Who Me? Snarky? You Bet!

I’m in a very snarky mood today, so proceed with caution …


A simple formula …

If you live in Florida and you’re still torn about who should be your next governor, you need look no further than the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The incumbent governor, racist Ron DeSantis, has just received an A+ rating from the NRA while his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, earned a D.  Now, in high school, this would make DeSantis a glowing symbol and Crist a dumb jock, but this ain’t high school, although admittedly it is sometimes difficult to tell U.S. politics from high school hijinks.  And in the race for Senate, the incumbent Marco Rubio aka Little Marco, earns a B ranking from the NRA while his Democratic opponent, Val Demings, earned a whopping grade of F.  Thumbs up to Ms. Demings!

So, if you’re in doubt about who is the more worthy candidate in Florida or anywhere else in the nation, just ask the NRA … the person with the lowest grade should be the best choice on the ballot!  Sorry Ron & Marco, but you guys are the definition of what’s wrong in this nation.  Go home now … cry in your pudding for a while, then go get a real job!


A thousand steps backward

Yesterday Italy held national elections – unlike the U.S., most every other nation holds their elections on Saturday or Sunday so that people can more easily vote.  To cut to the chase, Italy has its first ever female Prime Minister.  Now, you might expect me to be doing a happy dance over the election of a woman, but in this case, there is no joy.  Giorgia Meloni, the next Prime Minister, is the closest thing to Benito Mussolini that the right-wing Italians could find.  She looks sweet and innocent but looks can be deceiving.

Ms. Meloni’s role model and inspiration is none other than Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s dictator disguised as a Prime Minister, and the two have met on numerous occasions.  Like Orbán, Meloni’s ideology is largely based on anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights, and anti-immigration.  She is a fan of Vladimir Putin, though she has spoken in support of Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

There is much I could say about Ms. Meloni, for many analysts consider her a threat to all of Europe.  But the source of my annoyance today is the response of some of our own politicos here in the U.S. to Ms. Meloni’s election.  While much of the world watched the election with concern, with alarm, here’s what the Republican politicians had to say …

  • “The entire world is beginning to understand that the Woke Left does nothing but destroy. Nov. 8 is coming soon and the USA will fix our House and Senate! Let freedom reign!” – U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado
  • “It’s interesting to see that Europe is leading the way by throwing out socialists with conservatives—and great bold conservative women like Meloni and Truss. We need to bring that kind of conservatism to the United States.” – U.S. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana
  • “God Speed to Italy’s incredible Prime Minister-elect @GiorgiaMeloni!” – Kari Lake, gubernatorial candidate from Arizona
  • “Congratulations to Giorgia Meloni and the winners of the Italian elections. We look forward to working with her and other Italian leaders to advance our shared interests. America is stronger when Italy is strong, sovereign, prosperous, and free.” – Senator Tom Cotton, of Arkansas

Others, such as Ted Cruz and Marge Greene also praised Ms. Meloni and her racist, extreme far-right ideology.  This, my friends, is what will be on our own ballot in just over a month.  Let’s not go the route of Italy.


And I end with just a few cartoons of the political variety …

Heed The Warnings

Well, friends, I’ve managed to get another ‘temporary ban’ from Twitter today!  Why, you ask?  Because in response to an idiotic tweet by Matt Gaetz praising the conspiracy theorist Kari Lake, I replied …

“The best thing that could happen would be for Kari Lake to go jump in a lake … and stay there. And then, if you could join her, and take Margie Greene and Lauren Boebert with you … that would be a great start!”

Twitter claimed I was “encouraging suicide”, so I’ve been banned for 12 hours.  Oh well … I’m not exactly shedding tears or losing sleep over it.  Actually, I’m rather glad someone actually noticed what I said for a change!

On to bigger and better things.  Our friend TokyoSand over at Political Charge has a post this morning that I hope you’ll take a minute to read … she begins …

In this country, we see evidence every day that David Frum was right when he said, “If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they won’t abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.”

But it isn’t only in this country … the picture is much bigger than just the U.S., as could be seen yesterday with the election in Italy of a Mussolini-style fascist Prime Minister.  Please do read Do We Still Care About Democracy?

