The “president” is a Son-of-a-Bitch

Let’s start with a simple question:  If you are invited to visit a friend, and your own house is in a shambles, dirty because you haven’t cleaned it in months, are you likely to harshly criticize your friend’s housekeeping skills when her house if nearly immaculate?  And to do so publicly, announcing to the neighborhood at large?  I think not.  Why? Because you are sensible, kind and truthful.

Who does Donald Trump think he is?  He was, though only by the minority and not the majority, elected to be the president of the United States.  He was not elected Prime Minister of the UK.  He was not elected President of NATO.  He was only elected to be the president (no caps) of what is fast becoming the most despised nation on the face of the earth.

I won’t even bother addressing just now his abhorrent performance – yes, that is what all his public appearances are, performances – at NATO on Wednesday and early Thursday, but will skip right on to his epic failure in the UK yesterday afternoon.

Donald Trump decided to give an interview to one media outlet in the UK, The Sun. First off, guess who owns The Sun?  None other than Rupert Murdoch, the very same Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, among others.  It is considered Britain’s most right-wing newspaper, or actually more of a tabloid.

The SunThe interview had been done on Wednesday in Brussels, and was strategically scheduled to be published during Trump’s first evening in London.  There can be no doubt … no doubt at all that it was an attempt to add insult to injury as Ms. May is struggling to maintain her position in light of the opposition to the soft Brexit deal she announced earlier this week.  Trump also praised May’s antagonist, Boris Johnson, and alluded to him as a future Prime Minister, further indicating his attempt to influence the fate of Ms. May’s government.

A few of his most obnoxious remarks from the interview (and of course I could not resist adding my own commentary):

“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”  (And why should she listen to the words of a dishonest ‘man’?)

“The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one people voted on.” (He didn’t even know what Brexit was in early 2016!)

“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal.”  (A mind is a terrible thing to waste)

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London. I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?”  (You’re finally getting the message — they don’t want you, Bozo!)

On London Mayor Sadiq Khan: “Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism. I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in.”  (Not your place to judge, Donnie boy — you don’t even understand your own job, so don’t try to tell someone else how to do theirs)

“I have a lot of respect for Boris [Johnson]. He obviously likes me and says very good things about me. I was very saddened to see he was leaving government, and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country. I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.” (Just proves that Johnson is a lousy judge of character)

Last month, Trump very rudely and using false pretenses offended Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the disastrous G7 summit where Trump should have been put outside with the canines, based on his behaviour.  And this month, he has gone beyond simply insulting the Prime Minister of the UK, but has attempted to undermine the job she is working hard to do.

Trump-May.jpg

What the heck is Melania wearing — the curtains???

Although I did not vote for Trump and have never supported him in any way, I still feel I owe all my UK friends a humble apology.  Please forgive us, our nation, for being too stupid to see what an ignominious jackass our so-called president is and allowing him to remain in office.  I’m sorry.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who I actually defended recently, saying that she didn’t deserve the public embarrassment she was subjected to when she was asked to leave a restaurant, went above and beyond her usual dog-and-pony show lies:

“The President likes and respects Prime Minister May very much. As he said in his interview with the Sun she ‘is a very good person’ and he ‘never said anything bad about her.’”

Bullpoop.

His behaviour and his interview with The Sun were abominable.  Extremely unprofessional, un-presidential, crass, rude and whatever other adjective you can think of to insert.  Make no mistake — this is a serious diplomatic blunder for the U.S., and one that will likely have long-reaching ramifications for both the U.S. and the UK.  I do not see how it can possibly fail to erode the relations between our two nations.  Donald Trump has absolutely no right to interfere in the negotiations between the UK and EU regarding Brexit.  It is not his fight.

It is worth noting that Trump is not capable of taking care of his own house, is doing a terrible job at home, and yet here he is trying to tell all of NATO what they must do, and now trying to tell the Prime Minister of the UK how she should do her job!  As I said in the beginning, the United States is well on the way to becoming the most despised nation on the earth.  All because of one ‘man’.  Well no, wait, actually the blame must be shared by 62,985,115 others.  The 62,984,828 who voted for him, and the 287 republicans in Congress (51 in the Senate and 236 in the House of Representatives) who have been slavishly licking his boots every day since 20 January 2017.  Thank you all for making our nation the worst it has been since 1865.  Each and every one of you deserve what’s coming your way.  Sadly, the other 265,134,207 of us in the U.S. do not deserve the abomination you have unleashed on us, and the rest of the world does not either!

