Today’s Toons To …

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


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


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


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

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

Little Devin’s Feelings Are Hurt 😭

One of the not-so-illustrious faces of the GOP today, Devin Nunes, is suing media outlet CNN … for $435,350,000.  Yep, folks … you read it right.  $435 million and change!  I would love to know how he came up with that figure … heck, his life isn’t worth that much!  His net worth is estimated at $158,001 (the extra dollar … who knows … maybe the Tooth Fairy?).  He may well be the poorest member of Congress!

So why, you ask, is he suing CNN?  He is suing because last month CNN published what Nunes now claims to be a “demonstrably false hit piece.”  The story reported that in December 2018, while serving as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes traveled to Vienna and met with Ukrainian former prosecutor general Victor Shokin to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.  Funny, isn’t it, that the entire focus of Trump & Co these days is on Joe Biden?

Now, I don’t claim that CNN or any of the other news outlets are above embellishing on a story from time-to-time, but unlike Fox, Breitbart and others, they are not into conspiracy theories.  They report actual news.  Their source for the November 22nd story was an attorney for Lev Parnas, a now-indicted business associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani.  The attorney, Joseph Bondi, says Mr. Parnas would be willing to testify to Congress under oath.  CNN contacted Nunes’ office multiple times before publishing the story, asking for a response from him, but he refused to return their calls.

Nunes’ complaint is 47 pages long … lawyers always manage to write 50 pages for what could easily have been said in 2-3 sentences … and accuses Parnas of manufacturing a narrative that he hoped would help him negotiate a deal with federal prosecutors or obtain immunity from Congress.  So … why isn’t he suing Mr. Parnas?

Records disclosed Tuesday in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry report show phone calls between Nunes and Giuliani as well as between Nunes and Parnas earlier this year.  Nunes says he remembers speaking with Giuliani, but that it was all perfectly innocent, and he doesn’t remember speaking with Mr. Parnas.  I guess he has a ‘convenient memory’ like Trump, eh?

Nunes claims that CNN published the story in order to damage his reputation and ensure his removal from the ongoing impeachment inquiry.  It seems to me that Nunes is trying to catch up to Trump in the number of lawsuits to his name.  Trump has been either plaintiff or defendant in over 6,000 lawsuits during his 73 years, so while Nunes has some catching up to do, he’s certainly trying (in more ways than one).

Devin-Nunes-criesIn March, he filed a lawsuit for $250 million against Twitter, claiming that two parody Twitter accounts (one called “Devin Nunes’ Cow”) and a Republican political consultant defamed him with mean tweets.  Awwww … pobrecito!  In August, he sued McClatchy news organization for another $250 million, alleging defamation.  And in October he sued Ryan Lizza and Hearst Magazines for $77 million, claiming that a story in Esquire about the Nunes family farm in Iowa defamed him.

An interesting aside … the Devin Nunes’ Cow Twitter account had only about 1,000 followers until Mr. Nunes filed the lawsuit, and then it’s readership skyrocketed to 667,000! nunesIt seems to me that Mr. Nunes has very thin skin.  As I was writing this post, the thought occurred to me that perhaps it would be fun to mail him a box of tissues to dry his tears.  Hey, maybe he would then sue me!  That could be fun, for as the old saying goes, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip”!

The irony here is priceless, for in 2017, Devin Nunes co-sponsored HR 1179 – Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act.

Just think, if Nunes were to win all these lawsuits, he would increase his net worth from his present $158,001 to $1,012,508,001.  That’s it, folks!  I’ve got it now!  He wants to become a billionaire like so many of his peers!  All these lawsuits could put him just over the billion-dollar mark!  Except … one small problem … I don’t think he’s likely to win a single one of them!Devin-Nunes

A Few Mini-Rants … Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

It was going to be just another mildly Snarky Snippets piece, but suddenly I discovered I really felt a rant building up.  And so …


Another unqualified candidate on the bench …

Her name is Sarah Elizabeth Pitlyk, she is 42 years of age, her only judiciary experience was clerking for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh, she has never tried a case as a lead or co-counsel, has never examined a witness, and yet now she is a federal judge for the U.S. District Court in St. Louis!  The American Bar Association (ABA) gave her a “not qualified” rating … you can read their letter if you wish.

