Only Two Snarky Snippets Today …

Is there no end, you ask, to the snark of the Filosofa?  And the answer is … I don’t think so.  If there is, I haven’t found it yet.  The problem is that I have at least 30 topics backlogged that are snark-inducing and I don’t know where to start.  Okay … let’s start here …


Coward of the county …

Don McGahnI had hoped that former White House counsel Don McGahn had conjones.  I hoped he was a man of honour and integrity.  All indications were that he cared about the letter of the law, for he resigned his position rather than do Trump’s bidding which would have meant breaking the law.  A sign of an honourable man.  But I was wrong. McGahn is just as afraid of Trump as are the rest of his minions.

Legally, since McGahn is a private citizen and no longer employed by the U.S. government, there is nothing Trump or Barr can do to stop McGahn from testifying.  What hold, then, does Trump have?  Well, let me tell you … Trump has made it known in a rather offhand sort of way that if McGahn testified before the House committee, he (Trump) would instruct republicans to cease dealing with McGahn’s law firm, Jones Day.  McGahn’s lawyer said that McGahn would honour Trump’s wishes.  What about the wishes of the citizens of this nation?  What are we, chopped liver?  I was a fool to believe that Don McGahn might put the best interest of the nation, the common good, before his own personal concerns.  Silly me, for believing that anyone who was ever associated with Trump had a backbone or a conscience.

Committee chair Jerry Nadler responded …

“This move is just the latest act of obstruction from the White House that includes its blanket refusal to cooperate with this committee. It is also the latest example of this Administration’s disdain for law.”

Right, Mr. Nadler, so instead of scratching your head, let’s do something this time.  Hold McGahn in contempt, swear out a warrant for his arrest, fine the heck out of him.  DO SOMETHING!!!

Trump, of course, is gloating, saying …

“I think it’s a very important precedent. And the attorneys say that they’re not doing that for me, they’re doing that for the office of the president. So we’re talking about the future.”

Bullshit.  If this is to become the future, then let us simply disband both the executive and legislative branches right now … today … for neither of them is worth a damn at this moment.  We the People are being royally ripped off!


Kris Kobach thinks highly of himself …

kobachYou remember Kris Kobach, right?  Well, perhaps I’ll just briefly refresh your memory, for he has been out of the news for a while now.  Kris Kobach is the former Secretary of State of Kansas who was named the vice chairman of Trump’s short-lived, ignominious ‘Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’ which was a rather draconian committee attempting to prove that there had been massive voter fraud in the 2016 elections.  The truth was that the only election irregularities were on the part of Trump and his ‘people’, including his Russian buddies.  Kobach demanded that the states turn over all information on all voters, including private information such as address and social security numbers.  Most states flat-out refused, there was no evidence of voter fraud, and the commission simply fell apart.

Kobach has a long history of bigotry and attempted voter suppression techniques, and at one point had called for a “Muslim registry”.  He was also an advisor to good ol’ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America’s #1 racist.

Fast forward to today.  Trump is trying to create a new position in his administration that would be titled “Immigration Czar”.  Say WHAT???  We don’t have ‘czars’ in this country!!! Donnie has been hanging out with the Russians too long! The position would be ostensibly to “coordinate immigration policy across government agencies”.  There is no doubt that it would, in reality, be much more than that.  Trump is considering a couple of people for that position, and Kris Kobach is one.  Well, he thinks highly of himself, and he provided the White House with a list of his ‘requirements’ for the job:

  1. Office in the West Wing.
  2. Walk-in privileges with the president.
  3. Assistant to the President rank – at highest pay level for WH senior staff.
  4. Staff of 7 people (2 attorneys, 2 research analysts, 1 scheduler, 1 media person, 1 assistant).
  5. POTUS sits down individually with Czar and the secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, Ag, Interior, and Commerce, and tells each of the Secretaries to follow the directives of the Czar without delay, subject to appeal to the President in cases of disagreement.
  6. 24/7 access to either a DHS or DOD jet. Czar must be on the border every week.
  7. Ability to spend weekends in KS with family on way from border back to DC, unless POTUS needs Czar elsewhere.
  8. Security detail if deemed necessary after security review.
  9. Serve as the face of Trump immigration policy – the principal spokesman on television and in the media.
  10. Promise that by November 1, 2019, the president will nominate Kris Kobach to be DHS Secretary, unless Kobach wishes to continue in Czar position.

My jaw had to be picked up from the floor … in fact, I laughed so hard that I had to be picked up from the floor!!!  Who does this yahoo think he is???