Say WHAT???

Two stories yesterday just left me … speechless.

Alabama has been a controversial state in recent years, in no small part due to Roy Moore, a federal judge twice tossed off the bench for failing to uphold the law, then a credibly accused pedophile running for a seat in the U.S. Senate to replace proven-racist Jeff Sessions, who is now the U.S. Attorney General.  Whew … makes your head spin, doesn’t it?  Historically, Alabama has been a republican stronghold, though that may be changing, given that they didn’t fall for Roy Moore’s story in December and voted in Doug Jones, a democrat, rejecting Moore for either his lawbreaking ways, his racism, or his pedophilia … who knows which?

Well, Alabama is back in the news, and I want you to sit down, because what I’m about to tell you is going to surprise you … or maybe not, in the current environment of untruth and dishonesty.  Until this week, sheriffs could keep for themselves any excess public money after they had paid for prisoners’ meals.  Yes, you heard right.  Taxpayer dollars fund the upkeep of prisoners, including meals.  So, say the budget calls for $15,600 for prisoner meals for a given week in Etowah County, Alabama.  And say that in the month of May, there were fewer than usual prisoners, and in addition, Sheriff Bubba arranged for some really cheap mac ‘n cheese to be served up twice a day in lieu of a protein, such as … um … meat.  So, the meals only ended up costing around $8,100 for the month.  Well, Sheriff Bubba can now put his darling daughter Darlene through her first two years of college, for he gets to pocket the $7,500 that was budgeted but not spent on prisoner’s meals!  And that’s how it was in ol’ Alabama, until …

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey stepped in and said, NO MORE!!!Kay-Ivey“Public funds should be used for public purposes.  It’s that simple.”

Good grief, people!!!  This really isn’t rocket science!  Sheriffs get paid a salary … skimping on prisoner’s meals shouldn’t result in extra money in the sheriff’s pocket!  Can you even imagine what abuses that must have led to over the years?

A practice begun in the Depression was upheld in 2008 in a ruling by then-Attorney General Troy King, who said a “sheriff may retain any surplus from the food service allowance as personal income,” noting that “most of the sheriffs in the state have retained the food service allowances for personal income for years.”

How many other states, I wonder, engage in similar practices?

say whatLast year NPR reported on a sheriff in Alabama’s Etowah County: “Voters in Alabama lost their appetite for a sheriff who personally profited off hundreds of thousands of dollars meant to buy food for inmates at the Etowah County Jail. Sheriff Todd Entrekin lost his re-election campaign during the Republican primary on Tuesday.”

“At a news conference in March, Entrekin confirmed that he had personally profited by hundreds of thousands of dollars by reducing costs in jail kitchens. He emphasized that it was legal, denied that inmates experienced malnutrition — while agreeing that many ‘are not happy with the food they are served’ — and urged the state to pass a law prohibiting sheriffs from taking the money as personal profit.

Reporters also noted that Entrekin purchased a beach house for $740,000. In his news conference, Entrekin denied there was a link between his hundreds of thousands of dollars in jail-kitchen income and his property purchase, noting that his wife’s income was also factored into the mortgage.”

For decades lawmakers have been trying to change this ‘policy’, but without success.  Governor Ivey stepped up to the plate and succeeded where others had failed, and is hoping to get the matter put to bed once and for all by the Alabama Legislature later this year

“I have changed the way these funds are handled because it is the right thing to do. The law is clear, the attorney general’s opinion is clear, and now I have been clear. I urge the Legislature to follow my lead and codify this policy into law during the next regular session.”

This one just left me speechless.  How could anybody ever think this was okay?


Then there was the letter PayPal sent to a customer … a deceased customer:

“Dear Mrs Lindsay Durdle,

This is a default notice…You are in breach of condition 15.4(c) of your agreement with PayPal Credit as we have received notice that you are deceased. In accordance with condition 15.4(c), we are entitled to close your account, terminate your agreement and demand repayment of the full amount outstanding.”

