The Question Is … WHY?

It’s a sad state of affairs that I will believe literally anybody over Trump.  The latest?  Trump claimed on Thursday that the U.S. military downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.  Why would he lie about that?  But, I think he did lie, for Iran denies that it happened, and has even released video they say proves that it was a lie.  If this had happened three years ago, under President Obama, I would never have questioned it, but whatever Trump says, I find there is usually at least a partial lie.

Why would Iran lie?  Tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran, and Iran would almost certainly be hopping mad and making threats if we had shot down one of their little boys’ toys.  (Needless to say, I have little respect for the use of drones). But I question the reason behind Trump’s lie, for undoubtedly there is an underlying, likely malicious reason.  You may recall that Iran did shoot down one of our drones last month.  Trump claimed it was in international airspace, but it turned out it was, in fact, in Iranian airspace and was spying on Iran.

Iranian leadership have frequently mocked Trump, and we all know that is the one thing that he cannot stand.  Back in May 2018, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said Trump “does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues,” and added that he “only understands the language of force.”  All of which is true, but surely got under Trump’s thin skin.

Ever since, there has been a back-and-forth poking by both parties, and Trump has at times seemed determined to plunge the U.S. into a war with Iran that nobody … nobody in this nation wants.  For the most part, Trump is filled with bluster and a sense that he is the all-important player in this game-that-is-not-a-game, while Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, taunts back, but seems to be finding humour in it all.

So, why is Trump trying so hard to provoke Iran, and why did he lie about shooting down the drone?  I don’t know the answers but have a few thoughts on the topic.

First, at the beginning of his term, Trump unconscionably withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement with no reason, for even our own intelligence community agreed that Iran was upholding their end of the deal.  But … it was a deal that had been signed by President Obama, and that was the only reason Trump was so insistent on withdrawing.  He demanded that our European allies also withdraw, and when they didn’t, when they worked collectively to try to salvage the deal even without the help of the U.S., Trump made threats, as he is wont to do.  When our allies didn’t give in to his threats, but largely ignored him and continued trying to preserve the deal for the sake of world peace, he got even angrier and imposed sanctions on Iran.

Last month, then, two oil tankers, one of Japanese registry, the other Norwegian, were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.  Trump & Co. claimed to have video footage showing that Iran was behind the attacks, but the footage was fuzzy and really showed nothing of value.  Plus, the crew of one of the tankers stated emphatically that it was not Iran.  More lies on the part of Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo.  Iran denied culpability and said that Trump was spreading disinformation and warmongering.

Then they shot down our spy drone that was in their airspace, and now Trump claims, sans evidence, to have shot down their drone.  WHY???

A few possibilities come to mind …

First, the red herring theory.  Trump is coming under a great deal of fire from the public lately … not his base, of course, but the majority of us … for a number of things:

  • Conditions at the detention camps where children are being held in captivity, separated from their parents, denied such essentials as medical care, soap, toothbrushes, beds, blankets
  • His outrageously expensive and pointless, not to mention tasteless and insulting parade and “celebration” on July 4th that nearly bankrupted the city of Washington, D.C., and cost the taxpayers a bundle that we couldn’t afford
  • His heinous racist denigration of four members of Congress, all U.S. citizens, whom he told to get out of the country and go back where they came from

No doubt, Trump is eager to stop the bleeding that is a result of all these things (and more).  So … what better way than a red herring … something to distract attention from his domestic screw-ups … than an international “incident”?  Wouldn’t be the first time.

And second … there is a proven theory that when a nation is so divided that it is literally eating itself from within, as the U.S. is doing today, an external threat will bring the two sides together, if only temporarily, to fight the external threat.  If that is the thinking … and it would have come from either Pompeo or Bolton, for Trump hasn’t the intelligence to think of it on his own … then he has two choices:  North Korea or Iran.  Since he still seems to hold tight to the idea that his snow job on Kim Jong-un worked and that they now love each other, despite the fact that his summit failed to produce any tangible results, that leaves Iran.  National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both had itchy fingers for a long time … decades, in fact … to bomb Iran, to affect a regime change.  They are a well-matched pair of warmongers.

And a third possibility is financial.  War is profitable for arms manufacturers, and some of Trump’s best buddies manufacture arms.  Why do you think he’s trying so hard to sell arms to Saudi Arabia?  He has proposed often enough that we need to build up our supply of arms, but the proposal is not, overall, met with cheers of approval, for we have the largest national debt in our history, and more tanks just doesn’t seem as important to most of us as healthcare and feeding the poor.  But, if we enter a war …

Again, I don’t know what is behind Trump’s taunts, mockery and lies, but these are just the result of my sleepless nights spent thinking, spent pondering on the “why” of it all, and I think there is some thread of logic to these thoughts.  And now, I return you to your Sunday evening activities.

