Filosofa’s Mini Rants

Because I cannot afford a new computer at the moment, I shan’t write about today’s impeachment proceedings except to say that should Jim Jordan and I ever run into each other in person, his head is likely to look like a rotten turnip once I am done bashing it!  Since it is not prudent for me to write about the proceedings today, I figured a few snarky snippets or mini rants might alleviate some of the pressure in my head.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell posted the following on Twitter last evening …

“Critical legislation is currently frozen in place. Casualties of Democrats’ apparent inability to make headway on anything besides fighting with the White House.”

Seriously, Mitchie???  How many bills have been passed by the House that are sitting somewhere in your office because you refuse to even bring them to the Senate floor for a vote???  This was the most hypocritical statement I have ever heard!  The House is doing its job at the moment, investigating the criminal activities of the person sitting in the Oval Office.  You’ll get your chance to try, and hopefully convict him soon.  Meanwhile, why not earn your fat paycheck by passing some of the legislation that has been sent to you by the House?McConnellYou could start with … For The People Act to secure America’s elections, expand voting rights, and get money out of politics.  It was passed by the House and sent to the Senate 250 days ago!  The election is in less than 12 months, and your fat patootie is still sitting on the bill to ensure the integrity of the election.  Do Your JOB, Mitchell!


Gonna need a new computer after all if I keep beating the lettering off the keys …


U.S. representative Devin Nunes from California is an idiot.  There has never been any doubt.  I’m seriously considering reprising my Idiot of the Week feature for people like Jim Jordan, Mitch McConnell, and Devin Nunes! The man once co-sponsored an act to discourage frivolous lawsuits, but yet he himself seems to be ‘sue-crazy’.  In just the past two years, he has sued …

  • A stone fruit farmer in Dinuba, and two other people, for conspiring to damage his 2018 reelection by asking that Nunes not be allowed to call himself a “farmer” on the ballot.
  • The research firm Fusion GPS and a Democratic group called Campaign for Accountability for attempting to interfere with his “investigation” (quote marks are mine) into ties between President Trump and Russia when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
  • Twitter and a couple of parody accounts, including @DevinCow, who has called Nunes “a treasonous cowpoke.” He is asking for $250 million to assuage his hurt feelings.
  • McClatchy, parent company of Nunes’ hometown paper, the Fresno Bee, for writing that he had a financial interest in a winery sued by an employee who was asked to work on a charity cruise where men behaved very, very badly.
  • And, most recently, Esquire magazine and the journalist Ryan Lizza, who Nunes claims have defamed him to the tune of $75 million in writing about the Nunes family dairy farm, which is not in California, but in Iowa.

nunesSheesh … is he trying to compete with Donald Trump for the Guinness World Record of most lawsuits?

I could actually write an entire post about Nunes, but he’s not worth that much of my time or energy, so I will confine myself to his latest antics.  Now, Nunes is a conspiracy theorist … almost as much of one as Alex Jones!  Back in 2018, he came up with some long-winded theory that the FBI was conspiring against Trump.  As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes participated in yesterday’s impeachment hearings … the ones I’m not writing about tonight.

Nunes began with an opening statement which included a misleading claim that Democrats on the committee had tried to “obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials.”  Then he went on to allege that the Ukraine whistleblower who reported Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was “acknowledged to have a bias against President Trump” and falsely claimed that the whistleblower’s “attorney touted a ‘coup’ against the president.”

Nunes also falsely claimed that Trump’s July 25 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was to express “concerns about foreign corruption,” even though Trump did not mention “corruption” once on the call. Nunes also falsely claimed that the “officials’ alarm at the president’s actions was typically based on second-hand, third-hand and even fourth-hand rumors and innuendo,” even though multiple witnesses testified about first-hand interactions with Trump and with others.

Here’s another one whose head should be made to look like a rotten turnip!


Oh, and now that you’ve gone and mentioned Trump …


The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, arrived at the White House today for a visit with Donald.  Don and Recep have a close relationship, there are ties that bind them.  Back in 2015, after Trump threw his hat in the ring, he did an interview with then-Breitbart host Steve Bannon.  When asked about how he would deal with Turkey if he were to become president …

“I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It’s called Trump Towers — two towers, instead of one. … And I’ve gotten to know Turkey very well. They’re amazing people. They’re incredible people. They have a strong leader.”

Yep, straight from the horse’s mouth … a “little conflict of interest”.  But wait, it gets even better.  Two of Erdoğan’s sons-in-law play a role here.  One is Turkey’s Minister of Finance, and deals directly with Trump and Trump’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner (you remember, the one who lied on his security clearance forms and was, therefore, not given the highest level security clearance?).  The other son-in-law is actually a Trump business partner and advisor.

After a phone conversation between Trump and Erdoğan last month, Trump pulled our troops out of Syria, leaving Erdoğan to invade the Kurdish-held lands and devastate our allies, the Kurds.  And yet, Trump praised Erdoğan …

“We’ve been friends for a long time, almost from day-one. We understand each others’ country. We understand where we are coming from. They’re highly respected in their country and in the region.”

Understands???  Trump understands NOTHING!  Another dictator that Trump praises and claims a kinship with, while he feeds our allies to the sharks.


