Vacation and politics in the Pacific Northwest

Today, I am sharing with you a post that Jeff wrote last week (I am chronically behind on everything these days!). First, I am sharing it because the pictures of his vacation are absolutely gorgeous, and I thought you guys would enjoy them. Second, though, is Jeff’s commentary about what Trump is attempting to do to the Pacific-Northwest, arguably one of the most beautiful parts of this country. Enjoy the pics! Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your vacation with us! I’m jealous!!!

On The Fence Voters

So I spent nearly a week on the road recently, traversing the great Pacific Northwest and chilling out with my better half. There was a lot of beer and wine, a lot of unbelievable scenery, and a brief respite from the goings-on in our upside-down political world. But I must say, politics is never too far away in my daily life, even on vacation. While I wasn’t into the daily back and forth as much, I still managed to follow what was going on.

And while the vacation itself was enjoyable, as well as relaxing, I still can’t forget what’s going on in the world around me. Looking out at the majestic vistas and mountains around me, I could not help but think of how fragile our beloved ecosystem has become.

In the process of driving over 1500 miles through some of the most beautiful areas you could ever imagine…

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The Birth Of Capitalism

I first came across this poem over on Nan’s Notebook a week or so ago, and it struck a chord with me. It is short and simple, but a more concise explanation of capitalism has never been written. This is rather the concept of “All for one, and one for all”, only with a twist … think of it as “All for one, and one for himself”. Thank you, Dave Henderson, for your generous permission to share your words!

A Humanist's perspective

By the strangest of circumstances,
A group of ten previously unknown,
Were deserted in a far off sea,
A tropical isle they now commonly owned.

We must work together, said one;
And together erect ten huts.
If we will only cooperate,
Then we won’t find ourselves in a rut.

We must also gather food,
So each one of us can eat.
We will share what we gather,
At an appointed place we will meet.

Most everyone agreed,
Yet as plans were underway,
A certain man stepped forward,
He had something he wished to say.

Everyone was silent,
As this man made his case,
He said equality is wrong,
Then he volunteered to run the place.

He explained that their plan,
As pleasant as it might seem,
Was actually Socialism,
Contrary to the American Dream.

Cooperation is a liberal plot,
And sharing lacks the appeal,
Of good old fashioned competition,
Then…

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♫ Imagine ♫

I tend to play this song when … well, when I need to … imagine.  When I need to imagine that there is hope for this world, when I need to believe that humans will eventually find their better side, will begin to care someday, care about others, care about the land, about all living creatures.  Today is the 18th anniversary of the horror that would become known as 9/11.  2,977 people died on that day, more than 400 of them police and firefighters.  Since then, hundreds more rescue workers have lost their lives as a result of the toxicity at Ground Zero. But, we lost more than human lives that day.  We lost … I think that was the day we all came to realize, though even today we would deny it, that “Peace on earth” is a myth that will never be realized.  We came to realize, I think, that … nothing would ever be quite the same again, and that no, it won’t all be okay.  But we want to still believe … I think we must still believe, else … what is the point in it all?  And so, my friends, I give you John Lennon and his view of … a better world.

Imagine
John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today (ah ah ah)

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Songwriters: John Winston Lennon
Imagine lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management

The Purpose of Life?

My mind is in a state of rambling and introspection today …

What, for most humans, is the purpose of life?  I’m not asking about the ‘meaning’ of life, for that will be something very unique and personal to each of us … what gives your life or mine meaning is not necessarily universal.  But, what I am asking is the purpose … what justifies me or you taking up space and using valuable resources on this planet?

No, I haven’t lost my bloomin’ mind … I’m just cleaning it out a bit.  Much of the news over the past few weeks/months/years, have led me to ask this question, have taken my mind down a path that needs to be explored.  And no, this isn’t in the least bit a deep philosophical discussion, but rather an ideological one.

Is the purpose of life to gather as much wealth, as many toys and shiny objects as possible during the course of one’s life?  It sure does seem that some people would answer in that way.  Think … here in the U.S., people applauded when the fool-on-the-hill rolled back environmental regulations in order to benefit the fossil fuel industries.  Why?  Well, the robber barons in the coal and oil industries applauded because it extended, albeit briefly, their ability to make money at the expense of the planet, the future.  Other people applauded because they hoped it meant their jobs in those industries would be secure, at least for a few more years, for they know no other trade.  And some applauded simply because it was Barack Obama, an African-American, under whose tutelage the regulations had been established in the first place.

