Ominous Tidbits …

Yesterday I wrote about Trump’s purges and how he has been removing those tasked with oversight of his administration.  Then this morning, I awakened to the news that members of the coronavirus task force – and their deputies – are barred from testifying before Congress unless they get special permission from chief of staff Mark Meadows.

A memo to congressional staff directors said this restriction on testimony also applies to the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and State. It decrees that committees are limited to no more than four virus-related hearings this month.  According to the memo …

“Given these competing demands in these unprecedented times, it is reasonable to expect that agencies will have to decline invitations to hearings to remain focused on implementing of COVID-19 response, including declining to participate in multiple hearings on the same or overlapping topics.”

NO, it is not ‘reasonable’ to expect that the committees overseeing the spending of $2.3 trillion of our tax dollars cannot be bothered to tell Congress where that money is going!!!  🤯

And now, we come to the truth of the matter … the real reason Congress via its committees, and therefore We the People, are being kept in the dark.  From the great manipulator himself …

“When you see all these committees, seven or eight committees, we haven’t even started, and they have all these committees looking for trouble, just looking for trouble. Every enemy I have is put on a Democrat committee.”

No, Donnie, not every enemy you have is on a committee, for I am not on any committee, yet I am most certainly your enemy.

Remember, folks, that it is our money that is being spent. We already have proof that at least $50 million intended to help small businesses went to fossil fuel companies with links to Donald Trump and his cronies.  $28 million went to three coal mining companies, all with ties to Trump officials, and the other $22m is being paid out to oil and gas services and equipment providers and other firms that work with drillers and coal miners. In other words, WE have spent at least $50 million to help kill the environment that we depend on for life.  Rather like hiring a hit man to kill us.

How much more of our money has been misappropriated, or will soon be, without congressional oversight?  It is the duty of Congress to oversee the executive branch, the president and his minions, and yet, Trump has effectively tied their hands.  Will we continue to put up with this bullshit, or will we vote the son-of-a-bitch out of office in November?  I know my answer.


Meanwhile, in Russia, it is reported that three doctors, each of whom had complained about shortages of medical supplies and being forced to work despite testing positive for coronavirus, have fallen out of windows … two died and the third,  Dr. Alexander Shulepov, survived, although he has a fractured skull and is in critical condition.  Any bets on his chances of recovery?

Prior to his ‘fall’, Dr. Shulepov and a colleague, ambulance paramedic Alexander Kosyakin, had published a video in which they complained about their boss forcing Shulepov and his colleagues to continue working together even after his positive test result.

I suppose the only logical conclusion we can draw is that Russian doctors are very clumsy, eh?  Let’s just hope that American doctors who speak out don’t contract this clumsiness syndrome.


Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, with 22 years of military experience, was an analyst on Fox News until March 2018 when he resigned, calling the network a “propaganda machine” for the Trump administration and accused the network of “wittingly harming our system of government for profit.”  On April 25th, Anderson Cooper interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Peters and what he said mirrors much of what my own thoughts have been … and still are.  Take a look …

“You should get behind the president” – and do what?

We keep hearing Trump’s minions saying that we should ‘get behind’ Trump, and I’ve offered a few times to do just that … get behind him with a baseball bat in hand! Joking aside though, Keith asks the question … get behind him and … what???

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A common refrain by Trump supporters to any criticism regarding his handling of COVID-19 is “you need to get behind the president.” OK, and do what specifically?

Should I correct his misinformation, some of which is “actively harmful to Americans” according to John Oliver?

Should I say it was OK to ignore the warnings of the pandemic risk in January and February when we could have done some planning such as needs assessment and alert various parties to better understand roles?

Should I support his and his sycophants’ efforts to heighten just criticism of China and the WHO to the point of disproportionate blame for COVID-19 to mask just blame toward his failures?

Should we say it is OK to push for the public outcry of supporters without accountability to get governors to act more rashly in reopening the economy?

