Unconscionable!!!

Jeff-BezosJeff Bezos, the man who co-founded Amazon and today is the CEO and 12% shareholder in the highly profitable company, has a net worth of $118 billion.  Just to make that a bit more visual, that’s $118,000,000,000.  It’s a lot of money, anyway you look at it.  Bezos is said to be the richest individual in the world.  The world.  Perhaps now we understand the source of the “Amazon smile”. Last year (2019) alone, Amazon posted $280 billion in revenue and $11.9 billion in profits.  At least they will actually pay federal income tax for 2019, unlike 2018 when they paid $0 on $11 billion in profits.

Amazon is one of the few companies whose business has surged during this time of coronavirus pandemic.  More and more people are ordering household supplies and even food that they cannot find in their local stores, or just to keep from having to spend much time in the local stores.  Amazon announced last week that they will be hiring up to 100,000 additional workers to cover the increased demand.  And yet …

Amazon maintains one of the stingiest paid sick leave policies among major corporations.  To add insult to injury, Amazon under CEO Bezos is requesting donations from their customers to cover sick leave for their employees!  Think on that one for a minute.

Amazon-donations

The man with more money than anybody deserves or needs, more money than he could possibly ever spend, is too cheap to fully cover his employees sick leave, but expects his customers, many of whom are currently laid off from their jobs, to pitch in.

As if that weren’t enough to make you want to dump a pan of hot berries on his bald pate, he also managed to profit ‘bigly’ by selling $3.4 billion in Amazon shares just before the stock market peaked in mid-February.  Can we say, insider trading?  Had he held onto those shares until this week, he would have lost $317 million … not that he’d even notice, for that’s pocket change for him.

I have been an Amazon customer since 2003, have a monthly standing order for household cleaning supplies, and frequently order other things we need, but … I’m going to start looking for alternatives.  Today!

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste …

Woe the poor high school senior living in the U.S. who, looking forward to graduation in May or June, already accepted to the college of her choice, is now told that the schools are closed for the rest of the year and her plans will have to be scrapped.  She will likely have to repeat her entire senior year next year, or perhaps even the year after, since the U.S. seems intent on scrapping life in general for the rest of this calendar year.

First, let me assure you that I’m not necessarily arguing against the closing of the schools.  We must protect our young people as best we can.  What I’m arguing is that there appears to be absolutely zero amount of planning for the education of our youth … it seems that nobody is considering alternate means for these young people to complete the school year that they have already spent 6 months of their lives on.  Where is the common sense???  Must we keep throwing out the baby with the bathwater?  Does nobody in our government think any more?  Just because we have a fool in the White House shouldn’t preclude other elected officials from using their brains for something other than holding their skulls in place.

Once again, state governors have shown their immense capacity for willful ignorance by closing schools through the end of the school year, despite the fact that it is only March, and with callous disregard for both students and parents.

“The governor told California parents the SAT and other standardized testing would be canceled and the state would help with supplies to homeschool.”

Say WHAT???  The entire SAT is cancelled?  Whose brilliant idea was that?  So, even students who technically completed their course work at mid-term will not be able to take the SAT in order to enter college in the fall?  What would you do if you were a student in that situation?  I think many will say, “Screw this, I’ll just go work for the sanitation department,” else “I’ll just kill myself now.” I don’t suppose it occurred to the dolts in the Department of Education that the SAT could, with appropriate safeguards, be administered online???

And “the state would help with supplies to homeschool”?  So what?  Most parents whose children are beyond about 5th or 6th grade are not going to be able to homeschool their children in many subjects.  Only those with advanced degrees plus the time and patience will be able to do so … likely about 10% of the population.

Common sense is seriously lacking in the United States today.  Now, if the states thought shuttering the schools for the next 6 months was such a brilliant move, then they could have had teachers teach their classes online, from the comfort of their own homes, in their jammies if they wished.  Students without access to a computer, modem or WiFi, could have been provided one at no cost by the Department of Education.  Without the distractions, perhaps they would have learned even better, but noooooo … it would have required thought processes that no government official today seems capable of.

The quality of education in the United States had hit an all-time low, even before this.  We no longer teach young people that wonderful art of thinking, but rather teach them technical skills.  We teach little about history, literature, and how governments function, but rather how to program in C++, or how to build furniture.  And now … we teach … nothing.  For at least the foreseeable future, we teach nothing.  Way. To. Go.