Well, I thought this little rant might help me calm down, get rid of some of the angst residing within my head, but it has only made it worse.  Perhaps a little snack …

U.S.A. — Circus Of Horrors

Imagine for a moment that you are in a position of power.  Now, imagine that recently you’ve made a number of bad decisions, big mistakes, and the people who decide whether you keep your position are not pleased … not at all pleased.  How do you react?  What steps do you take to try to salvage your job?  I can’t speak for everyone, but I think I would be working extra hard to try to right my past wrongs, to put my “nose to the grindstone”, work extra hours trying to do a better job, to show my superiors that I was worth keeping on.

Donald Trump is in a position of great power.  We can argue ‘til the cows come home about whether he should ever have been handed the keys to the Oval Office, but it is a moot point, for he is there.  He has made so many mistakes over the past three years that in the business world, he would have been ousted long before now.  But in the past few months, he has made grievous mistakes, and there is reason to believe he did so with the intention of destroying the country’s democratic principles.  His superiors, at least the majority of us, are looking to end his employment via the constitutional process known as impeachment.

Under this threat, one might expect him to “man up”, admit to his mistakes and work extra hard to try to salvage his job.  But nooooooo …. instead he is ramping up his vitriolic rhetoric, lashing out at all he perceives as ‘enemies’, and turning our federal government, with the help of certain members of Congress, into a damn three-ring circus!

Yesterday, just as a Pentagon official was about to testify before a closed-door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, a group of some thirty republican congressmen forced their way into the secure facility on Capitol Hill.  Their intrusion caused a five-hour delay in the proceedings, wasting time and taxpayer’s money.  In addition, they were taking pictures and texting on their cell phones in an area where, for security reasons, cell phones are strictly forbidden.  Are these really the people we elected to represent us in Congress, or a bunch of juvenile delinquents???

Let us be clear here … we are currently at the ‘inquiry’ stage of the impeachment process.  Inquiry … as in collecting information, interviewing witnesses, trying to piece together the details of any impeachable offense Trump may have committed.  This stage of the process is, and has always been, handled by committees and not open to any outside the committee.  Soon enough, the information they have collected will be made public, but that time is not now.  Now, the republicans that disrupted the process yesterday, led by none other than the little scrapper Matt Gaetz, claimed that the democrats were trying to withhold information from republicans, but it should be noted that there are nine republicans on the House Intelligence Committee who were to sit in on the interview!

It was later reported that Trump was aware beforehand that the republican congressmen planned this little drama show and, in fact, encouraged it.

As evidence mounts that Trump did, in fact, use the threat of withholding U.S. aid to enlist the aid and assistance of a foreign power to benefit none other than himself in next year’s election, the republicans seem to have thrown professionalism and caution to the wind and are acting like I would expect a group of five-year-old children to act.  And now this …

None other than the two-faced Lindsey Graham proposes to introduce a resolution condemning the impeachment inquiry!  The “resolution” will be co-sponsored by Moscow Mitch McConnell. Now, mind you this resolution is worth about as much as the piece of paper it will be written on and carries no weight, but … its intent is to stop the bleeding.  Trump’s approval rating has been declining and congressional republicans who have tied their fortunes to his are running scared.  This is Lindsey’s way of saying to the masses who support Trump that he did nothing wrong and that the whole impeachment process is just the mean ol’ democrats who are still pouting over losing in 2016 trying to strike back at poor, innocent little Trumpty Dumpty.

What Lindsey, Mitchie, Matt and all their other ignoble cohorts would do well to remember is that this impeachment is not only sanctioned, but also mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the very document they took an oath to uphold. This impeachment is also long overdue.  There was sufficient evidence in Robert Mueller’s report that Trump had committed impeachable offenses, but Speaker Pelosi held off beginning the process.  It is obvious that Donald Trump thinks of this nation as his own personal playground.  He takes liberties that no other president in the history of the nation has ever done before.  If I didn’t have a horse in this race, it would almost be laughable, but since I have to live in this country, I find nothing funny in any of this.

That bad employee, rather than trying to shape up and do a better job, is instead trying to burn the company down. It is time … past time … to hold Trump AND those like Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and others who defend the indefensible, accountable for their actions, accountable for turning the U.S. into a laughingstock and our lives into the Nightmare on Elm Street.

A Glimmer of Hope?

I have said since the word “impeachment” was first mentioned, that there would be no chance the Senate would vote to convict, even if the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump.  Moscow Mitch McConnell has indicated that he would not even allow the case to be tried in “his” Senate.  But, there are some signs that the republicans are beginning to see Trump in a less favourable light these days.

Twice this summer I have written about Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL), “a group of life-long Republicans dedicated to defending the institutions of the republic and upholding the rule of law.”  Earlier this year, the group sponsored a 30-second ad calling for Trump’s impeachment that was aired on none other than Fox and Friends.  They also hand-delivered a copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to every lawmaker in the republican party.

This week, our friend Keith wrote a post titled Republicans for the Rule of Law condemn Trump behavior (and obstruction) with Ukraine in which he updates us, telling us that RRL is once again standing for law and justice and calling Trump out on his recent actions.  Be sure to check out Keith’s post for more information.  The group has a new 30-second ad out now …

Bill Kristol is a neoconservative political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks, who has held senior positions in both Ronald Reagan’s and George H.W. Bush’s administrations.  Kristol is also one of the co-directors of Defending Democracy Together, the ‘parent’ organization for Republicans for Rule of Law.  Yesterday, Kristol wrote an OpEd in the New York Times that bears reading.

