Women’s ‘Rights’? HAH!

Way back in the beginning days of this nation, women were not allowed to own property, nor were they allowed to vote.  Women were basically considered, as were African-Americans, to be chattel, possessions. women-property-rightsGradually … and I do mean gradually, ever so s-l-o-w-l-y … women gained a few human rights, such as the right to own property (1848-1895) and the right to vote (1920 – 19th Amendment).  It would be 1963 before it was decided that women should receive equal pay for performing the same job duties as men.

Women’s rights has been every bit as much a struggle as were civil rights for African-Americans, albeit not as violent.  By the end of the 20th century, most would tell you that women were now fully equal in the eyes of the law to men, that the barriers for women’s equality had been removed.  Remember back in the 1970s, the advertisements for Virginia Slims cigarettes, whose slogan was “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”? virginia-super-slims-advertisement1.jpgBut in this, the year 2018, I would argue that we’ve still got a long way to go.  Two issues prove my point.

The first, is whether a woman has sovereign rights over her own body, and anyone but a fool knows the answer to that is that ‘no’. There is a push today, mainly by the Republican Party on behalf of the evangelical Christians, to deny women access to both birth control and abortion.  Strange, don’t you think, that there is no hue and cry about men obtaining drugs such as Viagra, but women and birth control is a different matter.

In 1973, the issue of abortion was settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Roe v Wade, and it was ruled that a woman has the right to seek an abortion if she so chooses.  But the ruling has been the subject of much criticism by Christian churches, and in 2016, when Donald Trump was campaigning for the office of president, he appealed to the evangelicals by promising to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v Wade.

Furthermore, access to birth control has been challenged and although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that employer-sponsored health insurance must provide coverage for birth control, again the Christian groups stepped in and the courts have ruled against women’s rights.  Newly-minted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is partly to thank for that one.

There is much, much more I could say about these assaults on women’s rights, but I want to move on to my second point, which is the one prevalent in today’s news, and that is the right of women to be respected, to be taken seriously, to not be turned into a sex object and the brunt of male perversity.

The subject, of course, is Dr. Christine Blasely, the woman who came forth to tell of the time, some 30+ years ago, that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a party.  I won’t re-hash the details, for you’ve heard various versions likely hundreds of times in the past week unless you’ve been in a coma.  But my point is the abysmal treatment Dr. Blasely has been afforded ever since she came forward.  She has been called a ‘liar’, it has been suggested that she made up the story at the behest of the Democratic party, and she has received death threats.

Donald Trump and the members of our not-so-illustrious congress have cast aspersion on this woman and attempted every trick in the book to browbeat and bully her.  And in so doing, they have set women’s equality back decades.  Rather than jump to claim she is lying, why didn’t those in charge of the confirmation hearings order an investigation to bring the event into the open, to put to rest any doubts?  Why?  Because they know.  Somewhere deep down, they know that she is not lying.  They know that their esteemed Brett Kavanaugh is guilty as charged.  They know that this will likely, if taken seriously, be the nail in the coffin of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.  And they know the price they will pay from the ‘man’ in the Oval Office if they fail to complete their mission of confirming Kavanaugh quickly before the democrats find their voice in November.

  • Senator Scott Newman: “Even if true, teenagers! Frankly, I don’t believe her.”
  • Kavanaugh spokesperson/activist Josh Marshall says it’s not clear that the incident was attempted rape as opposed to just “rough horseplay”.

Remember in 2016 when the Access Hollywood tape came out with Donald Trump making disparaging remarks about his treatment of women?  His defenders, despite evidence that he was indeed guilty of multiple cases of sexual abuse, brushed it off as only “locker room talk”.

Tell me, folks … if the tables were turned … if a female nominee were accused by a man of having groped him, attempted to disrobe him, and clapped her hand over his mouth in order to keep him from calling for help, would the senators be so glib?  I think not.  I think they would pretend to be horrified and decide early on that she was not qualified to sit on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court.  But, the ‘good ol’ boys’ network is alive and well, and instead of horror, there is a wink-wink, a knowing smile, and ultimately a confirmation of a man with too little integrity.

But understand, please, that Dr. Blasely is not the first, nor will she be the last woman to be treated in such a manner.  Women throughout the ages have been disbelieved or expected to accept sexual abuse as their due.  Sure, we’ve “come a long way, baby”, but make no mistake … women do not have equal rights in 21st century America, and I despair that we ever will.

