Sigh … More Snarky Snippets …

Some nights the mind bounce simply does not allow me to focus on my more in-depth projects … I have three of them in-process at the moment … and so nothing will do but a few snarky snippets.  Sorry, folks … I simply cannot help myself.  Sigh.


Underpaid???

I want you to get out your box of tissues and don your sympathy hats, for this one’s a real tear-jerker.  Members of Congress have not had a pay raise … not even so much as a cost-of-living increase … since 2009 – ten years!!!  The horror!  I mean, the majority of them only earn a paltry $174,000 per year!  How on earth are they managing?  So, two republican representatives, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, have quietly proposed a pay increase … just about a 2.5% increase … ballpark $3 million per year in total … nothing to break the bank.

But wait!  The minimum wage rate of $7.25 also has not been raised since 2009.  The full-time minimum wage worker earns $15,080 per year.  Um … that is a mere 8.67% of what those members of Congress are earning.  All of which might not cause a raised eyebrow except … back in March there was a bill in Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in increments by 2024.  Guess what?  The bill ran into a bit of a snag, with every single republican, including Representatives Scalise and McCarthy, committed to voting against it, and even some democrats refusing to support it, saying it would place an “unfair burden” on small businesses.  Unfair burden?  Unfair burden???  What about the burden of all those people working second jobs just to survive???

The very people who are poised to grant themselves a $4,500 per annum pay increase, would deny the minimum wage worker an increase. The bill hasn’t garnered the 218 votes needed to pass the House, and even if it passes the House, Mitch McConnell has indicated that he will not bring the bill to a vote in the Senate.  And even if it passed both the House and the Senate, in all likelihood Trump would veto it.

Think about that one … the people who are making 11.5 times as much as minimum wage earners, most of whom are already millionaires, want a raise for themselves, but none for the man or woman who is struggling every day to feed their children, pay the rent, pay the doctor’s bills, and keep the electricity from being shut off.  My answer to the members of the U.S. Congress is do what the minimum wage earners are having to do … take a second or even third job!!!


Ignorance

In year’s past, a president might be applauded for a brilliant speech, or criticized for one that wasn’t so good, but it tells you all you need to know about Don Trump when he is praised for not veering off-script.  The speech he gave at the ceremony for the 75th anniversary of D-Day was praised by two of Trump’s media antagonists, Jim Acosta and Joe Scarborough, not for it’s content (Trump didn’t write it) or sincerity (there was none), but because he stayed on script and didn’t go off on a tangent as he is prone to do.

“This is perhaps the most on-message moment of Donald Trump’s presidency today. We were all wondering if he would veer from his remarks, go off of his script but he stayed on script, stayed on message …” – Jim Acosta, CNN

“I’m also glad the president chose to have the discipline to stick to script …” – Joe Scarborough, MSNBC

Sorry, guys, but given that he spent three full days making an ass of himself and of this nation while visiting our allies, he gets no kudos from me for managing a few minutes reading from a paper without veering off course.  Two and a half years in office, and this is his crowning achievement – being able to read a speech that somebody else wrote???  That’s sad.  That’s really, really sad.


Truer words have never been spoken than these by President Dwight David EisenhowerD-Day


Th-th-that’s all f-f-folks

bugs bunny

A Debate Worth Having …

It’s a damn shame.  It’s a damn shame that the lust for power takes precedence over the well-being of the inhabitants of planet Earth.  It is as if the house is on fire, and half the people living in it say, “Oh no, we cannot go out into the street looking like this … we must first put on nicer clothes and fix our hair.”  Helllloooooo … wake up people!  That fire isn’t going to go into a holding pattern while you get prettied up, and climate change cannot be put on hiatus until the politicians make up their minds to grow a pair of cojones!

The latest?  Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, who is one of the many democratic candidates vying for the office of president next year, along with at least five of the other candidates, requested of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that at least one of the presidential debates be devoted to climate change.  Given that climate change is the number one problem facing every nation in the world today and given that our current excuse for a president has, bypassing Congress and using the power of his executive pen, accelerated and exacerbated the effects of climate change, then it makes perfect sense that it should be a major topic of the debates.  However, the DNC is cowering in the corner and says “no”.  WHY?

