The Real Meaning of Populism …

France did not want Marine LePen and the Netherlands didn’t want Geert Wilders, so they have teamed up and taken their act to the Czech Republic.  The event is the meeting of the rightwing Europe of Nations and Freedom group and is being hosted by the anti-Islam Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD). The conference is largely symbolic for the Czech SPD party, a means of raising awareness for the populist movement, justifying the movement by showing that the populist movement has a voice in Western Europe, and an attempt to legitimize populism in the Czech Republic.

It is not my intent, nor is it in my ability, to analyze politics in the Czech Republic.  It is, rather, my intent to briefly take a look at the populist movement itself, as it spreads its tentacles ever outward.

By definition, populism is, briefly, “support for the concerns of ordinary people”.  Sounds okay, looks good on paper, but the reality is something altogether different, as we have seen in the U.S.

Donald Trump rode the waves of populism all the way to the Oval Office, but as we have seen, by the above definition of populism, not one single thing he has done fits the definition.  Granted, Trump is a case-study in and of himself in the art of lying.  But other populist politicians are equally unconcerned with the ‘ordinary’ person, yet call themselves populist.  So, what does populism really mean? Consider these examples:

  • Donald Trump in the U.S., wants to deport undocumented immigrants and ban all Muslims from the Middle East.
  • Podemos, the populist Spanish party, wants to give immigrants voting rights.

  • Geert Wilders, the populist Dutch politician, wants to eliminate hate-speech laws.
  • Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the populist Polish politician, pushed for a law making it illegal to use the phrase “Polish death camps”.

  • Evo Morales, Bolivia’s populist president, has expanded indigenous farmers’ rights to grow coca.
  • Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ populist president, has ordered his police to execute suspected drug dealers.

A study in contrasts, yes? It is not a term that is easy to pin down, as evidenced by the many books that have been written in the attempt:

  • What is Populism by Jan-Werner Müller
  • The Populist Persuasion: An American History by Michael Kazin
  • The Populist Explosion by John B. Judis
  • The Global Rise of Populism by Benjamin Moffett
  • The Populist Moment by Lawrence Goodwyn

And the list is seemingly endless.

Müller’s book, published September 2016, is highly rated, and claims that populism is not just antiliberal, it is antidemocratic—the permanent shadow of representative politics.  It seems to me that, in its purest form, strictly applied by the definition at the start of this post, it would be a highly democratic and humanitarian ideology.  But, in the world of today, populism is primarily, I believe defined by a single word: plutocracy.

All a leader needs to do is find that which his people fear, play on those fears, expand them, then promise to keep them safe from said fears.  In the case of the U.S., as in a number of European nations, that fear was terrorism. Ever since the Arab Spring began in 2010 and many in the Middle East were forced to flee their homes with little more than the clothes on their back, the West has been taking on these refugees.  But, leaders and politicians quickly learned that if they equated these refugees with the word “terrorism”, or in some cases, “radical Islamic terrorism”, they could instill fear into the hearts of their populace and people would gladly follow any leader who promised to end immigration from the Middle East.

But really, that is all these leaders, such as Trump, need to do, and they can then proceed with their own agendas, just so long as they keep doing their best to “protect” their citizenry from “those terrorist Muslims”.  And so, we are left with a Donald Trump who has attempted to rob tens of millions of their ability to afford healthcare in order to further enrich the big insurance companies; who has set the wheels in motion to destroy the environment in order to further enrich the coal and oil barons; and who has promoted tax reform to cost each of us “ordinary people” hard-earned money in order to further enrich the nation’s mega-corporations. And as long as he promises his travel ban to keep Muslims out, and keeps on promising to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep those “murderin’, rapin’ Mexicans” out, even though he knows the wall will never be built, he can keep on being Robbing Hood. This then, defines the populist movement as well as any.  It could be called, more aptly, the plutocratic movement, or a move toward governance by a handful of the wealthiest.

Oh sure, Trump throws out an extra bone to his followers every now and then, like a promise to pad the courts with uber-conservatives in order to eventually overturn Roe v Wade.  Or a reduction in food stamps and social services that are unpopular with many in the middle income brackets. Promise them whatever they scream the loudest for, then get back to the business of crafting legislation to make the top 1% happy, for those are the ones who truly matter, those are the ones who line his own pockets.  It is no different in the rest of the  Western world.

Voters in Today in the U.S., we have the wealthiest Congress in recent history, and thus it is in their personal best interest, rather than to serve as a check on the president’s power, to speak out of both sides of their mouths, promising their constituents one thing, while licking Trump’s boots from the other side.