**  Here are links to two excellent timelines of the history of women’s rights, in case you’re interested:

Dear Republicans, Your Dark Money Days Are About To Hit A Roadblock

In 2010, with the Citizens United decision that removed limits on how much money corporations could contribute to political campaigns, we saw the beginning of an era whereby wealthy corporations are pretty much able to buy elections. The ruling was the beginning of the end of election integrity. But this week, a small step was taken that may be a start toward returning a bit of integrity to the U.S. elections, and our friend Gronda has written an excellent, informative piece explaining it. Thank you, Gronda, for keeping us informed!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of americans for prosperity

Could the Republican Party be in receipt for even more negative news? Yes, as many donors of dark monies, (monies they can donate for political purposes anonymously), will have the cloak of anonymity taken away. Again, the courts have stepped in to rule that many of these donors will have to reveal their names to the public, even before the November 2018 elections.

Here is the rest of the story… 

On September 18, 2018, Paul Blumenthal of HuffPost penned the following report, “Dark Money Groups Will Have To Disclose Their Donors In Time For The Midterms” (“A court order invalidating a rule that kept some election spending secret is going into effect.”)

Excerpts:

“There may be a whole lot less dark money in federal elections after the Supreme Court allowed a lower court decision to go into effect on Tuesday invalidating a key regulation that created a loophole for…

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More Head-Shaking Moments …

I considered not writing a post for this morning.  My mother used to caution me: “Si no puedes decir algo bueno, entonces no digas nada.”  Translation:  If you cannot say something nice, then say nothing at all.  And thus, I considered skipping my morning post, for I knew I could not say anything nice.  But, sigh, I then remembered something else my mother used to say: “Siempre comparte con tus amigos.”  Translation:  Always share with your friends.  So, grab a stick (to bite on to keep from screaming and scaring the neighbors), a box of tissues and sit down while I regale you with the latest …


Say WHAT???

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries.  I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy.” – Donald Trump, interview with John Solomon and Buck Sexton of The Hill, Tuesday 18 September 2018

Excuse me, but last I knew, a candidate … which is all Trump was after winning the primaries, after winning the nomination … does not have any more right to fire the Director of the FBI than you or I!!!  Is his ego truly so bloated that he thinks he had that ability?  And if so, then what else does he believe he can do, that he cannot … or can he?

And then there was this, from the same interview …

“You know, I took that test when I got my last physical, and the doctor said that’s one of the highest scores we’ve ever seen. I did that not because I wanted but I did it, I was always good at testing. But if there’s anything great about me it’s stability, and I’m a good manager. Always been a good manager, but you know, I have a vision.”

When I read that, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, so instead I choked on a bite of celery. Fortunately, daughter Chris is a nurse and certified in the Heimlich maneuver.

But wait … it gets even better … or worse, actually.  When speaking of his decision earlier this week to release to the public certain classified materials relating to the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election despite serious national security concerns, Trump credited …

“I have been asked by so many people that I respect, please — the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful great Jeanie Pirro.”

Donald Trump … the leader of the United States of America … responsible and accountable to some 328 million people … is jeopardizing national security … based on the advice of … three radical, right-wing, conspiracy-theorist, television talk show hosts?!?!?!?!

I don’t care if you are a democrat, republican or independent, if this doesn’t make you see red, then you seriously need an education.

If you have the stomach for it, and have somebody with you who knows the Heimlich, feel free to read or watch the entire 1:32 long interview.


Ethics, Schmethics …

The September 3-9 Gallup poll asked how Trump’s ethical standards compare with those of seven of his eight predecessors.  Take a look at the results …ethics poll.pngTrump’s ethics were considered to be even lower than Richard I-am-not-a-crook Nixon!!!  Nixon, who was charged with obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress as a result of his involvement in the Watergate scandal, is the only U.S. president to resign from office, which he did in 1974, before his near-certain impeachment.

Yet more than eight in ten Republicans still approve of the job he is doing.  Shoot me now!


