A New Batch of Snarky Snippets …

There was much big news this past week, mostly the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the two mosque shootings in New Zealand and add to that Trump’s veto of the bipartisan bills to halt his emergency declaration and his frequent Twitter rants.  So, smaller stories may have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Now that I have caught my breath, I’ve caught up on email and would like to bring you some of those little stories, along with, of course, my snarky commentary.


Kellyanne speaks … sort of

Just as Trump shuns our friends, nations that have long earned our respect, and panders to dictators who have by no means earned our respect, he shuns the legitimate press and panders to the likes of Fox, Breitbart and even Alex Jones.  Thursday, he gave an interview to Breitbart, and here is a snippet of what he said …

“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

Oooohhh … tough talk from a wuss who cries every time somebody says something negative about him!  But then, the next day, America’s #1 bimbo, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on CNN for a segment with Chris Cuomo.  Cuomo mentioned Trump’s remark and asked Kellyanne if she really thought that was appropriate speech for a world leader, given that it sounds more like something Don Corleone would have said.  Kellyanne’s response?

“You’re just reading into it like you usually do. He was talking about how peaceful and gentle many people are who are otherwise tough.  Christopher, he didn’t threaten and he’s not threatening violence.”

Cuomo gave up on that one and moved to another topic.  In a Wednesday interview, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said that morals don’t matter much when it comes to presidents.  Cuomo played that clip for Kellyanne, and mentioned, as a lead-in to a question, that the Republican Party once had a mantra, “character counts”.  Before he could get to the question, Kellyanne burst forth with …

“I’m sorry is there a question lurking in there or are you pontificating? Because you invited me on here to answer questions.”

The entire interview was ridiculous, but good for a few laughs if you have the stomach for it and ten minutes to spare.


A real shocker!

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was attending a vigil for victims of Friday’s massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, when she was confronted by a student who seemingly blamed her for the massacre.

“This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world. And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep down inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

Clinton handled the situation with remarkable aplomb …

“Certainly, it was never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.”

But here is the strangest thing of all.  Somebody you would least expect came to her defense.  Take a guess … a wild guess.  Give up?  It was Don Trump, Jr.!

“It’s sickening to see people blame @ChelseaClinton for the NZ attacks because she spoke out against anti-Semitism. We should all be condemning anti-Semitism & all forms of hate. Chelsea should be praised for speaking up. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is part of the problem.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather!


Thumbs-up x2 for New Zealand’s good sense …

In the wake of Friday’s mosque shootings, a few people have said some really, really ignorant and cruel things.  One of those people was none other than radical Milo Yiannopoulos, who is apparently trying to set a record for being uninvited to the most places.  Yiannopoulos was scheduled to visit Australia and had just been issued a visa over the objections of the home affairs department.

But then, in a Facebook post, Yiannopoulos blamed the radicalism behind the attack on left-leaning progressives, and called Islam a “barbaric, alien religious” culture.  After that, immigration minister David Coleman said on Saturday that comments about Islam made by Yiannopoulos in the wake of the Christchurch massacre were “appalling and foment hatred and division” and he would not be allowed in the country.  Score one for common sense!

In the aftermath of the shootings, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a promise to the people:  “Our gun laws will change”. While most European nations ban them, New Zealand allows, with a special permit, pistols, semi-automatic weapons and machine guns.  That is the only major difference between NZ and most other European nations’ gun laws, and it was the reason the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, came to the country from his native Australia, to do his dirty deeds.

New Zealand Attorney General David Baker announced at a vigil late Friday that the country would ban semiautomatic weapons.  Although this will require more than a statement by the Attorney General and the Prime Minister, and is far from a done deal, isn’t it refreshing to see a country that doesn’t hide behind a shield, a country where the heads of government put the lives of the people they represent ahead of the profits of gun manufacturers?  Listen up, U.S. lawmakers!

Score two for common sense!


A bit of good news …

I conclude with a tidbit of good news.  The University of Tennessee announced recently it would guarantee free tuition and fees to admitted in-state residents with a family household income of less than $50,000.  University President Randy Boyd announced the program, to start in the fall of 2020, saying …

“This isn’t a school just for the wealthy or the elite. This is a school for everyone. It is critically important that we take a lead role in ensuring students can achieve their dream of obtaining an undergraduate college degree. It is our mission and responsibility to do everything we can to ease the financial burden for our middle- and working-class families, and UT Promise is an ideal conduit to achieve that.”