France, Austria and the Netherlands, I firmly believe, looked at what was happening in the U.S. and came to understand that this populist thing was not all it was cracked up to be.  However, there is still a large contingent in those nations, as well as other European nations, and even Canada I recently discovered, that are supportive of the populist ideology, and have not yet realized that it is a veneer for a deeper, more destructive platform. As my old friend Shafer used to say to me, “Be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it”.

The REAL War on Christmas …

Whereas I typically awaken with a smile on my face, this morning I awakened with a sense of dread, without knowing quite why.  I moved through my morning chores with no sense of joy, with no song in my heart, and by the time I was ready for my first ‘sit-down’ break, I was near tears … still no idea why.  And then, bless their hearts, the guys over at The Washington Post gave me my first clue …

“Breaking News: FCC repeals net neutrality rules in sweeping act of deregulation”

No surprise there … the five commission members are presidential appointees … they are not elected, had no incentive to please anybody but Trump.  I knew the result before WaPo confirmed it, yet I still felt a rock in my stomach and tears pooling in my eyes as I read the news.

Then there was this from NPR …

“Republicans Reconcile House And Senate Versions Of Tax Deal”

But the icing on the cake, the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back, was this from a friend’s blog …

“President Trump on Thursday hailed the Republican tax plan as a ‘big, beautiful Christmas present’”

Of course, he said that over a month ago, and I had heard it before, but today was probably not the day I needed to be reminded of it and after more than a few choice words, I truly almost put my fist through a window.  I do not want any Christmas present from Donald Jerk Trump beyond his resignation, effective immediately.  A Christmas present should not cost one thousands of dollars, as this tax bill will cost me and most of you.  A Christmas present should not ruin Christmas, as this has done for me.

But wait … fate and angst still wasn’t finished with me, for as I perused my morning email, there was this:

screen shotBelow the picture read:

“Christmas is meant to be shared with close friends and family, and what better way to spread the spirit than by signing the Official First Family Christmas Card.

Wish President Trump, First Lady Melania, and the rest of the First Family a very Merry Christmas with a personal message before December 23.

We know the President would love to see your name, Jill. It’s you he’s fighting for every day in office.

So please, sign the Official First Family Christmas card today.

Thank you,

Team TRUMP”

Now, if you think that didn’t complete my black humour, then you don’t know me too well.  I have been unable to write, for my fingers couldn’t hit the right keys … couldn’t even write an email that I much wanted to write to a treasured friend, couldn’t eat, folded clothes with such a vengeance I put a hole in a towel.

Back on the campaign trail last year, Trump began talking about “ending the war on Christmas”.  At first, I was puzzled as to what, exactly, he meant.  Part of it, of course, is that strange illusion some of the Christian faith have that everyone should go ‘round saying “Merry Christmas” at this time of year, and those of us who may say, “Happy Holidays” instead should be smited. Personally, I do not care if you say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Hanukah”, “Joyous Kwanzaa”, “Happy Holidays”, or just a simple “Hi, how are you” or “Have a nice day”.  As long as you aren’t cussing me, I’m happy. I. Do. Not. Care.  Those who are offended need to remember that, while the Christian religion may be the majority in this nation, the nation is a secular one, and there are many who are of other faiths.  In this nation, there are Jews, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists, to name a few.  Why would you impose your religion on the rest of us?

More to the point, however, there is no war on Christmas!  The war is on everybody else! Allow me to quote a tidbit from a Washington Post article:

“There is no war on Christmas. But there is a war on Jews, led by the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville in August, carrying torches and chanting “Blood and soil” and “Heil Trump” and “Jews will not replace us!”

And there is a war on Muslims, fueled by our commander in chief, who sees nothing wrong with trying to ban Muslims from entering the United States or fanning the flames of hatred by retweeting unverified and inflammatory videos of purported Muslims doing despicable things.”

The war on Christmas?  Trump fired the first shot when he took office and began taking away the things that matter to us.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am having to really work hard at even the appearance of having Christmas spirit this year.  The other night, my granddaughter, for whom I would lay down my life, said to me, “Grannie, are you even a little bit excited about Christmas this year?” My family, though not of the Christian faith, has always loved this season.  I bake almost daily for friends, neighbors, my daughter’s co-workers.  We love our decorations, the candles, and the tree.  Enjoy choosing just the right gift and then wrapping them to look ever so special.  But this year, none of that … not a bit of it … matters.  But still, when Miss Goose asked me that question, I donned a smile (I hope it didn’t look like a grimace) and said, “Oh yes, absolutely!  And tomorrow I shall dig through my closet and we shall begin to decorate!”  And inside I cried.  I did dig through my closet, and we did decorate.  Last night I even did a little in the kitchen, making Muddy Buddies for Miss Goose and a cheeseball for daughter Chris.  And this weekend we will get our tree, shop for the Significant Seven, and I shall do stocking shopping and some baking.  But inside, I cry.

