Humour To End The Week …

It’s Friday … finally!  The end of a loooooong week for us all.  Let’s start the weekend off on the right foot … let’s laugh at some of the stupidity of our government.  We can effect change over time, but there is no immediate solution, so that which you cannot change … you laugh at!


One of the two biggest stories of the week was Trump kicking off his 2020 campaign.  Now, I don’t understand why this is a big deal, considering he registered to run for re-election on the very day he was inaugurated after stealing his first election!  But, a big deal was made by the trumpians, so it made the news.

2020-Trump2020-Trump-22020-Trump-3Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump launches 2020 Campaign2020-Trump-52020-Trump-6


And the democrats mostly launched their campaigns already, though with somewhat less fanfare …

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The second big news item was the escalation of tensions between Trump and Iran.  Note that I did not say ‘between the U.S. and Iran’, for this attempt to bully Iran into a war is solely a creation of team Trump-Pompeo-Bolton … the rest of us have no interest in starting a new war in the Middle East, especially one that is built on lies and false premises.

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The immigrant situation at the southern border continues, or perhaps worsens as Trump announced that he is going to deport some 11 million immigrants … the fact that it isn’t true matters not to his base, for as long as he says it, they lap it up like a cat laps up cream …

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The media was its own news this week, when the New York Times announced the firing of its political cartoonists (baaaad move) and when Trump announced that his primary mouthpiece, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, would be leaving at the end of June (YAY!!!)

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A few ‘toons about the abomination that is Trump …

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Have a great weekend, my friends!

Under The BigTop …

The biggest circus on earth came to town on 20 January 2017, and its cast of characters just keeps expanding.  The latest to put on the clown suit and perform is none other than Steve King, U.S. Representative from Iowa.  Mr. King first came under Filosofa’s watchful eye in March 2017, more than two years ago, when he was awarded the coveted Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award.    Ever since, he has remained on the radar for one thing or another, the most frequent and troublesome being his blatant and very public racism.  It finally became such an embarrassment to his fellow members of Congress that this past January, Mr. King was stripped of all his committee assignments in Congress.steve-kingThis week, Mr. King hooked up with two other members of this circus, Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, aka Diamond and Silk. Diamond and Silk are two African-American women who are ardent and very vocal Trump supporters.  Though they prefer not to be called African-Americans, as Ms. Hardaway explains …

“You ain’t gotta call me African American ’cause I ain’t never been to Africa. You can call me black.”

Diamond-Silk-2So, the thing that brought Mr. King and the dynamic duo together this week was King’s promotion of a new bill he has proposed in the House of Representatives.  The bill, dubbed ‘The Diamond and Silk Act’, aims to punish so-called sanctuary cities by re-directing federal appropriations to homeless people and veterans.  I’m not quite sure why Mr. King even bothered proposing this bill, since it stands almost zero chance of passing in the democrat-controlled House, but perhaps he thought he would win some brownie points with the head clown, Donald Trump, who has been threatening to pull funding from sanctuary cities for as long as I can remember.Diamond-Silk-1So, where do Diamond and Silk fit in?  Apparently, Mr. King who is still fuming over being kicked off of his committees, thought it might help offset his carefully crafted image as a white supremacist if he had a couple of African-Americans by his side, showing support for his heinous legislation.  It was truly more like a circus act than a news conference.  As often as not, when a reporter asked Mr. King a question, Diamond and Silk literally stepped in front of him and answered for him, as he happily handed the microphone over to them.  One example …

A reporter asked the question, “You’ve been stripped of your committee assignments. What makes you think Republican colleagues will even entertain this?”  Diamond turned to King and asked, “Can I answer this?”  King replied with delight, “Sure”.  Diamond then went on a rant about members of Congress living in mansions, the attempt by environmentalists to ban plastic straws, and concluded with …

“So this ain’t about no Steve King. This is about our homeless, our veterans and Americans.”

Okay, but it didn’t even begin to answer the question, did it?  Another reporter asked Diamond and Silk what they thought of King retweeting white supremacists, and the two women went into what was reminiscent of a rehearsed script …

Diamond: What is the definition of white supremacist?

Silk: You don’t know, do you?

Diamond: Why would you talk that?

Silk: I’m tired of you all playing the race card.

Diamond: Stop calling everybody a racist.

