Let The Snarky Snippets Roll!

I’ve always been a news junkie, I think since I learned to read at around age 5 or so, but I cannot remember a time that the news created as much angst as these last few years, and especially the last week or so!  What to do with all that angst?  Well, turn it into snarky snippets and share it with my friends, of course!  😏

Florida’s #1 Jerk

Numerous states in this country have the misfortune to be governed by fools who put their own political careers ahead of the well-being of the people of their state, but I often think there is none so corrupt, so uncaring for the people of his state, as Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis.  Now, mind you that DeSantis has never been mistaken for a great humanitarian, having spoken and passed laws against immigrants, against the LGBTQ community, against women, against voting rights, and more.  But since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, DeSantis has been even more crude & cruel than usual, refusing any sort of restrictions such as lockdowns, mask mandates or vaccine mandates.  All of which, naturally led to Florida being the state with the highest per capita hospitalizations for COVID in the nation.

But what he did this week is beyond unconscionable.  On Wednesday, DeSantis scolded students for wearing face masks at a press conference he called, saying, “You do not have to wear those masks, I mean, please take them off.  Honestly, it’s not doing anything, and we gotta stop with this Covid theater. So if you want to wear it, fine. But this is ridiculous.”

The governor of a state of 21.48 million people telling school children to take off their masks, to expose themselves, their families and friends, to a deadly disease that has already killed nearly 1 million people in this country, with Florida having the third highest death rate from Covid in the country!  What a bastard!  I’ve heard that DeSantis is actually considering a run for president in 2024 … Florida, you can keep him … he’s not setting foot in the Oval Office if We the People have anything to say about it!

They say they love veterans, but …

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand health-care eligibility for veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxins.  Interestingly, just 34 of the Republicans in the House voted for the bill, with 174 voting against it.  The final tally was 256-174.

The U.S. military used burn pits throughout Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste, medical and hazardous materials, and jet fuel, exposing veterans to toxins that have caused long-lasting medical problems. Veterans who have been exposed often face difficult disability benefit claims processes with the Department of Veterans Affairs to get necessary health care.  Under the House bill, 23 health conditions, including respiratory conditions and cancers, would be considered to have either been caused by or exacerbated by military service, meaning veterans with these conditions would no longer have to prove that they were caused by their exposure to the toxins.

However, the Republicans decided the cost was too high, so … let the veterans suffer.  This from the very people who claim to be dedicated to the nation’s veterans, who tout their own ‘patriotism’.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hit the nail on the head when she said …

“It’s a cost of war. For the Republicans to go to the floor and say that veterans really don’t want this help because it’s going to cost money, and they’re more concerned about the budget than they are about their health. Oh, really? You just gave tax cuts in 2017 to the richest people in America. Tax cuts for the rich, cancer for our veterans … That’s how we see this discussion.”

She’s right.

The bill will have to go through the reconciliation process with the Senate bill that passed last month and is much narrower in scope, only extending how long post-9/11 combat veterans are guaranteed VA care by expanding a window of health-care eligibility from five to 10 years after they’ve been discharged.

Republicans claim they are the friends of veterans … with friends like that, who needs enemies?

A Bombshell That Few Noticed

Last week, we found out that the former guy had instructed then-acting-attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R congressmen.”  I saw this headline in numerous news sites that I visit daily, and like most of the rest of you, I growled a bit, called him a few choice names, then moved on to other stories.  But as Robert Reich points out … that was the wrong move.  This is THE story that is most important in its implications.  I’ll let Mr. Reich explain …

A Trump bombshell quietly dropped last week. And it should shock us all

Robert Reich

A newly released memo shows that Trump told the acting attorney general: ‘Just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen’

We’ve become so inured to Donald Trump’s proto-fascism that we barely blink an eye when we learn that he tried to manipulate the 2020 election. Yet the most recent revelation should frighten every American to their core.

On Friday, the House oversight committee released notes of a 27 December telephone call from Trump to then acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, in which Trump told Rosen: “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R congressmen.” The notes were taken by Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy, who was also on the call.