To reiterate, just so nobody misunderstands my point as happened in a post last week:  I am not arguing against the schools being closed if that is what the medical community believe is the best way to save lives.  The medical community, not public officials who are sans common sense in the midst of this pandemic.  My point, however, is you don’t just shutter the schools for the next six months without a backup plan to ensure these young people are able to complete this school year.  I, who am not even an educator, can think of a number of ways this could be done, but nobody … not a single person … in our federal or state governments has even bothered to try.  I want our Department of Education employees to get off their arses and earn the money We the People are paying them!  Yo … Betsy DeVos … are you listening?  It’s your turn to earn your keep!

The 1st Amendment vs Donnie Trump

Imagine, if you will, President Barack Obama, ready to give a press conference, telling his aides that only people who agree with him completely are to be allowed in.  Or, better yet … imagine George W. Bush giving a televised address to the nation after 9/11, but insisting that media companies black out his address to all democratic households.  Fantasy, right?  Silly at best.  And yet, that is exactly what Trump has tried to do.  His preferred venue for communicating his … er, um … thoughts … is Twitter.  I honestly think he must spend 4-5 hours per day tweeting from his throne (bet there’s no shortage of toilet paper there!) 

In 2017, within months of taking the Oath of Office (remember that oath, Donnie?) Trump began blocking Twitter users who dared to disagree with him.  Seven of those users felt that if that is the only means by which he is going to communicate, then We the People must be able to question and yes, even disagree with or criticize him.  And so, those seven convinced the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University to file a lawsuit on their behalf.  Well, the wheels of justice turn pretty darn slowly sometimes, and the case was first heard by Judge Naomi Buchwald in May 2018.  Her 75-page ruling, in a nutshell, said that,  “No government official — including the President — is above the law.”  Hmmmm … perhaps Attorney General William Barr could learn something from her.

Well, Trump and his cadre of lawyers, naturally, appealed the case and in July 2019, a New York-based appeals court upheld Judge Buchwald’s ruling, saying that public officials who take to social media for official government business are prohibited from excluding people “from an otherwise open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”

Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit …

“In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

Justice Department lawyers defending Trump said in court that @realDonaldTrump is a personal account on a privately owned digital platform and that Trump may block followers he “does not wish to hear.”  Sounds rather like censorship to me.

And … sigh … of course the lawyers picked up their briefcases and headed back to court to file yet another appeal.  Yesterday, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit denied the Trump administration’s request to revisit the July 2019 ruling.  Of the nine judges who considered the Trump administration’s request, only two said they would have revisited the earlier decision.  The two are both Trump appointees, Judge Michael H. Park and Judge Richard J. Sullivan.  Judge Park wrote in his dissenting opinion …

“The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.”

Sea ditz.

The last sentence of the article I read … “The Justice Department is reviewing the ruling, a spokeswoman said.”  Translate that as … Trump’s legal eagles will file yet another appeal to a higher court — United States Supreme Court.  Remember something, folks … you and I are paying for all the time these lawyers are wasting, we are paying the judges salary and all their clerks who must review and type their 75-page rulings, we are paying for both legal teams … we are paying through the nose for Trump to have his hand slapped time and time and time again.  And, what happens when the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court?  Well, let’s see … there are the two Justices he leads around using the rings in their noses – that would be Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.  Then there is  Chief Justice John Roberts who, ever since a few private tête-à-têtes in the Oval Office, has been just as much a Trump boot-licker as Kellyanne Conway.  So, I give you three guesses.

Now, Filosofa, though no legal scholar, is going to weigh in on this one just for a minute.  In the first ruling on this case, Judge Buchwald said that no one, not even the president, is above the law.  And yet, Attorney General William Barr has said that as long as Trump’s fat arse is sitting in the Oval Office, he is above the law.  My best guess is that this will be the argument the high-paid DOJ lawyers will use at the Supreme Court level, and because Bill Barr said it’s so, then … gasp … of course it must be so.

But back to the starting point.  Trump’s attorneys argue that @realDonaldTrump is a private account.  However, I would argue that by default it has become a government account, since Trump conducts nearly all communication with his portion of the public, his 62 million Twitter followers, via Twitter using that account.  The 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives We the People the absolute right to speak out against our government officials.  If I attend a speech in another venue, I certainly can express my own opinion, so … why not on Twitter.