Donald Trump ran in 2016 on the buzz-phrase, “make America great again”, but what does ‘great’ mean?  My vision of a ‘great nation’ is different than that of those who wear the silly red hats and cheer Trump’s slogan.  My vision of what makes the U.S. … or any nation, for that matter … great is diversity, people of all nationalities, all getting along together.  In my vision of a great nation, people help each other just because it’s the right thing, the compassionate thing to do, not because there is something in it for them.  But, in the maga crowd’s view, I think greatness is defined differently.  I think it is defined in terms of relative wealth and of bigotry.  I think the maga crowd wish to turn this into a nation of straight, white, Christians, and in my book, that would be hell on earth.

So, what is the purpose of life?  And please note that I am not coming at this question from any religious viewpoint … that speaks, again, to the ‘meaning’ rather than the purpose.  To me, I would feel I had fulfilled my purpose if I made other people happy, if something I did improved the quality of life on earth for as many as possible.  I’ve no interest in wealth, am quite content with the basic essentials (essentials, of course, includes books!)  Do you think Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell or any other politician in our government today would be satisfied with such?  Or what about the CEOs of Exxon-Mobil, Amazon or Nike?

In my view, the purpose of life should be about making life better for everyone, not just for oneself, or even one’s family.  I fail to understand what pleasure is derived from gathering wealth just for the sake of wealth.  The only purpose I see in wealth is the ability to use such wealth to help others, to help find ways to improve the quality of life for as many people as possible.  But instead, those who value their wealth over humanity are using their wealth to destroy all life on earth.  They are using it to build more factories that spew more chemicals into the earth’s atmosphere.  They are using it to develop harmful products that enable them to grow more food but are killing the bees – bees without whom we will all die sooner than later.  They are using it to build and buy weapons, both for military and civilians, that have the sole purpose of killing.

Socialist?  Yeah, I pretty much lean that way these days.  I would much prefer to see equality among all than the scant 1%, or I believe it is now ½%, living in houses with gold-plated toilets while others go to bed with empty bellies.  I would like to see people getting along rather than the bitter gulf that exists between the political parties and their followers these days.  I would like to see people throw their guns into the sea, deciding that life has more value than the false sense of power the gun gives them.  I would like to see all people caring enough about future generations of all life forms to make the sacrifices necessary to protect and preserve the planet and its resources.

I think that our lives can have purpose, and for many they do, but that purpose isn’t money.  If one’s purpose is to amass great wealth, then I posit that the person truly has no purpose at all.  Thanks for putting up with my rambling thoughts for the day … and now … back to the news of the day.  I see Trump just fired John Bolton. More chaos. Sigh.

Who Loses?

Well, folks, the Fool on the Hill is determined to have his wall/fence/whatever at any cost and no matter who it hurts.  I’ve already discussed the concept of the wall, how it has no value other than as a propaganda tool, so I shan’t repeat all that.  However, we need to be aware of where the money is coming from for that wall … who will be hurt the most.

James Hohmann is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, and author of The Daily 202, The Post’s flagship political newsletter.  Just as I was looking for information for this post, his newsletter hit my inbox and … lo and behold!  Mr. Hohmann had done my work for me.  What follows is portions from Mr. Hohmann’s article, for it is too long for this post, but if you’re interested in further details, you can read the entire newsletter here.


The Daily 202: The biggest losers from Trump’s diversion of military funds for his wall

HohmannBy James Hohmann
September 5 at 10:18 AM

THE BIG IDEA: Sometimes it’s worthwhile to step back and remember how we got here.

President Trump promised repeatedly that he would get Mexico to pay for a border wall when he ran in 2016. Unable to accomplish that, he failed to persuade Congress of the need to appropriate the money – even when his own party controlled both chambers. Just before Christmas, Trump forced what became a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in American history, in a bid to coerce the legislative branch to give him the money he wanted for the wall.