Trump vs The World — Part I

Donald Trump is, as Keith often says, ‘a clear and present danger’ to not only the United States, but to the entire globe.  A few events over the course of the past week exemplify this.

Remember the back and forth back in 2017 between Trump and Kim Jong-un, with Trump playing his usual 5th grade level game of name-calling, referring to Kim as “Little Rocket Man”. Then Kim came back by calling Trump a “Dotard”, and Trump responded by telling Kim that he (Trump) had a “bigger button” and that his button actually worked.  Sigh.  These are supposed leaders of nations, not 10-year-old boys on the playground.  Well, eventually the two resolved their little spat, Kim sent Trump a ‘love letter’ and a bouquet of flowers, they met, kissed and made up, and now all is well … for the moment.

Trump’s latest spat is not likely to be resolved so quickly, for I don’t think that Iran’s leaders are at all likely to ‘kiss and make up’ with Trump.  Frankly, Trump and Trump alone is responsible for the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran.  From 2015 until Trump took office in 2017, the Iran nuclear agreement between a number of European nations, the U.S., and Iran, was working just fine in achieving its goal of keeping Iran from building nuclear arms.  In exchange, the U.S., EU and United Nations lifted many of the previously imposed sanctions that were crippling Iran’s economy.  The agreement was working, Iran opened its doors to the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global nuclear watchdog, and by all accounts, Iran was upholding their end of the bargain.

Then in 2017 everything fell apart, thanks to the emotional train wreck named Donald Trump, who vowed to his base that he would undo every single thing that President Barack Obama had done.  Beyond it being an ego-trip for Trump, there can be no discernible reason for him pulling out of the Iran deal, just as there was no discernible reason for him to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.  But, pull out he did, leaving our allies, primarily France, Germany, and the UK to try to salvage the deal as best they could without any help from the U.S.

All of that was bad enough but might not have led to the current escalation of tensions, had Trump not added insult to injury and re-imposed sanctions on Iran, affecting oil exports, banking and shipping.  Not only that, but he threatened … literally threatened our allies if they helped Iran!  Naturally, Iran’s economy has taken a big hit, and what Trump fails to understand or care about is that the people who suffer the most are the people of Iran.  Everyday people, like you, like me.

Last month, two oil tankers were attacked in the Strait of Hormuz.  Without a shred of evidence, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately blamed Iran.  Pompeo produced a low-quality, highly questionable film clip that he claimed was proof that Iran was the attacker, but even the captain and crew of one of the tankers denied this.  Even Trump’s good friends, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia disagreed with Trump and Pompeo, but Trump would not shut up.  He taunted, name-called, threatened and bullied.

On Thursday, June 20th, Iran shot down an unmanned United States spy drone.  Trump and Pompeo claim the drone was in international airspace, while Iran claims it was in Iranian airspace.  The evidence points to the latter.  But, Trump not being overly intelligent, jumped the gun and ordered air strikes on three Iranian targets.  Ten minutes before the operation was to commence, he called off the air strikes.  He claims that he didn’t wish to cause a loss of life, but rumour has it he listened to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who told him that it would cost him next year’s election if he proceeded with the attacks.  In addition, it is likely that Putin expressed extreme displeasure with Trump’s plan.  Could be a combination of the latter two, but the one thing it damned sure wasn’t was his “concern” for loss of life.  It was estimated that 150 lives would have been lost.  Trump wouldn’t concern himself with 150 U.S. citizens’ lives, let alone 150 Iranian lives!

Given the chaos of the entire operation, President Rouhani said in a statement, “The White House actions mean it is mentally retarded.”  It’s nothing new … Kim Jong-un called Trump “mentally deranged” back before they kissed and made up.  Can anyone argue that his actions in this situation … or any situation he’s dealt with over the past two-and-a-half years … shows any signs of intelligence or sanity?

So, not liking his mental capacity called into question, Trump then threatened to “obliterate” Iran if they so much as looked cross-eyed.

Trump claims he is not looking for war, but from where I sit, it appears that is exactly what he is ‘looking for’.  He says that a war with Iran would not “last very long” nor involve ground troops.  Um … folks … if you believe this, I’ve got a bridge for sale very cheap.  First, he doesn’t understand what he is even saying.  Second, he has told lies far more often than he has told the truth, so why would anybody in their right mind believe him?  He has surrounded himself with two warmongers who have wanted an excuse to bomb Iran for decades, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton.  He has bragged about his “bigger button”.  And frankly, Iran is not North Korea.