So, what has she done?  What, exactly, made Trump think she was a good candidate for the federal court?  Did she bat her eyes just right, or swing her hips just so?  Oh no … here it is … “Sarah Pitlyk has spent most of her career defending our most fundamental freedoms, including religious liberty.”

Vanita Gupta, a former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said of Pitlyk’s confirmation …

“She is exactly the type of judicial nominee that Trump promised to fill the courts with: an individual who threatens reproductive rights and access to abortion. With Pitlyk’s confirmation, the administration is betting on her to carry out their agenda for decades to come.”

Another setback to women’s rights!  One lousy republican, Senator Susan Collins, found enough compunction to vote against this woman’s confirmation.  To the rest of you damn republicans … go soak your heads in a vat of boiling oil, please!!!   Hear that low growl emitting from my throat?


Let them eat cake!  Oh wait … they cannot afford that, either

Scrooge McTrump is at it again!

The Agriculture Department gave its final approval to the first of three rules that are ultimately expected to cut more than three million from the food stamp rolls.  According to the Department of Agriculture, the economy has improved under the Trump administration, and assistance to unemployed, able-bodied adults was no longer necessary in a strong job market.

sonny-perdueSonny Perdue, head of the Department of Agriculture and one of Trump’s many yes-men, aka boot lickers, is a millionaire.  Not one night in his worthless life has he gone to bed hungry!  This is the problem with too damn many rich people in this administration … they have no concept … NONE … of what the average person deals with.

Cut food stamps, cut other social service programs, but increase military spending.  Oh yeah … let’s not forget … cut taxes on the wealthy.  Is this any way to run a government?  No, it is not.  Again, as I have said so many times before … this is a government of, by and for the wealthy and to hell with the rest of us.  The growl gets louder …


Jim Jordan …

jim-jordanI think it speaks volumes when one of the Republican Party’s loudest mouthpieces is a man who is implicated in a sex scandal at Ohio State University (OSU).  It says much about the values – or should I say lack of values – of the GOP.

Mind you, Representative Jim Jordan is not accused of sexual abuse himself, but when he served as Assistant Coach from 1986 – 1994, numerous students went to him with complaints that the campus doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, had abused them.  Strauss has been found to have abused at least 177 male students during his tenure at the university.  Jim Jordan did nothing when students took their concerns to him, but simply blew them off.

Jordan claims that he did not know, but numerous students and even a referee have come forward to say that they went to Jordan, hoping he would help them, but instead he blew them off, saying, “Yeah, that’s Strauss.”  Where there is so much smoke, there is a fire somewhere.

And this is one of the faces of the GOP today.  How low they have sunk since the days when GOP stood for ‘Grand Old Party’.


The laughingstock of the world …

All throughout Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, when nobody thought he could possibly win the election (and for the record, he didn’t), he was the laughingstock of both the nation and our allies.  Here in the U.S., we stopped laughing in the wee hours of November 9th, 2016.  The rest of the world kept laughing until probably mid-March 2017, when they saw that he was not only a threat to the U.S. and its people, but to the entire world.

Now, he is seen abroad as a fool, but a dangerous fool, and world leaders spend a bit of time in the days leading up to a summit or conference he will attend, trying to head off any dramatics, any crisis.