When House Democrats stayed unified, buoyed by their mandate in the midterms, the president declared a “national emergency” in February. Under the auspices of that emergency, Trump announced he would divert money that had been explicitly appropriated for the military to move ahead with his pet project. In late July, the five Supreme Court justices appointed by Republicans voted to lift a freeze on the money that had been put in place by a lower court and upheld by an appellate court.

Last night, the Pentagon finally released to the public a list of the 127 construction projects that stand to lose funding to free up $3.6 billion for 175 miles of fencing and other barriers on the southern border. These are spread across 23 states, three U.S. territories and 20 countries. Here are some of the most notable projects that Trump is raiding:

1) Puerto Rico will lose out on more than $400 million of planned projects.

The Pentagon is defunding 13 projects at military installations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 10 of which were related to recovery from Hurricane Maria. Among them is the rehabilitation of Camp Santiago, a training facility operated by the Puerto Rico National Guard.

Guam, another U.S. territory, will lose a quarter of a billion dollars in construction projects. North Korea threatened to strike the Pacific island in 2017.

Trump’s disdain for Puerto Rico and his resistance to helping the U.S. commonwealth has been well established. It led to a delay of several months in a disaster relief funding bill.

2) Another $770 million is being diverted from projects that have been approved to help American allies deter attacks from a revanchist Russia.

This is the bulwark of the European Deterrence Initiative, which was created after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Along with Trump’s push to get Russia back in the G-7, this is the latest illustration of the president projecting weakness in the face of Kremlin bellicosity.

A facility for special operations forces and their training will not get built in Estonia, the tiny but thriving democracy whose sovereignty depends on the American security guarantee. Also on the chopping block are projects to construct ammunition and fuel storage facilities and staging areas in Poland, and planned upgrades to surveillance aircraft facilities in Italy, as well as airfield and fuel storage upgrades in Slovakia and Hungary.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling tweeted: “To the untrained eye, the 127 defense projects postponed for the border barrier may seem confusing. But as a former commander in Europe, many of these … are big deals. ‘Support the troops?’ Not so much.”

3) Nine of the projects on the list involve renovating or replacing schools for the children of U.S. troops.

4) Utah will lose $54 million. This is striking because both of the state’s conservative senators, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, voted against Trump’s border emergency in March and supported the resolution of disapproval. Is it retaliation?

5) To be sure, GOP senators who supported Trump’s emergency declaration didn’t get spared.

“Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), one of those who voted in support of the declaration, announced early Wednesday that the Trump administration was diverting $30 million in funds from an Army base in her state to construction of the wall ― even though she previously received assurances from an acting secretary of defense that her state would be spared,” HuffPost’s Igor Bobic reports.

“Other Republican senators whose states are impacted by Trump’s diversion of military construction funds to build the wall include Thom Tillis of North Carolina ($80 million), Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ($62 million), John Cornyn of Texas ($48 million), Lindsey Graham of South Carolina ($11 million) and Cory Gardner of Colorado ($8 million),” Bobic notes.

6) In the long term, the greatest damage from the diversions could be the fundamental break that it represents with the founding fathers’ conception of the separation of powers. James Madison made the power of the purse explicit when he drafted Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

Trump is creating a potentially dangerous precedent for future presidents to disregard the will of a coequal branch. He’s using an obscure provision from a law passed during the Cold War that was intended to give executive branch officials flexibility in the event of truly existential emergencies, such as a Soviet first strike.

“Officially, the Pentagon is saying the affected projects are ‘deferred,’ but in order for them to go ahead in the future, Congress must again fund them,” Paul Sonne and Seung Min Kim note.

Still More … Sigh … Snarky Snippets

So many things were flying at my radar last night when I was trying to find my focus for this post that it must be time for another episode of … Snarky Snippets!


Mikey goes to Ireland …

Mike Pence, well-known for his anti-LGBT bigotry, traveled (at our expense) to Ireland this week, for some reason unbeknownst to those of us who paid his way.  Oh yeah … his wife accompanied him, also at our expense.  You ever been to Ireland?  No?  Me either … probably never will, for I can’t afford it after paying for Mikey and Karen to go.  Anyway … to the point …

This, from The Irish Times on Tuesday, September 3rdPence-gay-protest

“A “Disco outside the Dáil” organised in protest against the visit of US vice-president Mike Pence drew a crowd to Kildare Street this afternoon.