Here is the video, which is truly a circus sideshow, complete with the sound of a horse or horses snorting and snuffling in the background, and a man walking down the street with a box covering his head at approximately the 8:00 mark on the left side of the screen.  The only thing missing was the peanut vendor. I recommend you turn on the Closed Captioning, for the street noises tend to drown out Mr. King’s voice, though it would take a small army to drown out Diamond and Silk’s.

It’s comical that Diamond and Silk go on a tirade, saying “We got Americans living on the streets, we got Americans living in tents okay, we have homeless people …”  Diamond and Silk have a reported net worth of approximately $3 million, and yet there is no record of them donating a single penny to any charity to help the homeless, or anybody else for that matter.

Diamond and Silk are a joke.  They have been in hot water more than a few times for such things as calling Hillary Clinton a ‘slave master’, saying she was responsible for Russia acquiring nuclear weapons (which happened 70 years ago when Hillary was two years old) and falsely stating under oath that they hadn’t been paid by the Trump campaign when, in fact, they had.Diamond-SilkAs for Mr. King, he seemed to be more than happy to turn the Q&A over to ‘the girls’ while he rather shrunk behind them.  He knows his bill is not going to see the light of day, and the only reason I can figure for this little street scene at midday is to prove that he can be seen with black people and not don his KKK hood.

circus-2Come on, people!!!  Mr. King is supposed to be a government official, a lawmaker, and he resorts to publicity stunts like this?  We don’t have a damned government any more, we just have one big circus in multiple acts.  We have a bunch of snake oil salesmen like Steve King, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Warren Davidson, William Barr, Betsy DeVos, and so many more!  This … THIS abominable clown convention is NOT what We The People are paying hard-earned tax dollars for!  Get these clowns out of office and let us hire some people who take the job seriously!

Rant over.

The Border Crisis-Part Two: Beto O’Rourke has a plan

This is the second part of On The Fence Voters two-part series on the immigration platforms of democratic presidential candidates for 2020. This one introduces Beto O’Rourke’s immigration platform and while similar to Castro’s earlier this afternoon, there are some differences, as Jeff will explain. Thanks again, Jeff, for your excellent work!

On The Fence Voters

Yesterday, I highlighted some of the main points in Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro’s comprehensive immigration plan. Today, the focus is on a recently released plan from candidate Beto O’Rourke. You can find the full plan here.

O’Rourke’s plan centers on three main pillars:

1 Using executive authority to stop inhumane treatment of children, reunite families that have been separated, reform our asylum system, rescind the travel bans, and remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like TPS.

2 Immediately engaging Congress to enact legislation—focused on the vital role families and communities play—that will allow America to fully harness the power of economic growth and opportunity that both immigration and naturalization will bring to our country’s future.

3 Strengthen our partnerships with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere—refocusing and supporting democracy and human rights and invest in reducing violence because the only path to regional…

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The border crisis: Julian Castro has a plan

There are many ‘hot topics’ on the docket for next year’s election, not the least of which is immigration. The immigration ‘plan’, if there can be said to actually be a plan, of the current administration is a disaster, with lives being lost at our southern border, and human rights violations that three years ago would have been unthinkable. So, where do the candidates stand on immigration? It isn’t something I’ve given a lot of thought to yet, but luckily our friend Jeff over at On The Fence Voters has. He has analyzed the platforms of two of the contenders for the democratic nomination: Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke. I find his posts on this topic enlightening, and I think you will too. This is the first of the two, and I plan to re-blog the second later this evening. Thank you, Jeff, for these two posts and your permission to share!

On The Fence Voters

To say the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is a disaster, would actually be a compliment. Let’s be honest, the policy is inhumane, chaotic, horrific, and unsustainable. And word this morning that 37 migrant children who had boarded vans last July in the brutal heat of a Texas summer, only to be forced to stay in those vans for up to 39 hours, exemplifies the incompetence we’ve seen when it comes to this issue.

The migrants were on their way to the Port Isabel Detention Center, hoping to reunite with their parents, who had been taken from them when the Trump administration began systematically separating migrant families who crossed the border illegally. Eventually, the children were reunited with the parents, but to endure such hardship is simply a disgrace.

Of course, this situation arose out of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which was officially in effect from April 2018 until June…

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Say WHAT???

My inbox this morning contained the latest column by one of my favourite journalists, Nicholas Kristof.  As I read his column, I was torn between rage and tears, disbelief and horror.  I present portions of that column, but you can read the entire column here

A Good Samaritan and the Border Patrol

A motorist may have saved a life when she stopped to help three desperate young adults. Then she was arrested.

