Evangelicals Have Out-Size Influence In President’s Crafting Of US Foreign Policy

When I read this post by Gronda earlier today, I was most disturbed … as I told Gronda in my comment, this was likely the most disturbing thing I have read in years, and that says a lot! Frankly, while I try never to criticize another’s religion, I have to say that what is described here is not religion — it is insanity! Thank you, Gronda, for the thought-provoking post … and for the nightmares I will surely have tonight!

Gronda Morin

Image result for PHOTOS OF Robert Jeffress

For the rapture end times Evangelical Christian true believers, their thinking regarding the Middle East is flawed. They are very versed in discussing their thinking/ version of biblical end times, including the rapture doctrine.

The two members of the republican President Trump’s administration who are steeped in these faith based dogmas are his Vice President Mike Pence and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

I’ve no problem with Evangelicals practicing their beliefs even though I genuinely do worry that they are being led astray, but when this thinking seeps into the formation of US foreign policies, then I have a problem.

That the Evangelical community have been exerting an out-sized level of influence on current US policies  is exactly what I believe has been happening. What’s worse is that President Trump is very dependent on their support to keep his hold on power. Evangelicals comprise about 35% of his base…

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A Tale Of Two Mikes — Part II

World leaders, ministers, diplomats, military officers and policy experts gathered over the weekend for the annual Munich Security Conference, the premier global forum on foreign, defense and security policy.  Luckily, Donald Trump did not attend the conference … he was too busy at home playing golf, criticizing Saturday Night Live, and defending his indefensible declaration of emergency from the week before.  Also unfortunately, Mike Pence did attend, and therein lay the problem.Merkel-MunichAngela Merkel spoke before Pence, and resisted Pence’s earlier calls in Poland for the EU to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, which according to experts and analysts, is achieving its goals.  She also criticized the U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Syria. “Is it a good thing to immediately remove American troops from Syria, or will it not strengthen Russia and Iran’s hand?”  At the end of her speech, she received a standing ovation.  Ivanka Trump, who was in the audience for some reason that is beyond my comprehension, refused to stand or even applaud.  The grade-school mentality must run in the family.Pence-MunichAnd then, Mike Pence began his speech by saying …

“I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.”

And he waited for the applause.  But the room remained silent.  Dead silent.  He waited.  Nobody clapped, apparently not even Ivanka.  See for yourself …

But Sarah Huckabee Sanders later found a way to put a spin on the humiliating moment:

“It was out of respect for our President that world leaders observed a moment of silence during Vice President Pence’s speech in Munich.”

I think not, Sarah, but nice try.  Now go rinse your mouth to get that nasty taste of the lie out of it.

But back to Pence’s speech.

“We came here to reaffirm our commitment that ‘America First’ does not mean America alone and tell leaders, allies and countries around the world that America is stronger than ever before and America’s leading on the world stage once again.”

The reality is that we ceded our leadership role early in Trump’s tenure.  We are not even good allies, let alone a good leader.  You cannot be isolationist and also a global leader, for to be all about “America First” means to put the rest of the globe somewhere below your own interests, and that is not how alliances and friendships work.

Pence credited Trump with spurring NATO allies to spend more on defense but insisted that they are still not spending enough. He also reiterated the ‘demand’ he made on Thursday in Poland regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

“The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.”

Silence.

As a long-time student of international relations, I cannot think of another time in the history of the United States that we have ‘demanded’ our allies act in accordance with our wishes.  This is being a bully, not an ally and certainly not a friend.

Pence ended his speech with a most inappropriate …

“God Bless the United States of America.”

As Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at Brookings Institute said …

“It sounded more like he was speaking to a Trump rally than to transatlanticists in Europe.”

Pence’s speech was met with disdain by European officials who say they have no intention of abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and felt his aggressive tone would only stir up more opposition.  For the record, Pence’s speech ended with a smattering of light applause, but no standing ovation, other than Jared and Ivanka.  I ask again, why were they even there?

The Munich Security Conference report said the Trump administration displays an “irritating enthusiasm for strongmen across the globe” and “disdain for international institutions and agreements.”

Several hours after Merkel’s and Pence’s speeches, former Vice President Joe Biden was at the podium, and his message was a ray of light after that of Pence.

“The America I see does not wish to turn our back on the world or our closest allies. The America I see cherishes a free press, democracy, the rule of law. It stands up to the aggression of dictators and against strongmen.”

