Two Mini-Rants …

As best I can figure, the only thing Donald Trump did yesterday was stir the pot on Twitter.  He surely must have blisters on his thumbs by now.  Does he ever actually work?  He was on his very worst behaviour today.  Early on, I began comparing his presidency to a train headed at full-speed toward a big cliff.  Today, that cliff seems to be looming just over the horizon.  I don’t know how one ‘man’ can get so many things so wrong in the course of a 24-hour period! train-cliff


trump babyThe child got his tender little feelings hurt when he asked a dumb question and was put in his place by the adult in the room.  The baby is now pouting and hurling objects at the adult in the room.  Typical?  Sure, in a household with a two-year-old child, but not in the Oval Office.

When Trump floated the idea of buying Greenland, even his own staff was confused.  One doesn’t, after all, just get up one morning and decide to buy another, autonomous country.  But, he persisted, and eventually the word got out and was published by the Wall Street Journal.  And then, inevitably, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen got wind of it, and replied to the press …

“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant. Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there. Jokes aside, we will of course love to have an even closer strategic relationship with the United States.”

Trump got a bee up his {ahem} and decided, based on PM Frederiksen’s response, to cancel a trip that was planned for September 2nd – 3rd, the invitation to visit having been issued by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.

PM Frederiksen was wise when she said, “Let’s leave it there”, however Trump is not used to being told “No” and handled the incident so poorly that it is likely to create ill-will between the two nations.

Headlines in Denmark read …

  • “The U.S. and Denmark’s relationship has never been this ice-cold. It will have wide-ranging consequences.”
  • “Trump sends Denmark and the U.S.’s relationship to the freezing point.”

Way to go, Donnie … you just drove a wedge between us and yet another ally. How many is that now?  I’ve lost track.


Wayne Allen Root … the name rings a bell … let me check my archives … AHA!  There it is … I knew he sounded familiar, and no big surprise that he was awarded Idiot of the Week in May, 2017.  You notice how the idiots keep popping back up?  A bit of background …

root-bookRoot is a conspiracy theorist and was on the hate bandwagon when Barack Obama was our President.  He claimed that Obama lied about attending Columbia University, then turned around and said that Obama did, in fact, attend, but that he did so as a foreign exchange student.  He claimed that Obama “cut his afro” in order to infiltrate the political class and become a “Manchurian candidate” meant to take down America from within.  He claimed to have diagnosed Obama as an “arrogant, egomaniacal sociopath” who is either “mentally ill” or committing treason and must be removed from office “before he kills us all” with Ebola-ridden terrorists.

Well, you can read the rest of the idiocy that won him the award, for today there is more!  Mr. Root hosts some ‘call-in’ show on Newsmax TV, and yesterday, his idiocy kicked into full gear, and he said the following on his show …

root-5“I happen to be Jewish by birth and 75% of all Jews vote Democrat, and they don’t like Trump. This is the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world. Not just in America, Trump is the best president for Israel in the history of the world. And the Jewish people love him like he is the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.

In America, American Jews don’t like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense. But that’s okay. He keeps doing what he’s doing. He’s good for all of us. Good for Jews, good for blacks, good for gays.

He is good for everyone in America who wants a job.”

What. A. Fool.  Trump, predictably, ate it up and tweeted Root’s words on Twitter.  But that wasn’t even enough for Trump.  Noooooo … he had to go on and make the most inflammatory comment that has everyone, Jew and non-Jew (except, of course, his blind followers) up in arms.

“If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.”

Ladies and gentlemen … the United States of America has at the head of its government a madman.  He lacks every single qualification that is needed to lead the nation:  intelligence, common sense, compassion, humanitarianism, integrity, honesty, the ability to compromise when necessary, the ability to speak properly, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and the list goes on.

I hereby invite any republican to respectfully tell me what, exactly, they see of value in Donald Trump.  Please be specific … don’t say “he tells it like it is”, “he’s making America great again”, or “he’s one of us”.  Those don’t tell me a thing.  Give me specifics, positive things you believe he has done.  The door is open … feel free to walk through it …


And now, I shall go take a handful of aspirin 💊, pour a glass of sherry 🍷, and seek solace in a bit of music ♫ before going to bed.  Goodnight all.

If You Give A Kid A Gun …

In this era of Trump, we’ve heard some pretty stupid things, but something I read just this morning takes the cake.  With the subject of gun control back in the headlines in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton a couple of weeks ago, the NRA is spewing their message once again about “a good guy with a gun”, etc.

Florida is one of the states considering a ban on assault weapons, so the NRA jumped into action, sending one of their leading lobbyists and former president of the NRA (1995-1998), Marion Hammer, to speak to a group of economists. marion-hammer.pngMs. Hammer’s first argument against the proposed amendment to ban assault weapons was that Florida Governor Rick Scott “solicited and offered significant financial incentives to gun manufacturers to come to Florida to bring more jobs”.  And now, the poor gun manufacturers may suffer a financial loss if assault weapons are banned.  They’ve got my deepest sympathy.  Hey!  I’ve got an idea … let’s send them “thoughts and prayers”, shall we?

