We The People Have Had ENOUGH!

Dear Donald Trump … our lives ARE NOT your personal playthings to do with as you wish for your own greedy, egotistical, narcissistic purposes!  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.  Filosofa is growling and grumbling tonight for a number of reasons …


#1

Several days ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said …

“I’m increasingly worried that President Trump will want to shut down the government again because of impeachment. He always likes to create diversions. I hope and pray he won’t want to cause another government shutdown because it might be a diversion away from impeachment.”

When asked on Sunday if he would shut down the government in light of the ongoing impeachment investigations, he said …

“It depends on — it depends on what the negotiation — I wouldn’t commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiation is.”

This is NOT how government works … at least not unless your country is a tinpot dictatorship!  But then, Donald Trump is neither educated nor enlightened on how government works, and has no concern for the standards and practices, nor for the people of this nation, let alone the U.S. Constitution.

Trump’s last government shutdown, which was also a political ploy to attempt to force Congress to fund his damnable wall, was the longest in the history of the nation.  It cost people their homes, their cars … their livelihood.  Is he going to do it again?  Does he foolishly believe that the House of Representatives will shirk their duty and drop the impeachment investigations in exchange for his signature on the short-term spending bill before November 21st?  If he believes that, he better think again.  If he shuts our government down again for his own personal gain, somebody really ought to put strychnine in his Big Mac!


#2

For those republicans and Trump supporters who may be unaware … California is one of the 50 states in the United States, and the most populous state.  The population of California is 39.56 million, or approximately 11.9% of the nation’s total.  And California is burning!  California is experiencing horrible wildfires that are threatening land, structures, crops, and lives.  Nearly 100,000 acres have burned in recent weeks, and thousands of people have been forced from their homes.  And how, you might ask, is the head of the federal government helping?California-fire-1In his usual way, by placing the blame on others, by saying he could have done it better, and by threatening to cut off federal aid to the state — all done via tweet, of course.

First, he blamed California Governor Gavin Newsom who has been a critic of Trump for some time.

“The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must “clean” his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers …”

California-fire-2This from a ‘man’ who has no idea what he is even talking about, a ‘man’ who last year said that Finland ‘rakes’ their forests, a faux pas that the president of Finland quickly put paid to, showing Trump for the fool that he is!

Newsom fired back …

“You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”

Thumbs up to Governor Newsom!  👍👍California-fire-3The reality is that increased temperatures due to global warming are causing the huge wildfires in California, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Drier, warmer conditions lead to vegetation drying out and becoming more flammable.  And what has Trump done?  He has rolled back nearly every single environmental regulation that would have helped reduce carbon emissions that are exacerbating the effects of climate change.  He is more nearly responsible for those wild fires than any other individual on the planet, in my book!  And yet …

“Every year, as the fire’s [sic] rage & California burns, it is the same thing – and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor.”

Jackass.


#3

And speaking of climate change …

Yesterday, Trump kept to his threat, taking the first step in the process to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, making the U.S. the only nation to ever have done so, making us the only nation that appears not to give a damn about the environment, or the future of life on Earth.  In a tweet, Mike Pompeo bragged about the move, saying …

“Today we begin the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The U.S. is proud of our record as a world leader in reducing all emissions, fostering resilience, growing our economy, and ensuring energy for our citizens. Ours is a realistic and pragmatic model.”

I beg to differ.  First of all, we are NOT proud of anything this nation has done regarding the environment since Trump took office.  We have, under the lunacy of Donald Trump, done not one damn thing to cut emissions, protect the land or wildlife habitats, the water or air, but instead have removed nearly every regulation that was in place prior to January 20, 2017!  I had hoped he would be gone from office long before this day rolled around.  There is still some hope, since the country will not be officially out of the agreement until November 4, 2020 … the day after Trump is (fingers crossed) voted out of office.

In response to Pompeo’s tweet, Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a leading expert on the United Nations’ international climate negotiations process, warned …

“President Trump’s decision to walk away from the Paris agreement is irresponsible and shortsighted. All too many people are already experiencing the costly and harmful impacts of climate change in the form of rising seas, more intense hurricanes and wildfires, and record-breaking temperatures.”

If the U.S. does, in fact, officially pull out, we will be THE ONLY nation on the entire globe that is not in the agreement and is not even trying to save the environment.  Think about that one for a minute.  Or two minutes.


I have more, but … well, that’s enough for the moment … I don’t want to make you all growl and grumble too.  There is one bit of a bright spot.  Remember last week I wrote about Washington Nationals’ pitcher Sean Doolittle who, after much thought, decided he would decline the offer to visit the White House for a celebration of the team’s win?  His reasoning was that Trump had gone against many of Mr. Doolittle’s own values with his racist ways.  Well, when I wrote that, it was rumoured that several other players were also considering declining the offer, and I am pleased to report that six other players in addition to Mr. Doolittle did not attend the White House ceremony yesterday.  They are Anthony Rendon, Joe Ross, Javy Guerra, Wilmer Difo, Victor Robles, and Michael Taylor.  I applaud them for having the courage to follow their conscience.