Nicholas Kristof

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

The path to Teresa L. Todd’s arrest began when three desperate Central American migrants waved frantically at her car on a Texas highway one night in February.

At least one other car had hurtled by, afraid to stop. But for Todd, compassion overrode any fear. “I’m a mom,” explained Todd, who has two boys, ages 15 and 17. “And I see a young man who looked the same age and size as my younger son. And if my son was by the side of the road, I would want someone to help.”

Todd, a single mom who works as a lawyer for a city and county in West Texas, found three siblings: two brothers ages 20 and 22 and their sister, Esmeralda, 18. To escape violence, they fled their native El Salvador years ago and recently Guatemala, where friends were murdered and a gang leader wanted to make Esmeralda his “girlfriend.”

Teresa L. Todd was detained by Border Patrol agents after stopping her car to help a group of migrants in Texas. CreditJessica Lutz for The New York Times

Esmeralda was suffering from starvation, dehydration and a potentially fatal syndrome called rhabdomyolysis that can lead to kidney failure. Seeing that Esmeralda was very sick, Todd invited the migrants into her car to warm up, and she began frantically texting friends (including one who is a lawyer for the Border Patrol) for advice about getting Esmeralda medical attention.

A sheriff’s deputy pulled up behind Todd’s car, lights flashing, and a Border Patrol officer arrived shortly afterward. The officers detained Todd for three hours, confiscating her possessions and keeping her in a holding cell.

By stopping to help a stranger, Todd may have saved a life — but this also got her arrested.

“It was totally surreal,” Todd recalled. “Especially for doing what my parents taught me was right, and what I learned in church was right, which was helping people. So finding myself in a holding cell for that, it was hard to wrap my head around.”

Esmeralda was hospitalized for four days, and she and her siblings are now in ICE custody. Todd has not been charged with a crime so far, but the authorities seem to have been considering a federal indictment. I reached out to federal and local officials for comment; they did not respond.

Todd told me that she has no regrets. “I think it’s the right thing to help those in need,” she explained. “That’s what I learned from my parents. That’s what I learned in church.”

“This is all about trying to chill the willingness of people to help others,” Todd said. “A friend told me, ‘The other day, someone tried to flag me down by the side of the road and waved an empty water bottle, and I thought about what happened to you and didn’t stop.’”

Referring to Trump, Michele Bachmann, the former Republican congresswoman, recently said, “We will in all likelihood never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetimes.”

I thanked Todd for her humanity, and for helping save a life. She said her assistance had been instinctive.

“I’m simply a mom who saw a child in need and pulled over to try to help,” she said. “The whole time I was by the side of the road, I was thinking: What country am I in? This is not the United States.”

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What’s Next???

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That is the oath that every president must take before taking office.  Donald Trump took that oath on 20 January 2017.

On Monday, Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that existing law did not give Mr. Trump the power to enforce the policy, known as “migrant protection protocols”, that would force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed.

Sunday night, Trump fired his hard-nosed Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, because she had refused to engage in activities that were illegal, activities in which Trump was overstepping his authority.

Last June, Judge Dana Sabraw ruled against Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children at the border, and yet recently Trump has said he plans to re-implement that policy.

And last Friday, Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who was placed into office by the auspices of the electoral college despite losing the election, gave a little speech to Customs and Border Patrol agents, telling them not to allow any migrants into the country:

“We’re full, our system’s full, our country’s full — can’t come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can’t handle any more, our country is full. Can’t come in, I’m sorry. It’s very simple. If judges give you trouble, say, ‘Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.’”

After Trump left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.  Okay, it’s nice to know at least somebody has some good sense, but still … the person who took the oath of office had the gall to blatantly and publicly violate that oath.  He is thumbing his nose at not only the Constitution, but at We the People.

In order for the system of checks and balances as defined by the U.S. Constitution to work, the executive branch must respect the prerogatives of Congress, from appropriations to oversight, and the interpretations by judges of the law and the Constitution.  What does it say about a ‘president’ who defies the rule of law, who defies the very Constitution he took an oath to uphold?  And what does it say about members of Congress who continue to allow such perfidy?

