They Walk Among Us …

I stopped doing my Idiot of the Week feature around the end of 2017, for a few reasons.  It was fun, but rather irrelevant.  There were so many idiots that it was difficult to keep up.  And a few people felt it was in poor taste, an insult to idiots everywhere.  But I have to say that looking at the news every day, I’m thinking about starting it back up!  They are everywhere you turn!  Three in particular stand out today, and if I were still doing the IotW feature, these would be the first three I would choose.


Da Godfather wannabe?Matt-GaetzIt really does seem that Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida has a problem.  I wrote about him just a few weeks ago (February 7th) for making an utter fool of himself at a House Judiciary Committee meeting on gun regulation whereby he piped up and said we need to build a wall.  This left most of us scratching our heads.  And now, he has opened himself to an investigation by the Florida State Bar Association.  Is he begging for an Idiot of the Week award or what???

What did he do this time, you ask?  He tweeted the following to Michael Cohen on the day before Mr. Cohen was scheduled to begin his testimony before Congress …

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 — Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?  Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot.”

I’m beginning to think Mr. Gaetz works for Don Corleone!  Sounds like “tough mob” talk, except from an amateur.  His excuse was … wait for it … he was “witness testing”.  Where I come from, it is called witness intimidation and witness tampering, both of which are quite illegal.  But then, as I wrote earlier this month, Mr. Gaetz has, like his hero in the White House, never been particularly a fan of the law and follows it only when it suits him, hence the picture on the right (above) in prison orange!


Wah wah wah …

kellyanneIf Kellyanne whines as much at home as she does in the media, it’s a thousand wonders that George (Conway) hasn’t sent her packing already.  All she ever does, it seems, is complain and point her knobby finger of blame … most always toward people who have a bit of good sense.

“There’s no question the Republican House failed, and they failed us in securing the border, but they also failed to make good on the promise to him that we would get that money for the wall They completely lied about that.”

Can’t you just hear that nasal whine in her voice?

No, Kellyanne, the republicans who did not support the building of Trump’s ego-wall, finally realized that for once they better listen to the people of this nation.  The people of this nation … at least the large majority of the people in this nation, do not want a stupid wall on the southern border that would be inhumane and also interfere greatly with the economies of the border states.  You, madam, need to study a bit and learn some facts before opening that mouth of yours!  Ask your husband … he can enlighten you!


From bad to worse …

Earlier this week, in light of election fraud committed by a member of Mark Harris’ campaign staff who went about the ninth district of North Carolina collecting people’s absentee ballots, destroying the ones that weren’t for Mr. Harris, Mark Harris removed himself from the upcoming repeat election.  At first, I was pleased by this, but then I started wondering who would replace him as the republican candidate.

Remember Georgia’s own idiot, Brian Kemp, who liked posing for campaign ads with a gun, and in one case with a rifle pointed at his daughter’s boyfriend?  Well … I guess that in the South, every state, by law, must have at least one such idiot!

Meet Mr. Stony Rushing, the new republican candidate replacing Mark Harris …Stony-Rushing

Mr. Rushing is, as you might guess from the above campaign poster from when he was running for Country Commissioner, yet another gun nut.  Even better, he has fashioned himself after Boss Hogg from that ol’ television show, The Dukes of Hazzard!

See the resemblance?  Note the white costume and the cigar?

Rushing owns a gun store and shooting range, and is an advocate for keeping the Confederate flag flying.  It is likely that ol’ Stony will have to share the stage with at least two other republican candidates, and let us hope that at least one of them is sane!  Think about it … this guy could be sitting in the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in just a month or two!  {shudder}


Where do all these people come from? I’m not sure, but there is one common denominator, in case you haven’t picked up on it yet – they are all members of the Republican Party. Need I say more?

Against All Advice …

What happens when you are ignorant of a certain situation, yet you make a decision that will impact the lives of millions, and nearly 100 well-informed, well-educated, highly-knowledgeable people tell you that you are wrong?  Do you listen to what they say and perhaps alter your decision?  Or do you tell them to sit down and shut up, and proceed down a destructive path?  Depends on who you are.  If you are a wise person, a thinker, you listen, and you ask questions and you re-evaluate your position.  If, however, you are Donald Trump, you throw the wizards overboard and give the order for “full steam ahead!”, even though the iceberg looms larger and larger.

