Just Two Tidbits

Just a couple of tidbits I wanted to weigh in on today sans snark … well, okay, maybe there’s just a tiny bit of snark …


Has Fox found a conscience?

I’m not sure what is going on over at Fox ‘News’, but it almost seems as if they are trying to become a legitimate news network!  First, they were the first of all the major networks to call Arizona in Joe Biden’s favour at 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday – election night.  Needless to say, Trump was not happy, and Jared Kushner actually called Rupert Murdoch to complain.

And yesterday evening, Fox actually cut away from a news conference with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany because she claimed without evidence that Democrats were inviting fraud and illegal voting.  WHOA!  This sounds like the work of an actual news station!  Has Fox fallen off the Trump bandwagon?

Fox’ anchor Neil Cavuto said, as the network cut away …

“Whoa, whoa, whoa … I just think we have to be very clear that she’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this.”

Cavuto is the same one who earlier this year found a backbone and said …

“Mr. President, we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you — just report on you.”

Another Fox anchor, Bret Baier, has also declined to fall in line with Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud, saying …

“Listen, we are not seeing any evidence of widespread fraud. We want to look into everything as well. But we just haven’t seen it. You know, it hasn’t been presented. There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the Internet. But when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out.”

Of course, Cavuto and Baier are on the news side of Fox.  The opinion people still play the game, with Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, and Sean Hannity claiming, without a shred of evidence, that Trump is right about massive voter fraud, and continuing to fawn over him.  If Rupert Murdoch intends to improve the credibility of Fox, then he needs to shut down the opinion side, or at least hire people who are not witless pawns.

It disappoints and disturbs me that some of the Fox staff have been receiving threatening calls and emails from people because they aren’t falling in with the Trump line of false rhetoric.  I always thought that the people of this nation were better than that, but over the past decade I’ve come to realize that a significant portion are not.


ACA – on the chopping block?

Maybe not.  I am pleased and somewhat surprised today to read that both Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts might not be so eager to strike down the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare.

As you will remember, the penalty for the individual mandate requiring every individual to have at least a basic healthcare insurance plan, was reduced to zero in December 2017, when Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminated the individual mandate penalty, effective January 1, 2019.  The mandate itself has remained but is not enforceable without the penalty.  At issue is whether the mandate is constitutional or not, and if not, then does that render the entirety of the Act unconstitutional.  Some, such as the newbie Justice Amy Barrett, have been hyper-critical of the previous Court rulings that upheld the ACA, but today, as the Supreme Court is reviewing the case, it seems possible that ACA may weather yet another storm.

“It does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the law in place.” –  Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh

“I think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act.” – Chief Justice John Roberts

Along with the three-remaining liberal-leaning justices – Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Elena Kagan, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor – it appears likely that ACA will remain, saving tens of thousands of people from suddenly finding themselves left without health insurance.

That there is such a deep partisan divide in the Court goes against what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution in 1787.  The goal was to have a non-partisan Court with moderate, fair justices who decided cases based on constitutional law, not their own ideologies.  Today, we are about as far from that as imaginable, and yet sometimes it still works properly.

Snarky Rides Again

I suspect the snark will keep on rolling for the next few weeks, don’t you?  I wonder who’s to blame for that?  Maybe a whole bunch of people!


Ol’ Lindsey strikes out …

Good ol’ Lindsey Graham just doesn’t know when to sit down and shut up, does he?  For those who may not be aware, Graham is running for re-election to the United States Senate this November.  There was a debate scheduled for last Friday between him and his democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison.  Lindsey was exposed to the coronavirus on October 1st, when he attended a hearing with Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who has since tested positive.  Jamie Harrison, a diabetic, requested that Graham be tested for the coronavirus prior to their debate, and Lindsey refused!

Now why would any sensible person refuse to be tested before such an event where other people could be exposed?  Some speculate that he has tested positive already.  At any rate, on Thursday evening, Mr. Harrison issued the following statement:

“If Sen. Graham will not take a coronavirus test, I cannot responsibly debate in person tomorrow night and allow politics to put my family, my campaign staff, Sen. Graham’s staff, and members of the media at unnecessary risk.”

graham-harrisonInstead, each of the two men took part in an online forum that replaced the debate.  During the forum, Lindsey was asked how to address civil unrest in his home state of South Carolina.  His response …

“If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”

GASP!!!!!!  That statement alone should cost him his re-election!  Lindsey won by a whopping 17 points back in 2014, but this year he is in a dead heat with Jaime Harrison.  My bet is that this unconscionably racist statement will doom his campaign and we will finally be able to bid adieu to Mr. Graham.


Transparency???

Sean Hannity is another person without a conscience.  Well, he works for Fox ‘News’ and is a close confidant of Trump’s, so it goes without saying that he has no conscience.  But yesterday I read this statement by Hannity that caused my jaw to drop …

“First, we do start with a simple fact. The level of transparency in the Trump administration is unmatched. This president communicates with you, we, the American people often, he does it without a filter, he answers a million questions across multiple platforms, he does it each and every day.”

Say WHAT??? 

Now, Merriam-Webster defines transparent as:

a: free from pretense or deceit : FRANK

b: easily detected or seen through : OBVIOUS

c: readily understood

d: characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

Not a single one of these can be said to be true of Donald Trump, any of his cabinet members, his press secretary or other spokespeople!  Think about it a minute …

Free of pretense or deceit?  How many proven lies has he told now?  Last I checked it was something over 20,000 in just three-and-a-half years.  He didn’t even tell the truth about when he first tested positive for the coronavirus!  And as recently as yesterday, his “White House doctor” lied and said he was no longer a contagion risk, when scientists tell us otherwise.

