Trump’s SHITHOLE Moment …

Since Donald Trump took an oath that he did not even understand on 20 January 2017, I have been referring to the federal government collectively as a ‘circus’. Tonight, I amend that assessment, for a circus at least has the illusion of fun, of brightness, and it has certain appeal.  Tonight, I re-name the government of the United States under the ‘leadership’ of one Donald Trump, as a Freak Show.  That’s right, a Freak Show.

The man who claims to be the leader of the United States, a once-respected Western naton, made the following statement:

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

The remark was reportedly in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.  The White House did not bother to deny the comment, but rather excused it, put a spin on it …

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people … He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans.”

What a load of, please pardon my language, bullshit. These ‘stopgap measures’ save people’s lives, people who are fleeing for safety, for an opportunity to survive, to have a life for themselves and their children! I don’t know about you folks, but I do not wish to have Trump fighting for me or my rights, if that means he so rudely and obnoxiously speaks of people who come to this country for a better life for they and their children.  I would rather spend a day in the company of 100 Haitians than a single minute with a member of the Washington elite.

Donald Trump should have studied a little harder, perhaps taken some history classes when he was a youngster, for he obviously does not realize that this nation is built on the foundation of immigration, of diversity, of welcoming with open arms people from all nations, of all cultures, races and religions. Has he forgotten, or did he ever know, the words engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

liberty-words“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I am not alone in my outrage:

“Trump’s comments about the immigrants from “shithole countries” is among the worst statements he has ever uttered. It might very well be the worst.” – Dan Rather, journalist and former news anchor

“What’s the word for a country that elects a racist, serial lying, profiteer who revels in conflicts of interest’ brags about assaulting women; attacks freedom of the press, freedom of religion, private citizens, & law enforcement; and calls for investigations of political rivals?” – Walter Shaub, former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics

“… are further proof that his Make America Great Again agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda” – Cedric Richmond, Democratic Representative, Louisiana

“I condemn this unforgivable statement and this demeaning of the office of the Presidency.” – Elijah Cummings, Democratic Representative, Maryland

“… unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.”Republican Representative Mia Love, Utah

“The American family was born from immigrants fleeing persecution and poverty and searching for a better future, Our strength lies in our diversity, including those who came here from Africa, the Caribbean and every other corner of the world. To deny these facts would be to ignore the brightest part of our history.”Republican Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina

“America was built on the backs of immigrants from around the globe. We must honor that history, not reject it. It starts with respectful rhetoric and signing bipartisan DACA legislation.” – John Kasich, Republican Ohio Governor

“@realDonaldTrump, your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?” – Vincente Fox Quesada, former President of Mexico

Quesada put a poll on Twitter asking whether, if Trump had made this comment during the campaign last year, it would have changed the outcome of the election.  See for yourself the sad results …

Trump poll election

It would have been the same.  Sad, but almost certainly true.  It did not phase his lemmings when he called for violence at his rallies, it did not matter to them that he admitted to sexually abusing many women.  It did not matter that he was a liar and a dishonest businessman, that he was a racist and a bigot.  And so, sadly, this would not mattered to them, either.

We have seen Donald Trump at his worst … or so we thought.  Every time we think he cannot possibly sink to any lower depth of crassness, of inhumanity, of utter stupidity, he proves us wrong.  Donald Trump is the absolute most disgusting president we have ever had in the 230 year history of this nation, bar none.  If this, in combination with his other several thousand disgusting, racist, bigoted, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic comments does not convince his lemmings that he is highly unqualified for the office he holds, then I wash my hands of those lemmings, for they have brought an abomination beyond my wildest imaginings into our midst and given him the keys to our lives with impunity.

Any member of Congress who condones or ignores this better be voted out of Congress in November, for this is not the nation we are, and if they support this, then they do not … I repeat they do not … represent We The People.

Trump has been abominable before … mostly every day … but this is a new low  and I suggest we work toward getting him and his cronies out of the White House before he shows us how much lower he can go.  All those in favour, please raise your hands.  🖐️

Think Again …

So, you think that Senator or Representative you voted into office last year is serving in the best interest of We The People?  You think he/she cares about the issues that affect our daily lives?  You think he/she votes on bills keeping in mind how it will affect not only his/her constituents, but the nation as a whole?  Boy are you in for a shock!  We The People are not even in the running, not anywhere in the minds of our elected representatives and are important only for about 30 minutes once every 2-6 years, as we stand in front of the voting booth.

U.S. Representative Chris Collins, representing New York’s 27th congressional district since 2013, led the headlines today …

Top GOP congressman: My donors told me to pass the Republican tax bill or ‘don’t ever call me again’Business Insider, 07 November 2017

Now, while it is on my to-do list, I have not studied the tax bill, so can judge only on what I read, but from everything I am seeing, reading and hearing, the tax bill is essentially what we all expected it to be:  huge benefits for the wealthy and for corporations, little or nothing for the middle-income earners, and cuts in services for the poor.  If you are not familiar with the word ‘plutocracy’, now may be a good time for you to study it a bit.