The release of these notes has barely made a stir. The weekend news was filled with more immediate things – infrastructure! The Delta strain! Inflation! Wildfires! In light of everything else going on, Trump’s bizarre efforts in the last weeks of his presidency seem wearily irrelevant. Didn’t we already know how desperate he was?

In a word, no. This revelation is hugely important.

Rosen obviously rejected Trump’s request. But what if Rosen had obeyed Trump and said to the American public that the election was corrupt – and then “left the rest” to Trump and the Republican congressmen? What would Trump’s and the Republicans’ next moves have been? And which Republican congressmen were in cahoots with Trump in this attempted coup d’état?

Make no mistake: this was an attempted coup.

Trump knew it. Just weeks earlier, then attorney general William Barr said the justice department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results.

And a few days after Trump’s call to Rosen – on 2 January – Trump told Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, to “find” votes to change the election outcome. He berated Raffensperger for not doing more to overturn the election.

Emails released last month also show that Trump and his allies in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the justice department to investigate totally unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud – forwarding them conspiracy theories and even a draft legal brief they hoped would be filed with the supreme court.

Some people, especially Republican officeholders, believe we should simply forget these sordid details. We must not.

For the first time in the history of the United States we did not have a peaceful transition of power. For the first time in American history, a president refused – still refuses – to concede, and continues to claim, with no basis in fact, that the election was “stolen” from him. For the first time in history, a president actively plotted a coup.

It would have been bad enough were Trump a mere crackpot acting on his own pathetic stage – a would-be dictator who accidentally became president and then, when he lost re-election, went bonkers – after which he was swept into the dustbin of history.

We might then merely regret this temporary lapse in American presidential history. At best, Trump would be seen as a fool and the whole affair an embarrassment to the country.

But Trump was no accident and he’s not in any dustbin. He has turned one of America’s two major parties into his own cult. He has cast the major political division in the US as a clash between those who believe him about the 2020 election and those who do not. He has emboldened state Republicans to execute the most brazen attack on voting rights since Jim Crow. Most Republican senators and representatives dare not cross him. Some of his followers continue to threaten violence against the government. By all accounts, he is running for president again in 2024.

Donald Trump’s proto-fascism poses the largest internal threat to American democracy since the civil war.

What to do about it? Fight it, and the sooner the better.

This final revelation – Trump’s 27 December call to the acting attorney general in which he pleads “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” – should trigger section 3 of the 14th amendment, which bars anyone from holding office who “engaged in insurrection” against the US. The current attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland, should issue an advisory opinion clearly stating this. If Trump wants to take it to the supreme court, fine.

Filosofa Snarks Again!

One of these days I’m gonna surprise you guys with positive news, good news, cheer and joy — and you’ll wonder what I’ve been smoking!  Methinks, though, that it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, so do me a favour and don’t hold your breath, okay?  And meanwhile, I’m back with more grousing and grumbling about the state of affairs in this nation.

Da prez is bored

Ladies and Gentlemen … the president of the United States of America has nothing to do.  That’s right … despite a pandemic that is raging in most areas of the nation, with three thousand or more people dying every day, and despite the fact that chaos reigns and violence is barely simmering beneath the surface, Donald Trump had nothing to do yesterday.  So, he ranted for a bit on Twitter about the fact that Attorney General William Barr stopped licking his boots last week, the fact that even his three hand-picked Supreme Court Justices told him to sit down and shut up, and ended with a threatening message, though he has run out of options.  And then, he headed out on the presidential helicopter (we paid for it) to Andrews Air Force Base where he boarded Air Force One (we paid for it) to fly to West Point so he could occupy space at the Army-Navy football game (we paid for that, too).  Y’know … if this is really all the ‘man’ has to do, then … why do we need him?  Why not cut him loose now and inaugurate Joe Biden 38 days ahead of time so that this nation can have a real president?  And before he can do any more damage or spend more of our money.  Just a thought.

