Stuff From A Bouncing Mind …

Today I have a bouncy mind … too much inundation of both news and holidays, I think.  Have to bake birthday cookies, do birthday cards, get a package ready to mail overseas, Trump did a convoluted interview yesterday that I’m struggling to get through without throwing something, and a new federal judge is about to be confirmed who supports extreme voter suppression.  No wonder my mind is bouncing!  So, I share with you a few of the thoughts that have crept out from the crevices during the bounce …

FacebookYesterday morning when I logged onto Facebook for the first time of the day, planning to check messages and post my latest blog post, I was immediately assailed by a large message from Facebook itself, asking me to donate money to one of several charitable causes, and promising to match my donation.  HAH!!!  Mind you, though I haven’t much to give, I do give … I give to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Humane Society, the local foodbank.  I give to a variety of local homeless shelters.  So, it isn’t that I’m not willing to help out … it is, simply put, that I do not have any reason to trust Facebook!

Entrust my bank account number to Facebook after their recent data breach that exposed the personal data of millions of users???  And … trust them to actually match my donation?  I think not.  This is a case of “Let the buyer beware”.  I will continue to carefully choose my own causes, thank you very much anyway, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg!

packagingAnd speaking of letting the buyer beware, I am once again grumbling loudly over one of my old pet peeves.  Note to all readers:  If the package says “Easy open – pull here” … get your scissors and sharpest knives out, be prepared to spend a minimum of ten minutes fighting to get to the product inside the package, and while you’re at it … be sure your first-aid kit is handy!  I’ve been putting it down to my being old, my hands and fingers not being as agile or strong as they once were, but even the youngster in this house has trouble opening things these days.  I still get her to do it, though, for she has far more patience than I, and is therefore less likely to throw and break things.  Besides, she doesn’t swear, so it is less traumatic for the kitties!

But seriously, is there any reason that opening a new bottle of ibuprofen requires a degree in rocket science?  Or a bag of chicken tenders … “pull tab” it says … “tear along perforation” – what perforation???  There is no tab, there is no perforation … there is a dotted line, but it is not perforated!  Get the scissors … snip, clip … okay and … nothing!  I cut along the dotted line, but it is too far above that part where you can pull it open.  Finally, a butcher knife right to the heart of the package does the trick.  How much time was just wasted?  Luckily this time only a small bandage was required … last time it was a roll of gauze and adhesive tape!  And to think … people get paid big bucks to come up with these packaging designs.  Sigh.

MSNBC is not one of my ‘go-to’ sources.  First, they are owned by Comcast.  Second, they are left-biased.  Now, granted, my own leanings are toward the left of center, but when I want news, I want news … facts, reported accurately and without significant bias toward either side.  As Joe Friday used to say in the old Dragnet show, “just the facts, ma’am”.  That said, today I give MSNBC a thumbs-up for refusing, for the second time this month, to carry a White House press event.

The first time was on November 1st when the network refused to transmit live a fearmongering presidential address about immigration and the caravan in Mexico.  The second time was yesterday afternoon when, for the first time in about a month, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders deigned to hold a ‘daily’ press briefing.  The briefing was a joke, naught but propaganda such as Larry Kudlow, Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council, saying, “We’ll see what happens. … Our economy’s in very good shape right now”.  Sounds rather like a replay of something Trump has said many times, doesn’t it?  Toe the party line.  The entire briefing, from what I can gather, was more of the same.  National Security Advisor John Bolton saying that he hasn’t listened to the audio recording of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and sees no reason to do so. sanders-msnbcSanders herself rang in with, “I don’t think the president has any concerns about the [Mueller] report because he knows that there was no wrongdoing by him and that there was no collusion.”  It was a waste of the press’ time and a waste of anybody’s time who bothered to watch it.  Press briefings have become repetitious and uninformative.  You may disagree, but I think MSNBC made the right decision in this case, and I’d like to see more of the media outlets be a bit more discriminating about just what they choose to waste our time with.

And so, you now know how a bouncy mind works, and I shall return you to your regularly scheduled life!  Thanks for bouncing along with me today!bounce

Who is Joe Scarborough and Why Does He Matter?

Joe Scarborough is an American cable news and talk radio host. He is currently the co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, and previously hosted Scarborough Country on the same channel. Scarborough was previously a lawyer and a politician, and served in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 as a Republican from the 1st district of Florida. Scarborough is also a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He was named in the 2011 Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world. (Note that he is obviously a smart guy)

Scarborough resigned from the House of Representatives five months into his fourth term, in order to spend more time with his children … (Note that he is obviously a good guy)

“The realization has come home to me that they’re at a critical stage of their lives and I would rather be judged at the end of my life as a father than as a congressman.”