Ten days ago, Don Trump declared a “state of national emergency”, even as he admitted that there is no emergency, that he could have attempted to go through legal channels, but he wanted to do it faster. He. Wanted. And now, he intends to divert funds that are needed for the safety and well being of the people of this nation to build a wall that wiser men know is not necessary and that almost nobody in the country wants.

Today, a group of 25 former republican members of Congress published an open letter appealing to Congress to block Trump’s intent to act against the Constitution and against the people of this nation.

Also today, a bipartisan group of 58 former senior national security officials issued a statement saying that “there is no factual basis” for President Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.  There is no factual basis.  It is a figment of Trump’s imagination.  It is a waste of our precious resources.  It is an ego trip.

Last Monday, a coalition of sixteen states filed a lawsuit to block Trump’s plan to build a border wall without permission from Congress, arguing that the president’s decision to declare a national emergency is unconstitutional.  The states that are participating in the lawsuit are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Virginia

If your state isn’t listed here, you need to get in touch with your governor and let him know in no uncertain terms that he needs to take this seriously and join this coalition.

Tomorrow, the House will vote on a resolution to block Trump’s declaration.  The vote is almost certain to pass the House, which will force the Senate to bring it to a vote within 18 days.  If the Senate fails to vote to block the declaration, then shame on the Senate and every senator who votes ‘nay’ must be voted out of office at the earliest possible date.  Trump has forcefully declared that he will veto the measure, but with a 2/3 majority, any veto can be overridden.  At the very least, it sends a message that his decision is NOT what the people of this nation need or want.

But back to the statement by the 58 former national security officials.

“Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border.”

These are people who know what they are talking about.  They are people who have been responsible for the safety and well-being of the nation.  They are people educated and with experience in the area of national security.  And they see no reason to declare a state of emergency.  The little boy, Donnie, has cried “Wolf!” one time too many.

In addition to Madeline Albright, other signers include such highly respected dignitaries as Eliot A. Cohen, State Department counselor under President George W. Bush; Thomas R. Pickering, President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations; John F. Kerry, Obama’s second secretary of state; Susan E. Rice, Obama’s national security adviser; Leon E. Panetta, Obama’s CIA director and defense secretary; as well as former intelligence and security officials who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Among other things, they said, illegal border crossings are at nearly 40-year lows. Undetected unlawful entries at the U.S.-Mexico border decreased from 851,000 to nearly 62,000 between 2006 and 2016, they said, citing Department of Homeland Security statistics.  They also argue that redirecting money pursuant to the national emergency declaration “will undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

Donald Trump’s background is in television and building hotels and casinos.  Nothing … nothing in his experience has prepared him to make the decisions he is making as he sits in the Oval Office.  He has not the background, the knowledge, nor the understanding to make such decisions.  Further, he has chased off the advisors who did have the ability to advise him wisely and replaced them with people who pander to his ego.  It has been repeatedly reported that he does not read and he does not listen to those with more knowledge than he.

If 58 chefs tell a novice cook not to use rotten milk else it will spoil the pudding, the cook darn well better listen!  This ‘chef’ is blind, deaf and dumb, yet he is making decisions that will affect the lives of over 300 million people!  It is past time for Congress to act to stop this madness!

Dodging Bullets …

“I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”

Hasson-wife-son

Christopher Hasson (left) with wife and son

Those are the words of Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and white supremacist who was arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home last Friday.  Authorities say he intended to launch a widespread domestic terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists.

But WAIT!  Weren’t we told that the “national emergency”, the threat to our well-being, our lives and safety was at the southern border, and that the terrorists were Latinos crossing the border from Mexico and Central America?  And before that, weren’t we told that all terrorists were people who came here from the Middle East?  Wait, wait, wait … I need some answers here!  Somebody has obviously lied to us!

The authorities said Mr. Hasson had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”Hasson-spreadsheetMr. Hasson served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1993. He was then on active duty with the Army National Guard for approximately two years. He began working for the Coast Guard in 2016.  But … we are supposed to be afraid of our Muslim and Hispanic neighbors???  Can somebody find a logical explanation, for I have scratched my head until it bleeds!