If the case goes to the Supreme Court and if the Court rules in Trump’s favour, We the People must engage in a very forceful protest.  Coronavirus be damned … this is the future of all Americans that is at stake here, for centuries to come.  We simply cannot let him continue chipping away at our Constitutional rights, my friends … it’s really all that remains between us and a full-blown dictatorship.

On Dead Flowers, Fools, and More

I woke this morning to another dark, dreary, rainy day, as they have all been for the past two weeks.  At least my hallway wasn’t flooded by rain being blown under the door, as it was Saturday.  Our neighborhood looks ugly right now … in fact, I woke thinking the whole world looks ugly, so I opened the front door, hoping to brighten my outlook by seeing my 20 or so crocuses that bloomed last week … only to find them … dead. Must have been the torrential downpours and sub-freezing temperatures over the weekend.  And thus starts another week …

dead-flower


They walk among us …

Last night, in a really rotten mood to begin with, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook …

rob nealeigh

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, my fingers hit the keyboard in response.  I thought about it for just about a half-second before hitting ‘send’, and then thought no more about it.  Needless to say, when I logged onto Facebook this morning, I received a pop-up saying that Rob Nealeigh is no longer my friend.  I really didn’t mind, for he is the son of a man I used to work with, and while I greatly respect his father, I don’t know the son very well.  But I am still scratching my head …

“More open and offers itself to the press more than ever before”???  Does it, then, not matter that everything that is said to the press is 95% certain to be a lie? As long as they say something, it matters not whether we can believe it? Transparency???  It will take a decade after Trump leaves office to find all the things they have done that we knew nothing about, all the lies that have hidden reality, all the monies that have been siphoned from the public coffers.  And there’s that meaningless phrase again: “Trump tells it like it is”NO NO NO … Trump lies!  He lies even when there is no reason to lie!  If you asked him the colour of his tie, he would say it is blue when it was really red, just because he is a pathological liar.  Lying and transparency are two entirely different things!

One time, back before the 2016 election, I asked another friend to be more specific when she said, “Trump tells it like it is”.  What, exactly, do you mean by that … what has he said that was “telling it like it is.”  She told me I was just another ‘libtard’ and by the next morning she, too, had unfriended me on Facebook.  There is no answer to that question … it’s a buzz-phrase they’ve been taught to say, and they have no idea what they’re even talking about, yet we are ignorant for trying to pin them down.

And “… they continue to win for the American people”???  What the Sam Hell have they ‘won’???  We are no longer trusted by our allies, we have become the most racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, homophobic nation in the western world, and we are more internally divided than at any time since 1865.  Funny, but if this is winning, I think I’d rather be a loser!

I think I’d like to propose that all who are so blindly enamoured of Trump be made to wear their maga hats when out in public so that we know to stay away from them.  Else we can imprint a Trump tattoo on their foreheads … anything that identifies them, for these are dangerous people!  Yet further proof that our education system is failing miserably.


The headline on the BBC website reads

Trump to Deploy National Guard to Fight Virus

Seriously???  The National Guard can fight and kill the coronavirus?  Hmmmm 🤔.  Somehow, I don’t think so.  I think what is meant is that Trump plans to use the National Guard against us!  We are told that …

“Troops will be used in New York, California and Washington to deliver medical aid and set up medical stations …”

But, do we believe a word Trump says?  No, sadly we cannot.  I think it is only a matter of time before he declares martial law, at least in some areas.  It is a sad state of affairs that we cannot trust our own government, the very people we elected and whose salaries we pay, but … they are not working in our best interest.  Trust?  Nope … not a crumb.  The one thing, the most important thing right now, is that we must guard and protect our November 3rd election.  I sense it is in grave danger.


And about that bill in Congress …

Even in times of crisis, the United States Senate led by the ignoble Mitch McConnell, cannot get their act together and work in a bi-partisan manner.  The Democrats want the emergency stimulus bill, which is worth almost $1.4 trillion, to include more money for state and local governments and hospitals, while Trump’s Republicans are pushing for quick action to reassure financial markets.