Republicans Don’t Have to Nominate Trump in 2020

The party can do better.

Bill-KristolRepublicans have had their differences these past few years. Most have supported President Trump; a few have not. Some of the president’s supporters have been enthusiastic; many have not. Some of the reluctant Trump supporters have expressed reservations at certain times; many have not.

But with the revelations of the last week, and the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry, we are at a new moment. This is obviously the case for Republicans in Congress, who will have to vote on impeachment and perhaps on conviction. They have a unique part to play in this drama; the rest of us are merely observers or advisers. All we can really now ask of members of Congress is to keep an open mind and to evaluate the facts as they emerge.

But we already have learned enough to know that the government whistle-blower is correct to say “that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” We know this latest instance is part of a history of repeated injuries and usurpations. We may not yet know whether removal from the office to which President Trump was elected is warranted. But surely we know enough to judge that Mr. Trump does not deserve renomination for that office for an additional four years.

The Republican Party faces a binary choice. It either will or will not renominate Donald Trump in 2020. (And if President Trump is removed as a consequence of impeachment and conviction, or if he resigns, the G.O.P. either will or will not nominate as its standard-bearer a newly sworn-in Mike Pence, who will have been at Mr. Trump’s side for his entire administration and has been a fervent defender of the president.)

The 2020 Republican nomination is an open question. It is a decision of great consequence on which all Republicans have a say, and all have a responsibility. Republican leaders in particular — Republican elected officials and former elected officials, Republican activists and donors, appointees of this administration and of former Republican administrations — bear a weighty responsibility. They can support Donald Trump, and put a stamp of approval on his tenure in office. They can keep quiet, a stamp of approval of its own sort. Or they can step up and act for the honor of their party and the good of their country.

There are currently three announced Republican challengers to Donald Trump. Republican leaders could in various ways support one or all three of them. There are also other Republicans who might well be stronger candidates for the nomination and who may well be more qualified to serve as president. Those individuals could be encouraged by colleagues, activists and donors, privately or publicly, to run — and they could be offered support if they do.

And may I say directly to those Republicans who could run: You have a unique chance to act for your party and your country. You can play a role in overcoming the shame and stain of the past three years, and in the reformation of a once great party. Win or lose, you will go down in the history books as a man or woman of honor.

The Republican Party has surely discovered over the past few years the wisdom of Virgil: “The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way.”

But Republican leaders of conscience and courage now have an unusual moment “to return, and view the cheerful skies,” as Virgil put it. “In this the task and mighty labor lies.”

No, this doesn’t mean Mitch McConnell will immediately find his cojones and do the right thing, nor that the fools in the House Freedom Caucus will “see the light” and understand what Trump is doing to this nation.  But, it’s a start.  Some republicans have had enough of Trump and find that they can no longer support him.  The movement is gathering momentum, I think, and if it starts getting loud enough, the republicans in Congress will either listen or else pack up their belongings and go home in January 2021.  I’m not convinced that the congressional republicans will support impeachment, but I think what we are seeing is a step … a baby step perhaps, but a step nonetheless in the right direction.

Questions … And More Questions

As most of you know, one of my favourite journalists is Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times.  Kristof has received two Pulitzer Prizes, for his coverage of China and of the genocide in Darfur.  He is often out and about covering humanitarian crises around the globe.  But, his political views back here at home are typically spot-on … his is the voice of calm, of reason amidst all the chaos.  His OpEd yesterday is no exception, as he weighs in on … what else?  Impeachment and Trump’s abuse of power.  His words are sound and well worth the read.

Mr. President, a Few Questions

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof
Opinion Columnist
SEPT. 27, 2019

“Shall any man be above justice?” George Mason asked in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention. “Above all, shall that man be above it, who can commit the most extensive injustice?”

That was a central question for the framers of the Constitution — to what extent should impeachment be a check on a president? — and it’s the central question for our political system today.

President Trump’s bullying of Ukraine to target Joe Biden is parallel to the kinds of abuse that the framers discussed when they adopted the impeachment clause. What they fretted about was a leader who abused power — by colluding with a foreign country, James Madison suggested — and threatened the integrity of our system.

So, guided by those concerns of abuse of power, let’s see what the impeachment inquiry turns up. Among the areas that merit further investigation:

What was Russia’s role? Did Trump discuss Ukraine with Vladimir Putin in their June meeting in Osaka, in their Paris or Helsinki meetings last year, or in their July 31 phone call? Did Putin plant misinformation that Trump acted on?

In his July 25 call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump raised the bizarre conspiracy theory that it had been Ukraine rather than Russia that had hacked Democratic emails. Doesn’t that sound as if it was translated from the original Russian?

Likewise, Trump’s distrust of his ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and his faith that a trove of dirt about Biden corruption was sitting in Ukraine waiting to be dug up — why, all this resembles what a skilled K.G.B. officer might say to manipulate a naïve American acolyte.

Certainly Putin benefited from Trump’s hold on nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, from the American coolness toward Zelensky and from the sidelining of Ukraine experts such as Ambassador Yovanovitch.

