2018

I came across this post this afternoon through our friend Xena’s blog, and found this to be the best summation of the past year that I have seem. Clear, concise, and accurate. Short enough to hold my interest, yet detailed enough to be meaningful. Thank you, Abagond, for your kind permission to share this insightful post with my own readers!

Abagond

November 25th 2018 at the US-Mexican border. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

My look back on the year 2018 as it ended:

The bad news: Donald Trump is still the US president.

The good news: Trump lost control of the lower house of Congress in the midterm elections.

This year’s theme: Fear. Criminalizing and fear-mongering on mom-and-pop asylum seekers from Central America. The caravan of several thousand asylum seekers crossing Mexico were painted as an invasion bringing disease, crime, and terrorism to the US. When they tried to cross the border, they were gassed, men, women, and children (pictured at top).

Making a comeback:family separation.

This year’s new/old trend: Calling the police on Black people minding their own business. Among this year’s trendsetters: Starbucks, #BBQBecky, #PermitPatty, #PoolPatrolPaula, #CornerStoreCaroline, #BrooklynBecky, #PaulBlartPoolCop, #BaggageClaimBecky, #CouponCarl, #DepressedDebbie.

Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate to serve on the US Supreme Court, giving…

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First Snarky Snippets of 2019!!!

Okay folks … the holidays are over!!!  Whew … now it’s time to get back into the routine, and what better way to start 2019 than with an abundance of snarkasm?  Perhaps I will make it a tradition to begin every year with Snarky Snippets! snarky-toon 2019 deserves to be started in such a manner, for just a few hours into the year and just look at all that is wrong with the world!  Let’s begin with a man who I have long abhorred … Representative Peter T. King, a republican from New York.


Just last week …

Peter-King-ICE

Now, I first take issue with his statement that ICE is doing a great job, since only two children have died!  ONLY???  What if one of those children had been your own, Mr. King???  But it goes even deeper than that, for also last week, video footage was obtained by The Arizona Republic from the Arizona Department of Health under the public records law.  The videos show children being physically abused – dragged, slapped, and shoved – by staffers at Casa Padre, a migrant shelter operated by Southwest Key. The videos are from September, and the facility was shuttered in October after a number of violations, including failure to obtain background checks on staff members.

Another such facility, Casa Kokopelli, also operated by Southwest Key, has been charged with eleven sex offenses by a staff member against at least eight children in their care.  ProPublica investigated Southwest Key and the sex offenses back in August, and when they asked Southwest Key representative Jeff Eller a question regarding how the company would assure children’s safety in the future, Mr. Eller replied …

“We find the premise of your question dishonorable.”

Say WHAT???  Who’s the dishonourable party here?  And Mr. King says they are all doing a great job because only two children have died so far.

bullshit

This is not the first time Mr. King has crossed my radar, by the way.  In May, I wrote a piece titled An Ugly Voice — Peter T. King.  I will be writing a letter to Mr. King later today.  Meanwhile, anyone want to lay odds that more children will die while held in U.S. custody in the coming year?


Without conscience …Hyde-SmithRemember Cindy Hyde-Smith, the racist woman who won a U.S. Senate seat in a special election in Mississippi in late November?  She said she would happily attend a lynching, and made a host of other racist remarks, yet Trump called her a “fine woman” … I guess he meant that in the same vein as when he called the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, “fine people”.  Anyway, after her blatantly and sinister racist remarks, a number of people who had donated to her campaign asked for their contributions back, not wishing to be affiliated with such a horrid person.

Aetna, AT&T, Boston Scientific, Facebook, Google, Leidos, Pfizer, Union Pacific, and Walmart all requested their donations back, but Cindy has, apparently, decided she would keep the money.  Legally, she is under no obligation to return the money, and she seems to have no intention to do so.  Surprised, aren’t you?


How does he love thee?

Donald Trump claims to be on the side of the people … says he loves the people (just so long as they aren’t democrats, African-Americans, Muslims, or gay) and just to show them how much he loves them, he has … frozen their pay!  And some 800,000 of them aren’t getting any pay right now, either, thanks to Uncle Donnie!  I’m so happy that he doesn’t love me!