A war against Iran would be catastrophic. US forces are nowhere near powerful enough in the region to contemplate a conventional war — still less to cope with a conflict that would, the Iranians have warned, involve pro-Tehran militia in attacks against the US and her allies from Saudi Arabia to Israel and Iraq.

I end where I began … Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the world.  He has limited capacity for understanding international relations and alliances, he lacks any sort of a moral compass or compassion for humanity, and he has not chosen wise advisors, but rather yes-men who will do his bidding.  If we go to war with Iran, it will not be over quickly … remember Afghanistan?  The only way it would be over quickly, and this is the most frightening part of all, is if Trump decides to do the unthinkable and use his “big button”.  Perhaps the world would not need to worry about climate change after that. Think about that one.

Storm Clouds & Shrouds

Late yesterday came the announcement that Trump is sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to the attack on two Japanese oil tankers last week. Trump claims Iran is responsible for the attack, Pompeo and Bolton concur, but then, they have both been itching to bomb Iran for decades. The U.S. is acting prematurely, and if one listens, one can hear the war drums beating. How do our allies view these events? How do the people in the UK and EU see this situation? Our friend David in Wales wrote a post expressing his thoughts and concerns that I would like to share with you today. If any of my other readers outside the U.S. would like to write a guest post expressing your own views of this potentially dangerous situation, please let me know … I would love to share your opinions. Thank you, David, for this timely post and for your generous permission to re-blog.

The BUTHIDARS

It has bothered me for some time now that Donald Trump would not agree to continue the agreement the other powers had in place with Iran. It kept Iran well away from developing nuclear material. Things seemed to be going nicely according to everyone except the American end, in particular John Bolton, who was responsible for troops going into Iraq under the guise of there being WMD which did not exist, during George Bush Jnr’s time. While I’m no fan of the Imams who practise Sharia law against the  people of their country instead of the Iranians deciding for themselves the type of Government they’d prefer, and they may well decide on a Religious Government, it’s none of my business.

photo from the New Yorker. John Bolton.

What is my business however is whether or not either Bolton or Trump or both together have fabricated evidence that Iran is responsible…

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WTF is “Natural Law”???

Mike Pompeo is the nation’s Secretary of State.

Mike-PompeoCreated in 1789 by the Congress as the successor to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of State is the senior executive Department of the U.S. Government. The Secretary of State’s duties relating to foreign affairs have not changed significantly since then, but they have become far more complex as international commitments multiplied. These duties – the activities and responsibilities of the State Department – include the following:

  • Serves as the President’s principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy;
  • Conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs;
  • Grants and issues passports to American citizens and exequaturs to foreign consuls in the United States;
  • Advises the President on the appointment of U.S. ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other diplomatic representatives;
  • Advises the President regarding the acceptance, recall, and dismissal of the representatives of foreign governments;
  • Personally participates in or directs U.S. representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies;
  • Negotiates, interprets, and terminates treaties and agreements;
  • Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries;
  • Supervises the administration of U.S. immigration laws abroad;
  • Provides information to American citizens regarding the political, economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian conditions in foreign countries;
  • Informs the Congress and American citizens on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations;
  • Promotes beneficial economic intercourse between the United States and other countries;
  • Administers the Department of State;
  • Supervises the Foreign Service of the United States.

In addition, the Secretary of State retains domestic responsibilities that Congress entrusted to the State Department in 1789. These include the custody of the Great Seal of the United States, the preparation of certain presidential proclamations, the publication of treaties and international acts as well as the official record of the foreign relations of the United States, and the custody of certain original treaties and international agreements. The Secretary also serves as the channel of communication between the Federal Government and the States on the extradition of fugitives to or from foreign countries.

That is the official job description for the position of Secretary of State, taken from the U.S. Government’s own website.  Please note that NOWHERE in all that verbiage does it say that the Secretary of State is in charge of setting the moral guidelines for the citizens of the United States!

Without the usual pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies announcements by the Trump regime, yesterday the State Department quietly announced the formation of a new committee to be called the Commission on Unalienable Rights, to be headed by Mike Pompeo.  According to the notice, the “nature and purpose” of the commission is …

“The Commission will provide the Secretary of State advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters. The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

Ponder on this one for a moment, if you will.  “… departed from … founding principles of natural law”???  What is “natural law”?  One definition is …

“Natural law is a philosophy asserting that certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature, endowed by nature—traditionally by God or a transcendent source—and that these can be understood universally through human reason.”