He should’a stayed home …

It is generally appropriate and expected for the president to visit and tour areas of the nation after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane.  So, it was no surprise that Trump visited New Bern, North Carolina, hard-hit from floods as a result of Hurricane Florence last week. Trump-Florence.jpgLooking at the remains of a yacht that had washed up against the back of a brick home, Trump asked the homeowner …  “Is this your boat?” The man shook his head and said “No”. Trump turned with a grin and replied, “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.”

gaspWas there a more inappropriate remark he could have made?  Other presidents have treated natural disaster tours as dignified, solemn affairs.  After all, people have lost homes, possessions, cars, family pets, and in some cases even the lives of loved ones. They need both practical help and compassion, understanding.  With Trump, they get off-key attempts at humour, and as the New York Times states it, “pep-rally enthusiasm”.  Frankly, had I been that homeowner I would have spit in his face.  What an embarrassment he is to us all, only some 36% of the nation cannot see it.  Perhaps if he mocked their own misfortune they would begin to understand.


sad-turltleOkay, folks … that’s all I’ve got … well, actually I’ve got lots more, but that’s likely enough to start your day off on the wrong foot, so I’ll leave off here.  Have a great day, my friends … try to step away from the train wreck for a bit and go outside, enjoy nature, remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’.  I think that’s my new motto.

Signs of the Times — The Great Divide

The ludicrous-ness of the polarized political climate came to the fore multiple times yesterday and today, but a few things stand out as being beyond belief.  These are the signs of the times we are now living in, folks.


I received a “BREAKING NEWS!!!” update yesterday afternoon from no less than three media outlets.  I thought that surely somebody must have dropped a nuke as I was folding towels and listening to my phone urgently squawking  “bzzzzt … bzzzzt … bzzzzt”.  What, you ask, was the big crisis?

“Trump feels ‘terribly’ for Kavanaugh”

That’s right, folks … Trump spoke at a news conference …

“I feel so badly for him that he is going through this, to be honest with you. This is not a man who deserves this. Honestly I feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible, lovely woman and for his beautiful young daughters. I feel terribly for them.”

… and it was BREAKING NEWS!!!  It was so damn important that I was dragged away from my clean towels and damn near given heart failure just to hear Trump empathize with a fellow pervert!  Surely there was something more important going on in the world than this?  And today, it is on the front page of every outlet, Trump’s disparagement of Christine Ford and his empathy for poor little Brett K.  The press’ credibility wears thin when they cannot prioritize any better than this.


And then there was this one that hit my inbox no less than four times:

Ted Cruz claims Beto O’Rourke is ‘going to ban barbecue across the state of Texas’

What … did some brain-eating bacteria invade the confines of Ted Cruz’ skull cavity?  It turns out to be a tweet that Cruz apparently thought humorous …Cruz tweetI don’t find it particularly funny, but neither do I find it worthy of top billing in an email.


Andy Kim-1

Andy Kim

In New Jersey, Andy Kim is running on the democratic ticket for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, against incumbent Tom MacArthur.  MacArthur is a Trump boot-licker and the people of New Jersey may be getting tired of it, for the race is tight, with Kim having a 2% lead at present.  Oh … did I mention that Andy Kim is Asian-American?  No, I didn’t, because it shouldn’t be of any importance.  But alas, this is the year 2018 when evidently ‘race matters’.

The New Jersey Republican State Committee thought it would be cute to target Kim in an ad that can only be considered racist …

Andy KimNeed I say more?  Hopefully this perfidy will only serve to increase Kim’s lead.


I have long believed that those who have never struggled to pay the rent, put food on the table or be able to afford to take their children to the doctor cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be poor.  Unfortunately, throughout history, our lawmakers have never done without anything a day in their lives, but never has this been truer than it is today, with the wealthiest Congress and the richest administration in the history of the nation.  So, it should come as no surprise that Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce whose net worth is estimated at $2.9 billion, said this …

Confirmation Hearing Held For Trump's Pick To Become Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

Somebody slap that stupid grin off his face!

“If you have a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion, that’s $20 billion a year. That’s a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of 1 percent total inflation in the U.S. Because it’s spread over thousands and thousands of products, nobody’s gonna actually notice it at the end of the day.”

Christmas is around the corner.  Were you planning to buy your kid a new bike, or a new kitchen gadget for your mom?  Be sure to let ol’ Wilbur know how much more you paid for it than you would have last year.  Or … more likely for most of us … send him a picture of your son’s face on Christmas morning when he finds some t-shirts and underwear in lieu of the bike he asked Santa for.