Donald Trump has robbed us of Christmas this year.  That, my friends, is the real “war on Christmas”.

Robbing Hood … on Net Neutrality

Dear Readers,

Today is Wednesday, and time for my weekly “Good People Doing Good Things” feature.  I apologize, but I am delaying that feature until tomorrow (Thursday) morning.  As I mentioned yesterday evening, I planned one more post in my series about the most important and imminent issues facing us this week, and this one is about net neutrality.  Since the vote is to be tomorrow, I felt it imperative to get this post out as early as possible, and I knew I could not do both posts by 3:00 a.m., for I have indeed promised that I would have an early bedtime tonight.  So, I hope that you will understand my decision, and I do promise the ‘good people’ post on Thursday.


This year, the federal government under Donald Trump and a republican-led Congress, has a theme.  The theme of 2017 is: Robbing Hood: Rob From The Poor, Give To The Rich. If there is any way for the wealthy and big corporations to squeeze another nickel from We The People, they are going to give it their best shot.  They came for our healthcare, they’re trying to raise our taxes, and now they are coming for our internet.  Time to fight back, folks.

The vote on reversing net neutrality rules is scheduled for tomorrow, December 14th, and it is almost certain to pass along party lines.  Let us start with some basics.

What is net neutrality?

paiNet neutrality is a term used to describe a set of regulations that ensure all information flowing over the internet is treated equally. It means companies cannot block websites or offer certain companies faster loading speeds for money. In a simple sentence, the reversal of net neutrality will mean corporate domination of the internet, pure and simple.

The FCC under President Obama implemented the set of regulations known as net neutrality.

Who is the FCC?

The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, is made up of five commissioners appointed by the sitting president. The current chairman is Ajit Pai, who was appointed to the commission under President Obama at the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell.  Trump appointed Pai to the position of Chairman after taking office in January.

What does it all mean for me and you?

Example:  You want to watch the movie Lord of the Rings on Netflix.  Simple, right?  You pay a flat monthly fee, usually either $7.99 or $8.99, and in return you can watch unlimited movies, television shows, etc., free of commercials.  Not a bad deal … certainly better than the $120 we used to pay for satellite service and still had commercials!  So, you go to Netflix, select Lord of the Rings, and sit back to watch your … hey, wait a minute … why is it taking so long?  Oh, there … now it’s starting.  The credits roll and … it freezes up and there is an annoying circle going round and round in the center of the screen.  You give up and call Netflix.  They tell you that they are working on the problem.  The first of the month comes, you receive your Netflix bill for $18.99 … and … WAIT A MINUTE!!!  That’s $10-$11 more than I agreed to!  Well guess what.  In order to stream your movies at the speed that actually allows you to watch them, Netflix had to pay millions of dollars to Verizon and/or Comcast, and so they are now passing that cost on to you the consumer.  You’ve been ROBBED.

Or … that app I have called Mighty Text, that sends all my phone notifications such as text messages, Twitter messages, Facebook notifications, chat & email notifications, along with phone calls and text voice mail directly to my computer screen so that I can read and respond on my laptop where I can see them better?  Um … I cannot access it any more because the developers of Mighty Text were small potatoes and couldn’t afford to pay AT&T to keep it accessible, so AT&T blocked it.  I have been ROBBED

The internet survived without net neutrality before net neutrality, some would argue.  I would agree but … we are living in a different world than we were five years ago, a different universe, as it were.  Corporate greed has become the numero uno killer of common sense in the U.S., and where there can be found another way to enrich the already-rich at the expense of the poor and working class, the elderly and the infirm, they will find it and they will use it.  Before I close, let me give you one more example.

You want a new pair of Skechers running shoes.  You know exactly what you want, you know precisely what size you want.  You work all week, clean house all day Saturday, and who feels like going shoe shopping on Sunday, right? But who needs to, for there is the internet and there is nothing that cannot be found on the internet.  So, sit down, Google “Skechers running shoes turquoise size 6 women’s”.  You get a number of hits within moments, and you go to the first one.  Wow … I don’t remember them costing that much when I bought the last pair, but that was 5 years ago.  Check out the 2nd and 3rd hits, still over $60.  So, pick one and order the shoes … $60 won’t break the bank, now will it?  No, but guess what, friends?  You’ve been ROBBED For there were a number of online stores that sell those exact same shoes for $39.99 plus tax, but Google did not direct you to those stores, for they did not pay for the privilege of being ranked high enough to show up when you searched.