And along those same lines, this morning our friend Roger sent me a cartoon … a Disney cartoon of an all-time favourite story, Chicken Little.  But this version is a bit different than the one you may remember from your childhood.  Please do watch it … and then take a deep breath and do what TokyoSand suggests and get ready to fill out that ballot!

My thanks to both TokyoSand and Roger for their contributions today.  Let’s hope people around the globe wake up before it’s too late.

Jolly Autumnal Monday

Good Monday morning, friends, Romans, countrymen!  Oh wait … do you sometimes waken in the morning and have to take a few minutes to figure out who you are, where you are, and what you’re doing here?  I think I’m not quite awake yet … happens a lot as I’ve gotten older!  Anyway, I am quite certain of the fact that today is Monday, the first one of autumn, and the last one in September.  See, I haven’t completely lost my mental acuity.  Joyful is off visiting ‘Uncle Woger’ today, and since Jolly isn’t allowed in the kitchen, I sent him out for donuts ‘n coffee for our morning snack.  No bacon today … sorry guys!  So grab a snack and then we’ve got some fun stuff for your Monday morning chuckles!

Dere’s more in da kitchen if you need more … just ask


How ’bout we start off with some music puns from over at Phil’s Phun?


And some funny signs …


And your favourite part of Jolly Monday … ‘TOONS!!!


Perhaps a few memes would be good for some laughs …


Well, my friends … NO GWAMMIE … You’s forgettin’ da animal video!!!

Oops!  You’re right … thanks for reminding me, Jolly!  What would Jolly Monday be without the cute critter video!!!  We thought you might enjoy seeing some baby lions this morning!


And now, friends, it’s time to get into gear and make this a great week!  We hope you found a few smiles and chuckles here this morning and we hope you have a safe and happy week ahead!  Please remember our friends in Florida who are battening down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Ian that is expected soon.  Take care, Mary, Larry, Horty, Scottie and all our Floridian friends, and let us know you’re okay when you can.  We will be thinking of you.  Love ‘n hugs to all from Filosofa, Jolly and Joyful!

Whatever Happened to the Constitution?

Sometimes I really don’t understand the ‘maga-movement’.  No, let me re-state that … I do not understand this maga-movement that proposes and supports an authoritarian regime, that has as its core ideology racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and every form of bigotry known to humankind.  If you listen long enough to the likes of Margie Greene, Mehmet Oz, JD Vance and others you will come to feel that you have been dropped into some alternate universe … or reading some crazy fiction where up is down, left is right, and nothing makes sense anymore.

With just 44 days remaining until election day on November 8th, I think it is more important than ever that people pay close attention to what the candidates are saying, what sort of government they are hoping to create if they are successful in their election bids.  Let’s start with a bit of insight from The Washington Post columnist, Dana Milbank …


How reactionary is MAGA? Try the first century B.C.

By Dana Milbank

7 September 2022

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: They have come to resurrect Caesar.

MAGA Republican leaders take umbrage at being accused of “semi-fascism,” which is understandable: Twentieth-century dictators such as Mussolini and the German guy with the mustache gave fascism a bad name. But the MAGA crowd isn’t disavowing totalitarianism, per se. It’s just their taste in authoritarian figures skews toward the classics. They’re old-school — 1st century B.C. old. “Hail, Caesar” goes down so much easier than “Heil Hitler.”

J.D. Vance, the Republican Senate nominee in Ohio, is one resident of this newly platted Caesarian section, as a recent profile in the Cleveland Plain Dealer showed. It referred to a year-old interview Vance gave on a far-right podcast in which he spoke approvingly of Curtis Yarvin, a self-proclaimed monarchist who argues for an American Julius Caesar to take power.

“We are in a late republican period,” Vance said, referencing the era preceding Caesar’s dictatorship. “If we’re going to push back against it, we’re going to have to get pretty wild, and pretty far out there, and go in directions that a lot of conservatives right now are uncomfortable with.”