In what was, I hope, his last ‘executive order’ of 2018, with a slash of his pen he played god and froze the salaries & wages of some 2.1 million federal workers!  The military will still get their 2.6% pay increase (not the 10% Trump falsely told the soldiers in Iraq when he visited there at Christmas).  Civilian federal workers were initially slated to receive a 2.1% increase, but back in the summer, Trump began saying that the government could not afford it.  Funny, isn’t it, that we can afford all Trump’s excesses, covering Secret Service expenses for his sons as they flit about the world on Trump Organization business?  We can afford Trump’s near-weekly golf outings and trips to Mar-a-Lago, and he claims we can afford $5 billion to be thrown away on the beginnings of a useless border wall.  But we cannot afford a lousy 2.1% pay increase for the men and women who work to keep the federal government running smoothly.  Damn shame, if you ask me!

And what about last December’s tax cut for the wealthy?  If we could afford to give huge raises to multi-millionaires and billionaires, why can’t we afford to give measly 2.1% pay increases to the woman who helps us sign up for Social Security, or to the man who keeps our planes from crashing, or the person teaching our children?

Congress can and likely will include raises for federal workers in any spending bill they propose after the new Congress is seated in two days, but speculation is that it will be for 1.9%, not 2.1%.  Peanuts?  Sure, but hey … 0.2% of a $60,000 salary means a lot more to the federal worker than the extra million or more the rich coal barons got via Trump’s tax cuts.

I won’t be surprised to see a bad case of the ‘blue flu’ before long in the departments of the federal government.


Okay … that concludes this morning’s snippets.  I just felt the need to show those in power that the 2019 Filosofa is not any kinder or gentler than the 2018 Filosofa was, and I will pursue truth and justice this year even more diligently than last!  Look out, Trumpie … I’m in line right behind Bob Mueller for a pound of your flesh!

♫ Imagine ♫ – Redux to Ring In a New Year

I have played this song twice in the past year, and it is not my goal to keep repeating the same song over and over.  But, it is New Year’s Eve, and we all, I think, have some hopes and aspirations for the world in the coming year.  As such, I thought there was no better song around to start us off on the right foot than John Lennon’s Imagine.  Listen to the words, if you will … let the music engulf and embrace you.  ‘Imagine there’s no countries … nothing to kill or die for’.  That is my hope … that is my dream.  Happy New Year, friends.

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

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

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day 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

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

Songwriters: John Winston Lennon
Imagine lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

Fear of Immigrants?

I am asked, “Why does Donald Trump hate and fear immigrants so much?”  I have no readily available answer, but it sets the wheels turning in my mind … why does he?  We know what he says, but we also know that is only hateful rhetoric designed to instill fear in his 30% – 40% base who must be kept in fear so that they will continue to cling to him, to support him.  He says that those trying to immigrate to the U.S. are animals, not people.  He tells his base that the migrants are murderers, criminals, and rapists and that we are in danger from them.  But he knows better, for otherwise why would he feel safe at Mar-a-Lago or at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, both of which have undocumented immigrants on staff?

Why, then, does he fear them?  The answer is that he doesn’t fear the immigrants … he fears losing his base if they ever figure out the whopping lies he has told them.  His rhetoric about migrants is a tool, nothing more. Let us meet a few of the migrants that attempted to come to this country in the latest caravan … the caravan that Trump has wasted so much of our money sending troops to “defend us against”.

Meet Jennifer and her daughter Lucia.  They fled Honduras because life there was very hard and had become increasingly difficult because of the persistent violence.Jennifer-Lucia.jpg

And here’s Junior and his mother Maria.  Junior’s father was killed by gangs in Honduras.Junior-Maria.jpg

And here is 17-year-old Maeli. She joined the caravan with her young son because she feared for their safety in Honduras. They’ve been largely met with kindness on the long journey north, but things have been tense in Tijuana. She and other migrants had been staying in a makeshift camp on the beach when a crowd of local residents threw stones at them.Maeli-son

And this is Juan Carlos, 16 years of age.  The gang members that killed his two uncles in Honduras were pressuring him to either join their gang, else be killed himself.Juan-Carlos.jpg

Now here we have Nelson.  Nelson is legally allowed to cross the border, and has three children living in Pennsylvania.  So why is Nelson part of the migrant caravan?  He said he wanted to experience the solidarity of the caravan, so he was traveling with them. He will wait until the rest are able to cross, he said, before he does.Nelson

