Shame On You, Donald Trump …

Once again, I find myself wanting to apologize for our ignorant, crude, ignominious, arrogant, brash, narcissistic so-called ‘president’ after he made a fool of not only himself, but of us all, when he was mistakenly allowed to travel to the EU over the weekend.  To all my friends & family across the pond … please forgive us for sending him, for we knew not what we were doing.

The occasion, for any who may not know, was to honour those who died in World War I on the 100th anniversary of the end of that war.  It was a solemn occasion, a time to set aside differences and come together to remember …

Trump started his trail of terror before even leaving Air Force One, when he tweeted an attempted insult toward Emmanuel Macron, President (in good standing) of France.  But it got worse.  His alleged purpose for traveling to Paris on Friday was to attend ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  The reality, as is always the case with Trump, was something else altogether, but that was his stated purpose.  But guess what?  It rained.Trump-rain-WWIIt rained.  Trump was afraid of a little bit of water.  I’ve often said I don’t think he bathes regularly, and this proves it!  All the other leaders who had gathered in Paris for the occasion attended …Prince Harry rainAngela Merkel braved the elements, as did Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prince Harry, Spain’s King Felipe VI … even Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin found time to attend, despite the rain.  Trump later claimed that the only reason he didn’t attend was that his motorcade would have disrupted roads.  SO WALK, YOU F***ING MORON!!!

General John Kelly and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff General Joe Dunford attended instead – apparently they didn’t need a ‘motorcade’. France WWI Centennial

Representative Don Beyer of Virginia hit the nail on the head:

“Millions died to protect the free world during WWI, and Trump can’t be bothered to honor their memories. Instead, he’s chosen to sit in a hotel and live-tweet Fox News. Just imagine if President Obama sat out a Veterans Day ceremony because of the rain …”

Just imagine, indeed.  But then, President Obama was … well, you know … African-American, and thus his every move was placed under a strong microscope and picked apart like the Christmas turkey.  Trump, on the other hand, is ugly white with layers of fat, acne, and a bad toupee, so he can do no wrong!  (Yeah, I’m pissed – what tipped you off?)

“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary — and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow.” – David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush

Even Winston Churchill’s grandson, British Conservative MP Nicholas Soames, joined in the rebuke, saying, “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen,” and adding that Trump is “not fit to represent his great country.”

“President@realDonaldTrump a no-show because of raindrops? Those veterans the president didn’t bother to honor fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow — & many died in trenches for the cause of freedom. Rain didn’t stop them & it shouldn’t have stopped an American president.” – John Kerry, Vietnam War veteran and former Secretary of State

Macron-MerkelHowever, the best rebuke came from none other than French President Emmanuel Macron in this one sentence that is bound to become iconic …

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying ‘our interests first, who cares about the others’, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values.”

Ooooohhhh … good one, Mr. Macron!!!  And then he went on …

“I do defend my country. I do believe that we have a strong identity. But I’m a strong believer in cooperation between the different peoples, and I’m a strong believer of the fact that this cooperation is good for everybody, where the nationalists are sometimes much more based on a unilateral approach and the law of the strongest, which is not my case.”

But at the end of the day, Trump did manage to find time for one world leader … his ol’ buddy …trump-putinPerhaps this, then, was his sole reason for spending millions of taxpayer dollars to travel abroad for the weekend?  Or perhaps it was to seek a relief from the heat of last week’s mid-term elections?  Either way, he once again wasted huge amounts of our money in order to do nothing more than embarrass us.  Shame on you, Donald Trump … Shame on you.

No, Folks, This Is NOT Normal …

Yesterday morning we awoke to news of another mass shooting, this one at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, that left 13 dead, including the gunman.  The first headline I saw claimed it was the “First mass shooting in the U.S. in over 10 days”, as if that were a statistic in which we ought to take pride.  First, a mass shooting every eleven days would be nothing to be proud of even if true, but the reality is that it was not the first, but rather the eleventh mass shooting since the shooting at L’Simcha (Tree of Life) synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 27th.  Eleventh.  Think about this one for a moment.  Did you realize there had been, on average, one mass shooting per day for the past ten?  Why did we not know?  How could we have missed it?mass shootings map-2According to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 307 mass shootings in the 312 days of 2018.  It has become a common occurrence in our lives and we are, apparently, no longer shocked.  Five people shot, nobody died … oh well, just another day in paradise, eh?

The words of one parent whose son, Telemachus Orfanos, lost his life yesterday morning tell it all …

“I don’t want prayers.  I don’t want thoughts.  I want gun control.”

Telemachus had survived the Las Vegas massacre last year, only to lose his life in this one.

Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona who was shot in 2011, tweeted …

“307. There have been 307 mass shootings so far this year. Do we really want to raise our children in a country where mass shootings like Thousand Oaks are a weekly occurrence? A country where every single day in America, more than 90 people are killed with guns?  Classrooms. Places of worship. Newsrooms. Movie theaters. Restaurants. Yoga studios. Nightclubs. Playgrounds. No place in America feels safe anymore. No other high-income nation has this level of gun violence. I’m heartbroken, angry, and never going to accept this as normal.”

None of us should ever be willing to accept this as normal … it isn’t.  I’ve quoted statistics in past posts, so I won’t bore you with them again, except to say that every other nation in the industrialized world has stricter gun laws than the U.S., and not a single one has the number of gun deaths … not even close … that the U.S. sees every single year.  Every.  Single.  Year.