It was reported on December 2nd that NATO leaders had done everything in their power ahead of this week’s NATO summit to ensure that there would be no disruptive incidents.  But, wherever Trump goes, he insists on being the center of attention, and if he isn’t, then he will find a way to make it so.nato-trump.jpgYesterday, he stormed out of the summit in London after seeing a video of a group of leaders, including Boris Johnson, ridiculing him at Buckingham Palace for staging lengthy press conferences.  I suppose it hurt his itty-bitty feelings, punctured that thin skin of his, and he took his toys and went home.  He fully deserved the ridicule, and those who dished it out … Princess Anne, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French president Emmanuel Macron, and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte … were not aware they were being recorded, nor that the recording would be shown to Trump.  But, let’s face it folks … the bully got just exactly what he deserved.  As one commentor noted, the conversation wasn’t even newsworthy until Trump made it newsworthy.

And, I laugh, but at the same time I wonder, for Trump is a bully, he retaliates against those who would mock him.  Perhaps cooler heads will convince him to drop it.  Wait … are there any cooler heads left in the White House???

And Putin smiles …


Okay, well, it’s getting late and what started as a low growl is now a full-throttle roar, so it’s time for me to stop ranting and get a few hours of nice, peaceful sleep.  And I leave you with a bit of chuckle-inducing humour from our friend Jimmy Kimmel …

House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment

Today marks the next stage in the Trump impeachment process. Fellow-blogger Brosephus has some thoughts on the process thus far, the evidence, and the fiasco that is certain to ensue as the republicans continue to attempt to defend the indefensible. He also provides a link to the live coverage and other valuable information. Thank you, Brosephus, for all this valuable information!

The Mind of Brosephus

Today marks the first day of impeachment hearings being held by the House Judiciary Committee.  This committee would be the one responsible for drafting any articles of impeachment that would ultimately be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.  Since impeachment is typically a once in a lifetime event, today’s hearing is basically going to be a history lesson on impeachment.  There will be historians and scholars who will testify about the aspects of impeachment.  It will likely be a drab hearing, but I still expect Republicans to do what they do best, which is try to muddy the waters while defending Trump.

As I did for the Intelligence Committee, I’m providing a live-stream of the hearings for those who can’t access it otherwise.  This is a historical event regardless of where your politics reside.  I agree with Democratic members of Congress that these allegations need to be investigated. …

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Personal Destruction-The Trump Doctrine

Never in my 68 years have I heard a president of this country mock and name-call people in the way that Donald Trump does. His demeanor is that of a 13-year-old spoiled brat, certainly not that of a ‘man’ holding the highest office in a nation of 330 million people. He uses and tramples people, and who knows how many lives he has ruined with his targeted rancor. One of those people is former attorney for the FBI, Lisa Page, who has waited two years to tell her side of the story. Thanks to our friend Jeff for writing a post about Ms. Page and what she has gone through.

On The Fence Voters

Lisa Page has had enough. The former FBI employee, forced to resign due to the current President and his cult’s rampant character assassination, decided to tell her side of the story finally. Once again, another person’s life and career—ruined by Trump and his rabid base of followers. It’s a long list, and they’re adding to it all the time.

Page, a lawyer and former special counsel to then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe(he’s on the list), worked on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 campaign, then transitioned into looking into the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Eventually, Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director Jim Comey led to an investigation by the DOJ Inspector General’s Office into Page’s so-called ‘political’ text messages. The texts were then maliciously released to the public, even though the DOJ assured Page it wouldn’t happen.

The text messages…

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Impeachment Thoughts

To date, I have not weighed in on the impeachment hearings, except for a brief mention here and there.  That does not mean that I haven’t been paying attention, or that I haven’t got thoughts about it all, but only that I wanted to let things play out for a bit before offering my observations.

There has never been a doubt in my mind that Trump has committed any number of impeachable, even criminal actions, despite the fact that Attorney General William Barr would say that, as president, Trump is above all law.  The United States Constitution says otherwise.  My own opinion was that the impeachment process should have had its formal beginning when Robert Mueller’s final report was issued, for that report contained sufficient evidence that Trump had acted from self-interest in attempting to obstruct justice and invite foreign influence into the U.S. election process.  Nancy Pelosi, however, thought it best to wait, and at this point, I would agree that she was probably right to do so.