Because the DNC fears that such a climate-centric debate could force Democratic contenders to confront policy differences they have so far papered over, including how quickly they would push the U.S. to shift away from the fossil fuels that provide jobs — union jobs. The candidates would also face pressure to offer specifics on their position on the Green New Deal, the ambitious progressive climate resolution that Republicans have sought to tar as an expensive socialist boondoggle.  In other words, it is politics as usual.

Let’s get something straight here.  The purpose of these debates is to provide an opportunity for the candidates to share their ideas and platforms, and to help We the People to decide, based on where the candidates stand on a host of issues, which candidate is most closely aligned with our own views and values.  The purpose is not for the party to control the agenda and ensure we get ‘cookie-cutter’ choices that all look basically the same.

There will be a total of twelve … yes, count ‘em, twelve … democratic primary debates during 2019 and 2020.  TWELVE.  And they cannot make the topic of one of those twelve, climate change???  In this, the Democratic Party is starting to act a whole heck of a lot like the Republican Party!

Not only is the DNC refusing to hold a debate where climate change is the main topic, but they have also threatened to punish democratic candidates who participate in such a debate hosted by other organizations!  Gestapo tactics?  According to Jay Inslee …

“Today, my team received a call from the Democratic National Committee letting us know that they will not host a climate debate. Further, they explained that if we participated in anyone else’s climate debate, we will not be invited to future debates. This is deeply disappointing. The DNC is silencing the voices of Democratic activists, many of our progressive partner organizations, and nearly half of the Democratic presidential field, who want to debate the existential crisis of our time. The next president must make defeating this crisis the top priority of the nation. And I will continue to do everything I humanly can to ensure the climate crisis is at the top of the national agenda.”

DNC Chairman Tom Perez justified his decision thusly …

“The DNC will not be holding entire debates on a single-issue area—we want to make sure voters have the ability to hear from candidates on all the issues. You have my word that I will do everything I can to make sure our candidates are able to debate all of the critical issues during this primary.”

First, with twelve debates scheduled, I really think that if one were set aside for climate change, the other eleven would still provide the candidates with ample opportunity to debate every other issue at some length.  Second, if we don’t address climate change, frankly there are no other issues, or at least none of the other issues will matter 50 years, 100 years down the road.

I have to concur with what freshman Representative Sean Casten of Illinois said …

“This is the most important issue that we face as a planet and a species right now. If you don’t want to have public debate, this is probably the wrong line of work for you.”

The survival of this nation depends on the democrats defeating Donald Trump in 2020, but this is not the way to go about it.  The democrats need to stand above the fray of the republicans, need to get their priorities straight.  While it is the strategy of the Republican Party to deny climate change in favour of corporate profit, the democrats cannot mimic this strategy.  The majority of people in this country, in the world, understand what the climate scientists are telling us … that this planet cannot continue to sustain life as we know it if we do not act now to stop the damage being done every day to our environment.  To eschew the issue is to condemn every living creature on earth to a near-certain death by the end of this century.  I suggest that every concerned citizen respond to Mr. Perez’ tweet, letting him know that he is wrong, that We the People want debate on climate change, that we need to know where the candidates stand in order to make an informed and intelligent choice.  We cannot afford to put political posturing ahead of life on earth.

Trump’s Travels ‘Toons

Trump traveled to the UK for an official state visit this week, and much to nobody’s surprise, he disgraced and humiliated us just as we knew he would.  Delusional as always, he came away thinking the crowds of protestors were adoring fans and that “everybody loves” him in the UK.  The cartoonists had a slightly different take on it.  Let’s take a look …

His staff tried to prepare him for the visit …

Trump-UK-1.jpg

Apparently he tuned it all out, for ….