Let’s call a spade a spade.  Trump and the Senate Republicans want the bill to shore up: a) the fossil fuel industry; b) the hotel industry; c) the airline industry; and d) the casino industry.  None of which helps We the People in the least.  Cooks, dishwashers, servers, clerks, cashiers, bartenders … hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of them are now without a paycheck.  They can apply for unemployment, but it takes time and will only be between 50% – 67% of their income.  Still, the rent comes due, the electric bill must be paid, groceries must be bought, and the children will outgrow their shoes.

This bill should be … nay, must be … about helping the people … the average people, not the wealthy CEOs who will fare just fine without help — they won’t miss a meal and I guarantee they can pay their mortgage … and even find toilet paper to buy.  It is interesting to note that the bill failed to pass the Senate on Sunday, getting 47 votes and thus falling short of the 60 needed in the 100-member chamber. So, apparently at least 4 republican senators voted against it.  Hmmmm … veddy interesting.


And I end with more macabre humour, the only kind there is these days …toon

Sneaky

This, my friends, is how democracies die …

“The Justice Department has quietly [emphasis added] asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States.

Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted.

[…]

The move has tapped into a broader fear among civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics — that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. Already, he has cited the pandemic as a reason for heightening border restrictions and restricting asylum claims. He has also pushed for further tax cuts as the economy withers, arguing that it would soften the financial blow to Americans. And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak.

The DOJ requests — which are unlikely to make it through a Democratic-led House — span several stages of the legal process, from initial arrest to how cases are processed and investigated.”

You can read the rest of the article here, but let’s talk a bit about what this could mean.

This could mean, if somehow either Congress passed it, or failing that, Trump took his ‘executive power’ to an unprecedented level, that you might be arrested for any or no reason.  Say your state is under a mandated “lock down” (something that is outside of the law to begin with), and you are out for a walk in your neighborhood.  A police car is patrolling the area, sees you, stops and the officer arrests you simply for being outside.  He couldn’t do that under normal circumstances, and if he did, you would be able to appear before a magistrate, explain the situation, and almost certainly be released immediately.  But, if this suspension of constitutional rights were to fly, you could be arrested, tossed in jail, and not go before a judge “until this crisis is over” … possibly months or even as long as a year.

That scenario is frightening enough, but let’s project a bit.  If allowed to suspend constitutional rights, what other areas of our civil liberties might be affected?  The one that worries me the most is the 1st Amendment, our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  Already, our right to peaceful protest has been suspended by default with the ruling that no more than ten people are allowed to gather in one place.  What next?  Could it become unlawful to … say, speak against our government, to call Trump out on his lies and ignorance?

I don’t know where this will go, and I hope that the Democratic-majority House of Representatives will put a stop to such nonsense, but I do not have a crumb of trust in our government at this time – not Donald Trump, not William Barr and his Department of ‘Justice’, not the Republican-led Senate under Mitch McConnell.  I don’t trust our law enforcement agencies, nor our Departments of Labour, Education, Health and Human Services … none of them.  They are led by people who do not care about the people of this nation but will do almost anything to enhance their own profits and power.  Just something to think about.  Let’s keep our eye on the ball and hope our free press does the same.


And just one little snippet that I found humorous in a macabre sort of way …

“In Rhode Island, among businesses cited for ignoring social-distance warnings was Wonderland, a strip club, where customers were still receiving lap dances last weekend.”

Gotta get your priorities straight, y’know!

Beyond the Pale Snarky Snippets

Today’s fare is a bit beyond Snarky Snippets and more into the territory of full-fledged rants.


Assholes …

You know it’s bad when a republican does something so wrong that even Tucker Carlson calls them on it …

tucker-carlson“[Burr] had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening, but he didn’t warn the public. He didn’t give a prime-time address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he’d written just 10 days before claiming America was ‘better prepared than ever’ for coronavirus. He didn’t do any of those things. Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent. Now maybe there’s an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate …”

No, there was no ‘honest explanation’ for what either Senator Richard Burr or Senator Kelly Loeffler did, for they were operating out of their own self-interest, not … not looking out for their constituents or the people of this nation, as they are paid to do.  Burr, by the way, has a net worth of more than $3 million, and Loeffler, who is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, has a reported net worth of $500 million, though I’m betting that between she and hubby their net worth is in the billions.