Tree of Life synagogue, Parkland, Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook … how many more?  How many more people in this country have to die before somebody wakes up and says ENOUGH!!!  Small men who rely on guns to make them feel like big men need to find some other outlet for their anger!  We The People are tired of the killing.  The NRA owns most every republican in Congress, as well as the small man sitting in the Oval Office.

Please … don’t sit back and shrug this one off, don’t accept that gun violence in the United States has to be ‘the norm’.  It doesn’t have to be.  Write letters, make your voice heard, or one of these days it might be you who gets that call in the middle of the night.gun-pointing

And That About Sums It Up

Well, well, well … after all the hoopla, all the ranting and raving by Trump and Co., the accusations against both the press and the democrats, it turns out that Trump hadn’t a clue what he was talking about, and neither did Fox News or any of the other fools who jumped in with off-the-wall conspiracy theories.  What a surprise, eh?  Turns out the bomb-maker-sender was a nutcase; a die-hard supporter of Trump who apparently thought the best way to show his love for ol’ Donnie-boy was to try to take out his ‘enemies’.

Of course, Donnie & friends immediately issued public apologies to those of us they accused of being the perpetrators, right?  HAH … what fantasy world am I living in?  As a matter of fact, those who have been referring to the bombs as a ‘false flag operation’ and blaming democrats all week long, are still blaming democrats.  FBI Director Christopher Wray clearly stated that the bombs were not ‘hoax devices’, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the accused, 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, appears to be a Trump-supporting partisan with Trump stickers and anti-democrat imagery plastered over most every square inch of his van.  And still … the trumpeters play their ugly, disgusting tune.

First, Trump’s reaction to the news that it was one of his own who attempted murder:

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”

Hey, jerkface – the news is supposed to report the news! The attempted murder of 14 people, including a former president and a former Secretary of State is far more relevant than your damn campaign rallies.  14 lives being put in danger is NEWS.  “This bomb stuff”???  What do you mean by that?  People’s lives, bucko … people’s lives! Go back to your bowl of Cheerios and leave the news to the adults, please.

“I did not see my face on the van. I heard he was a person that preferred me over others, but I did not see that.”

What. A. Jerk.

Now let’s see what some of those conservative pundits have to say …

“Two weeks out, a bunch of bombs start showing up in places that the media can then say that they are being received by ‘Trump targets?’ I’m sorry. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck ever, and certainly not yesterday, and the world of October Surprises coupled with all the other realities I just exposed, and I think it only makes sense to be suspicious and demanding of proof for whatever we’re gonna be told.” – Rush Limbaugh

“So many things about this Cesar guy do not add up. If he is #MAGA, why would he send these fake ‘bombs’ to Democrat Congressional Leaders 2 weeks before the midterms and disrupt our winning momentum? It makes no sense. That means there is something else here. This guy Cesar is looking like a “sleeper” implanted by the Democrats just for such an occasion as this.  I mean, c’mon, that van is ridiculous.” – Bill Mitchell, conservative radio host

“Michael, your description yesterday of the guy they’d pin (maga hat, confed flag,etc) sounds right on the money💰 Only thing you didn’t envision was a van slathered in pro-Trump images. Once again you were correct!  MAN AND VAN LOOK LIKE CREATED BY HOLLYWOOD.” – Michael Savage, conservative radio host, apparently speaking to himself

“From the Haymarket riot to the Unabomber, bombs are a liberal tactic.” – Ann Coulter, bitch extraordinaire.

And then this morning, a man walks into a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and starts shooting, saying, “All Jews must die!”.  Donald Trump has drawn the deplorables out from under their rocks just as effectively as salt draws the liquid out of an onion.  Eleven are left dead after the synagogue shooting, six others injured, including four police officers.  And the head joker residing in the White House says …

“If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.”

Oh yes, Donnie-boy … the way to solve a gun problem is add more guns to the problem.  Let’s just arm every man, woman, child and service dog in the United States and see just how quickly we can wipe our nation off the map?

Okay, so in the past 6 days we have had 14 bombs mailed to people who had spoken against Trump and his policies, and 11 people have been murdered by an anti-Semite, Robert Bowers, who apparently felt empowered to take lives of people he didn’t agree with.  Sure, these people existed before Trump and they were haters and bigots before Trump.  But they didn’t crawl out from under their rocks until Trump came along and gave them his blessing to act upon their bigotry.  When the so-called president calls Mexicans, rapists, when he lies about terrorism time and time again, when he claims that all Muslims are terrorists, and yet proclaims white supremacists and Nazis to be ‘fine people’, it is a license to kill just as surely as if it were written on parchment. ADLIt will happen again, probably next week.  There will be another school shooting before the end of the year.  People will die at the hands of bigoted fools.  The republican party calls itself the ‘pro-life’ party, but you have to wonder, don’t you?  Just exactly whose life are they pro?

I read the following by John Pavlovitz this morning …

“The only reason left to support this President, is that he reflects your hateful heart; he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your toxic misogyny, your blind bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.”

And that, folks, about sums it up.