Trump-UK-3Trump-UK-4Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump gets a royal giftTrump-UK-6Trump-UK-7Trump-UK-8Trump UK visit

Trump-UK-trip

And with signs like these, it is unimaginable that he still believes he is loved on the other side of the pond …

trump-protest1trump-protest4trump-protest7trump-protest8trump-protest21

And those were actually some of the … um … shall we say less vulgar signs!  🤣

NO Dammit … Just NO!

The press release from the U.S. Department of Interior dated 05 June 2019 reads, in part …

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced from Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge a proposal for new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) across more than 1.4 million acres.

According to Bernhardt …

“… Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before. Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life. These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife.”

BULLSHIT.

How the Sam Heck is the murder of animals “vital to the conservation of our lands and waters”???  And why must animals die for “our outdoor recreation economy”???  Did they ever hear of swimming, picnicking, playing ball, tossing a Frisbee, running, hiking, and all those other non-violent forms of outdoor recreation?  Must we murder in order to have fun outdoors???  If that is what is considered the “American way of life”, count me out!

Lion-not a trophyAs one opponent of the move said …

“We looked up the word refuge: a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. Now if you and your family need a refuge we assume you would not want to be the target of gunfire. The same holds for our fellow animals.”

Bernhardt’s predecessor, Ryan Zinke, ordered the department in 2017 to review ways to expand hunting and fishing access to public lands. His spokeswoman said the Obama administration “did not appreciate access to hunting and target shooting like this administration does” and developed overly restrictive policies.

trump-leopard

Don Trump, Jr. (left) and Eric Trump with beautiful leopard they murdered in Zimbabwe in 2011

And as I was looking into this most recent abomination, guess what else I discovered?  Here is what the Department of Interior has been doing to wildlife protections since Trump took office:

  • Opened nine million acres of Western land to oil and gas drilling by weakening habitat protections for the sage grouse.
  • Overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands.
  • Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges.
  • Ended an Obama-era rule barring hunters on some Alaska public lands from using bait to lure and kill grizzly bears.
  • Withdrew proposed limits on the number of endangered marine mammals and sea turtles that people who fish could unintentionally kill or injure with sword-fishing nets on the West Coast. In 2018, California issued a state rule prohibiting the use of the nets the rule was intending to regulate.
  • Amended fishing regulations for a number of species to allow for longer seasons and higher catch rates.
  • Rolled back a roughly 40-year-old interprentation of a policy aimed at protecting migratory birds, potentially running afoul of treaties with Canada and Mexico.
  • Overturned a ban on using parts of migratory birds in handicrafts made by Alaskan Natives.

And currently under consideration are even more heartbreaking rollbacks …

  • Proposed stripping the Endangered Species Act of key provisions.
  • Proposed relaxing environmental protections for salmon and smelt in California’s Central Valley in order to free up water for farmers.

A former friend informed me not too long ago that “God put everything on earth here for our enjoyment and convenience”.  You may now understand why she is a former friend. Apparently, that is a belief shared by Donald Trump, Ryan Zinke and David Bernhardt, but I do not believe it is shared by the vast majority of people in the U.S.

trophy hunting 2I do not believe that any creature was put on this earth for men to get their jollies by shooting them with guns.  Back in the day, when that was the only way people could eat, perhaps it was justified, but even then, people of conscience killed only what they needed to eat.  When people kill just for bragging rights, I find myself hoping they end up face-to-face, mano-a-mano with the animal, be it bear or lion, and let the chips fall where they may.

Tiger, Petchaburi, Thailand

That our government believes a man’s right to kill senselessly supersedes an animal’s right to life, then that government is not one I can or will ever support.  Oh … and to all my hiker friends … better wear a bullet-proof vest from now on when you’re hiking, for the damned hunters don’t really look very closely … if it moves, they shoot.