Protesters led by Amnesty International waved rainbow flags, wore Mike Pence masks and danced to music by YMCA and RuPaul, in a demonstration inspired by US LGBT activists.

Executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland Colm O Gorman told the jubilant crowds that “the best way for us to defeat hate is to be who we are, to be courageous and bold”.

During his visit, Mr Pence has spoken repeatedly of his Sligo-born grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, and has previously said that he was inspired by the former soldier, who served with the Irish Defence Forces in the Civil War.

However, Mr O Gorman called out Mr Pence’s claims to Irish values, saying ‘he doesn’t get to accept Irish values if he’s not prepared to listen to what Ireland has to say to him right now’.”

And back on this side of the pond, deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere claimed that …

“For all of you who think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland”

Say WHAT???  So, because Pence is doing the job he was sent to Ireland to do, meeting with the Prime Minister of Ireland who happens to be gay, that makes him unbiased?  I think not.

Note:  I will have more on Pence’s visit in a later post.


San Francisco takes on the NRA …

I lived in California off and on during my childhood and youth, and more and more I wish I still lived there.  The state government has some sense, they put people first.  California has always had the highest emission standards in the nation, and these days they are thumbing their nose at Trump’s rollback of environmental regulations, sticking to their own high standards despite his attempts to hasten the destruction of our planet’s resources.  But this latest caused me to clap my hands!

This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution declaring the National Rifle Association (NRA) a domestic terrorist organization.

The resolution was introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani on July 30, two days after a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., in which three people were killed and more than a dozen others injured.

Ms. Stefani said the N.R.A. conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation proposed at local, state and federal levels.

“The N.R.A. exists to spread pro-gun propaganda and put weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorize us. Nobody has done more to fan the flames of gun violence than the N.R.A.”

Granted, the resolution has little or no practical value, but what it does do is send a message to the NRA and the gun nuts in this nation that California takes gun violence seriously, unlike states such as Texas who seem to believe that if one gun is bad, then more guns are better.  The NRA got the message and responded via … what else … Twitter:

“@NRA is the fabric of American society. We are teachers, doctors, cops, and everyone who fights for America’s freedoms. San Fran should be ashamed.”


Racism by any other name …

Mississippi has long been known for its racism … watch the movie, Mississippi Burning and you’ll see what I mean.  But, this is the 21st century and I have to admit this one stunned me.  Two people are planning a wedding.  The groom is African-American, the bride-to-be is Caucasian.  The groom’s sister, LaKambria Welch, was helping the couple make the arrangements, and as such she had been in touch with Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, Mississippi about having the wedding there.  All seemed to be going well, until suddenly the couple received a message saying that they could not hold their wedding at Boone’s Camp due to “the owner’s personal beliefs”.

Ms. Welch and her mother went to Boone’s Camp to try to find out what had happened.  They were told …

“We don’t do gay weddings or mixed race, because of our Christian race, I mean our Christian belief. I don’t want to argue my faith, we just don’t participate.”

Christian race???  WTF???

Boone’s Camp Event Hall said in a statement on Tuesday that the owners had previously been taught to believe that “interracial marriage was against the teachings of the Bible.”  They followed the statement with a milquetoast apology.  There is much I could say about this, but I’ve said it all a million times before, so I will leave you to pick your jaws up from the floor now, as I do the same.


Oops!

And just a bit of humour to end this post.  I had saved the link to an article in The Washington Post that I was using as a source for one of the above stories last night, and when I tried to pull it back up today, I got an error message … I had never seen this one before, but it definitely gave me a smile!oops.png

A Visit To The Other Side …

I stumbled, quite by accident, onto a very conservative website, Townhall, last night.  As soon as I saw some of the OpEd titles, I knew I was not in Kansas anymore, and was aiming to make a hasty getaway before I was spotted in enemy territory.  But then … I thought … why not take a look at what they are saying?  I’ve long said that in order to meet somewhere in the middle, we must first listen to each other, right?  Here is a sampling of the titles of some of the OpEd pieces on this site …