A closing note …

Please keep our good friend rawgod and his family in your hearts tonight.  They have had to evacuate their home due to wildfires in Alberta, Canada.  They and the kitties are safe, but don’t know yet whether they will lose their home to the fires. 😢

Corruption Times Three …

The fine, upstanding people who represent We The People in one capacity or another seem to be finding themselves in just a bit of hot water these days!   And so close (62 days) to the all-important mid-term elections, too.  Awwww …

Three in particular are facing charges or under investigation. The first …

Chris Collins


Chris Collins is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the State of New York.

In January 2017, prior to the inauguration of Donald Trump, but after the 115th Congress had been seated, a firm push was made in Congress to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).  I wrote a post, Who Needs Ethics Anyway?, questioning if there were reasons that we didn’t yet know for them making this attempt.   Chris Collins is only one of the prime examples why this Congress was hoping to say “bye-bye” to the OCE.

In August 2016 Collins purchased 4 million shares in a pharmaceutical company, Innate Immunotherapeutics.  He also allegedly convinced Tom Price, who would later become Secretary of Health and Human Services, to purchase a large number of shares in the company.  Mr. Collins’ son also invested heavily.  Why?  Because Collins had ‘inside information’ that the company was on the verge of a breakthrough for a drug that would cure multiple sclerosis (MS).  This experimental drug, still in the testing stages, was the only product of Innate Immunotherapeutics.

However, in the summer of 2017, while attending a function on the White House lawn, Mr. Collins received a disastrous phone call from Innate Immunotherapeutics … the test of the product had failed its scientific testing … the drug did not work … it was no good.  The company had put all its eggs in a single basket and lost.  Stockholders stood to lose every penny they had invested.  But not Mr. Collins or his son!  Within minutes, Collins called his son Cameron who immediately sold his stock, avoiding losses of more than $570,000.  There is a name for it … it’s called ‘Insider Trading’ and it is illegal.  It is what the infamous Martha Stewart went to jail for.

On August 8th, Collins was arrested for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, seven counts of securities fraud, and lying to the FBI.  Last Wednesday, a federal indictment was handed down in New York, accusing Mr. Collins of insider trading and lying to federal agents.  Chris Collins is running in the November mid-term elections.  Any bets as to his odds?


The second …hunter-1Ahhh … Duncan Hunter.  Name sound familiar?  It should, for I’ve written about him no less than three times between January 2017 and August 2018.  If Chris Collins was one reason the republicans in Congress tried so hard to gut the OCE in January 2017, Duncan Hunter is the personification of why we need the OCE more than ever now.  Hunter is just about as dishonest as they come.

His evils are many, including calling for the U.S. to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea a year ago, but the thing for which he is in trouble today, just two months from the mid-term elections, is using campaign funds to support his lavish lifestyle.  But wait … do you want to hear the absolutely most gutless thing?  Mr. Hunter has sought to blame his wife for the corruption charges, saying in a Fox News interview that she was responsible for the couple’s finances. “Whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure. I didn’t do it. I didn’t spend any money illegally.”  Oh … oh … oh oh oh … that is royal!!!  What a sorry excuse for a ‘man’, yes?  Mind you, it is true that his wife is complicit, but for him to say he did nothing wrong and it was all her fault???

In the interest of conserving space, I won’t go into Hunter’s many mis-uses of campaign funds, for I did so in my post titled The Face of Dishonesty and you can refresh your memory if you need to.

bunnyThe federal indictment against Hunter is 47-pages long and outlines years of allegations that Mr. Hunter and his wife spent almost a quarter of a million dollars of campaign money on personal expenses, on everything from vacations to fast-food meals, even a plane ticket for their pet bunny.

Hunter says he is determined to stay on the November ballot. And in a heavily Republican district, running against a first-time Democratic opponent who is the son of an Arab father and Mexican mother, most agree that, despite the corruption charges he still maintains a strong chance of re-election.  Welcome to the Era of Trump, 2018-style.


And finally …

Kris Kobach

Dis many!

You no doubt remember Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who served as the vice chairman of Trump’s short-lived presidential commission on voter fraud.  Kobach has so many scandals in his past that he nearly defines the word.  Most pertain to his imaginary claim of “massive” voter fraud.  Kobach is running for Governor of Kansas in November.

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally botched voter registration in the state in the 2016 elections.  The accusation that brought forth the suit accuses Kobach of “destroying, obstructing, or failing to deliver online voter registration” during the 2016 election.  The petition also calls for an investigation into whether the office had fake or altered registration books that prevented people from voting or was “grossly neglectful with respect to their election duties.”