Snarky Snippets ‘N Mini Rants

Filosofa may have mostly come out of her funky mood, but now she’s just flat-out mad.  Why?  Most everything, that’s why!  We still have the Oaf in the Oval spouting inanities, the unconscionable members of Congress who are too dedicated to their own self-interest to be concerned about ours, California is being devastated by horrible fires while our government fights for the right to further destroy this planet we call home.  And that’s just for starters …


Profit over the environment — Again!

Donald Trump and his band of merry republicans have been robbing from the poor and giving to the rich for long enough now.  Remember the Keystone Pipeline?  In a nutshell, it has been one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in the history of this nation, largely over environmental concerns.  The main issues are the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and 17% higher greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of oil sands compared to extraction of conventional oil. In 2015, President Obama, caring about the environment, vetoed the bill allowing construction to proceed pending further environmental studies, and it has been a battleground ever since.  Last fall, a federal judge in Montana halted the project, after finding that Trump’s administration had not done the proper environmental reviews.

But, not to be outdone by a mere court order, last March Trump signed one of his infamous ‘executive orders’ allowing the project to move forward, despite protests by environmental groups.  Well, guess what, folks … on Tuesday that pipeline sprung a leak.  It happened in North Dakota where some 383,000 gallons of crude oil is now covering a half-acre of wetlands, killing whatever wildlife called it their home.  Way to go, Trump … another epic failure in your [lack of] environmental policy.

In the words of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders …

“This is what happens when we have a president who ignores scientists and puts short-term fossil fuel profits ahead of the environment and the future of the planet.”


Your tax dollars … buying religion whether you want it or not

paula-whiteHer name is Paula White and she is a televangelist located in Florida.  Well, she was located in Florida … now she is located in Washington, D.C., working at the White House, her salary paid by our tax dollars!  I am not religious, certainly not a believer in that which Ms. White calls ‘faith’, so why should I have to pay her salary?  Has nobody in this bloody administration read the U.S. Constitution???  You know, that document that effectively calls for a separation between ‘church’ and ‘state’?

According to a “White House official”, White will work in the Office of Public Liaison, which is the division of the White House overseeing outreach to groups and coalitions organizing key parts of Trump’s base. Her role will be to advise the administration’s “Faith and Opportunity Initiative”, which Trump established last year by executive order and which aims to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs devoted to issues like defending religious liberty.  Again … where is the separation between church and state???  Religion is not supposed to affect public policy!  Government programs are supposed to represent and assist ALL people, not only those of a specified religion!  What about Hindus, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, and atheists???  And what about those groups who are determinedly discriminated against by the religion Trump & White are pandering to, such as members of the LGBTQ community?

Political analysts see this move as Trump trying to ensure he keeps his evangelical base happy in the months leading up to the 2020 election.  He has taken repeated steps to ensure they turn out for him again — by issuing executive orders, making cabinet appointments, and nominating federal judges that pass muster with the religious right. On a range of issues from abortion rights to tax exemptions for churches, Trump has tried to grant Christian conservatives their policy wishes whenever legally and politically feasible.

But what about the rest of us?  Evangelicals do not constitute a majority in this nation, and the rest of us pay taxes too!  I want my money back, for I am getting literally not one damn thing in return for it.  Ms. White isn’t too bright, either, for here’s what she says of Trump …

“He’s in total control. He’s not at all impulsive — he’s so far ahead of everyone, very much a strategic thinker.”

What a crock of you-know-what!


Reverse Robin Hood … again!

Remember December 2017 and the tax cuts that benefited the wealthy and corporations?  As a result, companies like Exxon-Mobil, Amazon and others pay less taxes than you do.  As a result, our national debt is now a staggering $22.9 trillion, and the national deficit was, as of September 30th, just shy of $1 trillion.  Way to go, Trump …

Well, it doesn’t end there.  For you see, the tax cuts were structured in such a way as to help only the wealthiest in the land, but he sold the public such a snowjob that his base genuinely believed that he was doing it to help them.  And they still largely believe it, even though they have hard proof in front of them that they did not, in fact, benefit.  So, since that worked so well, and since Trump is heading into next year’s election with several strikes against him, he has decided to re-play December 2017 with yet another round of tax cuts for the wealthy sometime ahead of the election.

Now, here’s the thing … even if the tax cuts were to help the lower-and-middle income groups, it is a bad … really, really bad idea.  We owe money … trillions and trillions of dollars … more money than you and I could even imagine.  And, we are spending more than we are taking in.  WHO in their right mind thinks the best idea is to cut our revenue???  Au contraire, we need to be raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, not cutting them for anybody.  If you or I managed our budgets and debt as poorly as Trump is managing this country’s, we would be in debtor’s prison!  It is poor stewardship, it is … it is stupid!  But then, look who we’re talking about.