And … he answers “a million questions” a day?  First, that isn’t humanly possible, especially for a person who spends half his day watching television and playing on Twitter.  But more to the point, during press briefings, he only chooses to answer the questions he likes … otherwise, he insults the reporter and moves on, or simply leaves the room.  And even when he does answer a question, he answers it with a lie, so … what’s the point?

And the last one, (d) … accessibility of information?  What about those tax returns and financial records?  What about his continuing refusal to make public the results of his medical condition and when he last tested negative for the virus?  What about ordering people not to testify before Congress?  I could go on and on … I could make a whole post about Trump’s blatant lack of transparency, but why bother?  You guys know the truth … Donald Trump has lied and lied to us since before he even took office, and there is not a damn thing transparent in his administration.  Sean Hannity is every bit as much a liar and conman as Donald Trump is … just another clown in the GOP Circus.Hannity-clown


Buses, planes & trains – stay off them!

Last month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drafted an order requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States.  It makes perfect sense if you think about it … in each of these venues, passengers are in very close proximity, sometimes nearly touching shoulder-to-shoulder, and given the airborne nature of the coronavirus, of course masks should be worn, as well as gloves if you ask me.crowded-busHowever, Mike Pence, as the “head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force”, nixed the order from the start.  He refused to even discuss the matter, with no explanation.

So, since he doesn’t wish to discuss the matter, we are left to draw our own conclusions that Pence, like his boss, does not believe in the wearing of masks or simply does not care if we live or die.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who oversaw the drafting of the order, said …

“I think masks are the most powerful weapon we have to confront Covid and we all need to embrace masks and set the example for each other.”

Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and chairman of the House committee on transportation and infrastructure was highly critical of Pence’s refusal …

“It’s especially outrageous because the science is so clear: masks save lives. The millions of Americans who work in and use our transportation systems every day — from bus drivers, train conductors and flight attendants, to the frontline workers who rely on public transit — deserve to know their president is relying on experts’ best advice and doing everything possible to keep them safe.”

Y’know … this whole thing has gotten out of hand.  People who insist on going about their business in public and refuse to wear a mask are a danger to us all, and they frankly don’t care who they put at risk – even their own families.  I’m currently reading a book that takes place during World War II, and at the mention of blackout rules and rationing, I had the thought … I suppose half the people in the U.S. would refuse those, too, and put the entire nation at risk.  There is such a thing as taking personal freedom too far, and insisting on riding a crowded bus sans mask is a step too far.  Thanks, Pence, for showing us how little our lives are worth to you and your boss.

Snarky Snippets Sunday!

Ol’ Snarky is back with more Snippets …


It would seem that the power of the office of the president has gone to Trump’s head, giving him the mistaken illusion that he controls far more than the law allows.  But then, ol’ Bill Barr has said that Trump is “above the law”, so I guess he figures he can do whatever he likes.  Much of what he has done could be challenged as overstepping the bounds of his position, but perhaps his greatest crime is his assault on the freedom of the press.  The latest?  He is ‘demanding’ that a reporter be fired.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the article in The Atlantic detailing Trump’s denigration of the military, of men and women who gave their lives for this country.  Other news outlets picked up on the story, some adding their own knowledge of incidents of Trump’s insulting attitude to American soldiers.  Even Fox ‘News’ national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, confirmed in a Twitter thread that Trump called soldiers “suckers”, had questioned why anyone would want to become a soldier and had not wanted to honor war dead at the Aisne-Marne cemetery in France.

“Two former sr Trump admin officials confirm .@JeffreyGoldberg reporting that President Trump disparaged veterans and did not want to drive to honor American war dead at Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris.

According to one former senior Trump administration official: “When the President spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, ‘It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker’.”

This former official heard the President say about American veterans: “What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money.” Source: “It was a character flaw of the President. He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it.”

I read the source a few quotes from The Atlantic article. This former Trump admin official said, “The President would say things like that. He doesn’t know why people join the military. He would muse, ‘Why do they do it’?”

Re: trip to mark 100th anniversary of WW I

Source: “The President was not in a good mood. Macron had said something that made him mad about American reliability and the need perhaps for a European army. He questioned why he had to go to two cemeteries. ‘Why do I have to do two’?”

President Trump’s staff explained he could cancel (his visit to the cemetery), but he was warned, ‘They (the press) are going to kill you for this’.” The President was mad as a hornet when they did.

When asked IF the President could have driven to the Aisne-Marne Cemetery, this former official said confidently:

“The President drives a lot. The other world leaders drove to the cemeteries. He just didn’t want to go.”

Regarding Trump’s July 4th military parade, during a planning session at the White House after seeing the Bastille Day parade in 2017, the President said regarding the inclusion of “wounded guys” “that’s not a good look” “Americans don’t like that,” source confirms.

Regarding McCain, “The President just hated John McCain. He always asked, ‘Why do you see him as a hero?” Two sources confirmed the President did not want flags lowered but others in the White House ordered them at half mast. There was a stand off and then the President relented.

And now, Trump is calling for her to be fired …

“Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. Fox News is gone!”