There have been a number of areas in which Trump has defied the Constitution during his nearly 27 months in office.  Just two examples …

  • Trump is violating both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses of the Constitution, by accepting payments from foreign and state governments at the Trump International Hotel in DC.
  • Trump’s first executive order banning travel from six Middle Eastern countries was in violation of the establishment clause of the 1st  Amendment.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

“When someone becomes president, that person’s responsibility is to the country and doing what is in the best interest of the American people and, at that point, business interests need to be put aside because people need to have faith that their leaders are working for them, not that their leaders are working for their own financial benefit.” — Noah Bookbinder, executive director of CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)

It is painfully obvious that Donald Trump has absolutely no concern for the people of this nation.  And yet, some 40% of the people in this nation support him.  The current ‘president’ of the United States violates his oath of office on a regular basis, his speech is more fitting for a trucker’s hangout than the White House, he incites white supremacists and supports anti-LGBT groups … and 40% of the nation still love him.  I’m stunned, but that isn’t my point at the moment.  My point tonight is something I want you to really think about.  What’s next?

If he feels so emboldened that he can blow off the U.S. Constitution, that he can defy the orders of federal judges, then where does he stop?  Is there any limit to what he will do?  Yesterday he signed more executive orders taking away state’s rights to halt oil pipeline construction – construction that would harm the environment and wildlife.  Yes, there will be lawsuits and the courts are unlikely to rule in Trump’s favour, but he has already shown that he does not respect the courts.

Until the last month or so, although I was frustrated and sometimes enraged by his behaviour, I felt that the courts and Congress would keep him somewhat in check.  I no longer believe that.  I now think that this ‘man’ envisions himself as a ruler, a dictator, perhaps even a king.  And what choice do We the People have?  Congress has proven useless, the courts are being proven useless … where does that leave us?  I ask again … what’s next?

‘Toons To Make You Laugh (Or Cry)

I think it’s time for another batch of toons, don’t you?

The two biggest topics in ‘Toonland’ this week are ones I refuse to touch, so let’s start with the third biggest.  Recently the Idiot-in-Chief declared that wind turbines, or rather the noise from them, cause cancer.  This notion came from the cavernous depths inside his rather spongy head, but it made for some good humour at his expense.

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And of course one of the big topics remains, as it has been for over two years now, immigration, or rather Trump’s use of immigration as a fear-mongering tactic.

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On a related note, there was his demand for Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation because, although she was a cruel and heartless b**ch, she was not quite cruel and heartless enough to suit the ‘man’ without a conscience.

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Let us not forget about his determination to squash ‘Obamacare’ and replace it with … the grim reaper.

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And beyond all of that, it’s pretty much the usual chaos and insanity that define the reign of Donald Trump.

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Have a great weekend, folks!  Wha … WHAT???  It’s not the weekend yet?  It’s only Wednesday?

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#$%&*@ 👿

I try not to use foul language on this blog, try to keep it professional, but tonight, the title of this blog seems to fit as no other would.  In an attempt to circumvent the United States Congress, and to defy the will and best interest of We the People, Donald Trump has announced his intention to declare a state of ‘national emergency’ today at the same time he signs the budget bill.

Allow me, please, to begin by making one thing perfectly clear …

THERE IS NO DAMN NATIONAL EMERGENCY AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER OR ELSEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!!

There is no emergency, but this is King Trump using the ‘power’ of his office to spend our money on a wall that the majority in the U.S. do not want and that, if built, would damage both the U.S. and Mexico far more than it would help anybody or anything.   The cost of his wall would be astronomical and would deny food and housing to millions of people.  I fully agree with the joint statement issued by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi …

“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.”

Since I am livid and sputtering with rage, my rant is far too likely to turn into an expletive-laden diatribe, so I have decided to let Eugene Robinson, writer for The Washington Post, and a much more professional writer than I, finish this post for me …

We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump.

Eugene-RobinsonBy Eugene Robinson

February 14 at 6:50 PM

We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump, and it is a force of mindless, pointless disruption.

The president’s decision to officially declare an emergency — to pretend to build an unbuildable border wall — is not only an act of constitutional vandalism. It is also an act of cowardice, a way to avoid the wrath of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the far-right commentariat.

It is an end run around Congress and, as such, constitutes a violation of his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — which gives Congress, not the president, the authority to decide how public money is spent. It does not give Trump the right to fund projects that Congress will not approve. Authoritarian leaders do that sort of thing. The puffed-up wannabe strongman now living in the White House is giving it a try.

Let’s be clear: There is no emergency. Arrests for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaked in 2000, nearly two decades ago, at more than 1.5 million a year. They declined sharply under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and, in 2017, were at their lowest point since 1971. In 2018, apprehensions ticked up slightly — but still barely climbed above 400,000.

