bit of a break might stop the mind-bounce.  And I came across an extremely bigoted rant against the religion of Islam and its followers.  The writer claimed that Islam is “pure evil” and that we needed to get rid of Sharia Law in the U.S.  Well, as you can imagine, that set me off (mind bounce is often accompanied by enhanced irascibility) and I, against my better judgment, took off my shoes and jumped into the fray.

You would have been proud of me … I responded with intellect and quiet dignity, even when asked what planet I had come from and if I had been asleep all my life.  I stayed only a short time, enough for two or three well-placed comments, and then I left the conversation and turned off notifications so that I would not be tempted again.  But it made me start thinking about the bigotry and hate we are seeing, most of which is based on sheer ignorance.  A few of the comments that stood out, that spoke volumes about the mentality we are dealing with here:

“Outlaw all Muslim activities and people from our country,they have millions of acres of land in their own part of the world ,send them back ,declare this a Christian country”

“it’s not right ,it’s a mental illness that should be treated as such, all these types of people will eventually implode ,they will poison the minds of innocent children and most likely at some point molest someone ,and/or kill themselves or others”

“Harry too many liberals that don’t understand something when they read it ,or what it was supposed to convey ,they just steer away from it to their liberalism”

All comments reproduced “as is” without corrections.

To be sure, there were others who, like myself, tried to educate, to enlighten, to make the haters at least stop and think, but a handful insisted that they were right, everybody else was wrong, and just as I exited, it was becoming a vulgar free-for-all.  There is no value in such an exchange, and this is not a conversation or even a dialogue … it is simply sport.  Blood-sport, at that.

Which led me to thinking about red hair.  (I told you … mind-bounce)  Well, I was wondering if perhaps there is something in the lack of skin pigmentation, or in something in the water they drank, that gave them this tendency toward bigotry.  Are there certain physical traits that indicate mental traits?  And that brings us to the red hair connection.  It is said that people with red hair have shorter tempers.  Is it true? Well, I didn’t find any definitive answer, but I did discover that redheads get cold quicker and feel pain more acutely.  Okay … a snack is needed … something without sugar …

AHA  ….

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Coffee-nut m&ms … no sugar here, right?

Do you know what Kellyanne Conway, America’s #1 Bimbo, makes per year in salary alone?  $179,700.  Nearly a quarter of a million dollars per year.  For … being a mouthpiece, and a bad one at that.  For making up lies to cover Trump’s exposed posterior. For being obnoxious and mostly wrong.  $179,700!!!!!!! More than three times what I made in my highest earnings year!

So, Senator Ron Johnson, a republican (of course) from Wisconsin intimated on a radio show on Wednesday that Senator John McCain’s “nay” vote on the proposed healthcare bill before the Senate last month, may have been a result of his brain tumour.  The radio show host was notably taken aback and asked Johnson if, in fact, he really believed what he was saying.  His reply: “I-I-I don’t know exactly what — we really thought — and again I don’t want speak for any senator. I really thought he was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30 (a.m.), he voted no.”  Stuttering … genuine embarrassment?  I was looking a bit into Johnson’s background to see if there are enough of these moments to qualify him as Idiot of the Week.  Maybe …

And here is another …

Lindsey Graham … from time to time I have actually had reason to respect Senator Graham, but not today.  Last Tuesday (August 1st) Lindsey appeared on NBC’s Today show with Matt Lauer.  Here is what he said that set my teeth on edge:

“If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And [Trump] told me that to my face. That may be provocative, but not really. When you’re president of the United States, where does your allegiance lie? To the people of the United States.”

Somebody PLEASE tell me he didn’t really say that!  Lindsey Graham is now, in my book, a bloomin’ DOLT.  People.  They are people.  We are people.  Trump and Graham are thinking it’s okay if hundreds of thousands of innocent people die, just so long as it isn’t on U.S. soil?  Think about that one for a few minutes, friends.

Earlier today, dear Roger told me to seek my ‘soft and quiet corner’ and rest there.  I told him my soft and quiet corner was filled with nails and shards of glass.  I now understand where those nails and glass shards are coming from.  And now, dear friends, I believe I shall go give my corner a good cleaning and spend a few hours there, away from the madness and mayhem. And in my next life, I am going to be a wolf, for I do not much care for the human race any more.

