Stephen Colbert starts his latest monologue with the same humour we are used to seeing from him, but he ends on a very serious note. It is well worth watching … please do …
The end of not only a year, but a decade fraught with troubles lends itself to musings and ponderings. If I put my mind to it, I could come up with at least 50 things Donald Trump has done in his three-year tenure that are wrong, disgusting, destructive, and pose a threat to either the nation’s internal or external security. But, there are two that stand out most, that are so incredibly cruel or stupid that my jaw still drops when I think of them.
The first is the policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border, then putting the children in detention centers where even their most basic needs are often not met. This is, as much as any, a crime against humanity and one that, while the people of this nation were up in arms over for a time, seems to be largely forgotten today. It has taken a backseat to impeachment and most everything else. When was the last time you read an article or heard a news story about the children who may never be reunited with their parents? I do not know how many children remain separated from their parents and housed in detention centers along the southern border … I’ve read a few estimates, but none seem to be certain … perhaps Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have lost track, just as they’ve lost track of the whereabouts of these kids’ parents. But, whether it’s 20 or 2,000 … while you and I were enjoying unwrapping presents and later a Christmas feast with friends and family, this is how the innocent children in the detention centers spent Christmas …The United States of America … land of opportunity, land of milk and honey … but only if your skin is the right colour.
The second thing is the damage Trump has done to the environment … damage that, to a large extent, can never be reversed. Trump, as we all know, has a serious ego problem … his ego is the most bloated part about him, and that’s saying a lot. Trump’s ego seemingly demanded that Trump do everything he could to erase the legacy of the positive things that were done by his predecessor, President Barack Obama. Three of the things President Obama was most noted for were environmental regulations, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Trump has attempted to demolish all three of those, but the area in which he has been most successful is that of environmental regulations. A New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 90 environmental rules and regulations rolled back under Trump.For a detailed analysis of each, refer to the article in the Times.
Trump’s unconscionable rollback of these regulations benefits the fossil fuel industry and the logging industry barons, but harms this nation, its people and its precious resources, such as breathable air, potable water, safe food, national monuments, and wildlife. More importantly, his actions are hastening the crisis that scientists are predicting.
The latest United Nations report on climate change issued last month paints a grim picture for the future of life on planet Earth. In a statement announcing the findings, Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, said …
“Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions. We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”
Roughly 20 percent of the world has already warmed to troubling levels. Slowing future warming will require monumental changes, such as phasing out gas-powered cars, halting the construction of coal-fired power plants and overhauling how humans grow food and manage land. And yet, Donald Trump continues to claim that climate change is all a hoax and has convinced a large number of his followers. I recently (and regrettably) engaged in a conversation with one such person and … let me tell you, it’s a waste of precious breath, for Trump has brainwashed them to believe that he is smarter than all of the scientists in the world. Quite a feat, eh?
As I said at the beginning, there are many, many things that Trump has done that have, in one way or another, brought harm to this nation and to We the People, but these two stand out as being the most inhumane on a large scale. These two alone have greatly reduced the respectability of this nation around the world. And fully 40% of the people in this nation continue to applaud. Sigh.
Friends say to me, “Why do you spend so much time worrying about politics? What will be, will be. Why not spend your time enjoying life? You’re going to drive yourself to an early grave. Just chill and have fun.” This post is my response to those people.
Why do I spend so much time worrying about politics? I don’t. I spend that much time worrying about what is happening in this nation, in the world. I spend that much time speaking out, sometimes ranting, about the injustices I see in this world. I look at our government taking innocent children from their parents’ arms, tossing them into detention centers with naught but a piece of tinfoil for a blanket, and I say, “This is wrong!” I see decisions being made by a few in the upper echelons of government that completely disregard the concerns of scientists and environmentalists … decisions that are hastening the end of life on this planet, and I say, “This is wrong!”
I see a ‘man’ who is supposed to represent this nation, who is supposed to represent the ideals of a nation founded on “liberty and justice for all”, denigrating people in the LGBT community, calling Hispanics and Muslims terrible names, making racial, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs and more, and I cannot help but say, “This is wrong!” I see decisions made that ensure the rich get richer while the poor are denied adequate health care, housing, food, and the basic necessities of life, and yes, once again I say, “This is wrong!”