Let us hope that this paves the way for many, many more colleges and universities to offer similar opportunities.  Similar free-tuition programs are available in Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Indiana. Lawmakers in eight other states are considering similar programs.  Eat your heart out, Betsy DeVos!


I think that’s about enough of my snarkiness for one day, so enjoy what’s left of your Sunday, and I shall return in the morning with Jolly Monday!

Good People Doing Good Things — Ruby Kate Chitsey

A young lady, eleven-year-old Ruby Kate Chitsey, has popped up on my radar no less than three times in the past week, and with good reason.  Ruby’s mom, Amanda, is a nurse-practitioner who works in various nursing homes in and around their town of Harrison, Arkansas.  Whenever possible, Ruby accompanies her mom on her rounds several days a week.  I’ll let Ruby tell you in her own words what defining moment inspired her to begin her wondrous project …

“One day as my mom and I were leaving the nursing home, a patient named Pearl was glued to the exit doors staring for a long time at something. I figured whatever it was must be pretty exciting because I hadn’t seen anything exciting all day. So I hurried to catch up to her before whatever this was disappeared. I thought maybe it was a baby bird? A wreck in the parking lot? Ambulance? 

I get up there and there is a normal dog being led out on a leash to a car by a normal lady. That was it! Boring. I asked her what was going on and she said that was her dog of 12ish years. The dog had come to visit for the day and she was staring at the door because she didn’t know the next time she would see her dog again.

Pearl’s face was so sad.  I thought of all the things in this world Pearl could have, she would probably just ask for more visits with her dog. I know it costs $12 for a pet sitter/visit. I’m eleven and I have enough money saved in my piggy bank to get Pearl a few visits with her dog.”

Ruby-3Now, Ruby has already proven herself to be possessed of a huge, caring heart.  When she was nine-years-old, she started a project “to promote the kindness of Harrison people and its businesses through a painted rock project, called Harrison Rocks.”  Ruby gives credit for her inspiration to paint rocks to her cat, Bubba. Her first painted rock was a Bubba rock.

“My cat, he’s very inspiring and not everyone has a Bubba. I thought maybe if we put out a painted rock it would be like a little Bubba. It could make someone feel happy.”

But that was a precursor to her current project.  After her encounter with Pearl in the nursing home, Ruby started thinking.  Just $12 didn’t seem like much, but after talking to her mom and some of the nursing home residents, she learned that many of the people in the nursing homes are on Medicaid and while their daily care is covered by Medicaid, they are given only $40 in cash to purchase those extras each month.Ruby-4Ruby started spending more time with the residents, and began asking them a simple question:  “If I could bring you three things in the whole world, what would those be?”  The answers were surprisingly simple … fresh fruit, haircuts, snacks, or a book.  And Ruby began keeping a notebook …Ruby-notebook

And thus, The Three Wishes project was born.  With the help of her mother, she set up a GoFundMe account  that took off like wildfire, earning over $96,000 since its inception two months ago!

One man, when asked by Ruby what he would like, said “I want some pants that fit!”  Ruby’s mom says she has known that patient for over 18 years and never even realized that his pants were all too tight.

“I have been working in this field for 25 years, and you get used to caring for people’s medical needs, but you can forget about the need for joy.”

Ruby-2.jpegA visit to The Three Wishes Facebook page tells of the many special projects Ruby has done, such as the day she handed out over 100 candy bars to residents, some of whom said they had not had a candy bar in years.  And the first week in February, Ruby and her mom delivered McDonald’s Happy Meals that were a hit with all!Ruby-McDonaldsRuby has also begun creating artwork to adorn the residents walls.  Here’s a recent post by Ruby’s mom, Amanda …Amanda-post

Then there was the robotic cat (yes, there really is such a thing … I checked it out and then threatened to replace the Sig Six with them if they don’t behave! 😾) Ruby provided to a patient who absolutely adores cats more than anything in the world. This cat will sit on her lap all day if she likes and interact with her just enough to provide comfort.robotic-catIn addition to local media, Ruby’s project has attracted international attention, being featured on CNN as well as BBC.

Ruby visits the nursing homes (5 in total) a few times a week while Amanda makes her rounds, but to fill in the gaps, she has recruited a helper, one Marilyn Spurlock, who says …

Marilyn-Spurlock“It gives me something to do. It took away a lot of my depression — because I felt worthless and couldn’t do anything to help anybody. I’ve been here so long, I was no longer useful. Every day that goes by, I get a little more excited. I go out into in the hub — the areas where people sit. I look and talk to them and ask if there’s anything they need.”