In an op-ed for The Washington Post in August 2016, Scarborough argued that the Republican Party must “dump Donald Trump” as their presidential candidate. Scarborough wrote: “A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored. At long last, Donald Trump has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.” (Note again that he is a smart guy)

In June 2017, Scarborough and his co-host/fiancée Mika Brzezinski were the targets of Trump’s tweets, in which, in response to their coverage of his administration, referred to him as “Psycho Joe” and called her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika”, while asserting that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he previously encountered her at Mar-a-Lago. What a class act is Mr. Trump, eh? On July 11, 2017, Scarborough announced, not surprisingly, that he was leaving the Republican party to become an Independent. (Note yet a third time that he is a smart guy)

Why am I giving you this brief background report on Joe Scarborough? Because this evening, an OpEd he wrote for The Washington Post crossed my radar and I felt it warranted sharing on Filosofa’s Word.  But first, I wanted to establish that this man has the credentials, that he knows of what he speaks, that he is not just another talk show host.  Having established that, at least to my own satisfaction, here, in its entirety, is Mr. Scarborough’s opinion titled …

A Storm is Gathering 

By Joe Scarborough  December 28 at 7:50 PM

A storm is gathering, and there is every reason to believe that 2018 will be the most consequential political year of our lives.

The reckoning upon us follows a year mercifully drawing to a close this weekend. Over that horrid year, President Trump has questioned the legitimacy of federal judges, used Stalinist barbs to attack the free press and cast contempt on the rule of law, while his campaign manager, his national security adviser and a foreign policy aide have been marched into federal courts. Those anti-democratic instincts were made all the more ominous by his praising of autocrats across the world as they were ruthlessly consolidating power in countries such as Russia, China and the Philippines.

It is difficult to pinpoint the nadir for a man who has savaged Mexicans, Muslims and Gold Star mothers while fat-shaming beauty queens and face-shaming female news hosts (disclosure: in the latter example, my own fiancee ). But the low moment in this presidency may have occurred four months ago, when Trump claimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and those standing against them. Or perhaps it was three weeks ago, when the president told Americans to vote for an accused child molester who had called our country the focus of evil in the modern world and once suggested opposition to the constitutional amendments that ended slavery and gave women the right to vote.

Others would surely consider the president’s malignant idiocy in foreign affairs to be the most damning legacy of his first year. World leaders continue to watch dumbstruck as the United States retreats from organizations that were created following the allies’ victory over Hitler. Those same alliances that Trump now undermines with reckless tweets and discarded treaties carried the United States to victory in the Cold War. But this is a White House that heaps contempt on history. And so, America’s dangerous retreat from the world continues.

“On the morrow of the Republican success isolationist conceptions prevailed,” Winston Churchill wrote in “The Gathering Storm.” The British prime minister believed Hitler’s rise proved, above all else, “how absolute is the need of a broad path of international action pursued by many states in common across the years, irrespective of the ebb and flow of national politics.” But this president is ripping apart the carefully woven fabric of U.S. foreign policy that bound administrations together from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, and across the American century.

“The Gathering Storm” is on my holiday reading list because of Republican strategist Steve Schmidt’s insistence to me that Churchill’s ominous warnings to future generations will be more relevant to 2018 than at any time since it was written in the years after World War II. While Trump’s eroding of U.S. prestige across the globe is disturbing, it is his administration’s undermining of democratic values that poses an even greater threat to our Constitution and country. Borrowing again from Churchill, America’s constitutional norms tremble in the balance as Trump unleashes furious attacks on First Amendment protections, independent counsels and law enforcement officers who refuse to be bullied. While the framers of the Constitution foresaw the possibility of a tyrannical president, they never let their imaginations be darkened by the possibility of a compliant Congress.

Again, Churchill: “The malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous . . . They lived from hand to mouth and from day to day, and from one election to another . . . The cheers of weak, well-meaning assemblies soon cease to echo, and their votes soon cease to count. Doom marches on.”

Schmidt is right. The storm is gathering. And how we respond in the months ahead may determine our fate for years to come.

Idiots of the Week #1 – Roger & Ann Stone

I have no less than five people sitting waiting in the wings to be declared Idiot of the Week!  I told you they just fall into my lap!  For this first one, I have selected a couple … a once married couple … Roger and Ann Stone.  I am betting that most of you reading this never heard of them, am I right?  Neither are particularly important people, not political figures in the traditional sense, yet both have come into the spotlight this week and each has shown himself/herself to be fully qualified for the title of Idiot of the week.