A number of my friends claim that I just don’t like Trump. No, I don’t like him …But, it isn’t only Trump … it is also those who either support or applaud the policies of this administration, policies that are discriminatory against minorities, against women, against non-Christians, against LGBT, and against the poor. Policies that put this nation and its people in grave danger. Policies and rhetoric that alienate our allies, while patronizing our enemies. And it is also the people who turn a blind eye, who know that these things are wrong but bury themselves inside their bubble, their comfort zone, and pretend they don’t see the children in cages crying themselves to sleep at night. It is those who believe that they have no obligation to do their part to clean up our environment, who tell me that somehow some magical creator of the universe will make everything right again in good time, so they can continue tossing away their plastic bottles, driving their gas-guzzling SUVs, and living life just as they have always done.
And it is those who believe that somehow, they are better than others, either because of the colour of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, or their ethnicity. Those who worry that the people with pale skin will someday not be the majority, will not have the final say in what this nation will be. It is the arrogance, the ignorance, and the greed that I do not like, can no longer tolerate.
Those same friends then say, “Well, you cannot fix the problems, so why not relax, enjoy life, have some fun … lighten up.”
No, I cannot fix the problems by myself … no one person can. But I can do my part, and I can keep using the little voice I have to make others aware of the many injustices happening right under our very noses. There is an old saying that, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink”. I am attempting to lead the horse to the clear, cool stream in hopes that he will drink. I cannot do otherwise, it is who I am. But, I am getting tired …
Tired of seeing people surrounding themselves with so much noise that it drowns out the things that actually matter. Tired of people burying their heads in the sand, wearing their rosy-coloured glasses, sticking their fingers in their ears and singing, “La-la-la-la-la … I can’t hear you!”
Why do I do what I do? Because it matters, at least to me. Because we are on a collision course, and much like the passengers aboard the Titanic, the majority will still be dancing, posting pictures of their last meal on social media, and pretending they just don’t see, when the ship hits the iceberg. We all have a choice to be a part of the solution, or a part of the problem, but there is no neutral choice. If you choose to ignore it all, if you choose not to be part of the solution, then you ARE the problem. We have all contributed to the problem for long enough. Now it is time to be part of the solution.
Quite by coincidence, as this post was a work-in-progress this morning, I saw a comment by our friend Roger who offered the following quote by Elie Wiesel …
“Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Think about it.
I wasn’t going to have an afternoon post today, for I have an overwhelming amount of things I must get done today, but then my friend Herb tagged me on something on Facebook this morning, and as I read it, I realized it sums up what the majority of people in the U.S. are feeling these days.
A Message to Trump Supporters
by Mike Miller
‘A message to all tRump supporters:
When this national nightmare is over….and it WILL be over, hopefully sooner rather than later….and the country is returned to normalcy, order is restored, and patriotism and common sense replaces bigotry, hate and stupidity, don’t expect to regain the stature you once enjoyed as a citizen and return to the society you ransomed to placate your hate. Everything this country once stood for….everything better men and women than you sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve….everything we held dear to our hearts, was cast aside, thrown away, denigrated, defiled, stepped on, ridiculed, and despised by you in order to support the most corrupt, dishonest, fascist traitor to every occupy the people’s house.
When our free press told you the truth about him, you rallied behind his cries of “fake news” and supported his attack on our free press.
When fake “chrisitan” religious frauds attempted to hijack religious freedom in order to force feed their own deluded brand of bigotry and hate disguised as “christian values” you stood by and let them stoke your inbred prejudices.
When the same mindset that turned Germany into Nazi Germany in the 1930’s tried to establish a foothold here, you again showed your true colors and instead of quashing it in its tracks, you abandoned the spirit of this country, forgot history, and allowed its hatred and division to seep into our society.
When healthcare was taken away from the most at-risk of our society, you allowed it to happen.
When children were denied food and healthcare, you supported it.