Trump’s attempt at extortion, his blatant attempt to coerce the newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to announce a sham investigation into the man Trump believed would be his main competition in next year’s election, carries more weight than the ‘obstruction of justice’ charges would have.  That said …

I think too much emphasis is being placed on the “quid pro quo” … something for something … than is necessary, and I find it distracting.  Whether one can put one’s finger directly on the ‘quid’ and the ‘quo’ is irrelevant.  For the record, the ‘quid pro quo’ has, in fact, been proven by multiple witnesses, but again, that isn’t the point.  The point is that Trump broke the law.  Trump acted dishonestly and attempted, as he did in 2016, to manipulate an election.  Trump sullied the office he holds, and it will be many years, likely decades, before trust in that office will be restored.

Over the course of the past few weeks, numerous witnesses have provided corroborating evidence that Trump acted improperly and against the Constitution.  It becomes obvious that Trump is guilty and that his cohorts are fully aware of the level of his guilt by the fact that there are so many attempts to misdirect or even halt the impeachment proceedings.  They are tripping over each other trying to provide lame excuses or justifications for what he did, mostly pointing their fingers at “democrats” in general with some unclear intent.  An innocent man, or even one who felt his misdeeds were justifiable, would welcome the opportunity to air the facts, to present his own side of the story, so to speak.

Yesterday, however, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a five-page letter to Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee saying that … well here, read the first two sentences for yourself …

I write in response to your letter of November 26, 2019, to President Trump regarding the purported “impeachment inquiry” currently being conducted by Democrats in the House of Representatives (“House”). As you know, this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness.

Leave it to a lawyer to take five pages to say what could have been said in a single sentence.  Notice his intentional scorn for the proceedings by placing quotation marks around “impeachment inquiry”.  And his reference to the process as being “baseless and highly partisan”, while there are nearly as many republicans on the committee as there are democrats.  And his claim that it violates historical precedent … well, all he has to do is remember Nixon, remember Clinton, and there is the precedent.

The letter speaks volumes, though not quite the volumes the letter-writer intended.  What this letter says to me is that there is no valid defense on behalf of Trump, and so the strategy of Trump et al is to merely distract from the process by denying the validity of it.  Trump & Co have done everything in their power short of murder to keep key witnesses from honouring the congressional subpoenas and testifying.  The few who have come forth voluntarily and in spite of Trump are to be applauded for their courage.

An honest man would not go to so much trouble, engage in all the drama and theatrics, to attempt to halt a proceeding that is supported by the U.S. Constitution itself, the very document Trump has taken an oath to uphold.  Neither Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton went to such lengths, and in fact both cooperated with the impeachment process to a greater or lesser degree.

For more than a month, Trump has disparaged the impeachment process claiming he was not given an opportunity to tell his side, to defend himself.  He was given the opportunity to do so, to have his attorneys present if he could not be there himself, and instead he once again deflected.  It is the opinion of this writer that he has no legal leg to stand on, that both he and his team of lawyers know it, and that if for any reason he is not impeached it will be a gross miscarriage of justice and will end any remaining perception of democratic principles.  His lawyers, as well as Attorney General William Barr, claim that he cannot be investigated or charged with a crime while in office.  The Constitution, however, disagrees.

An honest man, one with nothing to hide, wouldn’t work so hard at hiding so many things.

Snarky Snippets — Bah Humbug!

They say that ignorance is bliss.  If that is true, there must be a heck of a lot of really blissful people in this nation!


The height of ignorance?

Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to manufacture, let alone sell, Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments???  Has the Era of Trump, or the populist movement really made people so cruel, crude, classless, tasteless, and effing ignorant?

From an article in The Washington Post

Amazon has halted the sale of Auschwitz-themed products such as Christmas decorations, a mouse pad and a bottle opener, following an outpouring of disgust on social media led by Poland’s official memorial museum.