But, Ms. Hammer’s second argument for why Florida should drop the ridiculous notion of saving lives by banning these guns that were intended only for use by the military, is even more ludicrous …

“How do you tell a 10-year-old little girl who got a Ruger 10/22 with a pink stock for her birthday that her rifle is an assault weapon and she has to turn it over to government or be arrested for felony possession?”

pink-assault-riflePick your jaws up off the ground now, take a deep breath.  Yes, she actually said that.  What sort of an idiot gives a 10-year-old child a damn assault rifle???  Anybody … ANYBODY who would give a child a gun of any sort, let alone an assault weapon, deserves to be drawn and quartered!!!

This is not the first time Ms. Hammer has come onto my radar.  About a year ago, I dedicated an entire post to her when she asserted her power to force the state to issue certain questionable gun licenses.  I was appalled that someone who doesn’t even hold a position in government had the sort of power she had, that she was able to browbeat and intimidate government officials to do her bidding.

Lest you think that most of the nation has better sense than to place firearms in the small arms of children, read this excerpt from an article in The Guardian last year …

A 2012 report by the Hunting Heritage Trust and the National Shooting Sports Foundation states: “It is important to consider more hunting and target shooting recruitment programs aimed at middle school level, or earlier.”

The report lays out a “Youth Hunter and Shooter Ambassador Program” strategy, in which kids are encouraged to influence their friends to get into guns. “Youth ambassadors and others should focus on getting newcomers to take a first step into target shooting through any means … The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms.”

Young children looking to get into shooting have plenty of options when it comes to guns designed just for them. A 2014 article on NRA Family, an NRA-run website, profiles Marlin’s “new kid-friendly rifles”. The writer enthuses that Marlin’s “new XT line of .22 rifles … are not just sized for kids; they’re completely designed for kids”.pink-gunsAnother article on the NRA Family website suggests kids might also think about using Thompson/Center HotShot rifle, “a tiny gun intended for the very youngest shooters”. A company spokesman explains that gun targets “the six- to 12-year-old range”. These come in a variety of fun colour options.

Ms. Hammer was instrumental in the passage of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law that allowed George Zimmerman to get off scot-free after murdering an unarmed young black man, Trayvon Martin.  And, while Governor Scott was happily giving tax incentives to companies like Colt and the Russian Kalashnikov (makers of the notorious AK-47), there was the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in 2016 that killed 49 people and wounded 53 more.  And then in 2018, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died and 17 more were wounded.

gun-ad-kidOh yeah, folks, the answer is not only more guns, but let’s start ‘em off as soon as their old enough to hold one in their hand.  Right out of the cradle, so that by the time they are teenagers, they will already own an arsenal that includes at least 3 or 4 assault rifles and maybe even a grenade launcher or two, eh?

It’s Time To SPEAK OUT!


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma-Lazarus

Emma Lazarus

The above is the text of Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus.  She wrote the poem in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, and in 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level.  For more than 100 years, those words have been symbolic of what this nation stands for.

Three days ago, on August 12th, this man …

Cuccinelli

Son of a Bitch, Ken Cuccinelli

… Ken Cuccinelli, with malice aforethought and in defiance of the very values that have heretofore defined this nation and its people, re-wrote a line in the poem.  Mr. Cuccinelli revised it to say …

“Give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge …”

Mr. Ken Cuccinelli is, in the opinion of this writer, a Grade A Son of a Bitch.

He further claimed that the poem was intended only for European immigrants, not Middle Easterners, not Asians, and not Latinos.  I repeat … Mr. Ken Cuccinelli is a Son of a Bitch.

Trump-toonIt is against the laws of the land to change an author’s work without his or her permission.  Emma Lazarus died on November 19, 1887 and thus cannot give her permission for the changes Mr. Sonofabitch has proposed, nor do I believe she would give permission.  These changes are not in the spirit upon which this nation was founded.

The United States has made its share of horrific mistakes, starting with the enslavement of Africans early on, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the rejection of the St. Louis carrying Jewish refugees, many of them who later died as a result, the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki … We ought to have learned from those mistakes, but instead, today we have a so-called president who wishes to make this a “white, Christian nation” by rejecting refugees fleeing violence and terror in their native lands.  He would build a wall to keep out Latinos from Central America, he would impose a ban on refugees from Middle-Eastern, predominantly Muslim countries, and he promotes and applauds racism and white supremacy on a near-daily basis.  This week, he implemented new ‘rules’ to deny citizenship to immigrants who are struggling financially and are being assisted by government programs such as rent subsidies, food stamps, and Medicaid.