The podcast’s host, Jack Murphy, endorsed this sentiment, discussing possible “extra-constitutional” remedies to be taken “if we want to re-found the country.” (He told Vance he thought voting an “ineffectual” way to “rip out this leadership class.”)

Vance, who said he had been “radicalized” by the actions of “malevolent and evil” political opponents, described what “wild” actions he had in mind at another point in the podcast. He wants to “seize the institutions of the left” and purge political opponents with “de-Nazification, de-Ba’athification.”

Vance suggested that former president Donald Trump, once elected in 2024, should fire all civil servants and replace them with “our people,” defy court orders blocking such an illegal action, and then “do what Viktor Orban has done,” referring to the Hungarian dictator’s bans on certain topics from school curricula. Vance justified such “outside-the-box” authoritarian actions by reasoning that the United States is “far gone” and not “a real constitutional republic” anymore.

Hail, Caesar!

Vance is far from the only emperor-curious MAGA leader. Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro called Mike Pence a “traitor to the American Caesar of Trump” because the former vice president refused to help overturn the 2020 election. Another former Trump adviser, Michael Anton, hosted a Claremont Institute podcast with Yarvin about the desirability of an “American Caesar.”

Meanwhile, various tactics that would qualify as “extra-constitutional” have been proliferating on the MAGA right.

This week, Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee confirmed during the lame-duck Republican Congress after the 2020 election, turned the bedrock American principle of equal justice on its head. Cannon, granting Trump’s request for a “special master” to shield the government documents hoarded at his residence, said Trump’s need for protection from “stigma” was “in a league of its own” because of his “former position as president.” A judge granting extraordinary legal powers to the man who appointed her to spare him “reputational harm”? Hail, Caesar!

Last week, the House Jan. 6 committee wrote to Trump ally Newt Gingrich, outlining how the former House speaker encouraged Trump TV ads promoting false election-fraud claims, and how he suggested a “call-to-action” to intimidate election officials. “The goal is to arouse the country’s anger,” Gingrich wrote to Trump advisers, at a time when election officials desperately feared violence. Hail, Caesar!

Some MAGA Republicans have a novel solution to resolve pesky constitutional restraints: Rewrite the Constitution. As Carl Hulse reports in the New York Times, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) introduced legislation seeking to compel Congress to call a constitutional convention — the first since the framers wrote it — to overhaul the United States’ founding document. The effort likely isn’t going anywhere, but it shows the contempt MAGA Republicans have for the constitutional order. Hail, Caesar!

Others in the MAGA movement simply reinterpret the Constitution to their own liking. County law-enforcement officials self-styling as “constitutional sheriffs” have assigned themselves power to decide what the law is, according to their own politics. One such sheriff in Michigan sought warrants in July to seize vote-counting machines to try to validate Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, Reuters reported last week. Armed lawmen going rogue to undermine elections? Hail, Caesar!

A few weeks from now, the Supreme Court will open its new term, in which it will decide whether to use a North Carolina case to allow state legislatures to redraw election maps — and potentially to overturn the outcome of elections and to disregard state constitutions — without any review by state courts. The high court blessing a radical legal theory that mocks the will of the voters? For MAGA Republicans, all roads lead to Roman imperialism.

Hail, Caesar!

Here, There, And Other Places — Voting

Here’s how it works in New Zealand per our NZ friend Barry …

* ease of voter registration. The law requires that everyone over the age 18 register on the electoral roll. However if you haven’t registered, you can do so when you go to vote. It only takes a few minutes.

* no queueing. Polling places are set up everywhere including churches, mosques, schools, community centres, shopping malls etc. I’ve voted every three years in every nation and local election since 1972 in four different electorates (voting districts) and I’ve never had to wait for more than five minutes, and those occasions were at peak times. .

* polling day is always on a Saturday as fewer people work on that day. Polling booths are open from 7am to 7pm on polling day and most are open every day in the two weeks prior to polling day

* you can vote outside of the electorate you’re registered in

* voter ID is not required, but bringing in the ID that is mailed out to every registered voter at the commencement of each election cycle will cut about a minute off the voting process.