Just as I finished writing this piece, an email from political analyst Larry Sabato dropped into my inbox, a portion of which I thought might interest you.

A series of new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics polls found close races in the key Senate battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.

The polls, conducted online in English from Sept. 5 to 17 with roughly 2,000 respondents per state (narrowed down to about 1,000 likely voters per state), found the following results for the Senate and gubernatorial races among likely voters in the five states surveyed:

Arizona Senate: Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47%, Martha McSally (R) 44%

Arizona Governor: Doug Ducey (R) 51%, David Garcia (D) 39%

California Senate: Dianne Feinstein (D) 44%, Kevin de León (D) 24%

California Governor: Gavin Newsom (D) 52%, John Cox (R) 40%

Florida Senate: Rick Scott (R) 46%, Bill Nelson (D) 45%

Florida Governor: Andrew Gillum (D) 50%, Ron DeSantis (R) 44%

Nevada Senate: Dean Heller (R) 46%, Jacky Rosen (D) 43%

Nevada Governor: Adam Laxalt (R) 43%, Steve Sisolak (D) 40%

Texas Senate: Beto O’Rourke (D) 47%, Ted Cruz (R) 45%

Texas Governor: Greg Abbott (R) 50%, Lupe Valdez (D) 41%

I found some of these numbers encouraging, especially the Florida governor’s race.


Okay, I could go on and on, but I have ranted enough that I’m feeling the angst and need to get up and do something physical, like punch a wall, or wash some dishes since my landlord still hasn’t fixed my bloomin’ dishwasher!  Have a great afternoon, my friends … and remember, this too shall pass … maybe.light at the end of the tunnel

On Being Found Wanting

Today, our friend Roger wrote a post that I have to share with you all. In the politically divided world we find ourselves in today, it is altogether too easy to wake up one morning and find that ‘we’ have become ‘they’, that our own voices are just as toxic as those with whom we disagree. Several times in the past year I have written a post, then scrapped it after a 2nd reading, realizing that it was more vitriolic than informative. Roger’s post speaks of his own struggles to remain above the fray, and his words, spoken from his heart, have value for us all. Many thanks, Roger, for sharing your thoughts and for your kind permission to re-blog.

Raging from the Lectern

Citizen present yourself before the tribunal….. 

Back in the good (that’s irony for all you humourless folk out there, of whatever political stripe) old days of Communist Rule, the powers in charge were very big on Critical Self-Examination. This meant some hapless person who had fallen out of favour got hauled up before a tribunal to confess whatever they’d been told to confess to if they really cared for their family or hoped they might get out in one piece. Having said they had been very, very wrong for whatever it was they had been told they had done wrong they would be shunted out to a firing squad, prison camp in the back of beyond, or if it was being blamed for the demise of the Committee’s potted plants simply sent to clean sewers with their bare hands for a while. No one considered ‘Not Guilty’ as an option.

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Why God Is Laughing At Brett Kavanaugh And His Fellow Republicans

Much has been said and written about Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation hearings in the past few weeks, much debate about his fitness (or lack thereof) for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. I have purposely avoided writing about Kavanaugh because I knew I did not have all the information needed to make an informed opinion, although I instinctively felt he was not a good candidate for the position. Friend Gronda has summed up nicely the many reasons that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed for the seat on the Court, and today I share her highly informative post. Gronda presents much information about Kavanaugh’s judicial history that I was not aware of, so please take a minute to read. Many thanks, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos bill clinton in impeachment daysRemember the gentlemen who went after President Bill Clinton tooth and nail for his sexual misdeeds when he presided in the White House. Well Judge Brett Kavanaugh was one of those players who relished pontificating on President Clinton’s lack of moral character. It was Mr. Kavanaugh who recommended to the Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr that he ask President Clinton questions about his sexual peccadilloes in the most salacious way possible.