Kobach’s office claims the allegations are related to a period of time when certain online voter registrations malfunctioned.  Hmmmm … right … blame it on the machines.  I have long said that perhaps we should return to the days of a paper ballot …

Kobach’s history on voting rights make this case seem credible, for he has persuaded the Kansas legislature to enact “the nation’s most rigorous voting restrictions and to give him special authority to enforce them.”  Just this past June, a federal judge struck down one of his restrictive voter ID laws that would have required voters to produce either a birth certificate or passport in order to register to vote.


So, there you have it folks … a sampling of the illustrious people from the Republican Party who are tasked with representing us.  62 more days until the mid-terms.  Make sure your registration is up to date, so you can vote these fools out!!!

When Is ‘Immediately’?

“I think ‘immediately’ is kind of open to interpretation.”

Wow.  I always thought ‘immediately’ had rather a sense of urgency behind it, like “RIGHT NOW”! I wonder if it lends itself to interpretation for us all, or only for those in positions of power?

Kris Kobach

Dis many?

You remember ol’ Kris Kobach, right?  Kansas Secretary of State … he’s the one who swore (wrongly, as it turned out) that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election, called for voter ID laws, and also a registry of all Muslims in the country.  An investigation of the ‘voter fraud’ he claimed in his state (Kansas) netted nine convictions, most elderly white republican males who misunderstood and thought they could vote in two venues.  He was the Vice-Chairman of Trump’s failed Commission on Election Integrity, which lasted only a few months before being disbanded.  That, however, hasn’t stopped ol’ Kobach who is still claiming to have ‘proof’ of widespread voter fraud, though he has never produced said proof, and is working very hard to disenfranchise as many voters as possible.

Kobach got his hand slapped by a federal judge last Tuesday.  His restrictive voter ID laws in Kansas include the requirement to provide a birth certificate or other ‘proof of citizenship’, far more than is required by most states.  Judge Julie Robinson not only struck down the proof of citizenship law in Kansas, but also ordered Kobach to attend six hours of continuing legal education classes!!!  The judge said, in part …

“The court finds no credible evidence that a substantial number of noncitizens registered to vote. Instead, the law has acted as a deterrent to registration and voting for substantially more eligible Kansans than it has prevented ineligible voters from registering to vote. This trial was his opportunity to produce credible evidence of that iceberg, but he failed to do so. The court will not rely on extrapolated numbers from tiny sample sizes and otherwise flawed data.”

But then on Thursday, it was reported that county clerks throughout the state had been ordered to continue demanding proof-of-citizenship from anyone registering to vote.  Kobach’s spokesperson, Danedri Herbert, when questioned said that the judge was not clear in her directive …

“I think ‘immediately’ is kind of open to interpretation.”

Seriously???  No, ma’am, I am pretty sure the judge meant to suspend the requirement right then and there.

Since the law went into effect in 2013, thousands of voters have been denied the right to vote in Kansas because they could not produce a birth certificate.  Many Indigenous People living in remote villages were having a hard enough time producing a photo ID, for most do not have driver’s licenses.  And to add insult to injury, thousands of provisional ballots (estimated 8,864) in the 2016 election were thrown away uncounted because election officials said that there was no record that those residents were registered voters.  Excuse me?

Personally, I hope Mr. Kobach ends up keeping Mr. Manafort company in prison for his blatant disregard of the law.  There are many, many challenges to voters in the upcoming mid-term elections:  gerrymandering, unchecked Russian interference, overly-strict voter ID laws, limited polling hours and polling places.  Most of these challenges are designed to keep the poor and minorities from being able to vote.  Poor and minorities have every reason to vote for a democrat, given the treatment they have received and are receiving at the hands of the republicans.  Does something smell funny here?

Voting In America

The New York Times has started a series on voting in America, which will run up to Election Day in November.  I thought the first part of the series, originally published on 10 March 2018, was worth sharing with you.  It is a bit lengthier than my average post, but there are points here that I think we all need to consider as we head into the midterms.  Please take a few moments to read and think about these things.


Vote. That’s Just What They Don’t Want You to Do.

This is a fragile moment for the nation. The integrity of democratic institutions is under assault from without and within, and basic standards of honesty and decency in public life are corroding. If you are horrified at what is happening in Washington and in many states, you can march in the streets, you can go to town halls and demand more from your representatives, you can share the latest outrageous news on your social media feed — all worthwhile activities. But none of it matters if you don’t go out and vote.

It’s a perennial conundrum for the world’s oldest democracy: Why do so many Americans fail to go to the polls? Some abstainers think that they’re registering a protest against the awful choices. They’re fooling themselves. Nonvoters aren’t protesting anything; they’re just putting their lives and futures in the hands of the people who probably don’t want them to vote. We’ve seen recently what can happen when people choose instead to take their protest to the ballot box. We saw it in Virginia in November. We saw it, to our astonishment, in Alabama in December. We may see it this week in western Pennsylvania. Voting matters.