I wrote about the reversal of net neutrality in July in a piece titled TRUMP & PAI SET TO WRECK THE INTERNET  I was concerned then, and I am more so now, for I have seen the current administrations cold lack of concern for We The People in other areas, and I have received the message loud and clear that, “You The People” do not matter.  Our future on the internet boils down to five people tomorrow:

  1. Ajit Pai – Chairman
  2. Mignon Clyburn – Commissioner
  3. Brendan Carr – Commissioner
  4. Michael O’Rielly – Commissioner
  5. Jessica Rosenworcel – Commissioner

George Orwell thought the world would change in 1984.  It would actually happen 33 years later, in 2017, and not for the better.  I cannot say how much, if any, good these online protests do, but in this case, I’m willing to make the effort, to take the 60 seconds to fill in my name, rank & serieal number, if it sends my currently barky voice straight to the ear of Ajit Pai and presents my message loud and clear, so I include this link for any who are interested.

Thus concludes my “List of Four” hard-hitting critical issues of the week.  Thank you for your patience, my friends, thank you for listening, for acting where you could, and for sticking together.  We are, in fact, all of us in this together and we must … we simply must … continue to make our voices heard, else we have lost before we left the starting gate.  Love ‘n hugs, my friends.  Love ‘n hugs.

Is The Mueller Investigation In Danger?

The investigation by Robert Mueller began by Trump’s own hand.  When, on 09 May 2017, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he set the wheels in motion for the appointment of a Special Counsel, for the firing looked suspicious from the beginning.  According to Comey, Trump had asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to Trump, and had also requested that Comey drop the investigation into Michael Flynn’s activities as related to the Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election.  Comey refused on both counts. So, Trump instigated, unknowingly and unwittingly, the appointment of Robert Mueller.

Robert Mueller has conducted his investigation in the most professional manner, selecting his team members carefully to ward off any question of impropriety, and even relieving one of duty when he allegedly sent text messages to his girlfriend that were critical of Trump.  There has not been so much as a breath of scandal from any of his team, no leaks, nothing inappropriate.  He has operated, as he must, under a cloak of silence.  However, when Michael Flynn pleaded guilty as charged, and others were either indicted or pled guilty, including George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, it became impossible to keep everything under wraps, and it was obvious that Mike Flynn was willingly cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

All of this sent panic throughout Team Trump, and now we are seeing some pushback from Trump’s minions who are running scared and when they get scared, they turn to lies, insinuations, conspiracy theories and unjustified attacks, for they have no legitimate grounds to counter the reality that in all likelihood, Donald Trump himself was responsible for much of the Russian attempts to skew our election.

So, what is happening and why does it matter?

Critics, especially among the state-media such as Fox, Breitbart and the Wall Street Journal, (it should be noted that Fox and the Wall Street Journal are both owned by Rupert Murdoch, a large donor of Trump’s)  have been calling for Mueller to be fired almost since day #1, so it may be easy to just write off the latest as just more smoke and mirrors from Trump and his paid media outlets. But the tone and frequency has increased, as the panic level among Trump & Co. rises.  A few examples …

  • “Mueller is corrupt. The senior FBI is corrupt. The system is corrupt.” – Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House
  • “There is a cleansing needed at the FBI and Department of Justice. It needs to be cleansed of individuals who should not just be fired but need to be taken out in handcuffs.” – Fox host Jeanine Pirro
  • A conservative watchdog group has filed a lawsuit to pry loose information about special counsel investigators.
  • “A witch hunt continues against the president with tremendous bias, no purpose and no end in sight.” – Representative Matt Gaetz
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders signaled that the White House has concerns that the special counsel might be biased against Trump.

It should be noted that these are vague attacks, with no basis in fact, not attacking anything that Mueller has done or failed to do, just that he must be corrupt if he is investigating Trump. Mueller’s investigation and the criminal charges he has brought so far appear solid and do not suggest any partisan bias. In fact, it should further be noted that both Robert Mueller and James Comey are registered republicans.

What could happen next?

Could Trump fire Mueller?  Of course … he could order Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller, or if Rosenstein refused, he would be forced to resign just as were Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they refused to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.  But, going down the line of succession, Trump would ultimately find someone willing to sacrifice values and fire Mueller, just as Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox.  So, the answer to the question is yes, Trump can have Mueller fired.  What happens if he does?

John Q. Barrett, a St. John’s University law professor, says “Robert Mueller is widely perceived as a competent and credible law enforcement official. As long as he doesn’t do something to jeopardize that, Trump would have no justification for dismissing him. And if he did, he’d have to appoint an equally credible replacement, or there would be really catastrophic political consequences.”