* it’s a simple process to register for postal voting and telephone voting and the vote(s) can be cast any time in the month prior to polling day. It’s also possible to nominate someone to vote on your behalf if your disability is such that you can not vote in person

Voter fraud is extremely rare and there never has been a coordinated attempt of voter fraud. Ease of voting takes priority over everything else as that is seen as absolutely vital for democracy.

Additionally gerrymandering does not occur as electoral boundaries are determined by an independent non political commission consisting of a high Court judge, the head of the Statistics Department, a number of other civil servants whose roles I don’t recall at this moment, and one person representing the governing political parties and one person representing the opposition parties.

Restrictions around voting that’s seen in some American states is unfathomable to us. The only restriction here is that it is an offense to display political party advertising of any type (including insignia, badges etc) on polling day.


And here’s how it works in Australia, per our Australian friend Andrea …

Every eligible person MUST vote. Because of that necessity, voting has been made as easy as possible. We always vote on a Saturday, so most people /can/ vote. We have voting booths in almost every school hall or community centre Australia wide, so there’s always a voting place near at hand. We also have postal ballots.

And we have consequences for not voting…but…the punishment for not voting is a $50 slap on the wrist!

We have no voter fraud as far as I know, and while Australians might grumble at having to make time to vote, we all DOT IT.

Are all Australians fully aware of the policies and issues of the day? Nope. Does majority rule always get it right? Nope. But at least there /is/ majority rule. Our country isn’t driven by extreme factions of either the left or the right because compulsory voting /moderates/ those extremes.

Is the US even aware of how far it’s drifting from the principles of democracy?????


And here’s how it works in the United States …

Well, never mind, for it varies so greatly from state-to-state and further varies depending on a) level of wealth, b) colour of skin, c) education level, d) age, e) length of toenails (okay, maybe I’m being a bit facetious with that last one).  But nowhere … NOWHERE in the United States is it as painless to cast a vote as it is in either New Zealand or Australia.  And it is getting more and more painful, time-consuming and difficult every year, at least in some states.  Voting in the U.S. is highly discriminatory in this, the year 2022, the 235th year since the U.S. Constitution was ratified.  This level of difficulty could explain the low voter turnout … often barely over 50% and often less than 50% in mid-term election years.

You’ll notice the spike in 2020 when, due to the pandemic, most states made postal voting available to more people.  This year, many of those concessions have been reversed, and most every state in the nation has imposed more restrictive measures including enhanced voter ID requirements, travel restrictions, fewer polling places (resulting in longer wait times), fewer drop boxes, purging voter registration lists, and much more.  A disabled, elderly person or a college student in some states has almost no chance of being able to make their voice heard.

Thanks to Barry and Andrea for showing us how a truly democratic voting system works.  We can hope that someday the people of this nation will put the good of the country ahead of their partisanship and demand that we make it easier rather than harder. Don’t hold your breath, though.

Filosofa Rants Yet Again!

I was seriously trying to work on a post about banned books for Banned Books Week when I took a brief break and while perusing a bit of news and some other blogs briefly, I came across something that made my blood boil.  All hope of me finishing my banned books post tonight is gone … perhaps tomorrow, but for tonight I have a brief rant, and then I’m going to bed to read for a while and try to calm my shattered psyche.

Who or what has sent me into a tailspin?  A man by the name of John Gibbs from Michigan who is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in November’s election.  According to Wikipedia …

John Gibbs is an American far-right political commentator and politician. A member of the Republican Party, Gibbs was a software engineer and missionary before entering politics. During the Donald Trump administration, he held roles in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was acting Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Community Planning and Development.

In July 2020, Trump nominated Gibbs to be director of the United States Office of Personnel Management, but he was never confirmed by the Senate. Gibbs promoted Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 elections, having defeated incumbent Peter Meijer in the Republican Party primary election for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district.

Okay, pretty much your typical maga-Republican, nothing new or out of the ordinary there, right?  Well, just wait.  As a student at Stanford University in the early 2000s, Gibbs founded a self-described “think tank” called the Society for the Critique of Feminism.  Here is some of what he had to say there …

“The Bible clearly articulates the idea that women should not teach or maintain positions of power. Although the reason is not expressly mentioned, it must be due to the nature of women (i.e. their differing mental characteristics), since every other command for living in the Bible is based on the condition of man. In other words, because women do not possess the characteristics necessary to govern, and since women have a more important task to do, which is to prepare the next generation, they are commanded not to rule.