Here is a partial list of some of the people Mr. Hasson had in his crosshairs …

  • Richard Blumenthal
  • Cory Booker
  • Chris Cuomo
  • Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Kamala Harris
  • Chris Hayes
  • Van Jones
  • Tim Kaine
  • Sheila Jackson Lee
  • Don Lemon
  • Ari Melber
  • Ilhan Omar
  • Beto O’Rourke
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • John Podesta
  • Joe Scarborough
  • Chuck Schumer
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Maxine Waters
  • Angela Davis

At least five of those names are democratic candidates for president in 2020.  At least four are well-respected, notable journalists.  Others are members of Congress.  This man planned to completely eradicate the most prominent democrats in our government and turn Washington D.C. into total chaos.  And what, I wonder, would Donald Trump or his mouthpiece Sarah Huckabee Sanders have said if he had succeeded in his plot?  What would Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association have had to say?

Hasson-stash

Part of the stash found in Hasson’s home

Hasson was also planning to use biological weapons such as the Spanish flu, botulism, and anthrax to “kill almost every last person on the earth” followed by attacks on the food supply.  An email found on his computer said …

“Liberalist/globalist ideology is destroying traditional peoples esp white. No way to counteract without violence. It should push for more crack down bringing more people to our side. Much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch. Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism. Excluding of course the muslim scum. Who rightfully despise the west’s liberal degeneracy.”

Chilled yet?  See, here’s the thing: They caught Christopher Hasson before he could put his plan into action, but how many more are out there?  Yes, sure, he’s a lunatic, a mentally unstable person.  But folks … he was a Lieutenant in the Coast Guard!  He had served in the USMC!  And nobody realized that he was unstable, that he was dangerous, even lethal.  He lived with his wife.  Surely she saw his growing stash of weapons, surely a woman to whom he had been married for decades saw something in his behaviour!

On November 9 2018, just two weeks after the October 27th Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, police in Washington, D.C. arrested Jeffrey Clark.  Jeffrey and his brother Edward were believed to have ties to the Pittsburgh shooter and Edward had killed himself on the day of the Pittsburgh shooting. When they entered the Clark’s home they found hollow-point bullets, “ballistic vests and helmets,” a “marijuana grow” operation and a Nazi flag. A noose dangled from a bunk bed, a small toy hung by its neck, and a flyer was found promoting the neo-Nazi organization known as Atomwaffen Division.

Jeffrey Clark, according to federal prosecutors, had saluted the killings and had fantasized about killing blacks and Jews himself.  Here is a flyer that was found in Clark’s home …Jeffrey-Clark-flyerAnd let us not forget that last October a Florida man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., sent mail bombs to thirteen democrats including Senator Cory Booker, former Vice-President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, Senator Kamala Harris and former DNI James Clapper.

These are isolated incidents and fortunately thus far none have succeeded in their goal to create chaos, murder and mayhem.  But consider this … all it takes is for one of these people with hate in their heart to succeed.  Sooner or later, if we don’t squelch the hate levels in this nation, if we don’t find ways to unite rather than divide, one of these plots will succeed.  Terrorism?  Yes, this is terrorism at its worst, and the perpetrators are not Muslim immigrants from the Middle-East.  The terrorists are not Latinos fleeing violence in Central America.  The terrorists are U.S.-born citizens with bigotry and hate as their driving force.

Two weeks ago, Donald Trump over-stepped his power and declared a “state of national emergency” as a political ploy to build a wall along our southern border to keep what he refers to as ‘terrorists’ from entering the country.  I’ve got news for him … the real terrorists are already here … they have always been here.cropped-pogo.jpg

*Additional information about Hasson and the charges against him

Trump Has Gone Off His Rocker By Declaring A National Emergency Over Funding His Wall

Gronda has said this as well as I could have, so I ask you to read her timely post. Thank you, Gronda.