Just read what the republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley stated for the record (below), as to why they voted to impeach President Clinton in 1996, and they are the same ones who are fast -tracking the confirmation process through the US Senate Judiciary Committee, for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become the next US Supreme Court Justice. Today, they are crying foul as a 51 year old woman is bringing a 36 year old of attempted rape allegation against…

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Ignoring The Lessons Of The Past …

hot stoveAs children, we learn by doing.  When we place our hand on the open flame of a gas burner, as I did at about age 4, we learn that it is hot, it hurts, and it gets us yelled at, so we don’t do it again.  Well, most of us don’t.  As adults, we have developed the ability to learn by not only our own past experiences, but also those of others, and at least in theory, we can use our ability to reason to determine likely outcomes for our actions.  So, when I read that cigarette smoking is responsible for certain diseases, then I can make the decision to not smoke, right?  Okay, bad example, for I am a 3-pack-a-day smoker, but you get the point.  We don’t need to drive our car over a cliff to know that it is not a good idea.

However, as you’ve often heard me say, it seems that we … the human race in general … fail to learn the lessons of history.  We keep making the same stupid mistakes, over and over.

Yesterday, Donald Trump imposed new tariffs on Chinese imports, to the tune of $200 billion, in addition to the $50 billion previously imposed.

“Today, following seven weeks of public notice, hearings, and extensive opportunities for comment, I directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to proceed with placing additional tariffs on roughly $200 billion of imports from China. The tariffs will take effect on September 24, 2018, and be set at a level of 10 percent until the end of the year. On January 1, the tariffs will rise to 25 percent. Further, if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.

We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices. To counter China’s unfair practices, on June 15, I announced that the United States would impose tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. China, however, still refuses to change its practices – and indeed recently imposed new tariffs in an effort to hurt the United States economy.

As President, it is my duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself. My Administration will not remain idle when those interests are under attack.”

Even on the surface to those of us who are not economists, there are some obvious flaws with his plan. Make no mistake … there is no “if” here … there isn’t much doubt that China will impose retaliatory tariffs. But let’s take a look at another case, one from which we might have learned a lesson.

tiresIn 2009, American tire makers persuaded the Obama administration to impose tariffs on Chinese tires, and imports of tires from China fell sharply. But Chinese companies did not stop making tires in response to the tariffs — they simply moved production to other places, including to the United States.

Chinese tire manufacturer Giti, built a factory in South Carolina to make low-cost tires for Walmart.  Did the move keep some jobs in the U.S.?  Sure, but a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) showed that consumers paid a hefty price: an extra $1.1 billion on tires as a result of a tariff that preserved, at most, 1,200 jobs. That is almost $1 million per job, for jobs paying an average of about $40,000.

The 2009 tire tariffs — and similar efforts by past administrations to tax everything from socks to solar panels — have generally failed to protect existing factories and jobs. The Chinese factory in South Carolina created new jobs for American workers but, in effect, the tariffs only moved jobs from one place to another … at a very high price.

Steel tariffs imposed in 2002 by President George W. Bush yielded similar results, penalizing not just consumers but companies that use steel to make other products, like construction companies and carmakers.  There are about 140,000 jobs in the U.S. steel-making industry, but by contrast, 6.5 million who work in industries that buy steel and will be hit hard by Trump’s steel tariffs.

GMDid you know that General Motors sells more cars in China than in the U.S.?  What do you suppose happens when China imposes tariffs on U.S. autos?  Or when the Chinese government calls for a boycott on U.S. goods?  As an authoritarian government, they do not operate under the same constraints as the U.S.

Trump claims that thus far his tariffs have not had much impact on the U.S. consumer, but if you are a savvy food shopper and pay attention to prices, you will have noticed that certain items have increased, some by quite a bit.  And … on 18 December 2017, the price per gallon for regular fuel was $2.16.  Today it is $2.84, a 31.5% increase.

Simply put, tariffs are taxes ultimately paid by American consumers, in the form of higher prices. In addition to the latest round of tariffs on China, there are the steel tariffs on nearly every nation, plus the retaliatory tariffs imposed on the U.S. by other nations.  Remember back when Trump said that trade wars are ‘easy to win’?  Guess what, folks … there are no winners.  Trump has not only failed to learn the many lessons of history but is seemingly unable or unwilling to apply reasoning and logic in his decision-making process.  And guess who’s going to pay the price, my friends.  Not Trump, not his rich cronies …

Sign Of The Apocalypse?