On January 24th, these two assholes were briefed by senior government scientists about the seriousness of the coronavirus and its likely impact on the nation.  And then, they moseyed out of the briefing and sold stocks they expected to tank.  Not only that, but Loeffler, who began selling her stock within hours of the briefing, actually turned around then and purchased stock in Citrix, a technology company that offers teleworking software and whose share price is one of the few that has risen since the crisis began.

These two jackasses had been given information that was being withheld from the public by Donald Trump, and they used it to gain significant profits, while the rest of us lost a huge chunk of our 401(k)s, which were a pittance anyway, compared to Burr’s and Loeffler’s wealth.  And to add insult to injury … we pay these assholes to work for us!!!

Write your senators and demand the immediate impeachment of these two … they do not deserve the honour of representing the people of the United States, for in truth they have been representing only their own interest.

And while we’re on the topic … I wonder what Trump had his broker dump on the same day?


The story of life according to Donald Trump …

Mike Pence and his wife were both tested for coronavirus, using up two of the often-scarce test kits, even though as Pence said he had “no reason to believe” he was exposed to the virus.  A number of NBA teams and individual players have also been tested, again taking up valuable test kits.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch where most of us live, people are being told that the tests are reserved only for those exhibiting symptoms or already hospitalized.

So, in one of his photo-ops that are misnamed ‘press conferences’, Trump was asked …

“How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can’t get them? Do the well-connected go to the front of the line?”

Trump seemed as if he would object, but then merely shrugged and said …

“Perhaps that’s the story of life.”

The “story of life”.  Take care of the rich and famous first, and f*ck the rest of us.  And yet, his approval rating has barely dropped from a month ago!  Do the damned evangelicals and others still honestly believe that he is “on their side”, or “for the average person”???  If so, they are more ignorant than we first thought.


Son-of-a-bitch

The same reporter that asked about the coronavirus testing, Peter Alexander of NBC News, asked another question …

“What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now, who are scared?”

The question was a perfect opening for Trump to act like a real leader, to say something encouraging to the 330 million people he was elected to represent, but instead …

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. … I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism, and the same with NBC and Con-cast. I don’t call it Comcast, I call it Con-cast. Let me just say something, that’s really bad reporting. And you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I’ve been right a lot. Let’s see what happens.”wtf

It. Is. Time. For. Him. To. Go.


One might expect that in times like these, our elected officials would be working overtime, making sacrifices, to keep us informed and protect us to the best of their ability.  Instead, this sorry lot of jerks is what we have leading the way.  These people must go now … I don’t think this nation can tolerate this bunch of crooks until next year … they need to be removed now by whatever means is available.  Their lives have no more value than yours or mine … likely less, for they are not honest people, have no integrity and were apparently born without that key component the rest of us have:  a conscience.

Only In The U.S.

The following snippets came from The Trace, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States.


The gun companies defying a stock market shock

Business closures and lockdowns have dealt withering blows to the economy. But after roughly two straight weeks of stock market declines, the nation’s three publicly traded gun companies have posted dramatic gains.

American Outdoor Brands, the parent company of Smith & Wesson; Vista Outdoor, which owns several ammunition companies; and Sturm, Ruger & Co. all posted dramatic gains through the past week. As of March 17, American Outdoor Brands showed the strongest weekly change in stock price — a more than 40 percent increase — of any company in the Electronic Technology sector, which includes brands like Texas Instruments and Apple.

“There’s so much money to be made in making the population fearful of its individual security.” – Caroline Light, Harvard professor whose field of study includes “America’s love affair with armed self-defense”


And already …

Police say a man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who armed himself with a shotgun “due to the coronavirus that was going around,” unintentionally killed his 13-year-old cousin, believing it wasn’t loaded.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a dispute between roommates over coronavirus restrictions led one to shoot and kill the other in self-defense, authorities said.

A man in North Carolina killed his wife and five other family members before turning the gun on himself.

A roving active shooter killed four people, including a police officer, and wounded a civilian and another officer in Missouri.

“They’re guarding their toilet paper, pretty much.” – Marty Patterson, assistant manager of National Armory in Moon, Pennsylvania, on the surge of coronavirus-related gun-buying.


We don’t need a virus to kill us … we’re just going to kill each other.