And Biden ended with …

“As my mother would say: This too shall pass. We will be back. We will be back. Don’t have any doubt about that.”

The applause for Biden was significantly more enthusiastic than for Pence.

The Munich Security Report, which is downloadable in .pdf format,  is titled, The Great Puzzle:  Who Will Pick Up The Pieces?  That says it all, doesn’t it?  One of the key points in the report is about a previously unpublished opinion poll by the Pew Research Center showing that traditional allies of the United States perceive America’s power and influence as a major threat to their country, even when compared to China and Russia.

I may write more about the Munich Security Conference and the affiliated report once I finish reading the report, but for now, suffice it to say that the United States is not stepping up to the plate to work with our allies, but rather is becoming more isolationist, more self-serving, and there will be a price to pay for that.  Globalization is the reality, and no country can stand on its own without allies, without friends.  But in order to have a friend in times of trouble, one must first be a friend, and we are not.  As Joe Biden said, “This too shall pass” … but will it pass before the U.S. becomes a true pariah?

A Tale Of Two Mikes — Part I

This week, the two Mikes, Pompeo and Pence, our two main global envoys, went abroad as ambassadors of the United States, representing our nation.  The blew it.  In keeping with Trump’s modus operandi, they pandered to corrupt strongmen such as Viktor Orban, but worse, they denigrated and threatened our true allies.  Their antics went largely unnoticed amid a looming government shutdown and then a trumped-up ‘state of emergency’, but We the People need to keep our eye on this ball, for the security and strength of any nation lies, in part, with its relations with other countries, particularly long-held close alliances.

The week began with Secretary of State Pompeo visiting Hungary, where he literally pandered to autocrat Viktor Orban, a virtual pariah in European capitals because of his embrace of “illiberal democracy.”  The Orban regime is noted for suppression of independent media, the judiciary, and civil society groups, corrupt cronyism, and demagoguery that drips with xenophobia and anti-Semitism.  Yet the Trump administration lauds him.  Perhaps it is that his rhetoric so nearly matches that of Donald Trump, as he calls immigrants a “threat to Christian culture” and speaks of building a fence along the country’s border to keep them out.

Next stop for Pompeo was Slovakia, where he met with Slovak President Andrej Kiska,  Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, and Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák.  Pompeo made it clear that the U.S. is putting strategic interests and great power politics ahead of human rights concerns.  Just last year in Slovakia, a leading journalist who exposed government corruption was murdered along with his fiancée.

Pompeo then went to Poland where he met up with the other Mike, Vice President Pence for a U.S.-organized conference on the Middle East.  The intent of this conference was to rally European and Middle Eastern nations against Iran.  It would seem that Trump and his minions have an ill-conceived intent to start a war with Iran!  Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement and impose sanctions on Iran was only one of his worst moves in the past two years, but one that has had serious consequences for our allies.

And so it was that Mike Pence made a complete fool of himself and further eroded our relationship with our allies.  Pence used his address to the conference to demand that European countries withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. He further urged U.S. allies to back Washington’s sanctions on Iran. Long-standing U.S. allies in Europe favor staying in the deal and have sought ways to keep open trade and financial dealings with Iran.

“The authoritarian regime in Tehran represses the freedom of speech and assembly, persecutes religious minorities, brutalizes women, executes gays and openly advocates the destruction of the State of Israel.”

WHOA there, Mikey!  First, I might remind everyone that Mike Pence is one of the most homophobic people in our government, that as Governor of Indiana he signed into law a bill titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that allowed individuals and companies to openly discriminate against LGBT people!  And now he’s concerned about the rights of the LGBT in Iran?  I don’t think so.

But even more to the point, while this nation is supporting dictators such as Viktor Orban, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Rodrigo Duterte, we are overlooking human rights violations around the globe. Trump has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the hard evidence presented by his own intelligence officials that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.  And now he claims to be so concerned about human rights violations by Iran?!?!?  Can we say ‘hypocrisy’?

“Iran endlessly spews hatred against Israel, our most cherished ally,” says Pence.  What a slap in the face to our true allies, the EU, UK, Mexico and Canada, to name a few!  Israel is by no means our ‘most cherished’ ally!!!  Benjamin Netanyahu is just about as corrupt as Donald Trump … he’s just more intelligent and hides his crimes better, but he and his wife are both currently under investigation for multiple issues.  Israel has become a bully-nation just as Trump is trying to make the U.S. into one.