Ruby Kate Chitsey is only 11 years old, and yet she has discovered something that many people my own age still don’t understand … a simple concept that there is much joy to be gained from helping others.  I hope never to be in a nursing home, but if ever I am, I hope there is someone like Ruby Kate to bring a ray of sunshine into my life! As I often do when writing about the very young who are doing good things, I have to give partial credit to Ruby’s parents, Dr. Blake and Amanda Chitsey, for they have obviously been superior role models.  And I give a huge thumbs-up to this young lady for dedicating her time and energy to helping so many people!

A Disaster Overlooked …

The Washington Post and New York Times both carried multiple stories about the ‘end’ of the government shutdown, about Roger Stone’s arrest, about Venezuela’s current presidency conundrum, and about the Trump ego-wall.  Neither carried, at least not in the major news sections, this story I found in bold headlines in The Guardian:

Hundreds Feared dead as Brazil dam collapse releases mud tide

Are we so wrapped up in our own detritus, in any story that carries the words ‘Trump’, ‘republicans’, ‘corruption’, ‘scandal’, or ‘immigrant’ that we simply don’t care about people in other places?  I don’t know, but apparently our two most credible media outlets think so.  Sure, I understand that we are interested in our own situation which is, unarguably dire, but can we not take a few minutes to care about people in other countries?

Here’s the story as of 2:00 p.m. this afternoon …

Hundreds of people are feared dead after a dam operated by the mining company Vale collapsed in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, releasing a wave of red iron ore waste and causing the worst environmental catastrophe in the country’s recent history.

Ten bodies have already been found and more than 300 people remain missing, according to the company. The disaster comes only three years after a similar failure of the Fundão tailings dam near Mariana – co-owned by Vale – which killed 19 people.

Take a quick look …

Brazil’s new right-wing populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, has frequently attacked environmentalists who predicted this very thing and who have been calling for tighter regulations at the mine.

Most of the victims of the disaster were Vale employees or subcontractors, around 100 of whom were having lunch in a canteen on the mine complex when the torrent of mud swept over them. A busload of workers was also killed, it was reported.

It cost billions to clean up after the Mariana disaster in 2015, which polluted the drinking water of hundreds of thousands. Yet no individual was ever held responsible.

I notice that CNN did do a piece on this catastrophe, and undoubtedly other media outlets in the U.S. covered it as well, but WHY wasn’t it headline news?  Because the majority of the media outlets thought people would rather read the same news they saw yesterday about the shutdown, about Roger Stone, and about Donald Trump. brazil-4

brazil-2

brazil-3

Oh The Generosity …

Last Thursday, CNN published a list of members of Congress who will decline their paycheck this month, in light of the government shutdown, and today the list is updated to include 102 members. Noble, eh? The list is comprised of an almost equal number of republicans and democrats. 20 Senators … out of 100, or 20%. 82 representatives out of 435, or 19%. Here is the list:


House of Representatives
• Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Louisiana)
• Rep. Rick Allen (R-Georgia)
• Rep. Kelly Armstrong (new, R-North Dakota)
• Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa)
• Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska)
• Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan)
• Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon)
• Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Indiana)
• Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida)
• Rep. Tim Burchett (new, R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Kevin Calvert (R-California)
• Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-California)
• Rep. John Carter (R-Texas)
• Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Georgia)
• Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming)
• Rep. Jim Costa (D-California)
• Rep. Angie Craig (new, D-Minnesota)
• Rep. Dan Censhaw (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah)
• Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Washington) (donating to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project)
• Rep. Antonio Delgado (new, D-New York)
• Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-New York)
• Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana)
• Rep. Lance Gooden (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas)
• Rep. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana)
• Rep. Mark Green (new, R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Oklahoma) (donating to veterans groups)
• Rep. French Hill (R-Arkansas)
• Rep. George Holding (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas)
• Rep. Dusty Johnson (new, R-South Dakota)
• Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio)
• Rep. John Joyce (new, R-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado)
• Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio)
• Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nevada)
• Rep. Elaine Luria (new, D-Virginia)
• Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) (donating to food banks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens)
• Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York)
• Rep. Ben McAdams (new, D-Utah)
• Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan)
• Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts)
• Rep. Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina) (donating to a charity to be determined)
• Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Arizona)
• Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas)
• Rep. Chris Pappas (new, D-New Hampshire)
• Rep. Greg Pence (R-Indiana)
• Rep. Denver Riggleman (new, R-Virginia) (donating salary to volunteer fire department)
• Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware) (donating to the First State Community Action Agency, the Food Bank of Delaware and the Coast Guard Mission Fund)
• Rep. Max Rose (new, D-New York)
• Rep. Chip Roy (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. Dutch Ruppersburger (D-Maryland)
• Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois)
• Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) (donating to an Oregon charity)
• Rep. David Schweikert (R-Arizona)
• Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California)
• Rep. Mikie Sherrill (new, D-New Jersey)
• Rep. Elissa Slotkin (new, D-Michigan)
• Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (new, D-New Mexico)
• Rep. Jason Smith (R-Missouri)
• Rep. Abigail Spanberger (new, D-Virginia)
• Rep. Ross Spano (new, R-Florida)
• Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York)
• Rep. Van Taylor (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. David Trone (new, D-Maryland)
• Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan)
• Rep. Mark Walker (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Michael Waltz (new, R-Florida)
• Rep. Steve Watkins (new, R-Kansas)
• Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont)
• Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia)
• Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas)
• Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia) (donating to a charity to be determined)
• Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-New York)