PayPal letterHas your jaw dropped yet?  Did they expect her to respond, I wonder?  Ms. Durdle died last May of cancer at age 37.  Her husband had sent a letter to PayPal informing them of her death.  He provided PayPal with copies of her death certificate, her will and his ID, as requested.  Her will?  I’ve never heard of such!  And then to get this response from PayPal?  Unfathomable!

PayPal has since realized their error and issued an apology to Mr. Durdle, who said …

“If I’m going to make any fuss about this at all, it’s to make sure that PayPal – or any other organisation that might do this kind of insensitive thing – recognises the damage they can cause the recently bereaved.”

A reasonable response, and much nicer than mine would have been.

 

Islands in the Stream

I have a feeling that not too many of you are country music fans, and quite honestly I’m not terribly fond of most country music, either.  I absolutely cannot stand bluegrass music, nor gospel.  And I don’t like anything that has a lot of twang and whiny lyrics. But there are some exceptions, and Kenny Rogers is definitely one of my exceptions.

Tonight’s song, Islands in the Stream, was written by the Bee Gees and is sung here by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton.  Named after the Ernest Hemingway novel, it was originally written for Marvin Gaye in an R&B style, only later to be changed for the Kenny Rogers album. It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers’ album Eyes That See in the Dark.eyes that see in the darkThe song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, giving both Rogers and Parton their second pop number-one hit (after Rogers’ “Lady” in 1980 and Parton’s “9 to 5” in 1981). It also topped the Country and Adult Contemporary charts.

I like the song … I like the energy and the camaraderie between Kenny & Dolly.  And … yes, I admit it … I don’t mind a bit looking at Kenny Rogers … he is not at all hard on the eyes!

kenny rogers

Islands in the Stream

Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers

 

Baby when I met you there was peace unknown

I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb

I was soft inside

There was something going on

 

You do something to me that I can’t explain

Hold me closer and I feel no pain

Every beat of my heart

We got something going on

 

Tender love is blind

It requires a dedication

All this love we feel needs no conversation

We ride it together, ah ha

Making love with each other, ah ha

 

Islands in the stream

That is what we are

No one in between

How can we be wrong

Sail away with me

To another world

And we rely on each other, ah ha

From one lover to another, ah ha

 

I can’t live without you if the love was gone

Everything is nothing if you got no one

And you just walk in the night

Slowly losing sight of the real thing

 

But that won’t happen to us and we got no doubt

Too deep in love and we got no way out

And the message is clear

This could be the year for the real thing

 

No more will you cry

Baby I will hurt you never

We start and end as one

In love forever

We can ride it together, ah ha

Making love with each other, ah ha

 

Islands in the stream

That is what we are

No one in between

How can we be wrong

Sail away with me

To another world

And we rely on each other, ah ha

From one lover to another, ah ha

 

Islands in the stream

That is what we are

No one in between

How can we be wrong

Sail away with me

To another world

And we rely on each other, ah ha

From one lover to another, ah ha

 

Islands in the stream

That is what we are

No one in between

How can we be wrong

Sail away with me

To another world

And we rely on each other, ah ha

From one lover to another, ah ha

 

Islands in the stream

That is what we are

No one in between

 

Songwriters: Barry Gibb / Maurice Ernest Gibb / Robin Hugh Gibb

Islands in the Stream lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

Trade War Without Ammo

Donald Trump has started a full-blown trade war with his tariffs on both allies and others. He claims that “a trade war is easy to win”, but nothing could be further from the truth, and frankly Trump’s simplistic view is tiresome and dangerous. I have a good grasp of what the short-term effects of this trade war are likely to have here in the U.S., but beyond that, my understanding of macro-economics is sketchy. Fellow blogger Erik Hare, on the other hand, is an economist and therefore understands far better than I what is likely to happen on the global scene. Please take a few minutes to read Erik’s assessment of the current situation. Thank you, Erik, for your keen insight and for allowing me to share this post.