“Moderate Republicans from New York and New Jersey worry their constituents would lose big if they can no longer deduct their state and local taxes from their federal tax bill — one of the key ways Republicans are hoping to pay for the corporate tax cut at the center of the plan. Outside groups on the right, like Club for Growth, also object to the bill, saying that taxes for millionaires should be cut even more. Outside estimates project that millions of middle-class Americans could end up paying higher taxes.

Yet the bill is still expected to pass the House.” Vox, 07 November 2017

chris collins

Rep. Chris Collins

Let’s look a bit at Mr. Collins’ record over the past few months, for I believe he is representative of most in Congress.

  • He supported Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying, “The Director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. I respect President Trump’s decision at the recommendation of the Attorney General.”
  • He voted to repeal ACA (Obamacare) and voted for the abominable GOP health “care” plan that would have taken health care away from millions, even though he admittedly had not read the bill! I guess, one doesn’t need to read what they are voting for, since their ‘donors’ are telling them how to vote.  “Don’t bother reading the fine print, sonny, just sign on the dotted line.”
  • He supported Trump’s ‘executive order’ banning people from Muslim countries (except those where Trump conducts business and makes a profit), saying “I get a little frustrated with the folks who don’t like Trump trying to make something into something it’s not. So I’m just disappointed that we can’t have a true and honest debate without someone inflaming the situation and claiming there’s religious overtones.”

So, it is obvious that Mr. Collins has been a bootlicker all along, but still … when I hear that ‘donors’, which amounts large corporations, wealthy people who are heavily invested in large corporations, and lobbying groups such as the NRA, are threatening to cut off funding if our elected representatives don’t do things their way, I get a little hot under the collar.

The problem, of course, for all members of Congress is that if they are honest and truly want to work in the best interest of the nation and its people, they are doomed to fail, for unfortunately in our current election process, it is a matter of “he who has the most toys, wins”.  Without the money from the donors, the opponent, who is in the pocket of the 1%, will have more television ads, more money to dig up dirt on his opponent, more full-page newspaper ads, more money for rallies, and other public appearances.  Unfortunately in our culture today, the one who is seen most, who has the greatest name recognition, is the one whose name a majority of voters will tic on their ballot each November.  Thus, the rare honest candidate is doomed before ever leaving the gate.  And we wonder why there is so much voter apathy?  Think on this one for a bit … and don’t forget to look up that word: PLUTOCRACY.

No, It Is NOT Too Soon …

Yesterday, a man named Devin Patrick Kelley entered a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and opened fire on the people inside the church, killing at least 26 and injuring many more.  He performed this atrocity with a gun.  The gun was a Luger assault rifle, a German weapon designed for warfare, not self-protection..

There are those who will say that it is too soon to discuss the relevant fact that this crime, this mass murder, was committed with a gun.  They would say that it is disrespectful of the victims to use this atrocity to launch a discussion of gun regulations, or lack thereof.  NO, it is not too soon and it is not disrespectful.  It is exactly the right time, when perhaps a few people get angry enough to make some changes around here! What is disrespectful is to fail to heed what is happening in this nation, to allow people to continue to bring guns into public places and shoot people.  All the recent gun atrocities should be a wake up call, but instead there are those who want to keep saying, “hush, hush now, don’t upset anyone”.  What is disrespectful is Donald Trump’s comment …

 “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a guns situation [emphasis added] … we could go into it but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. Fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse.”

This is, indeed, a “guns situation”.  Granted, Mr. Kelley had a history of violence, having been court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his wife and child. He was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement and received a “bad conduct” discharge in 2014.  So yes, he was obviously mentally unstable, so why was he allowed to own a gun?  And an assault rifle, one that was banned for ten years until 2004 when the NRA convinced Congress to allow the ban on assault weapons to lapse.

Yes, Donald Trump, this is precisely a “guns situation”, for without the gun, Mr. Kelley would have been unable to kill 26 people.  Had he entered that building with a knife or even a machete, he would not have been able to murder 26 people.  Just as Dylan Roof, Charles Whitman, and Stephen Paddock, to name just a few, would not have killed anybody, but for their guns.

This nation is indeed under attack, but the threat does not come from Middle-Eastern refugees … the threat comes from our own backyard.  The threat comes from those who go about uttering the same tired old phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.  Yes, people kill people … mostly with guns!  Typically white, male U.S. citizens with a grudge against somebody or something, real or imagined, and with a gun!

