Thoughts

There are days when my focus is sharp, I’m on a story like a dog with a bone.  Then there are days when my mind bounces furiously from topic-to-topic and I cannot seem to concentrate on any one for more than 47 seconds at a time.  Then, there are days like today when I am introspective, have some thought that isn’t particularly apropos of anything, but it stays in my mind, begging to be let out.  Thus, I share with you today, two of the thoughts that are meandering through the crevices of my mind.


An incumbent president should not be spending massive amounts of time campaigning for the next election, especially when that election is nearly two years away.  First of all, a sitting president has a full-time, all-encompassing job to do … it is what he was elected for, what he gets paid for, and what We the People expect him to be doing:  running the country.  Second, and perhaps even more importantly, if … IF he is doing that job properly, he has no need to be on the campaign trail, for his record will serve as his campaign.

In the case of the current officeholder, he has been on the campaign trail virtually since before he took office on January 20, 2017.  He officially filed his campaign with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration and began spending on his re-election campaign weeks before even taking office.  Could explain why he never had time for all those pesky transition meetings that were scheduled to help him learn his new job.  In December 2016, the month before his inauguration, he held nine campaign 2020 rallies!  He held approximately 64 rallies in 2017-2018, and has held an average of one per month this year.

Now, it seems to me that if he were doing a great job, as he claims, he wouldn’t need to go out and rile the masses with rhetoric, for his performance in office, the results of his hard work, would convince people to vote for him.  One earns respect, and he is in a position that he has every opportunity to earn the respect of the nation, but instead he chooses to do a poor job and rely on campaign rallies to help him keep that job.  Hopefully, the voters of this nation are astute enough to see that he can somewhat talk the talk, but after two-and-a-half years, hasn’t yet learned to walk the walk.

There is some evidence that voters are waking up, for in eleven battleground states (seven of which Trump won in 2016), Trump faces a net approval rating that’s in the negative. Several of those states have net disapprovals that are in the double-digits.  In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — three states that helped propel Trump to victory three years ago — Trump’s net approval ratings were -13, -7, and -12, respectively.

In business, the best strategy for keeping your job is to do a good job, rather than pandering to the bosses.  Trump claims to know a lot about business, but that is a lesson he has failed to learn.


In one corner of my kitchen, we have a three-tier metal rack on which we keep canned foods, among other things.  Yesterday, I was looking for a can of ancho chilies in adobo sauce, a small can buried somewhere among the cans of corn, tomatoes, and green beans, and as I searched, I found myself thinking about labels … how happy I was that all these cans had labels to tell me what was inside.  (Yes, I have strange thought processes.)  Labels, like almost anything else, can be useful if used properly.  What if, though, every can had a label that just read “Vegetable”?  Confusing, yes?  Surely corn, peas, green beans and the like are vegetables, but beyond that, they have differences that are important.

People are much the same … no, Joe, I’m not saying people are vegetables, though some might as well be.  There are times we have no choice but to label a person.  If I am witness to a hit-and-run accident, it might be necessary for me to describe the driver of the car by saying it was a white female with blonde hair.  That is not to say, however, that all hit-and-run drivers are white blonde women!  And that is what we do when we refer to republicans or democrats or journalists or immigrants as “the enemy”.  Sure, most republicans have some things in common, but they also have individual beliefs that may or may not fit in the label as we perceive it.  Christians, presumably, all believe in a higher being, but beyond that, there are vast differences in their set of beliefs.  Most Christians I know, for example, are not homophobic and have friends within the LGBT community.  Yet there are those, like Franklin Graham, who give the impression that all Christians are anti-LGBT when he says that Christians are “offended” by the rainbow-adorned gay pride flag.

Most of us are able to laugh off the labels people assign to us, for we know there is much more depth to us than the colour of our skin, our religion or lack of, our hair & eye colour, or level of education.  But, when we crucify people based on any of those traits alone, we automatically give ourselves a label:  bigot.  A bigot is defined as a person who is intolerant to those who are different or hold different opinions.  It takes many forms from racism to Islamophobia to misogyny, but the one thing they have in common is that they are self-limiting and cruel.

I could offer a thousand examples, but you all know what I’m talking about.  It’s when we hear people in power say, “all democrats believe in socialism”, or “all republicans are against abortion”.  Or when the head of government says that all Hispanics are gang members and rapists, all Muslims are terrorists, all women are sex objects.  We need to try harder to remember that the members of every group are unique individuals.  If we praise or criticize, we should do so based on actions alone, not on characteristics.  Criticize the group that sets out to burn a synagogue or burn a cross on someone’s yard, but criticize them for their actions, not for the colour of their skin or their religion.