Comforting, but still, with both chambers of Congress in control of the republicans and seemingly willing to do Trump’s bidding these days, I would rather not put Barrett’s theory to the test.  I think the investigation has passed the point of no return and cannot be shut down, but it could certainly be delayed, and I think it is imperative that we know the truth, and the sooner the better.

Keep your eyes on the ball, folks, for I cannot predict where this will go.  Ordinarily, I would say that a president would be a damn fool to fire the Special Counsel at this point, for it would be a blatant admission of guilt.  But these are, as we all know, not normal times and Trump is not a normal ‘president’.  When he panics, he is irrational … wait, he is irrational at all times!  So, if he feels threatened enough, I do not know what he might do.  Remember that there are many distractions and smokescreens out there, so don’t be distracted, and try to keep up with the critical issues.

Note to readers:  I initially identified three areas that I felt had to be addressed post haste, the Alabama senate election, the tax reform bill reconciliation, and the attacks on the Mueller investigation.  I have since been advised by at least three readers, and granddaughter Miss Goose, that I need to include a fourth topic, Net Neutrality, to the list.  You are all correct, and I shall address that one tomorrow.  For tonight, Filosofa is 10-7, over and out.

Tax Bill Reconciliation?

Members of Congress have been busy as little beavers, trying to bring the House and Senate versions of the ‘tax reform bills’ together into a single bill for Trump to sign.  They seem to be in such a rush that they do not have time for such things as facts and credible analyses.  They remind me of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who is looking at his pocket watch, repeatedly saying, “I’m late, I’m late …”

What’s the rush?  Well, first of all, they are under pressure from Trump and from their rich donors to “get ‘er done”.  More to the point, while the budget was extended for two weeks, that is a very short time to prepare a spending bill, get the necessary votes, reconcile the House and Senate versions, and get it signed.  Look how long the tax bill is taking, after all! Thus, a government shutdown still looms.  So, I understand the rush, but … both of these bills are so terrible that neither deserve consideration, and to completely disregard the facts, to ignore every likely outcome, is destined to do far more harm to the people of this nation than it will benefit them.  Let us take a look …

Today, the Department of Treasury, under the ‘leadership’ of Trump’s handpicked Steven Mnuchin, issued its “Analysis of Growth and Revenue Estimates Based on the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Tax Reform Plan”. The tax bills are filled with fallacies and fantasies that are far more appropriate for children’s storybooks than for government policies.  Let us begin with the claim by Congress that the gigantic tax cuts for the wealthy will pay for themselves.  The Treasury Department report itself debunks this myth, as have a number of independent and non-partisan groups before this.  The plan will cost an estimated $1.5 trillion in lost revenue from major corporation and wealthy taxpayers, and is only projected to generate an additional $408 billion in additional revenue from growth.  Thus, the deficit would be more than a trillion dollars to add to our already astronomical national debt.

Treasury analysisBut, that isn’ even the worst of it, for that $408 billion in additional revenue is fallacy #2.  It is based on the assumption that all those large corporations that are saving all that money will reinvest it into solvent enterprises that will a) generate corporate tax dollars, and b) employ people who will pay taxes.  In short, it is based on the fantasy of ‘trickle down’ economics, which I have written about previously, and which has been de-bunked and proven wrong so many times that it should not even enter into the equation.  The Treasury report makes an assumption, based on this marvelous falsehood about trickle down economics of a sustained 2.9% growth rate per year over the next ten years.  Ain’t gonna happen, folks.

There are certain rules for the reconciliation process, one of which is called the Byrd Rule.  The Byrd Rule requires all provisions in the bill to be funded by revenues, and they cannot increase the deficit beyond the 10-year budget window. Obviously, neither version of the current bills being considered could pass either stipulation in the Byrd Bill, nor even come close.  That, in itself, should send them scurrying back to the drawing board for something more reasonable.

Thus far, most of the republicans in Congress still support basically whatever outcome the committee reconciling the bills comes up with, but there are some who are beginning to look at the deficit numbers and have concerns.  One such Senator is Susan Collins of Maine, who says she is as yet undecided, and has laid out certain conditions that would determine her vote, including assurances that federal Medicare payments will not be cut and that Republicans will support two separate health care bills aimed at reducing premium costs.  Far too little, and she does not even mention the deficit, but if it keeps her from voting in favour of the bill, then it’s a start.

While the increase to the national debt is the most important fallacy of these abominable bills, the impact on the average citizen must also play a role.  I did some quick and dirty math earlier today and determined that my own household would be left with a deficit of some $2,500 dollars at the end of next year.  Not a huge sum, perhaps, but still … I cannot call this a tax ‘cut’ by any stretch of the imagination. It means that we will be tightening our belts and spending less money next year, contributing less to the economy.