  • Trump Pushes Back Against Anti-Christian Bullies and Bigots – Todd Starnes
  • Trump Supporters Have ALL The Moral High Ground. Don’t Cede One Inch Of It To The Left – Scott Morefield
  • American Workers Looking Forward to Five More Labor Days With Trump – Bob Paduchik
  • The New York Times’ Revisionist History on the Start and Story of America Is Absurd and Dangerous – Richard Land
  • President Trump—Not Democrats—Is Really Helping Low-income Americans – Michael Busler
  • Mainstream Media Hijack Hurricane Dorian for Climate-Change Alarm – Vijay Jayaraj
  • Democrats Put Their Faith in the Faithless – Robert Knight

I actually read a few of these articles this morning, thankful that I hadn’t yet eaten, so there was no danger of a return visit, and then I went to take a shower, for I felt somehow dirty.  These are semi-legitimate journalists, by the way, not the Tucker Carlson variety of ranters, although I did notice Ann Coulter’s name on their list of contributors.  According to Media Bias/Fact Check, their factual reporting gets a mixed review, as they are known to “publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information”. Anyway … in case you care what the other side thinks … I shall share just a few relevant snippets.


From the Scott Morefield piece …

  • Especially given a leftist-controlled mainstream press all-too-willing to portray the president as a monster and his policies as monstrous, you may be forgiven for thinking all of those things. But the reality, however, is actually the exact opposite of what they would have you believe. In fact, it is Trump’s supporters who truly have every inch of the moral high ground. In fact, it is Trump’s policies that are the very definition of objective principles, morals, and values, even if his presentation at times gives his haters ammunition by seeming to belie that fact.
  • Every time these jackals politicize mass shootings to call for more gun control, remember that they really don’t care about any of the lives such legislation would save, especially considering they know full well the legislation they espouse wouldn’t actually save any lives. In their unquenchable thirst for control, leftists would happily take away the right to defend oneself against rogue criminals or rogue governments. They cry alligator tears at the deaths of gun victims while ignoring those who successfully defend themselves with guns or the unarmed who die from a senseless home invasion.
  • Those who refuse to support President Trump based on optics alone are completely missing the big picture. Whether you consider some of his tweets and comments “presidential” or not, the policies Trump espouses and helps to implement through executive orders, signed legislation, and appointing judges result in by far the greatest good for the greatest number of people, full stop.

From Bob Paduchik’s …

  • The Democratic Party’s presidential candidates not only want to repeal the tax cuts that saved taxpayers an average of $1,400 last year and restore the regulatory overreach that crippled American businesses during the Obama era, they’re also urging surrender in the seminal trade negotiations that are still underway between the Trump administration and the Chinese.
  • The Democrats have plenty of other nasty surprises in store for working Americans, too. Their outrageous “Medicare for all” proposal, for instance, would eliminate the private health insurance plans that workers earned at the bargaining table.

And, according to Robert Knight …

  • Democrats can’t seem to figure out whether they want to use the government to drive Christianity underground or just replace the biblical version with fake Christianity. These aren’t mutually exclusive goals; either one brings America closer to a secular, socialist state whose unofficial religion is atheism.
  • Democratic presidential contenders like former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg invoke Christianity to shill for taxpayer-funded, unrestricted abortion and the family values of Sodom, plus confiscation of wealth and redistribution. Note to the media:  Why aren’t Democrats – and Republicans – being asked what they think of Drag Queen Story Hour? Anyone?

Well, I think you get the gist, right?  The thing that disturbs me is that both sides are so far apart on all issues from foreign policy to humanitarian issues to immigration to religion that I see no room for any middle ground.  The middle ground seems to have become a barren desert where nothing can exist.  I mean, how do you debate with someone who calls gun-control advocates “jackals”, and says, “Trump’s policies that are the very definition of objective principles, morals, and values …”?  Where do you even begin?

The name-calling is taking place on both sides, I engage in it myself on a fairly routine basis, but it is detrimental to any meaningful meeting of the minds.  How do you engage in any sort of discourse with people who turn a completely blind eye to the single most important issue of the day:  climate change?  When they applaud Trump’s de-regulation by executive order rather than will of the people or congressional mandate, they are essentially begging to hasten the destruction of life as we know it.  How do you speak to that?