So far, I haven’t seen anybody that looks like they are here to murder and rape us, have you?  As I have said before, surely there are some unsavory characters who traveled with the caravan, but … people, look around the U.S.  You want to see unsavory characters?  Look at the “Proud Boys”, look at the followers of Richard Spencer … those who have swastikas tattooed on their bodies.  Look at the white-hood-wearing cowards of the KKK who make their mischief anonymously, then run.  Look, for that matter, at the likes of former Judge Roy Moore of Alabama.  I could go on all day naming people in this country, citizens who were born right here, that I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Keith-Luke-neo-Nazi

Keith Luke, convicted rapist/murderer who “just wanted to kill non-whites”

So back to the original question.  There is nothing to fear from these people and Donald Trump knows it because he has “illegal” immigrants working for him in his estates.  Donald Trump is a racist, a bigot, and a white supremacist.  Remember Charlottesville?  He claimed the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups who held that rally were ‘very fine people’.  When he came under fire even from his own party for those remarks, he walked them back for one day, and then repeated them.  But is he really a racist, or does it just suit his purpose to be one?

Donald Trump has disparaged Hispanics, African-Americans, Middle-Easterners, Asians … but the only time I have heard him speak of a white person in the same terms was if  they were democrats or journalists or women or handicapped or Jewish.  He puts down women every chance he gets.  He denigrates and mocks the disabled.  Remember his mockery of reporter Serge Kovaleski?  It truly reminded me of something a high school freshman might do.  Trump doesn’t just hate immigrants … Trump hates everybody.  If you can do something for him … a vote, campaign donations … then he will pretend to like you.  But the truth is that Trump thinks anyone who is not just like him is second-rate, and thankfully there are few who are ‘just like him’.  In order to satisfy his own ego, he must de-humanize the rest of us in one way or another.  In order to satisfy his dwindling base, he must keep up the lies that immigrants are dangerous, women and African-Americans are stupid, and so on.

I suspect that Donald Trump doesn’t fear immigrants at all, for they provide him with a much-needed platform to keep his base cowering and looking to him for protection.


Photos courtesy of the New York Times.  For more, please see the original article

♫ What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John ♫

I started looking for the right song for tonight … for once there was none stuck in my head … and happened across Jackie Deshannon’s 1965 hit, What the World Needs Now is Love.  I thought perhaps, in these times of troubles all over the world, in the Middle-East, the UK, the United States, and many more places, this might be an appropriate song to play.

As I looked for a bit of information, a bit of trivia about the song, I was led to another song and it is this that I play for you tonight.  I don’t intend these music posts to be in the least bit political, and my apologies, for this one is, in a sense.  But it is also … it speaks to us today, I think, just as it did in 1971.  Today, some of the issues are different … Vietnam has ended, but Syria and Yemen have not.  And some of the issues are yet the same … racism, prejudice, bigotry.

This is a remix of two songs, the aforementioned What the World Needs Now is Love combined with Abraham, Martin and John, first recorded by Dion in 1968 as a response to the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year.

Tom-Clay.jpgTom Clay was a disc jockey in 1971, working for radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California when he created this remix.  The narrative includes sound bites from speeches of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., and makes a heartfelt social/political comment.

Again, I apologize for bringing a socio-political statement into my music posts, but when I heard this song … it just … did something to me and I wanted to share it.  I promise a more uplifting music selection tomorrow, but I do hope you will take just a few minutes to listen to this one.  I have included the lyrics to both of the original songs.

What the World Needs Now
Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David
What the World Needs Now lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Stonehenge Music

Another WTF Moment …

Now wait just a doggone minute here!  Donald Trump willfully, irresponsibly, and recklessly shuts down the government, affecting close to one million federal workers, emasculating the food stamp program, demands that the case against him for emoluments violations cannot proceed, as his lawyers are not allowed to work during the shutdown, but he can take Air Force One and make an unplanned trip to Iraq for no better reason than a photo op???

Would you all like to know that it costs between $180,000 and $200,000 per flight hour to operate Air Force One?  PER. FLIGHT. HOUR.  The trip to Iraq would have taken somewhere between 13- 15 hours.  Do the math.  No wait, I’ll even do it for you.  Round trip, the cost of Air Force One alone for this photo op on which Trump also took his ‘wife’, was between $4,680,000 and $6,000,000.  Let me repeat … it cost between $4.7 million and $6 million of our taxpayer dollars in travel alone, not counting security, meals, lodging, etc. for Donnie & Melania to go have their picture taken with soldiers in Iraq! How many of you have ever even seen one measly million dollars in your lifetime?  Not me, that’s for sure! If you aren’t furious over this, then roll over and go back to sleep.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

  • Only about 5% of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Services’ employees are at work. This is the department that administers food assistance programs to low-income families and individuals.