And since Christianity is the historical foundation of American society, with all of the rights and freedoms expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, which we enjoy to this very day, being expressly and unmistakenly God-given, it is incumbent upon us to consider the relationship that our Christian/cultural heritage, which is so important to so many Americans, shares with feminism, which threatens to unravel the social fabric which has produced one of the marvels of mankind.

Some argue that in a democratic society, it is hypocritical or unjust for women, who are 50% of the population, not to have the vote. This is obviously not true, since the founding fathers, who understood liberty and democracy better than anyone, did not believe so. In addition, all people under age 18 cannot vote, although they too comprise a significant portion of the population. So we cannot say that women should be able to vote simply because they are a large part of the population.

We conclude that increasing the size and scope of government is unequivocally bad. And since women’s suffrage has caused this to occur on a larger scale than any other cause in history, we conclude that the United States has suffered as a result of women’s suffrage.”

And now you understand why I have steam coming out of my ears.

Somebody might want to remind him that those same ‘founding fathers’ also didn’t believe that people with his skin colour ought to be allowed to vote!!!  Oh what a hypocrite this man is!

Anne Marie Schieber, a spokesperson for Gibbs’ campaign, attempted to mitigate and control the damage when his views on women were made public, saying that he was only trying “to provoke the left on campus and to draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists. It was nothing more than a college kid being over the top.”  Oh no, sweet cheeks … this was downright blatant misogyny, putting down women in the worst possible way!  This was no little college prank.  And given Gibbs’ current conspiracy theorist tendencies, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that he still feels that women are so far inferior to men that we should not be allowed to put on shoes and leave the kitchen, let alone vote or god forbid run for office!  Bastard!

Back in 2020, Trump nominated Gibbs to head the Office of Personnel Management.  During the Senate confirmation hearings, it came out that Gibbs had he had spread the false conspiracy theory that claimed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman took part in a satanic ritual … that conspiracy theory, known as Pizzagate, led to Edgar Maddison Welch entering a pizza restaurant on 4 December 2016 armed with an AR-15, and randomly fired shots.

The only reason Mr. Gibbs’ name will be on the ballot this November is because the incumbent for that seat, Representative Peter Meijer, was ostracized by the GOP for voting to impeach Trump in 2020.  Therefore, Gibbs received that all-important ‘seal of approval’ from the former guy and won his primary.  He faces … oh the irony … Hillary Scholten, the Democrat running for the seat, and as of today, Gibbs is polling 9 points behind Ms. Scholten!  I would love to be a fly on the wall when he loses to … of all people … one of those women for whom he has zero respect!

GOP Cruelty Pleases Their Constituents

“Divide et impera” … Julius Caesar, circa a long time ago. In English, it is “Divide and conquer”. Control. A disunited people are far less likely to rise up and oppose a dictator or other authoritarian. Keep them hatin’. Our friend Jeff is angry and so am I …

On The Fence Voters

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. As it is presently constituted, the GOP represents a small minority of people in this country who think being cruel to people is a virtue.

We all know about the disgraced former president. We’ve seen the hatred he spewed as president and now as a private citizen. He is the standard-bearer for this type of behavior. He’s got a group in Congress who continue to support him no matter what. And, if he’s indicted, we know that support would continue. Many of those same GOP politicians mirror the personality of their dear leader, who relishes every chance he gets to insult and lie with impunity.

And they wouldn’t do it were it not for millions of people in this country who love every minute of it. And they do not cross the former president because they know the death threats and intimidation…

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Is The Teflon Wearing Out?