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

The trade war is definitely on, no matter how Wall Street wants to deny it. Serious investors have downplayed recent events as part of a grand strategy, a negotiating tool that will all work out in the end. The reality, that there isn’t really a good strategy in place here but simply petty tactics, has not sunk in yet, at least in America. But the rest of the world knows better.

For the purposes of this discussion, the European Union will be diminished to Germany. After all, this is the economic engine that powers the continent right now, and Merkel’s leadership is critical. Where is Germany going? The long and short of it, the strategic and the tactical, is to the east. This response is proof enough that there is no US strategy which makes any sense.

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Define “Generous” Please …

My jaw literally (well, okay, figuratively) dropped to the floor this morning when I saw this headline:

HHS Secretary: Separating Immigrant Families Is ‘One of the Great Acts of American Generosity’

Say what???

The separation of children from their parents at the southern border can be defined by only two words:  a fiasco, and chaos.  ‘Generosity’ is definitely the antithesis of what this nation has done to those families seeking a safe haven.  A federal judge ordered all children under the age of five to be reunited with their parents by July 10th  — yesterday.  However, some 84 of the 101 or 102 children under five remain separated from their families in detention centers, aka concentration camps.  How is this ‘generous’?

“We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities.” That was Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday night, referring to what he calls the juvenile and “tender age” facilities in which many of the separated children are currently being detained. It seems strange to me that if they have nothing to hide, they have barred media outlets and public figures from filming or visiting. And then he went on to say …

“It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids.” 

I call FOUL!!!  There is no generosity involved in taking a young child, a toddler, from its mother’s arms and putting it in an abandoned Wal-Mart store, surrounded by wire and strange faces!  And why is he referring to them as ‘unaccompanied’?  A two-year-old child does not just wander across the border on his own.  These children were accompanied by their parents!!!  Three thousand – 3,000 – children were accompanied by their parents, then taken away to detention centers, scared, alone, and not knowing why they are no longer with their parents.  And Mr. Azar calls this ‘generous’?  Perhaps his definition of the word is different than mine.  Or perhaps he is in the wrong job, for his agency is titled “Health and Human Services”, and there is nothing … not one thing … humanitarian about what is happening to these children!

HHS and ICE have so royally mucked up this entire fiasco that they deserve to be placed in these detention centers themselves.  First, they have lost track of some 20% of the parents who were either released in the U.S. or deported back to their homelands – without their children.  Second, they are claiming that 27 of the children under 5 will not be reunited because the parents have ‘criminal records’, yet we are not told what crimes they are accused of.  Perhaps nothing more than a speeding ticket or jaywalking in some cases.  We don’t know … we just don’t know.  And frankly, I no longer trust our government to provide us with actual facts, for thus far we have been spoon-fed the b.s. that they want us to believe and I do not buy a single word of it.

The delay in reuniting the children, we are told, is because HHS is conducting DNA testing on children and parents in order to ensure the right kids go to the right families.  I see this more as a delaying tactic than a genuine concern for the children’s safety and welfare.  Part of the reason for the DNA requirement, according to officials, is that the documents proving parentage were initially taken from the parents at the border, and those documents have since been lost!  They cannot keep up with the parents, they cannot keep up with the paperwork … what next?  And now we are told that at least four of the mothers have been told they must pay the cost for the DNA testing before getting their children back!  These mothers do not have $700 – $800 in their pockets!

There are many people in this administration who must bear the guilt of this fiasco, but at the end of the day, it all falls squarely in the lap of Donald Trump.  Separating these children from their parents was a political move, making the children pawns in Trump’s game.  The process was hastily thrown together with little or no thought to record-keeping and eventual reunification.  These children and their parents are human beings, yet they have been treated as … objects, for lack of a better word.  And now, to add insult to injury, Alex Azar has the unmitigated gall to call what we are doing ‘generous’?  I don’t think so, Alex … no sir, I do not see generosity anywhere in this equation.