  • More than 800,000 federal employees (more than one-third of the total) are impacted, either being laid off or working without pay. Many are like the rest of us and live from one payday to the next, contrary to what Scott Perry, a congressman from Pennsylvania said: “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?”  Nice, Mr. Perry, real nice.  Such empathy.


  • Most of those who are expected to work without pay during the shutdown will be given backpay once the government is once again ‘open for business’. However, non-citizens who are employed by U.S. embassies overseas may well not be eligible for back pay!


  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is closed, but don’t worry … your income taxes will still be withheld from your paycheck! Gotta keep paying for Donnie’s travel on Air Force One now, don’t we?

Trump has claimed that the federal workers are supportive of the shutdown, saying he’s heard from federal workers who want him to “stay out until you get the funding for the wall.”  Predictably, it’s another of his multitude of blatant lies, and federal workers were none too happy hearing him tell it …

“I am a federal worker who is working without pay. And yes, we live paycheck to paycheck. Who will pay my mortgage January 1st? You?”

“My husband is a federal worker, we need our paycheck next week to pay our mortgage.”fuck wall

Now, Trump claims that he will keep the government shut down until such time as the $5 billion initial funding for his wall is approved by Congress.  Well, first of all, as I have discussed before, $5 billion is only the first part, and the wall has the likely potential to end up costing around $70 billion.  And frankly one billion would be too much.  No, Donnie, I ain’t giving you a damn dime toward your wall!  Congress is highly unlikely to give in to Trump’s bullying tactics to get his white elephant … thankfully.

Any president who would keep the government shut down ‘indefinitely’ for his own ego is no president, for he is failing to even consider the people he was hired to represent.  Other nations agree …

“Canadians like to think their system of governance is better than the American one. If they want more evidence, they need only look at what’s happening now — a government shutdown in Washington — and be thankful their system doesn’t allow the same shenanigans.”

I can think of a couple of solutions here.  First, what if all the White House crew, such as chefs & cooks, housekeepers, laundry staff, maintenance staff, groundskeepers were to be furloughed during the shutdown?  Now, include Trump’s chauffeur and limo, and furlough the cast & crew of Air Force One and the helicopters Trump frequently flits about in.  Think he might have second thoughts now?

And the best solution of all, though I’m sure nobody would have the guts to participate, is a massive nationwide worker’s strike.  Every employee in the manufacturing industries, from the auto industry to the coal industry should walk off the job the first Monday after the new year.  The only language Donald Trump understands is the one where ‘money talks’, and he is indebted to his wealthy cronies in the upper echelons of nearly every industry.  When General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Smith & Wesson, and many, many others are dead in the water for they have no workers, I give it two days until they demand Trump sign the budget bill sans wall and get on with the business of governance.

Folks, this situation is both unconscionable and untenable.  Somewhere, sometime soon, Mr. Trump is going to need to be forced to realize that he is not “making America great”, but instead is making America a) the brunt of jokes in every nation on the globe, b) less safe than we have been in more than 50 years, c) economically unstable.  He.  He alone.  He alone is responsible for the chaos in our government, for the highest turnover rates of any administration before, for the divisiveness of our nation, and for isolating us from our allies while pandering to our enemies.

One theory is that Trump knows he will never get the wall funded, and as such is using it as a point to get the shutdown for another reason … to keep his own posterior out of legal trouble (see Xena’s post for more information).  This theory may well have merit, and if so, Trump’s shutdown is even more unconscionable.  At this point, I think we seriously need to wake up the GOP senators and make it clear that We The People are against this shutdown and against the damn wall.  So, stretch your fingers and start writing again, folks … please … for our future, our lives as well as lives around the globe depend on stopping this runaway train!

And one last thing … would somebody stop him from all this wasteful travel that serves no purpose?  Federal employees aren’t getting paid and he’s wasting $6 million for a photo op???

CHAOS!!! — Part II

When I wrote Chaos yesterday, I had no intention of it becoming Part I of a series, but as the day progressed into evening, I knew I wasn’t finished, so here is Part II, and Part III seems likely.