The items featured images from Auschwitz, a former Nazi concentration camp where an estimated 1.1 million men, women and children died during World War II. An Auschwitz-themed star holiday decoration was described as a “high quality snowflake,” with the seller, going by the name of Fcheng, describing the bottle opener as a “memorable gift, perfect for every festival.”

In 2018, a report from two watchdog groups found that Amazon was continuing to profit from the sale of white-supremacist propaganda such as books, swastika jewelry and baby onesies featuring an image of a burning cross — despite the company’s policy against selling products that promote hatred.

More than a few times I have noted that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech is often too broadly interpreted, and that every ‘right’ comes with a corresponding responsibility.  Amazon shirked their responsibility in allowing these hate-themed items to be advertised and sold.  But, perhaps the bigger problem is the fact that there is actually a demand for such items, that people will actually buy this crap.


What the heck are they thinking???

Every now and then, it happens that a fetus will implant in a woman’s fallopian tube rather than the uterus.  Left untreated, this would ultimately result in the death of the mother, not to mention the fetus.  This is called an ectopic pregnancy, and the only viable treatment is to surgically remove the fetus from the fallopian tube.

The state legislature in Ohio, however, has decided that they know more than all the gynecologists in the world, and there is a bill before the legislature, HB413, that would require doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus, or be charged with ‘abortion murder’.

Lots of problems with this bill, but the main one is that reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy is medically impossible!  The procedure does not exist!  It cannot be done!  Are the lawmakers in this state really that effing stupid???

It is bad enough that Ohio and other states have passed some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country … the world, for that matter.  Women’s rights?  HAH!  The bozos are spoon-fed by the evangelicals who have an unreasonable desire to ensure that women are given only the rights men see fit to give them.  But now, they are almost ensuring that every gynecologist in the state will be in prison for murder and women who need a doctor will have to go to another state to find one!  Might be a better idea just to sterilize all male babies at birth … there, problem solved!

Sorry … I got a little carried away there, but this is about the stupidest one thing I have seen come out of the state legislature, ever.

Under the bill, physicians who perform abortions would face 15 years to life in prison, and removing an ectopic pregnancy is considered an abortion in this bill.  The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists argues that pro-life physicians should end such ectopic pregnancies as “There is no chance for survival of the child, either inside or outside the womb, but there is a very real, imminent danger of death or disability for the mother.”

But, some people are apparently so appalled by the concept of ‘abortion’ that they would see the mother die in an attempt to save a fetus.  Too bad those same people aren’t equally appalled by children separated from their parents and thrown in cages.  Too damn bad they aren’t equally appalled by children going to bed hungry at night or living on the streets.

Needless to say, doctors aren’t too happy with the bill …ohio-doctor-tweetCommon sense says that the bill is for show only and cannot possibly pass the legislature and be signed into law by the governor, right?  Right?


Okay … I’m going to go do some housecleaning to work off some of this angst & ire.  Have a nice evening, folks!

Give Us Back Our Elections …

One of my pet peeves is the 2010 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (FEC), in which the Court ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.  In a nutshell, it opened the door to unlimited donations by wealthy corporations, such lobbying groups as the NRA, and others to basically buy our politicians.  This is why we have a Congress that is unwilling to enact gun regulations, despite the fact that some 80% of the people in this country are in favour of such things as enhanced background checks and a ban on assault weapons.  This is why our very lives are placed at risk by the rolling back of environmental regulations that are so crucial to preserving life on earth.  And this is why there is an ever-widening income gap between the billionaires and the rest of us who live payday to payday.  And this is why ours is no longer a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’, but rather of, by, and for only the wealthy and powerful people.

I have featured Robert Reich on this blog a few times before.  He is an economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.  He, better than most, understand the inner workings of our government.  Sans partisanship, he explains why we simply must overturn Citizens United, must get the big money out of politics, and return our elections to We the People.  Please take three minutes to watch …

About Those Amazon Fires …

The Amazon rainforest plays a significant role in mitigating the effects of climate change, by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.  It is the largest such ‘carbon dioxide sink’ on the globe.  While it is not at all unusual for fires to occur in the Amazon during the dry season, this year’s fires have been particularly intense and have led to international concern, for obvious reasons.