And then there’s …stage-hook

… wait … I’m not dooooonnnnne

THE TREES!!! GONE!!! 😢

Yeah, I know … my 2nd rant of the day.  I promise to make this one short.

Today, I heard loud engine sounds from within my house, so I went to the front window to see what was happening.  The street was blocked by two large pickup trucks, one with a bin-on-wheels attached, the other with some sort of large piece of equipment on a pull-along attached.  The piece of equipment was running loudly, and as I watched, three men got out and started removing chain saws, rakes and leaf blowers from the trucks.

Now, last year some of you may remember, the landscapers pulled up all my sunflowers and I caught them just as they were pulling the last one.  This year, my sunflowers have succumbed to autumn, but still, the birds come ‘round every day to score some seeds, and I have a profusion of cosmos and morning glories still in bloom.  I was not about to turn my back and let these dudes chop down my flowers … I went out the front door (in plaid jammie bottoms and a holey t-shirt) arms akimbo, ready to do battle if they so much as even looked at my little tiny garden.

However, they were out for bigger game than my little flowers … they began by, I thought, trimming the tree at the south end of the street.  They trimmed branch after branch … until it was bare, and then … they chopped it down!  WHY???  Then they crossed the street and proceeded to do the same with the Asian Pear, one of two on the street that bloom so beautifully every spring.  Then the next, and the next.  They chopped down the tree next door … I have no idea what kind of tree it was, but it attracted a profusion of bees every year.  By the time they left, there were only two trees left on our entire street.

I asked the older of the three men … “Why are you doing this?  Why are you chopping down our trees?”  He looked at me as if either I had two heads, or perhaps I was frothing at the mouth.  Realizing that I was powerless here, my parting shot as I stomped off (being barefoot makes it hard to do a convincing stomp, but I gave it my best), was “You, sir, are a murderer and I hope your conscience keeps you awake tonight!”  I should have asked him if he was related to Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro.

As much as we need trees, and these eejits are cutting them down for no reason!  Trees provide beauty, they provide substance and shelter for bees, birds, squirrels and more.  And then, there’s that little matter of trees providing much-needed oxygen!!!  I am furious … and I am heart-broken.  And I just felt a need to rant a bit about it.  Thanks for listening, my friends!

WTF???

My jaw dropped and for a moment I was unable to breathe this morning when the first headline of the day read …

Trump compares impeachment probe to ‘lynching’

This is a new low, even for the ‘man’ who has re-defined such words as ‘crass’, ‘vulgar’, ‘immoral’, and more.  This is … beyond anything that can be defined by words.  And this, folks, is the so-called “president” of the United States.  Here’s what he said … er, tweeted  …

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”

Even despots who rule third-world countries with an iron hand and where corruption is rampant have more sense than to make such an utterly stupid and offensive remark!  These are the words of a person who is cruel and ignorant, not the words of a person who is ultimately responsible for the lives of 330 million people.

Never mind that the impeachment process is only at the inquiry stage, that Nancy Pelosi and the committees investigating are, wisely, doing everything by the book, and that Trump will get his “due process” and “legal rights” when the Senate holds his trial, as is set forth by the U.S. Constitution.  The bigger issue, besides his whining and lying, is his use of the word ‘lynching’ to describe the investigations.  Nobody has placed a noose around his neck, and in fact, he is more than welcome to simply pack his bags and GO!

It was bad enough when he referred to the impeachment investigations as a “witch hunt”, his favourite word for the Mueller investigation.  It was even worse when he referred to it as a “coup”, which would indicate that he was being illegally unseated by a violent group of people physically forcing him to leave.  But lynching.  That one … takes the cake.  It is a slap in the face to every single person in this nation, whether they realize it or not.  No, Mister Trump, nobody has tied a rope around your neck. Nobody has set out to kill you because of your skin colour.  You are being investigated because it appears quite likely that you have broken the law, failed to uphold the Constitution you took an oath to defend, and abused the power of your office.

Joe Walsh, former GOP congressman who is now running against Trump in the republican primary said it best …

“Again, I apologize. I apologize for voting for Trump in 2016. I apologize for the role I played in helping to put this horrible human being in the White House.”

Ol’ Lindsey Graham, however, decided it was not only okay for Trump to have said what he said, but Lindsey reinforced it …

“So yeah, this is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American. I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody’s accused of major misconduct who cannot confront the accuser, call witnesses on their behalf and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge.”

Just what the Sam Hell is “un-American” about it, Mr. Graham?  Read your damn Constitution … it’s right there in black and white!  As to “confronting the accuser” and “calling witnesses”, as a lawyer you must surely realize that comes later in the process.  Where did you get your license to practice law … from a box of Cracker Jacks? And, for you to defend the jackal in the Oval Office … I hope the people of South Carolina finally decide they’ve had enough of you!  I have certainly had enough of you and your bosom buddy McConnell!  It should be noted that Graham was an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of Bill Clinton two decades ago … methinks Graham has been in the Senate far too long!