To add insult to Trump’s inane statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made equally inane remarks, calling for more armed security guards in church or “at least arming some of the parishioners so they can respond to something like this.” The same ol’ spiel we hear from the NRA … if some guns are causing mass shootings and deaths, then more guns must be the solution.  Paxton also used that other tired old NRA adage: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Well guess what, folks?  That one has been disproven time and time again, but the NRA and its proponents always manage to put a different spin on it.  Not to mention that they manage to put enough greenbacks in the pockets of Congress to sway their votes. Let me ask you a question:  You own a gunshop.  A man walks into your shop, wants to buy a gun.  Is he a “good guy” or a “bad guy”?  You don’t know, you cannot know.  And frankly, even if he is a good guy today, there is nothing that says he won’t turn into a bad guy under a given set of circumstances.  All you know is that he is a human, subject to the foibles that have plagued mankind since the beginning of time.

Gun laws in this nation are a joke, for truly, there are few laws and they are not uniformly enforced. It is obvious that We The People do not matter, for some 80% of people in this nation are in favour of tougher restrictions on gun ownership, including re-establishing the ban on assault weapons and denying gun ownership to the mentally ill and to those with a history of violence.  Those are bare-bones minimum requirements, and yet even though the vast majority support those regulations, Congress is unwilling to pass such laws, for the NRA is buying their vote.  If you are satisfied with this situation, if you are sitting back saying how terrible this tragedy was, but believing it cannot happen to you or your family … then you are part of the problem.

As for me, I am not going to wait for “the right time” to shine a very bright spotlight on this issue, for there will never be a “right time” in the minds of those who don’t wish to hear what I have to say.  I can only say that at this point, I am thoroughly disgusted with the so-called president, with Congress, and with those who sit back and allow the status quo, who support unlimited gun ownership.  I am very seriously considering taking my family to another country, one where it is understood that, human nature being what it is, guns do not belong in the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry.

McConnell And Company … Our Executioners

I have only one word to define the GOP senators who are in support of a health care bill that would be disastrous to ALL of us who do not have six figures in our bank accounts:  BASTARDS!

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their preliminary analysis that the senate bill would only rob 22,000 citizens from having adequate medical coverage, some 1,000 fewer than the House bill that was passed last month.  Republican senators are patting themselves on the back for this.  22,000 vs. 23,000 … no matter … either way it is an abomination!  Even robbing 1,000 people of the right to live is an abomination.

As everybody who reads this blog is aware, I did not vote for Trump and cannot stand the ‘man’ and his sleazy, lying ways.  But those poor suckers who did vote for him did so, at least in part, because he promised them …

“I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.” 27 September 2015

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

“We don’t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance.” – Kellyanne Conway, speaking on behalf of Trump.

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through.” – Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

NPR has put together an excellent chart  that clearly summarizes the projected effects on We The People of both the House and Senate bills.  The bottom line is that every single one of us stand to lose.  So, you have insurance through your employer?  Plan to pay more.  You have a pre-existing condition?  Plan to pay more and have fewer benefits.  Between the ages of 55-65?  You will pay up to five times more for your medical insurance. Have an elderly parent in a nursing home?  Medicaid coverage is likely to be cut. Are you a woman who needs a mammogram you cannot afford?  Planned Parenthood, who would do it for free, will be cut off completely from federal funds for a minimum of one year. Have a severely disabled child who receives Medicaid, as I do?  Better start figuring out where to apply for that second job so that you can cover his/her expenses, for Medicaid will be cut dramatically.

And the list goes on.  For full details, please do check out the chart (link above).

conway-stephanopoulosLast Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Kellyanne Conway said, and I paraphrase, that nobody would lose their Medicaid.  If you are on Medicaid now, you will not lose it.  But, for those who do lose it, there will be other options, such as getting a job. Ask me again why I refer to her as America’s #1 BIMBO!

But now comes the real kick-in-the-teeth …

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) There are worse pictures of him.

Mitch McConnell

Senator Mitch McConnell drafted the senate bill behind closed doors, in secrecy, with only a handful of GOP senators contributing at all.  Senator Mitch McConnell, who has been in office since 1984, is determined to shove through his abomination of a so-called ‘health care’ bill this week, before Congress recesses for its unearned July 4th break.  Well, guess who some of his largest campaign donors are?  Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred Healthcare, a health care services company, was the third-largest contributor to McConnell’s campaign committee from 2011 to 2016, donating $104,650. Health insurer Humana was number 4, with $103,300 in donations. Financial firm Blackstone Group came in first with $217,700 in donations.

DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?????

I have something to say to two groups of people:

  • GOP Members Of Congress: Get your collective heads out of your collective arses and remember that it is not Koch Brothers, not Humana, not Mitch McConnell, and for damn sure NOT Donald Trump who pay your salaries and allow you to remain in your current jobs.  No, it is We The People, and you are treading on us in the worst, most horrific way possible.  You are attempting to sentence us to death or destitution in order to line your own pockets and those of the already filthy rich insurance companies.  I do not know nor care how you manage to sleep at night with this on your conscience, but I will tell you this:  We The People will remember this in sixteen months when the mid-term elections roll around.  You The Crooks will be outed.  Mitch McConnell does not seek re-election until 2020, but if there is any sort of justice, he will be impeached for his criminal behaviour against the very people who have put him into office again … and again … and again … ad nauseam.