Roger Stone is a political consultant, lobbyist and strategist, usually for candidates of the Republican Party. He was a principal with Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly.  Does the name Manafort ring any bells?  As in Donnie Trump’s acting campaign manager?  At any rate, Roger Stone was part of the Trump entourage until last August when he was fired amidst a series of controversies.  He has, however, continued as an ally, supporter and advisor to Trump. 

roger-stone

On Tuesday, it is said that Stone advised Trump that he must run his campaign like a dictatorship, that trying to run his campaign as a democracy would only lead to divisiveness and rivalries.  But no, it is not that which qualifies him for the Idiot of the Week title.  It is that “series of controversies” that got him fired from the Trump Circus Train last year.

Stone was banned from both CNN and MSNBC last year for a number of highly offensive, racist and sexist Twitter posts he made about CNN contributors.  He called Ana Navarro an “entitled diva bitch” and said “black beans and rice didn’t miss her.” He also called Roland Martin a “stupid negro” and a “token buffoon” and instructed him to “eat some more Popeye’s.”  That is what earned him this honour.

Stone also carries the responsibility for having leaked the untrue story to the tabloid National Enquirer back in March, that Trump’s rival Ted Cruz had extramarital affairs with five women.  Earlier this year, as the GOP was yet hoping to be able to find some way around handing Trump the nomination, Stone threatened a massive revolt if that were to happen, and further threatened to publicize the hotel room numbers of every delegate who went against Trump.  Even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that Stone’s threat to publicize the hotel room numbers of delegates was “just totally over the line.”  Really nice guy, don’t you think?  This is the type of person that Donald Trump surrounds himself with.  This is the type of person he aligns with.  This is the type of person he is.  Oh, and by the way … not that it matters one way or another, but Stone has Richard Nixon’s face tattooed on his back!  Further proof, if you needed it, that he is a nutcase.

nixon-tattoo

Ann-stoneYes, but why his ex-wife, you might ask.  And I would answer that Mrs. Stone is, in her own way, almost as bad as Mr. Stone.  First of all, she was married to good old Roger for 26 years, from 1974 – 1990.  Anybody who could stay married to someone like him for 26 years has problems.  Remember in a previous post I mentioned the “Women Vote Trump” rally that was held in Cleveland on Monday?  That was the one where only 17 people showed up.  Well, Ann Stone was one of the 17.  Not only was she one of the 17, but she is also the co-founder of Women Vote Trump.  Obviously, those 26 years married to Roger gave her a very low self-image and one could almost feel sorry for her were she not so stupid.  Among her comments at the rally was “He [Trump] has a track record with women that is amazing!”  Seriously?  Well, I guess you could call it amazing, depending on how you wish to define “amazing”.  Let us take a quick look at that “track record”, shall we?

  • “I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?”
  • “It’s certainly not groundbreaking news that the early victories by the women on ‘The Apprentice’ were, to a very large extent, dependent on their sex appeal.”
  • “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
  • “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.”
  • “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
  • “My favorite part [of ‘Pulp Fiction’] is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up. Tell that bitch to be cool. Say: ‘Bitch be cool.’ I love those lines.”
  • “Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred.” Don’t be confused … yes, he actually said this about himself, referring to himself in third person.
  • “All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
  • “If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”
  • “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • “Look at that face. Would anybody vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious? ” Has he looked in a mirror lately … like in the past 20 years?
  • “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her — wherever. ”
  • “A person who is flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.”
  • “Her ass is too fat.”
  • “Well, you never get to the face because the body’s so good.”
  • “You have to treat ’em like shit.”

women-against-trump

While by no means a complete list, I cannot go on!  I am sickened, angered and disgusted just reading these.  Yes, folks, these are what Ann Stone refers to as Trump’s “amazing track record with women.”  Need I further elaborate on why she, along with her ex-husband, share the honour of Idiot of the Week?

Stay tuned … I still have at least four more people waiting in the wings to claim this honour!

Lewandowski – A Trump Plant?

So, Donald Trump fires his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski on Monday, June 20th, and CNN hires Lewandowski to be a political commentator on Thursday, June 23rd.  Why?  This move makes absolutely no sense and is proving to be a terrible mistake, at least in the eyes of the viewing public.

lew2First of all, Mr. Lewandowski signed a non-disclosure agreement that likely includes “During the term of your service and at all times thereafter, you hereby promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly the company, Mr. Trump, any Trump company, any family member, or any family member company.”  So he cannot do ‘unbiased’ reporting.  Second, Mr. Lewandowski has historically shown a lack of respect bordering on volatile toward members of the press.  Point in case:  his manhandling of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a campaign rally.  Though charges were dropped, the incident happened, and he was caught on tape … a video that every news viewer saw, so there is no plausible denial.  An investigation by Politico back in March reported that he was “rough with reporters and sexually suggestive with female journalists, while profanely berating conservative officials and co-workers he deemed to be challenging his authority.”