Okay, I’m done thinking for today.  Yes, I know that was rather a rambling bit of monologue, but sometimes I just need to clear the detritus from my brain.  Thanks for listening!

What Is This QAnon Group All about?

For a week or so, I have been seeing snippets about a new conspiracy theory and its followers, called QAnon, or simply ‘Q’ for short. I dismissed the group out of hand, for I see it as some ridiculous thing created by ignorant people who have nothing better to do with their meaningless little lives. I still see it that way, but can no longer simply ignore it, for like other conspiracy theories that have come before, there is a very real danger that it will lead to violence. Our friend Gronda has provided some excellent information about what Q is, so please take a few minutes to read her post. One phrase, in particular, caught my eye: “… have come to believe that observable reality is false and the QAnon narrative is real.” Sounds rather like Trump when he told his followers not to believe what they are seeing and hearing, but only to believe what he tells them is real. Up is down and hot is cold. The games people play. Thank you, Gronda, for helping us to understand a bit about this bunch of nuts!

Gronda Morin

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On August 1, 2018, Justin Bank, Liam Stack and Daniel Victor of the New York Times penned the following report, “What Is QAnon: Explaining the Internet Conspiracy Theory That Showed Up at a Trump Rally” (“Do you remember Pizzagate? It’s a little like that: a web of baseless conspiracy theories. And its supporters were highly visible at an event for the president in Florida.”)

“Those watching President Trump’s rally in Tampa on Tuesday couldn’t help but be exposed to a fringe movement that discusses several loosely connected and vaguely defined — and baseless — conspiracy theories.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF QANON

“In one shot on Fox News, the president was partially obscured by a sign in the crowd reading “We Are Q.” In another shot during the president’s speech, a sign promoting the debunked Seth Rich conspiracy theory, with the hashtag #Qanon, came into focus in the center of…

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Meanwhile, Back on the Campaign Trail …

Remember a few times when I have commented on Trump’s rallies, held since his inauguration in January?  I was puzzled … since he had already won last year’s election, had already taken office, why the heck is he still holding campaign-style rallies?  Well, wonder no more, for I now know the answer.  He is, in fact, campaigning … already … this is the beginning of his “2020 re-election campaign”.  WHAT??? … this ‘man’ is not even likely to be in office by the time 2020 rolls around!  How can he possibly … the unmitigated gall!

According to The Washington Post,  he raised $42.6 million in the first quarter of 2017.  Now it happens that I have two problems with this.  The first is that these rallies are costing We The People.  We pay for his travel, meals, and extra security required as he stands amid thousands of people.  Earlier this week, Mick Mulvaney stated that this administration does not think it is right to ask taxpayers to pay to keep poor people from starving … but they have no qualms about asking us to pay for Trump to waste time and money campaigning for a re-election that, hopefully, will never happen???  I object!

The second problem I have is with the donations, or rather the donors.  According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) report, most of the donations were small amounts, under $200, from individuals, with very little coming in from larger, wealthy donors.  Keep in mind, these are the very same people who are crying that they cannot make ends meet, that they need more money, that their taxes are too high … and yet they will give $20, $50, or $100 to the Trump campaign for re-election which is nearly four years away?  Hey, Republicans … if you have money to throw away, as you obviously do, send it to me.  First, I could use some new socks and what’s left, I would use to feed some hungry children, help a needy family pay their rent, or something that provides humanitarian value!

And the third problem … did I say I had only 2? … is the way the money is being spent, which is perfectly legal but, in the opinion of this writer should not be.  First, of course, the ‘campaign’ is buying t-shirts and those ugly “Make America Great Again” hats.  But now comes the kicker …

“Trump Tower in Manhattan, where the campaign is based, collected $300,000 in rent. At least another $25,000 went to other properties, including Mr. Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas and a golf course he owns in Florida. The campaign disbursed tens of thousands of dollars to a firm owned by Mr. Trump’s chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon. The bill was for “administrative assistant/secretarial” services.” – Haag/Shorey, New York Times, 14 April 2017

I do not see Mr. Trump qualifying for a re-election bid in 2020, but he certainly has no compunction about taking money from the very people he convinced to vote for him by promising them a better life, then using said money to further pad his own and Bannon’s already fat pockets.  The people who are donating at rallies and through email solicitations are victims of their own making in Trump’s ‘reverse Robin Hood’ scheme.

Oh, by the way … Trump has even selected his slogan for the 2020 election.  He couldn’t very well use “Make America Great Again” because if, after four years in office he hadn’t made it great, the slogan rather loses its luster.  So, for the 2020 campaign we will have his new slogan shoved down our collective throats:  “Keep America Great”.  Sigh.