There are whispers of this in the intelligence community, but let’s be clear that these are questions rather than allegations. Unfortunately, the Kremlin came out on Friday against releasing phone transcripts, and Trump has generally concealed details of his conversations with Putin — even taking away notes from an interpreter after one meeting.

Was there a substantial cover-up? The whistle-blower alleges a cover-up, in a complaint that the administration then tried to cover up. Hmm.

The rough transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky was placed in an unusually secure system. Why?

Ukraine is a longtime Trump fixation, with the president tweeting as early as July 2017 about “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign.” Rudy Giuliani rode roughshod over policymakers in an attempt to hijack foreign policy formation, and the White House has never convincingly explained its hold on military assistance.

Did administration officials try to hide all of this? Did they impede Congress from providing oversight? Was there a cover-up of not just a call, but of a long-term pattern of abuse?

What were the roles of Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo? Pence dropped out of the delegation that attended Zelensky’s inauguration, seemingly as a way to pressure Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. Did Pence agree to this?

As for Barr, why did Trump repeatedly suggest him as a contact for Zelensky? And why did the Justice Department try to quash the whistle-blower complaint? Why does Barr regularly act as Trump’s cleanup man rather than as the nation’s lawyer?

Was Pompeo complicit in Trump’s efforts to shunt aside the State Department so that Giuliani could oversee relations with Ukraine? What role did Pompeo play in the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch?

There’s much debate about whether Trump should or shouldn’t be impeached, but for now that seems to me to be premature. Before any impeachment vote, we need a substantial inquiry to determine facts.

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law School professor, has a smart book, “Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide,” in which he advises people to think about whether they would favor or oppose impeachment if they felt the opposite about this president. In that spirit, I approach it this way: How would I feel about impeachment if these Ukraine revelations were about Barack Obama?

There’s a danger that Democrats rush this process in ways that antagonize swing voters, particularly when polls show that a majority of the public both disapproves of Trump’s conduct and does not favor impeachment.

In the end, Mitch McConnell may not even permit a Senate trial after an impeachment. Or if McConnell convenes a trial, he could immediately have the Republican majority vote to dismiss the case.

That makes it all the more important that the House impeachment inquiry meticulously gather information by a process that — to the extent possible in our polarized age — is perceived by the public as fair, deliberate and legitimate. The backdrop must be the question that George Mason properly posed more than two centuries ago: “Shall any man be above justice?”

Snarky Snippets … Yes, Again!

Will there ever be a day that there isn’t so much to be snarky about?  Not in my lifetime, I suspect.  A number of things came onto my radar late last night … here are a few of them:


Keeping it in the family …

Imagine that!  Ol’ Mitch McConnell’s wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, is under investigation for possible ethics violations!  Who would’ve thunk it, eh?  Yesterday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee opened an investigation into whether Ms. Chao may have used her connections to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by her family, and whether hubby McConnell may have received preferential treatment.  A few salient points from the letter sent to Ms. Chao …

  • Several reports indicate that you have used your official position to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by your father and sisters … These reports suggest that you used your official position to elevate Foremost Group’s influence and status with the Chinese government, which has extended hundreds of millions of dollars in low interest loans to the company …

  • In addition, you have appeared alongside your father, the founder of Foremost Group, in at least a dozen Chinese media interviews – many of which were behind the official seal of the Department of Transportation (DOT). During some of these interviews, your father touted your influence with the United States government and boasted about his access to … Trump on Air Force One.

  • DOT reportedly was forced to cancel an official trip you were planning to take to China in October 2017 after ethics officials at the Department of State challenged your attempts to include your family members in official meetings with the Chinese government.

  • Questions have also been raised about your involvement in the decisions to deprioritize or reduce funding for DOT programs that benefit U.S.-flagged vessels in the foreign trade, decisions that could benefit your family’s company, which owns entirely foreign-flag ships.

  • Given the decline in the number of U.S.-flagged vessels in foreign trade, DOT’s approach to these programs may threaten national security by increasing the likelihood that our military will be dependent on foreign-flagged vessels during times of war or emergency.

  • The committee is also investigating your failure to divest of stock in one of the nation’s largest construction companies, Vulcan Materials Company (Vulcan), where you served on the Board of Directors for nearly two years immediately before becoming Secretary of Transportation. Vulcan’s annual revenue depends heavily on annual infrastructure funding allocated by the DOT.  Vulcan granted you approximately 3,000 “deferred stock units” for serving as a director, giving you a significant and direct personal financial interest in the company.

The letter goes on to describe in further detail the ethics breaches the committee is questioning and requests a number of documents and written explanations for the above.  In addition, there are questions about special consideration being given to husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.Mitch-ElaineCorruption?  Nah, surely not!


Paying for them to play …

The Secret Service wants jet skis.  Why?  So that they can ride along while the Trumps – Ivanka, Junior, and Eric – are participating in water sports.  HELLOOOOOO???  Tell me again who pays for all this? The Secret Service wrote…

“President Trump and his family spend several weeks throughout the year in Mar-a-Lago, Florida and Hamptons, New York. The first family is very active in water sports.  Several family members along with their guest participate in open water activities for which USSS Special Agent Rescue Swimmers are responsible. SA’s have rented watercraft with their own personal funds to allow them to be near our protectees in various water environments to fulfill the USSS Rescue Swimmer mission.”

donald-trump-jr-kids.jpgThe cost of the requested vehicles, made by Kawasaki, runs from $9,999 to $15,299. These won’t be normal jet skis, though, as they will feature special rescue saving equipment, such as rescue sleds.  While most of us struggle to even afford a small vacation to the beach or the mountains, WE are paying for the entire Trump entourage to frolic in the surf and for them to have maximum protection while doing so.  Tell me again how Trump & Co are not benefiting from his office?  BAH HUMBUG!