Mike Pompeo is one of those evangelicals who are anti-everything … anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim … and the list goes on.  On April 3rd, Brunei legalized the stoning to death of LGBT people.  Most of the western world was appropriately outraged.  Actor George Clooney called for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.  The governments of the EU and UK publicly called on Brunei to abandon the law.  Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo were silent. When pressured by the media to comment, Pompeo finally said he was “concerned”, but neither he nor Trump condemned the brutality.

And now, Mike Pompeo, the evangelical, the man who is only ‘concerned’ about the brutal murder of people in the LGBTQ community, is in charge of a commission on ‘natural law’.  Be afraid, people … be very afraid.

In recent weeks, we have seen numerous states infringing on women’s human rights by passing draconian laws banning a woman’s right to an abortion, even if to save her life.  We have seen laws repealed that prohibited the discrimination of LGBTQ people in almost every area, including health care.  In short, we have seen that this regime does not respect the rights of either women or the LGBTQ community.

The State Department already has an entire bureau devoted to the issues of human rights.  Human rights advocates and activists are worried that the true purpose of this commission is to strip both women and LGBTQ people of protections against discrimination.

The most worrying part, to me, is that term “natural law”, which is typically associated with religion.  The United States is a secular nation.  Some will claim it is a ‘Christian nation’, but that is not the way the Constitution, the framework for our government, is designed.  We welcome people of all or no religions to practice whatever religion … or none … they choose, but … BUT we do not design our laws in accordance with Christianity or any other religion.

For Mike Pompeo, who holds strong and narrow-minded religious views, and a group of his choosing to have input into the legal processes of this nation is a dangerous proposition … it poses, in this writer’s view, a distinct threat to the concept of separation of church and state, and it poses a threat to women and the LGBTQ community at the very least.

Few facts are available about what the commissions goals and processes are to be, and the State department refused to provide further details to the media, but this is something to keep an eye on, folks.  This may well go the way of Trump’s “Voter Fraud Commission” in 2017 and simply fade into oblivion, but what if it doesn’t?  Think about it.

Live For Today???

If there is a stack of dirty dishes in the sink and laundry piled halfway to the ceiling, will you wash the dishes and the clothes, or go sit down and read a book, hoping that the mess will go away?  If you choose the latter, then please contact me, for I have a lovely bridge for sale … cheap!  I’ll even throw in a book of fairy tales for free!

We in the U.S. have many worries these days.  We have a madman at the helm who is steering our ship toward a huge iceberg.  Our civil rights are being stripped, bigotry is on the rise, education is seriously deficient, income disparity is greater than at any other time, and the list goes on.  But, frankly, none of those things hold a candle to the seriousness of one single issue:  the environment.

Climate change is not going away on its own any more than your dishes and laundry are going to wash themselves, folks.  Just this past weekend, many areas of the Midwest have seen devastating tornadoes, including several last night a mere 20 miles north of my own home.  Remember last year’s wildfires in California, and right now, as I write this, there are two wildfires in Alberta, Canada, eating everything in their path.  Remember the hurricanes, the floods, last summer’s excessive heat?  And still, Don Trump and his minions not only fail to act, but take great pains to further the devastation.

The latest?  As if it wasn’t enough that Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords, making us the only nation on the globe not onboard to address the crisis.  It wasn’t enough that he has, by means of executive order thus bypassing democratic process, rolled back most every environmental regulation on the books.  It wasn’t enough that he has tried everything in his power to stifle the development of renewable energy sources in his support of the coal and oil industries that are wrecking our environment in multiple ways.  No, none of that was enough.  Now, he is launching a new assault on our planet, on our health, on our very lives.

In the next few months, Trump plans to officially rescind what’s left of Obama-era regulations to curb emissions from tailpipes and power plants.  But it doesn’t stop there.  U.S. Geological Survey Director James Reilly — a former petroleum geologist appointed by Trump — has ordered his office to only study the effects of climate change up to 2040.  Scientists say that would give a misleading picture because the biggest effects of current emissions will be felt after 2040. Models show that the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. From that point until the end of the century, however, the rate of warming differs significantly with an increase or decrease in carbon emissions.

And … remember the National Climate Assessment that was released last fall saying, “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities”?  Since that didn’t fit in with Trump’s policy to support the fossil fuel industry, it will not be included in the National Climate Assessment or other scientific reports produced by the government.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking of the melting of glaciers in the Arctic at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland, said this …

“The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore. Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade [that could] potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days. Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.”

Think about that one for a minute …

William-Happer

William Happer

Trump is said to be in the process of creating a scientific review panel with the intention of disputing the findings of climate scientists and discrediting the idea that climate change is a national security threat.  The man he is considering to lead the panel is named William Happer.  Let me tell you something about Mr. Happer.  He does not believe humans are responsible for climate change. In fact, he once likened CO2, the greenhouse gas most responsible for warming temperatures, to the Jewish people during the Holocaust. “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”  Say WHAT???  No, Mr. Happer, you are comparing apples to oranges.