Most shook their head, on hearing that CNN had snatched up Lewandowski so quickly, and asked the same question I asked:  WHY?  What has he to offer us, the viewers?  The answer, it turns out, is nothing, possibly even less than nothing.  And what has he to offer CNN in exchange for a reportedly fat salary?  Quite possibly a loss of viewers and the beginning of their fall into the pit of news network oblivion.  For my part, I did not turn CNN on this morning, as I usually do, nor have I checked their website. There are a handful of CNN anchors/reporters that I respect, that I see as relatively intellectual, thought-provoking, and yet non-confrontational, including Christiane Amanpour, Peter Bergen, Wolf Blitzer, Donna Brazile, Bill Press, and Fareed Zakaria.  The addition of a crass, right-wing former Trump advisor is a slap in the face to these men and women, in fact to all serious journalists.

Thus far, Lewandowski has proven to be as much of a dud as we all anticipated.  Here are a few of his comments regarding his former employer’s shenanigans:

  • “Mr. Trump’s best speech of the presidential cycle.”
  • “This is a very, very strong message for him and, I think, the best speech he’s given all cycle.”
  • “The speech was delivered clearly, articulately, and again, the best speech of the campaign so ”
  • “Trump is the only person who’s going to save this country for my children.”

Oh please, shoot me now!

lew3

When asked by fellow reporter Alisyn Camerota why Donald Trump went to the UK and criticized the president, when there is an unwritten rule that this simply is not good etiquette, he deflected the question and muttered a bunch of gibberish about how wonderful it was that Trump and family built such a wonderful golf course in Scotland.  More recently, he defended Trump’s use of the Star of David to attack Hillary Clinton.

 

Those are the facts of the matter.  Now for my speculation.  Lewandowski’s termination from Donald Trump’s employ seemed a bit enigmatic at the time.  There appeared to be no hard feelings on either side; Lewandowski expressed no anger, disappointment, or other emotion that would be normal and expected under the circumstances, especially one with a proven volatile temperament.  Within hours of his termination, Lewandowski interviewed with both MSNBC and CNN.  Three days later he is hired on by CNN as a political commentator despite the fact that CNN executives had to know his history toward journalists and had to know that he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement.  (In addition, the man has the personality of a dead sloth, but that is not relevant) That said, I cannot help wondering if this was a pre-conceived plan to plant a Trumpian in one of the most-viewed cable news networks in the nation.

Though most news agencies lean at least slightly toward one side or another when it comes to politics and social issues, CNN has a history for being among the least biased of the major news providers.  I am not doling them stars here, as they have other faults, but overall, they have had commentators and reporters from both sides of the aisle and try to present both sides somewhat fairly.  They certainly top MSNBC and Fox!  However, this latest hiring is not only a push to the right, but to a specific candidate on the right.  Since he emphatically defended Trumps anti-semitic tweet last week, it will be quite interesting to see if CNN has drawn any line in the sand, and if so, where that line lies. Perhaps by next year it will be called DNN … “Donnie’s News Network”.

Then there is the matter of salary.  It is well-documented that Mr. Lewandowski earned $20,000 per month plus the benefit of an apartment, and I am certain other ‘benefits’ while working as Donald Trump’s campaign manager.  The base salary alone comes to $240,000.  But, some months Trump paid Lewandowski as much as $75,000.  So, some simple math, simply averaging the two, and Mr. Lewandowski was quite possibly earning about $570,000 per year, not including his apartment.  When CNN President Jeff Zucker hired Lewandowski, rumour had it that his contract was for $500,000.  Zucker later denied the rumour, saying “I can assure you we are paying him nowhere near $500,000.”  Really?  So, Lewandowski is willing to take a huge salary cut simply to sit in front of a camera with his powdered nose and say nice things about his former boss?  I don’t think so.

I believe that Lewandowski continues on the Trump payroll to this day and beyond.  I believe this is a huge farce to plant Lewandowski in a major news network to toot the Trumpet in an attempt to recruit even more lemmings to walk over the cliff.  No, I have no proof of this, it is strictly speculation on my part. However, there are far too many curious aspects, too many unanswered questions surrounding the entire matter.  To use the tired old phrase, ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ … and it is getting smokier here than an old backroom pool hall!

turtle