Casting a ballot is the best opportunity most of us will ever get to have a say in who will represent us, what issues they will address and how they will spend our money. The right to vote is so basic, President Lyndon Johnson said in 1965, that without it “all others are meaningless.”

And yet every election, tens of millions of Americans stay home. Studies of turnout among developed nations consistently rank the United States near the bottom. In the most recent midterms, in 2014, less than 37 percent of eligible voters went to the polls — the lowest turnout in more than 70 years. In 2016,

The problem isn’t just apathy, of course. Keeping people from voting has been an American tradition from the nation’s earliest days, when the franchise was restricted to white male landowners. It took a civil war, constitutional amendments, violently suppressed activism against discrimination and a federal act enforcing the guarantees of those amendments to extend this basic right to every adult. With each expansion of voting rights, the nation inched closer to being a truly representative democracy. Today, only one group of Americans may be legally barred from voting — those with felony records, a cruel and pointless restriction that disproportionately silences people of color.

In the months leading up to the midterm elections on Nov. 6, when the House, Senate and statehouses around the country are up for grabs, the editorial board will explore the complicated question of why Americans don’t vote, and what can be done to overcome the problem. The explanations fall into three broad categories.

SUPPRESSION

A 96-year-old woman in Tennessee was denied a voter-ID card despite presenting four forms of identification, including her birth certificate. A World War II veteran was turned away in Ohio because his Department of Veterans Affairs photo ID didn’t include his address. Andrea Anthony, a 37-year-old black woman from Wisconsin who had voted in every major election since she was 18, couldn’t vote in 2016 because she had lost her driver’s license a few days before.

Stories like these are distressingly familiar, as more and more states pass laws that make voting harder for certain groups of voters, usually minorities, but also poor people, students and the elderly. They require forms of photo identification that minorities are much less likely to have or be able to get — purportedly to reduce fraud, of which there is virtually no evidence. They eliminate same-day registration, close polling stations in minority areas and cut back early-voting hours and Sunday voting.

These new laws may not be as explicitly discriminatory as the poll taxes or literacy tests of the 20th century, but they are part of the same long-term project to keep minorities from the ballot box. And because African-Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, the laws are nearly always passed by Republican-dominated legislatures.

In a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s strict new voter-ID law, a former staff member for a Republican lawmaker testified that Republicans were “politically frothing at the mouth” at the prospect that the law would drive down Democratic turnout. It worked: After the 2016 election, one survey found that the law prevented possibly more than 17,000 registered voters, disproportionately poor and minority, from voting. Donald Trump carried the state by fewer than 23,000 votes.

FAILING TECHNOLOGY

The legitimacy of an election is only as good as the reliability of the machines that count the votes. And yet 43 states use voting machines that are no longer being made, and are at or near the end of their useful life. Many states still manage their voter-registration rolls using software programs from the 1990s. It’s no surprise that this sort of infrastructure failure hits poorer and minority areas harder, often creating hourslong lines at the polls and discouraging many voters from coming out at all. Upgrading these machines nationwide would cost at least $1 billion, maybe much more, and Congress has consistently failed to provide anything close to sufficient funding to speed along the process.

Elections are hard to run with aging voting technology, but at least those problems aren’t intentional. Hacking and other types of interference are. In 2016, Russian hackers were able to breach voter registration systems in Illinois and several other states, and targeted dozens more. They are interfering again in advance of the 2018 midterms, according to intelligence officials, who are demanding better cybersecurity measures. These include conducting regular threat assessments, using voting machines that create paper trails and conducting postelection audits. Yet President Trump, who sees any invocation of Russian interference as a challenge to the legitimacy of his election, consistently downplays or dismisses these threats. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s State Department has not spent a dime of the $120 million Congress allocated to it to fight disinformation campaigns by Russia and other countries.

DISILLUSIONMENT

Some people wouldn’t vote if you put a ballot box in their living room. Whether they believe there is no meaningful difference between the major parties or that the government doesn’t care what they think regardless of who is in power, they have detached themselves from the political process.

That attitude is encouraged by many in government, up to and including the current president, who cynically foster feelings of disillusionment by hawking fake tales of rigged systems and illegal voters, even as they raise millions of dollars from wealthy donors and draw legislative maps to entrench their power.