  • Trump Supporters: Wake up and pull your collective heads out of your collective arses!  Back in 2015-2016, Donald Trump made you a bunch of promises that I and others tried to tell you were falsehoods, promises he could not possibly keep. But so mesmerized were you by his promises that you tuned us out.  You believed because you wanted to believe, and damn anyone who tried to make you see the truth!  No, I do not think you are stupid, but I do think that you are ignorant, lazy and uneducated.  You are ignorant for you do not see the writing on the wall, do not understand what this healthcare bill means for all of us.  You are lazy because rather than do some research, you find it easier to watch Fox News, Breitbart and Alex Jones and take their word that Trump is God and liberals, Democrats and Socialists are evil incarnate. And frankly, you deserve whatever you get, but the rest of us do not!  You have sentenced 98% of this nation to higher costs, fewer benefits, and in many cases …. Death.  And this is only the beginning … there is even worse to come.

Yes, I am angry.  I have tried very hard to keep my arguments on an intellectual plane, eschewing rants in favour of reasoned discourse.  I am fairly certain I will return to that tomorrow.  However today, I am angry.  Today I shall rant.  Not because this abomination of a bill affects me personally, though it does, but because it affects us ALL.  Because the very people who we trusted enough to vote into office, the very people whose salaries we pay, are the very people who are thumbing their noses at us and they watch us lose … and lose … and lose still more until we have nothing left for which to live.

Note to Readers:  I have said since May, when the House passed their ludicrous “health care” bill, that the Senate would never pass such a destructive bill.  In light of the handful of Senators who are against McConnell’s bill, I would like to say that I still believe this.  However, in light of the huge amounts of cash in the form of special favours, perks and campaign monies that are, even as I write, being passed among senators, I must change my stance.  It is obvious to me that the greed of our elected representatives is far stronger than our best interests. 

HE MUST GO!!! NOW!!!

Yesterday I wrote a post about Trump’s very undiplomatic, ignorant tweets in response to the terrorist attack in London over the weekend.  I thought that was the end of it, that he would move on to other rants, but alas … I was wrong.  This morning, apparently offended by the good Mayor Khan’s response that he was busy taking care of his city and did not have time to respond to Trump’s tweets, Trump’s very small thumbs once again took to the twitting machine and he said this:

“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!”

By ‘MSM’, he is referring to the mainstream media who accurately reported exactly what Mr. Khan did say, rather than the out-of-context falsehood that Trump claimed.

This must stop … it simply must stop!  He is as an angry child who’s bluster and anger is escalating to the point that it is causing people all around the globe to lose what little respect they had left for the U.S.  Trump represents us … each and every one of us, whether we voted for him or not, whether we like it or not.  There is simply no excuse for a 70+ year old ‘man’, a leader of a nation of some 325 million people, to act as a 9-year-old child!

There must soon come an impeachment, or an Article 25 removal from office.  There is no other choice.  He has wrought more damage upon our country in less than 6 months than any other president has done in an entire term of office.  Congress … specifically the House of Representatives … must realize by now that we are in deep trouble and take the first steps in the process to remove Trump quickly.  While I have no love for Pence, at least his mouth has a filter.

Meanwhile … I recommend the following:

  • The administration staff, cabinet members and members of Congress immediately stop enabling this ‘man’, stop licking his boots, and stop defending his words and actions, stop making excuses for him, for there can be no excuses for this irrational behaviour.
  • Put a muzzle on him. Shut down his Twitter account!!! Take away his voice!

muzzleThe Russian probe is almost certain, if carried out with integrity and transparency, to ultimately result in the removal of Trump from office, but that is a long process and will not happen quickly enough to save our country from a loss of respect worldwide.  We all hope that our allies across the pond realize and understand that We The People do not share Trump’s sentiments, but unless we stand up loudly and passionately against him, against his behaviour, then how can they continue to believe that the citizens of the United States are good, caring people?  How can good, caring people possibly remain silent in the wake of his abhorrent speech and behaviour?

It is time for us to stop shaking our heads, rolling our eyes, and grimacing every time he opens his mouth.  It is time for us to demand that Congress take action to remove him from office.  Use Article 25, if nothing else, for his actions of the past two weeks, shoving aside a foreign minister to be in the front row during a photo, berating our allies while cuddling with our antagonists, and now his rants against Mayor Khan, surely prove that he is unfit to govern.

For my part, I hereby proclaim in no uncertain terms that Donald Trump does NOT represent me and is in no way representative of my thoughts or ideology.

Meanwhile, Back on the Campaign Trail …

Remember a few times when I have commented on Trump’s rallies, held since his inauguration in January?  I was puzzled … since he had already won last year’s election, had already taken office, why the heck is he still holding campaign-style rallies?  Well, wonder no more, for I now know the answer.  He is, in fact, campaigning … already … this is the beginning of his “2020 re-election campaign”.  WHAT??? … this ‘man’ is not even likely to be in office by the time 2020 rolls around!  How can he possibly … the unmitigated gall!

