Tell me why (an underused question)

Our friend Keith has a question … well, quite a few of them actually, and they all begin with “Why?” These are not easy questions, not ones that any of us can answer, but they are the questions we should ALL be asking. Check out his questions and see if you can add a few of your own. Thanks Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The Beatles sang, “Tell me why…., you cry and why you lie to me.”Why? A question we do not ask enough, especially of those who need it asked again and again. I witness politicians, business leaders, experts and regular people like us say things as if they are fact, but the comments are merely opinion or conjecture. And, in the case of one person in particular, any comment is likely untrue.

So, here are a few why questions.

– Why does a person who claims things that run contrary to his narrative are a hoax, actually made money off hoax strategies? We have heard words like Climate change hoax, Russian hoax, Ukrainian hoax, Coronavirus hoax, etc. from this person, but he made a lot of money off selling his name to developers for projects he had nothing to do with. The name was supposed to bring in more customers…

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Short, Snarky, And To The Point

Yesterday, after the second highest number of new cases of the coronavirus in one day in the U.S., the head-in-the-clouds vice president, Mike Pence, told republican lawmakers to “focus on encouraging signs”.  Never mind that there really aren’t any such encouraging signs.  Pence, like far too many others whose salaries we pay, is naught but a Trump sycophant hoping for a few bits to be thrown his way as long as he rolls over when told and is a good doggie.

Meanwhile, the reality is that cases are on the rise in about 20 states, proving that the push to open businesses back up against the advice of experts was a huge mistake.  Two of those states are the two most recently visited by Trump, Oklahoma and Arizona.  Please, Donnie, stay the hell out of my state!  Nobody wants you!


The three ‘men’ who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February have each been indicted by a grand jury on nine counts, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.  If convicted on the murder charges, the defendants face a minimum of life in prison and potentially could face a death sentence.3-assholesLook like a real bunch of winners, don’t they … especially the one on the far right.  This is a positive step, considering I predicted early on that they would receive no more than a slap on the wrist.  However, I am always amazed when I hear someone say this is “justice for Arbery”.  NO … this is justice, yes, but not for Mr. Arbery who is still dead!  It may be a satisfactory ending, if these three assholes are convicted, for Ahmaud’s family, but it is in no way justice for Ahmaud himself.  Justice for him would have been if someone had stepped forward and stopped the heathens from killing him in the first place.


William Barr, undoubtedly on orders of his ‘boss’, has put the U.S. Marshalls on alert and instructed them to be ready to guard national monuments from protestors who might deface or topple them.  So … just to be clear here … a piece of stone representing a man who fought for the right to own other people, aka slaves, is to be protected at all costs, but when it comes to human lives, our government is indifferent.  Remember that, folks … to Trump, Barr and the rest of the regime, you are worth less than a piece of stone, and less than a long-dead racist.  It’s always good to know where we stand in the grand scheme of things. toon


We’re coming into wildfire season out west where rain is scarce this time of year.  Since 2010, there has been a ban on any sort of fireworks at Mount Rushmore, since in years prior to that, wildfires had cropped up as a result of July 4th celebrations that included fireworks.  But, again … lives matter less than show to Donald Trump, and he is determined to hold a celebration at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota this year and he is further determined that it will include a pyrotechnics show.  Mount Rushmore is surrounded by 1,200 acres of forest and lies next to the Black Hills National Forest’s Black Elk Wilderness.Mount-RushmoreTrump has wanted to do this for the past two years, but until this year, his advisors were able to talk him out of it.  This year, most of the adults have left the room and his advisors seem to be all ‘yes-men’, so … the show will go on.  People will be exposed to the coronavirus and new cases will rise in the days following July 4th.  And there is a very real possibility that a devastating forest fire will be started.  All to assuage the ego of a megalomaniac.  I have no idea what this circus act will cost We the Taxpayer, but you can bet it will be a pretty penny.


Well, it looks like the ignoble, criminal Michael Flynn is a free man and likely to stay that way.  A federal appeals court ordered U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to accept William Barr’s move to pull the plug on the case against Trump’s first national security adviser.  Flynn is guilty, even pleaded guilty, and now he walks free.  But what bothers me most about this is the reason the appeals court gave in its opinion, saying that allowing the case to continue would intrude on the executive branch’s prerogatives to control criminal prosecutions.  WAIT just a damn minute here! toon-flynnThe majority opinion, written by Trump appointee Neomi Rao, went on to say that even scheduling a hearing — as Sullivan had done for next month — was improper under the circumstances because there was no good reason to doubt the government’s decision to reverse course.  No reason to doubt the government???  Seriously???  There is every reason in the world to doubt anything that comes out of either Trump’s or Barr’s mouths!  And since when is it proper for the executive branch to control criminal prosecutions???  The Judicial branch of government is intended to be independent of the executive branch!  What part of the U.S. Constitution does Ms. Rao fail to understand???