The disillusionment is understandable, and to some degree it’s justified. But it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. When large numbers of people don’t vote, elections are indeed decided by narrow, unrepresentative groups and in the interests of wealth and power. The public can then say, See? We were right. They don’t care about us. But when more people vote, the winning candidates are more broadly representative and that improves government responsiveness to the public and enhances democratic legitimacy.

These obstacles to voting and political participation are very real, and we don’t discount their impact on turnout. The good news is there are fixes for all of them.

The most important and straightforward fix is to make it easier for people to register and vote. Automatic voter registration, which first passed in Oregon just three years ago, is now the law or practice in nine states, both red and blue, and the District of Columbia. Washington State is on the cusp of becoming the tenth, and New Jersey and Nevada may be close behind. More people also turn out when states increase voting opportunities, such as by providing mail-in ballots or by expanding voting hours and days.

The courts should be a bulwark protecting voting rights, and many lower federal courts have been just that in recent years, blocking the most egregious attacks on voting in states from North Carolina to Wisconsin. But the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has made this task much harder, mainly by gutting a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 case. Decisions like that one, which split 5 to 4, depend heavily on who is sitting in those nine seats — yet another reason people should care who gets elected.

In the end, the biggest obstacle to more Americans voting is their own sense of powerlessness. It’s true: Voting is a profound act of faith, a belief that even if your voice can’t change policy on its own, it makes a difference. Consider the attitude of Andrea Anthony, the Wisconsin woman who was deterred by the state’s harsh new voter-ID law after voting her whole adult life. “Voting is important to me because I know I have a little, teeny, tiny voice, but that is a way for it to be heard,” Ms. Anthony said. “Even though it’s one vote, I feel it needs to count.”

She’s right. The future of America is in your hands. More people voting would not only mean “different political parties with different platforms and different candidates,” the writer Rebecca Solnit said. “It would change the story. It would change who gets to tell the story.”

There are a lot of stories desperately needing to be told right now, but they won’t be as long as millions of Americans continue to sit out elections. Lament the state of the nation as much as you want. Then get out and vote.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … Jolly … zzzzzz … Monday

sleepyhead      Yawwwwnnnn …

OH!!!  You startled me!  Is it that time already?  Well don’t just stand there … come on in where it’s warm … just let me go turn on the coffee pot

coffeeSo tell me, dear friends, did you have a great weekend?  Mine was pretty good.  I was chuffed on Saturday afternoon when we went to Barnes & Noble and I was actually able to read the book jackets without using the magnifying glass, so I spent Saturday with a smile on my face!  And I’m sure you guys aren’t exactly looking forward to going back to the salt mines today, right?  Well, let’s see if we can find some fun things to put smiles on those gorgeous faces!  Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa …

Text dividersA tasty prank …

Y’know, I’ve often wondered what would happen if I called the local pizza place and ordered pizza sent to somebody else … just for a prank.  Mind you, I wouldn’t do it, but the thought has occurred to me a time or two, and likely it has to some of you too!  I know I’m not the only devious mind in this bunch!

Now, I don’t know who pranked German Attorney Guido Grolle, but it certainly wasn’t me!  Whoever it was … or rather is … they are doing it up right!  Guido’s office has received more than 100 pizzas that they did not order over the course of the last two weeks, and they keep on coming.  Apparently, the toppings are becoming increasingly disgusting, as one of the more recent ones had something called ‘currywurst’ – I don’t even know what that is, and am fairly certain I’m better off not knowing! And there have occasionally been orders of sushi, sausage and Greek food!

pizza-GuidoPolice have opened an investigation into the orders, but investigators said fraud charges are unlikely, as Grolle is not required to pay for the unwanted food.  Whoever it is, has Guido’s email address, for he gets notifications of the deliveries via email, sometimes starting first thing in the morning.

Guido email

EAttorney Guido Grolle’s email directory is full of announcements of pizza deliveries he did not order. Much was actually delivered. Photo: Oliver Schapernter a caption

So, any guesses as to who the perpetrator of this crime is?  I would guess a disgruntled former client, or perhaps a lawyer from an opposing firm who lost a case to ol’ Guido!  Then again … could be an angry ex-wife!


And speaking of pizza …

Steve Mallie, the owner of Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, Michigan, broke a Guinness World Record last July by cooking up the biggest hamburger, weighing in at 1,794 pounds!

hamburger recordBut then he decided to shoot for another, this time with pizza.  He and his crew cooked up a 72 x 72 inch pizza … for those who are mathematically challenged or don’t have your calculator handy, that is six-feet long and six feet wide.

Now, that’s all well and fine, but frankly, it doesn’t look all that tasty to me, and by the time anybody got to eat it, it was no doubt cold.  So, I ask the question:  why?  And the answer, I’m sure, would be “because we can”.  Sometimes, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.