According to The Washington Post,  he raised $42.6 million in the first quarter of 2017.  Now it happens that I have two problems with this.  The first is that these rallies are costing We The People.  We pay for his travel, meals, and extra security required as he stands amid thousands of people.  Earlier this week, Mick Mulvaney stated that this administration does not think it is right to ask taxpayers to pay to keep poor people from starving … but they have no qualms about asking us to pay for Trump to waste time and money campaigning for a re-election that, hopefully, will never happen???  I object!

The second problem I have is with the donations, or rather the donors.  According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) report, most of the donations were small amounts, under $200, from individuals, with very little coming in from larger, wealthy donors.  Keep in mind, these are the very same people who are crying that they cannot make ends meet, that they need more money, that their taxes are too high … and yet they will give $20, $50, or $100 to the Trump campaign for re-election which is nearly four years away?  Hey, Republicans … if you have money to throw away, as you obviously do, send it to me.  First, I could use some new socks and what’s left, I would use to feed some hungry children, help a needy family pay their rent, or something that provides humanitarian value!

And the third problem … did I say I had only 2? … is the way the money is being spent, which is perfectly legal but, in the opinion of this writer should not be.  First, of course, the ‘campaign’ is buying t-shirts and those ugly “Make America Great Again” hats.  But now comes the kicker …

“Trump Tower in Manhattan, where the campaign is based, collected $300,000 in rent. At least another $25,000 went to other properties, including Mr. Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas and a golf course he owns in Florida. The campaign disbursed tens of thousands of dollars to a firm owned by Mr. Trump’s chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon. The bill was for “administrative assistant/secretarial” services.” – Haag/Shorey, New York Times, 14 April 2017

I do not see Mr. Trump qualifying for a re-election bid in 2020, but he certainly has no compunction about taking money from the very people he convinced to vote for him by promising them a better life, then using said money to further pad his own and Bannon’s already fat pockets.  The people who are donating at rallies and through email solicitations are victims of their own making in Trump’s ‘reverse Robin Hood’ scheme.

Oh, by the way … Trump has even selected his slogan for the 2020 election.  He couldn’t very well use “Make America Great Again” because if, after four years in office he hadn’t made it great, the slogan rather loses its luster.  So, for the 2020 campaign we will have his new slogan shoved down our collective throats:  “Keep America Great”.  Sigh.

In The Name Of Compassion???

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” — Albert Schweitzer

“We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.” — Ellen DeGeneres

“I do not challenge the conservatism of this administration. I do challenge its failure to exhibit a compassionate conservatism that adapts itself to the realities of a society ridden by class and race distinction.” – Vernon E Jordan, Jr., (1981) in response to conservative cuts under Reagan to programs designed to help the needy

“Compassionate conservatism is dead; Trump and his band of backward-thinking devotees killed it.” –– Charles M. Blow, New York Times, 23 February 2017

Definition of ‘compassion’:  sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. – Merriam-Webster


Last month, as Trump sent his preliminary budget to Congress, White House Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, made the following statement:

“The president knows who his voters are. His voters are folks who pay taxes as well. And I think for the first time in a long time, you have an administration that is looking at the compassion of both sides of the equation. Could I, as a budget director, look at the coal miner in West Virginia and say, ‘I want you please to give some of your money to the federal government so that I can give it to the National Endowment for the Arts?’ I just think we finally got to the point in the administration where we couldn’t do that.”

Never mind that the money spent on such things as the arts and PBS might well be the key to helping educate that coal miner’s children so that they can grow up to have a better life than their father.  And never mind that the money saved by dropping the arts and PBS is earmarked to go toward military expansion.  Apparently Mr. Mulvaney would have no problem asking that coal miner for some of his money to build more tanks, planes and warships.

But it doesn’t even end there.  The budget calls for cuts to other humanitarian programs:

  • Meals on Wheels – delivers meals to individuals, typically elderly people at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals.
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance – helps low-income families pay their heating bills.
  • The Choice Neighborhoods program – rejuvenates public housing and provides a safe space for low-income families to live in their communities.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – assists with healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five.
  • The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) – provides emergency food assistance for Americans living in poverty.
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers – helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to low-income families.
  • The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant – provides up to $4,000 per year for low-income students trying to pay for college.

The Trump budget calls for significant cuts, and in some cases complete de-funding, of each of these humanitarian causes, and yet Mick Mulvaney calls it a ‘compassionate’ budget.  It isn’t as if, by cutting the above programs, taxes will be reduced on the struggling middle class, or on that coal miner Mulvaney is so concerned about, since the funds will simply be shifted to the expanded military budget.  Little Donnie wants more tanks and army men to play with but cares not a whit about people starving or freezing to death.