The Trump boys with their trophies …

Trump-sons-hunt-1Trump-sons-hunt-2Trump-sons-hunt-3

The Border Crisis-Part Two: Beto O’Rourke has a plan

This is the second part of On The Fence Voters two-part series on the immigration platforms of democratic presidential candidates for 2020. This one introduces Beto O’Rourke’s immigration platform and while similar to Castro’s earlier this afternoon, there are some differences, as Jeff will explain. Thanks again, Jeff, for your excellent work!

On The Fence Voters

Yesterday, I highlighted some of the main points in Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro’s comprehensive immigration plan. Today, the focus is on a recently released plan from candidate Beto O’Rourke. You can find the full plan here.

O’Rourke’s plan centers on three main pillars:

1 Using executive authority to stop inhumane treatment of children, reunite families that have been separated, reform our asylum system, rescind the travel bans, and remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like TPS.

2 Immediately engaging Congress to enact legislation—focused on the vital role families and communities play—that will allow America to fully harness the power of economic growth and opportunity that both immigration and naturalization will bring to our country’s future.

3 Strengthen our partnerships with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere—refocusing and supporting democracy and human rights and invest in reducing violence because the only path to regional…

View original post 1,055 more words

The border crisis: Julian Castro has a plan

There are many ‘hot topics’ on the docket for next year’s election, not the least of which is immigration. The immigration ‘plan’, if there can be said to actually be a plan, of the current administration is a disaster, with lives being lost at our southern border, and human rights violations that three years ago would have been unthinkable. So, where do the candidates stand on immigration? It isn’t something I’ve given a lot of thought to yet, but luckily our friend Jeff over at On The Fence Voters has. He has analyzed the platforms of two of the contenders for the democratic nomination: Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke. I find his posts on this topic enlightening, and I think you will too. This is the first of the two, and I plan to re-blog the second later this evening. Thank you, Jeff, for these two posts and your permission to share!

On The Fence Voters

To say the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is a disaster, would actually be a compliment. Let’s be honest, the policy is inhumane, chaotic, horrific, and unsustainable. And word this morning that 37 migrant children who had boarded vans last July in the brutal heat of a Texas summer, only to be forced to stay in those vans for up to 39 hours, exemplifies the incompetence we’ve seen when it comes to this issue.

The migrants were on their way to the Port Isabel Detention Center, hoping to reunite with their parents, who had been taken from them when the Trump administration began systematically separating migrant families who crossed the border illegally. Eventually, the children were reunited with the parents, but to endure such hardship is simply a disgrace.

Of course, this situation arose out of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which was officially in effect from April 2018 until June…

View original post 1,094 more words

It’s Time For Action …

Don Trump’s taxes have been in dispute for years.  He is the first president since Reagan … more than thirty years ago … to refuse to make public his most recent tax returns.  His excuses have been many, none of them valid.  First, he said we weren’t smart enough to understand them, for their complexity was far beyond our ability to comprehend.  He fails to remember that among “we” are tax lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who would far better understand his returns than he himself does.  Then he said that nobody cared … another blatant lie.  His next excuse was that he was being audited, but that argument was struck down when the IRS said that while it was true he was under audit, there was no reason that should stop him from releasing his tax returns.

Then, in light of the fact that he refused to divest himself of certain business holdings once he held public office, coupled with the fact that there appears to be a connection between his businesses and certain Russians, the House Ways and Means Committee first requested, then subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service in order to obtain Trump’s tax returns.  And again, ran into a brick wall when Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, flat out refused to honour the subpoena, saying that in his opinion it had no legitimate purpose.

A week later, New York State lawmakers approved a bill that would authorize state tax officials to release the president’s state returns to any one of three congressional committees.  The state returns would include much, though not all, of the same information in the federal returns, and is readily available, whereas obtaining the federal returns could be a years-long process.

Representative Richard Neal from Massachusetts is Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, and as such is the person who would need to ask the state of New York for copies of the returns.  And … he is refusing.  Between this, and Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to open an impeachment investigation, I am beginning to wonder if the democrats are in cahoots with the republicans!!!