And then came Munich.

Initially I intended to make this a single post, but by the time I reached this point, I realized that the Munich Security Conference is important enough to warrant a separate post.  Stay tuned for Part II of A Tale of Two Mikes on Monday afternoon.

A Few Random Tidbits …

My mind is bouncing today … I tried to settle it to write a single-topic post, but no, it was not having any of that!  It kept hopping from one topic to another so fast that my eyes were twirling about in their sockets trying to keep up.  So … once again I have just a few bits ‘n pieces today … and a hope that my mind stops bouncing soon, for I am getting a headache!

mike-pence


Mike Pence doesn’t say a whole lot, and after yesterday, I think that may be for the best.  The saying that is often attributed to either Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt,” seems to be one that Pence should heed.  Yesterday, he made the mistake of speaking …

“One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.’ You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union.  That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on Congress to do. Come to the table in the spirit of good faith. We’ll secure our border. We’ll reopen the government and we’ll move our nation forward as the president said yesterday to even a broader discussion about immigration reform in the months ahead.”  🤢

Sorry, Mikey, but Dr. Martin Luther King and Donald Trump have not got a single thing in common … one was a compassionate, concerned, caring, dedicated man who risked and ultimately gave his life for the people of this nation, and the other is a bloody fool.  Care to guess which is which?


Humanitarianism is apparently illegal in some places in the U.S., such as Arizona.  Four women, volunteers for the Arizona-based aid group No More Deaths, were convicted after a three-day bench trial at a federal court in Tucson. They could face up to six months in federal prison.  Their crime?  Leaving food and water for dehydrated migrants crossing the desert into the United States.  Watch what these border patrol agents did to that water …

Ever walked through the desert with no water?  The criminals here, in my book, are not the women who left the water for the migrants, but the border patrol agents who not only destroyed and wasted the water but appeared to take great pleasure in doing so.  Sadists.

The women, Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick were charged in December 2017. They said their work for No More Deaths was motivated by their religious convictions and a belief that everyone should have access to basic survival needs.  And for their efforts, they might go to jail.  What the Sam Heck is wrong with this country???


The worldwide charity Oxfam released a new report today.  According to the report, just 26 individuals have more wealth than the bottom 3.8 billion of the world’s population!  Think about that one for a minute.  Twenty-six people, probably fewer than at your last family reunion, own more than 3.8 billion other people.  Wow.  The combined net wealth of those 26 totals $1.4 trillion.  Now, people say that if a person works hard, he should be able to enjoy the fruits of his labour, and I don’t disagree with that.  Certainly there must be an incentive to go the extra mile, work harder, create and innovate.  But … mustn’t there also be a conscience?  Should not responsibility accompany privilege?

Rather than sharing their wealth, these 26 billionaires are actually hoarding and increasing their wealth, to the detriment of the rest of us.  In 2016, 61 billionaires controlled half of the world’s wealth, then in 2017 that number was 43, before becoming 26 in 2018.  At this rate, in another 2-3 decades, there will be a single person who will control half of the world’s wealth.

Meanwhile, back at the salt mines, the average worker’s wage has increased by only 0.2% in the past year.  Now, I have never been a billionaire, nor even a millionaire.  In my entire career of long hours and hard work, I did not earn a million dollars total … not even close. But if I had … I would not have six figures sitting in my bank account or investment portfolio, for I would have shared it with those who were hungry, cold or sick long before now.  Apparently, one of the criteria for being wealthy … disgustingly wealthy … is that you sell your conscience.


And, on that note, I shall go feed my bouncy mind in hopes that it can find a spot to settle for a bit.  I think the cold weather and mounds of snow have made it restless.  Have a great week, friends!

The Ultimate Hypocrisy …

Did you ever wonder what Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, does for a living?  Well … ‘for a living’ is likely a misnomer, for I’m fairly certain that Mikey brings home enough to pay the bills … but Karen is, indeed, gainfully employed.  She is a teacher.  An art teacher.  At a school.  A school that bars LGBT students … and teachers.