If it were The Washington Post, New York Times, or any other legitimate news outlet, I would not be concerned, for they would just ignore him.  But this is Fox, his bootlickers, owners of such characters as Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.  Keep an eye on this ball, folks, for if she is fired, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Trump will target other journalists and chip away at the freedom of the press even more than he has already done.


I found a bit of humour in this one.  Yesterday, there was an event organized on Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas.  The event, organized on Facebook, was called Lake Travis Trump Boat Parade.  Steve Salinas, one of the organizers of the event, said it was “one way that Trump supporters can get out and express themselves without causing too much trouble or congestion in streets.”

Now, it seems unclear how many boats were on the lake for this event, but all of a sudden, the boats started sinking!  It is also unclear just how many boats sank … the Travis County Sheriff said it was still uncertain, and the New York Times reports at least four, possibly more.  The weather was only a bit breezy, not enough to cause boats to sink. Lake-Travis-boatFirefighters rescued several people and there are no reports of death or serious injury.  Last I checked, the cause was still ‘under investigation’, but the Sheriff’s Department says there is no reason at this time to suspect foul play.  My granddaughter suggested that perhaps Mother Nature is trying to tell Trump supporters something!

Some of the comments on the Facebook page were fun …

  • On Twitter they have dubbed it #Dumbkirk 😂
  • This was obvious antifa/BLM sabotage
  • Boater suppression!!
  • Insurance companies will deny the claims, since the boats had pre-existing conditions.
  • This is good, but I look forward to the trump Hindenburg parade in November even more

Another similar boating event, Nation’s Capital Trumptilla Boat Parade And Rally, is scheduled for 1:00 this afternoon on the Potomac River.  While I hope nobody is injured, I can’t help wishing them to have the same luck as the bunch at Lake Travis had!


Once again, the Republicans have proven just how low they are willing to stoop.  You may remember the name Marjorie Taylor Greene, the republican from Georgia who, despite her affiliation with the hate/conspiracy group QAnon, won the Republican primary for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Doug Jones.  Well, she seems to have a nasty streak longer than my right arm.marjory-taylor-greeneThis week, she posted an advertisement on Facebook featuring an image of herself holding a rifle with photos of three liberal congresswomen of color and the vow to “go on the offense” against members of the “Squad,” an unprecedented threat against lawmakers from a probable future colleague.

The three congresswomen, of course, were the same three that Donald Trump said should “go back” to the countries they came from: Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, and Representative Rashida Tlaib from Michigan.  All three women, by the way, are U.S. citizens and all but Ms. Omar were born in the U.S.

Ms. Greene’s post claimed …

“Hate America leftists want to take this country down. Politicians have failed this country. I’m tired of seeing weak, Establishment Republicans play defense. Our country is on the line. America needs fighters who speak the truth.”

Facebook removed the post on Friday, saying it violated its policies against incitement of violence.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday called on top House Republican Kevin McCarthy to condemn Greene’s “dangerous threat of violence against Democratic Congresswomen.”  But, of course, McCarthy is just another Trump bootlicker, and Trump has already expressed his support for Ms. Greene and his disdain for the three duly-elected congresswomen.

Ms. Greene is person of little or no character, rather like Trump himself, and the Republicans in Congress who fail to denounce her behavior have shown themselves to be of equally low character.  Period.  I hope to see the vast majority of them voted out of office in November, and I further hope that Ms. Greene never sees the inside of the Capitol!

The Truth About Portland

Nicholas Kristof’s column yesterday was eye-opening and re-affirms from a highly respected and reliable eyewitness that the biggest part of the violence in Portland, Oregon, is caused by Trump’s goon squad, aka federal troops.  Take a minute to read this, and then imagine it happening in your city, in every major city in the nation …


In Portland’s So-Called War Zone, It’s the Troops Who Provide the Menace

If President Trump is actually trying to establish order, he is stunningly incompetent.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

July 25, 2020, 2:40 p.m. ET

Portland-1PORTLAND, Ore. — To watch Fox News is to learn from Sean Hannity that the “Rose City” of Portland is “like a war zone” that has been, in Tucker Carlson’s words, “destroyed by the mob.”

So I invite Hannity and Carlson to escape their bubbles and visit Portland, stroll along the Willamette River and enjoy a glass of local pinot noir. They’ll be safe — unless they venture at night into the two blocks beside the federal courthouse.

Citizens need to be vigilant there, for armed groups periodically storm the streets to attack peaceful visitors. I’m talking, of course, about the uninvited federal forces.

I’ve watched them fire round after round of tear gas, along with occasional rubber bullets or other projectiles. They even repeatedly tear-gassed Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, who has demanded that they go home, leaving him blinded and coughing on his own streets.

Portland-2“They knocked the hell out of him,” President Trump boasted on Fox News. “That was the end of him.”

Trump is pretending that he is bringing law and order to chaotic streets, and now he has dispatched similar troops — what else can you call a militarized force like this but “troops”? — to Seattle, where that city’s mayor has also said they are unwanted. Yet if Trump is actually trying to establish order, he is stunningly incompetent. The ruthlessness of the federal forces has inflamed the protests, bringing huge throngs of Portlanders out to protect their city from those they see as jackbooted federal thugs.

“Their presence here escalates,” Kate Brown, Oregon’s governor, told me. “It throws gasoline on the fire.”

Brown noted that the federal troops may also be breaking the law. “We cannot have secret police abducting people into unmarked vehicles,” she said. “This is a democracy and not a dictatorship.”