Whole Damn World Gone Crazy!

secret-service-press-release.pngLet me just give you a few samples from this evening’s headlines:

Limbaugh on bomb threats to Democrats: ‘Republicans just don’t do this kind of thing’The Hill

Reports that suspicious package was sent to White House are incorrect: sourceReuters

Trump supporters cook up wild conspiracy theory about George Soros bombing himself as distraction from caravanRawStory

Fox News expert claims mail bombs could be sent by liberals ‘trying to get the Democratic vote out’RawStory

The View’s Meghan McCain compares bombs targeting Dems to Republicans getting ‘heckled at restaurants’MSNBC

Trump decries ‘political violence’ after years of stoking it Politico

Trump: ‘Do you see how nice I am behaving tonight?’Politico

Let’s take a look at Limbaugh.  Apparently, he was studying under Alex Jones, the master of conspiracy theory, for several years and now that Alex has been essentially neutered, Limbaugh has taken over.

“Republicans just don’t do this kind of thing. Even though every event, like mass shootings, remember, every mass shooting there is, the Democrats in the media try to make everybody think right off the bat that some tea partier did it, or some talk radio fan did it, or some Fox News viewer did it. Turns out, it’s never, ever the case.”

Hmmmm … anybody remember Pizzagate?  Charlottesville? He went on to say that, since none of the bombs actually went off, it was the work of a ‘democratic operative’ trying to give the appearance that there are ‘mobs everywhere’.  It should be noted that there is not a shred of evidence to support any of his statements.  Alex could have done it better.

Then there was the suspicious package allegedly sent to the White House … a package that never was, but that was briefly reported by CNN with no immediate retraction.  Well, in fairness, CNN was dealing with their own problems at the time.

george-sorosAnd what about poor ol’ George Soros?  This guy gets the blame by conservatives for every single thing that happens for which they have no other explanation.  Soros, for those who may not know, is a keenly intelligent investor, business magnate, and most of all, one of the top philanthropists in the world.  He has an acute understanding of how the stock market works, how governments operate and why, and just about anything else you might ask of him.  But he’s always the heavy.  I suspect that long after he is dead, certain elements will continue to blame him for the world’s ills.

Some Trump supporters are claiming that the bombs sent to prominent enemies of Trump are part of an elaborate plot, orchestrated by Soros to shift the 2018 midterm elections.  One Trump fan even went so far as to accuse Soros of trying to bomb himself to distract America from the migrant caravan that he believes Soros is funding. Ay ay ay ay ay!!!  Chinga**! (Horty Rex will understand)

Donald Trump once suggested that “Second Amendment people” could take matters into their own hands if Hillary Clinton won the election.  In 2016, he encouraged the roughing-up of protesters at his campaign rallies. Last year, Trump tweeted a video of himself tackling a man with a CNN logo superimposed across his face, adding the hashtag #FraudNewsCNN. And just last week, he actually praised republican congressman Greg Gianforte who was convicted of assault for body-slamming a reporter with The Guardian who simply asked him a question.

And now … last night, after a day of chaos amid the lies, speculation and conspiracy theories from only the republican side of the aisle … he has the unmitigated gall to say …

“Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. By the way, do you see how nice I’m behaving today? Have you ever seen this?”

Was that supposed to be a joke?  Was it meant to be funny?  If so, it fell flat. Where, I ask you folks, is the captain of this ship?  Where is the president who should be leading the nation to peace, who should be trying to heal the rift between right and left instead of stoking it?  I will tell you where he is NOT … he is NOT at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  For the past nearly two years, we have been a rudderless ship, adrift with little or no direction.  Today, however, we are no longer adrift, but are in the middle of a tempestuous storm that is threatening to take this ship down.

Let’s get the pertinent facts clear here:

  • George Soros did not fund the migrant caravan, and he did not send a pipe bomb to either himself or anybody else.
  • The democrats did not send pipe bombs to Secretary Clinton, President Obama, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Maxine Waters, Eric Holder, CNN or Andrew Cuomo. I do not know who sent those bombs, but to assume a conspiracy among democrats in hopes of somehow increasing their odds in the November mid-terms is beyond ludicrous.   It makes as much sense as saying that Trump himself did it, that this is his version of an ‘October Surprise’.
  • The migrant caravan is comprised of people — you remember them, right? Ordinary people fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking asylum in a country where they hope to be able to work hard, to take care of their families in relative peace.

I end this rant with a suggestion — a plea, actually.  I’m tired.  You’re tired.  We’re all tired, no matter what party affiliation, skin colour, religion or gender.  Too much pure bullshit erodes our psyche.  When you come to the end of this post, do me and yourself a favour … go hug someone.  I don’t care who you hug … your neighbor, a stranger passing by, your spouse, kid or significant other, the family dog … just go hug them tight and say, “I love you”.  Please?

Jamal Khashoggi — The Better Man

Jamal-KhashoggiJamal Khashoggi was a resident of the United States and a journalist for The Washington Post.  I am sure you all know at least some of the story of Mr. Khashoggi and his recent disappearance and likely murder, and some may have wondered why Filosofa had not yet written about Mr. Khashoggi.  I have not, to date, even touched upon this story, for there were too many unknowns and too many conflicting bits of information.  I try to ensure that what I write is fact-based, and frankly I could not discern what was fact in this story, for the story changed almost hourly it seemed.  Tonight, I am breaking my silence, for I think I know at least enough to make a start.  I am appalled and horrified at some of the responses from members of our government, including Donald Trump, and I will not remain silent.

Jamal Khashoggi was a citizen of Saudi Arabia and a journalist and author who had for years written for both Arabic and English-language newspapers.  He was among the first to cover the war in Afghanistan and had also covered the first Gulf war.  During the 1980s he had contact with Usama bin Ladin (aka Osama bin Laden) as he covered the battle of Jaji.