Now, putting this all together, if the Senate finds a way around the Byrd Rule, and if Susan Collins and the rest are somehow convinced to vote ‘aye’, here is what I see happening.

  • Median earners will have less disposable income, for they will be able to claim fewer deductions, thus effectively raising their tax rate. With less disposable income, they will spend less money on non-essential goods and services.  There goes that 2.9% growth rate, folks.
  • As consumers spend less and less, and fewer people have healthcare because the individual mandate will be gone, the economy will actually begin to lose ground, rather than grow. The national debt, therefore, will increase even faster than the Treasury Department predicts.
  • As the national debt increases, as the economy takes a hit, quarter after quarter, consumer confidence will wane and people who are already struggling will slow their contributions to their 401(k) plans, further reducing economic growth and further increasing the national debt. It is at this point that I look for a hug dip in the stock market.
  • The stock market increase in the past year has been unnatural and largely without a solid foundation. It was built on consumer confidence that stemmed from the lies coming from the administration.  When/if it dips very much, look for a recession.  And then, POP goes the republican bubble.

Now, my analysis is an over-simplification, and there are far too many variables to consider in this short post.  Plus, I am not an economist.  But common sense should tell us all that one cannot build a castle on a foundation of hot air, and that is precisely what Congress is trying to do.  There is no long-range view that has been taken, the immediate goal simply being to pass a bill that benefits all the ‘right’ people, for mid-terms are coming up in less than a year and members of Congress need to get those campaign donations coming in.  Besides that, the pest in the White House keeps calling and asking where the bill is, for he is sitting at his desk, pen in hand.

Thus concludes this bedtime story that is worthy of being included in the Grimm’s Book of Fairy Tales, for it is, indeed, a grim tale.

Three Events That Will Change The Face Of The Nation … Forever

I begin this post today with angst, with  trepidation, with a sense of impending doom, though I hope that doesn’t sound an overly dramatic statement.  Why?  For I did a coin toss to decide which of the very important, time-sensitive pending issues it was most important to tackle in this post, and I concluded that there are three issues that simply cannot be pushed aside even for a day.  And while I do not delude myself into thinking that my humble small blog is going to change the outcome of any of the three issues, I know I must try … I have to try, else I might just as well quit even writing this blog.  And so, I will either tackle all three in this single post, or if it becomes unwieldy, I will be putting out extra posts today.

What are the three issues?

  1. The Alabama race for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions
  2. The “tax reform bill” now being reconciled by Congress
  3. The increased attacks on Special Counselor Robert Mueller and his investigation

The Alabama Senate race is tomorrow, and although I have written several times before, I believe one final push must be made, a final attempt to awaken the voting public in Alabama to the evils of Judge Moore, who is, as I understand it, once again leading in the current polls.

The tax reform bill is being shoved, rushed, and pushed with no regard for accuracy or errors, no regard for outcomes, only regard for giving Donald Trump an empty shell of a “win” and pleasing the wealthy who would just as soon oppress the rest of us.

And as Bob Mueller and his team are getting closer to the truth, and as it becomes nearly impossible to keep details under wraps, Trump & Co. become increasingly panicked, and it is beginning to look very much as if we may end up with another Saturday Night Massacre in the very near future.

So, these three topics cannot be relegated to my “later this week” bin, but must be tackled today, These three things combined have the potential to set us on a very rocky path, one which leads in the opposite direction of what our Founding Fathers envisioned for this nation. If there is any hope that I can reach people who might just stop for a moment and think, then I must at least make the effort.  So, with a newly-opened box of Keurig coffee pods, 5 packs of cigarettes freshly rolled, and a box of tissues by my side, let us begin.


Roy Moore … UNFIT to set foot in the Capitol

Tomorrow is the big day in Alabama, and it appears that, while some Alabama voters are … a bit disturbed over all the credible accusations by women who Moore almost certainly sexually abused from his position of power as District Attorney, they are by and large willing to either a) overlook and ignore Moore’s pedophilia and sexual abuse, or b) discredit the women who, as young girls, were too afraid to come forth and tell what Moore had done to them.

Note that the women, who do not know each other, tell basically the same tale of abuse and degradation, and they are credible.  Also note that there are no less than nine … nine … such women who suffered as teens at the hands of this so-called ‘man’ of power.  Note, too, that former deputy district attorney Teresa Jones, a former colleague of Moore’s, said that back in the day, it was common knowledge that Moore, then a district attorney in his 30s, dated high school girls.  The evidence that has mounted paints Moore as a sexual predator and a pedophile and is insurmountable.  Alabama voters must surely realize the truth!