How far does this go?  So, if Kellyanne murders her husband, Trump and Barr can order the murder charges against her to be dropped?  Justice?  There is no justice in the United States of Chaos!


And on that note, I shall go try to stop the steam coming from my ears.steam-venting

Never-ending Snarky Snippets …

I was in the midst of writing an introspective piece about … well, I shan’t tell you what it was about, for hopefully one day soon I can finish it, and I don’t want to have spoiled the surprise.  Anyway, I was in the middle of calmly pondering and opining, when I decided to take a quick gander at the end-of-day news briefs … BIG mistake!  No longer could I calmly ponder, but instead needed to loudly rant.  Remember that old Sonny & Cher song, The Beat Goes On?  And the snark goes on … and on … and on.


Wah …

baby-trumpLest you thought that Trump was the only one in the White House with a juvenile mentality, rest assured there are more.  The latest example?  None other than Mike Pence.

As you all know, Trump holds daily ‘press briefings’ these days.  I use the term loosely, for they are mostly rants against his perceived ‘enemies’, rants against the press, opportunities to push drugs manufactured by companies in which he owns stock, and opportunities to pat himself on the back saying what a ‘great’ job he is doing.  I haven’t watched even one, nor will I, for watching him makes me physically ill.  Lately certain networks, seeing them for the propaganda they are, don’t carry the entire presser, but only the first part where he is reading from a card that someone else wrote.  One such network is CNN … one of Trump’s favourite targets for his ire.

Mike Pence decided to retaliate against CNN on behalf of his boss, and Pence decided to only allow the nation’s top health officials to appear on CNN and discuss the coronavirus pandemic if the network agreed to cover the entire rambling, lengthy press briefing.  What a waste of people’s time to listen to such drivel, and yet it is being shoved down our throats.  And … if anybody believes a word Trump says, then I’ve got a great bridge in Brooklyn for sale real cheap!  If I were CNN, I would have told Pence and Trump both just where they could put their pressers.

After the story was made public, Pence reversed course yesterday and kindly “allowed” CNN to book Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield for CNN’s Thursday night coronavirus town hall, and Dr. Anthony Fauci for Friday on “New Day.”  Wow, how very generous of him to allow the experts to be heard without forcing the moron down our throats.


You have GOT to be KIDDING me!!!

Jared and Ivanka … a pair of do-nothing, know-nothing dolts who couldn’t even pass muster to earn top-level security clearances (Trump overrode the decision), are now considered experts on the economy???jared-ivankaAn excerpt from an article in Bloomberg …

The White House is considering whether to create a working group focused on reviving the U.S. economy after the coronavirus pandemic eases, and whether the panel should include private-sector representatives.

The discussions are in their early stages, according to three people familiar with the matter. Administration officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and the director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, may be involved, the people said.

Meadows has also asked Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump to join the group, one person said. All of the people spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are ongoing.

Neither Ivanka nor Jared are a) economists, or b) intelligent.  What could possibly go wrong, eh? This is what happens when nepotism runs rampant in government. This is what the Founders explicitly did not want. Yet, here we are, with our own twisted version of an American royal family.  As if one idiot in the White House wasn’t enough.


Two bleating arses …

I have little or no use for the editorial/opinion side of Fox News.  In truth, I have little use for Fox News, but admittedly some of their actual news reporters try to tell the truth every now and then.  But the editorial side consists of such flakes as Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, Brian Kilmeade, and others who are no better than conspiracy theorists and hard-core Trump supporters.  They can take his most heinous act and find a way to justify it … in their own minds.  And sadly, their viewers lap it up as they sit in front of the television, smushing half of a cake into their mouths.

The latest?  Sean Hannity and former Fox persona Bill O’Reilly were conversing on Wednesday on Hannity’s radio show and … well, here is a short snippet from their conversation:

hannity-oreillySean Hannity (HOST): I want life back to normal, can you fix that in a simple way?

Bill O’Reilly: Oh man I wish I could, you know?

Sean Hannity: Oh, me too.

Bill O’Reilly: But we’re making little steps. Bernie Sanders, you know, he’s — he’s gone, that’s really good for everybody. The projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don’t think it will be that high. 13,000 dead now in the USA. Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don’t want to sound callous about that. 

Sean Hannity: You’re gonna get — hold on, you’re going to get hammered for that.