Neal claims he fears that getting the state returns would bolster Trump administration arguments that Congress is on a political fishing expedition — and not, as Neal has claimed, overseeing the Internal Revenue Service’s annual audits of the president.  While I have urged caution in a number of areas up to this point, my patience has worn thin … no wait … make that, my patience has worn OUT!  I agree with Representative Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee when she says …

“Whatever it takes to get it — I’m for it.  I believe that the president of the United States should follow the tradition of other presidents and reveal his tax returns.”

Every single day that Donald Trump remains in office he causes more damage to this nation.  He is wasting precious tax dollars on things like taking his entire family on a trip to the UK, when only he and Melania were invited.  His policies and ‘executive orders’ have wreaked havoc on our southern border where thus far six children have died while in ‘protective’ custody and thousands remain separated from their parents.  He has caused serious rifts between the U.S. and its allies by being offensive to their leaders and attempting to bully them into acting as he wishes.  He has placed people in high-ranking cabinet positions who are less qualified for their jobs than I am.  He has committed to sending $8 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, a nation whose crown prince ordered the brutal murder of one of our own journalists. He has imposed tariffs on imports from just about every nation we trade with … tariffs that cost We, The People of this nation. And the list goes on.

On a slightly more positive note …

On May 21st, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former campaign press secretary Hope Hicks, and former White House lawyer Annie Donaldson for documents related to allegations that Trump obstructed justice.  On June 4th, Trump directed the two women to defy the subpoena.  Both are now private citizens and are not subject to orders given by Trump.  Hope Hicks has, it is reported, turned over some of the documents requested, those relating to Trump’s campaign.

It is but a drop in the bucket, for Ms. Hicks’ attorney Robert Trout said in a letter to committee chairman Jerry Nadler that Hicks would not hand over documents related to Trump’s time in the White House and his presidential transition period because administration attorneys believe the papers may be subject to a claim of executive privilege by Trump.  Since when does the president of this nation have the right to claim “executive privilege” in order to cover up his own wrongdoing?  Did we learn nothing from Watergate?

I keep hoping that somehow, somewhere there is a person whose conscience calls on him or her to do the right thing, to put the well-being of the nation first, to tell what he or she knows.  I had hoped that person would be Robert Mueller, then I hoped it would be Don McGahn, but Mueller has chosen to err on the side of caution, and McGahn has shown his feathers.

All the games being played, all the political posturing, is going to come with a high price tag.  It already has, but it gets higher for every day he is allowed to rule as a king.  It seems to me that all the attempts to hide documents and threaten witnesses constitutes obstruction of justice in and of itself.  It’s time for Congress to get tough, for we can no longer afford to sit on our hands and wait for just the right moment.

GASP!!! Have They Found A Conscience?

Are republican senators finally finding their consciences?  More likely they are worried about their own patooties next election, but either way, it is encouraging to see them standing up to Trump for a change. Two stories in this morning’s news give reason to hope that the blinders are coming off, that Senate republicans are beginning to remember that their allegiance is to We the People, not the madman in the Oval Office.


The first issue is the tariffs that Trump has threatened to impose on goods imported from Mexico – another of his bullying tactics to attempt to force another country to bend to his will.  The tariffs would crush Mexico’s economy, as 80% of their exports are to the U.S., and it would hurt the consumers in this nation as well, though Trump either does not understand, or more likely simply does not care.

Yesterday, two “administration officials” attended a lunch with the Senate during which the proposed tariffs were discussed.  A number of republican senators expressed their opposition …

“I think the administration ought to be concerned about another vote of disapproval on another national emergency act, this time trying to implement tariffs. Tariffs are not real popular in the Republican conference.” – Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

“I want you to take back that you didn’t hear a single ‘yes’ in this room.” – Senator Ted Cruz, Texas

“We’re holding a gun to our own heads.” – Senator John Cornyn, Texas

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio questioned the administration’s legal rationale for levying the tariffs, asking the officials to explain how it could use a law that has never been implemented to impose tariffs — the International Emergency Economic Powers Act — to, in fact, impose tariffs.  Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado told the officials that they need to stop with the tariffs.