When I first began reading Hugh’s post, I inadvertently let out a primal scream, and after another paragraph, slammed the lid on my laptop, got up and reheated a small bowl of rice before I could finish reading the post. This may not sound like an endorsement for the post, but believe me, it is. Hugh has brought to light something that is happening today that has far longer reaching and outlasting consequences than any of the many abominations tied to Donald Trump. The subject? The re-writing of history, the replacing of facts with opinions. Please, please take a few minutes to read Hugh’s excellent post and think about what he is saying. Get your bowl of rice before you start, though. Thank you, dear Hugh, for bringing this to our attention, and for your generous permission to share.

hughcurtler

One of the more insidious movements in this country is that toward the rewriting of history– eliminating unpleasant facts from the history books. This movement is perhaps a part of the New History movement about which I have blogged in the past — the attempt to reduce history to a form of literature, giving special attention to minor historical figures that have been ignored in the past (probably with good reason!)

In any event, one does wonder why this sort of censorship is not only allowed, but encouraged — even by the Texas State Board of Education which has decided to erase any mention of Hillary Clinton from the history textbooks in order to “streamline” history. As a recent Yahoo news story tells us:

The Texas State Board of Education voted Friday to remove mentions of Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the state’s mandatory history curriculum . . .  The…

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NRA Takes On … Thomas & Friends???

A few days ago, several readers made the comment that the world has gone mad, and I agreed with them.  Today, I am more convinced than ever that there is something toxic in the atmosphere that is turning people into raving lunatics.  The headline in the New York Times reads …

N.R.A. Show Puts Thomas the Tank Engine in K.K.K. Hood to Criticize Diversity Move

The story begins last Friday, when the kids’ show Thomas and Friends announced that it was adding new characters in partnership with the United Nations, as part of an effort to introduce its preschool audience to new cultures and issues.  The new characters are mostly female and international characters, including Nia, a train from Kenya.

Nia

Nia

The character Thomas the Tank Engine was invented more than 70 years ago by the Rev. W. Awdry, as a story for his son. Mr. Awdry turned the story into the first of many books in 1945, and in 1984, Thomas became the star of a new British animated show that was narrated by Ringo Starr. The show made its American debut in 1989 on PBS.

Apparently, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has a problem with Nia … or is her problem with diversity … or is her problem with non-whites?  Loesch hosts a program titled Relentless on NRA-TV (yes, for those who didn’t know, the NRA has its very own television network).  On her program last Friday she questioned the ‘need’ for diversity on Thomas’ show …

Dana Loesch“How do you bring ethnic diversity? I mean they had to paint, what I guess they thought was some sort of African pattern on the side of Nia’s engine? How do you bring ethnic diversity to a show that literally has no ethnicities because they’re trains? They don’t even have skin pigmentation. Was there some concern that the show had racist undertones?”

Obviously, Ms. Loesch has no understanding of ethnic diversity, the intolerance that exists in this nation today, or the need to teach children to value those of different cultures & ethnicities.  And so, Ms. Loesch, along with producers at NRA-TV, came up with this …thomas-tank-kkk

I don’t know about you, but when I first saw this image, I was speechless. This is a new low even for the NRA that, as we all know, has no values and cares not a whit about humans … only about money. But to target a very popular kids’ show??? Can anybody say “social conscience”?

What does Loesch’s grotesque distortion of a children’s cartoon have to do with gun rights? Nothing, according to the laws of common sense.  But of late, the NRA has taken its culture war cues from Trump and its segments are anti-Black Lives Matter, pro-cop, anti-media and pro-Trump.  It is no longer just guns the NRA is defending, but its way of life, its identity.  And apparently a children’s television program that promotes peace, understanding and love of others is offensive to Ms. Loesch and the NRA.

There is something ugly about all of this.  There is something vitriolic, toxic in Ms. Loesch and others such as Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter who bring the message of hate and bigotry, even to small children.  I have been engaged in a back-and-forth discussion for the past week or so with a reader concerning whether there ought to be limits to free speech. This abomination by Ms. Loesch and the NRA further cements my viewpoint that when a person or organization fails to accept the responsibility that accompanies the right to free speech, it is further proof that there need to be some limits, some constraints.  Try explaining the above picture to your 4-year-old:

“Well, you see honey, there are some people who don’t like people who don’t look like they do, and so they put white sheets on their heads and go around setting fires on people’s property and killing people.”

Doesn’t make sense even to me, and I’m not 4-years-old!