Who the hell is Joseph Epstein?

I don’t know who Joseph Epstein is, but I know what he is.  He is a misogynistic asshole!  In the Wall Street Journal, he wrote an OpEd that I found to be disrespectful, condescending, and obnoxious as hell.  Here is a part of it …

“Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? “Dr. Jill Biden ” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic. Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.” A wise man once said that no one should call himself “Dr.” unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”

First of all … Dr. Jill Biden earned that doctoral degree and it was hard work … I know because I still haven’t completed mine, though I’ve been working at it since 2008!  She has every right in the world to be proud of her accomplishments and to wear her title proudly!  But even more to the point … would Mr. Epstein have made such a comment if he had been talking to a man?  Would he have dared to call a man ‘kiddo’ as if naught but an errant teenager?  I hardly think so.  This is male chauvinism at its finest … grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The writer of this piece admits that he, himself, has only a B.A. though he doesn’t tell us in what.  After some self-promoting rambling, he ends with this condescending garbage …

“As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now. Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.”

Furious, I did a bit of research into the heinous Mr. Epstein and found this is not the first time his bigotry brought him into the public view.  In September 1970, Harper’s Magazine published an article by Epstein called “Homo/Hetero: The Struggle for Sexual Identity” that was criticized for its perceived homophobia. Epstein wrote that he considered homosexuality “a curse, in a literal sense” and that his sons could do nothing to make him sadder than “if any of them were to become homosexual.”

But, in a real twist of irony, in 2003, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by the National Endowment for the Humanities!  WTF???

Violence coming soon to a city near you

Saturday brought Trump supporters en masse to Washington D.C. and other cities around the nation.  And wherever there are avid Trumpeters, there are likely to be members of white supremacist groups.  And wherever there are white supremacists, there is likely to be violence.  Yesterday was no exception, though thankfully nobody was killed … yet.

Although every court thus far, including the Supreme Court, has either declined to hear Trump’s cases of alleged voter fraud or flat out said there was no credible evidence presented and tossed the case.  Trump has lost, at last count, 58 or 59 cases in the courts.  Attorney General William Barr, a Trump uber-loyalist, has said there is no evidence of widespread or significant irregularities.  Chris Krebs, former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security said there was absolutely no evidence of any widespread or organized voter fraud.  He was fired for doing his job and speaking the truth.  And yet, because Trump continues to shriek like a banshee claiming that he won the election, that it was ‘stolen’ from him, his not-so-bright supporters are on a train bound for nowhere, thinking that they have the power to overturn an election their ‘hero’ lost by over 7 million votes … legitimate votes.

proud-boys-2It doesn’t help that republican members of Congress, republican state’s attorneys general and others jumped onto the Trumptanic in the form of the now-failed Texas lawsuit implemented by Ken Paxton, a man who has been indicted on federal securities fraud.  It doesn’t help that the republican members of Congress, in addition to joining the aforementioned lawsuit trying to overturn the election, are largely refusing to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election.  Tomorrow, the Electoral College will meet and barring something absurdly illegal, they will confirm that Joe Biden won the election.

proud-boys-1And so now those who either don’t read the news or don’t understand it are riled and they are out to cause mayhem and mischief, perhaps even death.  They believe, erroneously, that the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives them this right. It doesn’t.

Yesterday, four people were stabbed, and one was shot.  How many will it be next weekend, or the weekend after that?  And on January 20th, the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration, how many will be out in the streets with their guns, aiming to take the law into their own hands?

violence-1If people die because Trump’s followers are being encouraged by not only Trump but his sycophants in Congress, then Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Matt Gaetz, Lindsey Graham, and many others will have blood on their hands.  They could put a stop to at least part of the madness right this minute by assuring their constituents that the election was fair and honest, that President-elect Joe Biden won by honest means, and that the American people have had their say.  But no … they won’t … because their own political futures may yet depend on Trump and his big-money donors.  Yep, folks … money speaks louder than our voices.