Always a defender of human dignity, freedom and reform in Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi came under fire in 2016 for remarks he made about his own government, as well as Donald Trump after his election.  The government of Saudi Arabia shut him down … he was no longer allowed to write or even tweet, and he knew the time had come for him to leave.  In early 2017, he self-exiled to the U.S. where he was provided temporary asylum, and later permanent resident status.

On September 28th, Khashoggi visited the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain the necessary paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, but he was told he would need to return four days later on the afternoon of October 2nd.  Long story short, he did return while his fiancée waited outside for him, but he never left the embassy.  He must have sensed something was off, for he told Ms. Cengiz to get help if he did not return.  After a few hours, she called the police and the search began.

A few pertinent facts of the matter:

  • Turkish staff at the consulate had been told to stay home that day
  • Two charter planes carrying nine Saudi officials and intelligence officers had arrived in Istanbul from Riyadh and the passengers had gone to the embassy
  • At around 4:00 p.m., six vehicles left the consulate carrying the nine Saudis. Two other vehicles with unidentified passengers drove to the Saudi consul’s residence and remained there for the next four hours
  • On the night of October 15th, Turkish officials searched the Saudi consulate and reported that it had recently received a coat of fresh paint throughout the interior

Those are the only absolute, verifiable facts in the case to the best of my knowledge.  The Saudi government has changed their story enough times to arouse suspicion. A Turkish official claims to have an audio tape of Mr. Khashoggi’s brutal murder, dismemberment and beheading, and the Turkish government claims that senior figures in the Saudi royal court had ordered his killing.  As yet, this is not verifiable, and I offer it at face value.  U.S. Intelligence agencies are reportedly convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is culpable in the killing, although they have not yet been able to collect direct evidence.  The Turkish government has reiterated what they say happened and with great detail, but they have declined to share such evidence as they have with the U.S., and so I cannot speak to the veracity of their claims.

Mohammed bin Salman.jpg

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

What I will address, however, is the U.S. official response to the disappearance and likely murder of Jamal Khashoggi which is, in a word, shameful.  Abominable.  Sickening.  Disgusting.

Donald Trump, first of all, came out in support of Prince bin Salman and said he would not cut off arms sales to the Saudi government because Saudi Arabia would spend their money elsewhere, and for Trump, it’s more about money than human lives.  He also at that time stated that while it should be looked into, Mr. Khashoggi was not an American citizen and since the disappearance had taken place in Turkey, it was not a great concern, although, “We don’t like it”.  We don’t like it, but oh well, not my monkeys, not my circus is basically what he is saying.

Justice for JamalThis, as much as anything, exemplifies why the U.S. pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council in June.  The U.S. is, itself, in violation of human rights by the detention of children we separated illegally from their parents on our southern border, and Trump has no desire to be constrained by rules that dictate human rights or his response to violations.

Next week is the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, an event Trump swore he would not pull out of, even as other nations, horrified by the Khashoggi disappearance and the likely scenario, had dropped out of the conference.  Finally, yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that we, too, would withdraw from the conference, only because of the bipartisan backlash over his intent to attend.

And let’s not leave out the evangelicals.  None other than Pat Robertson said …

“You’ve got a $100-billion worth of arm sales which is, you know, that’s one of those things, but more than that we’ve got to have some Arab allies. I know it’s bad, but I mean we’ve had all kinds of stuff, but you don’t blow up an international alliance over one person. I mean, I’m sorry.”

I side with Stephen Colbert on this one when he responded, “Thank you, Reverend, for capturing the core message of Christianity. How important can one man’s death be?”

And now for the real kicker.  A ‘whisper campaign’, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, is an unethical attempt to spread lies and venom about a person to discredit them.  Another term is ‘smear campaign’.  Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that …

“Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a dark whisper campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist’s alleged murder by Saudi Arabian operatives — and support Trump’s continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.”

The right-wing media, starting with none other than Trump’s state-run media Fox News, has indeed launched a smear campaign to attempt to convince the public that Jamal Khashoggi was a ‘bad guy’.  And why?  To cover Donald Trump’s fat, white arse.  If you cannot convince Trump to act as a human being, then make the rest of the world look like they are donkeys too!  Angry?  Moi?  You betcha!

Conservative House republicans, read members of the House Freedom Caucus, have assisted in the effort, attempting to begin conspiracy theories about the time that Khashoggi covered bin Laden some 14 years before 11 September 2001.  It has even spilled over onto the campaign trail.  In Virginia, republican Corey Stewart who is running against Tim Kaine for his seat in the Senate, claimed with no facts or knowledge that, “Khashoggi was not a good guy himself.”

A Tuesday broadcast of CR-TV, a conservative online outlet founded by popular talk-radio host Mark Levin, labeled Khashoggi a “longtime friend” of terrorists and claimed without evidence that Trump was the victim of an “insane” media conspiracy to tarnish him. The broadcast has been viewed more than 12,000 times. A story in far-right FrontPage magazine casts Khashoggi as a “cynical and manipulative apologist for Islamic terrorism”.

None of these stories are true.  Remember, Khashoggi was a journalist.  Journalists often have contact in the course of their reporting with unsavory people.  It doesn’t mean they are affiliated or share their beliefs … it simply means they are doing their job.

I am sickened by this entire thing, starting with the murder of a good man, Donald Trump’s inhumane response, and ending with the attempts by Donald Trump’s boot-lickers to cover his utter inhumanity.  Thankfully, I am still able to believe that the vast majority of people in this nation are better than this, but unfortunately those in our government are naught but low-lifes.