Senators
• Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)
• Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) (donating to Homes For The Brave)
• Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania)
• Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) (donating to local charities)
• Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana)
• Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) (donating to Hawaiian food banks)
• Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) (donating to charity, likely the North Dakota National Guard Foundation and the United Way’s Emergency Homeless Shelter in Bismarck)
• Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) (donating to The Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh)
• Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) (donating to charity)
• Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) (donating to West Virginia food banks)
• Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) (donating to Nevada charity)
• Sen. Martha McSally (new, R-Arizona)
• Sen. Jacky Rosen (new, D-Nevada) (donating to domestic violence survivor programs in Nevada)
• Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) (donating to Vermont charities)
• Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) (donating to Advocates for Human Rights)
• Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
• Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)
• Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) (donating to unspecified charity)
• Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) (donating to refugee group HIAS)
• Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana) (donating to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation)


Notably absent from the Senate list is Mitch McConnell, who has done more than his share to keep the government shut down.  His net worth being just under $27 million, I suppose he cannot afford to forego that $16,000 monthly paycheck.  But then, I also don’t see Nancy Pelosi’s name on the list either.

I do applaud the gesture these 102 men and women are making, but where are the rest of the loons in Congress who are mostly millionaires and can well afford to give up a month’s pay?  And while I always applaud those who donate to charity … wouldn’t it have made more sense to donate to the 800,000+ men and women who are not getting paid because our federal government can’t get its act together?

Erik Trump’s wife, Lara, who is a campaign advisor to Donald Trump, had something to say about those 833,000 federal workers who have now gone a full month with no paycheck …

lara trump

Lara Trump

“Listen, it’s not fair to you and we all get that.  But this is so much bigger than any one person. It is a little bit of pain but it’s going to be for the future of our country. And their children and their grandchildren and generations after them will thank them for their sacrifice right now.”

A “little bit of pain”Seriously, bitch?  This is a woman who has enough money to buy whatever she wants, a woman who has never in her life gone hungry or had to wonder how to pay the damn electric bill so she can keep the heat on!  Think about it, folks … a month with no pay, and now Trump is indicating that the shutdown could last well into March … or April.  And more than half these people are expected to show up for work every day, to pay for the gas or bus fare to get to work.  What happens when they cannot make their car payment and the car is repossessed?

To add insult to injury, while furloughed workers, those who are not working, are eligible for unemployment benefits during the shutdown, workers who are deemed ‘essential’ and are forced to work without pay are not eligible, per Donald Trump.  He has refused to allow states to offer unemployment benefits to federal workers who are required to work without pay during the shutdown.  I applaud three states, California, Colorado and Vermont, whose governors have defied Trump in this and will be paying unemployment to all federal workers who are not being paid.

“A matter of commonsense and compassion.” — Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a republican

“Jaw-dropping and extraordinary. The good news, we’re going to do it, and shame on them.” — California Governor Gavin Newsom

At least somebody has humanitarian values.  The ‘man’ who would be king certainly has none.  This government shutdown, now in its 33rd day, is the most serious screw-up by this president yet, and all based on a myth that he perpetuates to keep his base riled.  833,000 people are not paying taxes now, for they have no income.  The wealthy aren’t willing to make up that difference.  Those of us who do work for a living are still paying taxes, but … for what?  We have no government … what little government we have isn’t doing anything.  Air travel will soon begin grinding to a halt.  Tax refunds will not go out until … who knows when?  And we’re to applaud a handful of millionaire members of Congress for donating a paycheck back to the government?  I would rather they take their paycheck and donate it to those who are working as slave labour, with no pay.