Portland-3The paradox is that Oregon is simultaneously begging for federal assistance to address a real threat — the coronavirus pandemic. Brown said she has been pleading for Covid-19 tests and for personal protective equipment, but the federal government has rebuffed the state.

“It’s appalling to me that they are using federal taxpayer dollars for political theater and making no effort to really keep our communities safe,” Brown said.

So let’s be real: Trump isn’t trying to quell violence in Portland. No, he’s provoking it to divert attention from 140,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States. Once again, he’s tear-gassing peaceful protesters to generate a photo op — and he’s doing this every night in downtown Portland. This is a reckless campaign tactic to bolster his own narrative as a law-and-order candidate, a replay of Richard Nixon’s successful 1968 campaign theme.

It is true that some protesters are violent. Some start small trash fires. Others paint graffiti, including “kill pigs” and “kill cops,” or hurl water bottles or firecrackers at federal agents. Some protesters point lasers at officers and in one case a man allegedly hit an agent with a hammer.

Such violence is wrong and plays into Trump’s narrative. Representative John Lewis, who died earlier this month, showed how much more powerful it is for changemakers to endure violence than to commit it.

But it’s also true that the vast majority of those in the crowds each evening are peaceful. They sing about racial justice, chant “Feds out now” and try to protect their city from violent intruders dispatched by Trump.

Portland-4The protesters — including a “Wall of Moms” who turn out each night to lock arms and shield protesters — protect themselves with bicycle helmets and umbrellas, while suburbanites bring leaf blowers to dispel tear gas (this works surprisingly well). Medics attend to the injured, and cleanup crews collect litter.

“They have guns; I have an umbrella,” said a protester named Jackie — who added that she was fearful of the government and did not want her last name published. That’s common in dictatorships, but I find it ineffably sad to breathe tear gas in my beloved home state and to interview Americans with such fears of their own leaders.

On the streets, I have no fear of the protesters (except when they pull their face masks down to shout slogans, risking the spread of Covid-19), but it’s prudent to worry about the troops. In a few weeks, they:

  • fired “less lethal” munition at a peaceful protester named Donavan La Bella, fracturing his skull and requiring facial reconstruction surgery. Video shows that the shot was unprovoked.
  • clubbed a Navy veteran, Christopher J. David, as he tried to ask federal agents how they squared their actions with the Constitution.
  • allegedly sexually assaulted a lawyer who had been arrested after taking part in the “Wall of Moms.”

An iconic moment came when a woman known as Naked Athena confronted the troops while wearing only a hat and face mask. Her naked vulnerability as armed troops fired pepper balls at her feet underscored the absurdity of Trump’s narrative that he is “protecting” anything.

Beware. What you’re seeing in Portland may be coming to other cities. After all, Trump’s verdict on the troops: “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job.”

Portland-5

A Few WTF Moments Of Snark …

Okay, folks, I’ve held my snark for a while, but it’s brimming over now and it’s time for me to share a few bits of it before I begin to self-destruct, so I suggest you put on your hard hats and maybe a bit of cotton in your ears to muffle the sound …


Head-scratching moments in Georgia …

Governor Brian Kemp … remember him?  Here, let this picture from one of his campaign ads refresh your memory …

kemp-gun-Jake

Yeah, that’s the one … the grade A Asshole who thought it would look cool to be holding a gun pointed at his daughter’s boyfriend.  Well, you’re gonna love what he’s done now!

While many states are closing businesses again, and 28 states have imposed a mask mandate, Kemp refused to do so.  Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms imposed a city-wide mask mandate in light of a rising number of cases in and around Atlanta.  Then on Wednesday, Governor Kemp signed an executive order that prohibits cities and localities from imposing their own mask mandates, among other things.  But he didn’t stop there!  He is … wait for it … suing Mayor Bottoms!  Yep, you heard right … the governor of the state is suing the mayor of the state’s largest city and capital because she is trying to save lives!

Kemp’s rationale, if it can be called such, is …

“This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times. These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth.”

WTF???   It matters not if they have a job if they’re dead, for Pete’s Sake!!!

The mayor, for the record, did not shutter businesses, but merely said everyone who is in a public venue must wear a mask, or be subject to fines and a possible jail sentence.  She’s serious about maintaining the safety of the people in her city, whereas obviously the governor is not!  The requirement to wear a mask damn sure doesn’t stop these “hardworking employees” from going to work and earning a living – it only means they and their families might more safely do so!

As I related this story to daughter Chris, she asked a very good question:  When did safety become a political issue?  Answer that one, Mr. Kemp!


A governor of a different sort …

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who has worked tirelessly to provide his state with much needed PPE and test kits, wrote an article for The Washington Post, titled Fighting Alone, where he details some of Trump’s failures during this coronavirus pandemic, how Trump let the states and the people of this nation down.  A few snippets …

“Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response. 

So many nationwide actions could have been taken in those early days but weren’t. While other countries were racing ahead with well-coordinated testing regimes, the Trump administration bungled the effort.

Meanwhile, instead of listening to his own public health experts, the president was talking and tweeting like a man more concerned about boosting the stock market or his reelection plans.”

His piece is worth the read, if you are so inclined, and he is spot-on.  Needless to say, Trump took umbrage – not that he actually read it, but I’m sure somebody must have told him about it – and his mouthpiece, Kayleigh McEnany, took on Governor Hogan, accusing him of ‘revisionist history’.  Ho-hum, Kayleigh … you bore the socks off of me.  The governor’s article was far more interesting and honest.