Bill O’Reilly: Well, I don’t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth.

What he should have said is a “simple-minded man”.  When I return to earth as a wolf, these two are going to get torn from limb to limb.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


And on that note, I leave you with just a couple of ‘toons …

Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c200408.tiftoon-2toon-3

Beyond the Pale Snarky Snippets

Today’s fare is a bit beyond Snarky Snippets and more into the territory of full-fledged rants.


Assholes …

You know it’s bad when a republican does something so wrong that even Tucker Carlson calls them on it …

tucker-carlson“[Burr] had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening, but he didn’t warn the public. He didn’t give a prime-time address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he’d written just 10 days before claiming America was ‘better prepared than ever’ for coronavirus. He didn’t do any of those things. Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent. Now maybe there’s an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate …”

No, there was no ‘honest explanation’ for what either Senator Richard Burr or Senator Kelly Loeffler did, for they were operating out of their own self-interest, not … not looking out for their constituents or the people of this nation, as they are paid to do.  Burr, by the way, has a net worth of more than $3 million, and Loeffler, who is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, has a reported net worth of $500 million, though I’m betting that between she and hubby their net worth is in the billions.

On January 24th, these two assholes were briefed by senior government scientists about the seriousness of the coronavirus and its likely impact on the nation.  And then, they moseyed out of the briefing and sold stocks they expected to tank.  Not only that, but Loeffler, who began selling her stock within hours of the briefing, actually turned around then and purchased stock in Citrix, a technology company that offers teleworking software and whose share price is one of the few that has risen since the crisis began.

These two jackasses had been given information that was being withheld from the public by Donald Trump, and they used it to gain significant profits, while the rest of us lost a huge chunk of our 401(k)s, which were a pittance anyway, compared to Burr’s and Loeffler’s wealth.  And to add insult to injury … we pay these assholes to work for us!!!

Write your senators and demand the immediate impeachment of these two … they do not deserve the honour of representing the people of the United States, for in truth they have been representing only their own interest.

And while we’re on the topic … I wonder what Trump had his broker dump on the same day?


The story of life according to Donald Trump …

Mike Pence and his wife were both tested for coronavirus, using up two of the often-scarce test kits, even though as Pence said he had “no reason to believe” he was exposed to the virus.  A number of NBA teams and individual players have also been tested, again taking up valuable test kits.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch where most of us live, people are being told that the tests are reserved only for those exhibiting symptoms or already hospitalized.

So, in one of his photo-ops that are misnamed ‘press conferences’, Trump was asked …

“How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can’t get them? Do the well-connected go to the front of the line?”

Trump seemed as if he would object, but then merely shrugged and said …

“Perhaps that’s the story of life.”

The “story of life”.  Take care of the rich and famous first, and f*ck the rest of us.  And yet, his approval rating has barely dropped from a month ago!  Do the damned evangelicals and others still honestly believe that he is “on their side”, or “for the average person”???  If so, they are more ignorant than we first thought.


Son-of-a-bitch

The same reporter that asked about the coronavirus testing, Peter Alexander of NBC News, asked another question …

“What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now, who are scared?”

The question was a perfect opening for Trump to act like a real leader, to say something encouraging to the 330 million people he was elected to represent, but instead …

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. … I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism, and the same with NBC and Con-cast. I don’t call it Comcast, I call it Con-cast. Let me just say something, that’s really bad reporting. And you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I’ve been right a lot. Let’s see what happens.”wtf

It. Is. Time. For. Him. To. Go.


One might expect that in times like these, our elected officials would be working overtime, making sacrifices, to keep us informed and protect us to the best of their ability.  Instead, this sorry lot of jerks is what we have leading the way.  These people must go now … I don’t think this nation can tolerate this bunch of crooks until next year … they need to be removed now by whatever means is available.  Their lives have no more value than yours or mine … likely less, for they are not honest people, have no integrity and were apparently born without that key component the rest of us have:  a conscience.

Snarky Snippets From A Grump

Have you ever noticed that when you are a bit under the weather, little things annoy you more than they otherwise might?  I’m easily annoyed anyway these days, but being tired and grumpy, it takes very little to set me off.  I yelled at Miss Goose this evening because she was looking for the salad dressing in the fridge!  To put on the salad that was all I served for dinner tonight.  How dare she want dressing to go on it, right?  Long story short, if I am grumpy, you know what this means, right?  Snarkier than usual Snippets!  (I did apologize to Miss Goose and gave her a big hug, so all is well here)


Republicans in quarantine … what a brilliant idea!