Well, the exercise wasn’t entirely futile, for it got my adrenaline stirring and gave me some food for thought.  How ‘bout I end this with a few cartoons from “the other side” …

rep-toon-1rep-toon-2rep-toon-3rep-toon-4rep-toon-5


I didn’t really find any of them to be that funny, did you?  Thought for the day:  How can we shrink this great divide that is destroying the country?  How can two sets of ideologies that seem so far apart with nothing in common, unite?

Stealing From ‘We The People’ … Again

We never get a break from the horrors of the Donnie Show anymore … rarely does a single day go by that there isn’t some new abomination to stir our ire, to cause a wtf to emit from our voicebox before we can catch it.  Today’s came before I was even out of bed, thereby jump-starting my day, though not in any good way.

There are a number of reasons that Trump was able to garner enough electoral votes to win the election in 2016:  gerrymandered districts, Russian propaganda, Hillary’s lack of popularity, and “The Wall”.  He fostered fear among the predominantly un-and-under-educated … fear of immigrants who, he said, were “bad hombres”, were rapists and drug lords, who must be stopped.  He alone, he said, could fix this, and his solution was … well, it started out being a “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border that “Mexico is going to pay for”.

Early on, like the moment he first said the words, it was clear that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for a damn wall or anything else.  Why should they?  Why would they?  So, that part of the conversation simply died, and Trump’s cheering section quickly forgot about it.  Now, 31 months into his term, the “big, beautiful wall” is to be an ugly black fence, and he is planning to steal from We the People to build said fence.  Before election day 2020.  Why?  Because it is the only thing, when all the detritus is set aside, that he proposed that rallied the masses in 2016, and as of right now, he has accomplished absolutely nothing.  It is a safe bet that the economy will be in worse, not better, shape by the time election day rolls around, so he needs something with which to appease his base.

The wall, or fence as it were, has been undisputedly proven by experts to be useless, unnecessary, and a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.  That, in and of itself, would be bad enough, but now he is so obsessed with his damn fence that he is planning to steal from landowners, and steal money from disaster relief funds that exist to help people after such things as hurricanes, wildfires and more.

According to The Washington Post …

Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.

[Trump] has told senior aides that a failure to deliver on the signature promise of his 2016 campaign would be a letdown to his supporters and an embarrassing defeat.

When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land.”

The article goes on to tell of Trump’s insistence on painting the fence black, even though it will add significantly to the cost, simply because he likes the way it looks.  Billions of dollars will be spent, people will have their land stolen from them, and worse yet, irreparable damage will be done to the environment.  All so Trump can say he kept his promise … sort of … to his supporters.  It’s a fence, not a wall.  It’s being paid for by We the People, not Mexico.  It will kill flora and fauna.  And it won’t do a damn thing to resolve the issue of people crossing the border without proper authorization.

Tropical storm Dorian is brewing in the Atlantic, expected to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane.  Puerto Rico, still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017, is in its path, and then it is likely to head to Florida as it gains even more strength.  Will Puerto Rico once again be denied disaster assistance, this time because Trump spent all the money in the pot on his abomination of a fence … a useless fence?

It is my opinion that since this fence’s only real purpose is to give Trump bragging rights for his 2020 re-election campaign, the money for the wall should come from his campaign war chest.  Surely all his wealthy donors, all those people to whom he gave tax cuts amounting to millions of dollars, would be willing to chip in to ensure he pleases his gullible base with this ignoble wall?  Here’s what his top ten donors have given him …

  1. Robert Mercer, Renaissance Technologies – $13.5 million
  2. Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corporation (LVS) – $10 million
  3. Linda McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) – $6 million
  4. Bernard Marcus, Retired – $7 million
  5. Geoffrey Palmer, G.H. Palmer Associates – $2 million
  6. Ronald M Cameron, Mountaire Corp. – $2 million
  7. Peter Thiel, Palantir Technologies – $1.25 million
  8. Walter Buckley Jr, Actua Corporation (ACTA) – $1 million
  9. Cherna Moskowitz, Hawaiian Gardens Casino – $1 million
  10. Peter Zieve, Electroimpact – $1 million

You want a wall fence, Donnie … pay for it with something other than our money!  Get your donors to up the ante by a few million each.  We the People have better things to do with our money, like providing health care to our citizens, repairing broken infrastructure, providing relief to Puerto Rico to re-build, providing funds to California when the inevitable wildfires hit later this fall, and finding ways to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.  Frankly, we have more to fear from you than from immigrants crossing the border.