You won’t see this on Fox News

We all remember back when Trump said the coronavirus was naught more than a ‘cold’, and when he claimed it was a democratic ‘hoax’ perpetrated with the intent of bringing him down. Seeing his progression of comments, though, all in one place over the course of about a month-and-a-half, shows that without a doubt he is … at best, a moron, at worst, an evil megalomaniac. This post by endsandbeginnings, gives rise to the question: Is he insane or evil? I think a little of both.

Ends and Beginnings

Just as a reminder:

Feb. 7 (tweet): “…… as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.”

Feb. 10: “I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”

Feb. 14: “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

Feb. 19: “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.”

Feb. 24 (tweet): “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Feb…

View original post 447 more words

Discord & Dissension — Part X — Bernie or Bust?

Although Hillary Clinton actually won the 2016 election by nearly three million votes, thanks to gerrymandering and the anomaly of the Electoral College, Donald Trump now occupies the Oval Office.  There were a number of factors that allowed him to gain as many votes as he did and win the electoral vote.  One, of course, was the influence of Russian propaganda intended to denounce Hillary Clinton with misinformation fed to the unwitting public.  There was significant voter suppression in a number of states that denied the vote to poor, minorities and youth.  Another was FBI Director James Comey’s ‘October Surprise’, and yet another was Hillary Clinton herself.  Despite the fact that it makes no sense, you would be surprised how many people vote for a candidate based on looks or that “warm, fuzzy” persona.  Clinton was highly qualified, had both the experience and education to have made an excellent president, but for some her forthright manner was off-putting.  And then, of course, there was that moment when she used really poor judgement in her comment about ‘deplorables’.

But the biggest single factor that handed Donald Trump enough votes to win the Electoral College was the fans of Bernie Sanders.  Let’s take a brief walk back through those times, shall we, for there are large parallels between 2016 and 2020.

Although Bernie was an Independent, when he threw his hat into the ring on May 26, 2015, he did so as a member of the Democratic Party, for the odds are so stacked against an Independent that most often they cannot qualify for debates, and will not be allowed on the ballots in many states. Bernie-Sanders-logoBernie ran his campaign much as he has this year, on a platform of populist, socialist, and social democratic politics, which gave him the support of a large portion of the under-40 crowd.  Then, as now, he focused on income and wealth inequality, which he argued is eroding the American middle class, and on campaign finance reform. Unlike most other major presidential candidates, Sanders eschewed an unlimited super PAC, instead choosing to receive most of his funding from direct individual campaign donations.

By the time of the final primary election in June, it was obvious that Clinton would be the nominee, and on July 12th, Sanders officially endorsed Clinton at a unity rally with her in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  But then … On July 22, 2016, various emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the governing body of the Democratic Party, were leaked and published, revealing apparent bias against the Sanders campaign on the part of the Committee and its chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  I have always believed this was part of the Russian campaign to put Trump into the Oval Office, but as far as I know, there is no evidence to support it, so I can only speculate.

Although the race was close, with Clinton leading by only 291 delegates before the superdelegates weighed in at the nominating convention, Hillary won the party’s nomination.  Sanders threw his support to Clinton, campaigned with her, and asked his supporters to please vote for Hillary Clinton.  But … his supporters were bitter about a number of things, especially the leaked DNC emails.  They also believed that the media had short-changed Bernie by covering his campaign significantly less than Clinton’s or Trump’s.

And thus began ‘Bernie or Bust’, a movement by some of Bernie’s die-hard supporters with the goal of taking votes away from Hillary Clinton.  They urged Democrats to write in Sanders, vote for a third-party candidate such as Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, or not to vote at all.  Sanders repeatedly said he would vote for Clinton in the general election in order to avoid a “disastrous” Trump presidency and encouraged his supporters to do the same, but few of his supporters listened.  If every Bernie supporter had given his or her vote to Hillary Clinton, we would have been talking and writing about President Clinton these past 38 months, even despite the Russian interference, despite Jim Comey, despite Hillary being “anatomically incorrect” in the eyes of some, and despite her lack of a ‘warm & fuzzy persona’.

All of which brings us to today and the looming 2020 election.  This year, it is Joe Biden vs Bernie Sanders, or as I’ve been calling it, the Bernie & Joe Show.  The circumstances are much the same as they were four years ago, with Biden leading in delegate count and almost certain to become the Democratic nominee in July.  Just this past Tuesday, in the three states that held Democratic primary elections – Illinois, Florida, and Arizona – Joe Biden was the clear winner in all three.  And already, “Bernie or Bust” and “Never Biden” movements are in full swing.