Mark Meadows has been White House chief of staff for exactly three days, and now he is in quarantine … or, as the popular term seems to be … self-quarantined.  Yep, all these republicans attended the Conservative Political Action Convention (CPAC) two weeks ago, where an attendee was later confirmed to have a case of coronavirus. Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz and Doug Collins also came into contact with that person at CPAC.  I understand that Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Paul Gosar may also have been exposed.  Wow … five republicans out of commission for the next 14 days!  It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch of people.  Not, mind you, that I am wishing illness on any of them … I’m just enjoying the humour of them being decommissioned and unable to destroy anything for the next two weeks!


And speaking of quarantines …

Yesterday, it was reported that Trump is afraid journalists will try to purposefully contract coronavirus to give it to him on Air Force One.  Is such paranoia the sign of a healthy mind?  No, it isn’t.

The best thing Trump’s staff could do for this nation would be to convince him that he has been exposed to the coronavirus and quarantine him in his suite at Mar-a-Lago with no phone and no computer.  Two weeks without having to see his ugly mug, hear his raspy, whiny voice, and we would all feel much better!  Not to mention that the nation would save a bundle of money if he were confined to quarters rather than flitting all about for his silly rallies and golf games.quarantine-trump


Bye-bye, Mikey … Hello … Nikki?

CNN political analyst Paul Begala has a theory, and it is one that I’ve pondered before.  Nikki Haley has been a puzzle since Trump took office.  Begala’s theory is that Trump put Pence in charge of the no-win situation overseeing the administration’s response to the coronavirus, which Trump had already royally screwed up by that time, in order to throw Pence under the bus.  Why?  So he has an excuse to choose a new running mate for November’s election.  Who?  Begala thinks Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina.

Begala takes it a step further and says that Trump will make the announcement on July 16th, immediately following the acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention by either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.  Says Begala …

“This is not a prediction. It’s a certainty. On Thursday, July 16 — that’s the date the Democrat gives his or her acceptance address — on that day, to interrupt that narrative, Donald Trump will call a press conference at Mar-a-Lago. He’s going to dump Mike Pence and put Nikki Haley on the ticket to try to get those suburban moms.” 

nikki-haley-mike-penceI can’t speak to his prediction of the timing, though it makes sense, for Trump always must be the center of attention, and when he isn’t, he finds away to hone in.  But I have long thought that Trump had some plan for Nikki, and one group with whom he’s largely unpopular is women with brains, so putting a woman on his ticket makes some sense.  Personally, I think Haley, who once did some decent things as governor, is a sell-out and I wouldn’t vote for her for dog-catcher, but then, I wouldn’t vote for Trump even if he made Stevie Wonder his running mate.


Tennis anyone?

Oh, by the way … did you folks know that we’re paying to build Ms. Melania a “tennis pavilion” on the South Lawn of the White House?  According to a press release back in October, the project was “fueled by Mrs. Trump’s … passion to provide a functional recreational area for all first families to enjoy.”  Now wait just a minute … so … if I want to take my family there to play tennis, I can do so?  Bwah ha ha … yeah, right.  It will be for Melania and her ‘friends’, maybe a few White House staffers.  Make no mistake … this is of absolutely zero benefit to ‘We the People’.

Last spring, Melania “revamped” the White House bowling alley, but I guess she got tired of bowling and now wants to play tennis.  Yes, by all means, let’s waste our money to keep all the Trumps happy.  What’s next … a baseball field for young Barron?

People took to Twitter to critique the project, in light of the seriousness of the global outbreak of the coronavirus, Trump’s heinous immigration policies, the tanking economy, and other valid concerns that her husband is bungling.  Not to be deterred (or suddenly possessed of a shred of human decency), Melania responded with her usual arrogance …

“I encourage everyone who chooses to be negative & question my work at the @WhiteHouse to take time and contribute something good & productive in their own communities.”

Melania-jacketWHAT WORK???  She doesn’t even have a serious project … her “Be Best” initiative is a joke that never got off the ground, she doesn’t cook or do laundry … she’s a bloomin’ decoration, at best.  And what, precisely, has she contributed to any community?  Oh, remember … she did go down to the southern border and stare for a few minutes at the kids in cages, while wearing her jacket that said, “I really don’t care. Do U?” 

So, friends, dig a little deeper in your pockets … no, not to feed the poor or shelter the homeless … but to entertain Melania.


trump-toilet-paper

A Few Mini-Rants

I am past snarky and into full-blown ranting today.  You may want to cover your ears for this one.


NO NO NO NO NO!