Monsters, Monsters Everywhere

There are monsters everywhere we look in the federal government today.  Those who are opening their mouths to say, “But it has always been so”, just hush, please.  Sure, every administration has had a few corrupt members, some more than others.  But the current administration is the most corrupt in history, and that is only based on what we know!  I think that once they are gone and the digging begins, we will find many dead bodies that we are not aware of yet.  But I’m not talking about corruption at the moment, I am talking about monsters …

It isn’t only the corruption, but the sheer lack of any shred of conscience or humanity in most of Trump’s administration, from his hired bimbo Kellyanne, to his senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.  Look into their eyes … nothing.  No warmth, no sign of life.  And at the top of the monster chain is none other than Trump himself.  But today I write about other monsters …


Trampling the Constitution … again

Trump & Co are at it again, this time attempting to shut down journalists whose reporting is unfavourable to Trump.  A group of Trump allies has begun a program to start dossiers on these journalists consisting of basically any dirt, real or imagined, they can dig up on them, including potentially embarrassing personal social media postings.  According to the New York Times

The group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects.

Operatives have closely examined more than a decade’s worth of public posts and statements by journalists, the people familiar with the operation said. Only a fraction of what the network claims to have uncovered has been made public, the people said, with more to be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up. The research is said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president.

The information unearthed by the operation has been commented on and spread by officials inside the Trump administration and re-election campaign, as well as conservative activists and right-wing news outlets such as Breitbart News.

This is very shaky ground they are treading upon.  Be afraid, people, be very afraid.  Trump has trampled the Constitution multiple times already, has declared himself to be above the law, and sadly the Department of Justice is now headed by a Trump sycophant who will not pursue any action against Trump.  The 1st Amendment, perhaps most especially the free exercise clause guaranteeing freedom of the press, is the major safeguard from becoming an autocracy.  It isn’t, as some would tell you, the Second Amendment keeping us free … it is the First.

Though the Times was unable to identify all the members of the group, one such member is noted as Arthur Schwartz, a friend to both Don Trump Junior and Steve Bannon.


A monster re-surfaces …

“On this day, August 25, 2019, after consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be reelected Sheriff. Watch out world! We are back!”Arpaio-2Those were the words spoken on Sunday by the man who was convicted of contempt of court, who has engaged in racial profiling and crimes against humanity, former Maricopa Country, Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio.  In case you’ve forgotten, Arpaio …

  • engaged in “unconstitutional policing” and established a “pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos”
  • failed to investigate over 400 alleged sexual assault cases reported to his office, including dozens of child molestations between 2005 and 2007 alone
  • arrested a 6-year-old child during an immigration sweep
  • arrested a reporter from The Phoenix New Times for reporting on him in an unfavourable light (The Times sued and won a $3.75 million settlement)
  • refused to comply with a previous court order to stop racially profiling, and was found guilty of contempt in July 2017
  • Was convicted of contempt of court and faced a prison sentence, but Donald Trump pardoned him on 25 August 2017

Despite the pardon, Arpaio is a convicted felon and a rotten-to-the-core excuse for a human being.  Surely the people of Maricopa Country cannot be stupid enough to elect him again???


And yet another monster rears its ugly head …

moore-4You remember ol’ Roy Moore, right?  Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama who was removed from the bench for breaking the very laws he had sworn to uphold … not once, but twice!  Ol’ Roy Moore made his own rules, refusing to remove the granite Ten Commandments monument from a federal government building, and the second time for issuing an order to Alabama judges to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the same-sex marriage case of Obergefell v Hodges.

In 2017, he ran against democrat Doug Jones for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, and lost, largely because numerous credible accusations of sexual harassment emerged during that time, the most heinous one by a woman who says Moore sexually abused her when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney and she was only 14 years of age.

In the weeks that followed, Moore called into question the accuser’s character, saying she was a part of a “liberal conspiracy”.  The woman, Leigh Corfman, filed a defamation of character suit which is still pending.  And now, ol’ Roy is running once again for the U.S. Senate, and he wants the court to dismiss Ms. Corfman’s suit so that it doesn’t cause him problems with the voters in Alabama.