“You’re only focusing on half of the equation. Right? You’re focusing on recipients of the money,” Mulvaney said to a reporter who balked at his “compassionate” defense of the cuts. “We’re trying to focus on both the recipients and the folks who give us the money in the first place, and I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard earned money anymore”.  But MICK … you will still be taking our hard-earned money, just to provide unnecessary and costly military equipment instead of food, shelter and heat for people … human beings.  How the Sam Heck do you call that compassionate?

Might I inform you, Mick, as a citizen, a voter, and a long-time taxpayer, that I would much prefer my tax dollars going to feed, shelter, clothe, and educate people in need than to expand an already bloated military!  Would you mind listening to me?  I believe, that put that way, at least 75% of my fellow-citizens will agree with me!

For eighty-two days now … 82 long, tiresome, contentious, stressful days, we have been subjected to ludicrous lies, ‘alternative facts’, petulant temper tantrums, destructive policy proposals, and worse.  Now, add to the list the re-definition of certain words, starting with the word ‘compassion’.  In the Not-So-Brave-New-World of Trump & Company, compassion no longer means concern or caring about others.  I do not know quite what it does mean to Messrs. Trump and Mulvaney, but it does not really matter, for it will likely take on another new meaning in a week or so.

In the words of poet Harley King: “Nothing stays the same and nothing changes. What is old today will be new tomorrow. What is new today will be forgotten tomorrow.”

Son of a B#$%&!!!

caduceusThe healthcare bill, known in the House of Representatives as the American Health Care Act, but more commonly called Trumpetcare, or Trumpcare, stood very little chance of passing the House, and even if it did, stood zero chance of passing the Senate.  According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), some 24 million people are likely to lose their healthcare coverage once the bill is passed.  That in itself was reason enough for the bill to fail, and it needed some serious alterations before it would become palatable to We The People.  A number of representatives were committed to voting “nay” for that reason alone.  There was another group of uber-right-wing-conservatives, however, who felt the bill did not go far enough in stripping healthcare from the poor and middle-income citizens.

Trump, realizing that his bill was doomed to fail in today’s vote, understood (or, more likely, somebody explained to him) that changes would need to be made in order for the bill to stand a chance at surviving the initial vote.  So, he made a change.  No, he did not restore any of the benefits we previously had under ACA (Obamacare).  Instead he caved to the demands of the far-right, further stripping away any semblance of a universal healthcare bill.  He opted to remove federal requirements that health insurance plans provide a basic set of benefits like maternity care, emergency services, mental health and wellness visits.  So, in the simplest of terms, if your child is running a fever of 104° in the middle of the night and you need to take him to the emergency room, expect to pay, out of pocket, upwards of $500 just for a doctor to look at him, maybe do a strep test, give him some antibiotics and ibuprofen, then send him home.  Your insurance, unless you opt for the high-premium plan, will not cover it.  And God forbid that you get pregnant and expect your insurance to cover your monthly/weekly doctor’s visits, ultrasound, and other tests.

white men

Notice that there are only wealthy, white males making the decisions here …

Even with the change, legislators were not convinced they would have enough votes for the bill to pass this afternoon, so they delayed the vote until Friday morning, although some doubt that a vote will be held before Monday. As of this writing (7:00 p.m, Thursday 23 March) there are some 47 Republican representatives either undecided or planning to vote against the bill.  This is encouraging in that it says some have managed to remember who their employers truly are.

There are some level-headed people in the House.  Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts urged House Republicans to ‘slow down’, saying, “This health care repeal affects millions upon millions upon millions of Americans. Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes.”  And Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said, “I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low- to moderate-income and older individuals.”  And Representative Andy Harris of Maryland said, “This legislation simply won’t lower premiums as much as the American people need, and lowering the cost of coverage is my primary goal.”

The delay in putting the bill to a vote is intended by boot-licking Republicans to give Paul Ryan a chance to talk the bill through … to convince holdouts to vote ‘yea’ instead of ‘nay’.  But, as noted by the New York Times Thursday evening, “as Mr. Trump and House leaders focus on the Republican Party’s conservatives, they are losing House moderates.”

Back on the campaign trail, as I have previously noted, Trump made certain, specific promises regarding universal healthcare:

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. here was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

“I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

It appears that with the bill currently under consideration in the House of Representatives, each of the above promises is an alternative truth.  ‘Everybody’ will not have insurance, many of us will not be able to afford any health insurance, Medicaid will be cut out within the next two years, and Trump is taking care of nobody other than himself and his wealthy backers.

As of March 1, there are 237 Republicans in the House, and 193 Democrats.  What this means is that for a simple majority, it only requires that 23 Republican representatives remember to whom they answer and say ‘NAY’ when the vote comes up.

What happened to his promises?

Note to Trump supporters:  this bill will affect you just as much as anyone.  This is what you wanted?  Whether or not it is, your representatives apparently believe it is, and they are acting ‘on your behalf’, to shove this piece of crap legislation through the House with a speed that they have not seen during the entire past eight years!  I sincerely hope that you will be happy with the choices you made back in November, as this, my friends, is the result.  Enjoy the rest of your short lives.