When asked if he felt that the Senate could come up with a veto-proof majority to block the tariffs, Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said, “I sure do.  There’s just a weariness of tariffs as the only tool in the tool kit that gets used.”  Even Mitch McConnell had to admit …

“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs — that’s for sure.”

Only time will tell if the senators are willing to put their vote where their mouth is and stand up to the bully in the Oval Office.  Trump, on being told that there was little if any support in the Senate for his tariffs took his usual mafia-sounding spiel …

“Oh, I don’t think they will do that. I think if they did it’s foolish.”


Last month, Trump declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries — including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the decision, saying …

“These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

At the time of the announcement, there was some bi-partisan support in Congress for blocking the sales, but the icing was spread on the cake yesterday when it was discovered that that Trump had allowed U.S. nuclear energy companies to share technology and other information with Saudi Arabia on October 18, 2018 — just 16 days after Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul — and again February 18, 2019, less than a week after the House voted to end U.S. backing for the Saudi-led military effort in Yemen’s civil war.  Both the House and the Senate voted for the bill to end U.S. participation in the war in Yemen, but Trump vetoed the bill, and neither chamber of Congress was able to come up with a 2/3 majority to override the veto.

As a result, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham are working together in an effort to block the 22 arms deals that would largely benefit Saudi Arabia, a move that seeks to quash the administration’s attempt to use emergency powers to circumvent congressional objections.  Given that Graham has long been one of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders and has defended the indefensible on more than one occasion, this is certainly encouraging news.

There is also bi-partisan support for blocking the arms sales in the House of Representatives where it is said members are also considering re-writing the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 to impose tighter restrictions on the use of the “emergency authority” provision, tightening the loophole Trump used to justify the sale so it could only be used for “true emergencies”.

Again, time will tell whether the republicans in Congress are finally ready to re-assess their blind support of everything Trump demands and represent the people of this nation, or if they will once again fall prey to the bullying of the madman at the helm.

Timely Advice From Morning Joe

Yesterday, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the amount of news … tariffs, Trump’s trip to the UK, anti-trust investigations, impeachment, gun control, anti-abortion laws, etc., etc., etc.  Where to start?  My mind spun, then bounced as I read article after article, most somehow involving Donald Trump.  I think we are all beginning to feel as if we are on a carousel that is spinning faster and faster while we try to hold on for dear life.

This morning I happened upon an OpEd by former member of Congress, now host of Morning Joe on MSNBC with Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough that I think makes a lot of sense.  Mr. Scarborough offers us some timely advice about keeping our eye on the ball, so I decided to share it with you.

Disregard Trump’s ground noise. Focus on the signal.

By Joe Scarborough, June 3 at 4:08 PM

Joe-ScarboroughMy first year in Congress was spent absorbing attacks from a local newspaper unimpressed by the fact I was the first Republican elected in my area of Florida since Reconstruction. They appreciated my lectures on small government conservatism no more than does the current collection of Big Government Republicans in Washington.

During my freshman year on the Hill, I tried to respond to every charge from every article, political cartoon or editorial page. After one particularly stem-winding speech that I delivered at the downtown Rotary Club in Pensacola, Fla., three-star admiral Jack Fetterman took me aside and gently offered advice that I carry with me a quarter-century later. He put his arm around me and said, “Joe, you have to learn to separate the ground noise from the signal. And here’s the secret, son: It’s almost always ground noise.”

I thought of the admiral’s words this weekend as I glanced at the news feed coming in over my phone.

Video from the Sun, a British tabloid, showed that President Trump called a princess “nasty”; then he denied calling her that; then Trump had his team release a tape that showed he called her that; then Fox News hosts attacked those quoting the Trump manuscript that showed he called her “nasty.”

Trump then dismissed reports of him calling her “nasty,” waving off the Sun’s transcripts as “fake news.”