Should we tolerate his abuse of powers toward inspectors general…

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What You May Have Missed

If you go looking in the usual places for news that has nothing to do with a) coronavirus, or b) the stock markets, or c) 2020 presidential race, you will be out of luck.  That is all the news that exists in the usual places such as The Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, Politico, ABC News, Time, The Guardian, BBC, AP, and others.  Mind you, all those stories are newsworthy and I am definitely NOT downplaying the importance of any, especially the coronavirus.  But once you’ve read the same ol’ same ol’ about 60 times, you begin to wonder if the rest of the world is locked in a closet somewhere.  However, Filosofa does not give up easily.  Filosofa is sick and damned tired of reading the exact same information about coronavirus, the financial melt-down and the Bernie & Joe Show.  So, I stuck a carrot in my pocket for the wabbits, grabbed my shovel and went digging …


Is Betsy complicit?

Betsy DeVos was made Secretary of Education in 2017 as a reward for the large campaign contributions she and her hubby made to Trump’s 2016 election campaign.  As I said in 2017, DeVos was, like so many of Trump’s cabinet picks, the least suited for the job.  She had little respect for public schools, instead supporting the charter schools that can accommodate very few students in need.  But she had money, she had a rich husband, and that mattered more than qualifications or competency.

Well, now it turns out that Betsy’s brother, Eric Prince, is somewhat of a nasty character.  Like his siter, Prince is a Trump supporter with close ties to the Trump gang.  According to a New York Times article last weekend, beginning in 2017, Prince started recruiting former spies to infiltrate Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump ‘agenda’.

One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation.  They secretly taped the union’s local leaders and attempted to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization.  This and other covert operations were conducted under the auspices of Project Veritas, a conservative group that has gained attention using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups.

According to the Times report, though both Mr. Prince and Project Veritas have close ties to the Trump family, it is “unclear” whether any of the Trump clan are complicit in the operations they have been conducting.  My bet?  Take a wild guess.  But … a question of equal concern is whether Miss Betsy is involved.  Again, my bet?  Hell yes.

An independent watchdog group has asked the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform to investigate whether Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had any involvement in her brother’s efforts to spy on the Michigan teacher’s union.  DeVos has long had a hostile relationship with teacher’s unions.  According to the letter the group wrote to Congress …

“It stretches the imagination to the breaking point to believe her brother never at least mentioned his intel operation to her. At the end of the day, who would benefit more from this ill-gotten information than the Education Secretary at war with the union?”

Prince is under investigation by the Justice Department over whether he lied to a congressional committee examining Russian interference in the 2016 election, and for possible violations of American export laws. Last year, the House Intelligence Committee made a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Mr. Prince, saying he lied about the circumstances of his meeting with a Russian banker in the Seychelles in January 2017.  Care to make any bets about whether Prince will ever be convicted?

Keep your eyes on this ball, my friends.


A day late and a dollar short, but still …

On Tuesday, in a 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Judith Rogers wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Thomas Griffith that the House of Representatives may see redacted passages in the public version of the Mueller report that was issued, heavily redacted, in April of last year.  Said Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi …

“This ruling is an unequivocal rejection of the President’s insistence that he is above the law and his blanket refusal to cooperate with Congressional requests for information. It is also another rebuke of Attorney General Barr’s brazen efforts to prevent evidence of Presidential wrongdoing from being uncovered, which the Courts continue to challenge. … Yet again, the Courts have resoundingly reaffirmed Congress’s authority to expose the truth for the American people.”

In her opinion, Judge Rogers wrote …

“The courts cannot tell the House how to conduct its impeachment investigation or what lines of inquiry to pursue, or how to prosecute its case before the Senate. The constitutional text confirms that a Senate impeachment trial is a judicial proceeding. The term ‘judicial proceeding’ has long and repeatedly been interpreted broadly.”