A Waste Of MY Money?????

Grrrrrrrrr …. If I choose to ‘waste’ my money on such frivolities as making the air breathable and the water drinkable for those who come after me,  is not it my right to do so???  Not according to John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, who said “we consider that to be a waste of your money.” Hey Mick!  The keyword here is ‘your’ … it is MY money and personally I think that leaving the world a place where people are able to breathe is a fairly worthy cause!!!  Actually, I think it is a much more worthy cause than your paycheck! I think it is a much more worthy cause than buying more fighter jets to use in killing people.  I think it is more worthy than giving those people who already have millions … nay, billions … of dollars a means for evading their civic responsibility of helping the poor! And I damn sure think it is more worthy than supporting your air-headed boss as he flits down to his ‘estate’ in Florida every weekend.

This, folks, is where we need to step in and write to our senators and representatives in Congress and tell them that no, we do not see science research and controlling our environment as a ‘waste’ of money.  I tried to be generous and give da trumpeter and his minions a chance.  Okay, so I didn’t try all that hard, but still, I tried.  This, however, is the final straw.  When one man comes out and says that he and his ugly, ugly boss have decided how MY money should be spent, we have a problem.

As far as I am concerned, there is not a single Republican in Congress who deserves to be re-elected next year.  They have supported terrible choices for Secretary of Education, EPA Director, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Attorney General, to name just a few.  They are seriously considering passing a healthcare bill that will ensure that most of us who do not have sizable bank accounts will die within the next five years.  They have not stood up to a single issue that Donald Trump wants, and not a single one has stood up to Trump and told him that his way is the wrong way.

Now this … this abomination he is calling a budget, would ensure that a decade from now, our children and grandchildren will be walking around with oxygen tanks, as they will not be able to breathe the air in the atmosphere, and this sorry excuse for a Budget Director has the unmitigated gall to tell me it is a waste of MY money to try to head off such an eventuality???  What you need to understand, Mr. Mulvaney, is that we are not all a bunch of bumbling dolts who do not know what is best for us.  At least half of the citizens of this country are rational, thinking beings who have the ability to understand the difference between helping and hurting, who understand what actually makes America great vs. what makes Donald Trump richer!  Do you want to know what would really make America great again?

For starters, doing our part to help combat the threats of our planet becoming unlivable in the future is something that would make America great.  Providing quality education at little or no cost to the next generation and the ones after that would help make America great again.  Taking care of our land and the flora and fauna that inhabit it would help make America great again.  Giving a helping hand to the people who, through no fault of their own, have less than most of us would make America great again.  Keeping our population healthy would help make America great again.  And welcoming to our shores those who are fleeing persecution in their native lands helps make America great again.

Thus far, Mr. Mulvaney, your boss has done nothing … not one single thing … that contributes toward making America great again.  He has attempted to destroy the very things that once DID make this nation great.  Not one thing.

In the past, Mr. Mulvaney, your boss has referred to climate change as a ‘hoax’.  Just last week, Scott Pruitt said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. Guess what???  It does not matter what Scott Pruitt says he believes … scientists have proof that contradicts Mr. Pruitt’s beliefs. This is redolent of Benoit Loueillet, the French official who was suspended just this week for saying of the Holocaust, “there was no mass murder as has been said.” At least France had the good sense to discipline their idiot … we just keep cheering ours on!

I understand, Mr. Mulvaney, that you espouse Trumpetcare, that you eschew all gun regulations.  A regular bloke ye are, Mr. M … everyone should wear a pistol on their hip, nobody should be able to afford their life-saving medications, and what the heck … because in ten years or less, we won’t be able to breathe the air or drink the water anyway, right?  Might as well have some fun while we can, rather than try to spend a few bucks to try to preserve the planet for our children and their children.  Speaking of which, I understand you have triplets, Mick … so I guess you don’t like your kids very much, if you are willing to doom them to an unlivable, uninhabitable planet, eh Mick?

“We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals on Wheels sounds great. […] I can’t defend that anymore. We cannot defend that anymore. $20 trillion in debt. We’re going to spend money, we’re going to spend a lot of money but we’re not going to spend it on programs that show they deliver the promises we made to people.”

“They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no evidence they’re helping results, helping kids do better in school, which is what — when we took your money from you to say, we’re going to spend them on after-school program, we justified it by saying these kids will do better in school and get jobs. We have no proof that’s helping.”

In closing, let me just say this, Mr. Mulvaney.  Nether you nor your boss have the first clue what the U.S. taxpayer/citizen/voter wants our government to spend OUR hard-earned money on.  So let me tell you … we want to help people, plain and simple.  We do not want to have the most sophisticated weapons and be prepared to go to war at the drop of a hat.  We want our elderly, our sick, and our disabled to be taken care of.  We want to welcome people of different cultures into our country to enrich our lives and show us how to be a more diverse nation.  And we want you, your boss, and all your co-minions to go back into the rabbit holes from whence you emerged and let us hire some employees who will work hard to really and truly make America even greater than it already was prior to January 20th!