There are a number of organizations that have established funds to help the federal workers:

  • United for U.S. – a joint effort by corporate partners, organized labor, the United Way network and nonprofits
  • Feeding America – makes donations to local food banks for distribution to federal workers
  • GoFundMe – distributes donations to nonprofit organizations across the country that are offering general relief to government workers, including but not limited to, food, counseling, and housing support.

Meanwhile, I read on Facebook tonight that one of my friends is “sending thoughts and prayers”.  I’m sure that will help them pay the mortgage and put food on the table.  I ‘un-friended’ that person.

I won’t apologize for my cynicism tonight, for it is well-founded, however tomorrow I will highlight the people who are truly being helpful and making generous contributions of time, goods and services to help the unpaid workers.  Fair enough?

And So It Continues …

Yesterday I wrote a post, And So It Begins, about the White House, aka Donald Trump, suspending the press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta simply because Acosta had the temerity to ask Trump the tough questions that we should all be asking.  Later in the day, the White House released a manipulated video that attempted to prove their point that Acosta had grabbed the arm of the intern who was trying to take his microphone away from him.  The video was immediately exposed as having been ‘doctored’ by experts and Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders were left looking like even bigger fools than before, though I doubt they realized it.

Today, Trump threatened to revoke the credentials of more reporters if they didn’t “treat the White House with respect”.  Anybody feel a chill in the air?  But he didn’t stop there.  No, he went on to hurl criticisms at other reporters … completely unfounded and untrue criticisms.

Of April Ryan, also a CNN reporter, he said …

“You talk about somebody that’s a loser; she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise or a contract with, I think, CNN. But she’s very nasty. And she shouldn’t be. She shouldn’t be. You’ve got to treat the White House and the office of the presidency with respect.”

Might I remind Donald Trump that ‘respect’ is something that must be earned?  In his 22 months in office, not once has Donald Trump treated the press (other than state-run Fox News) with any respect, but rather has taunted and harassed them at every opportunity.  The office of the president was once respected, but frankly Donald Trump has not earned any degree of respect from the press and is well along in the process of sullying the office and the White House.

In response to a question by another reporter, he said …

“What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot — you ask a lot of stupid questions.”

The question was not at all stupid but was concerning whether the Mueller investigation would be ‘reined in’ with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General.  A valid question and one which we are all asking.

Yesterday, in response to my post about Acosta’s revoked press credentials, a reader commented with the following quote by President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

“Freedom of conscience, of education, of speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged.”

Now do you feel the chill in the air?

And So It Begins …

Acosta

Jim Acosta

Jim Acosta, one of CNN’s most astute reporters, has had his press pass, his access to the White House, revoked “until further notice”.  Why?  Because he was doing his job, he was asking questions.  The same as Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was doing when then-candidate for the U.S. Congress, Greg Gianforte, took umbrage and knocked Mr. Jacobs to the ground and proceeded to beat him.  A year later, Donald Trump praised Gianforte for his actions, and now Trump has barred Mr. Acosta.

Jim Acosta was doing his job … he was asking Trump questions like why he lied about the migrant caravan, calling it an ‘invasion’, asking why he was demonizing immigrants.  He was, in other words, doing precisely what we want our free press to do … holding the president accountable for his words and actions.  See for yourself …

As you can see, an intern attempted to take the microphone from Acosta and he did nothing but hold onto the microphone and turn slightly to keep her from taking it from him, for he had not gotten an answer to his question about the highly controversial, racist ad that Trump ran at the end of the mid-term campaign.  Trump put an end to Acosta’s questions, calling him a “rude, terrible person”, and the microphone was removed from Acosta’s hand by a White House staffer.

Later in the day, Acosta attempted to return to the White House for a scheduled program with Anderson Cooper, but was stopped outside the White House by Secret Service agents, one of whom blocked his way, and another of whom asked Mr. Acosta to hand over his press credentials, which he did without argument.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied … blatantly lied about the interaction between the intern and Mr. Acosta, saying …

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”**

CNN Producer Allie Malloy responded to Sanders via Twitter: “This is a complete lie. The woman grabbed Jim’s arm repeatedly. He never once touched her. In fact at one point @Acosta tells her politely ‘pardon me, mam’ as she’s yanking on his arm.”  As you saw in the video, Acosta did not “place his hands” on the intern.