The school is Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, where Ms. Pence previously taught from 2001 to 2013.  The school does not allow gay students and requires employees to affirm that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. The school’s employment application equires candidates to describe their faith in Jesus Christ, affirm that they are a born-again Christian and vow to adhere to specific standards in their personal and professional lives.  Welcome to 1692, the year the Salem witch trials began.  Welcome to the Dark Ages!  Is it not the ultimate hypocrisy that the wife of a man who has sworn to uphold the Constitution is so blatantly in defiance of the values espoused in that document?

Item #8 on the employment application requires that an applicant initial the following statement:

“I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman,” it reads, adding that certain “moral misconduct” would be disqualifying, such as “heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.”

Karen Pence signed her initials, agreeing to the above statement.  Karen Pence, the wife of the man who is likely to, through order of succession, become the next President of the United States.  Think about that one for a minute.

Unlike public schools, private schools can require students and employees to follow specific religious beliefs and adhere to certain behavior in their private lives. They are not restricted from teaching from religious texts in class and are not subject to employment discrimination laws.

As I have stated on numerous occasions, I am not against any religion per se, although I do not ascribe to any religion myself.  I believe in the doctrine of “live and let live”, and as long as people do not attempt to enforce their own beliefs on others, I do not care what religion people choose to follow.  But this … is an abomination.  If parents wish to send their children to a parochial school, as long as they are willing to fully fund their child’s education with no assistance from taxpayer money, I have no problem with that.  However … when said religious schools are exempt from federal employment discrimination laws, then yes, I have a problem … a BIG problem.  When they exclude children who do not fit into the narrow confines of their own moral views, then yes … I have a problem.

For those who might not understand my objection, let’s turn the tables just a bit.  Let’s say I want to start up a school for African-American LGBT students and I refuse to hire any white Christians, simply on the basis that a) they are Caucasian, and b) they are Christian.  How long do you think before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shuts my school down?  Yep … less than a day after the first complaint. eeoc-1Discrimination, whether it is in employment, education or housing is wrong.  Discrimination against a specific race, age, disability, national origin, religion, gender, or gender identity is wrong.  Such discrimination is against the law.  Period.  And here’s a really terrifying thought …

“It is a place that partners with families, always looking far into the future, preparing a generation of young people who will someday take our place as parents, teachers and leaders.” 

Mike Pence, Karen Pence and the Immanuel Christian School need to get over their feelings of superiority and come into the real world where people are different, yet can live together in a world of peace, mutual respect, compassion, and love.  Isn’t that, after all, part of the Christian dogma?  Or has it changed?

A side note:  Mike Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, wrote a book about a bunny … or more specifically, a day in the life of the Vice President as seen through the eyes of her bunny, Marlon Bundo.  Last spring, late-night comedian John Oliver re-wrote the book just a bit, making old Bundo gay, hooking him up with another boy bunny, and sending the two on a quest to get hitched.

Oliver’s book was an instant success, and even Charlotte Pence bought a copy, saying …

“I have bought his book. It doesn’t have to be divisive. I think that everybody can come together over Marlon.”

And the real kicker … the Trevor Project—a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth, which split the proceeds from Oliver’s book with an AIDS nonprofit—announced that it had shipped 100 copies of the thing to Immanuel Christian School!  Along with the books, they included a note …

“Policies and rhetoric that exclude or reject LGBTQ youth can lead to increased risk for suicide and depression, and it’s our organization’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ young people.  With your help, we hope you will change your school’s student and employee policies to accept LGBTQ students and employees.”lgbt flag

 

Even Snarkier Than Usual Snippets …

Lies, LIES, and more LIES!!!  Does anybody really believe a word the ‘man’ in the Oval Office utters anymore?  Does anybody still believe this is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”?  Does anybody blame me for being MAD???  Our friend Gronda told me yesterday that I can never be too snarky for her.  And so, if you thought I was snarky before … welcome to the Filosofa of 2019 … the Uber-Snarkstress!!!


So many bloomin’ lies … where to start?  Remember this one regarding the ‘need’ for a border wall …

“This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me.  And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it.”

Turned out, just as we could easily have predicted it would, that of the four living former presidents, not a single one ever said that to him, or even discussed it with him.  Just another lie that suited his purpose at the moment.  But his lapdog, Mike Pence, found a rather unique way to justify it.

“I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous presidents, previous administrations. I know I’ve seen clips of previous presidents talking about the importance of border security.”