Lynchings are a part of the darkest, ugliest time in U.S. history.  4,743 people were lynched between 1882 and 1968 in the United States, including 3,446 African Americans and 1,297 whites. More than 73 percent of lynchings in the post-Civil War period occurred in the Southern states, including 164 in Lindsey Graham’s own state.  To use the term to describe a fully legal and Constitutionally mandated process is far beneath the office of president.

It is past time to put an end to this fiasco.  There are serious issues in our nation that need to be addressed, yet not one damn thing is being done because the government has been dragged down by a monster … yes, a monster … in the Oval Office who is ignorant, who is self-serving, and who has no intention of serving this nation or doing the right thing for its people.  It is past time to rid ourselves of this disease.  Any republican who is still defending the indefensible deserves to be sent back home under a cloak of shame, for they have sold their souls upriver.

Extra Edition!

I typically only publish two posts (plus the music post) each day, but today I had to do another short one, for this one made me see red.

Lindsey-Graham-2Lindsey Graham is now asking every republican in the Senate to sign a ‘loyalty oath’ to Donald Trump, stating that they will stand behind the president in the face of the impeachment ‘threat’.  Now, the thing that is most galling about this is the fact that … every single member of Congress has already sworn an oath … to uphold the Constitution.  They have in effect sworn an oath to act in the best interests of We the People.  They do not owe loyalty to the president, but to their constituents.  For them so sign an oath of loyalty to the very person who is trampling the Constitution and who is destroying the nation, taking no interest at all in We the People, would be violating their very oath of office.

This is the text of the Oath of Office taken by every single senator:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

It should be noted that Article II, section 4 of the United States Constitution reads …

“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The Impeachment Clause was included in the Constitution in order to create another check against abuses by government officials and to give Congress the ability to remove from power an unfit officer who might otherwise be doing damage to the public good.

The Founding Fathers did not specify what constitutes “other high crimes and misdemeanors”, for at the time (1787), they had little or no context and felt it better left to future generations to decide.  At any rate, it is in the Constitution, so impeachment of this president, who has arguably done more harm than good in the nearly three years he’s been in office, cannot be called ‘unconstitutional’.

Lindsey Graham is wrong in calling for an “oath of loyalty” to this president or any other.  Members of Congress are intended to provide oversight to the president, not to swear fealty!!!  Lindsey and all his republican buddies would do well to remember by whose good graces they serve, and who can remove them in their next election!  If the senators sign such an oath, it is my opinion that they will be violating their oath of office by failing to uphold the Constitution.

STOP The World … I Wanna Get Off!

(Note to Readers:  I had already finished this post when I realized what day it is … gasp … Wednesday … good people day!  I am too exhausted tonight to spend 4 hours or so working up another post, so ‘good people’ will be pushed back one day and will appear right here on Thursday morning.  My apologies.)


Just when you think it can’t get any crazier, any more chaotic … it does.  You know it’s gotten bad when you read that the human species will become extinct soon and you breathe a sigh of relief and hope it’s tomorrow.

I no longer know if I’m being snarky or just outright ranting, so I didn’t call this post Snarky Snippets, but it is some cross, some combination of snarky & rant.  Hmmm … maybe I should come up with a new category … Snark & Rant.


The shape of things to come …

From the Moorhead, Minnesota police department …

Schumacher

Joseph Schumacher

On Monday, October 7, 2019, at approximately 12:08 pm, officers were dispatched to the area of 24 Ave and 8 St S. for a disturbance call. The female caller stated she was driving southbound in the 1000 block of 8 St S when the suspect pulled up next to her and rolled his window down. The male began yelling at the female expressing his dislike for the political bumper sticker the female had displayed on her car. He then pointed to his bumper sticker and further expressed his difference in national political views. The male eventually continued past the victim’s vehicle, and once in front of her, he held up a handgun inside his vehicle.

Officers were able to locate the suspect in a nearby business. After seeing a box for a handgun in plain view inside the suspect’s vehicle, officers found a loaded handgun in the center console during a further search. A passenger in the suspect vehicle also confirmed the actions of the suspect driver.

Joseph Schumacher, age 27, of West Fargo, was booked in the Clay County Jail on two counts of Felony Terroristic Threats and Misdemeanor charges for having a loaded handgun inside a vehicle without a permit.

He is a Trump supporter, she was sporting an Elizabeth Warren bumper sticker.  I fear that given the increased venom and vitriol in Trump and his supporters’ rhetoric these days, we are going to see a lot more of these incidents until that inevitable day when …


Death of the innocent

My friend Carolyn lives in a very rural area just outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in the Smoky Mountains.  Like me, she is a lover of nature and a lover of all critters, large and small.  Two days ago she posted this on Facebook …

“It’s days like this (very rare) that make me hate Appalachia. Some #$%& drove by and shot a young tame doe and her baby in my front yard and left them lying there together dead. The little doe had raised the fawn close to my house. I saw them every morning and evening.