What’s next, folks?  Think long and hard about this … Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, Andrew Wheeler, Steve Bannon, Ken Cuccinelli, and a boatload of others in the Trump administration are bigots to the nth degree.  They have no respect nor love for the principles on which this nation was founded, but their only concern is putting more wealth into the pockets of the already-wealthy at any and all costs to the people who are paying their way in the world.  We are increasingly pawns being moved about on a huge chessboard by people who have no heart, no values, nothing but a lust for money and a sense of entitlement.

Will we allow them to re-write history by re-writing the lines on the base of the Statue of Liberty?  If we do, then we should simply send that statue back to France, for we no longer deserve it.  If we do, then we have stopped being the United States of America as it has been envisioned throughout its relatively short history.  Perhaps in two years, it will be called the DSR – Divided States of Russia.

I began this post with the poem by Emma Lazarus.  I shall end it with yet another well-known poem, this one by Martin Niemöller …

Martin-Niemoller.jpg

Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

liberty cries

A Handful of Mini-Rants

Yesterday, I shared a post of Gronda’s telling about the arrests of immigrants working at Koch Foods, the cruelty of the administration and ICE agents acting on behalf of Trump & Co.  More than a few times I have written about the cruelty of the administration ripping children from their parents arms, putting them in detention centers that are no better than prison camps, depriving them of basic human necessities.  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m getting sick and tired of this administration’s lack of compassion, lack of humanitarian values.  I am in a ranty mood tonight, so buckle up …


jimmy-aldoudJimmy Aldaoud has lived in the U.S. ever since he was six months old. Born a refugee in Greece, his parents migrated to the U.S. legally in 1979. He was a member of the Chaldean Catholic minority, many of whose members fled Iraq following the second U.S. invasion. He did not speak Arabic and had never been to Iraq. But when he encountered legal issues in the United States, which his lawyer attributed to his mental health issues including paranoid schizophrenia, he was deported to Iraq by the Trump Administration.

Jimmy Aldaoud had Type I diabetes and was insulin-dependent.  He had no family, knew nobody in Iraq.  Shortly after arriving there, he was filmed in a video where he said …

“I’ve been sleeping in the street. I’m diabetic. I get insulin shots. I was throwing up… sleeping in the streets, trying to find something to eat. You know, I got nothing over here.”

Jimmy Aldaoud is now dead because he could not get the insulin he needed.  No … actually, he is dead because the Trump administration decided to deport a man who lived in this country for 40 years.


Yo folks!  Remember in 2016, during the never-ending presidential campaign, when Donald Trump said that he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it?  Remember that?  Well, those of us with functional brains knew the instant he said it that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for the wall.  Why should they?  They aren’t the ones who asked for a damn wall, and the president of the U.S. has no leverage to force another country to pay for his own ego trip.

Well, guess what?  Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall … YOU are!!!  The latest is a proposal by the Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a republican (go figure) from Alabama (go figure, again) that would transfer some $5 billion from the departments of Labour, Health & Human Services (HHS), and Education in order to divert those funds for … you guessed it … Trump’s wall!

It is not a done deal yet, for even if it gets the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate, it would still need to pass in the Democratic majority House of Representatives, but the fact that Mr. Shelby and his cohorts think this is a good idea should raise the hackles of every single citizen in this nation.  Taking away from health care for the poor and elderly, and taking away from the education of our young!

Ironically, in Shelby’s last campaign, he campaigned on cutting wasteful spending.  So, does he consider saving lives and educating our children to be wasteful, yet building a stupid wall that serves no purpose other than to stroke the ego of a megalomaniac not wasteful???  Where is the man’s brain?  Better yet, where is his conscience?  Oh, that’s right … he’s a republican.


Martha McSally of Arizona lost the election in 2018 for U.S. Senate to Democratic candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, and yet, Martha McSally sits in the U.S. Senate today.  Why?  Because republican Governor Doug Ducey appointed her to replace the late Senator John McCain after McCain’s death.  Martha McSally is another republican fool who believes that any single gun regulation is unconstitutional and that mass shootings really aren’t the federal government’s problem nor responsibility.

It won’t surprise you to know that McSally has an “A” rating with the NRA and is in their pockets.   She was one of the nation’s largest 2018 recipients of campaign contributions from gun-rights organizations, with more than $200,000 in gun money.

“Just like I can sell my car, I can sell my gun. Any restrictions on that at gun shows or other places is just absolutely unconstitutional.”

There is a word for her, but out of respect for my readers, I shall leave that to your own imagination.


It seems to me that this nation no longer stands for anything.  We once welcomed people from other nations who were seeking a better life, or fleeing from persecution, but now they are called ‘vile and reprehensible’ by the so-called leaders of our nation, and are treated abominably, in violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.  We once promoted something called the “American Dream”, but it turns out that dream was only allowed to white, straight, Christian males.  We once spoke of “liberty and justice for all”, but today that is a joke, unless again, you are white, straight, Christian and male.  What does this nation stand for … what is its value?  As best I can tell, it stands for the wealthy people, for big businesses, for making money … but only for a few … less than 1% of the people of this nation are currently represented in our government.  Why don’t we do a thorough housecleaning and see if we can restore some values to this country?  Because we have no power and are quickly losing our voice.  If we don’t raise our voices very loudly and very soon, we will be living as the German and Italian people did in 1940.  Think about it.