Allow me to share with you some of the comments from Bernie supporters …

  • “I can’t vote for Joe Biden. It feels like the party doesn’t want us — the people who were pushing for Bernie Sanders and were enthusiastic about it. I think it just means I don’t vote for president.”
  • “The rationale for us is that our votes need to be earned and that we’ve been taken for granted, and the party never moves to us. If they install Joe Biden, I will not vote for Biden. … This is not democratic what’s happening in the Democratic primary.”
  • “If we lose to Trump then hopefully within the next four years maybe an AOC or Rashida Tlaib would be able to run. Maybe there would be a better chance to save the planet.”
  • “I don’t think that I should put aside my values and vote out of fear. The DNC needs an overhaul, it lacks values, real leaders that represent the people not its donors.”
  • “For me not voting would be to send a message: what you’ve done is not OK. I wish there was a way to vote for Biden and still send that message.”

And those are just a sampling.  But I think what those comments tell us is that the Democratic Party has some work to do.  Unity.  The party is deeply divided at present, and you know that saying, “United we stand, divided we fall”?  It’s true.  I think that Joe Biden stands a very good chance to beat Donald Trump, especially considering that Trump has been shooting himself in the foot these past few weeks.  BUT … it will not happen unless both the party and the man get busy and unify the party.

The best-case scenario probably would have been for Joe Biden to pick Bernie to be his running mate, but that is not going to happen.  To his credit, Biden did say in Sunday night’s debate that he would chose a woman to be his running mate, which should help with women voters, at any rate.  The most likely is Kamala Harris, second most likely is Stacey Abrams.

My own personal choice was Elizabeth Warren, and when she dropped out, it became Bernie Sanders.  However, I believe Joe Biden to be at least as qualified as Hillary Clinton was in 2016, I believe that Bernie will support Joe if Joe is the nominee, and I will most assuredly vote for Biden.  I think that many of the younger voters who comprise “Bernie or Bust” fail to understand what another four years under Donald Trump would mean.  I think, based on all the comments I’ve seen, that they want to shake things up within the Democratic Party, and I understand that, for I share their frustration with the Party. Bernie-or-BustHowever, having watched the progressive destruction of our constitutional democratic republic over the past three years, and having studied at some length the current incumbent, his lack of values, lack of intelligence, and his monumental ego, I will throw my full support behind Joe Biden if he is the Democratic nominee, because I honestly believe that by 2024 the United States of America under Donald Trump would be a full-blown dictatorship, plain and simple.  If Trump is handed another four years, I do not believe there will be an election in 2024, but that Trump will have found a way to circumvent or disavow the U.S. Constitution and extend his term.  Nope, I am neither a conspiracy theorist nor a drama queen, but rather I am an observer with enough knowledge to understand what we are seeing.

What I ask of you is twofold.  First, please VOTE on November 3rd for whomever the Democratic nominee is.  Second, please, when you hear someone say they will throw away their vote either by staying home, writing in Bernie Sanders, or voting for a third-party candidate, try to talk to them.  Try to explain the dangers for the future if Trump is re-elected.

Discord & Dissension — Table of Contents

Isn’t It Time For Some … Snarky Snippets?

snarky-4Whew … the news cycle these days is nuts.  Much of what’s found on the news is repetitive, but one must sift through it to find the nuggets.  Then, when you find the nuggets, they just make you growl.  Well-meaning friends suggest from time-to-time that I tune out for a few days or even … gasp … a week!  But, I cannot.  I am who I am, and I am very concerned these days about what is happening behind the scenes in Washington, what are they doing that is not being reported because the media is so wrapped up in the coronavirus and the stock market?


Keeping secrets from us …

Predictably, unemployment claims are overwhelming the system in some states where restaurants, bars, indoor malls and entertainment centers have closed down.  In Connecticut, for example, 30,000 claims were filed between Friday evening and Tuesday, compared with a total of 2,500 all last week. This week, Illinois received over 41,000 claims on Monday and Tuesday compared with 4,445 in those two days last year. And in Michigan, 5,419 claims were filed in February’s final week; so far this week, the state is fielding five-and-a-half times as many.  None of this is unexpected.