Moore’s senate bid is unlikely to gain much momentum, even without the shame of having been accused of such misconduct, for he has raised far less in campaign donations than his two opponents.  Doug Jones has raised some $4.3 million, Bradley Byrne has raised around $2.4 million, and Roy Moore has raised a paltry $16,000.  However, the mere fact that his arrogance allows him to believe he is fit for any office higher than that of garbage collector is appalling.


To offset the darkness of this post, I bring you just a little bit of humour …

Why Do I … ???

Friends say to me, “Why do you spend so much time worrying about politics?  What will be, will be.  Why not spend your time enjoying life?  You’re going to drive yourself to an early grave.  Just chill and have fun.”  This post is my response to those people.

Why do I spend so much time worrying about politics?  I don’t.  I spend that much time worrying about what is happening in this nation, in the world.  I spend that much time speaking out, sometimes ranting, about the injustices I see in this world.  I look at our government taking innocent children from their parents’ arms, tossing them into detention centers with naught but a piece of tinfoil for a blanket, and I say, “This is wrong!”  I see decisions being made by a few in the upper echelons of government that completely disregard the concerns of scientists and environmentalists … decisions that are hastening the end of life on this planet, and I say, “This is wrong!”

I see a ‘man’ who is supposed to represent this nation, who is supposed to represent the ideals of a nation founded on “liberty and justice for all”, denigrating people in the LGBT community, calling Hispanics and Muslims terrible names, making racial, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs and more, and I cannot help but say, “This is wrong!”  I see decisions made that ensure the rich get richer while the poor are denied adequate health care, housing, food, and the basic necessities of life, and yes, once again I say, “This is wrong!”

A number of my friends claim that I just don’t like Trump.  No, I don’t like him …anti-TrumpBut, it isn’t only Trump … it is also those who either support or applaud the policies of this administration, policies that are discriminatory against minorities, against women, against non-Christians, against LGBT, and against the poor.  Policies that put this nation and its people in grave danger.  Policies and rhetoric that alienate our allies, while patronizing our enemies.  And it is also the people who turn a blind eye, who know that these things are wrong but bury themselves inside their bubble, their comfort zone, and pretend they don’t see the children in cages crying themselves to sleep at night.  It is those who believe that they have no obligation to do their part to clean up our environment, who tell me that somehow some magical creator of the universe will make everything right again in good time, so they can continue tossing away their plastic bottles, driving their gas-guzzling SUVs, and living life just as they have always done.

And it is those who believe that somehow, they are better than others, either because of the colour of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, or their ethnicity.  Those who worry that the people with pale skin will someday not be the majority, will not have the final say in what this nation will be.  It is the arrogance, the ignorance, and the greed that I do not like, can no longer tolerate.

Those same friends then say, “Well, you cannot fix the problems, so why not relax, enjoy life, have some fun … lighten up.”

No, I cannot fix the problems by myself … no one person can.  But I can do my part, and I can keep using the little voice I have to make others aware of the many injustices happening right under our very noses.  There is an old saying that, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink”.  I am attempting to lead the horse to the clear, cool stream in hopes that he will drink.  I cannot do otherwise, it is who I am.  But, I am getting tired …

Tired of seeing people surrounding themselves with so much noise that it drowns out the things that actually matter.  Tired of people burying their heads in the sand, wearing their rosy-coloured glasses, sticking their fingers in their ears and singing, “La-la-la-la-la … I can’t hear you!”

Why do I do what I do?  Because it matters, at least to me.  Because we are on a collision course, and much like the passengers aboard the Titanic, the majority will still be dancing, posting pictures of their last meal on social media, and pretending they just don’t see, when the ship hits the iceberg.  We all have a choice to be a part of the solution, or a part of the problem, but there is no neutral choice.  If you choose to ignore it all, if you choose not to be part of the solution, then you ARE the problem.  We have all contributed to the problem for long enough.  Now it is time to be part of the solution.

Quite by coincidence, as this post was a work-in-progress this morning, I saw a comment by our friend Roger who offered the following quote by Elie Wiesel …

“Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Think about it.