If anyone knows who did this, tell me and I will report it so they will get in serious trouble. Thanks for any help.”

Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?  😢


Two thumbs up for da judge

On Monday, Judge Victor Marrero of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled against Trump, dismissing a lawsuit that had been filed by Trump seeking to block a subpoena for eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns.  A win for the good guys, but the best part was how the judge stated his decision.  The judge said Mr. Trump’s lawyers were, in essence, arguing that the president, along with his family, associates and companies, were above the law.

“This court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values …”

Hooray … finally somebody understands that Trump cannot, must not be allowed to be above the law.  Of course, Trump’s attorneys, knowing full well what the verdict would be, already had their appeals ready, so for now … no tax returns.  I reiterate what I have said time and time again:  if there is nothing to hide, then what’s the big deal?  Obviously, there is something very serious being hidden, for them to go to so much trouble.


Where are the courageous?

Gordon Sondland, the United States’ ambassador to the European Union, had been expected to testify yesterday morning as part of the expanding impeachment probe by three House committees related to Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.  Notice I said, “had been expected”.  Trump forbade Sondland to testify, and Sondland, apparently unable to find his cojones, caved.  He did not have to … he could have defied Trump & Co, gone right on up to the Capitol and given some honest answers.  Instead, he cowed in the face of Trump’s bombast.

Wouldn’t it be nice if he, or any republican in Congress, stood up to Trump and said, “There comes a point in every person’s life where they have to make a choice between doing what’s right or wrong, and that time has come for me.  I will do what I believe is right, even though there may be consequences.  I will put my country before my own self-interest.”?

I have to ask … is there one single republican in Congress with the guts, the courage to do what’s right and put this nation ahead of their slavish devotion to Trump, damn the consequences?  I think we have the biggest bunch of wusses and wimps on the right-hand side of the aisle on Capitol Hill that I have ever seen.  Gordon Sondland should be at home sucking his thumb and cuddling his dolly if this is the best he can do … we need some people with integrity and strength in our government, not a bunch of cowards.

In light of Sondland’s cowardice, Democrats have subpoenaed Sondland for his testimony and documents that they say are being withheld by the State Department. The subpoena demands those documents be turned over by October 14th, and that Sondland sit for a deposition on October 16th before three congressional panels.

Then later yesterday, White House lawyers called the impeachment investigation “illegitimate” and “constitutionally invalid” and said they will block any and all cooperation with the ongoing inquiries and investigations.

THEY CAN’T DO THIS!!!

Except … they can if nobody will stop them.  Who will stop them?  Will the republicans in Congress finally wake to the fact that Trump is rapidly escalating his position to that of a dictator?  Will they finally hold Sondland and others accountable by giving them a nice cozy jail cell where they can have plenty of time to think about their actions?  Will they finally provide the oversight that is mandated by the Constitution of the United States?  Will the Courts keep up the pressure, and as Judge Marrero did, say “No, the president is NOT above the law”?  Will the trumpeters out there in La-La-Land finally wake up and see what they have wrought?

If none of the above happen, people … if Trump is allowed to virtually render the impeachment investigations dead in the water, then we have lost any semblance of a free nation, we will have become a dictatorship.


Every day seems to get crazier and crazier.  I miss having a government I can trust, miss going to bed at night feeling that at least my corner of the world is in capable hands.  I want this crazy world to stop, just let me off, let me find a quiet corner, find some peace, sleep without night terrors.

Guilty As Charged!!!

The ultimate betrayal …

Donald Trump is now, in my book, if not officially, guilty of genocide.  He was already guilty of treason, having conspired with a foreign nation not one, but twice, in order to influence a U.S. election and to benefit himself, thereby putting our nation in grave danger.  And now he is guilty of the likely murders of potentially thousands of Kurds … Kurds who have long been our allies!  There are estimated to be between 1.4 million and 2.7 million Kurdish people — human beings — in Syria whose lives, thanks to Donald F. Trump, are now in jeopardy, as Turkey begins to implement its plan for a ground invasion of northern Syria.

What happened?  Trump had a phone call with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey.  We all know these days about Trump’s phone calls to foreign leaders, right?  Whether or not he asked Erdoğan to help dig up dirt on his political opponents is not known, but what is known is what he promised Erdoğan.  Very soon after the Monday morning phone call, the United States began withdrawing American troops from Syria’s border with Turkey.  Erdoğan has made no secret of the fact that he wishes to kill the Kurds, and the only thing standing in his way were U.S. troops in northern Syria.  Trump promised to step aside and let Erdoğan have at it.  The Kurds are … were … our allies, people!!!  Great friends we have proven to be, yes?  What next, Donnie?  You gonna bomb the UK?  Perhaps you’d like to send troops to overthrow the government of Germany?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Not only did he betray an ally in the most horrific of ways, but he proved to the world, as if they didn’t already know, just how utterly stupid he is.  Take, for example, this tweet …

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

First … what sort of bloomin’ eejit claims to have “great and unmatched wisdom”???  I really, really had to hold onto my hands to keep from throwing something when I read that.  And second, he has never obliterated the “Economy of Turkey”, unless he’s talking of the kind that make their way to the dining table on Thanksgiving!