Okay, I know you are all sick and tired of hearing about ‘the wall’, and so am I.  But, since the child sitting in the Oval Office is throwing spoons again demanding his fribbin’ wall, we are not done hearing about it, much as it is giving us all ulcers.  The latest …

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, after vacillating between determination to shut the government down if he doesn’t get initial funding for his wall, and willingness to sign a short-term spending bill and delay this argument until next February, he finally gave his final word before leaving for a ‘vacation’ at his bloody estate in Florida:

“I’ve made my position very clear. Any measure that funds the government must include border security.  Walls work, whether we like it or not. They work better than anything.”

Okay, nothing new there, right?  Except that … the unthinkable … the House of Representatives caved and instead of passing the short-term spending bill approved by the Senate, House Republican leaders hurried to appease the president, pulling together a bill that would keep the government funded through Feb. 8 while also allocating $5.7 billion for the border wall.  CAVED!  Threw the hard-working citizens of this nation under the bus!  $5.7 billion!!!  For a useless, destructive wall, only because it’s what his ego demands.  Nobody with an IQ over 45 wants that damn wall!  $5.7 billion!!! 

The legislation passed the House on a near-party-line vote of 217 to 185 last night, over strident objections from Democrats who criticized the wall as immoral and ineffective and declared the legislation dead on arrival in the Senate. No Democrats voted for the House measure, and eight Republicans voted against it.

Yo!  Republican members of the House of Representatives!  Where are your cojones?  You knew all along that this wall is a waste of money, and the $5.7 billion is barely the beginning, for all reasonable estimates put the total cost between $50 billion and $75 billion.  This is not your money you’re throwing away … it is OURS!!!  Remember us?  We The People?

And in case you need a real laugh right about now, a man, a veteran named Brian Kolfage has started a GoFundMe site to raise funds for the wall and is asking that every American contribute $80!  Over my dead body!  But the sad part is apparently an awful lot of people in this nation have more money than they have common sense, for thus far more than 100,000 people have contributed and the account has raised more than $8 million.  I am truly sickened by this.  Why?  Because … do you see Mr. Kolfage raising money to help out starving children or provide medical care for families in need?  No, instead he is directing his efforts to a useless piece of steel & mortar that will only harm humans, the economy and wildlife.  Mr. Kolfage, as well as those 100,000 people are not humanitarians.  They are fools who care not one whit for any but themselves.  They are, in my book, white supremacist cowards, afraid to share their nation with those whose skin may not be quite as pale as their own.

Kolfage claims that Trump has “followed through on just about every promise” he made in his campaign, and that it is every citizen’s duty to help Trump “overcome Democratic resistance to the wall”.  Whoa … hold up Brian … more of those ‘citizens’ whose duty you claim to know are democrats than are republicans.  You’re saying, basically, that it is the duty of democrats to overcome their own resistance?  Have you read any of the studies about the wall, the harm it will do to wildlife, the damage to the economy of the border states?  Open your eyes, man!

There are so many more important issues in this nation than a wall along the southern border.  Do we really want to live in a walled-in nation?  I know I don’t. Are we really so afraid of families fleeing for their lives, or starving children, that we are willing to plunge this nation into massive debt in order to keep “them” out?  Yes, I am angry … no, wait … between this wall thing and Trump’s asinine claims that he will be pulling our troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, I am well beyond angry … I am furious.  Republicans … please, wake up and demand a stop to the madness before the planet explodes into a fiery ball of violence!  Demand that our legislators be the adults in the room, since Trump cannot.  This madness cannot continue … it simply cannot.  And now, I shall leave you to go in search of happier blogs.

Snakes Slithering From ‘Neath The Rocks …

Two stories in the New York Times’ race-related section this week caught my eye … and turned my stomach.

The first …

Arizona state legislator, Representative David Stringer, who represents the Yavapai County area of the state, attended a public lecture at Arizona State University, during which a history professor, Donald Critchlow, discussed the 2018 midterm elections.  After the lecture, Mr. Stringer met privately with a group of students.  Here are a few snippets of what he told the students …

David Stringer“Uh, the African American vote is probably over 90% Democrat, and it’s been that way for decades. The Asian-American vote, the Asian Americans are an educated culture, affluent, relatively speaking, and in our society are not an under-class, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic. The Hispanics, even middle-class Hispanics, they vote overwhelmingly Democrat, because the number one issue is immigration, and bringing more of their co-religionists and people like them, into the country.

Also, diversity in our country is relatively new.  [A student asks what he means, citing that his own grandparents were Irish and Italian] They were all Europeans. By the 2nd or 3rd generation, everybody looks the same, everybody talks the same, but that’s not the case with African-Americans or other racial groups because they don’t melt in. They don’t blend in, they always look different.