Brett Kavanaugh — back in the news

New allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose Senate confirmation was pushed through without the initial allegations ever being properly investigated.  Comedian Trevor Noah sums it up well, and with a bit of humour …

 

It’s Always About The Size Of His …


Crowds.  It’s always about the size of his crowds.  The “man” goes to El Paso, where a mass shooting has left some 22 people dead and many more injured, as a direct result of his own words.  Protestors abound, for he was not welcome in El Paso after inciting the violence that has left the city in mourning.  And what does he do?  He comes away bragging that the size of his crowd was double the number of the protestors.  How disrespectful, tacky, inconsiderate, and a bunch of other adjectives I could think of.  This, folks, is the person that we have sitting in the Oval Office, the person whose decisions could lead to peace … or war.  The person, in essence, who holds our very lives in his tiny hands.

This was not a day for politics, not a day to fuel the fires of division that are burning out of control in this nation.  It was a day of mourning, of grieving for lost loved ones, and Donald Trump, who should have been the most remorseful, apologetic of all, turned it into another “politics as usual” day in both El Paso and Dayton.

I cannot recall another person holding the office of president who has so degraded and devalued the office.  I cannot remember another who needed his own public relations team, working day and night, to go behind Trump and repair the damage he leaves in his wake.  We have had presidents in my lifetime who I didn’t like very much, but never have I felt such loathing for not only the actions, but the “man” himself.  Donald Trump is devoid of humanity, lacking a conscience, and has no love of this nation nor its people, but only loves himself.

The political posturing surrounding the question of whether to impeach or not to impeach must stop.  We elected Senators and Representatives, we pay their salary, and in return we expect them to act in the best interest of the nation and its people.  Congress has let us down mightily.  Those members of Congress are so afraid of the “man” in the Oval Office that they refuse to act.  They are afraid of his temper tantrums, his ignominious tweets, and most of all, they are afraid that he will speak against them at the next election.  Screw the next election, people!  There are fifteen months left until the election in 2020.  Fifteen months in which this “man” is doing more damage to this nation, to our reputation, our alliances, and our very lives.  GET HIM OUT!

Mitch McConnell and his band of scallywags have obstructed justice for long enough!  They, along with Donald Trump, have the blood of the victims in El Paso on their hands, for they are in the pockets of the NRA and have long refused to pass any meaningful gun regulations.  They are also responsible for the very election rigging that allowed Donald Trump to move into the White House and by refusing to even consider election security measures, they are rigging the 2020 election in Trump’s favour as well.

This nation cannot tolerate another 15 months of Donald Trump’s sheer cruelty and ignorance, let alone another 63 months, in the event of his re-election.  I would call for a mass movement to demand that he step down, but we all know how far that would get.  His ego will not allow him to step down, and frankly, I don’t think it will allow him to even admit defeat if he is voted out next year or reaches the end of his second term in 2024.  He is, as our friend Keith has said, a clear and present danger.  He is a danger to the very foundation of our government, he is a danger to every other nation on this planet, and he is a danger to the planet itself.

It matters not to me how he is removed from the Oval Office, but he must be removed.  He cares not at all for the people of this country.  I call on every member of Congress to support his removal, else frankly, you don’t deserve to be sitting on Capitol Hill, don’t deserve the salary that we are all working hard to give you.  Either get with the program, do your job, uphold the Oath of Office you took, or get the hell out.

Congressional Oath of Office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

Your Tuesday Dose of Snarky Snippets

I wonder if the day will ever come in whatever is left of my lifetime that there won’t be something for me to be snarky or rant about?  I’m thinking not, but I wouldn’t mind … honest I wouldn’t!  But, for today, there is plenty to bring my blood to a boiling point and have me gritting my teeth ‘til they crack.


Creative Obfuscation 101

Some of the republicans have scrambled around and wracked their little brains to come up with some of he most novel excuses for the mass shootings last weekend.  The usual stock ‘reasons’ they offer are mental illness, video games, television, and social media.  But this time, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick came up with a rather unique excuse.  He claims it is because we no longer have mandatory school prayer (I’m still scratching my head over this one).  Perhaps Mr. Patrick has forgotten about the concept of separation of church and state?  Frankly, I find religion to be the cause of much of the violence in the world today, not the antidote.

But, you see, they have to make up excuses, for if they cannot direct the conversation into some other channel, then it is going to the most logical reason for mass shootings … guns.  Or rather, gun laws, of which we have too few.  And they don’t want to talk about gun laws, because … their little buddies over at the NRA who are channeling money into their accounts, will be vewy, vewy angwy.assault-weapons.pngIt rather reminds me of the overweight lady who, rather than blame the fact that she eats too much and exercises too little, blames: hormones, metabolism, marital strife, past pregnancies, and anything else that removes the responsibility from her own self.


Where are your values, Mitchie?