One journalist, Richard Engel of NBC News, commented …

“’I, in my great and unmatched wisdom …?’  Who talks or writes like this?  The closest I can come up with was Qaddafi. Not Mubarak. Or Ben Ali. Or Assad, let alone any European leader.  Really can’t remember a current or recent example.”

Qaddafi.  Trump.  Two peas in a pod?

Surprisingly, even his republican cronies were aghast at his decision to stab our allies in the back.  EVEN MITCH MCCONNELL split with Trump on this issue, saying …

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

Republican Senator Patrick Toomey from Pennsylvania rang in with …

“This betrayal of the Kurds will also severely harm our credibility as an ally the world over. President Trump should rethink this decision immediately.”

The bottom line is that Trump has made a disastrous decision on an issue of which he has zero understanding.  He does not have great and unmatched wisdom – he has the wisdom of a five-year-old.  He does not understand the Middle East at all.  And worst of all, he is once again pandering to an autocrat, just as he has in the past to Putin, Kim, Bolsonaro and others.  His actions yesterday will have dire consequences, at the very least for our allies, the Kurds, and quite possibly for the entire globe.

And speaking of betrayal …

Now, transitioning to another story here, Lindsey Graham, that ignoble Senator from South Carolina, also spoke against Trump’s foolhardiness in pulling our troops out of Syria at this moment, saying …

“By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible — America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways. No matter what President Trump is saying about his decision. It is EXACTLY what President Obama did in Iraq with even more disastrous consequences for our national security.”

Strong words for a republican senator, eh?  Taking the right side for once in his life, yes?  But wait … Senator Graham had something else to say on another topic …

Lindsey-Graham-2“Here’s what’s going to happen: if the whistleblowers’ allegations are turned into an impeachment article it’s imperative that the whistleblower be interviewed in public, under oath, and cross-examined. If that doesn’t happen in the House, I’ll make sure it happens in the Senate.”

This … this essentially amounts to signing a death warrant for the whistleblowers and would ensure that nobody … nobody … would ever again come forward with the sort of information that our government officials may be attempting to bury to suit their own purposes.

There are laws that protect those people who come forward with information that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within a private or public organization.  Is Lindsey Graham planning to break those laws?  Does he see himself, as Trump sees himself, as being above the law?  And, is this a threat that he hopes will keep the House from following through with the impeachment proceedings?  Impeachment proceedings that, I might add, are long overdue.

It seems to me that there are a heck of a lot of people within the Republican Party who wish to break down the very foundations of our government, and they don’t care how they do it.  Now, admittedly there are some less-than-stellar people in the Democratic Party as well, but … today, the republicans win the honour of being the biggest jackasses in the nation.


Note to readers:  Stay tuned for the next installment of ‘The Brexit Conundrum’ where we will hear Colette’s views at 3:00 p.m. EDT, 8:00 p.m. BST.

Corporate Profits Over Life?

There is yet more evidence that corporate profits matter more than life in the U.S.  Last November one of the issues on the California ballot was Proposition 12.  In a nutshell, Proposition 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act …

“…  outlaws the most extreme forms of animal confinement throughout the Golden State. Once it’s implemented, egg-laying hens, baby calves raised for veal, and mother pigs will no longer be confined in cages. Additionally, all eggs, veal, and pork sold in the state will meet this standard.”

Some 60% of voters approved the measure, and it was signed into law.  The Humane Society of the United States backed the measure, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposed it, saying it did not go far enough.

However, the meat industry claims that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause by requiring out-of-state producers to comply with California’s rules or face a sales ban. The North American Meat Institute, whose members include processors such as Tyson Foods, Cargill, Smithfield Foods, and retailers including Wal-Mart, Chipotle, Target, and Whole Foods, said enforcing Proposition 12 would hurt producers and consumers by significantly increasing their costs.  And so, on Friday they filed a lawsuit (isn’t that the answer to everything these days?) in Los Angeles federal court seeking an injunction against the sales ban targeting out-of-state veal and pork.

The law, if enforced, would …

  • Prevent egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves from being housed inhumanely in small cages for their entire lives.
  • Reduce the risk of people being sickened by food poisoning and factory farm pollution by preventing overcrowding of animals in small spaces.

It would also likely cost producers more to comply, and thus raise the consumer prices for eggs, pork and veal, for we all know that companies like Tyson and Wal-Mart aren’t going to eat a single penny of that increased cost but will pass it on to consumers.