It’s Always About The Size Of His …


Crowds.  It’s always about the size of his crowds.  The “man” goes to El Paso, where a mass shooting has left some 22 people dead and many more injured, as a direct result of his own words.  Protestors abound, for he was not welcome in El Paso after inciting the violence that has left the city in mourning.  And what does he do?  He comes away bragging that the size of his crowd was double the number of the protestors.  How disrespectful, tacky, inconsiderate, and a bunch of other adjectives I could think of.  This, folks, is the person that we have sitting in the Oval Office, the person whose decisions could lead to peace … or war.  The person, in essence, who holds our very lives in his tiny hands.

This was not a day for politics, not a day to fuel the fires of division that are burning out of control in this nation.  It was a day of mourning, of grieving for lost loved ones, and Donald Trump, who should have been the most remorseful, apologetic of all, turned it into another “politics as usual” day in both El Paso and Dayton.

I cannot recall another person holding the office of president who has so degraded and devalued the office.  I cannot remember another who needed his own public relations team, working day and night, to go behind Trump and repair the damage he leaves in his wake.  We have had presidents in my lifetime who I didn’t like very much, but never have I felt such loathing for not only the actions, but the “man” himself.  Donald Trump is devoid of humanity, lacking a conscience, and has no love of this nation nor its people, but only loves himself.

The political posturing surrounding the question of whether to impeach or not to impeach must stop.  We elected Senators and Representatives, we pay their salary, and in return we expect them to act in the best interest of the nation and its people.  Congress has let us down mightily.  Those members of Congress are so afraid of the “man” in the Oval Office that they refuse to act.  They are afraid of his temper tantrums, his ignominious tweets, and most of all, they are afraid that he will speak against them at the next election.  Screw the next election, people!  There are fifteen months left until the election in 2020.  Fifteen months in which this “man” is doing more damage to this nation, to our reputation, our alliances, and our very lives.  GET HIM OUT!

Mitch McConnell and his band of scallywags have obstructed justice for long enough!  They, along with Donald Trump, have the blood of the victims in El Paso on their hands, for they are in the pockets of the NRA and have long refused to pass any meaningful gun regulations.  They are also responsible for the very election rigging that allowed Donald Trump to move into the White House and by refusing to even consider election security measures, they are rigging the 2020 election in Trump’s favour as well.

This nation cannot tolerate another 15 months of Donald Trump’s sheer cruelty and ignorance, let alone another 63 months, in the event of his re-election.  I would call for a mass movement to demand that he step down, but we all know how far that would get.  His ego will not allow him to step down, and frankly, I don’t think it will allow him to even admit defeat if he is voted out next year or reaches the end of his second term in 2024.  He is, as our friend Keith has said, a clear and present danger.  He is a danger to the very foundation of our government, he is a danger to every other nation on this planet, and he is a danger to the planet itself.

It matters not to me how he is removed from the Oval Office, but he must be removed.  He cares not at all for the people of this country.  I call on every member of Congress to support his removal, else frankly, you don’t deserve to be sitting on Capitol Hill, don’t deserve the salary that we are all working hard to give you.  Either get with the program, do your job, uphold the Oath of Office you took, or get the hell out.

Congressional Oath of Office:

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.

Foot-Stomping Mad!

I am foot-stomping mad tonight over several things, not the least of which is the horrific shooting that has killed at least 20 people and injured 26 in an El Paso, Texas, Wal-Mart.

There is plenty of blame to go around, and no, I’m not going on a tirade at the moment about gun regulation and the NRA, although it would be easy and valid to do so.  But no, the blood from this shooting is on the hands of every single person in this nation who has cheered and applauded Trump’s anti-immigrant, racist rants.  It is on the hands of every single person who has shouted “build that wall!”  It is on the hands of every single person who believes immigrants do not belong in this nation.  It is on the hands of every single person who believes that white skin is somehow better than brown or black.  It is on the hands of every single person who has turned a blind eye to the maltreatment and abuse of children in detention camps.  And most of all, the blood is on the hands of Donald Trump himself.  It was only a matter of time before some damn fool took a notion to act on Trump’s words … after all, he has all but encouraged violence against immigrants, has painted immigrants as evil people out to murder those good, lily-white people and take their jobs, to boot.

In the past few weeks, as best anyone can tell, the only thing Trump has done is spend his days and nights carrying on with hate speech against people who happen not to be white.  An example … at a campaign rally (if he were actually the president, he wouldn’t have time to do all these campaign rallies, for he’d be busy working) in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this week, he riled the masses as he always does, and when a small group of protestors unfurled a banner that read “IMMIGRANTS BUILT AMERICA”, Trump’s loyal band of assholes snatched the banner and set to beating up the protestors.