Gronda Morin

Image result for images of the president declaring a national emergency PRESIDENT TRUMP

The republican President Donald Trump has gone and done it. On the 15th of February 2019, President Trump has agreed to sign off on the budget agreed to by the US Congress avoiding another US government shutdown but he has decided to declare a ‘National Emergency’ to use reallocated taxpayer monies to fund his SW border wall to the tune of an additional $6.5 billion for something that is a non emergency. He even started off this announcement with the words “I didn’t have to do it, but…

It’s the US House which appropriates taxpayer monies which the president has acted to usurp. Of course this action will be challenged in the US courts, but this high risk tactic should have been avoided as it sets a dangerous precedent.

See: Presidents have declared emergencies 59 times since 1976 – ...

See: What exactly is a national emergency

View original post 830 more words

#$%&*@ 👿

I try not to use foul language on this blog, try to keep it professional, but tonight, the title of this blog seems to fit as no other would.  In an attempt to circumvent the United States Congress, and to defy the will and best interest of We the People, Donald Trump has announced his intention to declare a state of ‘national emergency’ today at the same time he signs the budget bill.

Allow me, please, to begin by making one thing perfectly clear …

THERE IS NO DAMN NATIONAL EMERGENCY AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER OR ELSEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!!

There is no emergency, but this is King Trump using the ‘power’ of his office to spend our money on a wall that the majority in the U.S. do not want and that, if built, would damage both the U.S. and Mexico far more than it would help anybody or anything.   The cost of his wall would be astronomical and would deny food and housing to millions of people.  I fully agree with the joint statement issued by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi …

“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.”

Since I am livid and sputtering with rage, my rant is far too likely to turn into an expletive-laden diatribe, so I have decided to let Eugene Robinson, writer for The Washington Post, and a much more professional writer than I, finish this post for me …

We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump.

Eugene-RobinsonBy Eugene Robinson

February 14 at 6:50 PM

We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump, and it is a force of mindless, pointless disruption.

The president’s decision to officially declare an emergency — to pretend to build an unbuildable border wall — is not only an act of constitutional vandalism. It is also an act of cowardice, a way to avoid the wrath of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the far-right commentariat.

It is an end run around Congress and, as such, constitutes a violation of his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — which gives Congress, not the president, the authority to decide how public money is spent. It does not give Trump the right to fund projects that Congress will not approve. Authoritarian leaders do that sort of thing. The puffed-up wannabe strongman now living in the White House is giving it a try.

Let’s be clear: There is no emergency. Arrests for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaked in 2000, nearly two decades ago, at more than 1.5 million a year. They declined sharply under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and, in 2017, were at their lowest point since 1971. In 2018, apprehensions ticked up slightly — but still barely climbed above 400,000.

There has indeed been an increase in families presenting themselves at legal points of entry to seek asylum — those groups of bedraggled Central Americans that Trump calls “caravans.” Under U.S. and international law, these people have an undisputed right to ask for asylum and have their cases evaluated. Again, they come to legal border crossings to seek admission. Only a handful try to navigate the forbidding rural terrain where Trump says he wants to build a wall.

What the administration really needs to do is expand and improve facilities for processing, caring for and, when necessary, housing these asylum seekers. But Trump doesn’t care about doing the right thing, or even the necessary thing. He cares only about being able to claim he is following through on his vicious anti-immigration rhetoric, which brands Mexican would-be migrants as “rapists” and Central Americans as members of the MS-13 street gang.

Trump had two years in which Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate — and could not persuade Congress to give him funding for a wall. He decided to make it an issue only after Democrats won the power to say no. The president’s negotiating strategy — pitching tantrums, walking away from the table, venting on Twitter, provoking the longest partial government shutdown in history — was never going to work. You might think he would have learned something about how Washington works by now, but you would be wrong.

Because there obviously is no legitimate emergency, Trump’s declaration — and the shifting of resources from duly authorized projects to the wall — will surely be challenged in court. It is possible, if not likely, that any actual construction will be held up indefinitely.

Indeed, legal briefs arguing against Trump’s action practically write themselves. An emergency, by definition, is urgent. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, for example, clearly qualified as a national emergency. But Trump has been talking about issuing an emergency declaration to build the wall for a couple of months. If such action wasn’t necessary in December, some judge will surely ask, then why now?