The Rainbow Connection …

I have absolutely no idea why I keep feeling a compulsion to share music with you guys every night, and I don’t imagine this will last long.  I suspect it is my way of working through the mass of angst that resides somewhere in the core of me at the moment. As I chat with you all via comments, write my posts for the next day, and do other tasks such as research, scanning the news, etc., I am most always listening to something (sometimes I am simply listening to the purrrrrr of a contented kittie in my lap).  I cannot write while I listen to anything with lyrics, for I am too easily distracted, so while I am writing, I am usually listening to Beethoven’s Pastorale or other classical selections.  But then later, I come upon something and for some reason just feel compelled to share.  Bear with me, for I’m sure this phase will pass, but meanwhile, I hope you enjoy at least some of the tunes.

Tonight, I find myself softly singing the Rainbow Connection … as sung by my favourite, Kermit THE Frog!  ♫  There is a better version done by the Carpenters, but somehow … sometimes … nothing will do but the Kermit version! (For the record, Willie Nelson even did a version of this, which I have not heard.  I love Willie … in some things, like Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain, and Always on my Mind, but the Rainbow Connection???  NO … just no.)

 

Good People Doing Good Things — Cops!

It’s Wednesday and that means … 🥁 drumroll 🥁 … it’s time to go in search of some good people who are doing good things for others, for the environment, or helping animals … whatever.  I thought about today’s post, and I had picked out several young people to highlight.  But then a story about a police officer came to my attention and I was thinking about all the negative publicity police officers get these days … and so, I went in search of cops who are doing good things.  Certainly there are cops out there who deserve to be shunned, but I suspect that the majority became policemen and women because they wanted to help people, wanted to be a part of helping to keep the world safe, and they deserve to be recognized.  The ones I found are guilty of doing only small things, but I was encouraged by these stories, and I hope you will be too.


Meet Toronto Police Constable Niran JeyanesanConstable Niran JeyanesanLast Monday, Constable Jeyanesan and his partner responded to a call at a local Wal-Mart.  The store’s security officer had apprehended an 18-year-old shoplifter caught trying to steal a dress shirt, tie and a pair of socks.  Odd assortment for a teenager to steal, don’t you think?  Well, Constable Jeyanesan talked to the boy and discovered that his family was struggling, his dad had been out of work, and he had a job interview the next day, so he was stealing the clothes in order to look his best.

“This young person has been facing his own difficulties in life and he was looking to straighten out all that by providing for his family and trying to get a job. This individual didn’t have any resources. He wanted to go get that job. That was in his mind. I think he truly made a mistake.”

Instead of arresting the young man, the constable took the money from his own pocket and bought the young man the clothes!  Jeyanesan’s staff sergeant, supported his decision fully, saying …

“It reiterates our goal of being positive role models in the community. Every circumstance is different and in this particular case the individual had undergone some personal difficulties and the officer wanted to help him out with that, and I think collectively that’s why we are all here doing this job.”

The young man contacted Constable Jeyanesan later that week to let him know that he got the job!  And not only that … Constable Jeyanesan contacted some friends, and through his connections, they were able to get the young shoplifter’s father a job also!  This, folks, is what serving the community is all about!


A similar story …

Last month, a young mother in Laurel, Maryland didn’t have enough money to pay for both food and diapers, so she was caught by store security officers trying to steal the two packs of diapers worth about $15.  Police were called, and Officer Bennett Johns responded to the call. Bennet JohnsJohns realized the woman was struggling to provide for her son, and as someone who grew up with a single mother, he wanted to help both mother and child, so he paid for the diapers with his own money.

The city of Laurel has since referred the woman to an advocacy service that helps struggling families in the area.  Police spokeswoman Audrey Barnes said of Johns actions …

“Just out of personal kindness, he decided to go ahead and buy them. It speaks to the heart of what community policing is all about.”

Yes ma’am, it surely does!


This one happened back in July 2016, two years ago, and while I usually only go with recent stories, this one so touched me when I came across it tonight that I couldn’t resist.  It was shortly after the shooting of two black men by police – Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – followed by the fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally, so tensions were running high.

A group of cops were eating at a diner in Homestead, Pennsylvania when a couple entered the diner.  The man eyed the cops and told the server that he did not want to sit anywhere near them.  The officers overheard the conversation and what did they do?  They paid for the couple’s meal!  And they included a note …

Homestead-PA-cops“Sir, your check was paid for by the police officers you didn’t want to sit next to. Thank you for your support. I left a $10 tip too.”