This follows on the heels of last week’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton that  excoriated Attorney General Bill Barr for distorting the findings of the Mueller Report before its redacted release to the public, saying …

“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report. The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump [emphasis added] despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”

Too bad these rulings weren’t handed down back when the House was still conducting its impeachment hearings and before the U.S. Senate thumbed their noses at We the People and at the U.S. Constitution.  But, better late than never.  And, there is no law that says there cannot be yet another impeachment, if it is deemed right and proper.  Leave that door open, folks …


Okay, folks … that’s the news that didn’t make the headlines this week.  Let us now return to the center of gravity …

Considering Michael Bloomberg And A Worry For Another Time

Greg is the other half of On the Fence Voters, though for a number of reasons, he has been unable to post for several months. But, yesterday he wrote a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post about Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy, and he brought up some points that I think we must all be willing to consider. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent post and let Greg know your thoughts! Thank you, Greg, and it’s great to hear from you!

On The Fence Voters

I’ve heard a lot of disapproving talk about Michael Bloomberg trying to ‘buy’ his way into the Presidency, and it’s certainly understandable.  It’s true that electing our president should only be about finding the best man or woman to lead our country.  It shouldn’t be about who can outspend all the others, but unfortunately that’s what it’s come to in America.  In this election year, however, our top priority must be in nominating whichever candidate seems most likely to defeat Donald Trump. We should be thinking of almost nothing else. Money in our politics is definitely a problem but I think this time around, it’s a worry for another time.

It doesn’t bother me so much that Bloomberg has unlimited funds to spend in his campaign because I think there are simply too many other pressing concerns.  I admit I’m looking for a savior.  Most people I talk to are…

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Disappointment – letter to a GOP Senator

Our friend Keith has written a letter to his senator that is excellent. I plan to adapt his letter to send to my own senator, and thought some of you might be interested as well. Thanks, Keith!

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Senator Burr, as an independent and former Republican, I have voted for you in the past. I have applauded you when you have gone out of your way to be bipartisan, especially with your and Mark Warner’s handling of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I did not expect the Senate to remove Donald Trump, even though the testimony I have seen and his actions to block evidence and witnesses indicate someone who is guilty. The why question I want an answer to is why did the White House try to bury the infamous phone call, if it was so perfect? And, frankly, I am troubled that we have a shadow diplomacy going on which keeps our diplomats in the dark. I would say this if the person was Mother Teresa, but Rudy Giuliani is a far cry from her exemplar.

What does trouble me is the insistence that the president…

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The Licensing of the Presidency (White House for Sale)

I rarely follow new blogs these days, as I don’t have time to keep up with the ones I already follow, but recently one crossed my path that seemed exceptional, so I followed it. The blog is Enigma in Black, and according to the authors bio it is “one man’s opinion about matters primarily involving politics, education, and race.”
We all know that Trump is profiting from the presidency, that he sees this nation as his own private domain and that his hired thugs are profiting as well. This post, however, shines some new light on it all and is appropriately titled, “The Licensing of the Presidency (White House for Sale)”. Thank you, Enigma, for both this excellent post, and your permission to share.

ENIGMA IN BLACK

It’s how Trump has done business the past couple of decades. After six bankruptcies, Trump did learn a new trick and started selling his name and not trying to run a profitable business. Trump doesn’t really own many of the properties with his name on them. In 2015, his name was on seventeen properties in New York of which he owned only five. At present, the number of buildings in New York with his name has dwindled to eleven, as the six“Trump Place” properties elected to have the Trump name removed. The Trump Organization continues to manage the properties. A typical deal involves Trump licensing his name which once attracted buyers/renters for a fee while also being paid for management duties.

Trump’s new business model allowed him to eliminate risk while raking in a percentage, whether the venture succeeds or fails. When The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower…

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Time For ‘Toons!

I thought it was about time for a ‘toon post … a bit of humour to dull the pain of the 24/7 news cycle where we are always being bombarded with some new abomination.


There was one bright spot last Friday, when Roger Stone was convicted on all seven felony counts with which he was charged.  Now, if ol’ Roger had been charged and convicted for every crime he’s ever committed, according to my calculations, he would be serving a 2,347 year sentence.  The truth of the matter is I won’t be surprised if Trump pardons him, but let’s enjoy his downfall while we can.