 

Deep Dark Thoughts From A Bouncing Mind

It is Thursday, 11 October 2018 … oops … that reminds me … I’ve got to get daughter Chris’ birthday gifts ordered … just over two weeks now!  Anyway … as usual, my head is filled with bits of this and pieces of that, and the ol’ mind bounce has returned in full force, making it nigh on impossible to focus on longer pieces, so once again I share with you the latest causes of my angst …


Trump has been taking credit for a “great economy” that was largely in place before he came on the scene, and to which he and his policies have contributed very little.  However, one of his ignoble policies in particular is set to take that ‘great economy’ down more than a few pegs, as I have said for months now:  tariffs.

From an article in Fortune yesterday:

Ford is having a bad year in 2018. Its stock is down 29%, and the tariffs imposed by President Trump have reportedly cost the company $1 billion, as the company is in the midst of a reorganization. Now, the company is announcing layoffs.

While the company hasn’t said how many jobs will be lost, a report from Morgan Stanley estimates “a global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent,” or 24,000 of Ford’s 202,000 workers worldwide.

The beginning … keep your eye on the ball of that ‘great economy’.


I read this headline to my daughter and her jaw hit the ground …

GOP House nominee: We can stop rape by ‘educating females’

In Virginia’s 5th congressional district, there was a debate between the two candidates, republican Denver Riggleman and democrat Leslie Cockburn, during which the candidates were asked about their proposals to address sexual assault in the military.  Riggleman replied …

“As far as what’s going on on campus … I think a lot of it comes to educating females, specifically in the fraternities and sororities that they’re a part of.”

There is so much wrong with that single sentence that I am left too speechless to even remark on it.


Steve King … no, not the author Stephen King … Steve King, the member of the House of Representatives from Iowa’s 4th congressional district.  Steve King is, like so many other members of the GOP (Grumpy Old Perverts, as Gronda has dubbed them), a rude, undisciplined, bigoted man who would be better suited to driving a truck than serving in Congress.

Steve King has earned an ‘A+’ rating from the NRA, and yet has a zero rating from the Humane Society, for he is against animal rights. He is also against immigration and multiculturalism … in other words, he is a gun-totin’ white supremacist who the people of Iowa have been voting for since 2002. Eight times, the people have gone to the polls and voted for a racist.  He has called for a ban on same-sex marriage, and predictably mocks and denies climate science, calling it a cult religion.  I have only one question for the people of the 4th district of Iowa:  What the Sam Hell is wrong with you???

But here is the really disturbing part … he doesn’t even bother to filter his bigoted comments.  He has called for an electrical fence along the southern border, saying he understands it works well for cattle.  He has blatantly stated that none of the “sub-cultures” had made contributions to civilization as the Caucasians have (where did this guy study history???).  King is no stranger to this blog, for in March 2017, he earned the coveted Idiot of the Week award  .  Donald Trump held a rally in Iowa a few days ago whereby he praised King.  That in itself should tell you something.  Iowans … please, for the sake of our nation, take your heads out of your patooties and vote this bigot out of Congress next month.  See … I even said ‘please’.


And speaking of Trump’s Iowa rally … that is where he made the following inane comment:

“The only reason to vote Democrat is if you are tired of winning.”

Winning?  WINNING???  Winning WHAT???  Thus far, since Trump took office I have won exactly nothing … nada … zip … zilch!  Oh wait … unless you count the permanent scowl etched into my face, the ulcers that wake me in the night, the shaking hands, the grey hair, the sleepless nights, the loss of friends, and depression.  That, folks, is what I’ve ‘won’.  What about you … have you any winnings to show for Bozo being in the White House?


I don’t like people who mock others.  I don’t like people who are rude and treat others shabbily.  Thus far, just off the top of my head, I recall Trump mocking a disabled reporter (Serge Kovaleski), , the parents of a soldier killed in action (Khizr and Ghazala Khan), a female reporter (Cecilia Vega), Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and most recently Senator Diane Feinstein.  After mocking Feinstein, he roused the crowd at whatever event he was attending to begin chanting “Lock her up!”, only this time Feinstein was the victim.

Now … I realize that I tend to be confrontational most of the time, but this time I am not.  This time I would like a serious answer to a serious question (I seem to find that extremely hard to get these days!!!).  Republicans … do you like this behaviour?  Does it not sicken you?  I remember when I first started school, I had leg braces and Coke-bottle-thick glasses, and I do remember the mockery.  I was called ‘four-eyes’ so many times that finally one day, I fought back.  I had a boy twice my size pinned on the ground and I was pummeling him.  I remember those days of being mocked and made fun of.  It is rude, it is vulgar, it is nasty, and it is immature.  Sure, I expect it of five-year-olds … but I do not expect it of a ‘man’ age 72 who is, whether legitimately or not, the president of a nation of 300+ million people.  Republicans … I ask again … are you proud?  How can you condone this?  How do you justify or tolerate it?  If you do … if you can … then I would seriously like to know how.


And that’s a wrap for this morning, folks.  Have a great Thursday.

Nightmare in America

A quick glance at tonight’s headlines prove that our world has gone nuts!