Money for the wall will have to be taken from other projects, all of which have constituencies in Congress and among the public. Ranchers and others whose land would have to be taken by eminent domain for the wall will be up in arms.

Politically, Trump carelessly put Republican senators in a tough spot. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may have the House pass a resolution of disapproval, which the Senate would be compelled to take up. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his caucus would have to decide whether to support a presidential power grab they know is unwise — or oppose Trump and risk the ire of the GOP base.

One of the most strident Republican criticisms of Obama was that he took executive actions that should have been the purview of Congress. But this action by Trump goes much further and sets a dangerous precedent.

What would keep the next Democratic president from declaring an emergency, in the wake of some mass shooting, and imposing a ban on assault weapons? Is that what McConnell wants as his legacy?

Trump cares only that his base is mollified. And that nobody remembers how Mexico was supposed to foot the bill.

The United States of Chaos

I don’t know about you folks, but personally I am beginning to feel very irrelevant, inconsequential when it comes to the current administration and the republicans in Congress.  You will notice, those of you who are employed, that during the 35-day shutdown, federal income taxes continued to be withheld from your paycheck.  Every pay, like clockwork, we pay our taxes, and most of us don’t grumble about it, for we understand that it is our taxes that are used to build roads, maintain the military, provide food and shelter for those less fortunate, and pay the salaries of those who serve in our government.  It is as it should be.  BUT …

I don’t think there is a single person reading this blog who appreciates Donald Trump spending $50,000 for a toy to keep him entertained on rainy afternoons, during his 60% “Executive Time”.  What, you ask, am I prattling on about?  This …

Trump plays a lot of golf, as we all know.  When he was on the campaign trail in 2016, he criticized President Obama for the amount of time he spent playing golf, and said this …

“I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.” – Donald J. Trump, August 2016

And yet, absorb this:  President Obama played 306 rounds of golf during the entire 8 years he was in office, which averages to approximately 38 rounds of golf per year.  But Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who said he would be working so hard that he wouldn’t have time for golf, has averaged 70 rounds of golf per year for his first two years!  Where’s all that hard work, eh?  But back to his latest toy …

During the 35-day government shutdown when nearly a million federal workers were either furloughed sans pay, or were expected to work without being paid, Trump’s advisors were apparently able to convince him that it would look really bad if he were out playing golf instead of working to come to an agreement to re-open the government and pay our people.  And thus, he went … wait for it … 69 days without playing golf!  And thus, the above toy … a room-sized golf simulator game at the cost of what, for most of us, is an entire year’s salary or more.  It is said by an anonymous White House staffer that Trump paid for the toy with his own money, but frankly, until I see a canceled check drawn on his personal checking account, I am skeptical.

It was recently reported that Trump spends 60% of his time doing ‘executive time’ … time that he spends watching television, tweeting and talking on the phone, and that he doesn’t leave his residence to begin work until around 11:00 a.m.  Now, you can add another hour to his ‘executive time’, for that is the time it takes to play a round of golf on the new toy.  I wonder … will he get all hot & sweaty and have to take another 20 minutes for a shower after he plays?

trump-golfing


And in other news … again on the campaign trail, Trump promised this …

  • In his official campaign launch address, Trump promised to “reduce our $18 trillion in debt,” which will not happen if annual deficits hit $1 trillion in two years.
  • On the campaign trail, Trump said he would “freeze the budget,” which has certainly not happened.
  • Shortly before his inauguration, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would “balance the budget very quickly… I think over a five-year period. And I don’t know, maybe I could even surprise you.”
  • Previous to that, in March 2016, he told Bob Woodward that he could get rid of the debt “fairly quickly.” When pressed, he said, “Well, I would say over a period of eight years.” Since Trump took office, his own budget director called that promise “hyperbole.”
  • Trump asserted during the second presidential debate that he would bring back energy companies, which would make so much money that they could pay off the national debt. This has not happened.