Ryan

April Ryan

The news conference lasted one hour and 26 minutes, and Acosta was not the only reporter denigrated by Trump.  April Ryan, also with CNN, attempted to ask a question about voter suppression concerns, when Trump said to her …

“Sit down please. Sit down. I didn’t call you, I didn’t call you, I didn’t call you.”

Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor

Toward the end of the event, Yamiche Alcindor, a correspondent for PBS “NewsHour,” asked Trump about the widely shared view that his rhetoric has emboldened white nationalists.  Trump’s response was to tell her that it was a ‘racist question’ and then proceeded to tell her (falsely) that he had the highest poll numbers ever among African-Americans.  Watch …

The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) issued the following statement in response to Acosta’s press credentials being suspended:

“Journalists may use a range of approaches to carry out their jobs and the WHCA does not police the tone or frequency of the questions its members ask of powerful senior government officials, including the President. Such interactions, however uncomfortable they may appear to be, help define the strength of our national institutions. We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action.”

Friends, this is the most egregious abuse of power, the most blatant attempt to shut down the free press, that we have seen from Donald Trump to-date.  This cannot go unnoticed, cannot be allowed to pass without comment.  Please ask yourself this question:  What next?  The answer should scare you … it scares the hell out of me.

**Here is the full White House statement:

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history. Contrary to CNN’s assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today. Only they would attack the President for not being supportive of a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters over the course of an hour and a half — including several from the reporter in question. The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it is an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration. As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.” — Sarah Sanders

We’ve Come A Long Way …

We’ve come a long way from the civilized country we once were.  Our forefathers are either looking down groaning and holding their heads or laughing uproariously at what the United States of America has become.

On Monday, a pipe bomb was found in the mailbox of philanthropist (and democrat) George Soros.  Today, bombs were sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and media outlet CNN.  Once upon a time, the United States was considered above such behaviour.  We were once considered “the leader of the free world”.  We were once a kinder, gentler nation, one that was looked up to, respected, and valued human rights, human life.  Today, we have sunken to the level of a third-world nation.

We refer to a number of nations, mostly in the Middle East, as ‘terrorist nations’, or ‘countries that harbour terrorists’.  The U.S. has now become just such a nation.  These bombs are acts of terrorism, and I would bet my life that they were not constructed and delivered by Middle Eastern terrorists, nor by Muslims nor Hispanics.  These were thought of, concocted and delivered by white males, unless I miss my guess.  White males who are angry for some reason that the majority of us cannot comprehend.

It would be easy to lay all this at the door of Mr. Trump, for he has been highly vocal in his rabid, vitriolic rhetoric condemning democrats and the press, Obama and Clinton.  And certainly, he must share some of the blame.  But the bulk of the blame is on We The People.  I have spoken enough times on this blog about the loss of civil discourse that I will not do so again today.

Today there are migrants from violent nations heading to the United States to seek asylum from the violence in their own countries.  Soon, I think, there may be caravans of U.S. citizens making their way to the Canadian border to seek asylum from the violence in our own nation. liberty-cries

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words, written by Emma Lazarus in 1883, once meant something.  They were words we were once proud of.  We have sullied the words, just as we have sullied the notion of democracy in the U.S. We no longer deserve to be known as a the ‘land of the free’, for we are not.

To Mr. Trump and to every person who has supported his hate-filled rhetoric, who applauds when he screams and incites violence, I hope you are pleased with yourselves today.  Understand that the majority in this nation do not feel as you do and that we have had just about enough.  We will fight back.  To whomever decided to make those bombs and attempt to murder good people like President Obama and Secretary Clinton, Mr. Soros, and the employees at CNN, I hope you are captured and spend the rest of your life in prison being beaten and abused in the worst possible way.

I am expecting a package to be delivered this week.  I wonder if I will hesitate before opening it?  Probably.  Isn’t this a sad state of affairs?

President And GOP Busy At Work Gas lighting Public With Propaganda/ Fake News Campaign

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting sick of the lies and bullying coming from the White House and the republican camp in general. It is old, tiresome and not even a little bit funny. Friend Gronda has written an excellent post de-bunking all of Trump’s and his minion’s claims about the women and democrats engaging in ‘mob rule’ … please take a few moments to read and absorb how we are being fed lies, lies, lies, and more lies by the bully at the helm of this nation. Many thanks to you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Dear Media and fellow Non Trumpian voters, please discount/ pay no attention to the republican President Donald Trump’s claims about the women protesting the confirmation of the SCOTUS nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the first week of October 2018, as the equivalent of mob rule. At his rallies and elsewhere, he has been describing these women as being out of control, creating conditions for violence. This contrived outrage is in the same category of all his other lies, with no basis in fact and reality, but designed solely to motivate his base to action.