The difference between the Polack, I shouldn’t say Polack … the difference between the Polish-American immigrant and the immigrant from say, Somali, is that the 2nd generation Polish immigrant looks like the Irish kid and the German kid and every other kid. But, the immigrant from Somali does not.”

Lovely, huh?  67,023 people in the State of Arizona voted for this white supremacist, more than twice as many as voted for his opponent.  His racism can’t possibly come as a surprise to them, for back in the fall when he was running for re-election, he told a room full of people that immigration is an “existential threat” because “there aren’t enough white kids to go around” in public schools.  Not for the first time, Stringer faces calls for his resignation from a host of prominent fellow Republican leaders, but refuses to step down, claiming that the election results last month prove that the people in his district want him in office.

The second …

Three weeks ago, two swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur were spray-painted on the walls of a Jewish professor, Elizabeth Midlarsky’s office at Columbia University in New York.Columbia hate crimeAnd then last Sunday, a student dressed in a blazer and button-up shirt went on a racist tirade on Columbia’s campus, screaming …

columbia racist“White people are the best thing that ever happened in the world!  We are so amazing!  I love myself and I love my people!  We invented the modern world … Europeans invented the modern world!”


Since the October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left eleven people dead and six wounded, including four police officers (good guys with guns?), there have been multiple anti-Semitic incidents around the nation.  A Brooklyn synagogue was defaced with graffiti, including the phrase “Die Jew Rats”.  Two swastikas were found spray-painted onto a concrete outpost on the Upper West Side of New York City. two swastikasThe hate goes on … and on.  It escalates.  Where is the outrage?  Why don’t we see these items on the front page of the newspaper, on the nightly news?  Where is the condemnation by the nation’s leaders?  Instead, these are minor stories buried somewhere on the back pages, if at all.  I don’t deny that the hate has likely always been there, but since the king cobra slithered out from under the big rock in June 2015, incidents like the ones I mentioned have been on the rise.  Are we becoming inured?  Have we reached the saturation point where it’s just another shoulder-shrugging story?  I hope not.

Yes, folks, bigotry in all its forms is alive and well in this nation and not only that, but it is promoted every damn day from the folks in the White House.

ACA Is NOT Unconstitutional!!!

I would really like to know just how much Donald Trump paid to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas.  Or perhaps it wasn’t money, but the promise of a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Whatever the enticement, Judge Reed O’Connor has just thrown the citizens of the United States under the proverbial bus.  What, you ask, did he do?  Last night, Judge O’Connor ruled that ACA in its totality is unconstitutional.  Not just part of ACA … the entire bloomin’ Affordable Care Act!Judge O'ConnorJudge O’Connor isn’t new to controversial rulings.  Let’s take a look at just a few he’s made in the past decade …

  • Halted implementation of ACA Section 1557 that prohibited discrimination against transgender people by federally funded health programs. Why?  Because the judge felt it violated religious rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. – December 2016
  • Ruled against the Title IX law that required that schools receiving federal funding not discriminate against students on the basis of sex or gender identification – October 2016
  • Ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act was unconstitutional. The act halted the forcible removal of as many as 25% – 30% of Native American children from their homes for no reason other than their heritage, and then being put up for adoption, placed in non-Indian homes with a deliberate absence of American Indian cultures – October 2018

So, we have here a judge in the southern state of Texas who is a proven bigot and racist, and he has decided that the entirety of ACA, the program that was intended to ensure that every man, woman and child in the U.S. would have at least basic healthcare insurance, goes against the Constitution.  And Trump’s own ‘surprised’ reaction?

“Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!”

No, you fat, pimple-faced, fake-hair jerk!  It is the worst possible news for America!  Only wait … that’s right, you don’t give a damn about America, do you, for your allegiance lies elsewhere … in Russia … in Saudi Arabia.

And later …

“As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions.”

Yeah, sure, right … and I believe that the Easter Bunny lays chocolate eggs, too …

Judge O’Connor has been sitting on the case that prompted his ruling for several months now, but it was decided to wait until the end of the open enrollment period and, more importantly, after the mid-term elections, where health care was a major deciding factor for many voters.  Clever, aren’t these damn republicans?