As if that weren’t enough, there are, as I have written before, plenty of other reasons to believe that he is not senate material.  As a judge, he was removed from the judicial bench … not once, but twice!  Why?  For refusing to uphold the law that he was sworn to uphold.  For putting his personal ‘beliefs’ ahead of the law of the land.  Not once.  TWICE!  Roy Moore is a ‘man’ without values, a ‘man’ without a moral compass, a ‘man’ without a conscience.  And any … I repeat ANY … person who votes for him, is also a person without a conscience, but rather one who is casting their lot with the evil which they claim to eschew.

We all know that democrats stick together, and republicans even more so, right?  Well, it speaks volumes that Alabama’s other republican Senator, Richard C. Shelby, does not support Roy Moore’s candidacy.  When Moore asked Shelby, the state’s senior senator and fellow republican, for financial backing last month, Shelby’s response was …

“I told him he could raise it himself, you know, like I did, you know, like everybody else. He thrives on controversy, seems to me. And I think you can’t be a formidable, effective senator if you’re so controversial your colleagues avoid you, I think Alabama deserves better.”

It is equally telling that the Republican National Committee in Alabama withdrew their support of Moore, then suddenly, without explanation, returned it last week.  And most telling of all is that another sexual predator named Donald Trump has given his full support to this candidate.  This past weekend, Trump held a rally where he sung Moore’s praises, and then recorded a ‘robocall’ to rally Alabama voters to support a pedophile for Congress.

Okay, Alabamans, listen up!  What is your option?  A sane democrat, perhaps?  A man who is known for protecting civil rights.  A man who re-opened that infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case from 1963 in which four young girls were murdered by KKK klansmen who were let off scot-free with a wink and a nod?

And meanwhile, Moore, like Mount Vesuvius, continues to spew lies.  He claims, with bumbling ineptitude, to not know these women …

“I do not know them. I had no encounter with them. I have never molested anyone. When I saw the pictures on the advertisements of my opponent, I did not recognize any of these people.”

“These people” were children, teenagers at the time, nearly forty years ago, so it stands to reason that Moore would not recognize them on sight. Moore admitted to Sean Hannity last month that he dated young girls years ago, yet claims that he does not recognize any of the women.

“I’ve stood up for moral values, so they’re attacking me in that way. When this race is over, on the 12th of December, it will be over. It’s inconceivable to think that someone would wait 40 years because they were embarrassed or ashamed or something, and then less than 30 days before the general election, come out and make allegations – and then appear on a political advertisement, when they’ve waited 40 years not to be embarrassed.”

And already, even before the election, he is giving us reason to believe that he has no intention of upholding the laws when he says …

“I would want judges who recognize that Roe v. Wade, although it has been around since 1973, is not the supreme law of the land because it contradicts the right to life given to us in our founding documents.”

Yes, Roe v Wade IS the law of the land, as the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it so.

Roy Moore places himself and his own personal religion before the laws of the nation, before the good of We The People.  If he wins this election, it says more about the people of this nation than it says about Moore or Trump.  It says that the people of this nation have lost their way, have forgotten, if they ever knew, what is truly important. If Roy Moore is elected tomorrow, Alabamans must hang their heads in shame and embarrassment.

Contact your Senators, Congressperson and President

Dear Readers,

I know it seems that it seems we have talked about the ‘tax reform bill’ endlessly, and picked it apart like the bones from Sunday’s chicken, but this is one of the most destructive pieces of legislation currently in the works, and it is too important for us to stop talking now. We still stand a chance of changing the minds of enough to keep it from passing, and I think we cannot stop now. Keith has some suggestions for us to mount a final effort to keep Congress and Trump from raising our already-astronomical national debt, and hitting us where it hurts. Please take a moment to consider some of these ideas and let’s launch one final push to change the minds of some of our elected representatives! Thank you Keith, and thank you readers!

musingsofanoldfart

It would not be a surprise to know that the US Congress and White House are highly dysfunctional. They have long ago forgotten why they are there. It seems opinions of the donors and oligarchy are the only ones that matter. We need to make our voice louder and consistent. Irrespective of any party affiliation, we must cease with the tribal BS. The party you support does make mistakes, many of them. Don’t just accept them because they are made by folks in your tribe. And, if you think it is only the other party, think again.

Please call your Senators, Congressperson and President and tell them messages they need to hear.

  • Please do not pass a Tax Bill that favors the elite and tell us it does not do so. That is an insult and a lie.
  • Please do not pass a Tax Bill that increases our debt. It…

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The Ignorant vs The Hero

Yesterday, the Trump administration once again proved their ignorance.  Trump & Co are planning to attend an opening ceremony on Saturday of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum  in Jackson, Mississippi.  For Trump and his minions, it is a photo op, one of those ‘see and be seen’ moments, nothing more, for Trump has already shown his disdain for the achievements and goals of the Civil Rights movement.