My take?  Thanks for asking … if these producers cannot treat the animals humanely, then they can go out of business for all it matters.  People should eat less pork and veal anyway, and fewer eggs as well.  We would all be healthier.  I’m sick and tired of the big corporations putting their profit ahead of lives, whether human, animal, plant, or the planet.  And speaking of the planet …

CaliforniaCalifornia seems to consistently be ahead of the pack on trying to improve such things as the environment, human and animal welfare, etc.  California has the strictest emissions standards in the nation for autos and trucks, and recently the state worked with auto makers to maintain those standards, but last month Trump & Co revoked the state’s authority to set state-level standards.  Why?  Because Trump & Co are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry.  Higher emission standards like California’s mean the oil companies will sell less fuel and … GASP … may lose some of their multi-billion dollar profits!  ¡Ay, pobrecitos!

But then … wait for it … the Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water!  That’s what they were trying to do, for Pete’s sake!!!

Legal experts say this amounts to weaponizing environmental laws intended not only to undermine California’s liberal government but to send a message to other states that might defy Trump.

The Clean Air Act specifically offered states the ability to set their own environmental standards if Washington grants them a waiver.  This move infringes on states’ rights, is a threat to the very principle of states’ rights.

Andrew-Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler, who now heads the EPA, worked in the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, representing coal magnate Robert E. Murray and lobbying against the Obama Administration’s environmental regulations.  Conflict of interest???  It seems to me that under Wheeler, just as under Pruitt before him, the Environmental Protection Agency is doing the exact opposite of protecting the environment!

Are we to sit quietly while big corporations and Trump’s gang of thugs abuse animals and destroy the air we breathe, the water we drink, and everything else under the sun only for the sake of lining their own pockets?  Think about it.

Filosofa Rants …

Tonight I am on a rant.  I do know that what Trump actually does is more important than what he says, but … sometimes the two go hand-in-hand.  Now that a formal impeachment inquiry has been started, we fully expect him to go off the rails for the duration, and I’ve said before that he is even more dangerous when he feels threatened or cornered, as he surely must feel now.


Round and round it goes, where it stops no one knows

Ever since the news of the whistleblower was first hinted at, life for those of us who care about such things, has been rather like being in a high-speed blender … far too many goings-on to keep up with, far too many jaw-dropping moments.  And it just keeps getting crazier and crazier … I well remember the Watergate era, the resignation of President Richard Nixon … yes, I was a political nerd even then … I remember what would become known as the “Saturday Night Massacre”.  I remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the aftermath.  And through it all, I do not remember the level of chaos, of utter contempt for the rule of law, as we are seeing today.  And this is only the beginning!

The latest is that apparently Trump is trading a promise to the National Rifle Association (NRA) that he will not support any additional gun legislation in exchange for monetary assistance with his legal fees during the impeachment process and next year’s election.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a minute.

On Friday, Trump hosted Chief Executive of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, at the White House for a meeting.  The information was provided to the New York Times by two people who attended the meeting, but later an NRA spokesperson denied that there was an offer of support in exchange for Trump’s opposition to gun laws.  Sorry, but given the history of both Trump and LaPierre … I have no trouble whatsoever believing that they agreed to such a deal.  And what the heck else would they have talked about … the price of coffee beans?

The NRA, in case you’ve forgotten, provided some $30 million toward Trump’s election campaign in 2016 … if you wondered why he falls in line whenever the NRA calls and asks “How high?” when Wayne LaPierre tells him to “JUMP!”, wonder no more.

So, to summarize that … the lives of the people in this nation are as nothing to Trump, and he is willing to trade away our lives in exchange for financial help from the most dishonest group in the U.S.  Got that, folks?


In other Trumpian-news …

Donald Trump is about to face impeachment charges, in all likelihood.  He tried to blackmail the president of the Ukraine to rig next year’s election.  He has obstructed justice.  He is holding kids in cages at the southern border, despite an order by a federal judge to reunite those children with their parents.  He has diverted funds that were budgeted to help with recovery efforts for Puerto Rico still suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, in order to build a wall that nobody wants and that will serve no purpose other than to feed Trump’s ego.  But … what was the breaking news yesterday afternoon?

State Dept. intensifies email probe of Hillary Clinton’s former aides

That’s right, folks.  The United States Department of State is more worried about Hillary Clinton’s emails from several years ago … emails that were already investigated and it was determined that there was no crime, no breach of national security … than they are worried about the person in the Oval Office who is committing a crime-a-day, it would seem!  And on our tax dollars, folks … our hard-earned money is paying for the State Department to waste their time investigating a non-issue, while the most corrupt individual in this nation is playing footsies with the Russians and the Saudis, rigging next year’s election, and doing his best to shred the U.S. Constitution.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch … Ivanka Trump did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct U.S. business outside government channels, according to Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.  Is there some double-standard in play here?