The judge’s ruling will no doubt be appealed all the way up the line until finally it lands on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court, so for the time being, nothing changes.  What happens when it reaches the Supreme Court?  Good question.  Remember how just this week, Kavanaugh sided with liberal and moderate judges in a refusal to hear a case that could have ended in defunding Planned Parenthood?  People were scratching their heads, wondering if perhaps Kavanaugh was a decent guy after all.  I said he was biding his time, picking his battles.  What do you want to bet this is one of those battles he was saving up for?

The basic difference in ideologies between democrats and republicans boils down to whether the government’s focus should be on people or industry.  Prior to ACA, health insurance was so expensive that a large portion of Americans took their chances without insurance.  ACA sought to remedy that, sought to ensure that no child would have to die because his parents could not afford to take him to the doctor.  But the republicans believed that their tax dollars should not be wasted on the lives of those of us they view as second-class citizens because we haven’t had the same opportunities for enrichment they have had.

And now a bigoted judge in Texas has decided all by himself that healthcare should only be accessible to those who earn over a certain amount of money.  ACA is not unconstitutional.  ACA is about helping people live their lives.  Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that people should not be allowed to live if they are poor.  Unlike Donald Trump, I have actually read the Constitution … many times.  We The People are sick and tired of having to fight battle after battle to be treated with a bit of respect in our own country, the country that our hard-earned tax dollars support.  We are paying a high price for the follies of the current administration and it is past time for people to realize it.

As for Judge Reed O’Connor … I’m betting that next time Trump has an opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice, O’Connor’s name will be on the short list.

Sickening …

I did not realize I was feeling ill until the following “breaking news” came popping up on my phone last evening …

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows is no longer under consideration to be Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

“Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress. The President told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Meadows, a staunch Trump ally, had been a top contender for the position, and he had signaled his interest in recent days. But ultimately, aides said the president thought it best for him to remain in Congress, where he can continue to be a strong defender of the administration.

Now, first off, I am glad that Meadows, who is a grade-A, bigoted, radical right-wing jerk, is not going to be the new chief of staff.  But when I read that he is doing “an incredible job”, my stomach churns, and when I read that he is to stay in Congress “so he can continue the great work …” I am full on sick to my stomach.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Mr. Meadows, let me summarize …

  • Meadows voted against relief for Hurricane Sandy in 2013
  • He is anti-abortion and anti-birth control
  • Oddly, he claims to support a balanced budget, though he has largely contributed to the highest deficit we have seen in six years
  • He demanded that Trump get rid of all federal funding to study climate change
  • He also requested Trump repeal environmental regulations including the Renewable Fuel Standard, stop the prohibition of drilling oil on federal lands, and pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Meadows voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act
  • He has proposed that the United States should tap into oil and gas reserves to keep energy prices low, and to develop energy independence. He supports tapping into off-shore oil and gas supplies
  • Meadows opposes same-sex marriage
  • Meadows opposes any restrictions on gun purchases and opposes a national gun registry that would list detailed information about firearm ownership
  • He has voted numerous times to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • He supports tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and is against net neutrality

House Freedom CaucusWell, you get the picture.  Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina is the worst of the worst of the republican party.  In essence, if it is good for the wealthy and bad for the rest of us, he is for it.  If it helps the average Joe, he will fight against it.  And he is considered one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress.  That tell you something?  This is a man whose conscience is measured in dollar signs.

And so now you might understand why, when I hear Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Don Trump refer to him as “doing an incredible job”, I feel ill.  An incredible job at what???  Destroying the nation and the global environment?  Sending women’s rights back two centuries? Mark Meadows-1You might ask just what the good people of North Carolina were thinking when they elected him for a fourth term last month, but the reality is that his district is so heavily gerrymandered that almost all minorities have been excluded.  He campaigned for the 2018 elections by touting his support of the madman Trump, while claiming that any republicans who didn’t support Trump should be removed from office.

Mark Meadows is, contrary to Ms. Sanders and Mr. Trump’s opinion, not doing a great job at anything.  He is the poster boy for why we need to have all district maps re-drawn to appropriately represent the voters.

So, we are left with the question … who will be the next chief of staff?  Nick Ayers and Rick Santorum have thus far turned down the job, Mark Meadows is out of the running … who’s left?  The three leading contenders appear to be acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, a former campaign manager David Bossie, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  But then, who knows … by tomorrow it could be Daffy Duck!  Whoever it is, I’m sure he or she will make a lovely addition to this circus of clowns.circus-1