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Jair Bolsonaro

During the summer, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who had previously stated his intention to destroy parts of the rainforest to make way for agriculture, mining, and other business development, mocked the environmental groups who were expressing concern about the fires.  In August, as the fires intensified and photographs of the ongoing fires and impacts caught international attention and became a rising topic among world leaders, suspicions that at least some of the fires had been deliberately set were noted in the press.

The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil (INPE) reported that at least 74,155 fires had been detected in all of Brazil, which represents an 84-percent increase from the same period in 2018.  Bolsonaro mocked the INPE data, and mocked the concerned environmentalists, even going so far as to call himself “Captain Chainsaw”.  This, combined with Bolsonaro’s declared intent to destroy parts of the rainforest, led to speculation that perhaps he was responsible for the setting of some of the fires.

But on Wednesday, August 21, Bolsonaro said he believed non-governmental organizations could be behind the fires as a tactic “to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil.”

“The fire was started, it seemed, in strategic locations. There are images of the entire Amazon. How can that be? Everything indicates that people went there to film and then to set fires. That is my feeling.”

In August at the G7 summit, a special meeting was called to discuss the Amazon fires.  Trump, by the way, did not attend and lied about his reason for not attending, but what’s new?  At the meeting, the group pledged $22 million to assist with putting out the fires.  The next day, Bolsonaro rejected the offer.

In September, at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, leaders from around the globe offered assistance in fighting the fires, but Bolsonaro rejected the offers of help, and said that he would use the rainforest’s resources as he sees fit. The Amazon isn’t in flames, he told the group, but brimming with riches. And Brazil will decide how to develop it.  Rather like seeing your neighbor’s house afire, offering to assist in putting the fire out, and being told to go home, that there was no fire and he would appreciate you minding your own business.  You can plainly see that it is afire and could easily spread to your own home, thus making it your own business, but … what can you do?

Since the annual rains started last month, though some fires are still burning, for all intents and purposes the majority have been quelled.  So, I hear you wondering why I am bringing all this up now.  Well …

Bolsonaro’s latest round of the blame game is pointing the finger at none other than actor Leonardo DiCaprio!  Now, this would be laughable just in and of itself, but … Leonardo DiCaprio is an environmental activist who, in August pledged $5 million to help save the Amazon!  Bolsonaro has vowed to drive environmental NGOs from Brazil, and so on Friday he told a group of his supporters …

“This Leonardo DiCaprio’s a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money for the Amazon to be torched.  Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning of the Amazon.”

It would be bad enough, thinking of the plant and animal life lost, if these fires had only affected Brazil.  The people of Brazil, after all, elected this narcissistic, arrogant, ignorant fool, and it could be said they deserve what they get, just as the people of the U.S. deserve the chaos they invited upon their nation.  But, in this case, it is estimated that the Amazon rainforest is responsible for some 20% of the world’s oxygen.  I said … 20% OF THE WORLD’S OXYGEN!!!  Think about that one for a minute.trump-bolsonaroIf that means that 1 in 5 people are going to have to stop breathing, I vote that Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump should be the first two to stop, and then all the rest of the climate deniers should simply be forced to stop breathing, then perhaps there will be enough oxygen for the rest of us.

It is estimated that it will take between 20 – 40 years for the trees that were burned to be fully replaced.  We don’t have that kind of time, folks.  Did Jair Bolsonaro bankroll the destruction that was caused this summer?  Perhaps we’ll never know, and perhaps at this point it no longer matters, except … he’s still the president of Brazil and he’s shown the world how little he thinks of protecting the environment.  If the human race is determined to extinct itself, as appears to be the case, we have certainly made a good start at it.