Happer has received money from the ultra-wealthy Mercer family, one of the principal causes of which is to deny climate science. The Mercer family also supports Trump.  Are you beginning to see a pattern here?  Trump and his wealthy donors, most of whom are benefitting greatly from Trump’s rollbacks and might actually see their profits reduced if proper regulations were in place, see no further than the tip of their nose.  Their motto?  Live for today and to hell with tomorrow.  As long as they are raking in the dollars and enjoying their hedonistic lifestyles, it matters not to them whether our children and grandchildren can breathe the air or have food and water in 30-40 years.  It matters not to them if every living thing on earth is gone by the end of this century, for they will have lived their lives.  Just because we won’t be here to see it doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to future generations!

For those of us who do care about the future of this planet, consider this:

  • The U.S. is the second largest total emitter of carbon dioxide
  • The U.S. is the largest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide
  • The U.S. is the nation that is doing the least to reduce carbon emissions

CO2 emissions by nation.png

A number of states are enacting their own regulations, as are some corporations, but without consistency, without support from the federal government, it simply is not enough.  Not only is our ignorance and greed dooming our own nation, but the rest of the world as well.  There will be a price to pay … probably sooner than we think.

Snarky Snippets — Thriving On Chaos

Never before in the history of this nation has there been a more chaotic government, one that had so little clue what they were doing or what the ramifications of their actions would be.  It is truly as if 7-year-old children are the decision-makers in Washington today!

white-house-chaos.jpg


He wasn’t invited, but nonetheless, Mike Pompeo crashed the meeting.  A group of European foreign ministers were meeting in Brussels yesterday morning to work on how to best handle the situation with Iran that has turned into a mess, thanks to none other than Donald Trump.  The group did not grant Pompeo inclusion in their meeting, but several diplomats from the UK, France, Germany, and the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, granted him private meetings.

The Europeans have all expressed fear not only about how Iran will behave, but equally about the aggression by the U.S.  British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said …

“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side. Most of all, we need to make sure we don’t end up putting Iran back on the path to re-nuclearization. Because if Iran becomes a nuclear power, its neighbors are likely to want to become nuclear powers. This is already the most unstable region in the world, and this would be a massive step in the wrong direction.”

Since Trump reneged on the Iran nuclear agreement a year ago, he has been taunting Iran, as well as our allies who are trying to hold the deal together without any assistance from the U.S.  Iran finally said, “Enough”, and is threatening to cancel the agreement and return to building its nuclear program.

Apparently little, if anything, was gained by the private meetings with Pompeo, as each side dug in, with Pompeo saying that the nuclear deal should be scrapped.  Apparently, he would like to have a reason to go to war with Iran?  Pompeo has enough foreign policy experience to understand that a war in the Middle East will involve many more nations than only Iran and is a no-win proposition that can only make matters worse in the area than they already are.  If, as I suspect, Trump is all too eager to try out his nuclear button … well, you know where I’m going with that.

Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton have put our allies in a tough spot and have increased tensions in the Middle East dramatically and dangerously.  Way to go, Donnie … what else do you plan to destroy?


The trade negotiations between the U.S. and China were reportedly going well and expected to wrap up within a matter of days.  But … sigh … Trump apparently never heard that old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  He prefers to break that which isn’t broken, and that is precisely what he did last week.  He increased the tariffs on some $200 billion worth of goods the U.S. imports from China, causing China to retaliate and impose new tariffs on some $60 billion worth of goods they buy from us.

Remember how Trump has been bragging about that good economy (the one that was already doing very well when he inherited it)?  Well, guess what folks?  Based on the news of all these new tariffs being bandied about, the market took a bit of a nosedive.  Does this ‘man’ understand nothing???  No, Donnie, tariffs are not good, China isn’t the one paying for the tariffs that YOU imposed … WE are!  And NO, Donnie, trade wars are not easy to win!

Trump claimed his reason for increasing the tariffs was that China was reneging on certain concessions, but there is no evidence of that, and people who have long dealt with Trump in the world of real estate say that this is his modus operandi … he throws a fit over some imagined problem at the last minute, then attempts to bully his way into a better deal.  Trouble is … this isn’t a real estate deal and … our economy and our livelihoods are at risk here.  He is playing with the lives of real people.