One of the officers, Chuck Thomas, said …Chuck Thomas

“The day after Dallas, it was tight. You could feel the tension in the air. A lot of people did come up to us and thank us and shook hands and spoke of their sorrow. This was the only negative experience of the day. Essentially that was the whole goal of it was to let him know that we’re not here to hurt you. We’re not here for that. We’re here for you. We work for the public, and we just want to better the relationship between the community and the police.”

Again … this is how police can earn the trust of the community, bring people together rather than driving a wedge.  This is a fine example of community policing!


Last January, Corporal James Rowe and Corporal Hue Pham of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana police department received a call about a woman down near a bus stop, with no word of whether she was conscious or not.  When they arrived, they discovered an elderly woman with no shoes, wet socks, and wrapped in a blanket.  The officers wasted no time buying her a hot meal, but took things a step further when they used their own money to get her some dry clothes, fresh socks, and even put her up in a hotel for three nights. Rowe-PhamA local newsman asked the duo why they had gone above and beyond the call of duty:

“We are just in a situation where we’re blessed and able to help other people. Put yourself in that situation. If it’s my family, my friend, or me in that situation, I’d like somebody to help me.”

With nearly 20 years on the force between them, the duo say it’s not their first time helping out someone in need. Just over two years ago, they were among three officers recognized for buying clothes for a baby left in the cold while its mother was arrested. “That’s just how we are,” said Rowe. “I mean we love to help people.”


A few bad cops have, unfortunately, given police a bad name.  There are bad cops, just as there are bad lawyers, accountants, janitors, teenagers, and … well, name any group, and there are some who set a very bad example.  But we need to try to remember not to judge an entire group by a few.  Remember that old song by the Jackson Five, One Bad Apple?  My hat is off to the officers highlighted above and the many, many others who risk their lives every day to help keep us safe.  Thank you, Officers.

An addendum:  Oh, the irony!  I live in a diverse neighborhood, and seeing the cops here in da ‘hood is not unusual.  As I was writing this piece, around 11:00, there was a loud and non-stop pounding on the front door!  I jumped up, opened the door, and there stood a huge police officer, glaring at me.  Behind him were 3 teenage boys.  He turned to the boys and said, “Is this the lady?”  They looked at me, their eyes grew wide, and all three shook their heads in unison.  The officer apologized, I thanked him for giving me heart failure, and he and the teens went on down the street.  I have no idea what that was about … I’m just glad I wasn’t “the lady” they were seeking!

On Promises …

What is a promise and how important is it?  I rarely make promises … never, unless I am reasonably certain that, barring any unforeseen catastrophic event, I will be able to keep that promise.  Because I live by this standard, my family & friends know that a promise from me has value, is not an empty promise.  A promise, to me, is a symbol of my honour, of my word.  To break a promise is a breach of trust, and trust is important to me.  I find that trust is one of those things that has a very tenuous thread, and once broken, is never fully restored.

With that said, however, promises ought to be right and just.  If I promise Miss Goose that from now on, every meal will consist only of sweet treats, it is a foolish promise, I am a fool for making it, and she is the bigger fool for believing it.  It would be a promise to harm her, as it were, to make her less healthy.  It is what I think of as a negative promise, one that does harm … in other words, a threat.

On the campaign trail from June 2015 to present, Donald Trump made a number of promises to his Kool-Aid-drinking minions.  He promised to build a wall to keep out immigrants on the southern U.S.-Mexican border.  He promised immigration reform and to keep out Muslims.  He promised to undo basically everything that President Obama had done – good, bad or neutral.  He promised to undo the non-existent “war on coal” and bring back jobs in the coal mining industry.  Let’s take a closer look at a couple of Trump’s more egregious promises, or threats, as it were, see where they stand and assess whether they have helped or harmed the nation.