I read this morning that Trump’s re-election campaign plans to fly this atrocity …Trump-blimp… over swing states between May and July of this year.  I do not need to step outside and see that piece of crap flying over my house!  I momentarily considered whether it would be possible for me to buy a rocket-launcher to shoot the bloody thing out of the air, but I despise all types of firearms, and there would be people aboard, so I won’t do that.  I do hope, however, it gets grounded by the FAA or sabotaged so that it never makes it off the ground.  This is certainly an affront to humanity!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


So much ignorance …

Don Trump Junior, aka Junior, is truly a chip off the ol’ block.  As ignorant and crude as his father, he seems to feel a need to prove his ignorance on a near-daily basis.  Last week, in an interview aired on Fox News, Junior made this claim about democratic members of Congress …

“For them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning is a new level of sickness.”

Say WHAT???

Nobody in their right mind … oh wait, it’s a Trump we’re talking about … forget the ‘right mind’ part.  But, even Mike Pence showed his extreme ignorance yesterday morning when, on CNN’s State of the Union program, Jake Tapper asked Pence …

“Can we agree that neither Democrats nor Republicans want Americans to get coronavirus and die from it? I mean, that does seem like very extreme rhetoric.”

But nooooo … Pence responded that Junior’s point was “understandable” in light of the criticism that has been directed at Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.  Pence said that now is not the time for politics …

“Responding to the kind of things that have been hurled is understandable, but what the president has charged us to do…is to set the politics aside on this and to work the problem.”

Say WHAT???Trump-scientistHe’s right that this is not the time for political gamesmanship, but WHO THE SAM HELL STARTED IT???  Trump.  It was Trump who claimed the whole thing was a hoax to “bring him down”.  There is so damn much ignorance in the Trump family and their cohorts that it’s mind-boggling.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


More about the anti-Greta …

I mentioned a few days ago that the GOP has found their very own teen climate denier, Naomi Seibt.  While Greta is fighting to wake us up to what is being done to our environment, Ms. Seibt is an extreme climate denier.  She spoke at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) on Friday, where she said …

“Today climate change science really is not science at all. The goal is to shame humanity. Climate change alarmism at its very core is a despicably anti-human ideology and we are told to look down at our achievements with guilt, with shame and disgust, and not even to take into account the many major benefits we have achieved by using fossil fuels as our main energy source.”

Seriously???  Who coached this kid?

But wait … there’s more to love hate.  She’s also an apparent white supremacist at heart.  In a variety of YouTube videos and interviews, she has expressed support for Canadian alt-right internet activist Stefan Molyneux, a “cult leader who amplifies scientific racism, eugenics and white supremacism”, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  Molyneux has made such statements as …

“I am an empiricist, and I could not help but notice that I could have peaceful, free, easy, civilized and safe discussions in what is, essentially, an all-white country.”

When asked at CPAC whether she still supports Molyneux, she replied that he was her ‘inspiration’.

This 19-year-old actress is no Greta Thunberg, is never going to make the cover of Time Magazine as Ms. Thunberg did, and I hope will never be taken seriously.  This, in my book, is exploitation, pure and simple.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


Let’s end on a more uplifting note.  A couple of weeks ago, David sent me this video of a couple of people who have a great deal of good sense:  Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot … take a look …

True Believer Pompeo Drives Iran Policy

The United States is a secular nation, one that welcomes people of all or no religions, but does not govern based on the beliefs or principles of any religion. At least, that’s the intent as laid forth by the U.S. Constitution. Today’s “leaders”, the people driving public policy, seem painfully unaware of this principle. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written an excellent post about this, the greatest hypocrisy. Thank you, Jeff …

On The Fence Voters

It’s an open secret that the evangelical community has forged a somewhat uneasy alliance with the current president of the United States. He gives them the judges they want, gives them lip service supporting ‘religious liberty,’ and does a travel ban on Muslims. All of this overrides the fact he’s perhaps the most un-Christian president in history who’s a pathological liar and who publicly bullies people he doesn’t like.

To them, while he’s an imperfect leader, he’s the ‘chosen one’ who might get them the ‘end days’ they so desperately crave. And while that’s enough to make me grab a shot of whiskey (even though I’m a beer drinker), even more frightening is that the two men driving his Iran policy are Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Both consider themselves proud members of the evangelical community.

I’ve known about Pence for sometime now. He’s a pretty…

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Tears of Shame … Again

Periodically, I write a post that begs for the title “Tears of Shame”, or some variation of that.  Since 2016, there have been eight such posts … tonight makes nine.

Healthy debate, civil discourse … I’m all for both of those.  If I make a statement, you have an opposing point of view, then fine … let’s each present our views and see if we can find a middle ground.  Even if we cannot find that middle ground, we will have each gained a better understanding of why we think the way we do.  This is good for a friendship, it is good for opposing factions within a nation, and it is good for international relations – much better than lobbing bombs.  This is how civilized society remains civilized.