When innocent African-Americans were murdered by law enforcement, you remained silent, only to finally raise your voices in disgust and hatred when they knelt in protest.
When children were murdered in schools and sane gun legislation was called for, you sided with the gun lobby and decided that the murder of school children was more favorable than sensible gun laws.
When hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens were denied their constitutional and human rights simply because of who they chose to love, you allowed discrimination and hate to overtake your sensibility and relegated them to second-class citizenry, using YOUR “religious freedom” as the rationalization for the hatred you hid behind.
When environmental policies that demanded clean water and clean air were thrown aside in order to coddle to the monetary interests of the polluters, you remained silent.
When policies that assisted the homeless, the elderly, the needy, the hungry, the veterans, the retired, and the sick were systematically nullified and terminated in order to transfer that tax money into the pockets of billionaires, you turned a blind eye to their struggles.
When children seeking refuge were taken from their parents and housed in cages, instead of outrage you supported the victimization and maltreatment of refugees seeking asylum.
When the reputation of this country and our commitment to our steadfast allies were trashed in order to appease our most rabid enemies, you supported the traitors who betrayed the country and everything we once stood for.
In every instance where compassion, civility, sympathy, acceptance, inclusion, humanity, fairness, justice, and respectability were needed, you supported the policies and the people who showed no compassion, no civility, no sympathy, no acceptance, no inclusion, no humanity, no fairness, no justice, and no respectability to anyone whose very existence they disregarded and refused to legitimize.
So again, when this is finally over, don’t expect to be accepted back into the society of the REAL Americans you stabbed in the back simply to legitimize your own prejudices.
At every turn….at every chance….at every opportunity, when you were called on to support the foundation and pillars that this country was built on, you looked the other way and were willing to support those who were tearing down those pillars and destroying that foundation. You had no qualms about sacrificing this country to justify your own intolerance. When the choice was to support your country and its constitutional guarantees for everyone, or support the traitor who has worked tirelessly to destroy those constitutional guarantees, you chose the corrupt wannabe dictator over the constitution. Please know that there are many of us, this person especially, who truly love this country, and are intelligent enough to see the damage your misguided support of this administration has reaped. I, for one, will NEVER FORGET and NEVER FORGIVE you for the choice you made and what that choice did to this country.’
Once upon a time, in the ‘Land of milk and honey’, Independence Day, celebrated on the 4th of July each year across the United States, meant something. It was a time of remembrance, a time when the independent spirit of the founders of this nation rose up and declared that this would be a nation in and of itself, that we would fight for the right to make our own laws and to form a nation based on humanitarian values.
That was then, and this is now. Today, the United States has become a greedy, war-mongering nation rent by political differences, fueled by greed and lust for power. Add to that, a government so corrupt that it enables a power-hungry dictator to shred the Constitution that has been the fabric of our nation for 232 years and has meekly handed over the keys to the castle in exchange for empty promises of great riches.
This nation once opened its doors to the “tired and poor” from other nations who sought asylum from evil dictatorships … today, we are the evil dictatorship.
The men and women who sought to make this a respectable and worthy nation would no doubt be horrified by what this country has become, as are many of us still living today. It would be rather like seeing your child, a child who once had so much potential, fall victim to drugs and alcohol and throw away his opportunities. This is exactly what has happened in the U.S.
Those who valued wealth over humanitarian causes, have given us a cruel and malevolent dictator who, by all appearances, plans to continue on the path to completely destroying all that was once good about this country, and we seem helpless to stop the madness. Point in case … Trump’s plans for tomorrow.
The Fourth of July in Washington D.C. was once a fun family affair, with picnics, music, festivities, and at the end of the day, fireworks. This year, all fun festivities have been cancelled in favour of a political rally by a madman whose already-bloated ego requires that the entire nation bow down and pay fealty to him. He has turned the marking of a historical event into a celebration of … Trump. Forgive me if I view this in rather the same vein as a celebration of the sinking of the Titanic.