And speaking of McEnany …

I wrote a few days ago about how Trump is demanding that schools open on time this fall and threatening to withhold federal funding from districts that fail to open on time.  Never mind that 70% of parents say they do not think it’s safe to send the kids back to school yet.

Two of the Fox News commentators, Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy, claim that the reason parents and school officials want to keep the schools closed or switch to online learning is … you guessed it … to hurt their buddy Donnie Trump!  Oh, but of course … we all live our lives only to hurt Donnie.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Trump himself pushed that theory born of ignorance when he said last week …

“We have to get our schools open and stop this political nonsense. And it’s only political nonsense; it’s politics. They don’t want to open because they think it will help them on November 3rd.”

Have we really sunk so low in this ‘them’ vs ‘us’ mentality that the schools and our children are caught in the crossfire?  What a sorry state of affairs the people of this nation have created!

But Kayleigh McEnany took the prize for utter stupidity when she said in support of re-opening schools …

“The science should not stand in the way of this.”

WTF???  Is she really that bloody stupid?  That is like … like if NASA was getting ready to launch a manned spacecraft and scientists found a fatal flaw on the day before launch, saying, “Let’s not let the science stand in the way.”  Our government is populated by some of the stupidest, most self-serving people on the entire planet!

toon-1toon-2toon-3

Never-Ending Snarky Snippets

snarky-4I just can’t seem to tamp down the snark these days … every time I see any news, it raises the hackles and the snark just rolls out.  Today is no exception, and the three four stories below are only the tip of the iceberg.


The purpose of an executive order is not to bypass Congress, though Trump is not the first ‘president’ to use them as a tool to accomplish their goals without the muss & fuss of waiting for congressional action.  Trump has abused the power many, many times, and is planning to do so again this week.

According to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows …

“We’re going to get them done when Congress couldn’t get them done.  The interesting thing is this president will do more in the next four weeks than Joe Biden and his team did in the last 40 years. So, you just need to stay tuned.”

Somehow, this raises red flags, especially that last sentence … it sounds rather like a threat to me.  Rumour has it that the latest batch of executive orders will involve China, immigration, and prescription drugs.

Meadows also said, in the same interview on Fox & Friends, that Trump was right when he claimed that the coronavirus is ‘mostly harmless’.  Without actually presenting any data, Meadows claimed the data shows that for 99% of people, the virus is not harmful.  Hmmm … I wonder why, then, there have been more than a half-million deaths worldwide, 133,000 here in the U.S.?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually trust our ‘leaders’, if every utterance by Trump & Co didn’t send up red flags?  Sigh.toon-1


Could it be that Trump and Fox are headed for a divorce?  Trump claims he’s done with Fox and urges his base to switch to OAN.  OAN stands for One America News, however it is anything but a news network … it is a right-wing propaganda network, pure and simple.  So, what led to this breakup?

On Sunday, Fox presented the results of their latest polls, showing Trump still trailing Joe Biden.  As usual when a network says something Trump doesn’t like, it is labeled ‘fake news’ by him.  In this case, he claimed he was leading in “real polls” but did not cite any such ‘real’ polls.

“@FoxNews gladly puts up the phony suppression polls as soon as they come out. We are leading in the REAL polls because people are sick & tired of watching the Democrat run cities, in all cases, falling apart. Also, now 96% Approval Rating in the Republican Party. Another 2016!”

Um, Donnie?  You might want to double check those numbers.  You are trailing Biden in every legitimate poll, and the 96% republican approval rate you cite is way off base.  Last I heard, it was around 85%, with only 57% of republicans saying they strongly approve of the job you’re doing.  And you wonder why we don’t believe a word you say.

At any rate, the switch to OAN doesn’t trouble me overly much, for they do not have nearly the exposure nor the credibility that Fox has (not that Fox has much credibility, either).  Most people never even heard of OAN until a couple of months ago when they started replacing Fox as Trump’s new love interest.


You may remember the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline?  The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have opposed the pipeline for years, saying it endangers Lake Oahe, a reservoir on tribal land that the pipeline passes under.  Today, Judge James Boasberg for the U.S. District Court District of Columbia ruled that the Dakota Access pipeline must be emptied and shut down while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts the environmental impact review that it should have completed before it granted an easement that allowed Energy Transfer Partners to build the pipeline bringing North Dakota crude oil to Illinois in the first place.  The judge gave ETP 30 days, until August 5th, to shut it down and empty it completely.  The environmental review is expected to take approximately 13 months.

And in other pipeline news, another highly controversial pipeline, the Atlantic Coast pipeline, has been canceled after numerous lawsuits by environmental groups had kept the project in limbo for nearly six years.  Duke Energy and Dominion Energy said that lawsuits had increased costs to as much as $8 billion from the $4-5 billion initially projected.  The project would have crossed the Appalachian Trail, a historic 2,190-mile hiking trail.

So, score two for the environment this week!