I also learned from my news feed that Trump staffers told the Navy to keep the USS John S. McCain out of Trump’s line of sight; Trump then denied that request was ever made; Reporters proved that request was, in fact, made. Trump staffers admitted to the request.

Trump then dismissed the reports as “fake news.”

It is easy to be blinkered by the ground noise generated by from the president’s Twitter feed, or from his ministers of propaganda, or from his quivering quislings on Capitol Hill. It is difficult to brush aside the steady stream of lies and half-truths that insult our intelligence. But the good admiral would tell you that you have no other choice unless you want to fly your fighter jet straight into the side of a mountain.

Ignore the ground noise and search for the signal, instead. That may seem difficult but, after three years of Trumpian madness, it is imperative.

The signal is the Mueller report. Read it. The evidence inside is both impeachable and indictable. It also documents that the Russians tried to undermine U.S. democracy and that the president and his team, rather than reporting the interference, welcomed our enemy’s help.

William P. Barr is ground noise. The attorney general has been caught lying to the American people with his letter, lying to Congress with his testimony and lying to the media in his interviews. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times accurately labeled Barr as Trump’s minister of disinformation. She is right. His words are now as meaningless as Kellyanne Conway’s or Roger Stone’s.

The signal is the United States’ $22 trillion debt; record deficits; a fading bond market; trade wars with Mexico and China; a $16 billion welfare scheme for farmers; tariff taxes; a bloated defense budget that funds military-industrial complex programs that the Pentagon does not even want; a Middle Eastern war taxpayers are underwriting for the benefit of a bloodthirsty Saudi prince; and rising tensions in the Persian Gulf also aimed at mollifying that same leader, who had a Post contributing columnist tortured and killed.

Focus also on the pattern of behavior. After the economic crisis, Donald Trump endorsed the Wall Street bailout and praised the feds for giving billions of dollars to bankers whose greed had crushed middle-class workers. A decade later, the populist plutocrat championed tax cuts for multinational corporations and millionaire members inside his clubs. As Trump told a group of wealthy Mar-a-Lago Club members the day he signed the tax bill into law, “You all just got a lot richer.” In this one respect, Trump was right. His Palm Beach buddies did make millions from “tax reform,” but as with the tariffs he keeps touting, it is working-class Americans who will ultimately pay the tab.

Ignore the noise and focus on the signal coming from North Korea, where the building of a nuclear program continues unimpeded. The president’s bewildering response to this growing threat has been to adopt the party line of North Korea’s Communist Party and profess his love for the dictator who tortured and caused the death of a U.S. college student for trying to bring a poster home. A strong warning signal also gets sent every time Trump chooses to accept the word of a former KGB agent over the professional conclusions of the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and Homeland Security leaders that the president, himself, appointed.

That signal may lead us back to the Mueller report as well as Trump’s personal pursuit of riches. And focusing on that signal may lead us to better understanding why the president has been so willing to sell out American democracy to Russian dictators and Saudi Arabian sheikhs.

Text dividers

Da Snarky Snippets Keep On Coming

Believe it or not, just a few years ago I was a mild-mannered person who rarely engaged in being snarky, or bouts of temper … yeah, right, who do I think I’m kidding?  Anyway, today I find that I have plenty of little snippets upon which to unload my snark.


Trump vs CNN – round #14

On Monday, little Donnie took umbrage … again … over CNN’s coverage of his _____________ (fill in the blank).  Could have been his proposed tariffs on imports from Mexico, could have been his meddling in the affairs of the UK, or perhaps his juvenile criticisms of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, or any number of other things he has done or said.

CNN is not alone in critiquing Trump’s words and actions, and they are not alone in drawing Trump’s ire, for he has frequently called out the New York Times and The Washington Post, calling them ‘fake news’, ‘failing’, and more.  But, he seems to have taken a particular dislike to CNN, and today he crossed a line.  Well, in truth, he has crossed many lines in the past and I’m inclined to say that every time he opens his mouth, he crosses a line.  However today, he called on the U.S. public to boycott AT&T, the parent company of CNN.  This, my friends, is unconscionable.