However, when two people disagree and one of those people has neither facts nor sound basis for his views, then his only way of expressing himself is likely to be personal attacks and lies.  It is a tactic that, unfortunately, works well for some people, though it has ended many a friendship.  It is also a very unprofessional way to conduct the business of government.

The republican response to the witness testimony in the ongoing impeachment hearings is an example of such.  Testimony after testimony by credible witnesses, career civil service employees and others, has put the republicans at a loss.  They have zero truthful or valid explanations for the actions by Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Giuliani and others.  So … they attack.  Who do they attack?  Everybody.  Adam Schiff, whose job is to conduct these hearings in a professional manner and get to the truth.  They attack the media.  They attack “Democrats” in general.

But, the worst of their attacks are not only vicious, unfounded and brutal … but they have put human lives, the lives of people who have dedicated their entire career to the service of this nation, in danger.  Their attacks on these people, in my opinion, raises the victims of their attacks to an even higher level of esteem, and frankly the attacks make the republicans doing the attacking look like the fools they are.  They also bring down the reputation of the entire Republican Party, where I assume there are some good people. (sarcasm intended)

These attacks would be laughable except for the current climate of hate and divisiveness in this nation – a climate that has been largely created by none other than Donald Trump.  But, they are not laughable, for in this nation we have 40% of the adult population who still support Donald Trump, who do not care about facts, but rather believe whatever Trump and his cronies over at Fox ‘News’ tell them to believe.  And they own guns.  Some of them own lots of guns.  Please note that I am not saying all republicans are bloody idiots that are going to go out and shoot one of these witnesses for speaking against their beloved leader.  Not at all.  However, there is a portion that would consider it their patriotic duty.  You know it and I know it.

A point in case is Alexander Vindman, who testified on Tuesday that he became so concerned during a July 25 phone call in which President Trump asked Ukraine’s president for help with political investigations that he reported his alarm to a superior.  Immediately, Fox ‘News’ personas Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson jumped on the attack wagon.VindmanOn Ingraham’s show, The Ingraham Angle, it was suggested by her guest John Yoo, with no evidence whatsoever, that Colonel Vindman was guilty of ‘espionage’, a felony punishable by death.  It should be noted here that Colonel Vindman received a Purple Heart after he was wounded in Iraq. He is a Ukrainian-American immigrant who was 3 years old when his family fled to the United States.  Even some republicans were incensed by this, including Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, and Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who called Mr. Yoo’s accusation “shameful”.

Senator Ron Johnson, a republican from Wisconsin wrote …

“I believe a significant number of bureaucrats . . . resent [Trump’s] un­or­tho­dox style and his intrusion on their ‘turf’. They react by leaking to the press and participating in the ongoing effort to sabotage his policies and, if possible, remove him from office. It is entirely possible that Vindman fits this profile.”

On CNN’s New Day, republican Sean Duffy, a former representative from Wisconsin also called Vindman’s loyalty into question …

“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.  He has an affinity, I think, for the Ukraine. He speaks Ukrainian, and he came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.”

Tucker Carlson has an even more elaborate conspiracy theory, claiming that the Ukraine has repeatedly asked Vindman to take over their entire military!

And then, Vindman began getting threats against himself and his family.  The U.S. military stands guard and ready to move Colonel Vindman and his family to a secure location on a nearby military base if it is felt that there is an imminent danger.  Other witnesses have also reported getting anonymous threats.  Because they believe that their duty is to the country, not the ‘man’ sitting in the Oval Office.  Because they told the truth.

An attorney for Colonel Vindman, David Pressman, has sent Fox News a letter requesting a public retraction of the comment on Laura Ingraham’s show that suggested Vindman was guilty of espionage.  However, even if Fox retracts and apologizes, it is far too little, too late. Words, once spoken, can never be unheard.

I would ask my republican friends, if in fact I had any left, if this is the legacy they wish to leave, if this is the nation they believe in, and if they are proud of the people, from Donald Trump on down the line, who have so terribly abused those who were willing to tell an uncomfortable truth in order to try to preserve the integrity of this nation.  I, for one, am not proud.  If I were asked by a stranger tomorrow my country of origin, I think I would rattle off the name of the first country I could think of … Sardinia … Cambodia … Sri Lanka.

Bursting The 25th Amendment Bubble …

I have been asked numerous times of late about the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.  Folks, believe me when I tell you that I want the madman gone just as much as you do, but I’m not going to give you false hope.  The odds of the 25th being used to remove Trump are almost as good as the odds that I will sprout wings and fly.  I addressed this topic just over a year ago, but I think it’s time I revisit it, perhaps with a bit more detail.