The shooter in El Paso traveled some 600 miles, from Dallas to El Paso, a city whose population is 80% Latino.  The shooter, whom I shall not name out of respect for the victims, was Caucasian — white.  He was not Hispanic, nor of Middle Eastern descent … he was a white Texan. He had kept a manifesto that includes remarks attacking immigrants and sympathetic to the man who killed 51 people this year at two mosques in New Zealand.  The document lists “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” as one of several motivations for the attack.  Let me just remind everybody that Texas was founded by  Spanish conquistadors, and belonged to Mexico long before it became part of the U.S.

Meanwhile, #MoscowMitch McConnell and others in Congress expressed the usual “thoughts and prayers”.  Meaningless, useless thoughts and prayers, whereas for years and in some cases decades, they have passed up the opportunity to do something positive about the gun problem in the U.S.  Sorry, folks … keep your damn thoughts and prayers … give us action … address the gun problem.  It is a crisis every bit as much as the “opioid crisis” that everyone is so concerned about.  The gun crisis is more important, in my book, for these twenty who died in El Paso were innocent, some were even children.  They were killed through no fault or action of their own.

I will almost certainly have more to say about the El Paso mass shooting soon, but for today, let us move on to one of the other reasons for my foot-stomping …


On Monday, July 8th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to a tax law that would require the commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to share state income tax returns and reports when certain congressional committees request them.  This was a huge step forward … or could have been … in the investigations into Trump, his finances, his business interests, and potential Russian financial ties.  As Cuomo put it …

“This bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”

But, the various committees, including the House Ways and Means committee, that had previously requested Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, sat around the Capitol, twiddling their thumbs, debating whether to open an impeachment investigation or not, and they did not take advantage of the door that had been opened by Governor Cuomo.  They did not request the tax returns from the State of New York.

Trump and his lawyers, however, feared that someday soon the congressional committees might wake up and remember they owed something to the people who had elected them, remember that they had a constitutional obligation, and so … Trump did what he does best … he filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, July 23rd!  In the suit, he requested that the federal court prevent the House Ways and Means committee from seeking to obtain the New York tax returns, just in case they decided to do so … at some point.

Now for the kicker, the part that has me stomping my feet … last Thursday, federal Judge Carl Nichols granted a temporary order blocking New York state from turning over Trump’s tax returns. His reasoning?  He wished to ensure that, “Mr. Trump cannot suffer any harm”.  Trump can suffer no harm???  What about us???  We are suffering harm every hour of every day that he remains in office, but Judge Nichols wants to protect TRUMP???


I shall stop now, for I must go attend to my poor foot, which has been stomped so much that it has come open and red stuff is coming out of it.  Besides which, there are words about to come out of my fingertips that you’d rather not hear.  But, be advised that I am not done ranting … I’ll return later.

Damn You, Mitch McConnell – Part I

Mitch-McConnellAddison Mitchell McConnell is the very definition of corruption.  Last Friday, Dana Milbank wrote an opinion column in The Washington Post titled “Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset”.  The column so incensed McConnell that he went on a 30-minute tirade on the Senate floor yesterday, referring to the column as “modern-day McCarthyism”.  To Mr. McConnell I would say this:  If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

It is a proven fact that the Russians did interfere in our 2016 election and that without their assistance it is unlikely that Trump could have won enough votes to win the electoral college (remember that he lost the actual vote by nearly 3 million)Proven. Fact.  So, why would anybody who is elected to protect and preserve this nation, its Constitution, and its people, refuse to take steps to prevent intrusion by a foreign adversary?  Why???  Think about that one.  Meanwhile, since Mr. Milbank’s column annoyed ol’ Mitch so much, I present it here and will offer my own, as well as others’ views in Part II of this post tomorrow.


Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset

Dana-MilbankBy Dana Milbank, Columnist, July 26

 

Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset.

This doesn’t mean he’s a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation. Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020. Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves.

Let’s call this what it is: unpatriotic. The Kentucky Republican is, arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.

Robert Mueller sat before Congress this week warning that the Russia threat “deserves the attention of every American.” He said “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in our election is among the most serious” challenges to American democracy he has ever seen. “They are doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign,” he warned, adding that “much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions, not just by the Russians but others as well.”

Not three hours after Mueller finished testifying, Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, went to the Senate floor to request unanimous consent to pass legislation requiring presidential campaigns to report to the FBI any offers of assistance from agents of foreign governments.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) was there to represent her leader’s interests. “I object,” she said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) attempted to move a bill that would require campaigns to report to the FBI contributions by foreign nationals.

“I object,” said Hyde-Smith.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tried to force action on bipartisan legislation, written with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and supported by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), protecting lawmakers from foreign cyberattacks. “The majority leader, our colleague from Kentucky, must stop blocking this common-sense legislation and allow this body to better defend itself against foreign hackers,” he said.