A Class Act — Ilhan Omar

It has nothing to do with how much money a person has, nor does it relate to a person’s position in society.  You cannot purchase it … you either have it, or you don’t.  Barack and Michelle Obama both have it in spades.  Donald and Melania Trump do not.  What is it, you ask?  It is a thing called ‘class’.

U.S. House Representative Ilhan Omar has this thing called class. ilhan-omarMs. Omar has been the target of some of the most vicious racist and Islamophobic threats and verbal attacks imaginable.  Why?  Because she is a Muslim, because the ‘man’ who is masquerading as president of this nation has instilled a fear of ‘other’ into some 40% of our population and has, in fact, launched a personal attack against Ms. Ilhan.

And yet through it all, she has retained her grace and dignity.

Back in March, Patrick W. Carlineo Jr. of Addison, New York, called Ms. Ilhan’s D.C. office and spoke to a staff member …

“Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”

patrick-carlineoOn Monday, November 18th, Mr. Carlineo pleaded guilty to threatening to assault and murder the freshman congresswoman and for being a felon in possession of firearms.  He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Carlineo hates Muslims and even went so far as to tell the FBI when they began their investigation into him, “if our forefathers were still alive, they’d put a bullet in her head”.

Ms. Ilhan, whose life he threatened, however asks for compassion for the man …

“We must apply a system of compassion to criminal justice. Who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves?”

This, folks, is class.  It is compassion.  It is human decency.

Although she had just turned 19 when, on 11 September 2001, 19 Middle-Eastern terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, some have sought to place the blame, by extension, on her shoulders.  Trump himself re-tweeted an obnoxious tweet several months ago that falsely claimed she was seen partying in the aftermath of 9/11.  And, in the West Virginia State Capitol, a poster was at a table in the Capitol’s rotunda …ilhan-omar-911The poster led to a brawl outside the House of Delegates that eventually spilled into the chamber, where at least one person was injured.  The body’s sergeant at arms submitted a letter of resignation at the end of the day after being accused of a making an anti-Muslim slur during the dispute.

And then in August, Ms. Omar received an anonymous death threat …ilhan-omar-death-threatThis was shortly after Trump said that Ms. Omar and three other Congresswomen of colour should “go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”, and then-Senate candidate from Alabama, Roy Moore, echoed Trump, saying “… Trump was right, she should go back to Somalia from whence she came”.  When such ugly talk comes from our politicians, especially the faux president, is it really any wonder she receives death threats?

And that brings us to this week, when her republican challenger in next year’s election, Daniella Stella, got herself and her campaign banned from Twitter for her hateful tweets.  On Tuesday, she posted …

“If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged.”

And she followed up with an image of a stick-figure being hanged.  Her reference to Ms. Omar passing “sensitive info to Iran” stems from a conspiracy theory started by Canadian businessman Alan Bender who has links to the Saudi government, and he implicates everyone from Jared Kushner to Ty Cobb to Ms. Omar.  The story has been proven false, yet apparently Ms. Stella failed to get that memo.

Danielle-StellaThis is not the first time that Daniella Stella has come onto my radar.  Back in July, I wrote a snippet about her having been arrested twice for shoplifting, and once for trying to outrun the police when they stopped her for driving drunk!  She is also a supporter of the conspiracy group QAnon, if that tells you anything.  I don’t think Ilhan Omar needs to worry overly much about keeping her seat next year, if Ms. Stella is the best the Republican Party of Minnesota has to offer!

I began this post talking about class.  What is class, exactly?  It can be a lot of things – being kind and compassionate, being calm in the face of adversity, walking away from a fight.  Class is one of those things that … you know it when you see it.  Class is definitely not defined by racism or any other form of bigotry.  It is not defined by cruelty.  Those who would attack Ms. Ilhan Omar simply because of her ethnicity, her religion, or the fact that she is a woman, are the ones who have no class.  Ms. Ilhan Omar has more of it in her little finger than Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Daniella Stella, and Patrick Carlineo combined.

Note to readers:  Saturday Surprise will return next week … probably.