  • Trump takes credit for ending nonexistent violent crime wave

  • Taylor Swift endorses Democrat, enrages Nazis; “Aryan goddess” no more

  • Melania Trump doesn’t really care what U think about her offensive African safari outfit

  • Trump trolls women again, this time over Kavanaugh vote

  • Coal Is Killing the Planet. Trump Loves It

  • Trump Gives Dictators the Green Light

  • Trump uses swearing-in ceremony to apologize to Kavanaugh

Think back two or three years, if you can, to a saner time.  Would any of these stories have seemed ‘normal’ back then?  The ‘president’ of the United States making up a crime wave so he can take credit for fixing a problem that never happened, and then trolling women and applauding the death of the planet and apologizing to a man who deserves no apology?  Can you imagine Michelle Obama offending an entire race of people and thumbing her nose at her critics?  Can you imagine Michelle Obama wearing a coat that said “I don’t really care, do U?” to visit immigrant children who had been taken from their parents for no reason, and were being kept in cages?  The world is going nuts and the Nazis are offended because some young singer endorses a democrat????  Seriously???

No, don’t bother pinching yourself … I have tried that, and every morning when I wake up, I’ve hoped to find this was all a bad, bad nightmare, but the results are always the same, and after nearly two years, I’ve concluded that unless my name is Rip Van Winkle, this is the new ‘real world’.  It is not, as Aldous Huxley envisioned, a Brave New World, but simply a crazy new world, and one that is applauded by some who were apparently bored with sanity, for Trump’s approval ratings have been on the rise for a week and are as high as they have been since the first month he was in office.

What’s to love, you ask?  Well, apparently some growing portion of this nation has decided that they want a ‘leader’ who …

  • Screams and rages instead of engaging in normal speech
  • Treats women as second-class citizens and sex objects without apology
  • Commends white supremacist hate groups
  • Lies, and covers those lies with more lies
  • Ignores real crises and addresses imaginary ones
  • Verbally assaults allies while pandering to enemies
  • Cheats hardworking people, as well as the U.S. government he is the head of
  • Is a bigot and a bully

And I could go on, but you get the picture.  It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago we had a President and First Lady who were dignified, intelligent, kind and cared about the people of this nation, isn’t it?  But some people must have found that too boring, too mundane … or perhaps just too black.  And so, each morning we wake and find ourselves somewhere between the Land of Oz and Dystopia.

The many faces of Donald Trump:

I have read a number of articles today that say Trump’s rants against Dr. Christine Ford, his unsubstantiated conspiracy claims against democrats, and his rants against women in general last week are actually helping the republican candidates running in the mid-terms.  Say WHAT???  Donald Trump … the so-called president of the United States, a nation of some 320 million people … stands on a stage and mocks a woman who is the victim of sexual assault … proudly parades an an alcoholic sexual predator and leads him to the Supreme Court … rants and rages against any and all women simply for being women … and this is HELPING the GOP candidates?  People … somebody has got their heads screwed on backward!  Somebody … lots of somebodies, apparently, have traded their bloomin’ brains for a box of flippin’ Cracker Jacks!

When Trump first took office, and for a while beyond that, I believed that he would be removed from office before he could do lasting damage.  I foresaw impeachment in the cards (remind me to get a new deck of cards!) and thought his ‘executive orders’ could easily enough be reversed by the next president, probably before the end of 2017.  Whew!  I was wrong, wrong, and wrong.  Here we are nearly at the end of 2018 and he has dug in deep.  What I hadn’t foreseen was that the members of Congress who were supposed to be overseeing him, would instead say “Yessir, Mr. Trump, sir … how far you want me to bend over … how high you want me to jump, sir, Mr. Trump, sir.”  Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Chuck Grassley … every morning they get on their knees and lick Donald Trump’s filthy dirty boots, and this nation will never be the same, for they have handed him the keys to the kingdom and he has shat all over it.

Meanwhile, we wake every morning with trepidation, wondering what new horrors await us, and we find our ways to cope with life in the Era of Trump.  Some drink too much, some take drugs, some beat their wives or children, some cry a lot, while some of us internalize and simply hope each night when we go to bed that we won’t awaken in the morning, for we know by now that the nightmare is here to stay.  This is the legacy of Donald Trump, folks.

 

The GOP Ain’t Atticus Finch!!!

In the past weeks, and especially the past few days, I have seen some of the most asinine comments come from the mouths of men and women who are supposed to be well-educated, reasonable human beings. Men and women who are paid a sizable chunk of money by us to represent us.  That would be … us … all of us … as in, We The People.  It isn’t bad enough that they are not doing their job, that they are playing games with our lives, gambling away the future of this nation, but on top of that, we have to listen to them spout ugly and stupid rhetoric!

Tonight I focus on one such fool, John Cornyn III, a United States Senator from the State of Texas.  A brief bio …

John_Cornyn_(cropped)Cornyn is a graduate from Trinity University and St. Mary’s University School of Law, receiving his LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Cornyn was a Judge on Texas’ 37th District Court from 1985 to 1991, until he was elected an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court, where he served 1991 to 1997. In 1998, Cornyn was elected Attorney General of Texas, serving one term until winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2002. He was re-elected to a second term in 2008 and to a third term in 2014.

Cornyn was the subject of a number of controversies during his single term as Attorney General of Texas, involving deals with the Koch brothers, injecting religion into schools, and others that I wish I had the time and space to delve into, but for tonight I shall stay the course.  What has set me off now is his inane comment about the republican senators who shoved Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation through, despite at least five valid reasons not to do so.  He had the unmitigated gall to compare these jerks to the fictional character Atticus Finch, from Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.

atticus-finch-qoeAtticus Finch, you may remember, played by Gregory Peck, was a lawyer in a small fictional southern town of Maycomb, Alabama.  Finch was representing a black man, Tom Robinson,  falsely accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell.  The character of Atticus Finch represents morality and reason.  He is soft-spoken, believes in fighting for justice and equality, and is a moral hero in every sense of the word.