Congressman John Lewis is one of those civil rights leaders, one of the icons of the era who is greatly admired and respected.  Mr. Lewis has declined to join Trump on the visit, calling the trip an insult to the African-Americans commemorated there.  Representative Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi has joined Lewis and will not attend the ceremony.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.” – Joint statement issued by Lewis & Thompson

Various civil rights groups, including the NAACP, have also protested Trump’s appearance at the ceremony …

“President Trump’s statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement.” – NAACP president and chief executive Derrick Johnson

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary who speaks for Trump, said ..

“We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the President in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history.  The president hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds.”

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John Lewis receiving Medal of Freedom – February 2011

John Lewis IS one of those brave civil rights leaders who risked life and limb time and time again to, as Ms. Sanders put it, remove barriers and unify Americans of all backgrounds.  The entire statement shows that she, like her boss, has no idea what the civil rights movement was about, who its heroes are, and what they sacrificed.  Her words are as a slap in the face to a man who is far greater, far braver, than Donald Trump will ever be.

Let me tell you a little bit about John Lewis, who has long been a hero of mine. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, served as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), organized voter registration efforts that led to the pivotal Selma to Montgomery marches, was one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the March on Washington, coordinated SNCC’s efforts for “Mississippi Freedom Summer,” a campaign to register black voters across the South. He is best known for the role he played on March 7th, 1965, known as “Bloody Sunday”, when he helped lead over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. At the end of the bridge, they were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with night sticks. Lewis’ skull was fractured.

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A True Leader … John Lewis, President Barack Obama and Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson

Now, let me also tell you why John Lewis will not travel to the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with Trump.  First, Trump’s frequent support of white supremacists is a slap in the face to Lewis and all he has fought for.  But it goes even further than that, for in January, just a few days before his inauguration, Trump said of John Lewis …

“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”

Not only was that a highly inappropriate remark for Trump to make, but it was blatantly false, for Lewis’ 5th district, which includes Atlanta, is far from a hellhole, incorporating the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Even back on the campaign trail in 2015/2016, Trump denigrated African-Americans, telling them that their communities, indeed their very lives, were so bad that they had ‘nothing to lose’ by supporting him.  And ever since he took office, he has pandered to known white supremacists, such as Steve Bannon, policy advisor Stephen Miller, former deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, and others.  Then came the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August, where Trump refused to condemn white supremacists, finally did utter a weak condemnation, only to reverse it a day later.

In addition to his support of white supremacists, Trump has embraced law enforcement practices and voting rights restrictions that disproportionately and negatively impact black communities, repeatedly picked fights with black athletes who he has accused of not showing him sufficient respect, and demanded apologies from prominent African-Americans who have criticized him. Why would John Lewis, who fought so hard for the rights of African-Americans, wish to associate himself with the likes of Trump?

John Lewis deserves to be honoured at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, for it is he as much as anybody who made that museum possible.  Donald Trump is the intruder and has no legitimacy there, other than having been invited, as a courtesy or protocol, by the Governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant. I would love to see John Lewis attend, as he should, but not with Trump.  He should stand proud as one of the last surviving heroes of the civil rights movement and take his place there, shaking hands and accepting the thanks of so many, rather than stand anywhere near the odious Trump.

Senator Susan Collins Is The Real Reason The RNC Is Now supporting Judge Roy Moore Again

Senator Susan Collins earned our kudos when she voted against the abominable ACA repeal bill a few months ago, but now? Not so much, since she sold her soul downriver to the big money donors and came out in support of the latest tax “reform” bill that is destined to cause nothing but grief for the 99% of us who are not wealthy. Ms. Collins current term does not end until 2021, so perhaps she believes we will forget her treason against We The People by then. Please read Gronda’s excellent post to see where Ms. Collins stands and what she is doing now. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for images for susan collins mcconnell SENATOR COLLINS

It seems that the republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine did a major fubar by being talked into voting for the US senate tax bill in the wee morning of December 2, 2017.

Her constituents have held her to task bigly for this vote to where it is very unlikely that she will vote in favor of the final legislation.

The US Senate’s Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aware of this fact and he needs to guarantee that 51 republicans will vote in favor of the final bill’s passage.

Image result for image of breakdown of us senate between democrats and republicans

So, the RNC Republican National Committee officials which had previously withdrawn their support for the alleged pedophile republican candidate Judge Roy Moore who is running to become the US senator from Alabama on December 12, 2017, but they have reversed their earlier decision and are now backing him because the republican senate leaders need his vote to pass their…

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