Tomorrow’s events promise to be a disgusting display of hedonistic arrogance on the part of Trump and of some portion of this country at a cost to We the People of somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million, though the cost estimates have not been forthcoming by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. Congress, specifically the Senate Appropriations Committee, requested the cost estimates days ago. A similar affair was considered for Veteran’s Day in 2018, but was cancelled in the face of cost estimates around $92 million. What changed? Why is it all of a sudden alright for Trump to stage this costly “tribute to self”?
The only thing that will, hopefully, put a damper in Trump’s illusion of grandeur is that there are multiple large protests being planned. The baby Trump blimp that featured prominently in the UK’s “welcoming” of Trump has arrived on our shores and was planning to fly above the Lincoln Memorial all day, but now the government has said that it cannot be filled with helium and must be kept out of Trump’s field of vision. Other protests are guaranteed, and while Trump will wear blinders to them, they will firmly show that We the People do not favour a display of military hardware and a political campaign speech by he-who-would-be-king.
I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when children are being held in captivity without adequate food, clothing, or medical care, separated from their parents for literally no just cause. I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when we are treating asylum seekers as if they were hardened criminals. I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when the nation is in the grips of a madman who is teetering on the brink of taking us into a war that nobody wants, and for no reason whatsoever. I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when this nation is so divided that we now judge people by their political party, by the colour of their skin, by their religion or lack thereof. I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate a nation that is taking away the rights of people … of women, of LGBT people, of Muslims, of Latinos and more.
The fourth of July is just another day … one where the trash will not be picked up and the mail will not be delivered, but still … it’s just like any other day. There is no longer anything special to celebrate, for what once was, is no longer.
There are so many horrors on my radar right now that it is literally jammed. Where to start? Okay, let’s begin somewhere …
I had seen a snippet or two, here and there, but usually while I was deep into research for another post, and I bookmarked a couple of them to look at later, then promptly forgot … predictable, when I have so many different things on such a small mind, yes? Anyway, earlier today I received an email from my dear friend Cheryl, and in it she mentioned her frustration that her church had put together many kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and other personal care items to be donated to the migrant children being held in captivity, but that Customs and Border “Protection” would not accept them! This triggered the memory of those articles I had bookmarked, so I went back and did a bit of digging (one needs a long-handled shovel to dig through the memory banks in my head or in the file labeled ‘notes’ on my laptop!)
On June 24th, the Texas Tribune reported …
On Sunday, Austin Savage and five of his friends huddled into an SUV and went to an El Paso Target, loading up on diapers, wipes, soaps and toys.
About $340 later, the group headed to a Border Patrol facility holding migrant children in nearby Clint with the goal of donating their goods. Savage said he and his friends had read an article from The New York Times detailing chaos, sickness and filth in the overcrowded facility, and they wanted to help.
But when they arrived, they found that the lobby was closed. The few Border Patrol agents — Savage said there were between eight and 10 of them — moving in and out of a parking facility ignored them.
For a while, the group stood there dumbfounded about what to do next. Ultimately, they decided to pack up and head home. Savage said he wasn’t completely surprised by the rejection; before he left, the group spotted a discarded plastic bag near the lobby door holding toothpaste and soap that had a note attached to it: “I heard y’all need soap + toothpaste for kids.”
A slew of other sympathetic people, advocacy groups and lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have expressed a desire to lend a hand to the kids housed in the facilities. But after purchasing items like toys, soap, toothbrushes, diapers and medicine — especially as news reports circulate of facilities having drinking water that tastes like bleach and sick children without enough clothing — they’ve been met with a common message: No donations are being accepted.
Last week, I wrote a post titled Cruel and Inhumane about the conditions these poor children … CHILDREN … are living in. Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson wrote an opinion piece that went into even greater detail . These children are given a piece of f**king tin foil for a blanket, have no toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, and in some cases no diapers. They are suffering from illness, cold, and malnutrition. They are CHILDREN, and they are being treated worse than prisoners of war would be treated under the Geneva Convention!!!