Even Teflon eventually gets old, wears out, and is no longer able to keep things from sticking.  The former guy has long been referred to as “Teflon Don” because he has lied, cheated, and stolen for the entirety of his adult life, yet has never had to pay a price.  In 2016 when he said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” most of us scoffed and took it as just more of his hyperbole.  Since then, however, he has committed numerous crimes and treacheries against the nation, against We the People, and the Republicans continue to cheer and support him.  It seemed for a while that he was right, that he was somehow able to escape unscathed where the rest of us would be in prison, probably for life!  But this week, the tides seem to be turning.  Dan and Elliot sum it up rather nicely …


Trump Had a Day

And it might get worse

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

21 September 2022

NY Attorney General Letitia James announcing that her office is suing former President Donald Trump and three of his children. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Well, well, well. Let’s just say that Donald Trump has had better days.

This could be one of his worst, but there may be far worse ones coming down the line if today turns out to be a preface and not a denouement.

This morning started off bad enough.

New York Attorney General Letitia James made it known that she was going to issue a “major announcement.” And she did not disappoint. The lawsuit she filed in state court is in essence a guided missile aimed right at the heart of the Trump family business. Calling the level of fraud she uncovered “staggering,” James outlined a list of facts that could have been a plotline in The Sopranos.

And it isn’t just the patriarch in her legal crosshairs. The three children who have been foisted upon the American public — Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka — also earned starring roles in the court papers.

While this is a civil suit, that’s because James is limited from bringing criminal charges. She did refer her findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, but if they choose to press forward, they will likely have to get in line.

That’s because as rough as this morning’s news cycle was for Trump, more pain was in the offing.

This evening, the 11th Circuit ruled on the outrage that has been festering over the investigation into the classified documents the former president took (for still unknown reasons, at least publicly) to Mar-a-Lago.

If Trump was hoping that Trump judges at the appellate level would fall in line like Judge Cannon (the district judge who’s done legal backflips well beyond the bounds of precedent or prudence to accommodate Trump), he was sorely mistaken. Two Trump judges sided with an Obama appointee to issue a stinging rebuke of the lower court’s ruling — a ruling that most judicial experts had felt was about as serious as an episode of Laugh In.

I will leave it to legal scholars to parse the specifics of the lawsuits and rulings, but some big things are clear. One, Trump is in trouble. Big trouble. And not the kind of trouble that he can squirm his way out of by bloviating to Sean Hannity or browbeating Mitch McConnell. He’s on the defensive, and pressure is closing in from all directions.

The timing of these quickening drumbeats of scrutiny overlap with the final stretch of the midterm elections — into which Trump has vociferously inserted himself according to the only metric he knows: what benefits him. November thus is shaping up to be a referendum on Trumpism, to the dismay of many Republican officials. But those same Republicans have made a decision en masse to embrace Trump, at least publicly. From a cynical political calculus one can understand why. The Republican base is the Trump base, or maybe it’s more accurate to put that the other way around.

It is also clear that the core of this base is not enough to power Republicans to majorities in Congress. And yet, if the base stays home, Republicans also will lose.

With so much at stake, the unknowns hanging over Trump and his legal jeopardy are very consequential. How bad might this get for Trump and those who have fastened themselves to him? Will more be revealed? Will any Republicans decide that they need to separate themselves from Trump? Will that lead to disarray within the party as election day approaches? All of this is possible. But it is also possible that Trump skates by once again, at least for now. It is possible that Republicans take back Congress, and they frame their victory as a validation of Trumpism, nevermind what it means for the health and security of the country.

Right now it looks like a close election, but tides can shift, sometimes drastically. Support can crumble. What once looked like strength can be recast as weakness. Just ask one of the few people having a rougher go of it of late than Trump — Vladimir Putin.

Oh, and in other late-breaking news, the January 6th committee has come to an agreement to interview Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni Thomas. Can’t forget about that investigation.

One imagines all is not quiet tonight in Mar-a-Lago.

Chilled Yet???

Back in February, Russia’s dictator aka ‘President’ Vladimir Putin apparently thought he could launch an attack on neighboring Ukraine and that the Ukrainians were so weak or so stupid that they would simply lie down and turn over their country to him.  Well, he had another think coming!  Ukrainian President Zelenskyy stood firm and the Ukrainian people basically gave Putin the middle finger.  Despite their losses, they continue to stand firm today and with only help in military hardware resources, not human resources, from other nations, Ukraine has made Putin’s life significantly harder, has turned the tides just a bit.  Where Putin expected an easy victory 7 months ago, he is now facing the very real possibility of defeat.