Best use of a lottery win …

Bill Pendergast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, lost his home in the summer of 2016 when wildfires swept through the area, relentlessly destroying nearly 1.5 million acres of Boreal forest, residential areas, and oil sands. 2,400 homes and other buildings were destroyed, among them Mr. Pendergast’s house.

wildfireWhile the Pendergasts have been struggling financially to re-build their home, it is still only partly complete, due to a lack of funds, among other things.  But last week, Bill was on his way to visit his father when his father called and asked him if he would stop and pick up a cold soft drink for him.  He did, and while he was in the store, he bought a lottery ticket.  Well, guess what, folks?  He won!!!  A cool $1,000,000 USD, $800,000 Canadian dollars!

I don’t write about lottery winners very often, but every now and then there is a winner who I think is truly deserving, truly in need.  Now Bill and his wife can finish that house, and just in time to welcome their first grandbaby!

pendergast wins


All in favour, say “woof”

Now, I know I have long promised to keep Jolly Monday free of politics, but I couldn’t resist just one tiny exception … I hope you’ll forgive me.

In a town in Kentucky called “Rabbit Hash”, the mayor has been of the canine persuasion for as long as I can remember.  There have been several different mayors, but all of them have been dogs:

  • First Mayor: Goofy Borneman- Calhoun
  • Second Mayor: Junior Cochran
  • Third Mayor: Lucy Lou
  • Current Mayor: Brynneth Pawltro
  • Ambassadors: Bourbon & Lady Stone

rabbit hash mayorIt’s never been a problem … Rabbit Hash, a thriving metropolis of 315 people, functions quite nicely.  Now, over in Kansas, another four-legged fellow, Angus, filed the paperwork in a timely fashion to get his name on the ballot as a candidate for governor.  Hey, why not?  If it can work for the city of Rabbit Hash, why not for the state of Kansas?

Angus

But nooooo … Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who also just so happens to have thrown his hat into the same gubernatorial ring, says, “Officially, we will not allow a dog to run for governor.”  Spoil sport.  Some have speculated that Mr. Kobach felt threatened by the competition from Angus.  Perhaps so. My own opinion is that Angus could not possibly be any worse than Kris Kobach, and now I will drop this topic before I ….

Angus-2

Angus not happy.  Angus maybe challenge Kris Kobach to duel.


Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy …

Last but not least, this one is for Roger, the master of the British Oak Pogo Stick!

Who knew that there are serious pogo stick competitions?  Earlier this month, Russian professional Xpogo athlete Dmitry Arsenyev traveled to Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania to break the Guinness World Record for most consecutive no-handed back flips on a pogo stick and highest jump on a pogo stick as part of Whistle Sports’ Chronicles of a Record Breaker series.  Roger … you are NOT to even attempt this, understand?  I will call your wife!

pogo-1First Arsenyev attempted the no-handed back flip record which required him to complete more than seven consecutive flips on his pogo stick and release his hands from the handlebars while upside-down, without falling off or losing control.

He narrowly topped the previous record by completing eight no-handed back flips before landing outside of the cushioned area provided for him.

pogo-2Next Arsenyev attempted the record for highest jump on a pogo stick, which Xpogo co-founder Nick Ryan described as “the mother of all pogo records.”

He built up momentum with several bounces before vaulting over a pole set at 11 feet 0.99 inches high, about a half-inch higher than the previous record of 11 feet and half an inch. 

Well, folks, a look at the clock, and the obnoxious buzzing of my dryer tell me that our Jolly Monday time is up.  I like seeing that you have beautiful smiles on your faces, and I ask only that you go out and share those smiles with people you run into today who have none.  I admit that mine has been faltering a bit lately, and I can tell you from experience, that if somebody smiles at me, it lightens my heart just a bit.  I hope you all have a terrific week – remember that spring is getting closer by the day!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!

toon-Maxine

The Last Laugh …

If I were Hillary Clinton, I would be laughing and feeling pretty darned good right about now!  Sure, she won the election but lost the presidency, most likely due to some high-level hijinx.  But Donald Trump has paid her the highest compliment she may ever receive, though I doubt he realizes it yet.  How so, you ask?

For the entire six months Trump has been in office, he has not let up on his criticisms of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton.  Almost weekly there is some new empty threat or meaningless accusation from his tiny-twitter-fingers.  He simply cannot let it go, cannot seem to get her out of his small mind.  All of which tells me one thing …

Donald Trump, the man with an ego the size of Manhattan Island, feels very insecure and very threatened by Hillary Clinton.  There is simply no other possible explanation.  He won the electoral vote and thereby is now sitting with his pudgy butt in the chair in the Oval Office, yet he is still bashing Hillary Clinton, a woman who can do him no harm now and who probably only wishes she could put the ugly memory behind her.