Our government cannot be bothered to spend a few thousand dollars for the comfort and health of these children, but they can spend millions or more on an ego trip for Damnold Trump to “honour himself” on the Fourth of July??? And on top of it all, they will not allow those of us who have a conscience, those of us who feel compassion toward these children, who understand that they are every bit as valuable as our own children … we are not allowed to donate such necessities of life as soap to these poor children???
The friend I mentioned above writes a blog, Impromptu Promptlings, and she did an excellent rant about this last evening. Please take a minute to read it, to let her add her voice to the fury of my own.
When you go to bed tonight, ponder on something. Ask yourself what kind of country you are living in. You get up each morning, proceed through your daily routine … the view outside your window likely looks much the same as it did three years ago. But it isn’t the same. This isn’t the same country. This is a country that respects an over-bloated megalomaniac far more than it respects the lives of children. This is a nation that supports an agency of the federal government that is murdering children … yes, I said murdering. They are sick, they are not given proper hygiene, they are not given proper nutrition, and they are lacking the love of their parents that is so essential to the health and well-being, to the development of children.
Ask yourself, as you lie awake pondering this, what can we do? How can we stop this madness? Oh sure, there is an election in 16 months, and we can vote the madman out of office … maybe … but how many more children will die before then? Six children that we know of have already died of abuse or neglect in the concentration camps … and yes, they ARE concentration camps by any definition of the word. How many more must die? How can we stop this utter insanity? Think about it. Get mad. Let’s figure this out, folks, for those little kids are counting on somebody to help them.
Okay folks … the holidays are over!!! Whew … now it’s time to get back into the routine, and what better way to start 2019 than with an abundance of snarkasm? Perhaps I will make it a tradition to begin every year with Snarky Snippets! 2019 deserves to be started in such a manner, for just a few hours into the year and just look at all that is wrong with the world! Let’s begin with a man who I have long abhorred … Representative Peter T. King, a republican from New York.
Just last week …
Now, I first take issue with his statement that ICE is doing a great job, since only two children have died! ONLY??? What if one of those children had been your own, Mr. King??? But it goes even deeper than that, for also last week, video footage was obtained by The Arizona Republic from the Arizona Department of Health under the public records law. The videos show children being physically abused – dragged, slapped, and shoved – by staffers at Casa Padre, a migrant shelter operated by Southwest Key. The videos are from September, and the facility was shuttered in October after a number of violations, including failure to obtain background checks on staff members.
Another such facility, Casa Kokopelli, also operated by Southwest Key, has been charged with eleven sex offenses by a staff member against at least eight children in their care. ProPublica investigated Southwest Key and the sex offenses back in August, and when they asked Southwest Key representative Jeff Eller a question regarding how the company would assure children’s safety in the future, Mr. Eller replied …
“We find the premise of your question dishonorable.”
Say WHAT??? Who’s the dishonourable party here? And Mr. King says they are all doing a great job because only two children have died so far.
This is not the first time Mr. King has crossed my radar, by the way. In May, I wrote a piece titled An Ugly Voice — Peter T. King. I will be writing a letter to Mr. King later today. Meanwhile, anyone want to lay odds that more children will die while held in U.S. custody in the coming year?
Without conscience …Remember Cindy Hyde-Smith, the racist woman who won a U.S. Senate seat in a special election in Mississippi in late November? She said she would happily attend a lynching, and made a host of other racist remarks, yet Trump called her a “fine woman” … I guess he meant that in the same vein as when he called the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, “fine people”. Anyway, after her blatantly and sinister racist remarks, a number of people who had donated to her campaign asked for their contributions back, not wishing to be affiliated with such a horrid person.
Aetna, AT&T, Boston Scientific, Facebook, Google, Leidos, Pfizer, Union Pacific, and Walmart all requested their donations back, but Cindy has, apparently, decided she would keep the money. Legally, she is under no obligation to return the money, and she seems to have no intention to do so. Surprised, aren’t you?
How does he love thee?
Donald Trump claims to be on the side of the people … says he loves the people (just so long as they aren’t democrats, African-Americans, Muslims, or gay) and just to show them how much he loves them, he has … frozen their pay! And some 800,000 of them aren’t getting any pay right now, either, thanks to Uncle Donnie! I’m so happy that he doesn’t love me!