There has indeed been an increase in families presenting themselves at legal points of entry to seek asylum — those groups of bedraggled Central Americans that Trump calls “caravans.” Under U.S. and international law, these people have an undisputed right to ask for asylum and have their cases evaluated. Again, they come to legal border crossings to seek admission. Only a handful try to navigate the forbidding rural terrain where Trump says he wants to build a wall.

What the administration really needs to do is expand and improve facilities for processing, caring for and, when necessary, housing these asylum seekers. But Trump doesn’t care about doing the right thing, or even the necessary thing. He cares only about being able to claim he is following through on his vicious anti-immigration rhetoric, which brands Mexican would-be migrants as “rapists” and Central Americans as members of the MS-13 street gang.

Trump had two years in which Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate — and could not persuade Congress to give him funding for a wall. He decided to make it an issue only after Democrats won the power to say no. The president’s negotiating strategy — pitching tantrums, walking away from the table, venting on Twitter, provoking the longest partial government shutdown in history — was never going to work. You might think he would have learned something about how Washington works by now, but you would be wrong.

Because there obviously is no legitimate emergency, Trump’s declaration — and the shifting of resources from duly authorized projects to the wall — will surely be challenged in court. It is possible, if not likely, that any actual construction will be held up indefinitely.

Indeed, legal briefs arguing against Trump’s action practically write themselves. An emergency, by definition, is urgent. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, for example, clearly qualified as a national emergency. But Trump has been talking about issuing an emergency declaration to build the wall for a couple of months. If such action wasn’t necessary in December, some judge will surely ask, then why now?

Money for the wall will have to be taken from other projects, all of which have constituencies in Congress and among the public. Ranchers and others whose land would have to be taken by eminent domain for the wall will be up in arms.

Politically, Trump carelessly put Republican senators in a tough spot. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may have the House pass a resolution of disapproval, which the Senate would be compelled to take up. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his caucus would have to decide whether to support a presidential power grab they know is unwise — or oppose Trump and risk the ire of the GOP base.

One of the most strident Republican criticisms of Obama was that he took executive actions that should have been the purview of Congress. But this action by Trump goes much further and sets a dangerous precedent.

What would keep the next Democratic president from declaring an emergency, in the wake of some mass shooting, and imposing a ban on assault weapons? Is that what McConnell wants as his legacy?

Trump cares only that his base is mollified. And that nobody remembers how Mexico was supposed to foot the bill.

Why Didn’t I Think Of That???

Nicholas Kristof’s column yesterday in the New York Times was his usual excellent analysis of the five craziest things about the government shutdown and Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for his ego wall.  But what iced the cake for me was the brilliant idea he posed at the conclusion of his piece.  And so, I share his column with you … let me know what you think of his idea!


Trump’s Five Craziest Arguments About the Shutdown

Oh, and about that wall. Here’s a financing plan that’s a win-win.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof
Opinion Columnist

I’d like to apologize to all the “banana republics” I’ve offended over the decades with snarky references to their dysfunction. This is karma: I now live in a nation where a petulant president has shut down much of the most powerful government in the world — so the White House isn’t even paying its water bills.

The government has shut down before, under presidents of both parties. But this shutdown is particularly childish and unnecessary; to revise Churchill, rarely have so many suffered so much at the hands of so few.

It’s difficult to pick the craziest of the arguments that President Trump is making about the shutdown — there’s a vast buffet of imbecility to choose from — but here’s my good-faith effort.

1. This is a crisis! Terrorists are crossing the border! Rapists!

This is more like a lull than a crisis. The number of people apprehended at the border remains near a 45-year low. From 1972 on, there were more apprehensions every single year than there were in 2017.

As for terrorists, experts say that there isn’t a single known case of a terrorist sneaking into the United States along unfenced areas of the southern border. Ever.

2. Only a wall can do the job. A big beautiful wall that stops people and drugs.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was wrong to describe a wall as “an immorality,” for we need border security, and a wall in some places can be effective. But a great majority of the undocumented immigrants in the country didn’t arrive by sneaking across the border, but rather came legally, often at airports, and overstayed their visas. The most beautiful of walls wouldn’t stop them.

Likewise, drug smuggling is a real problem, but narcotics have mostly been smuggled in on trucks, cars and airplanes at official ports of entry, or through tunnels under the border, or through the postal system — not by individuals crossing remote parts of the border.