February 15th“This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.”

March 20th“What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?”

March 27th“Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech…. …money to Bill, the Hillary Russian “reset,” praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!”

March 28th“Why doesn’t Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton – sale of Uranium?”

April 3rd“Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!” and “Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted? Did Hillary know?”

May 31st – “Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself, refuses to say she was a terrible candidate. Hits Facebook & even Dems & DNC.”

June 9th“How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?”

June 25th“Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!”

July 12th“Why aren’t the same standards placed on the Democrats. Look what Hillary Clinton may have gotten away with. Disgraceful!”

July 16th“HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?”

There’s more, but you get the picture.  Donald Trump has a very unhealthy obsession for Hillary Clinton that can only stem from feeling insecure and threatened. It would be funny, were he not supposed to be focusing on the things we pay him to do, like running the country. It would be funny … if he were a 16-year-old kid who lost his best marble in a game against a girl.  It would be funny if it did not speak volumes about the mentality of the man who has the nuclear codes at his tiny fingertips.

Although there is evidence to the contrary, Trump continues to claim that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”.  Then in March, Trump established the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, or as Trump himself refers to it, the Voter Fraud Committee. As per my July 1 post, the commission attempted to jeopardize our voting rights by requesting private information on every voter, but the majority of the states refused to comply.  The commission held its first meeting yesterday, during which vice-chariman of he committee, Kris Kobach said that due to voter fraud, “we may never know” if Hillary won the popular vote or not.  It is apparent that this commission was established, at least in part, to attempt to legitimize Trump’s unsupported claim of voter fraud, though Kobach claims otherwise.

In elections past, the losing candidate congratulates the winning candidate, then goes home to lick his/her wounds.  The winning candidate then spends his time preparing for the job ahead, learning from people already in office, reading and studying.  Then on January 20th, that winning candidate assumes the heavy responsibility that is the office of president.  His days and sometimes nights are occupied with decisions, foreign policy, budgets, policy-making, learning the ropes, etc.  But in the case of Donald Trump, he eschewed the learning process, partly because he did not understand what he was being told, and partly because he already thought he knew everything.  Then once in office, rather than knuckling down to the task ahead, he chose to spend his time ruminating on two people:  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  His own insecurities are costing this nation in ways we may never fully understand.  But to return to my initial point, if I were Hillary Clinton, I would be laughing long and loud, for even eight months after the election, he is still afraid of her!

 

laughing-Hillary.gif

“We the Peoples” Right To Vote Is Under Serious Attack By Republicans

Yesterday, I wrote a post about our voting rights and rights to voting privacy being trampled by the current administration. My post, however, was more narrow in scope than this one by my friend Gronda. She has done her research and reports on three additional areas where our voting rights are being threatened. Though much is horribly wrong in our nation right now, I see three areas as being THE most important: the environment; freedom of press/speech; and voting rights/security/privacy. All other issues will depend on these three. This is too important to let slide into the shadows, and Gronda does an excellent job shining the spotlight on the issue of voting rights, so please take a few minutes to read her post … and be sure to let her know what you think! Thank you, Gronda, for all your hard work and this very informative post!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of jeh johnson“We the People” have the constitutional right to be able to vote without undue obstacles, put in our way, to block some of us from exercising this precious right. It appears that republican lawmakers and their allies have been specifically designing strategies to do just that.

When the republican President Donald Trump and his administration should be acting to protect out states’ voting systems from foreign manipulations, as the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson described in his June 2017 testimony before the US Congress when he described Russia’s attempts to attack 21 US states’ voting data for nefarious purposes, they are in the process of attempting to cut off funding from the very office which is designated to address this problem.

President Trump gestures to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, as he speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office

View original post 1,382 more words

Our Voting Privacy — VIOLATED!!!