It is neither the job nor the right of the president to attempt to bring down a company simply because they don’t agree with him.  And it is damn sure not his right to attempt to manipulate the press … the FREE press.  Hell, the majority of people in the nation don’t agree with him … what’s he going to do … call on his shrinking base to ‘de-friend’ us on Facebook? In the opinion of historian Jon Meacham, who has written biographies of several presidents …

“For a president to call for punitive action against a corporation in an effort to shape news coverage is, to say the least, highly unusual. It’s the kind of behavior more commonly associated with authoritarian regimes, not democratic ones.”

More commonly associated with authoritarian regimes … what have I been saying for two years now?


Get em, Tiger!

“Unfortunately, your actions are part of a pattern. The Trump administration has been engaged in one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate, extending from the White House to multiple federal agencies and departments of the government and across numerous investigations.”

The above is an excerpt from letters written to both Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross yesterday by Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.  Both Barr and Ross have defied the panel’s subpoena for information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Last week, we learned of a plot, if you will, to redistrict (gerrymander) political maps that would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites”, based on answers to a proposed citizenship question on the upcoming (2020) census form.  The information came to light following the release of documents belonging to the late Thomas Hofeller, a major republican strategist.

The republicans, from Donald Trump down to the lowliest cabinet member, are engaging in a dangerous game of cat and mouse in order to preserve their “dominance” in our government.  I hope that if Barr and Ross do not turn over the requested information, they both land behind bars in orange jumpsuits.  The same goes for Mnuchin, Trump, and all the others who think they are above the law.  It’s time to restore law and order to this damn country!


Jared Kushner deserves a medal … for ignorance

KushnerThere is likely a reason why Jared Kushner, son-in-law and boot-licker of Don Trump, doesn’t do many interviews … his utter ignorance and stupidity come out … in spades.  On Sunday, an interview he did with Jonathan Swan of Axios was aired.  A couple of snippets …

The first was about the false claim by Trump that Obama was not born in the U.S.

Swan: Was birtherism racist?

Kushner: Um, look, I wasn’t really involved in that.

Swan: I know you weren’t! Was it racist?

Kushner: Like I said, I wasn’t involved in that.

Swan: I know you weren’t! Was it racist?

Kushner: Um, look, I know who the president is, and I have not seen anything in him that is racist. So, again, I was not involved in that.

Swan: Did you wish he didn’t do that?

Kushner: Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.

Then when asked about his father-in-law’s ‘values’, or lack thereof …

Swan: Has your father-in-law ever challenged your values?

Kushner: Um, in what regard?

Swan: Well I mean when you were on the campaign you had Access Hollywood? There’s been other things you’ve had to deal with since then. I mean, like, it’s a sensitive question, but I mean it in the sense of you’re a son-in-law, you’re a husband, you’re a senior advisor. Does it make it sometimes harder to, to tell him the truth?

Kushner: No, I think he, he respects people who are willing to be honest with him. When I do disagree, you’ll never read about it in the press and I won’t say it publicly but I will say there’s a lot more things I agree with him on than disagree.

Swan: So you agree with him on economics and foreign policy. Where do you stand on abortion?

Kushner: Again, I was not uh the person who was elected.

Such brilliance, yes?  No wonder he has been put in charge of a Middle-East peace plan!  If you’re interested, you can find the full transcript in .pdf form here.


A royal welcome …

Donnie is over in the UK this week, sure to cause more problems than he solves.  But the Brits know how to make a guy feel welcome.  The baby blimp will fly later today, but here are a few pictures from yesterday’s many protests …

protest-1protest-2protest-3protest-4protest-5protest-6protest-grassProtest Against Donald Trump's State Banquet in LondonProtest Against Donald Trump's State Banquet in LondonProtest Against Donald Trump's State Banquet in London

I guess that proves how much everybody loves him across the pond, eh?


Well, I think that’s it for this morning.  Have a great Tuesday!