Um, no Mikey … seeing a president say something on television does not constitute a direct, private conversation.  And talking about ‘border security’ does not necessarily imply a wall.  Wow, Mikey … how low will you stoop to shore up Trump’s lies?  Does it not leave a horrid taste in your mouth?  🤢


One down, 19 to go!

“I continue to stress that there is no good reason for a shutdown. The reality is thousands of federal employees & contractors have no paycheck in sight, small businesses that rely on them are suffering & there’s no reason they should be held hostage to a political dispute. It’s important that we continue the debate on how we address border security & address the President’s top priorities, but it’s possible to provide for security & to address the humanitarian crisis on our border, while still doing our jobs to keep the government fully functional.” – Lisa Murkowski, Republican Senator from Alaska


True or false?  

Senator Lindsey Graham spoke with Trump’s potential nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, recently.  After the conversation, Graham was asked if he felt Barr could be trusted to protect the Mueller investigation.  His answer?

“They’ve been personal friends for over 20 years. His opinion of Mr. Mueller is very, very high in terms of ethics and character and professionalism.”

He went on to say that Barr’s and Mueller’s wives attend Bible study together and Mueller has attended the weddings of two of Barr’s daughters.

Not exactly a written guarantee, and I’m not sure I trust Lindsey, but still, there’s something a bit comforting in knowing that Barr & Mueller are friends.  Let us hope Barr has a conscience and doesn’t pander to the whims of the madman in the Oval Office.


Ever hear the term ‘separation of church and state’???

The headline reads …

North Dakota lawmakers want to require Bible study in public schools

North Dakota is one of those states that largely seems to go unnoticed, so I have to wonder if this isn’t simply a cry for attention … “Hey … Look at us … We’re going to defy the Constitution … nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah … “

“A group of North Dakota lawmakers — all Republicans — have introduced legislation that would require the state’s public schools to teach a unit on the Bible. The unit could be on the Old Testament, the New Testament, or a mix of the two, and would count toward students’ social studies credit requirements.”

YO — North Dakota ‘lawmakers’ of the republican variety!!!  Listen up … some of us are NOT Christians, do NOT ascribe to the bible, but still, we send our kids to school!!!  Just what are we … those of us who are Muslims, Jews, Hindus and atheists … chopped liver???  But wait … North Dakota is not alone!  A member of the Florida State Legislature, Kim Daniels, has proposed a bill, HB195, that would require — rather than just permit, as is the case now — high schools to offer an “objective study of religion.”  In 2017, Kentucky passed the “Bible Literacy Bill”, the purpose of which was to “provide to students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture.”

In normal times, I would look for all these cases to land in front of a judge quite quickly, but … these are not normal times.  However, in the interest of fairness, I think each of these states should also require equal time for the study of Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood!!!


The temper tantrum …

Since when is it appropriate to react to a temper tantrum by giving the thrower of the tantrum lots and lots of attention?  Try that with your toddler sometime and watch what happens!  So, on Wednesday, Trump met with Pelosi and Schumer for the 895th time in two weeks, and predictably Trump said, “I want my wall … WAH!  Gimme gimme gimme my wall!”  Equally predictable were Pelosi’s and Schumer’s responses:  “NO!”

So, Trump slams his little tiny fist on the desk and storms out, slamming the door behind him.  And then … the parents of this brat … the media, go into full circus mode and report it multiple times in every single media outlet both here in the U.S. and abroad.  Every. Single. One.  Thanks, guys … thanks a lot for giving the spoiled brat in the Oval Office the attention he was seeking!  Oh, and by the way … Trump brought candy to the meeting … did he really think a pack of Skittles was going to be worth $5.7 billion???

This little temper tantrum should have been ignored, just as we are well-advised to ignore the fits thrown by our two-year-olds.  It should never have even been reported, let alone turned into “the breaking news of the day”.  We already know he is a hot-headed bully … we really didn’t need to be reminded.


And now, I shall stop and breathe for a little while, perhaps even read a book that has nothing to do with politics in hopes of stabilizing both blood pressure and heart rate.  Good Morning, my friends.