John Cronyn and his bunch are definitely not Atticus Finch.

“Some commentators have called this our Atticus Finch moment. We all remember that Atticus Finch was a lawyer who did not believe that a mere accusation was synonymous with guilt. He represented an unpopular person who many people presumed was guilty of a heinous crime because of his race and his race alone. We could learn from Atticus Finch now.”

The comparison is 180° off base, for while Atticus Finch was defending a Black man from a white woman who had accused him of a rape he didn’t commit, in the Jim Crow South, the GOP are trying to ensure a privileged white judge gets an even more privileged position on the Supreme Court.

And while Cornyn’s is the most bombastic comment, others in the GOP, now that they have gotten their way and feel they have nothing to lose, have dropped the masks of decency and are showing their true colours.Mitch McConnell said that the allegations made against Kavanaugh were “uncorroborated mud” and that blocking his nomination would be a “fundamentally un-American precedent.”  Never mind, I suppose, that McConnell was the force behind blocking the nomination of Merrick Garland, a highly qualified candidate, under President Obama, for more than a year!

Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, has accused Democrats of spurring an “unethical sham”, and is insisting that democrat Amy Klobuchar apologize for the “smear campaign”.  Such nice language these so-called professional men use, eh?

It’s funny, isn’t it, that the republicans got their way, by hook or by crook … mostly crook, for the FBI investigation was not an investigation, but a farce, and many credible allegations were simply ignored … and yet they still feel a need to push conspiracy theories, lie, and denigrate innocent people.  At first I was confounded by this behaviour, but then I recalled that they are only talking to their own base, the minority, if you will, of the population of this nation.  Remember that, folks, when you are tempted to lose heart, when you feel like the guys in the black hats are winning the game.  They are only winning amongst about one-third of the country, for the rest of us are not buying their snake oil pitch.  The thing we must do is take away their rosy glow next month at the polls.  It’s our last, best hope … our only hope for a semblance of sanity, of decency to return to at least one branch of government.mlk quote

United We Stand???

If the old adage, “United we stand, Divided we fall” is true, the United States of America is in for a hard fall and one that will change the nation, perhaps for the better, perhaps not.  Not since the Civil War has this nation been so ideologically divided and has hate and mistrust filled every venue.

Senator Jeff Flake said last week that the general fiasco that the Kavanaugh confirmation process has turned into is dividing the nation.  While it is certainly widening the Great Divide, I would argue that the gap was already, before Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, wider than the Grand Canyon.  There is no longer a middle ground, civil discourse has left for greener pastures and tensions have never in my lifetime been higher.

Today, there is “they” and “we” … you are either one or the other.  You may remember me mentioning my dear friend Brian, the only sensible republican I know.  Even he and I have given up on carrying on civil political conversations, for we value each other’s friendship and see how easily it could be shredded.  He rarely reads my posts any more, and I skim over his Facebook posts, unless they are humour.  Last night, however, my angst being at an all-time high, I did respond to this on Brian’s page …Brian's postAnd my response was, under the circumstances, I thought reasonable:

“We don’t make fun of Trump’s sobriety, though I might question it in light of his behaviour. We don’t make fun of Pence’s fidelity, but we are appalled by Pence’s harsh anti-LGBT rhetoric and bigotry. And we don’t mock Kavanaugh’s ‘virginity’, but for the fact there is credible evidence that he was not a virgin at all, but rather a party-boy. “We” don’t wish the next several decades of life-or-death decisions in this nation to be made by a man who cannot even control his temper in a professional setting and who has lied to the U.S. Senate. But then, ‘we’ don’t want a dishonest, misogynistic, temperamental ‘man’ in the White House, either, but for the time being we are stuck with it. Sorry, Brian, but sometimes I just have to speak out — no disrespect toward you at all.”

Brian was fine with it, one of his friends not so much, but that is neither here nor there.  The thing, I think, that offended me most was the “they” thing.  It’s like some highly contentious sports tournament where it’s They vs Us, Liberal vs Conservative, Democrat vs Republican, Blue Jerseys vs Red Jerseys with ugly maga hats.  My grandmother had a tattoo with a number on it.  Should we go that route and make everybody get a tattoo either in blue or red, so we can see at a glance what “tribe” a person belongs to?

Brian’s friend, who I will not name, shot back wanting to know if I support Hillary and then drew some imaginary line whereby he concluded that I must be racist!  In the words of my late friend, Brenda:  HELLO HANNAH!!!  (That was her form of an expletive) Or as our friend Roger has taught me to say:  FORNACAZONI!!!

one worldWhat are we doing to each other, people?  Ten years ago, I couldn’t have told you if any one of my friends was a democrat or a republican … it just didn’t matter.  Ten years ago, we didn’t talk about ‘tribalism’; we had family, we had friends, some closer than others, we had co-workers, but we didn’t ask people to qualify their eligibility for friendship by political party affiliation, or even religion or skin colour.  At least, most of us didn’t.  “They” was a term reserved for an enemy, perhaps the Russians, perhaps the Chinese, but we were all “We”.