“The Daily Show” dug up a 2004 college graduation speech in which Trump counseled perseverance of just the kind that makes walls, by themselves, not terribly effective: “Never, ever give up. … If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over it, go around it, but get to the other side of the wall.”

3. But this is a humanitarian issue!

Yes, it is. The most egregious humanitarian concern has been Trump’s brutal policy of separating children from parents at the border.

“Kids are still being separated,” Lee Gelernt of the A.C.L.U. told me. Mostly the government does this when it says that a parent has a criminal history, but the offenses sometimes were minor or unsubstantiated.

Meanwhile, the government shutdown causes other tragedies. For example, even in normal times 3,000 people a year die in the United States from food-borne illness, yet the Food and Drug Administration has now had to stop most routine food inspections, with inspectors sent home on furlough. The result may well be more people getting sick or dying from food poisoning.

4. The president doesn’t need Congress. After all, he’s the president!

Plenty of people would be a bit relieved if Trump took the dubious route of declaring a national emergency and trying to steal, er, divert money intended for disaster victims to pay for his wall. It might be a way out of our national stalemate, allowing the government to reopen.

But look, folks, when we welcome our president doing something possibly illegal, as he unjustly takes money from disaster victims, that just confirms that we have a crisis — not at the border but in Washington.

Trump’s wall isn’t about governing but about creating a political symbol and rallying his base. The problem is that it’s an expensive symbol.

By my calculations, the $5.7 billion could send 100,000 at-risk American kids to a high-quality preschool for a year AND provide Pell grants for 100,000 students to attend college for a full four years, with enough left over to ALSO provide a year’s comprehensive treatment to 115,000 Americans struggling with opioid addiction.

5. Anyway, Mexico will pay for the wall.

Trump repeatedly declared that Mexico would pay for the wall, and he still insists that Mexico will pay for it indirectly “many, many times over.” So I have a solution to the whole mess.

Since Mexico will pay for the wall eventually, the problem now is one of cash flow. Fortunately, we have financial instruments to deal with precisely this issue.

I propose that Trump pay the $5.7 billion himself, and then the U.S. will repay him (with a nice interest rate) as the Mexican payments for the wall pour in. The Federal Reserve can verify the Mexican income stream and forward the sums to Trump.

Since he’s so confident that the wall will pay for itself, he should be delighted with this option. Right, Mr. President?

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Now why didn’t I think of that???

America In The Eyes Of The World — A Guest Post By Colette

Today I have another guest post in response to my plea for readers around the globe to share with us their views of the U.S. in today’s world.  Colette has generously taken the time to write a thoughtful analysis of how the U.S. fits … or doesn’t fit … with the rest of the world today, and how our policies and leadership have affected the rest of the world.  Thank you so much, Colette, for this excellent and sobering analysis!


How did America Lose its Way in the World?

The USA, for many decades, maintained leadership in the world of economics, politics and living standards.

In 2008, that all changed when a poor economy, during the end of the Bush administration, triggered job losses and foreclosures on newly purchased real estate. The Prime Rate Mortgage scheme unravelled spectacularly, as people walked away from their homes. Financial Institutions holding the debt load across the world, fell like dominoes, crippling the world economy. The Bush administration had allowed for a scandalous mortgage scheme to exist. Outrageously, Senator John McCain exonerated Republicans by falsely pinning the blame for the financial fallout on the Democrats. Trust was lost in America.

Then, the rise of Chinese, Russian, Brazilian, and Indian (BRIC) economies created the global financial growth once enjoyed by the USA. They, and the fifth member, South Africa, have developed enormously. These nations are forming stronger inter-development alliances with interested parties and no longer depend on the EU and the US economies for survival.

America, despite the best efforts of Barack Obama to rebuild confidence, has lost the respect of other nations. With the loss of trust in America, came the loss of safety for political allies. America was no longer a major player in the World. Barack Obama was unable to adequately rebuild those fractured relationships. There were no viable Democrats waiting in the ‘wings’ who had a definitive strategy for bringing back jobs and rebuilding the economic status that the American public wanted. A political void existed.

I don’t like Donald Trump. I read his ‘Art of the Deal’ when it was first published in 1987. It didn’t take me long to realise that the man could use spin to sell any abhorrent idea to anyone. I also noticed how he manipulated officials to win planning permission for constructing his ostentatious buildings.