I got through my first four years of college with the help of Pell Grants and by often working three jobs.  Pell Grants, for those who may not be familiar with them, are subsidies the U.S. federal government provides for students who need it to pay for college. Federal Pell Grants are limited to students with financial need, who have not earned their first bachelor’s degree.  I could not have gone to college had it not been for those Pell Grants.  Today, they are more important than ever, with the high cost of college.  But guess what?  Donald Trump has decided that playing with his space toys is more important than educating our youth.

Yesterday evening, Trump sent a budget amendment to Congress to take $1.9 billion from the Pell Grant program and give it, instead, to NASA “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!” 

bullshit

Some spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) claims that it will not impact the Pell Grant program … I guess he must think we are all pretty damn stupid.

Trump has already proposed budget cuts for other student aid programs to the tune of $3.8 billion!  It would seem that his ultimate goal is to ensure that only the children of the wealthy can afford to attend college.  Picture the U.S. in 25 years.  Your children and grandchildren will be digging ditches, working in dead-end factory jobs, clerking at a grocery store or McDonald’s, while Betsy DeVos’ and Donald Trump’s grandchildren will be the corporate CEOs and will be the people running our government … if, in fact, there is still a government to run.


And now, I believe I have spent most of my snark, so I shall leave you to find a cheerier blog than mine to read for the rest of the morning.  But never fear, I shall return!

A New Batch … Hot Off The Press!

Some days I think I have turned into a huge cynic, a shrew, and I remonstrate with myself about it.  Now, I’ve told you before about these three-way conversations with Me, Myself, and I, right?  Well, in this particular conversation. Myself convinced Me that it wasn’t my fault I was turning into an untrusting, cynical human being, and I thanked Myself, while Me felt a bit hurt and left out.  Confused yet?  Welcome to my mind!  Anyway … today I am feeling like a bit of mockery at the expense of Trump & Co., for they deserve it, and it makes me happy.  So … snarky snippets it is!


And the award goes to …

Donald Trump has mentioned a few times that he believes he will be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.  It galls him to no end that his nemesis, President Obama, earned the award, and he has not a snowball’s chance.  However, there is one person in our government today who is being honoured with a prestigious award.  Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is to be awarded the 2019 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Nancy-PelosiCaroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, said in a statement Sunday that Ms. Pelosi is “the most important woman in American political history.” Pelosi is being honored because of her efforts to pass former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law and for helping Democrats reclaim control of the U.S. House during last year’s elections.  Kennedy said Pelosi “leads with strength, integrity and grace under pressure.”

The award will be presented to Pelosi on May 19 during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.  I smile thinking of what Trump must have said when he first heard this news.  😊

trump tantrum


And speaking of awards …

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, founded in 2014, advocates for the safety of journalists and the release of Americans held hostage abroad.  Each year at its annual dinner, the foundation issues a “hostage freedom award” to someone for “courageous work for hostage recovery, press freedom, and humanitarian efforts”.  This year, the award was initially planned to go to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but the foundation changed its mind because of what it felt was an inadequate response by the administration to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo did not take the loss of the award with good grace, however.

“I regret that there was pressure applied by the media for that award to be withdrawn.”

Ultra-conservative Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen did not miss an opportunity to accuse and abuse the media, saying that the award was rescinded only because “media partners’ promised to boycott the event if Pompeo got the award”.

If you can’t somehow blame the democrats, then blame the media, eh?  However, the foundation published a “Letter to the Editor” of The Washington Post on Friday …

“The decision with respect to the James W. Foley Hostage Advocate award was mischaracterized in Marc A. Thiessen’s April 4 column … While it is accurate that our foundation intended to present our hostage freedom award to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and we extended the invitation to him on Nov. 19, 2018, we ultimately decided we could not present the award as planned because of the dramatic change in circumstances when the Trump administration did not press for genuine accountability from the Saudi government for the brutal murder of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. We communicated the reason for this decision to the secretary’s team on Jan. 11.

Our decision had nothing to do with whether we received media pressure. In addition to advocating for the safe return of U.S. hostages abroad, the protection of free speech and promotion of journalists’ safety are key pillars of our foundation, and this award would have been in conflict with that key principle.”

Simple, straightforward, and honest, but Pompeo exhibits the same character flaw that his boss does … he is a sore loser.  Suck it up, Mike.


Even dumber than Kellyanne …

Donald Trump has a ‘campaign press secretary’.  I had never seen her until yesterday when she swooped across my radar.  As I read the headline, I thought … this one is even dumber than Kellyanne!  And that, folks, is a tough act to follow!

Her name is Kayleigh McEnany and she is actually just about to become 31 years of age, though I wouldn’t have guessed it based on what I’ve seen so far.  I think you can see, even before I go any further, why Trump chose her for his campaign press secretary.