One of the first ones that comes to my mind is his ‘promise’ to repeal ACA, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’.  I’d just like to point out that little word ‘care’ in there.  Well, Trump was unsuccessful, thanks to Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.  However, he has chinked away at ACA by way of executive order, to the point that by the end of this year, there will be several million people without insurance, without access to affordable health care — people who were covered before Trump took office.  The latest assault on ACA came just two days ago, when Trump ordered the halting of billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

Insurers say this move will result in higher premiums for millions of people.  For most of those millions of people, higher premiums mean they will have no choice but to drop their insurance.  It will also lead to insurance companies refusing customers who have pre-existing conditions, else setting the premiums out of reach to such individuals.  Why?  Because Donald Trump made a promise to his base.  Now, never mind that his base will be negatively affected by his keeping of this particular promise as much as any of us.  Frankly, sorry folks, I don’t want to sound cruel, but I will choke on my coffee as I laugh uproariously when I hear the first republican whine and wheedle about not being able to afford her medicine, or having to pay $300 just to see her primary care physician!  ‘Welcome to my world’, I will say!

Let’s talk taxes, shall we?

Trump made a number of tax-related promise/threats.  The first was that he would cut corporate income taxes from 35% to 15%.  Well, he failed in that promise and was only able to cut them down to 21% … do I hear an “awwwwww”?  Another part of his illustrious tax plan was to allow Americans to deduct child care and elder care from their taxes.  Well, folks, sorry to tell you but that one went by the wayside.  Along the same lines, he promised to create tax-free dependent care savings accounts for young and elderly dependents.  Nope, not even on the docket.  Oh … here’s one … he promised to provide matching contributions for low-income families to the dependent care savings accounts!  Nope, not a snowball’s chance in hell.  But what about the one where he promised to incentivize employers to provide on-site child-care services?  Sorry, sucker!  But hey!  Those big corporations got their 14% tax cut, and you know that since they have such big hearts and good intentions, all of that lovely money will ‘trickle down’ to us little folk, right? evil laughBriefly, a few of his other “promises”.  He promised to …

  • Enact new ethics reforms to reduce the corrupting influence of special interests. Um … ethics schmethics.  He has, among his administration, some of the most corrupt individuals in the history of the U.S.  Think Scott Pruitt.  Jared Kushner.  Ivanka Trump. Trump himself.  And the list goes on … and on …
  • Make two- and four-year college more affordable. Trump’s budget contains deep cuts in aid for low-income and first-generation college students. The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a 50-year-old program, for a savings of $732 million, which goes to more than a million poor college kids each year. The budget would also reduce Federal Work Study “significantly” though no dollar figure was given. The tax bill that Trump signed raised taxes on four-year universities. How is any of this making college more affordable???
  • Establish tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free. Well, he established tariffs alright, but the results are the exact opposite of what he promised.  Companies are already beginning to lay off workers, and considering moving operations overseas – think Harley Davidson for starters.

For a more complete list, check out the Trump Promise Tracker in The Washington Post  .  Although it isn’t quite up to date (April 2018) it is the best I’ve found so far.

In short, Trump made some 60+ ‘promises’ to the people of this nation. A handful would have been to the benefit of the people, but those he did not even attempt to keep.  The rest were threats.  The threat to take away healthcare from those of us who are not wealthy.  The threat to decrease corporate taxes, thereby decreasing the nation’s revenue, increasing both debt and deficit, and leaving the rest of us without much needed services that can no longer be funded.  The threat to put “America First”, which has isolated us from our allies, put us in danger of a trade war, and proven to the world that we cannot be trusted to keep our word (Paris Accord, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.).

Promises should be kept.  Unless they are the wrong thing, made for all the wrong reasons, but then they are not promises, they are threats.  Trust is earned.  Loyalty is earned.  Need I say more?

The Impossible Dream …

Yesterday, I posted the John Lennon song, Imagine, and most of you liked it and noted how wonderful it would be to live in the world of Lennon’s imagination.  Last night, our friend Nan made the following comment:

As much as I regret saying it, I fear his words will remain as “imagination” for the foreseeable future.
But it is nice to dream such a dream …

On reading her comment, another song immediately came to mind, and I share it with you today, for I think it is fitting for the moment.  There are many, many versions of this by a variety of singers (even Gomer Pyle did one!) but this is the man, Richard Kiley, who sang the original in Man of La Mancha, and I find it the most moving and powerful …

The Impossible Dream

Lyrics by Joe Darion
Music by Mitch Leigh

To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unbeatable foe,
to bear with unbearable sorrow,
to run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
to love pure and chaste from afar,
to try when your arms are too weary,
to reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest,
to follow that star —
no matter how hopeless,
no matter how far.