 

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White House’s Censorship Of Climate Change Reports

As I have said before … words matter. One’s choice of words matters. Months ago, we were introduced by the Trump administration to the concept of ‘Alternative Facts’, and those included, as we discovered, an alternative vocabulary. Now the (S)White House has added to the ‘dictionary of alternative words’ by dictating to federal agencies what words they are and are not to use. Guess what, folks? “Climate Change” is no longer allowed. Blogger-Friend Gronda has the details for you, as well as a link to the Annual Climate Change Report, which will likely be altered before it is released to the public. Please take a few moments to read this important information! Thank you, Gronda, for an excellent post and for permission to share!

Gronda Morin

Here is link to the 2017 Climate Change Report sponsored by the US government, and published by the NY Times: Read the Draft of the Climate Change Report – The New York Times 8/7/17 (A draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, but was obtained by The New York Times, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. The report was completed this year and is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. )

Because of the republican President Donald Trump’s administration’s disdain for climate change issues, many are concerned whether this report will be shared with the American taxpayers, and if it is, how heavily censored the report will be, and thus, we have this latest leak.

Here’s the rest of the story…

On August 7, 2017, Oliver Milman…

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NOT AGAIN!!! 2020 Or Bust …

Most of last year I groused that the campaign season for the presidential election was too bloomin’ long.  It started heating up in mid-2015, nearly a year-and-a-half before the election.  My humble opinion is that 3-6 months is plenty long to subject us to the endless drivel and detritus that defines campaigns in this country.  But now … NOW … the campaigns for the 2020 election are already building momentum!  I want to close my eyes, put my headphones on and listen to classical music for the next three-and-a-half years!  But alas, we have already seen what wearing blinders and earplugs does, so …

Not only have candidates begun speaking at events and cozying up to major-dollar donors, but even Trump himself has been holding campaign-style rallies in places he knows he can succeed in rustling up a crowd that is still friendly to him.  Note that you do not see him doing pep rallies in New York or San Francisco!

Among those starting to act like candidates are Senators Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Mike Pence … whoa … Mike Pence?  Did I just say Mike Pence, as in current 2nd banana?  Of course, we all hope and believe that the head clown will not be on the 2020 ballot, but this is 2017, a full 39 months before the next presidential election!  There is rather an umwritten law … or perhaps it is written … second banana will remain quietly in the background, supporting the first banana no matter how rotten, until such time as the first banana is no longer a viable candidate.  Now, were Trump in his second term, then yes, this would be in the paramaters of normal, though it is still far too early.  But in his first term?

According to  Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of the New York Times, Pence is “creating an independent power base, cementing his status as Mr. Trump’s heir apparent and promoting himself as the main conduit between the Republican donor class and the administration. The vice president created his own political fund-raising committee, Great America Committee, shrugging off warnings from some high-profile Republicans that it would create speculation about his intentions.”

When the aforementioned article came out on Saturday, Mike Pence had a moment of panic, knowing that retaliation from Trump would be swift and painful, so he put out the following statement:

“Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and are just the latest attempt by the media to divide this Administration.”

Only thing is, he lies, for as The Washington Post notes, “Pence has been meeting with donors, has been creating an independent power base (as the Times reported), has hired a politically combatant chief of staff and has been the main channel of communication between Trump and Republicans on the Hill.”

2020-5But what Pence apparently fails to consider is that he has thrown his lot in with Trump, for better or for worse, and his fate or fortune is closely linked to that of Trump. And with that said, I do not wish to discuss the 2020 election until at least the middle of 2019, though I realize that is a pipe dream, given the current state of chaos in the current administration.  My only hope is that by 2020, Donald Trump is either banished to Siberia or else wearing an orange jumpsuit and busting rocks by day.

One interesting, humorous note:  It would seem that there is already an unofficial slogan for the 2020 election …

2020

There are already t-shirts, sweatshirts, phone cases, wall art, coffee mugs and bumper stickers available, folks.  Sigh. Gonna be a long three-and-a-half years, folks.