She even looks a bit like Kellyanne … that is, before Kellyanne aged 40 years in a month from having to go behind her boss and pick up his messes. McEnany-3But to the point.  McEnany has pulled some dumber-than-dirt moments in the past year or so, but this one takes the cake.  Yesterday, following the lead of Trump and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, McEnany claimed that Trump should not be forced to release his tax returns to Congress.  She said that Congress doesn’t have a legitimate reason to ask for them.  (Forgive her, but she’s likely never heard of the word ‘ethics’ before).  Her reasoning?  Because Congress isn’t asking for the tax returns of other presidents.  Let that one sink in just a minute, folks.

“Ironically, the only person whose tax returns they’ve asked for — the only president — is Trump. So it’s a sham reasoning.”

Oh, Kayleigh … please … do go back to school!  I hear they offer GED courses at most community colleges?  You’re definitely not ready for this job!

McEnany-4

Wow!  Really???

Now, as we all know, every other president starting with Nixon has released their tax returns voluntarily, so Congress never had a need to demand them.  And even if that weren’t the case … none of those other guys are president today!

President Barack Obama released his tax returns for every year between 2000 and 2015. President George W. Bush released his returns for 2000 through 2007. President Bill Clinton made public his returns from 1992 to 1999 (and then his wife, 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton released their returns from 2000 to 2016).  And Trump?  Not. One. Single. Year.

If you ask me, Trump is down to dredging the bottom of the barrel to find people willing to work in the chaos that defines the current administration.


And on that note, I shall go see what other mischief I can dig up.

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.

Send In The Adults … PLEASE!!!

PLEASE, people, let us put some adults in charge of this sinking ship!!!  In a nutshell, if you combine all the statements about Syria and condense them into a single statement, it reads something like this:

We are going to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria by the end of last year, but it may not happen for several years.

Scratching your head over that one, aren’t you?  See, what happens here is that Donald Trump gets up one morning all in a fizz and while he’s sitting on the potty wondering what to tweet next, an idea comes to him.  So, without consulting any of the two people on his staff who have brains, he tweets that he will be pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria.  Then, as an afterthought, he tweets that this will happen by the end of December.Bolton-Mattis-Pompeo.jpgImagine the look of utter incredulity on the faces of James Mattis, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo on seeing that tweet as they sit at their breakfast tables!  We know Mattis’ take on it, for it gave him the reason he had probably been looking for to tender his resignation and get off the Trumptanic before it meets the iceberg.  Bolton likely turned red in the face and nearly had apoplexy, moustaches twitching while his eyebrows went up and down.  And Pompeo probably just popped yet another donut into his mouth.bolton-near-tearsApparently, despite his bluster and his reputation as a warmonger, even Bolton has a problem with Trump’s decision, bred of ignorance, but he could hardly ignore his boss man, so he found a compromise this week … pull out the equipment and leave the troops!  Brilliant … that way he can honestly say we are in the process of pulling out, yet not risk the lives of all Kurds and other innocent people in the area by leaving them unassisted with the threat of Turks attacking.moving equipment-Syria.jpgOnly thing is … without equipment, without jeeps, tanks and the like … of what use are the soldiers?  And how safe are they?  Oh this was such a well-thought-out, brilliant move!  CHAOS!  ICEBERG AHEAD!!!titanic-2Interestingly, despite some equipment being moved out of Syria, the Department of Defense says that the number of U.S. troops in Syria may “increase slightly”.  Trump, apparently after talking to Bolton, changed his ’30-day’ time frame to four months, but even that seems highly unachievable … and undesirable from a foreign policy point of view.  I doubt that Bolton has had the nerve yet to tell him that he may increase the number of troops and that they may yet be there for years.

There are valid reasons for the U.S. to remain in Syria.  One, daesh (aka ISIS) has not, as Trump said it had, been eradicated and if U.S. forces leave the area, are likely to regroup and increase their numbers.  Two, Turkish President Erdoğan has already said that it is his intent to murder every Kurd in Syria, and without the protection of the U.S. troops, that is almost a certainty.

Trump is almost certain to have to eat some crow on this one … could that be part of the reason he’s digging his heels on the border wall?  His ego cannot seem to take two major defeats in such a short time frame, and his buddy Sean Hannity will definitely not be pleased with him if he caves on the border wall.

Let’s talk about that border wall for a minute.  I found it heartbreaking yesterday to read that some of the federal workers who have been without pay for nearly a month now are selling household goods on Ebay to try to scrape together enough to pay the rent and keep the electricity on … it is winter, y’know.