“I object,” repeated Hyde-Smith.

The next day, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the minority leader, asked for the Senate to pass the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act, already passed by the House, that would direct $600 million in election assistance to states and require backup paper ballots.

McConnell himself responded this time, reading from a statement, his chin melting into his chest, his trademark thin smile on his lips. “It’s just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia,” he said. “Therefore, I object.” McConnell also objected to another attempt by Blumenthal to pass his bill.

Pleaded Schumer: “I would suggest to my friend the majority leader: If he doesn’t like this bill, let’s put another bill on the floor and debate it.”

But McConnell has blocked all such attempts, including:

A bipartisan bill requiring Facebook, Google and other Internet companies to disclose purchasers of political ads, to identify foreign influence.

A bipartisan bill to ease cooperation between state election officials and federal intelligence agencies.

A bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on any entity that attacks a U.S. election.

A bipartisan bill with severe new sanctions on Russia for its cybercrimes.

McConnell has prevented them all from being considered — over and over again. This is the same McConnell who, in the summer of 2016, when briefed by the CIA along with other congressional leaders on Russia’s electoral attacks, questioned the validity of the intelligence and forced a watering down of a warning letter to state officials about the threat, omitting any mention of Russia.

No amount of alarms sounded by U.S. authorities — even Republicans, even Trump appointees — moves McConnell.

On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray — Trump’s FBI director — told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Russians “haven’t been deterred enough” and are “absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.”

This year, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats — Trump’s intelligence director — told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “foreign actors will view the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. We expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics.”

And on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report finding that “Russian activities demand renewed attention to vulnerabilities in U.S. voting infrastructure.”

The committee concluded that “urgent steps” are needed “to replace outdated and vulnerable voting systems.” (The $380 million offered since 2016 is a pittance compared with the need.) “Despite the expense, cybersecurity needs to become a higher priority for election-related infrastructure,” the report concluded.

But one man blocks it all — while offering no alternative of his own.

Presumably he thinks whatever influence Russia exerts over U.S. elections will benefit him (he’s up for reelection in 2020) and his party.

“Shame on him,” Schumer said on the Senate floor this week.

But McConnell has no shame. He is aiding and abetting Putin’s dismantling of Americans’ self-governance. A leader who won’t protect our country from attack is no patriot.

Snarky Snippets or Mini Rants?

I warn you, I am in a very foul mood tonight, and these snarky snippets are likely more like mini-rants.


Those Trumpians are real winners, eh?

We have heard of Trump’s … er, shall we say dislike … for Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, and those of us with any sense see his tirades for what they are … the juvenile, racist rantings of an ignorant fool.  But here’s something to give you a chuckle.

Danielle-Stella

Danielle Stella

The pro-Trump person who was hoping to vie for Representative Omar’s congressional seat in 2020 is named Danielle Stella, a 31-year-old special education teacher.  Ms. Stella is a supporter of QAnon, the conspiracy theory group, if that tells you anything.  Well … turns out that twice this year, she has been arrested for shoplifting!

In January, she stole 279 items valued at $2,327.97 from a Target store in Edina, Minnesota, and in April she was accused of stealing “tick spray and other items” from a Cub Foods grocery store.  What a fine, upstanding citizen, eh?  She may be a thief, but … it won’t matter to republicans who will prefer her over Ms. Omar because why?  Because her skin is white, because her parents are of European ancestry, and that is all that matters to the vast majority of republicans today.

Oh yeah, and while Stella is busy referring to Ms. Omar as a “witch” and a “criminal”, she herself had a DUI in 2009, along with a charge of fleeing from the police!  A fine lot they are.  Their “leader” has been a criminal since he was old enough to walk, and the followers figure it’s okay for them to steal from a Target store because they are privileged and … white.

And on a related note, some jerk named Chris McDonald is calling for Representative Omar to have her citizenship revoked and be charged with treason.  My response to him is that he should have his license to be a part of the human race revoked.  (I warned you I was in a bad mood)


Another winner, friend of da trumpeter …

Jeffrey-Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein … you all remember him, right?  The abhorrent sex trafficker who seems to somehow believe himself to be above the law?  Oh, that’s right … that’s a given among those in Trump’s “circle of wealth”.  Anyway, the first news I saw yesterday morning was that he was found unconscious in his jail cell with marks on his neck that seemed to indicate a failed suicide attempt.

Funny, though … it wasn’t big news, was more or less swept under the carpet.  Wonder why?  Oh yeah, that “wealthy privilege” thing again, the same thing that enabled him back in 2008 to serve his 13-month sentence in an unlocked cell, to which he only returned at night, spending his days “working” at his own company, hobnobbing with rich associates, etc.