Where do we draw a line, folks?  Surely even supporters of the 1st and 2nd amendments must be incensed by this?  Surely nobody can defend Ms. Loesch’ attack on diversity?  Or … can they?  Have we gone too far?  For me, the answer is ‘yes’.  What about you?Pooh-sad

Who Will Be Next To Go?

It seems a foregone conclusion that Jeff Sessions’ job is likely to be toast shortly after the November mid-term elections, and it isn’t surprising, since Trump has been threatening him almost daily since he rightly recused himself from the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.  But there is another head that’s likely to be on the chopping block after the mid-terms and this one needs to be taken seriously as well.

More and more, Secretary of Defense James Mattis is coming under fire from Trump.  I’ll go into some of the reasons in a minute, but Jeff Davis, who recently retired from the U.S. Navy after serving as a spokesman for the defense secretary sums it up, I think, in two sentences:

“Secretary Mattis lives by a code that is part of his DNA. He is genetically incapable of lying, and genetically incapable of disloyalty.”

He is, at the very core, the exact opposite of Donald Trump.

The probably firing of Mattis has absolutely nothing to do with Mattis’ job performance.  According to Senator Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee …

“Secretary Mattis is probably one of the most qualified individuals to hold that job. His departure would, first of all, create a disruption in an area where there has been competence and continuity.”

But Donald Trump’s first priority when it comes to his staff is not whether the person is qualified, but whether he or she is loyal.  Which is not to say that Jim Mattis is not loyal, for he is, but his loyalty is to his country, not to the man-child who makes decisions based on almost anything except logic.  One of the problems, according to a number of people, is that Mattis is frequently referred to as “the adult in the room”, indicating that in the chaos of this administration and amid the temper tantrums of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, Mattis’ is the voice of reason.

When Trump, for no apparent reason, announced via tweets that trans-gender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, Mattis announced that trans-gender service members will continue to be allowed to serve pending the results of a study.Trump-MattisWhen Trump demanded that military families no longer be allowed to accompany service members deployed to South Korea, Mattis refused, saying it could be seen by North Korea as a precursor to war.  Mattis and Trump have also been at odds over NATO and Trump’s unwise decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.  Possibly one of the biggest issues Trump has with Mattis is that despite Trump’s numerous requests that Mattis appear on Fox and Friends in order to praise Trump’s agenda, Mattis has declined to do so.

And then there is the Bob Woodward book, Fear:  Trump in the White House, where Mattis is quoted as having likened Trump’s intellect to that of a “fifth or sixth grader”.  Well … sounds about right to me!

There have been other disagreements:

  • In June, Trump ordered Mattis to set up a Space Force over the defense secretary’s objections that such a move would weigh down an already cumbersome bureaucracy.

  • In July, Trump blew up a NATO summit meeting that Mr. Mattis and other national security officials had worked on for months. The Pentagon chief and others saved the final agreement only because they shielded it from the president and urged envoys to complete it before Trump arrived in Brussels.


  • In August, Trump undercut Mr. Mattis after a news conference at the Pentagon in which the defense secretary suggested that the United States military would resume war games on the Korean Peninsula. The exercises had been suspended — against Mr. Mattis’s advice — after Trump met with Kim Jong-un, in Singapore. “There is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games,” Trump tweeted.

MattisWhy should we care?  First, because the truth is that James Mattis is, in reality, often the only ‘adult in the room’.  The fate of Mattis is important because he is widely viewed — by foreign allies and adversaries but also by the traditional national security establishment in the United States — as the cabinet official standing between a mercurial president and global tumult.  Mattis is highly popular with the men and women of the American military. Most of the rest of his fans are people that Trump does not care about: Democrats, establishment Republicans and American allies.  It is for this reason that Mattis’ job is safe until after November 6th, for even Trump realizes that it is not likely to be a popular move.

Obviously, I am not a close personal friend of Mattis, and thus have not had a conversation with him of late, but my best guess is that if Trump fires Mattis, it will come as something of a relief to the often-beleaguered Defense Secretary.  The constant chaos, disagreement and denigration have to take a toll.  I have often said, I wouldn’t last five minutes in the Trump administration, and I think those with a conscience, those who are determined to ‘do the right thing’, must breathe a sigh of relief on their way out.  I hope the observers who predict Mattis’ termination are wrong, for this nation needs him, but I suspect they are right, for he is a good man, an intelligent man, and those are not traits that are valued in the White House today.  Time will tell.