The 25th Amendment, Section IV reads …

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

The Amendment was not intended in the first place to remove a president for cause, but to transfer power to the Vice President in the event that the president were truly incapacitated.  The mechanism for removing a president ‘for cause’, is impeachment.

Now, even if you wanted to stretch it a bit and try to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, and there is some justification there, for he proves every day that he is mentally unstable, and it could be argued that this often renders him “unable to discharge the powers and duties …” you still have to read that first sentence very closely.  “Whenever the vice president and a majority of … principal officers …”  By principal officers, it means the Cabinet.  I cannot see Mike Pence being willing to invoke the 25th, but even if he were, let us look at Trump’s cabinet for just a minute.

  1. Vice President – Mike Pence
  2. Secretary of State – Mike Pompeo
  3. Secretary of Treasury – Steven Mnuchin
  4. Secretary of Defense – Mike Esper
  5. Attorney General – William Barr
  6. Secretary of Interior – David Bernhardt
  7. Secretary of Agriculture – Sonny Perdue
  8. Secretary of Commerce – Wilbur Ross
  9. Secretary of Labour – Eugene Scalia
  10. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) – Alex Azar
  11. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – Ben Carson
  12. Secretary of Transportation – Elaine Chao (married to Mitch McConnell)
  13. Secretary of Energy – Rick Perry
  14. Secretary of Education – Betsy DeVos
  15. Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs – Robert Wilkie
  16. Secretary of Homeland Security (acting) – Kevin McAleenan
  17. White House Chief of Staff – Mick Mulvaney
  18. Director of the Office of Management and Budget – Mick Mulvaney
  19. United States Trade Representative – Robert Lighthizer
  20. Director of National Intelligence (acting) – Joseph Maguire
  21. Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – Gina Haspel
  22. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Andrew Wheeler
  23. Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) – Chris Pilkerton
  24. Ambassador to the United Nations – Kelly Craft

Now, you all know at least something about most of these individuals.  I’ve written at least a time or two about most of them.  Four – Bernhardt, Perry, Wheeler, and Craft – have close ties to the fossil fuel industry.  Pompeo and Barr have both proven to us that they sold their souls downriver and are willing to break the law in favour of Trump.  And others, such as DeVos, got their position as a reward for donating large amounts to Trump’s 2016 campaign.  These are not nice, honest people of integrity … they are self-serving people hanging onto Trump’s coattails because there is something in it for them.

I look at the list, and I see five, maybe six of the 24 who either I don’t know much about, or who I believe may have enough of a conscience to be willing to put themselves in the line of fire in order to do the right thing.  Five or six out of 24 does not constitute a majority, folks.

I’m sorry to burst that bubble … I know how badly you need hope right now, for I need it too.  But, what we don’t need is false hope.  Amendment 25 simply ain’t gonna happen in the foreseeable future.  Now, that could change down the road, but for today, for this week, next week … no, it’s not even worth wasting time thinking about.  Our best hope at this point is impeachment.  Focus on that … focus on contacting your senators and representatives and letting them know that you support impeachment and that you want/expect them to uphold the rule of law.  That is where our best hope lies for today.

Da Snippets, Dey Be Snarky

Puff … puff … I don’t know about you guys … puff … pant … but I’m tired.  Tired of the non-stop ‘breaking news’ updates, about half of which are “pbth … who cares?”, but the other half of which are foot-stomping, growling, jaw-dropping episodes in the ongoing saga of “Fool on the Hill”.  Please … somebody … anybody … rescue me and carry me off to a desert island where nobody has ever heard the name “Trump”!  I’m tired of all the time being snarky!  I’m tired of having my blood pressure go through the ceiling before I’m even out of bed in the morning!  I’m tired of … I’m just tired.  Sigh.  Meanwhile, though, there are more things you guys need to know about, so … Filosofa will now pick herself up from the floor, dry her eyes, and … snark on.snarky-4


Nothing to see here, folks …

You all remember when Mike Pence visited Ireland earlier this month, right?  And, he could have stayed in Dublin, the city where his meetings were to be held, but instead, he traveled (at our expense, lest anyone forget) to Doonbeg, some 180 miles away (one way), in order to stay at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel.  Why?  Because Trump had ‘suggested’ it and because Mike Pence has not the cojones to stand up to Trump.  The price?