And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Trump & Co is asking state labor officials to delay releasing the precise number of unemployment claims they are fielding.  Most every month, the employment numbers have been positive, although in recent months they have been tracking below the predictions, but the numbers for March are, needless to say, going to reflect a sharp drop in employment over the course of the month.  We have a right to know just how many jobs have been lost, in part due to the bungling of Trump & Co.  This is not something they should be able to hide from us, as they have so many other things.  Yet another sign that we have a wanna-be dictator in office.  Who will stop him?


Get out of jail free

michael-cohenMichael Cohen … remember him?  He was Trump’s personal attorney and ‘fixer’ who pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges: five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate (Trump).  He’s currently serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison camp in Otisville, New York.  A cushy sort of place, with better than average food and other amenities including bocce ball, horseshoes, handball and tennis.

bernie-madoffBernie Madoff … remember him?  He is a former market maker, investment advisor and financier who is currently serving a federal prison sentence for offenses related to the largest Ponzi scheme in history.  It is estimated that he bilked investors out of some $64.8 billion and his actions were in part responsible for the 2007-2008 financial crisis.  He was sentenced in 2009 to 150 years in prison and is currently serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner, North Carolina.

get-out-of-jail-freeThe attorneys for these two men are now pleading for their release from prison, saying it is only a matter of time before the coronavirus strikes the prisons and their clients, such pure, good people, should not be subjected to a life-threatening illness.  It makes me wonder … the notorious #MeToo abuser of women, Harvey Weinstein was just sentenced to 23 years in prison, and just yesterday checked in at Elmira Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York.  I wonder if his attorney will plead for his release based on the possibility of coronavirus finding its way into the prison?

If you or I were in prison for so much as being caught with a half-ounce of weed, do you think they would even consider letting us out under these circumstances?  No way, José!


Anything to win …

Now, we all know that Donald Trump will do anything to win … win what?  Anything.  Doesn’t matter what, he just takes pride in being a ‘winner’ and calling out all ‘losers’.  He broke numerous laws, had others break laws for him, in order to ‘win’ the 2016 election which, in truth he did not win, but lost by nearly 3 million votes.  Still, it got him what he wanted … a ticket to four years in the Oval Office.

Tell me … if Trump got his hands, say shortly before election day, on a supply of a vaccine that would prevent coronavirus, and offered it exclusively to U.S. citizens, would it make you appreciative enough that you would vote for him?  No, of course not, but … what about his 40% base?  They might be getting pretty disillusioned these days, many of them losing their jobs, many losing the bulk of their pension plans and 401(k)s due to the current pandemic and related financial meltdown, but … would that vaccine maybe change their minds?  Remember, these are the same people who are okay with migrant children being separated from their parents and put in cages at the southern border.

German pharmaceutical firm CureVac since January has been researching a potential vaccine for countering the novel coronavirus. Over the weekend, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported US President Donald Trump offered CureVac about $1 billion to obtain the vaccine “only for the United States.”

In other words … “I got mine, to hell with everybody else”.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

This, folks, is what Trump’s “America First” policy looks like.  Trump and CureVac both publicly denied that such an offer had been made, but … I think it was.  Why?  First, because … it’s Trump.  But, more prudently, because the world leaders of the G7 took it seriously enough to rebuke Trump in a video summit, telling Trump that new vaccines must not be monopolized and that medical firms must share and coordinate research on coronavirus vaccines rather than provide products exclusively to one country.

German ministers also reacted angrily, saying “Germany is not for sale!”

Another interesting aspect of this is that the chief executive of the German firm CureVac, Daniel Menichella, who attended the March 2nd meeting where Trump is said to have made the offer, is suddenly leaving the company he has headed for two years.  CureVac made the announcement on March 13th.  Curious, don’t you think?

Let’s be very clear here, folks … if a viable vaccine for coronavirus is developed, it must be made available to as many people as possible in every nation where people are suffering from the disease.  And NOT to the wealthy first, but rather to those most at risk first!


I have one more snippet, but it’s late, I’m tired, and I’m at the max of my self-imposed word count, so … expect more snarking and growling this afternoon!  Oh no … wait … this afternoon is Part X of mine and Jeff’s project!  Well, soon you can expect to see more snarkiness from the Queen of Snark! Stay tuned!