We are personae non grata, and rightly so.  Our failure to take the needed precautions to tamp down the coronavirus has led to a steep escalation in new cases, and last week, the EU announced it would not accept travelers from the U.S.  Canada had already closed their borders to us, and the UK is likely to follow suit.  And now … Mexico!  This is the ultimate irony, after Trump has spent nearly four years trying to ban Mexicans from coming into the U.S.  This is what I call poetic justice!toon-3The town of Sonoyta, just across the border from Lukeville, Arizona, has blocked the border from the U.S. due to growing concern about the surge of cases of the virus in Arizona. Sonoyta Mayor José Ramos Arzate issued a statement Saturday “inviting U.S. tourists not to visit Mexico,” and that people from the United States should only be allowed in “for essential activities, and for that reason, the checkpoint and inspection point a few meters from the Sonoyta-Lukeville AZ crossing will continue operating.”

Good for you, Mayor!  It was the right decision … but I’m beginning to feel a little trapped.  If the election should go wrong on November 3rd, and we all feel like leaving the country, will there be anyplace left where we would be welcomed? toon-2

Deflect And Deny — The Republican Way!

I’ve recently challenged myself to make a foray into ‘enemy territory’ … conservative news venues.  I’ve only begun, so I don’t have much yet, but you will be seeing a post or two this week about my findings.  But this morning, as I was meandering about on Fox News’ site, I came across a short interview between Fox News host Chris Wallace and Trump spokeswoman, Mercedes Schlapp.

Now, we all know that if you are asked a tough question that you really don’t want to answer, your best bet is to either, a) change the subject, or b) look at your watch and say, “Oh my!  Look at the time … I’m sorry, but I’m late for an appointment with my … chiropractor!”  Essentially, Ms. Schlapp chose option ‘a’ when Chris Wallace asked her to explain why the Saturday night rally in Tulsa logged a ‘crowd’ of just under 6,200 people versus the one million who reportedly requested tickets.

Wallace: “We all saw the pictures last night. The arena was no more than two-thirds full. And the outdoor rally was canceled because there was no overflow crowd. What happened?”

Schlapp: “The key here is to understand there were factors involved, they were concerned about the protesters who were coming in.”

Wallace: “He talks about how he can fill an arena. And he didn’t fill an arena last night. You guys were so far off that you had planned an outdoor rally and there wasn’t an overflow crowd.  Protesters did not stop people from coming to that rally. The fact is, people did not show up.”

Then Schlapp went of on a tangent, talking over Chris Wallace, bringing Joe Biden up repeatedly.

Schlapp: “Joe Biden has been a failed politician that has done nothing but support failed institutions. This is in contrast with President Trump who has a strong record and is rebuilding this economy.”

This is just a snippet from the interview.  I found the video clip in several places, but when I tried to play it, I got this message:

video-unavailable

I finally found one that works … at least it works for now, and hopefully you will be able to watch it.  Note how often Schlapp deflects or goes off topic, and watch her faux smile slip every now and then …

While I don’t want to waste time focusing on how many people did or didn’t show up at Trump’s rally, the bigger point here is that, as usual, Trump and his spokespeople are deflecting and lying.  People didn’t show up at the rally for a number of reasons … protestors were not one of those reasons.  According to Tulsa police, only one protestor was arrested, though I question that, for I read of one, and blogging friend Suze tells me that her granddaughter was also arrested.  Suze’s granddaughter was doing nothing wrong, actually had a ticket for the rally, but apparently somebody took offense at her Black Lives Matter t-shirt.

I was pleased to see Chris Wallace pursue the matter … he is, after all, on the Fox payroll!  As for Mercedes Schlapp … the answer she should have given is that Trump and his campaign made a mistake in starting to hold rallies while the coronavirus is still raging throughout the nation.  That was the answer … the only right answer.

I shall continue my foray into conservative sites and report my findings later!  This project may require a jumbo bottle of ibuprofen and a case of wine!

The Antifa Myth

Nicholas Kristof’s column in the New York Times yesterday caught my eye, and the more I read, the more convinced I was that a portion of the people of this nation have completely lost any sense of perspective, of balance.  Say “Boo!”, and you’re likely as not to get shot by the gun totin’ fools.  As if we needed another problem to deal with, now we have people making up stories about a non-existent threat, and in response, people are taking up arms.  Sigh.  Here is Mr. Kristof’s column … take a look for yourself.


When Antifa Hysteria Sweeps America

The panic is a measure of how deluded public discourse has become.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeNicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

 

What can we possibly make of the crisis that unfolded in the remote Oregon seaside town of Coquille?

Coquille is a sleepy logging community of 3,800 people, almost all of them white. It is miles and miles from nowhere. Portland is 250 miles to the north. San Francisco is 500 miles to the south.

But Fox News is in a frenzy about rioters and looters, and President Trump warns about the anti-fascist movement known as antifa. So early this month as a small group of local residents planned a peaceful “Black Lives Matter” protest in Coquille, word raced around that three busloads of antifa activists were headed to Coquille to bust up the town.

The sheriff and his deputies donned bulletproof vests, prepared their MRAP armored vehicle and took up positions to fight off the invasion. Almost 200 local people, some shouldering rifles and others holding flags, gathered to protect their town (overshadowing the handful of people who had come to wave Black Lives Matter signs).

“I feel defensive and want to protect my home,” one man, Timothy Robinette, told the local newspaper, The World.

A sheriff from a nearby county, John Ward, warned citizens in a public Facebook post of rumors that the anti-fascists could rampage into his area as well.

“I was told they are looking for a fight,” he explained. Ward added that he had no problem with peaceful protests — a Black Lives Matter protest had been held peacefully in the local town of Brookings — but he hinted that citizens might want to help the police fend off any antifa attack.

“Without asking,” he said, “I am sure we have a lot of local boys, too, with guns that will protect our citizens.”