In what was, I hope, his last ‘executive order’ of 2018, with a slash of his pen he played god and froze the salaries & wages of some 2.1 million federal workers! The military will still get their 2.6% pay increase (not the 10% Trump falsely told the soldiers in Iraq when he visited there at Christmas). Civilian federal workers were initially slated to receive a 2.1% increase, but back in the summer, Trump began saying that the government could not afford it. Funny, isn’t it, that we can afford all Trump’s excesses, covering Secret Service expenses for his sons as they flit about the world on Trump Organization business? We can afford Trump’s near-weekly golf outings and trips to Mar-a-Lago, and he claims we can afford $5 billion to be thrown away on the beginnings of a useless border wall. But we cannot afford a lousy 2.1% pay increase for the men and women who work to keep the federal government running smoothly. Damn shame, if you ask me!
And what about last December’s tax cut for the wealthy? If we could afford to give huge raises to multi-millionaires and billionaires, why can’t we afford to give measly 2.1% pay increases to the woman who helps us sign up for Social Security, or to the man who keeps our planes from crashing, or the person teaching our children?
Congress can and likely will include raises for federal workers in any spending bill they propose after the new Congress is seated in two days, but speculation is that it will be for 1.9%, not 2.1%. Peanuts? Sure, but hey … 0.2% of a $60,000 salary means a lot more to the federal worker than the extra million or more the rich coal barons got via Trump’s tax cuts.
I won’t be surprised to see a bad case of the ‘blue flu’ before long in the departments of the federal government.
Okay … that concludes this morning’s snippets. I just felt the need to show those in power that the 2019 Filosofa is not any kinder or gentler than the 2018 Filosofa was, and I will pursue truth and justice this year even more diligently than last! Look out, Trumpie … I’m in line right behind Bob Mueller for a pound of your flesh!
The migrant caravan that Donald Trump said we should be so afraid of, that he said was filled with murderers, rapists, and even some Middle-Eastern terrorists, the one he sent troops to the border to defend against, has finally arrived. Here is what all those “bad hombres” look like:
Yes, folks, these are but a few of those “stone cold criminals” as Trump referred to them in his early morning tweet:
I cannot say, nor would I, that out of the thousands of people in this caravan, there may not be a few who have committed crimes. Take a thousand people at random from the middle of any city in the U.S., and odds are that you will find a few who have committed crimes. But overall, this is a migrant caravan comprised of families fleeing the violence in their native countries, primarily Honduras.
Let’s talk to María Cáceres (pictured above). María was a tortilla vendor in San Pedro Sula, Honduras when gang members killed two of her brothers and burned down her house. She said she wants asylum in the United States, but really just “wants life to get better now.”
These are people who have, over the past two months, crossed mountains, walked through forests, crossed rivers, been soaked by rains, bitten and stung by insects, all because they are seeking a better life for their children and themselves. When they crossed into Mexico, riot police attacked them with clubs and teargas, yet they persevered.
And then yesterday, U.S. authorities closed off the busiest port of entry along the U.S. border with Mexico and fired tear gas. What a welcome to these poor travelers … these human beings! Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement Sunday that the port of entry was closed “to ensure public safety in response to large numbers of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.” Frankly, Ms. Nielsen, I would be more afraid of these soldiers than I would be of the migrants. Public safety??? I think not.
Donald Trump, Kirstjen Nielsen and others calling to close the border, to deny these migrants asylum, lack normal human compassion. They would deny thousands the right to opportunity, the right to safety, for political purposes. The U.S. was once known as a country that welcomed asylum seekers, that understood what a wonderful thing diversity was. Somewhere along the line, we lost our compassion, we lost our humanity.
Trump’s threat to “close the border permanently” is against the law, however as he believes himself to be above the law, believes that the laws do not apply if they are at odds with his whims, I suspect there will be legal challenges and hate-filled rhetoric bouncing about for the next several months. Just another step in our decline toward becoming a third-world country. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wish to live in a country where the borders are closed, a country that treats human beings seeking asylum as if they were criminals.