Doonbeg is in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland, nearly a four-hour drive from most of Pence’s scheduled meetings in Dublin. According to an analysis by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Pence’s stay cost taxpayers $599,454.36 in limousine service alone.  I have no idea, and cannot find information about how much the hotel bill for Pence, his wife, and his Secret Service entourage was, but the starting rate there for a single room is $228, so … he and Karen no doubt slept and ate well there.

Ol’ Mikey justified it all, though …

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution says the president receives a salary while in office but “shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”  Before taking office, Trump promised he would step away from his business while in office. Instead, however, he has kept his stake in his companies. So expenditures of public funds like Pence’s stay at Doonbeg directly line Trump’s pockets.

Not only that, but Pence has made more than 20 such visits to Trump properties since taking office. So has Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, while Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has made 16 visits to Trump properties.  According to Senator Gary Peters, the ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee …

“Reports now claim that at least 24 of the 32 individuals who have served in the President’s Cabinet have patronized Trump properties, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. — another property owned by the President.”

But guess what?  Trump’s republican “guardian angels” are trying to block the investigation by the House Oversight Committee, calling it a “partisan attack”.  According to a letter sent to committee chairman Elijah Cummings by Representatives Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, both members of the ignoble House “Freedom” Caucus …

“Although you coordinated your attack with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, you failed to consult with any Republican Members before demanding voluminous information from four separate entities – none of which bore responsibility for the lodging and accommodations in Ireland. We can only assume that these letters were the result of a rushed process to capitalize on news reporting about the Ireland travel, rather than responsible and deliberative oversight.”

Yep … nothing to see here, folks … only millions, perhaps billions of your taxpayer dollars being filtered directly into Trump’s coffers … move along now.


But there is some good news …


Somebody in the Pentagon has some sense …

Last month, the Pentagon authorized about 20 miles of fencing, lighting and other border infrastructure along the southern border that would have used $2.5 billion in funds redirected from a counter-drug fund.  But on Monday, the Department of Defense announced that it would not be able to cover the costs of the project after all.  Initially, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that it would likely be able to afford the projects using the counter-drug funds, but the Army Corps ultimately advised the department that the funds would not cover the project, prompting its withdrawal on September 13th.

The projects were a part of Trump’s plan to divert Pentagon funds to build the wall he so needs to appease his base, even though said wall would do absolutely nothing to resolve the problem of immigration, would cause irreparable damage to the land and wildlife, and deprive people of their land.  It is merely an ego trip for Trump.  No word, that I can find, of Trump’s reaction to this news.


No more AR-15s?  Er … not quite

U.S. firearms manufacturer Colt announced yesterday that it will stop production of rifles for the civilian market — including the AR-15, a weapon infamous for its popularity among the country’s mass shooters.  Their stated reason?  That the market is saturated, that there are already more of their rifles on the market than people can buy.

Why is Filosofa such an untrusting soul?  Why do I not for a single minute believe them?  Because it is Colt, because they are the makers of firearms, their livelihood is dependent on people wanting to kill other people, and that hasn’t slowed down one whit in recent years.  So, what do I think (just in case anybody cares)?

I think that in light of the fact that the AR-15s have been receiving much publicity, having been used in several mass shootings recently, including Newtown, Orlando, Parkland, Aurora, Las Vegas, and Dayton, they are getting out before they get hit with lawsuits.

A bit of background here. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which provides immunity in both state and federal court from civil liability for licensed manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms, as well as their trade associations, in most negligence and product liability actions.  So, gun manufacturers and sellers have had free reign with no possibility of being held accountable for damage caused by their product.  But this year, democrats in both the House and Senate have introduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, which would allow civil cases to go forward against irresponsible actors in state and federal courts, just as they would if they involved any other product.

Now, we all know that the bill might pass in the House, but not likely in the Senate, and even if by some rare alignment of the stars it passes in the Senate, the Idiot-in-Chief would veto it.  However, there is a good possibility that in 16 months, there will be a democratic majority in the Senate, and a democrat sitting in the Oval Office, under which circumstances, it is probable that this bill, or a similar one will pass into law.  It is my belief that Colt sees the handwriting on the wall and is getting out while they can.  I could be wrong, and likely we will never know for sure if that is their reason.

So, is this good news?  Meh … yes and no.  Other arms manufacturers continue to produce the AR-15 and other assault rifles, including Palmetto State Armory and Smith and Wesson.  The better news is that companies like Wal-Mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods have discontinued sales of these killing machines and their ammunition.  The even better news will be when and if the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act passes into law.  And the best news yet would be a total and permanent ban on all assault-style weapons outside the military and law enforcement.  Some say it’ll never happen … I think it might, but it will take time.


And now, I return you to seek cheerier blogs than mine!