Of course, no rampaging anarchists ever showed up. The Battle of Coquille ended without beginning.

Similar hysteria about antifa invasions has erupted across the countryI asked my followers on Facebook how earnest citizens could fall prey to such panics, and I was stunned by how many reported similar anxieties in their own towns — sometimes creating dangerous situations.

In Forks, Wash., which is overwhelmingly white, a mixed-race family from Spokane that was camping in the area was assumed to be part of a rumored antifa protest. The local newspaper, The Peninsula Daily News, reported that local people aggressively confronted the family — a mom, dad, 16-year-old daughter and grandmother — and accused the visitors of being part of antifa.

The family’s vehicle was tailed by four cars of vigilantes, some armed, and then trees were felled across the road to keep the visitors from leaving their campsite. (Four high school students rescued them by cutting the logs with a chain saw, and sheriff’s deputies escorted them to safety.)

Folks, this is insane. It’s a measure of how deluded public discourse has become, how untethered from reality, that a mob of gunmen can terrify campers apparently because of the color of their skin — and think themselves heroes who are defending their communities.

All this ugliness may also be a window into the unrest that could unfold this winter if Trump is defeated but claims that the election was stolen from him by immigrants who voted illegally.

I’ve occasionally encountered mass hysteria in other countries. In rural Indonesia, I once reported on a mob that was beheading people believed to be sorcerers, then carrying their heads on pikes. But I never imagined that the United States could plunge into such delirium.

Antifa, short for anti-fascists, hasn’t killed anyone and appears to have been only a marginal presence in Black Lives Matter protests. None of those arrested on serious federal charges related to the unrest have been linked to antifa.

Still, the movement has a mythic status in some right-wing narratives, and Trump and Fox News have hyped the threat. (The Seattle Times caught Fox faking photos to exaggerate unrest in Seattle.)

Race-baiting extremists have also tried to manipulate public fears. One Twitter account purportedly run by an antifa group, @Antifa_US, announced on May 31 that “tonight’s the night … we move into the residential areas … the white hoods … and we take what’s ours.” But Twitter said that the account was actually run by white supremacists posing as antifa.

These antifa panics are where racism and hysteria intersect, in a nation that has more guns than people. They arise when a lying president takes every opportunity not to heal our national divisions but to stoke them, when people live in a news ecosystem that provides no reality check but inflames prejudices and feeds fears.

You might think that this kind of hysteria would be self-correcting: Citizens would see that no antifa people show up and then realize that they had been manipulated by people who treat them as dummies. But the narrative actually gaining traction in some quarters is that guns forced the antifa to back off.

NBC News, which has published excellent accounts of this hysteria, quoted one armed “defender” of the remote town of Klamath Falls, Ore., as initially saying that antifa warriors were on the way “to burn everything and to kill white people.”

After none showed up, a local bar owner said on Facebook that he was proud of the armed turnout and boasted that antifa activists had been repelled because they “walked into a hornet’s nest.”

A Personal Tale and A Few Tidbits

I’m starting today’s post with a personal story.  At 8:00 this morning, I woke to a text message from my friend Jerry asking if we were okay.  Odd, I thought, so I returned the text saying that we are all fine, and why was he asking … had something happened?  He then told me that last night around 10:00 there had been a shooting at the small park behind our house.  One dead, two injured.  Imagine, if you can, the flip flops my heart did when I remembered that after supper, granddaughter Natasha had gone for a walk at that very park and returned home around 9:00, just a short hour before the shooting.

The park is maybe 200 steps behind my house … I can be there in under a minute … that’s how close this was.  This is not the first time that shots have been fired here in da hood, but to the best of my knowledge, it is the first time anyone was killed or even seriously injured.  Still dazed by the news, I was having my coffee, trying to regain my equilibrium, when I read that my state is considering expanding its “Stand Your Ground” laws to remove any responsibility for a person to try to avoid a dangerous situation.  This means, basically, that you can shoot someone who you claim made you feel threatened, and walk away free and clear, just as George Zimmerman did after murdering young, unarmed Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012.

I realize that I am barking up a hollow tree, that the gun culture in the United States will not end any time soon, but nonetheless I will continue to bark up that tree until either people start to listen, or I can no longer bark.

The average person has no need for a gun, and frankly if someone needs a gun to feel safe, then they are pretty much a wuss in my book.  I have never owned nor shot a gun, have no desire to, and yet I’ve always managed to keep safe, even without a gun.  Twice in my life, I have had a gun pointed at me, and I’m still standing … in one case, my temper protected me and the man with the gun turned tail and ran, and in the other, my wits and good sense protected me.  So, to those who claim to need a gun to keep safe, I laugh in their face.

Only, I’m not laughing now.  I’m angry.


In other news …

👍Thumbs up to Disney, Papa John’s (pizza company), T-Mobile, and Veri (office furniture company) for pulling their ads from Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.  Tucker Carlson is a dyed-in-the-wool racist who has a long history of using white nationalist rhetoric and has recently attacked and denigrated the Black Lives Matter movement.  Personally, I hope that every company still advertising on the Tucker Carlson show pulls their ads, and Fox won’t have much choice but to say “bye-bye” to Tucker.

👎Thumbs down to Starbucks for prohibiting its baristas and other employees from wearing T-shirts, pins, or any other accessory that mentions Black Lives Matter.  The company claims that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence.  Misunderstood how???  It’s not a complex statement, not rocket science, and frankly, anybody who takes offense at Black Lives Matter wouldn’t be welcome in my place of business if I had one.