We all know that political campaigns can be pretty ugly.  It seems to me that the ugliest ones are by candidates that have the least to offer, so lacking any viable platform on which to run, they go on the offensive and attack their opponents.  Mitch McConnell, aka #MoscowMitch, crossed the line this weekend, though.

On Saturday evening, just hours after a gunman opened fire in a Wal-Mart in El Paso, leaving 22 people dead and 26 injured, there was a campaign event at a place called Fancy Farm.  One of the “attractions” at the event was this …Mitchie-2Notice the “tombstone” in the front on the right … the one that reads “R.I.P. Amy McGrath”.  Amy McGrath is the woman that is running against Mitch next year.  Amy McGrath is also the first female Marine Corps pilot to fly the F/A-18 on a combat mission. McGrath served for 20 years in the Marine Corps during which time she flew 89 combat missions bombing al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Mitchell McConnell, on the other hand, served exactly five weeks in the Army Reserve in 1967.

At any time and under any circumstances, the faux tombstone with his opponent’s name would be highly inappropriate.  But … the timing here could not have been much worse.  We just saw, for the umpteenth time, how a politician’s incitement can lead to deadly violence, and he pulls this crap?  And, not content to leave it alone, his campaign posted the pic on Twitter, alongside one of a smiling Mitchie, and the tweet is still there … has not been removed.  Every comment I read was negative, calling Mitch out for inciting violence, for disrespect, for inappropriateness.  If you ever wondered whether McConnell has a heart or a conscience, this should answer your question.

Ms. McGrath responded the next day …

“Hours after the El Paso shooting, Mitch McConnell proudly tweeted this photo. I find it so troubling that our politics have become so nasty and personal that the Senate Majority Leader thinks it’s appropriate to use imagery of the death of a political opponent (me) as messaging.”


The judge is pondering …

The judge is Judge Reggie Walton, and what he is pondering is … whether the redactions by the Justice Department in Robert Mueller’s final report fall under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and ought to be released to the public.

Two organizations, BuzzFeed and the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), have filed a lawsuit seeking to remove the black bars covering nearly 1,000 items in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page final report.  While no ruling has yet been handed down, at several points during yesterday’s proceedings, Judge Walton seemed increasingly skeptical of the government’s arguments pressing him to leave the redactions untouched.

Now, it is the opinion of this writer that the only valid reason at this point to have all those redactions would be if releasing them would cause a national security issue.  Frankly, I cannot conceive of a single piece of information in Mueller’s report that would create a genuine national security issue.  The long and short of it is that the redacted portions almost certainly prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump and his cronies acted outside the law.  It isn’t a ‘national’ security issue, but rather a ‘Trump’ security issue.

But, before you get excited, let me caution you that if Judge Walton rules for the plaintiffs (BuzzFeed and EPIC), Trump’s lawyers will have an appeal all ready to file, and it will be filed before you can blink your eyes five times.  The next judge may well be more of the opinion that Trump is above the law and that the public has no right to know how many laws he broke on the path to the Oval Office.  Still, there is some hope.


Okay, friends … enough snark for one day, don’t you think?  I leave you with a bit of humour …McConnell.jpg

Foot-Stomping Mad!

I am foot-stomping mad tonight over several things, not the least of which is the horrific shooting that has killed at least 20 people and injured 26 in an El Paso, Texas, Wal-Mart.

There is plenty of blame to go around, and no, I’m not going on a tirade at the moment about gun regulation and the NRA, although it would be easy and valid to do so.  But no, the blood from this shooting is on the hands of every single person in this nation who has cheered and applauded Trump’s anti-immigrant, racist rants.  It is on the hands of every single person who has shouted “build that wall!”  It is on the hands of every single person who believes immigrants do not belong in this nation.  It is on the hands of every single person who believes that white skin is somehow better than brown or black.  It is on the hands of every single person who has turned a blind eye to the maltreatment and abuse of children in detention camps.  And most of all, the blood is on the hands of Donald Trump himself.  It was only a matter of time before some damn fool took a notion to act on Trump’s words … after all, he has all but encouraged violence against immigrants, has painted immigrants as evil people out to murder those good, lily-white people and take their jobs, to boot.

In the past few weeks, as best anyone can tell, the only thing Trump has done is spend his days and nights carrying on with hate speech against people who happen not to be white.  An example … at a campaign rally (if he were actually the president, he wouldn’t have time to do all these campaign rallies, for he’d be busy working) in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this week, he riled the masses as he always does, and when a small group of protestors unfurled a banner that read “IMMIGRANTS BUILT AMERICA”, Trump’s loyal band of assholes snatched the banner and set to beating up the protestors.

The shooter in El Paso traveled some 600 miles, from Dallas to El Paso, a city whose population is 80% Latino.  The shooter, whom I shall not name out of respect for the victims, was Caucasian — white.  He was not Hispanic, nor of Middle Eastern descent … he was a white Texan. He had kept a manifesto that includes remarks attacking immigrants and sympathetic to the man who killed 51 people this year at two mosques in New Zealand.  The document lists “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” as one of several motivations for the attack.  Let me just remind everybody that Texas was founded by  Spanish conquistadors, and belonged to Mexico long before it became part of the U.S.