I thought Donald Trump to be the perfect TV host of the American version of ‘The Apprentice.’ His bullying, bellow of ‘You’re Fired!’ to contestants was an accurate personification of his real self. Donald Trump is not the perfect man for the position of President of the United States.

Trump, fresh from his instant TV stardom, rode in like a cowboy with guns blazing. Mowing down friends and foes alike, he boasted to his TV audience, “We’re gonna Make America Great Again!” It was a terrible ‘John Wayne’ imitation, but it was enough to mobilise poor-town Americans into lifting their heads up from dusty bars across the Nation. They recognised Trump from his appearances on their living room screens as someone who knew business and how to make money. As a collective, they put their fists in the air and said, “Yeah, we’re gonna make America great again! They were not seemingly aware of the debts that Trump had incurred in his own dealings, nor of his use of tax avoidance and double dealing tactics.

My husband, a financial man for much of his working life, saw a visionary Donald Trump providing hope for a better economy. His view, was to give the man a chance! He tells me that Donald Trump, whether you like him or not, has made progress on his pre-election promises.

I don’t really think my husband knows Trump’s full history, nor do I think that he cares, so that may also be true of Trump’s many supporters.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump is full of old ideas, old philosophies, and old tricks. And he believes that he, ‘The Donald,’ is above the law, above the Constitution, and above any need to be diplomatic with other nations. He plays the Presidency as he did his own empire. He believes that his only hindrances are the Democrats and a few million Hispanics on his southern border. He does not personally like or feel any compassion for economic migrants because he is a covert racist and doesn’t want them in ‘his’ America.

The lack of trust in America has extended into the very real issue of world climate change. There is hesitation on global action as America, under Donald Trump’s instruction, has now left the bargaining ‘table.’ Other nations mumble verbal commitments, but their trust in American leadership has been abused yet again. Suspicion and hostility about how the Paris Agreement might work without US involvement has ground proceedings to a halt.

I watched a May 2018 interview with ‘Stephen Fry,’ a British actor. How did he see America today? He dropped his head saying, “Oh it’s terribly unfortunate! ” He also went on to say that Donald Trump used gangster and criminal tactics to force his agenda. He says Trump’s popularity is driven by ‘clickbait’ issues posted on social media, that is then reiterated over and over again, in televised news.

Stephen Fry also predicts that Donald Trump will run a second term, and so does my husband. Why? Because Donald Trump commands attention. He keeps his fingers working on his Twitter account so that he makes world news every day! A certain percentage of Americans see Donald Trump’s constant barrage of media blustering as ‘the real thing.’ They are fooled into believing that ‘America IS Great Again! ” So, they will vote him in again because Trump’s fake news fiasco is working!

Donald Trump tosses out outrageous propaganda which the media just gobbles up and feeds to us wholesale. Stephen Fry said that if nobody listened, and nobody clicked on the social media links, all the propaganda would disappear, and so would Donald Trump’s success.

Brits in general, feel that they hear far too much about American politics, especially during elections. And in truth, not many ordinary people on this side of the pond care what Donald Trump does, but those same people lap up the articles written about Trump because they reinforce some parallel issues that arise with Brexit.

Trump’s firings of his staff, the withdrawal of troops, the detention and degradation of migrants, the threat to keep the government in lock down, and his never-ending tirade about the ‘wall,’ all invoke fear. Trump hopes to trigger a state of emergency in a paralysed nation fearful of attack. These are the ‘plays’ of a man desperate to have the rest of the world take notice of America and see her power. Trump wants to build the economy using the steel industry to build the ‘wall’ and to create an arsenal of new weapons (in the event of a war that he will likely instigate). It is so unfortunate for the American people who must endure the consequences of the lies churned out by Trump. They may see the economy build, but it is not building for them.

The sinister side to all of this, is that Trump may eventually use his bullying tactics one too many times with China. It could backfire spectacularly in 2019 as a China/Russia alliance becomes a mega joint strategy against the perceived US threats. Donald Trump is playing with fire. His military commanders know it, and so do his allies. Other countries are quickly backing away from Trump’s influence as he drags the good citizens of America down a very dark black hole whilst chasing his own empire.

 ‘Trust’ and ‘Safety’ no longer exist in my vocabulary for describing Donald J. Trump’s America. And the consequences of Donald Trump’s flawed plans could herald a change of leadership on the political world stage. If so, it will not be the United States of America in that lead role.