Later in the day yesterday, it was finally reported that Epstein claims to have been beaten up, although he apparently had no cuts or bruises on his face.  And, he has been placed on suicide watch.  Given the number of young lives he has ruined, I think they should give him a good sharp knife with his supper and let him have at it.  Assuming that he did attempt to strangle himself, wouldn’t that indicate that he likely figures he’s going down for a long time this time, most likely without that VIP treatment he received last time?


Hey!  Where’s ours?

Human-rights-wealthy.JPGOn Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) levied a $5 billion fine on social media giant Facebook for taking liberties with our privacy – our personal information, including our phone numbers.  Okay, fine, but it seems not to have really fazed the company, for there was barely a blip in the value of their stock, and by Wednesday it was at an all-time high.  Now, why do you think investors didn’t lose confidence when informed of the fine?  Largely because this is the 21st century, the age of electronic spying, and it barely raises an eyebrow anymore.  This is the age of a wealthy madman in the White House and crimes among the wealthy are given mostly a wink-wink and not much more.  After all, those big corporations that pay no taxes are “trickling down” all that money to we the little folk, right?  WRONG!!!

But the thing that galls me the most about this is that the FTC is fining Facebook, Facebook will presumably pay the FTC, an agency of our federal government, but … where is ours?  WE were the ones whose information was misused, sold to advertisers who now bombard our phones with robocalls day and night.  WE are the ones who suffered … where is our share of that $5 billion?  Instead, it will go into the federal coffers so that Donald can play a few extra rounds of golf, eat another steak or two on our dime, and Junior or Ivanka can travel halfway around the globe when I can barely afford a trip to the grocery store!end-of-worldFor the record, Facebook’s revenue last year was $56 billion.  That’s $56,000,000,000.  And do you know what they paid in taxes?  Put it this way … thanks to Trump’s donor tax cut in 2017, Facebook’s effective tax rate dropped from 43% in 2017 to 16% in 2018.  There is doubt whether they actually paid any, and I don’t have time to research it, but I do know that in 2013, they actually received a refund!

I want a slice of that $5 billion they are paying to the FTC!


Okay, enough of my ranting for tonight.  Go find something pleasant to read.  I recommend my friend Anne Lawson’s Art blog to bring you a bit of peace to counteract my snark.

State-Sanctioned Murder!

Clayton-LockettDoes anybody remember Clayton D. Lockett?  No, of course not.  Allow me to refresh your memory.  Mr. Lockett was brutally murdered by our own federal government on April 29,2014 in a botched execution.  Lockett was administered an untested mixture of drugs that had not previously been used for executions in the United States. Although the execution was stopped, Lockett died 43 minutes after being sedated. He writhed, groaned, convulsed, and spoke during the process and attempted to rise from the execution table fourteen minutes into the procedure, despite having been declared unconscious.

Does anybody remember Clemente Javier Aguirre?  Probably not.  In 2006, he was sentenced to death for the stabbing deaths of two neighbors, despite the fact that he maintained his innocence throughout. Last year, after spending 14 years on Florida’s death row, he was exonerated by DNA evidence that had been withheld at his trial, and a confession by the real killer.  What if Mr. Aguirre had been executed as initially planned?

It is not possible to undo death!

death-penaltyToday, the United States took a step backward toward the Dark Ages.  Today, Attorney General William Barr announced that the federal government, such as it is, will re-instate the death penalty and that five executions have already been scheduled to take place, with more to be announced soon.

Let me just give you a few facts:

  • Since 1972, 165 people have been exonerated that were on death row.
  • African American defendants are three times more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants.
  • 88% of criminologists believe the death penalty is not a deterrent.

Troy-DavisTroy Anthony Davis was convicted of the shooting-death of off-duty police officer Mark McPhail.  He was executed in 2011. His conviction was based on the testimony of nine witnesses, seven of whom later recanted their testimony or admitted it was false.

Carlos-DeLunaCarlos DeLuna was executed in Texas in 1989 for the stabbing death of Wanda Lopez.  DeLuna maintained his innocence throughout his imprisonment and insisted another individual by the name of Carlos Hernandez was really the killer.

Gary-GrahamGary Graham was sentenced to death at the age of 18 in 1981 in Texas for the robbery and murder of Bobby Lambert.  He was executed in 2000. His conviction was based largely on the testimony of one witness who said she saw him through a windshield from over 30 feet away.

WillinghamCameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 for the death of his three young daughters in a house fire.  Willingham’s conviction was based on faulty forensic science which erroneously concluded that the fire was arson.

I am, in case you couldn’t tell, incensed by this decision at this time.  I would likely be incensed by such a decision at any time, but under the present administration, and with the current divisive political climate in this nation, this is no time to be re-instituting state-sanctioned murder!  Does anybody trust our government not to start executing immigrants?  I don’t.  With Trump having appointed some 131 federal judges thus far, with Trump spouting racism on a daily basis, with the spate of killings of unarmed blacks in the past decade … does anybody believe there is equal justice for all in this nation?  I don’t.