Limo.jpgMeanwhile, Trump rides around in his ostentatious $1.5 million limo (we paid for that, too), takes Air Force One to Texas for a wasted trip that accomplished nothing at a cost of $200,000 per hour!  And he obviously has not so much as missed a meal.  He claims democrats are to blame for his ignominious shutdown for not being willing to negotiate, but in truth it is he who is not willing to negotiate.  He has set a number he wants immediately for his wall at $5.7 billion, and that is the only outcome he will accept.  He isn’t willing to settle for a portion of that amount … it’s all or nothing at all.  So really, there is only one person to blame, and that person is definitely not a democrat! He will bankrupt this nation within the next six months at the current rate he is spending our money.

The victims of the chaos that reigns in this administration are each and every one of us.  It only begins with those 800,000+ workers who are in danger of losing their homes, cars and even lives, but in the near future the pain will trickle down to us all.  This is the most irresponsible presidency in the history of this nation, bar none.  It’s time we put some adults in charge, for we damn sure don’t have any today!

A Bit Of This And A Bit Of That …

Trump thinks Ivanka would be great to replace Nikki Haley.

“So nice, everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations Ambassador. She would be incredible, but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!” Trump tweeted on Friday morning.  He later re-iterated, saying she would be “incredible,” and that there is “nobody more competent”.  And just what, pray tell, are her qualifications?  Oh wait … Nikki Haley had no qualifications for the job, either. But at least she had government experience, having served six years each as Governor of South Carolina and a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and until she drank the Trump Kool Aid, she had some good sense.  Ivanka has … well, let’s see … she owns a company that daddy bought her whereby she uses overseas sweatshop labour to manufacture ugly clothing that she sells for an outrageous price.  Oh, and she’s married to a shyster real estate ‘tycoon’ who doesn’t pay taxes.  Oh yeah … everybody must surely want her to represent us at the United Nations.Ivanka-toon.png


Ol’ Duncan Hunter … back in the news again.

Remember Duncan Hunter?  He’s been on my radar off and on for nearly two years, but the latest was last month when I wrote that he had been caught and indicted on charges of using a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses.  And then he had the gall to blame it all on his wife!  Well, I guess when you’re caught with your hand in the cookie jar, one thing you can do is start pointing fingers at others.  But his latest antic is a real piece of work.  He has accused his Democratic challenger for the upcoming mid-terms, one Ammar Campa-Najjar, of being a Palestinian terrorist who is trying to “infiltrate” Congress.  No, I swear I’m not making it up!  My imagination isn’t that good!

He produced a television ad that claims …

“Ammar Campa-Najjar is working to infiltrate Congress. He’s used three different names to hide his family’s ties to terrorism. His grandfather masterminded the Munich Olympic massacre. His father said they deserved to die. … ‘He is being supported by CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood.’ ‘This is a well-orchestrated plan.’ Ammar Campa-Najjar: A risk we can’t ignore.”

And …

“He changed his name from Ammar Yasser Najjar to Ammar Campa-Najjar so he sounds Hispanic. … So his signs could actually say Joseph Campa or, or something. That is how hard, by the way, that the radical Muslims are trying to infiltrate the U.S. government. You had more Islamists run for office this year at the federal level than ever before in U.S. history.”

The Washington Post Fact Checker to the rescue:

  • Campa-Najjar is a Christian born and raised in San Diego
  • His grandfather died years before he was born
  • His father wasn’t around much and that Campa-Najjar was raised by his mother and her Mexican American family
  • Campa-Najjar obtained a security clearance for his past work in the Obama White House and the Labor Department

The conclusion:

This ad uses naked anti-Muslim bias in an effort to scare Californians into voting for an indicted Republican incumbent.

The Democrat on the receiving end of these attacks isn’t even Muslim. All the claims in the ad are false, misleading or devoid of evidence.

Hunter earns Four Pinocchios.

4 pinocchios


Mike Pompeo has a heart, but it’s very, very tiny.tiny heartThe policy of the United States has long been to grant visas to partners of foreign diplomats serving in the U.S., even when those relationships are not recognized by their home countries, such as is sometimes the case with LGBT couples.  In July, the U.S. mission to the United Nations informed foreign delegations that beginning Oct. 1, the State Department would no longer issue G-4 visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and U.N. officials who are not legally married.

There are 69 countries around the world that criminalize same-sex relationships, and in 10 countries, LGBT couples face the death penalty for their orientation.  Last week, 119 House Democrats sent a letter to Pompeo protesting the policy change.  Let’s hope he listens, though I’m not holding my breath.  This is a step backward in U.S. Civil Rights, not to mention Human Rights … and a loud statement of Pompeo’s views of the LGBT community.


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