None of those things have happened but guess what DID happen.  On Tuesday, 12 February 2019, the national debt hit a record high of $22 trillion, nearly $3 trillion higher than when he took office just over two years ago.  Never before in our history has it topped $21 trillion.  For perspective, that is $22,000,000,000.  And climbing.  Why?  While there is no single reason, the biggest reason is the reduction in revenue as a result of the tax cuts for the wealthy that Congress passed, and Trump signed in December 2017.  As tax filers are finding out this month, those tax cuts were truly for the wealthy, and the average taxpayer got shafted.  And still, he presses on for his unnecessary, useless border wall.

Over the course of the last two years, we have gone from a democratic-republic to a plutocracy, a government by the wealthy.  We have ceased to matter to the current administration.  And while Trump’s supporters may crow about the low unemployment rate and the stable economy … a change is coming.  We cannot continue to exist on high deficit spending and an increasing national debt without paying the consequences which I believe are waiting just around the corner.  A rising national debt has been compared to driving your car with the emergency brake on.  Trump’s house of cards may well be about to come tumbling down around us, but he’s having fun playing with his new golf toy, so … no worries, right?

Meanwhile, the Trumptanic keeps chugging toward the iceberg …iceberg

Putting Paid To The Lie …

I think it’s pretty funny that while Trump carries on like a wild banshee about the need for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while he shrieks about violent criminals “pouring” across the border, the states that are actually on that border say there is no need for the wall.  And they have just about had enough of Trump’s exaggerations and lies affecting their states.  A few examples:

In New Mexico, House Bill 287 would ban construction of a wall on state land along the Mexico border. State Representative Angelica Rubio who sponsored the legislation says she doesn’t believe a wall would solve the problems that many have raised.

“I think when investing in communities, investing in our schools are ahead of the issues that are being raised in the long term will work out, knowing that we’re making those real investments.”

In addition, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered the majority of National Guard troops deployed at her state’s Southern border to withdraw, condemning what she called a “charade of border fear-mongering” by Trump.

“I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the Southern border.” 

She added that the area has “some of the safest communities in the country.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected today to withdraw nearly 400 of his state’s National Guard troops from deployment along the border with Mexico and assign them to other duties.

The city council in Nogales, Arizona, passed a resolution unanimously last Wednesday to formally condemn the excessive razor wire, strung on Trump’s orders.Nogales razor wire.jpgThe resolution demands that it be taken down over safety concerns. Residents and business owners have told local reporters that it makes the town feel like a war zone — “an inquisition,” one said — and worry about the effect on its life and commerce downtown.  Nogales resident Allen Zale, who served with the Army, said it reminded him of his time stationed in Berlin.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said he’s concerned that the wiring is more of a danger than a safety feature because of the way it is installed down to the ground. The town’s code prohibits the use of the wire, which is also known as concertina wire, except in industrial parks and storage areas. Even then, it has to be at least six feet off the ground. The wall it adorns stretches through many residential areas in the city, as close as 10 feet in some places to people’s property.razor-wire.jpgWould you want your kids walking home from school along this lethal path?  Or would you want to live in one of those houses and have to see this every time you look out your window?  It seems to me that Trump has made the town less safe.

U.S. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva who represents the district said

“The additional wire is nothing more than a spectacle by the Trump administration to reinforce his twisted narrative of rampant lawlessness at the border. Border residents know that this mischaracterization couldn’t be further from the truth, and will not stand for the lies perpetrated by the Trump administration.”

And in Texas, State Representative Roland Gutierrez filed a bill on Wednesday to determine what environmental impacts such a wall could bring to the southern part of the state.

“The Rio Grande Floodplain is home to several towns that have seen devastating damage from record breaking floods recently, something that a border wall would only make worse.  Taking thousands of acres from Texas farmers and ranchers while cutting off communities from their own water supply just doesn’t make sense. We have a chance to be the first state Legislature to stand up to the federal government’s unprecedented land grab and we should take it.”

And there you have it, folks.  All four states that share a border with Mexico object to Trump’s wall and have put paid to his lies that the area is rampant with crime and lawlessness brought in by vicious immigrants.  We all knew it was a lie, and now we have it straight from the horses’ mouths.  Further proof, if any needed it, that Trump’s demands for We the Taxpayers to spend $5.7 billion of our hard-earned money on his damn wall is nothing but an ego trip for him.  And this ego trip is likely to lead us into yet another shutdown at midnight on Friday just like the one that lasted 35 days, ending only three weeks ago.