The contingent, primarily white, evangelicals, who seek to take away a women’s right to make her own health decisions, who are so strongly opposed to abortion that they are willing to sentence a woman to death rather than allow her to have an abortion, call themselves “pro-life”.  Well, guess what, people?  If you claim to be pro-life, then you damn well better be enraged by this decision to re-start government-sponsored murder, for these people on death row are humans, are people, they have lives that you should care about.  I’m waiting …

executionThis nation has taken many steps backward since 20 January 2017.  This is just one more in a long series of inhumane decisions by Donald Trump and his minions.  This is no longer a nation I recognize nor that I take any pride in.  We are on a path that most of us did not choose.  Ask yourself, if you have the courage:  What next?

Bad People Doing Bad Things …

red circleLook at the circle above.  What colour do you see?  What?  Red?  No, I call that blue … definitely blue.  You still claim it’s red?  Then you will not be allowed to speak about the colour of the circle, for your view does not match my own, and thus is wrong.

Dr. Rod Schoonover was a senior intelligence analyst with the U.S. State Department and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.  Last week, Dr. Schoonover left the employ of the State Department.  Why?  Because he is a scientist.  Because he looked at that circle and called it red, even though Donald Trump and his administration warned him to say it was blue.  And then, Trump taped his mouth so he couldn’t say it was red.  And Dr. Schoonover decided he had enough and resigned his position.Rod SchoonoverDr. Schoonover was invited to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on June 5th about the security risks the United States faces because of climate change.  The Trump administration, according to leaked internal memos, tried to force Dr. Schoonover to change his prepared speech, but the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research refused and ultimately he was allowed to speak before the committee.  However, when it came time to publish his written testimony, the administration blocked it.

Why? Because it did not match the Trump administration’s views.  According to Myron Ebell, who was once considered to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before Trump settled on Scott Pruitt, Trump’s re-election campaign consultants told him …

“We have polling showing that you need to stress your environmental accomplishments and not start controversial things that will get you bad press, like going after climate science.”

Let that one sink in for a minute, folks.

Policy decisions and governance are now being mandated by Donald Trump’s campaign for next year’s election.  Not the welfare of the country and its people, not our safety and well-being, but what will play well in the rallies, what his ‘base’ wants to hear, what will give him the best chance to spend an additional four years destroying our nation, our lives.

One of the statements White House officials objected to was this observation:

“Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change.”

On Monday, July 8th, Trump did, in fact, give a speech where he stated that his White House was working “harder than many previous administrations” on the issue of the environment, adding: “Maybe almost all of them.”

Given that he has spent his entire two-and-a-half years in office destroying environmental regulations, pulling out of the Paris climate accord, encouraging the fossil fuel industry, destroying wildlife protections, opening federal lands to drilling and mining, environmentalists’ jaws dropped when they heard his speech.  We shouldn’t be surprised … the man has yet to speak an honest word!

The environment and climate change should not be … should not be an issue of partisan politics!  And yet … it is.  According to a recent survey, 81% of Democrats said climate change was “very important,” compared with more than the 56% of independents and a measly 26% of Republicans.  Yo Republicans!!!  Wake up and remove your head from your arse!!!  You are killing us!

Daniel Q. Greenwood, Trump’s deputy assistant in the White House office of legislative affairs, said that Schoonover’s written testimony was unacceptable because …

“The testimony still has serious concerns with internal components and focuses heavily on the science. Because it doesn’t reflect the coordinated IC position, or the administration’s position, there is no way this can be cleared ahead of the hearing.”

It focuses too heavily on the science???  And it doesn’t reflect the administration’s position. Apparently, Dr. Schoonover didn’t read the republican’s bible that states, “Ye shall put forth no facts, but only whatever fantasy his Trumpship wishes on any given day”.

You can see and download the .pdf file of Dr. Schoonover’s written assessment, with comments and suggested changes written by Trump lackeys.  It is said that most of the comments came from William Happer, a ‘theoretical physicist’ and White House adviser on the National Security Council who denies the established scientific consensus on global warming.  Certainly that makes him uniquely qualified to edit a scientific document on climate change, doesn’t it?

Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, droughts, melting ice caps, algae blooms, a declining bee population … all far in excess of what has been the normal range.  Where I live, we have had “air quality alerts” every day for the past two weeks, and today for the first time ever, I received an “excessive heat warning”.  This coming weekend, I will not be able to leave my house because the temperatures are expected to be around the 100° (F) mark (38° C), and I cannot survive in such.  I have lived in this general area since 1987 and have never once seen temps reach 100°.  In fact, as a rule, I can count on my fingers the number of days the temps are over 90°.

Bottom line — climate science is unpopular with Trump’s base, and there is an election in just over 15 months, so the entire planet must be doomed to the whims and vagaries of an uneducated group of people who like Donald Trump because he says there is no such thing as climate change … and oh yeah, besides that he’s gonna build a damn wall and have Mexico pay for it.