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Only trouble with this one is they made Trump look slim … 

Roger-Stone-3Who will where it best?


The thing that is on everybody’s mind, of course, are the ongoing impeachment hearings, and the cartoonists on both sides are having a field day.

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Rather than either shutting up, or having some logical rebuttal to the witness testimonies, the republicans, most notably Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, and Trump himself, are engaging in a smear campaign.  Why, Trump even tried to blame former Ambassador Marie Yovanovich for the Civil War in Somalia!

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And speaking of Jim Jordan …

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Some in the GOP seem to be having a hard time these days.  It must be difficult to have to give full support to a ‘man’ who has no values, no integrity, lies, cheats and steals.  Surely some of them are considering whether Trump is worth them throwing away their own careers.

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The foundation for our government is the U.S. Constitution.  Presidents take an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution.  The document has withstood many challenges over the past 232 years, but I have to question whether it can stand up to the constant shredding and burning it is being put through under Donald Trump and his cadre of oafs.

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And just a few miscellaneous ‘toons …

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Remember when the worst thing the opposition could find to criticize the president for was wearing a tan-coloured suit?  I long for the good ol’ days.Obama

Robert Reich And The Founding Fathers Speak

Many people who support Trump, both in and out of government, claim that what Trump has done is not an impeachable offense.  Some even go so far as to claim his extortion of the Ukrainian president, holding up much-needed military support in exchange for President Zelenskyy announcing he would investigate Trump’s rival Joe Biden, is “business as usual”.  I can talk until I’m blue in the face, and those people will say I’m just a sore loser, still angry because Hillary Clinton didn’t win in 2016.  They’d be wrong … Hillary actually did win by nearly 3 million votes.  The unfair skewing of districts in many states, however, handed Trump enough undeserved electoral votes to carry him into the Oval Office.

But, about impeachment … though I studied Constitutional Law for two years, and have read the Constitution probably 30-40 times, I am not an expert on Constitutional Law.  But I know of someone who is.

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Robert Reich

Robert Reich is an American economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.

Reich has been the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley since January 2006. He was formerly a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and professor of social and economic policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University.

Suffice it to say that this man knows how government works, and knows the Constitution far better than, say, a president who has never read the short, 8.000-word document.  So, let’s hear what Mr. Reich has to say about whether what Trump has done is impeachable.

‘Toons To Brighten Your Day … Or Not

It is a dreary, dark, rainy day here today, and I thought a few cartoons might brighten the day, lighten the mood.


The big story of the day … every day for the past month or so, and for the foreseeable future … is that of the impeachment inquiries taking place in the House of Representatives, and the response by Trump and the republicans …

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Ol’ Mick Mulvaney has been in the news a lot lately, since he did that “open mouth, insert foot” trick, and then tried unsuccessfully to remove his foot from his mouth …

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Corruption runs rampant in Washington these days, from the “president” down through his rank of minions, and among some in Congress who feel compelled to defend Trump’s speech and actions, though for the most part there is no defense.

corruptioncorruption-2Emoluments clauseTom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c191023.tifcorruption-5corruption-6


You all remember last week when Trump was giving a speech and he claimed that he’s building a wall … in Colorado!

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Trump’s treatment of our Kurdish allies will not be forgotten any time soon.  Pulling our troops out of Syria, leaving the Kurds vulnerable to Erdoğan’s brutal attacks, was beyond unconscionable, and has shown our allies around the globe that the U.S. can no longer be trusted.

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The GOP once stood for “Grand Old Party”.  Those days are long gone, and for the past ten years or so, it has stood for only the wealthiest in the nation, willing to abandon the rest of us.  Still, I think they bit off more than they could chew when they nominated and later elected Donald Trump to the presidency, and they are now struggling to figure out how to support him, how to defend the indefensible.

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And last, but not least, since tomorrow is Hallowe’en …

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Have a safe and fun Hallowe’en!