The Circus Is Coming To Town …

Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she will be running for president in 2020.  Well, to be fair, she announced that she has launched a campaign “exploratory committee” to determine whether she has a chance at winning.  Rarely, if ever, has such a committee in modern times concluded that the potential candidate stands no chance and should go back to the farm, so in essence, Senator Warren announced her intent to run.  There are at least 32 others who have either announced their intent or are said to be considering a run, namely …

  • Joe Biden (former Vice President under Obama)
  • Senator Kamala Harris (California)
  • Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
  • John Kerry (former Secretary of State under Obama)
  • Julián Castro (former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Obama)
  • Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey)
  • Michael Bloomberg (former Mayor of New York)
  • Eric Holder (former Attorney General under Obama)
  • Michael Avenatti (attorney for Stormy Daniels, Trump’s former paramour)
  • Senator Kirsten Gilibrand (New York)
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
  • Deval Patrick (former Governor of Massachusetts)
  • Governor Steve Bullock (Montana)
  • Representative John Delaney (Maryland)
  • Beto O’Rourke (former Senate candidate from Texas)
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles)
  • Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
  • Senator Michael F. Bennet (Colorado)
  • Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)
  • Senator Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)
  • Senator Chris Murphy (Connecticut)
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, Indiana)
  • Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks sports team)
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio (New York)
  • Representative Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii)
  • Andrew Gillum (former candidate for Governor of Florida)
  • Governor John Hickenlooper (Colorado)
  • Governor Jay Inslee (Washington)
  • Mitch Landrieu (former Mayor of New Orleans)
  • Terry McAuliffe (former Governor of Virginia)
  • Representative Seth Moulton (Massachusetts)
  • Richard Ojeda (West Virginia State Senator)

And those are just the ones who are already talking the talk.  I actually left a few out, such as Howard Schultz, the former Chairman of Starbucks, and entertainer/philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, for I think they are beyond the realm of what is reasonable.  Then again, I said the same about Donald Trump four years ago.  Sigh. Some even speculate that Hillary Clinton might give it another shot.  Personally, I think (and hope) that she is far smarter than that.

Now think about this.  There is just over 22 months until the 2020 election.  That is 672 days, folks.  672 days of listening to the ranting, the babbling, watching the mud-fest and slinging of dirt.  Donald Trump on one side and all these others on the other side.  Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro will be in their element. For 672 days!  Shoot me now, please. The title of a podcast on The Washington Post yesterday sums it up: “Goodbye, 2018. Hello, 2020.”  In other words, welcome to 2019, the year that wasn’t.

The above list of candidates all have some positive attributes, with the possible exception of Michael Avenatti, who I believe is saying he will run mostly as a publicity stunt anyway.  But along with the positive, each one also carries with him/her some baggage.  Okay, nobody is perfect, but this is the year the democrats really, really need a perfect candidate, one with no skeletons in the closet, no dirt hiding in their past.  Donald Trump’s campaign will be brutal this year and next in digging up dirt and buried skeletons.  They will leave no stone unturned.  And we will have to listen to it all … every day … ad nauseam.  And you thought 2019 would be an improvement over 2018?

Unless I miss my guess, there will likely be somewhere around 25-30 candidates in the running initially.  Some will be weeded out in short order, whittling the list down to around 10-12 by the end of this year.  Folks … Barnum & Bailey might not be around any longer but trust me … a circus is coming to town.

A circus is exactly what we don’t need.  The Democratic Party needs to be the responsible one with candidates who can stand up to close scrutiny and who are focused, who have strong ideologies, well-communicated platforms, and who will not be distracted by mud-slinging and name-calling.  They need to be above the fray of the GOP and not wallow in the hog pen with Donald Trump.

Given that there are 22 months yet until the election, and given the above list of potential candidates, some of whom I’ve never even heard of, and in light of my disastrous predictions in 2016, I make no predictions at this point as to whose name will end up on the ballot by November 3rd, 2020.  I will make one prediction, however, that alcohol and tobacco sales will increase dramatically this year!  It is going to be a looooooong and ugly 22 months.  And I voice a serious hope that whoever ultimately becomes the Democratic candidate can stand firm and defeat either Donald Trump or Michael Pence, whichever name is on the GOP ticket by then.  Welcome to the never-ending election season!

A Snarky Snippet Friday …

It seems that the closer it comes to election day, the more fired up the rhetoric gets, the snarkier I feel.  Having just finished a three-part series on Voter Apathy, I was ready to let loose with some snark this afternoon!