I Do Not Wish To Be Safe … The Cost Is Too High

Customs and Border Protection, aka CBP, is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The stated mission of CBP, according to their website is:

To safeguard America’s borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel.

CBP has strict hiring standards, as one might expect, given the sensitive nature of their jobs:

Basic Qualifications and Medical Requirements for Border Patrol Agents

  • You must be a United States citizen.

  • You must possess a valid automobile driver’s license.

  • You must take and pass the CBP Border Patrol entrance examination. The CBP Border Patrol entrance examination is a three-part test that covers logical reasoning skill; the Spanish language or, if you don’t speak Spanish, an artificial language test that predicts your ability to learn Spanish; and an assessment of job-related experiences and achievements.

  • Your résumé must completely and specifically describe your job duties that you want considered in the determination. All transcripts, grade-point calculations, and other documentation must be submitted to the CBP Minneapolis Hiring Center. Failure to provide this documentation will result in your ineligibility for the position.

  • You must pass a urine drug test: tentative selectees for this position will be required to submit to a urine drug screen for illegal substances prior to appointment. This position is designated for testing for illegal drug use; after hiring, incumbents are subject to random testing. In addition to drug screening, candidates must meet specific medical and physical requirements.

  • You must be younger than 37 at the time of selection. The limitation may be waived for applicants who are currently in Federal civilian law enforcement positions covered under the special retirement provisions of Public Law 100-238 or who have been in such positions in the past.

  • You must appear before an oral interview panel and demonstrate that you possess the abilities and other characteristics important to Border Patrol Agent positions. Among these are interpersonal skills, judgment, and problem-solving abilities.

These are only the most basic qualifications … to be a typist or janitor.  To become a G5 or higher, there are additional requirements.  However, Trump has issued a memorandum requiring the standards to be lowered in order to meet his planned expansion from 19,627 Border Patrol agents to about 26,370, an increase of 25%.  Estimated cost of Trump’s expansion plan?  $2.2 billion.  Yes, billion.  And why?

Well, let us look at a couple of the tough cases the CBP has tackled in the past month:

  • Children’s author Mem Fox of Australia was detained at Los Angeles International Airport on 06 February. Ms. Fox was entering the U.S. in order to give a talk about the importance of tolerance and acceptance. Oh, the irony.  Arguably Australia’s most famous children’s author, Fox has written such books as “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes,” which celebrates the humanity common to all children. No matter where someone is born, no matter what a child looks like, the book reminds us, we all have “ten little fingers/ and ten little toes.” Ms. Fox was standing in the immigration line, reading a book, when a CBP worker loudly called her name and pulled her out of the line, saying “What do you want me to do, stand here while you finish it?” She was then detained for approximately two hours while being ‘interrogated’ about such things as the purpose of her visit, who was sponsoring her hotel, and her personal finances.
  • NASA engineer Sidd Bikkannavar was not returning from one of the countries subject to the ban, but rather was returning from a vacation in Turkey. He’s a US-born citizen who was on his way home to Los Angeles, where he works for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers asked him to hand over his work-issued phone and provide the access PIN, he felt torn between his obligation to his employer and orders from another government agency. According to Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), citizens must surrender laptops and phones if a border agent asks for them, but not passwords or social media information.

Just two examples of how CBP is protecting us from those all-evil terrorists … a children’s book author and a NASA engineer. And let us not forget that evil BBC reporter they protected us from!  In addition to the news that Trump plans to needlessly waste our hard-earned money to protect us against the likes of these in his plan to keep us all safe, comes the news that he plans to increase military spending at the expense of such programs as environmental  and foreign aid programs.  How much more does Trump plan in military spending?  Some $54 billion.  That’s right, folks, $54 BILLION diverted from programs to help save our planet and other programs that help real people, to an increase in spending on little boy’s toys like tanks, and a nuclear arsenal that we have NO need for.  This, my friends, is how Trump plans to keep us safe.

military-spendingThe U.S. already has THE HIGHEST military budget of ALL NATIONS ON THE GLOBE, at $596 billion, as compared to the 2nd highest, China, who spends $215 billion.  The U.S. spends more than twice as much on military as any other nation in the world!  And guess who pays THAT bill, friends???  Now, da trumpeter wants to increase it by $54 billion … 9% … to “protect our safety”?  We have not had a major terrorist attack from outside groups in over 16 years, there is no other nation poised to attack us, but we must immediately stop protecting the air we breathe in order to buy more tanks, hire more border patrol agents, build a useless wall, and build more nuclear weapons in order to PROTECT OUR SAFETY???????????????

If this is the cost, I do not wish to be any safer, Mr. Trump. Buy your toys with your own money … or perhaps I should say Robert Mercer’s money.