Just One Snarky Snippet …

I mentioned in yesterday afternoon’s post that there had already been 510 gun deaths in the first 37 days of 2019.  Last year saw an increase in gun deaths to the highest level in more than 20 years, with almost 40,000 people killed in shootings.  This represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people – up from 10.1 in 2010 and the highest rate since 1996.

Given the above figures, it only makes sense that our government would be looking into the situation and determining ways to reduce the number of deaths by firearms, right?  Right.  And they are.  Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on gun violence in eight years, since the republicans took a majority in 2011.  Republicans, you see, do not like to talk about gun control.

The hearing room was packed with advocates who had lost family members, friends or classmates, or had survived gun violence themselves.  And, of course there were the members of the Judiciary Committee – both democrats and republicans.  It didn’t get off to a good start, for when Representative Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary’s chairman, attempted to swear in the panel’s speakers, Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana objected that Nadler had omitted the words “so help me God,” and asked him to repeat the oath.  Seriously???  Apparently so, for the speakers were forced to stand again and take the oath again, with the inclusion of “so help me God”.  Nadler had a bit of a smirk on his face, and who can blame him?

But wait … for it gets even better.

The discussion was about guns, the consistently high rate of gun deaths, and what sort of legislation might make our streets, our schools, shopping centers, public venues a bit safer.  Out of the blue, Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz seemed to lose sight of the topic and uttered …Gaetz

“If we really cared about safer streets, we would build a wall and secure the border.  I hope we do not forget the pain, and anguish, and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens. [Firearms background check legislation] would not have stopped many of the circumstances I raised, but a wall, a barrier on the Southern border may have, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”

Say WHAT???  Who invited this lunatic to the party, anyway?  Obviously, he is incapable of focusing on the topic at hand.  And he lies, for there are few who have “been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens”, as compared to those who have been victims of violence, particularly gun violence, at the hands of American citizens.

Now, it so happened that among the people in the hearing room were two men, Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg, both fathers of Parkland shooting victims.  As you might imagine, they were offput by Gaetz disjointed, out-of-context outburst, and uttered a few words of protest.  Gaetz requested that the two men be thrown out of the hearing for “taking up [his] time”.  The rules of the hearing are that the public is not supposed to comment, but Nadler simply warned Mr. Oliver and Mr. Guttenberg, and they acquiesced.  But, Gaetz was not satisfied, saying …

“I’d observe three interruptions of my time by the same individual, and the chair is not exercising his discretion to remove that individual.”

What, exactly, did the two men say to Gaetz?  According to Mr. Guttenberg, “Manny told Gaetz his comments were not true, and I said our loved ones were killed by an American male.”  True statements of fact, but they didn’t seem to fit into Mr. Gaetz’ agenda, and anyway, facts have little relevance to many in the Republican Party, it seems.  Mr. Guttenberg also made note that a number of the republican committee members left after about the first fifteen minutes, including Steve Chabot (Ohio), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Arizona), and Tom McClintock (California).  Time to start the letter-writing if any of these jerks are in your state … let them know we expect them to take gun control seriously!

Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol

Even neoconservative political analyst Bill Kristol was disgusted by Gaetz’ behaviour, tweeting …

“The Founders were well aware the people would sometimes make unfortunate choices for their representatives. But even the Founders with the lowest expectations for popular government would have been astonished at the spectacle of @mattgaetz as a member of Congress.”

Gaetz mug shotMr. Gaetz, it would seem, has a few skeletons in his own closet.  First, here is his mug shot from a 2008 DUI arrest.  Even though he refused the breathalyzer test, he did not have his license suspended for a year as Florida law mandates.  Between 1999 and 2014, he received no less than 16 speeding tickets.  I hope his colleagues in the House never take him up on the offer of a ride to lunch!  Oh, and Mr. Gaetz keeps some really respectable company, too!  Take a look …

Gaetz-Stone

Roger Stone (left) and Matt Gaetz 

It’s gonna be a fun two years, folks.  Better buckle those seat belts for part two of the Voyage of the Trumptanic.