A big deal …

1-mike-pence.w330.h412“I heard Oprah was in town today. And I heard Will Ferrell was going door-to-door the other day. Well, I’d like to remind Stacey (Abrams) and Oprah and Will Ferrell — I’m kind of a big deal, too.”

— Vice President Mike Pence at a campaign event for gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp in Georgia, reminding voters he’s a big-ticket name, too.

As one commenter said: “On one side, beloved American institutions. On the other, a man with as much charisma as an empty cottage-cheese tub.”

 


The judge can’t make up his mind …

Remember two weeks ago when I wrote a piece on some of the ways in which states are disenfranchising certain groups of voters?  One such state was North Dakota, where voter identification laws require an ID with an actual street address. Problem is that many of the Native Americans live in rural areas where their address is a P.O. box.

Late Tuesday, the Spirit Lake Tribe and six individuals filed suit in U.S. District Court to prevent North Dakota’s new voter ID laws from being implemented during next week’s mid-term elections.  Seems reasonable, yes?  Apparently not to U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who declined to grant emergency relief and ruled that granting an injunction days before the election “will create as much confusion as it will alleviate.”  Say what???

Daniel Hovland

Judge Hovland

Versions of North Dakota’s voter identification law have been the subject of litigation for the past few years. Earlier this year, the very same Judge Daniel Hovland found the requirements, including identification carrying a residential street address, disproportionately burdened Native American voters.  He also found that thousands of Native Americans were less likely to possess identification that met the requirements or the documentation required to obtain identification.

So, to clarify, the judge has understood for some time that the laws are restrictive and keep thousands of Native Americans from voting, but he feels it would be too confusing to put a hold on the laws in order to allow Native Americans to vote in next week’s election.  This move is almost certain to unseat democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp who is trailing behind her republican challenger, Kevin Cramer by 7-9 percentage points.  Does anybody smell a rat here?  Fair and honest elections?  Balderdash!!!

Heitkamp-Cramer.jpg

Heidi Heitkamp / Kevin Cramer


Another strike against women …

Okay, so the evangelical right-wing republicans are dead-set against abortion under any and all circumstances, right?  No exceptions, life begins before the cigarette is even lit, and is something sacred from that point forward.  So, doesn’t it make sense that those same people would favour birth control so that there would be far fewer abortions needed, and an added bonus, far fewer children in need of help from the government for such luxuries as medical care, food, clothing and shelter?  But no … they want to be able to determine whether their religion allows a woman access to birth control, too!

Trump is attempting to revise the rules of ACA in order to allow companies to refuse to cover birth control in their employee health plans if they have moral or religious objections.  Thus far, the courts have struck his revision down twice, but he has once again made what is said to be a minor adjustment in hopes of getting the blessing of the courts before next week’s mid-term elections.  The average cost of birth control, if not covered under an insurance plan, is $160 – $600 per year.  It may not sound like much, but to a lot of women, that may be two months’ worth of groceries.

I see this as blatant misogyny … an attempt to dictate that “Woman, you WILL have babies whether you desire to or not!” 


Even ice cream goes political …

According to a statement by Ben & Jerry’s founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield …

“We cannot ignore the Trump administration’s attacks on our values, our environment, and our very humanity. We cannot stand silent while disenfranchised groups are silenced and ignored. We must act, we must resist. Introducing Pecan Resist, a new Limited Batch flavor that packs so much more than fudge and nuts under its lid. This flavor supports organizations that are working on the front lines of the resistance, supporting equality, justice, and respect for everyone. Featuring chocolate ice cream with white fudge chunks, dark fudge chunks, pecans, walnuts, and fudge-covered almonds, it’s a nutty delight that’s sending a powerful message. Together, we can resist. Learn more and find it near you here: http://benjerry.com/pecanresist

The reviews on Twitter were a mixed bag …

  • I am never purchasing anything at Ben and Jerry’s again, this is disgraceful.
  • I am proud to announce my next flavor of Ben and Jerry’s I will be eating….. none of the above. Political food makes my stomach turn.
  • My new favorite ice cream!
    That’s how you make a statement
    And take a stand!
    Well done @benandjerrys
    .. if you wanna make another
    flavor called Kid Vicious
    You have my permission!#PecanResist#TheResistance#Vote #KidVicious

And there you have it … another episode of Filosofa’s Snarky Snippets!  Happy Friday and have a great weekend, my friends!Happy Friday