I am so angry with “Us”, and by “Us”, I mean all of us, democrat, republican, male, female, every religion, every ideology.  Instead of listening, all we are doing is yelling, insulting and bullying.  Instead of trying to get our views across so that they can be debated, so that we can learn from each other, we are yelling and pointing fingers and blaming everybody, even dead people!  We all have some good ideas, and most of us also have a few really rotten ones, but unless we listen, we will never know.

This nation will not survive the Era of Trump if we don’t unify, if we cannot even talk to each other.  And yes, I definitely include myself in my anger, I accept my share of blame, for I am no better and by this afternoon will once again be ranting against “them”.  But how do we do better when we cannot even talk to each other?

How do we put the greater good ahead of our individual desires?  This nation has already crossed the line from a democratic-republic to an oligarchical-plutocracy.  We now have a government run by the very few ultra-wealthy.  Decisions made at the highest levels that will affect each and every one of us, are made by wealthy people whose only goal is to get wealthier.  Elections are subject to Russian interference, for Putin sees it as being in his interest to keep Trump’s boot-lickers in Congress and to keep the nation divided. Elections are also subject to nefarious games such as gerrymandering, voter intimidation and voter suppression to attempt to keep certain groups, such as the poor and minorities away from the polls, or at least dilute their vote.

So, how is our voice to be heard?  We write and call our elected officials, but at best we receive a standard form letter in response.  Today, we have more avenues of communication … instantaneous communication … than ever before, yet we cannot make ourselves heard by the people who ought to be listening.  And so, we fight amongst ourselves.  And such may well be the goal of those in power.  I began this post with a quote:  United we stand, Divided we fall.  I use another quote to leave you with another thought:  Divide and Conquer.divide-conquer

The Kavanaugh Circus

The Kavanaugh confirmation process has dominated the headlines for a couple of weeks now, and that is precisely why it has not dominated this blog.  I prefer to look behind the scenes, to find the news that is hidden by the smoke and mirrors of whatever is front-and-center.  But today I am compelled to address a couple of things pertaining to this three-ring-circus, for it has turned into a nightmare for most of us.  Kavanaugh must not be confirmed.  He has shown that he has neither the temperament nor the integrity to sit on the bench of any court, let alone the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court.  But this post is not about Kavanaugh, his dishonesty, or his childish temper tantrums.  This is about two of the three rings of this circus …


The Measure of a Man

Senator Jeff Flake earned high marks for calling for an FBI investigation into the subject of Kavanaugh’s possible abuse of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and another woman, Debbie Ramirez. He stated that, while he had voted for the Kavanaugh nomination to be moved to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote, he would not vote unless there was an investigation.  For this, he received many kudos.  My own thoughts were that if he truly felt the Kavanaugh nomination was in doubt, he should not have voted to move it into the full senate, but he did, and therefore I offered no pats on the back, no ‘Attaboy’.

My thoughts were confirmed last night in a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley, where Flake and democratic Senator Chris Coons told about the discussion(s) that led to Flake’s request for an FBI investigation.  Pelley asked perhaps the most important question in the 13-minute interview:

Pelley:  Senator Flake, you’ve announced that you’re not running for re-election, and I wonder … could you have done this if you were running?

Flake:  No, not a chance …

Pelley:  Not a chance? Because politics has become too sharp?  Too partisan?

Flake:  Yeah, there’s no value to reaching across the aisle.  There’s no currency for that anymore, and there’s no incentive.

There’s no incentive, no value, to doing the right thing for the nation, for the people who voted him into office and whose hard-earned tax dollars pay his salary.  Take a few minutes to think about that one, folks, because your own representatives in Congress feel the same.  In fact, Flake is one of the better ones, and that speaks volumes.

So, now that you’ve processed that, do you still want to high-five Mr. Flake?  Still want to praise him as a man who followed his conscience?


FOUL!!!

Once Senators Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski said they could not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court without an FBI investigation, it left Trump with no real choice but to order said investigation.  So, on Friday afternoon, he did just that.  BUT …

The investigation he ordered is extremely limited in both scope and timing, to the point that it is likely to be a sham of an investigation.  First, Trump gave the FBI only until next Friday to complete the investigation.  Then, the White House counsel’s office under Don McGahn gave the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview.  FBI investigators caution that such a limited scope may make it difficult to pursue additional leads.

There are other constraints as well.  Investigators plan to meet with Mark Judge, a high school classmate and friend of Kavanaugh’s whom Ford named as a witness and participant to her alleged assault. But the FBI cannot ask the supermarket that employed Judge for records verifying when he was employed there.  The FBI will also not be able to examine why Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking at Yale University differs from those of some former classmates, who have said he was known as a heavy drinker.

And while the investigators will be looking into the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau is not to be permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.

All of these limitations and constraints amount to tying the hands of the FBI, and make it less likely that the truth will be discovered in less than a week.  However, Trump claims that the FBI has “free reign” …

“They’re going to do whatever they have to do. Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing — things that we never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”

Such an eloquent speaker, eh?  And such a smart man, saying, “Whatever it is they do …”

At this point, there is nothing left to be done, it would seem, but wait and see.  We must hope that the FBI agents in charge are wise enough and dedicated enough to dig deeply and work quickly.  Then we must hope that there is no monkey business, that the results are clear and not swept under the rug.  Bets, anyone?


Kavanaugh

NOT the man I want on the bench

As I have said to a few friends, if Kavanaugh is confirmed and takes his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, we might as well hang coloured streamers, balloons, paint clown faces on the Supreme Court Building and sell peanuts in the entrance hall, for it will have lost its dignity and turned into a circus where partisanship reigns and justice is not to be found.