In short, this is his way of grabbing added media attention, as even FOX TV is no longer televising his campaign rallies because the ratings for these events have dipped. But he never gives up. For example, on the 11th of October 2018, Kanye West, the rapper, with his mental illness in full display, was trotted out…

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Who ARE These People???

Trump supporters are such a class act; don’t you think?  Just look …trump-supporters-rally.jpgtrump-supporters-rally-2.jpgTrump supporters-rally-3Aren’t they a lovely bunch?  Such class.  The above pictures were taken at a rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night.  CNN Reporter Jim Acosta was trying to report, but couldn’t be heard over the jeers and chants of the crowd screaming “CNN Sucks”.  Such professional, dignified people, don’t you think?

The Trump klan (spelling intentional) was so proud of these followers that Eric Trump tweeted this video with the description, “WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally.”

And then Papa Trump re-tweeted it.  Boy, they sure are proud of their followers, aren’t they?

But you know what, folks?  There isn’t a damn thing to be proud of here.  This feeding frenzy is going to lead to violence against journalists, and the blame for it falls squarely on the shoulders of the ‘man’ who should be setting a positive example for this nation, the man who is supposed to be bringing people together, not stirring them to harm their fellow countrymen.

Jim Acosta, in a later interview on CNN said that “It didn’t feel like we were in America anymore”.  I completely concur.  When I watched that video, I cried.  This is not who we are supposed to be.  The people who attended that rally are not, in my book, human beings with values or consciences.  I don’t know what they are, but they are not people I would even want to be near, not people who belong in the same society in which the rest of us live.

Acosta said he tried to talk to a few of them, ask them why they are so down on the press.  The answers he got were along the lines of “why don’t you ever say anything positive about Trump?”  Acosta was nicer than I would have been, for he took the time to point out that they do report on the low unemployment numbers and reported on the increase in GDP last month.  Personally, I would have said, “If he ever does something positive, I’ll report on it.”

I do understand that these people are only a small sampling of republicans, and I try to remind myself not to judge all republicans by the example set by these few, but frankly it gets harder by the day.  When I hear that some 80% of republicans still support the ‘man’ who is nearly inciting the ‘crowds’ to violence, I have to question the intelligence of that 80%.  If republicans do not wish to be viewed in this light, it is time for them to stand up and loudly disavow this sort of behaviour.

What Trump is doing, having discovered that he doesn’t have the power to simply shut down the reporters he doesn’t like, is attempting to delegitimize them.  Calling them ‘fake news’, refusing to answer their questions, and encouraging his supporters to heckle and harass are all means of attacking the press and their credibility.  As we can see from the video, this has potentially ominous consequences and I think it is only a matter of time before a journalist is injured … or worse.

Think back, folks … can you remember any president ever treating the press in such a juvenile, mob-mentality manner?  I cannot.  Every president has had problems from time to time with the way in which the press reported on them and their actions, but every other president in history has handled those problems in a mature and respectful manner.  We do not have an adult in the White House … we have the schoolyard bully whose solution to every problem involves foul language, raised voices, raised fists, and threats.  And yet … some 40% of the adults in this nation see nothing wrong with it.

Last night I rather stumbled into a discussion on Facebook and somebody asked the question:  What happens if we don’t take back Congress in November?  My answer was that we have three choices:  We either accept living under a dictatorship, we start a revolution and overthrow the evil regime, or we move to Canada.  Think about it, for truly, if we lose our free press, those will be our only choices.

Things You May Have Missed …

Okay, so you surely did not miss the fact that Trump blew up after finding Melania watching CNN while en route to Brussels two weeks ago.  And you surely did not miss the report that the House Freedom Caucus has begun impeachment proceedings against Rod Rosenstein, while Trump continues to call the Mueller investigation a ‘witch hunt’.  You don’t need me to keep you informed of those things.  But in amidst all the muck, there are a few things you might not have noticed, so here is a brief roundup of three I caught last night.


Another blow to freedom of the press …

kaitlan-collinsKaitlan Collins is a reporter for CNN.  Yesterday morning, Ms. Collins attended an “Oval Office press event”, and planned to attend the subsequent photo op ceremony in the Rose Garden with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.  She never made it to the second event.  Why?  Because she asked questions that Donald Trump, Communication Director Bill Shine, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t like.  They were not inappropriate questions.  They were questions about the same things that are on everyone’s mind:  Vladimir Putin’s postponed visit and the Michael Cohen tapes.  Fair game.  But in the Trump administration, there is no sense of fair play.