However, if you thought Putin would back off, leave well enough alone and go home to lick his wounds, you’ll need to rethink that.  For starters, he has mobilized some 300,000 ‘military reservists’.  If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 65 years of age, you are now forbidden to leave the country.  Most other people are trying their best to get the hell out, and all flights out of Russia are filled to capacity through at least Friday.

Given that most Russians are not in favour of the war against Ukraine … most have family members living in Ukraine … there have been anti-war protests in a number of cities across Russia.  Just in the last few days, over 1,200 such protestors were arrested for no crime more serious than simply disagreeing with Putin’s goal of destroying another nation.

Last night, Putin gave a rare address to his nation … although it seemed to be intended for others, such as leaders of western nations.  In his speech, he warned that …

“NATO is conducting reconnaissance across the south of Russia. Washington, London and Brussels are directly pushing Kyiv to move military action to our country. They are openly saying that Russia should be defeated on the battlefield by any means.

Nuclear blackmail has also been used. We are talking not only about the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant – encouraged by the West – which threatens to cause a nuclear catastrophe but also about statements from senior representatives of NATO countries about the possibility and permissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia: nuclear weapons.

I would like to remind those who make such statements about Russia that our country also possesses various means of destruction, and in some cases, they are more modern than those of NATO countries. When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we, of course, will use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people.

This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.”

Foolish talk?  Sure.  But a cornered rat is a dangerous creature.  Vladimir Putin is a calculating madman who would see the world destroyed rather than admit he lost (does that remind you of anyone closer to home?)  U.S. President Biden responded while giving a speech to the United Nations General Assembly last night …

“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and [Ukrainians’] right to exist as a people. Wherever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold.

The United States wants this war to end on just terms, on terms we’re all signed up for – that you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force. The only country standing in the way of that is Russia. But no one threatened Russia and no one other than Russia sought conflict.”

Most of you are old enough to remember the Cold War between the USSR and the U.S. that began in 1947 and did not end until 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved.  I well remember air raid drills in school when we were made to crouch under our desks and put our hands over our heads … as if that was actually going to protect us in the event of a nuclear bomb!  Frankly, I never want to return to those days, but … it damn sure sounds to me as if that is where we are heading.  In the words of Roger Cohen, a New York Times bureau chief who has observed international affairs for more than 30 years …

“Perhaps not since the Cuban missile crisis six decades ago have American and Russian leaders confronted each other so explicitly and sharply on the danger of nuclear war.”

What is the solution?  IS there a solution?  Wiser heads than mine will have to answer that question.  Let us hope there are some who can.

It Trickles Up … Not Down!

Can She Really Be So Stupid???

Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who replaced bumbling Boris Johnson, has proven in a relatively short time that she is a damned fool.  She is leading the UK down a path to economic disaster and not only that, but she wants all other western nations to follow her down that pathway to nowhere.  In a recent interview, echoing Donald Trump, she said

“We do have to take difficult decisions to get our economy right. We have to look at our tax rates. So corporation tax needs to be competitive with other countries so that we can attract that investment.”

And so, for the sake of Ms. Truss, the good citizens of the United Kingdom, and as a reminder to the people of the United States, I am reprising a portion of my 2017 post here, explaining why and how ‘trickle down’ economics is a myth … a fool’s errand.  I have cut some of the original post out because the post was lengthy (over 1600 words) and a part of it was about Trump at that time (2017) and his proposals, now irrelevant. But somebody please pass this on to Ms. Truss so that perhaps she can gain a smidge of understanding about how the real world works and so that the UK doesn’t have to follow the U.S. down that damned disastrous pathway!