👍Thumbs up to auto racing organization NASCAR for banning the display of the Confederate flag at its races and tracks, effective immediately.  The ban applies to fans, competitors, and anyone else involved in the industry. Prior to the announcement, driver Bubba Wallace, the first full-time African-American driver in the top-flight Cup series since 1971, had called for NASCAR to get the Confederate flag “out of here,” saying there is “no place” for it in the sport.

👎Thumbs down to Donald Trump for rejecting calls to rename U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals, a demand that has picked up steam as protests against racial injustice grow around the nation. Civil rights activists, with the support of some former military officials, are pressuring the government to change the names of such installations as Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, saying they glorify generals who led the fight to preserve slavery in the Civil War.

👍Thumbs up to Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Senator Warren introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires the Defense Department to rename posts and assets — streets, aircraft, ships, and other equipment — either named for Confederate officers or that honor the confederacy within three years.  The committee approved the amendment, though it is likely to lead to a showdown between the Senate and Trump.

We-the-People

It Just Never Stops!

It didn’t take me long to hop down from my Jolly Monday mood to a darker one … about 12 minutes, I think it was.


Rumour has it that Trump is planning to address the nation sometime this week on the topics of race and national unity.  That would be about like me addressing a group of scientists on the topic of quantum physics.

You know what I’d really love to see?  I would really love to see the mainstream media refuse to cover his address.  The only reason for the address is to attempt to pump up his poll numbers which are on a downhill slide most every day, so this address will no doubt be a campaign rally of sorts, where as usual, he pats himself on the back and proclaims that he’s done a great job.  But here’s the thing … when he speaks, he does not speak to the nation, rather only to his base of supporters.  Why should he get free air time, free media coverage, to try to rescue his approval rating among approximately 40% of the adults in the nation?

If there is one person who is least qualified to speak about race and national unity, it is Donald Trump.  He is a racist … make no mistake about that one … remember the Central Park 5.  And unity?  HAH!!!  He has, by all accounts, been the most divisive ‘president’ in the history of the nation!  It’s his strategy:  Divide and Conquer.

I would urge the media to refuse to cover his speech, but I have no doubt they will feel obligated to cover it ad nauseam. You and I, however, do not have to watch it.  I fully intend to boycott it and would urge you all to do the same.  No doubt you will see parts of it all over the internet afterward, so if he says anything important, you’ll know it without having to put yourself through the anguish of having to watch him make an even bigger ass of himself.


Fox ‘News’ is not known for being particularly concerned with any of us outside of Trump and his support base, nor are they known for factual content.  Their opinion staff are known for being offensive and crude.  However, last Friday they hit a new low, even for Fox, on their segment, Special Report with Bret Baier.  Fox Business correspondent Susan Li was speaking about the economy and the stock market, when this graphic was placed on the screen …Fox-graphic-3

As it was shown, Li said …

“Stock markets hitting new highs despite the nationwide protests this week, historically there has been a disconnect between what investors focus on and what happens across the rest of the country. For instance, in 1968, the week after the tragedy of Martin Luther King, the S&P 500 rose over 2%, also up the week after the Rodney King ruling, and Wall Street trading on the reopening instead, this year in 2020.”

Unconscionable, abominable, horrific, racist, thoughtless, crude, cruel … there aren’t enough words to describe this segment.  Most people felt the same, and the hue and cry was loud enough to cause Fox to apologize the following day.  But, despite their apology, some things simply cannot be forgotten or forgiven, and this is one of them.

“This is absolutely outrageous and disgusting. This graphic tells every single @FoxNews viewer that Black lives can be exchanged for market gain.” – U.S. Representative Bobby Rush (Illinois)

“This is how they mourn the loss of black men at #FoxNews – by how much the stock market goes up. What. The. Hell!” – Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee

Fox’ apology consisted of …

“The infographic used on FOX News Channel’s Special Report to illustrate market reactions to historic periods of civil unrest should have never aired on television without full context. We apologize for the insensitivity of the image and take this issue seriously.”

Insensitivity???  No, folks, it was disgusting, outrageous and highly offensive to us all.  There are some things, such as a human life, that cannot be equated with money or profit.  Sadly, some have yet to learn this, including the person in the Oval Office.


I know a number of my readers live in Florida, but I really hope none live in Brevard County!  The Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) posted this on Facebook on Saturday …brevard-1

“Buffalo 57” refers to the 57 Buffalo Police Department officers who resigned from a unit assigned to mass gatherings in order to show their support for two officers who were suspended after knocking down and seriously injuring a 75-year-old unarmed man.  A video that captured the event showed the man approaching two officers. One officer is seen on the video shoving the man, who then fell and hit his head. The video showed what appeared to be blood coming from the older man’s ear as he lay on the ground motionless while 57 officers walked right on past, some without so much as a glance at the man.  The two officers directly involved were charged with 2nd degree assault, and the other officers resigned from the unit in protest of the treatment of their “brothers in blue”.

“Atlanta 6” refers to six Atlanta police officers who were charged after a confrontation with college students where a video showed them using Taser guns on two students who were sitting in their car.

The next day, perhaps as an afterthought, they decided to also invite Minneapolis police to join their force, too …brevard-2So, these are the sort of police officers Brevard County wants to hire.  Words fail me …