It is telling that even CNN’s traditional rival and Trump’s favoured network, Fox News, came to Collins’ defense:

“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.” – Jay Wallace, President of Fox News

And from the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) …

“We strongly condemn the White House’s misguided and inappropriate decision today to bar one of our members from an open press event after she asked questions they did not like. This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand. Reporters asking questions of powerful government officials, up to and including the president, helps hold those people accountable. In our republic, the WHCA supports the prerogative of all reporters to do their jobs without fear of reprisal from the government.” – Olivier Knox, President of the WHCA

This is nothing less than a significant blow against a free press and one that we simply cannot tolerate.  Shutting out the press is only the first step.


Whose idea was it?

Trump’s former paramour, Stormy Daniels, was arrested in Columbus, Ohio on July 12th.  This is the woman, you may remember, to whom Trump via his then-attorney Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to buy her silence about their affair.  When I read of her arrest, red flags went up and my nose twitched, but I soon forgot about it in light of other news, for Trump had just left behind his trail of detritus at NATO and was now in the UK, prepared to leave more droppings.  But yesterday, the story found its way back onto my radar …

stormy daniels

Stormy Daniels

Police said that Daniels violated an Ohio law by “touching” patrons of the strip club where she was performing.  Hmmm … sound fishy?  Well it is.  Turns out that those ‘patrons’ were actually undercover Vice cops.  The charges against Ms. Daniels were dropped 12 hours later, and Police Chief Kim Jacobs apologized and called it a “mistake.”

A whistleblower from the City of Columbus contacted the Fayette Advocate with numerous emails between several high-ranking Columbus police detectives and VICE officers. Inside the emails are news clippings discussing Daniels’ planned appearance in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to the club where she would be performing, all sent days before her scheduled performance.

The bulk of the emails that the whistleblower provided are from the email account of Detective Shana Keckley. Keckley was one of the lead-arresting officers the night that the “sting” operation went down.

Shana Keckley

Shana Keckley

In an email dated Tuesday, July 10 — two days before Daniels arrived in Columbus — Keckley emails herself a video of Daniels in West Hollywood. Not long after, the VICE detective emails herself a link to an NBC 4 Columbus story promoting Daniels’ planned appearance.   In another email, several hours after Ms. Daniels’ arrest, Keckley writes to another police officer bragging about Daniel’s arrest, saying, “You’re Welcome!!!!!….Thank me in person later.”

Is this just the work of a bunch of local yokels, or did the orders come from ‘higher up’?  Draw your own conclusions.


Today is the deadline …

Today is the court-imposed deadline for the federal government to have re-united the immigrant children who were separated from their parents and held in detention centers around the nation.  Now tell me honestly, do you think they are even close to 100% on this one?  Nah, me neither.immigrant child-2According to the most recent government figures, the administration is on track to reunite most if not all “eligible” parents with their children by the court-mandated deadline. On Tuesday evening, the administration said it has reunited 1,012 parents with their kids between the ages of 5 and 17.  There was a time, say a year-and-a-half ago, that I might have taken this information at face value, but not today.  There is no way for you or I to either prove or disprove the numbers, and frankly, I don’t believe them.  But even if I did believe them, I have concerns about the government determining who is an “eligible” parent.  The parents were with their children when they came here.  They were ‘eligible’ parents on the day HHS took their children from them.  I don’t think it is our place to deem a parent ineligible to get their children back unless it can be proven that the child would be in danger.

One parent was declared ineligible for having received a DUI.  Sorry, I don’t see how that disqualifies him from being reunited with his child.  Perhaps having his child taken from him led to his drinking.  Two others are grandparents instead of parents and thus their grandchildren, who were with them as they crossed the border, are still being withheld from them.  And, of course, there are nearly 500 parents in total that have been deported and HHS claims they are unable to reunite the children.

I will have more about this later, for I want to know just what the plans for the rest of these children are – will HHS continue trying to reunite them, or are they planning to place them in private foster homes, or are they planning to keep them in detention centers indefinitely?  Below is a summary of the results as of yesterday morning.  Please note that there are still 1,584 children who have not yet been reunited with their parents.Separated-Children-7-25-1Let’s keep our eye on this ball, folks, for I’m fairly certain Trump & Co would like nothing better than for it to fade from the news and from our minds & hearts.


It is easy to lose sight of some things with the constant barrage of news facing us each day.  Some things, though, are just too important to lose sight of.