Meanwhile, #MoscowMitch McConnell and others in Congress expressed the usual “thoughts and prayers”.  Meaningless, useless thoughts and prayers, whereas for years and in some cases decades, they have passed up the opportunity to do something positive about the gun problem in the U.S.  Sorry, folks … keep your damn thoughts and prayers … give us action … address the gun problem.  It is a crisis every bit as much as the “opioid crisis” that everyone is so concerned about.  The gun crisis is more important, in my book, for these twenty who died in El Paso were innocent, some were even children.  They were killed through no fault or action of their own.

I will almost certainly have more to say about the El Paso mass shooting soon, but for today, let us move on to one of the other reasons for my foot-stomping …


On Monday, July 8th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to a tax law that would require the commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to share state income tax returns and reports when certain congressional committees request them.  This was a huge step forward … or could have been … in the investigations into Trump, his finances, his business interests, and potential Russian financial ties.  As Cuomo put it …

“This bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”

But, the various committees, including the House Ways and Means committee, that had previously requested Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, sat around the Capitol, twiddling their thumbs, debating whether to open an impeachment investigation or not, and they did not take advantage of the door that had been opened by Governor Cuomo.  They did not request the tax returns from the State of New York.

Trump and his lawyers, however, feared that someday soon the congressional committees might wake up and remember they owed something to the people who had elected them, remember that they had a constitutional obligation, and so … Trump did what he does best … he filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, July 23rd!  In the suit, he requested that the federal court prevent the House Ways and Means committee from seeking to obtain the New York tax returns, just in case they decided to do so … at some point.

Now for the kicker, the part that has me stomping my feet … last Thursday, federal Judge Carl Nichols granted a temporary order blocking New York state from turning over Trump’s tax returns. His reasoning?  He wished to ensure that, “Mr. Trump cannot suffer any harm”.  Trump can suffer no harm???  What about us???  We are suffering harm every hour of every day that he remains in office, but Judge Nichols wants to protect TRUMP???


I shall stop now, for I must go attend to my poor foot, which has been stomped so much that it has come open and red stuff is coming out of it.  Besides which, there are words about to come out of my fingertips that you’d rather not hear.  But, be advised that I am not done ranting … I’ll return later.

Snarky Snippets … Yes, Again!

It wasn’t my intention to write snarky snippets tonight, but … you know what Robert Burns said in his poem, To a Mouse“the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.  Well, actually he said, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”  It’s rather a cute little poem, actually, though sad.

To a Mouse

On Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a pannic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell-
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

Thy wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!cartoon-mouse

But, I have managed to digress, haven’t I?  Now where was I?  Oh yes, snarky snippets … the big news of the day, of course, is the Democratic debates, but I shan’t speak of those.  Why?  Because I didn’t watch them, haven’t yet read the transcripts, and from what I hear they were something less than informative.  Later ones will, no doubt, be more relevant, but these … not so much.  Too many candidates who haven’t a snowball’s chance clutters the discussion. But it seems that everything I saw in the news today annoyed me in one way or another.  Take, for example …


A most unqualified nominee …

justin-walker

Justin Walker

Earlier this year, Trump nominated an attorney named Justin Walker to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. Western District Court for Kentucky.  However, Walker is highly UN-qualified for the spot.  Turns out he has rarely spent any time in the courtroom, has never served as a sole or even lead lawyer in a federal trial case, apparently has never even taken a deposition from a witness, since he evaded that question more than once during his confirmation hearings.

“My role has been at times in the courtroom, but more often than not, exploring the law, writing about the law.”

The American Bar Association has warned the Senate that he is unqualified for the position. What, then, with little or no courtroom experience, possessed Trump to nominate him?  Well, turns out Walker pushed hard for the appointment and subsequent Senate approval of Brett Kavanaugh. The “good ol’ boy reward system” hard at work.

It seems a no-brainer that this nominee, like so many of Trump’s others (well, ALL of them, actually) is a poor choice and should not be confirmed by the Senate.  However, there is one senator, himself from Kentucky, who thinks Justin Walker is wonderful.  Can you guess who?mitch-justin-walker.pngYep, none other than #MoscowMitch himself.  Go figure.


Sigh … just shut up, Senator …

Kevin-Cramer

Senator Kevin Cramer

Unless you are from the state of North Dakota, you’ve probably never heard of Kevin Cramer.  Trust me, you’re not missing anything.  Kevin Cramer is one of two senators from North Dakota and is, apparently, not too bright.  In fact, after doing a bit of research this evening into Mr. Cramer’s not-so-illustrious career in the Senate, I am considering reprising my Idiot of the Week feature!

On Monday, for some reason, he addressed a gaggle of reporters.  When asked about Trump’s recent and ongoing tirade against Representative Elijah Cummings, he responded that Cummings …

“… is not a victim of racism. He’s been given great privilege. The thing that’s offensive more than anything is that … the anti-Trump folks in Congress – use their positions to keep the weird impeachment thing alive. It does get a little bit tiring to have somebody who’s achieved as much as Elijah Cummings somehow calling people racist as though somehow he hasn’t been given a fair shake. My goodness gracious, he’s the chairman of a major committee, he’s elected to Congress.

I’m not really in the position to determine whether an offense has been made or not, but I also know that people in this town that are members of Congress that have achieved high things don’t make very good victims. They’re always liberals that are claiming victimhood, and yet they’re paid the same as us. They have the same power as every other person that’s in Congress, some of them have achieved high accomplishments like Elijah Cummings, who, again, it’s impossible not to respect him.