To fight for the right
without question or pause,
to be willing to march into hell for a
heavenly cause.

And I know if I’ll only be true to this
glorious quest
that my heart will be peaceful and calm
when I’m laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
that one man scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last ounce of courage.
To reach the unreachable stars.

When They Go Low …

Okay, folks … we need to do better.  Midterm elections are in just under four months, we have some inherent advantages going into the elections, but we also have some significant disadvantages, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot!

This morning’s Washington Post reports that members of Trump’s staff are being subjected to public humiliation, taunts, hecklers and even thinly-veiled threats.  Those who engage in such behaviours are doing two things:  they are lowering ‘us’ to ‘their’ level, and they are damaging the image of all democrats.

Mind you, I understand the urge.  Donald Trump is disgusting, as are the majority of his staff and cabinet members, not to mention a large number of the members of Congress.  Together, they have made a mockery of all we thought this nation stood for, and they are seemingly intent on destroying the U.S. Constitution within four years. The desire to confront and denigrate them is one we can all relate to.  BUT … in this case, the old saying ‘fight fire with fire’ is wrong and is going to cost the nation if this insanity continues.  Sure, it may be fun to yell at Kellyanne Conway, telling her she should ‘be ashamed’, but what does it gain, really?

First, there was the owner of the Red Hen restaurant who asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family to leave.  A week ago, a teacher interrupted her lunch at a restaurant to tell Scott Pruitt — eating with an aide a few feet away — that he should resign as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  On at least two occasions, demonstrators have assembled outside the home of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.  Two weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen walked out of a downtown Mexican restaurant after demonstrators followed her inside to rail against the administration for separating children from migrant parents. “Shame!” the protesters shouted while Nielsen remained in her seat, her head down as she typed messages on her smartphone.

Then last month, Congresswoman Maxine Waters issued the following plea:

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them!”

Predictably, Trump shot back by calling her a low-IQ person, as he always does when he doesn’t know what else to say, and then claimed that she had called for harm to his supporters, which was not true, but when did Trump ever let a little thing like the truth get in his way?  Still, Ms. Waters was wrong and those who are taking her words literally and acting upon them are also wrong.  What is the difference, I ask you dear readers, between what Ms. Waters said and the times Trump has said similar things at his rallies?  There is no difference and two wrongs do not make a right.

We are playing right into the hands of the Trump administration and the GOP.  Newt Gingrich was buoyed by the very public protests, saying, “They should take solace in the fact that we must be winning, since these people are so crazy. They used to be passive because they thought they were the future. Now they know we’re the future, and it’s driving them nuts.”

The November mid-terms hold enough challenges for democrats as it is.  There are gerrymandered districts, designed to concentrate the minority vote into only a few districts.  There are challenges such as states trying to pass stricter and more restrictive voter ID requirements.  Polling places are being reduced and the hours cut back, especially in areas where there is a concentration of poor or minority voters.  At least one state has passed a law making it legal to remove voters from the rolls if they have not voted for the last two years.  And then there is the anticipated interference by Russia, which has been verified by officials throughout the security community, but little appears to be being done to stop it.  With all these challenges, we do not need to act like 10-year-old children and tarnish our image, for you know that the COP will pounce on any opportunity to highlight our mistakes.

We all have a voice and we should use it.  Write OpEds, write a blog, reach out to the opposition, help your local party canvass the neighborhood, and most important of all, use your voice to VOTE on November 6th.  Use your voice wisely, for if you don’t, we may all stand to lose our voices.

I have no respect or tolerance for the likes of Conway, Sanders, Miller, Nielsen or any of the other sycophants who slavishly follow Trump.  BUT … I believe that no matter how obnoxious they are, they are entitled to a personal life without being provoked and harassed because of their job. The vast majority of Trump’s more well-known staff and cabinet members do not deserve the positions they hold.  They do not deserve their hefty salaries that are paid from our tax dollars.  However they also do not deserve public harassment and their families should always, always be off-limits.  Democrat or republican should not matter … we are human beings and adults, let’s try to act like it?