Trickle-down economics is a theory that says benefits for the wealthy trickle down to everyone else. It is a theory that makes sense … on paper.  In reality, it has been tried more than once and proven that it does not work.  Repeat after me:  Trickle-down economics does not work.  It does not trickle down, but rather pools in the bank accounts and investment portfolios of those who already own most of the nation’s wealth.

economy-8The theory is that if the government provides substantial tax cuts, industry de-regulations, and negotiates trade agreements that favour the big businesses of the nation, those big businesses will earn higher profit margins, and will therefore use their additional wealth to build more factories, hire more people, create more jobs, increase workers’ wages and benefits. The workers will have more money to spend, will buy more ‘things’, thereby increasing the profits of the big businesses who will use that additional profit to … well, you get the picture, right?  Sounds about right, don’t you think?  Yes, it sounds good, looks good on paper or white boards in boardrooms and congressional offices around the nation … but it does not work in reality.

economy-3Ronald Reagan tried it in the 1980s, thus leading to some calling it ‘Reaganomics’.  It did not work.  The U.S. economy was in a slump when Reagan took office in 1981, so he did two things:  lowered taxes and increased government spending.  Now, at this juncture I want to take a minute to let you know that I do not intend to provide a lesson in economics.  I am savvy enough, but I am not an economist, and I typically leave these discussions to fellow-blogger Erik Hare over at Barataria.  But Erik sometimes goes into more depth than is needed, as he IS an economist.  Since I am not, I will put what little explanation I deem necessary in layman’s terms.  So, using an over-simplification to explain what happened under Reagan …

Think of it on a personal level.  You decide you want to enjoy life more, so you cut back your hours, thereby reducing the income from your job.  At the same time, since you want to enjoy life more, you spend more money on such things as dining out, travel and household goods & clothing.  For a while, perhaps, life is great, but then … the homeowner’s insurance comes due, there is a huge auto repair, and your daughter starts college.  Uh-oh … it just caught up with you and now you must take out … loans.  Go further into debt.

This is what happened under Reagan.  He decreased the federal revenue by cutting taxes, increased federal spending in order to stimulate the economy, and for a while there was the illusion that it was working.  People had more money, and spent more, and they were happy.  But … time came to pay the piper and the money wasn’t in the treasury, so our federal debt tripled from $997 billion in 1981 when Reagan took office to $2.85 trillion in 1989 when he left office. Money is a finite resource.  If you rob from Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes, then soon you will need to rob from somebody else to pay Peter back.  And remember that debt is not free.  Take out a loan for that new car, and you will pay approximately 4.5% in interest.  The federal government must also pay interest on its debt.

Then in 2001, George W. Bush tried the theory once again, cutting income taxes in an effort to stimulate the economy.  Which it did … temporarily, until unemployment began to rise.  So in 2003, he further cut taxes on business.  According to the theory, the tax cuts should have helped people in all income levels. In fact, the opposite occurred. Income inequality worsened. Household income rose 6 percent for the bottom fifth. And 80 percent for the top 1 percent who saw their income triple. Instead of trickling down, it appears that prosperity trickled up.

economy-4

Okay, so we see that it does not work, but why?  I could point you to any number of studies with lots of graphs and charts to show inverse correlations, etc., but we would all be bored.  The bottom line, I firmly believe is multi-fold.  First, tax cuts reduce the revenue of the federal government, meaning that, since our government will almost never cut military spending, it will instead cut funding for social welfare programs, meaning the lowest income families will actually have less spending power.  Second, federal debt will have to increase to cover the deficiencies caused by the tax cuts.  And … here is, perhaps, the biggest reason:  GREED.  Big businesses that benefit from tax cuts are typically corporations who owe their very existence to their stockholders.  They will keep those stockholders happy with higher annual dividends before they consider paying their employees higher wages or increasing benefits, let alone hiring additional staff.  Purchasing additional factories?  Perhaps, but that is not likely to increase jobs significantly, especially with today’s rapidly growing technological advances cutting jobs in many fields.


The bottom line is that if you give the wealthy more money, they will NOT share it with ANYBODY … they will hoard it.  We have had a federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 since 2009 … 13 years … while the CPI (Consumer Price Index) has risen during that period by 27%.  Corporate profits have increased dramatically during that same period.  No, my friends, one last time …

TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS IS A MYTH … IT DOES NOT HAPPEN!!!

Wake up, Ms. Truss.