Oh … and in case you didn’t hear a couple of weeks ago, Trump is urging the House Judiciary Committee to launch an investigation into President Obama!

Barack Obama signed a book deal in 2017, just as other former presidents have, and a production deal with Netflix a year later.  All on the up-and-up.  But Trump, under the gun himself, has to deflect … to anybody he can think of …

“We want to find out what happened with the last Democrat president. Let’s look into Obama, the way they’ve looked at me … They could look into the book deal that President Obama made. Look at the Obama Book Deal, or the ridiculous Netflix deal.”

Ridiculous?  Smoke and mirrors?  Sure, but … folks, this isn’t just some kid throwing a temper tantrum … it’s the person who was elected to lead a nation of some 330 million people, and this is what we get for our money?  I don’t know about you folks, but I feel cheated … terribly cheated.  We deserve better … much better.dump-trump

The End … DOES NOT … Justify The Means

Trump-MachiavelliIt doesn’t matter that he never actually said it, but the quote has so long been attributed to Niccolò Machiavelli that he might as well have said it.

The end justifies the means.

Step all over truth, honour, and justice to achieve your goals, for it is only reaching the goal that counts, not how you got there.  Trump and his minions obviously believe that, for he is willing to burn the U.S. Constitution, trash the values of the office of president, and trample the people of this nation to achieve his goal:  the establishment of an absolute, lifetime autocracy.  He has proven that he will lie, cheat, steal, and then lie some more in order to achieve his goal.

The law does not apply to the president, so we are told by Attorney General William Barr.  Oh … but only this president, for the law definitely applied to the last president … and the one before him … and the one before … well, you get the picture.  The others tried to do the right thing, tried to abide by the law, but along comes Trump under whom we have seen unprecedented corruption, and all of a sudden, the law does not apply to him.

Lawless-govt-quoteHe can attempt to blackmail another world leader in order to rig next year’s election in his favour, an act that for any other president would constitute treason, and the Department of Justice and the Republican Party see no problem.

In a speech given to the United States Mission to the United Nations yesterday, he called the whistleblower who uncovered his attempted blackmail, a spy and intimates that he (or she) should be punished as spies used to be punished … by execution.

“I want to know who’s the person that gave the whistle-blower the information, because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right? We used to handle them a little differently than we do now.”

guillotineMy knee-jerk reaction to that one is to ask French President Macron if they have an old guillotine lying around somewhere that we could borrow to punish our treasonous president in the way they used to.

And, of course, his woes are always the fault of the press.

“These animals in the press. They’re animals actually. Some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet. Fake news, fake news. They’re scum, many of them are scum. You have some good reporters but not many, I’ll be honest with you. And that’s one of the things we battle. You’ll find out, but they’ll probably like you better than they like me, but I had to get us here right? But they’re total — just terrible dishonest people.”

Never … never in my life have I heard a president, or any politician in the U.S. for that matter, speak in such a manner.  He has virtually painted a target on every member of the press, and why?  Because if his base believe that the media is ‘scum’, ‘animals’, and ‘dishonest’, then they will not believe anything that is said about Trump in the press.  And folks … it’s working.  I saw a clip on BBC last night where they interviewed a number of people in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  A few of the comments …

  • I don’t believe it, that he did anything … uh … wrong
  • He’s a businessman … he knows what the heck he’s doing. He’ll figure something out … he’s got something up his sleeve (said with a grin)
  • You mean the president? He has permission to do a number of different things that … you know … you or I wouldn’t be able to get away with, but then again, heading into the election next year, there shouldn’t be that much dirt being dug up and everything.

Welcome, my friends, to the United States of Ignorance – a nation where the head of government and many of his trusted lieutenants believe that ‘the end justifies the means’, and almost half the people just don’t care.  If the goal is to win an election, then they will lie, cheat, steal, blackmail, and perhaps even murder to win that election.  If the goal is to build a damn wall, they will rob funds intended to help people recover from a hurricane, or intended to help educate the children of military personnel overseas, in order to build a wall.  If the goal is to turn a diverse, secular nation into an all-white nation of religious zealots, then perhaps it’s okay to deport, imprison, and yes, even murder those who don’t fit the image. If the goal is to exchange a democratic republic for a dictatorship, then they will bring down an entire nation of 330 million people to do so, and never look back, never have any regrets, never say, “I’m sorry”.

As for me, I do not believe that the end justifies the means.  That was the belief in 1945 when the U.S. bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, many children, on a mass scale was supposed to justify ending a war.  Was it justified?  I don’t think so, but some do.  The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was named “Little Boy”, and the larger one dropped on Nagasaki three days later was named “Fat Boy”.  Donald Trump is Little Boy and Fat Boy all rolled into one, only his destruction is to his own nation, the country he took an oath to protect.  Think about it … think long and hard between now and November 2020.

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