Although there was no credible evidence of major or wide-spread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election, the person who won that election claims there was.  I see this as a smoke screen to hide the bigger issue that Russia, probably with assistance from Trump and many associated with his campaign, actually DID interfere with the election.  But the Russian interference is another story and has been much-covered already.  Donald Trump, based on his false claims of voter fraud, formed a ‘Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’ to take a magnifying glass and look for those mostly non-existent fraudulent voters. Trump established the commission on 11 March via one of his multitude of ‘executive orders’. A waste of taxpayers’ money, to be sure, but so are Trump’s weekly golf outings.

golfThis commission has now, however, crossed a line.  On Wednesday, all 50 states were sent letters* from Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the commission, requesting information on voter fraud, election security and copies of every state’s voter roll data. The letter asked state officials to deliver the data within two weeks, and says that all information turned over to the commission will be made public. The letter does not explain what the commission plans to do with voter roll data.  The data they requested would include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Party affiliation
  • Last four digits of social security number
  • Voting history from 2006 thru present
  • Information regarding felony convictions
  • Information regarding military status

kobachThe first three on the list are not atypical and not of particular concern, though I do not wish John Q. Public knowing my address.  And even party affiliation is easily accessible, as most states make this information available to political campaigns … for a fee.  What is disturbing, however, is the request for social security number, even though it is only the last four digits, that number is the key to everything about us and should be safeguarded.  And the most disturbing item on the list is the request for ten years’ voting history!  This blows to shreds the theory of a secret ballot, the theory that nobody should know how we voted unless we choose to share that information, and in this case we are not being given that choice.

The notation that the information will be made public is potentially a disaster, and very concerning, since obviously little or no consideration of privacy rights has gone into this. Unfortunately, many may have failed to even notice this story because all the headlines have been focused on Trump’s ugly, sexist tweets against a member of the media.  Did he do that as a smoke screen?  It’s too bad that we automatically question his motives every time he opens his mouth or engages his tiny tweeting fingers, but history has shown us to trust nothing he says or does.

Some states and civil rights groups were not pleased by this letter:

“I have no intention of honoring this request. Virginia conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Virginia.” – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

Connecticut’s Secretary of State, Denise Merrill, said she would “share publicly-available information with the Kobach Commission while ensuring that the privacy of voters is honored by withholding protected data. [Kobach] has a lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas … given Secretary Kobach’s history we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this Commission.”

“The concern is that this is going to be used to justify regressive and disenfranchising federal law. Why does a random member of the public . . . need to know when you last voted and what your political party is? I think that access to this data in the wrong hands could always leave the opportunity for mischief. In this particular instance, I’m worried about harassment as well.” – Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the democracy program at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice

Vanita Gupta, chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and former head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said on Twitter that the letter is “laying the groundwork for voter suppression, plain & simple.”

“You’d think there would want to be a lot of thought behind security and access protocols for a national voter file, before you up and created one. This is asking to create a national voter file in two weeks.” – Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola University School of Law and former Department of Justice civil rights official.

My concerns are multi-fold.  First, of course, is the plan to make this information public — a move that could compromise our personal security.  Second, and of perhaps in the long run of even greater concern, is that I do not trust Donald Trump.  He claims that the Democrats and the press are engaged in a conspiracy against him, so … if given easy access to our political affiliation and our voting record for the last ten years, what mischief might he perpetuate against those who are registered Democrats, or who voted for someone other than Trump last year?  And third, there is Kobach himself.

kobach-2

This picture in itself makes me distrust Mr. Kobach!

Kris W. Kobach serves as the Kansas Secretary of State, a position he has held since 2011.  He is known for his hardliner views on immigration, as well as his calls for greater voting restrictions and a Muslim registry. Kobach regularly makes claims about the extent of voter fraud in the United States that several nonpartisan studies have shown are unsubstantiated. I would almost call him a conspiracy theorist. He has implemented some of the strictest voter ID legislation in the nation and has fought to remove nearly 20,000 properly registered voters from the state’s voter rolls. He was also a part of Trump’s conspiracy over the faux ‘birther’ issue, questioning President Obama’s place of birth.

Kobach did, after much time and money wasted on researching voter fraud, successfully secure convictions in nine cases of voter fraud … the nine individuals were not illegal immigrants but rather most were older registered Republicans!

Last October, a federal judge ruled that some of Kobach’s proposed ID requirements constituted a “mass denial of a fundamental constitutional right.” And earlier this month, a Judge James O’Hara fined Kobach $1,000 for presenting misleading arguments in a voting-related lawsuit.  This man sees illegal voters behind every tree, it seems, and apparently has no qualms about disenfranchising thousands with his restrictive voter I.D. laws.

The chairman of the commission is none other than Mike Pence, who seems to be taking a backseat and letting Kobach run the commission. So, to recap, the three main people involved with collecting our data and using it in ways that we are not being told, then making it publicly available, are Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Kris Kobach, each of whom are proven racists, and highly untrustworthy individuals.  I call on every state official who may be involved in the decision, to decline to accede to the demands of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.  We The People do not trust the members of this commission and do not want our information shared with them.  Okay, folks, time to start sending those emails and making those phone calls again!

Update:  As of this writing, at least 3  5  25   27 states are refusing to comply!

* Copy of Letter Sent to All 50 States