I could be a victim of racism, but I don’t offend easily, I just don’t offend that easily.”

Say WHAT???

“Well, if somebody said something about being from North Dakota, every now and then I get a snicker about it, somebody will say something about North Dakota in some snide way, I don’t offend because I’m comfortable with where I come from, I’m comfortable with who I am. I’m comfortable with my own accomplishments and the accomplishments of our state.”

Seems to me this man needs to study the definition of the word ‘racism’.  Perhaps he could go on back to … what was the name of that obscure state that hardly anybody lives in again?


Well, folks, as you might guess, I have not yet run out of snark, for I haven’t even touched on Jeffrey Epstein yet, but … it’s late and I seem to have written enough for one night.  I’m sure I’ll be back with more later.  And one last thing.  Next time one of your republican friends (if you have any left) tells you that he has the right to speak his mind, tell him that as soon as he finds it, you’ll be interested to hear it!  Thanks to our friend Roger for that one!laughing-gif

Damn You, Mitch McConnell – Part I

Mitch-McConnellAddison Mitchell McConnell is the very definition of corruption.  Last Friday, Dana Milbank wrote an opinion column in The Washington Post titled “Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset”.  The column so incensed McConnell that he went on a 30-minute tirade on the Senate floor yesterday, referring to the column as “modern-day McCarthyism”.  To Mr. McConnell I would say this:  If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

It is a proven fact that the Russians did interfere in our 2016 election and that without their assistance it is unlikely that Trump could have won enough votes to win the electoral college (remember that he lost the actual vote by nearly 3 million)Proven. Fact.  So, why would anybody who is elected to protect and preserve this nation, its Constitution, and its people, refuse to take steps to prevent intrusion by a foreign adversary?  Why???  Think about that one.  Meanwhile, since Mr. Milbank’s column annoyed ol’ Mitch so much, I present it here and will offer my own, as well as others’ views in Part II of this post tomorrow.


Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset

Dana-MilbankBy Dana Milbank, Columnist, July 26

 

Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset.

This doesn’t mean he’s a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation. Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020. Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves.

Let’s call this what it is: unpatriotic. The Kentucky Republican is, arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.

Robert Mueller sat before Congress this week warning that the Russia threat “deserves the attention of every American.” He said “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in our election is among the most serious” challenges to American democracy he has ever seen. “They are doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign,” he warned, adding that “much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions, not just by the Russians but others as well.”

Not three hours after Mueller finished testifying, Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, went to the Senate floor to request unanimous consent to pass legislation requiring presidential campaigns to report to the FBI any offers of assistance from agents of foreign governments.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) was there to represent her leader’s interests. “I object,” she said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) attempted to move a bill that would require campaigns to report to the FBI contributions by foreign nationals.

“I object,” said Hyde-Smith.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tried to force action on bipartisan legislation, written with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and supported by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), protecting lawmakers from foreign cyberattacks. “The majority leader, our colleague from Kentucky, must stop blocking this common-sense legislation and allow this body to better defend itself against foreign hackers,” he said.

“I object,” repeated Hyde-Smith.

The next day, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the minority leader, asked for the Senate to pass the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act, already passed by the House, that would direct $600 million in election assistance to states and require backup paper ballots.

McConnell himself responded this time, reading from a statement, his chin melting into his chest, his trademark thin smile on his lips. “It’s just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia,” he said. “Therefore, I object.” McConnell also objected to another attempt by Blumenthal to pass his bill.

Pleaded Schumer: “I would suggest to my friend the majority leader: If he doesn’t like this bill, let’s put another bill on the floor and debate it.”

But McConnell has blocked all such attempts, including:

A bipartisan bill requiring Facebook, Google and other Internet companies to disclose purchasers of political ads, to identify foreign influence.

A bipartisan bill to ease cooperation between state election officials and federal intelligence agencies.

A bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on any entity that attacks a U.S. election.

A bipartisan bill with severe new sanctions on Russia for its cybercrimes.

McConnell has prevented them all from being considered — over and over again. This is the same McConnell who, in the summer of 2016, when briefed by the CIA along with other congressional leaders on Russia’s electoral attacks, questioned the validity of the intelligence and forced a watering down of a warning letter to state officials about the threat, omitting any mention of Russia.

No amount of alarms sounded by U.S. authorities — even Republicans, even Trump appointees — moves McConnell.

On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray — Trump’s FBI director — told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Russians “haven’t been deterred enough” and are “absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.”

This year, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats — Trump’s intelligence director — told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “foreign actors will view the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. We expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics.”

And on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report finding that “Russian activities demand renewed attention to vulnerabilities in U.S. voting infrastructure.”

The committee concluded that “urgent steps” are needed “to replace outdated and vulnerable voting systems.” (The $380 million offered since 2016 is a pittance compared with the need.) “Despite the expense, cybersecurity needs to become a higher priority for election-related infrastructure,” the report concluded.

But one man blocks it all — while offering no alternative of his own.

Presumably he thinks whatever influence Russia exerts over U.S. elections will benefit him (he’s up for reelection in 2020) and his party.

“Shame on him,” Schumer said on the Senate floor this week.

But McConnell has no shame. He is aiding and abetting Putin’s dismantling of Americans’ self-governance. A leader who won’t protect our country from attack is no patriot.