Afternoon Snarky Snippets …

Call it mind-bounce, call it angst, call it fed-up-with-Trump syndrome … whatever it is, it is interfering with my ability to settle in on a single topic today, so I decided to vent on a few topics.  Sometimes getting some of the detritus out of the way helps me focus.

First, the good news …

Eight of the boys who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand since June 23rd have been brought out to safety!  Four boys and the coach remain in the flooded cave and it is hoped that they can be rescued tomorrow.  The boys are being kept in quarantine in a hospital to ensure they haven’t picked up any diseases.  rescueI am disturbed, however, by the fact that they have not yet been allowed to see their parents.  It seems unnecessarily cruel to both the children and the parents, and the parents do not even know which boys have been rescued and which remain in the cave. Psychologists already anticipate that the boys are likely to suffer from short-term psychological symptoms.  I am not a psychologist, but just from the standpoint of a human and a parent, it seems that the most important thing at this point would be reuniting the boys with their parents, letting them feel secure in the embrace of their moms and dads.  But what do I know, right?

Anyway, I am thrilled that the eight boys so far have been rescued and seem to be in good health overall, and hope that the other four and the coach will be brought to safety tomorrow.

Scott Pruitt – one final bootlicking …

As we all know by now, Scott Pruitt resigned his position as head of the Environmental Protection Agency last week amid numerous major scandals.  His resignation letter is something to behold, a true work of … I don’t even know the word for it.  Here, in all its glory, is the letter, with my snarky remarkys in blue

“Mr. President, it has been an honor to serve you in the Cabinet as Administrator of the EPA. Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated at the beginning of your Administration. Your courage (you have GOT to be kidding!!!), steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people, both with regard to improved environmental outcomes (define ‘improved’, please?) as well as historical regulatory reform (reform = destruction), is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.

That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6. It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing (define ‘blessing’?) to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us (Awwwww, pobrecito).

My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people. I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence (spare me the bullpoop!!!). I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people. Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.”

PruittDoes anybody else feel ill?  You may notice that he didn’t even mention any of the scandals surrounding him?  Happily, the 14 or so investigations of ethics violations will continue and he remains under the gun.  If it is found that he is guilty of ethics violations, it will be up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to decide whether to prosecute.  Anybody want to guess how that is likely to go?

Even his friends don’t like the tariffs …

Even some of Trump’s closest allies in Congress are unhappy about the trade tariffs he unleashed last month.  Senator Orrin Hatch, a close ally of Trump’s, reportedly said of the tariffs, “I’d like to kill ’em.”  Republican senators say they can’t get the president to comprehend that his tariffs offensive could upend the mid-term elections. Commodity prices in the heartland are sagging, U.S. allies are retaliating with tariffs of their own — and GOP leaders are fretting that the booming economy is about to go into a pre-midterms nosedive.

My response to all that is, “you reap what you sow”.  The republicans in Congress have blindly followed and supported Donald Trump through some of the most abhorrent decisions ever made by a U.S. president.  They have shoved aside their constituents in favour of the upper echelons that Trump so loves.  And so, when it comes home to roost, when the voters in their states finally say “ENOUGH!!!”, I will have not one shred of empathy for these jerks.

The games people play …

Paul Manafort’s trial is scheduled to begin later this month.  Any bets as to whether it will or not?  Thus far, Manafort has asked for a delay and a change of venue.  Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman and a subject of Robert Mueller’s investigation, since he has close and proven ties to a number of Russians, is accused of both bank and tax fraud.

Paul Manafort.In requesting the move and the delay, Manafort’s attorneys cited intense negative publicity surrounding his prosecution by special counsel Robert Mueller. Yes, well???  You play, you pay … eventually.  I am ready for somebody … anybody … to start facing the consequences of this huge criminal scandal that handed the 2016 election to the least qualified candidate imaginable.  I suspect that once the first one falls, the rest will follow.  We may need to build a new federal penitentiary to hold them all!  Frankly, I will be doing the Snoopy Happy Dance in the middle of the street!

And thus concludes my mini-rants for today.  I shall now go clean a bathroom or two and think about preparing supper later on … lemon-chicken, broccoli and wild rice is on the docket for tonight, and I will be teaching Miss Goose how to make the chicken.  Perhaps someday she can fix supper and I can take a nap!  Have a great evening, friends!

The New Normal …

We are all aware that class is not Donald Trump’s strong suit.  In fact, I think it’s a fair statement to say that the man has none at all.  But in today’s administration, there appear to be many more who have no class, no dignity, no sense of propriety.  Perhaps the ‘man’ at the top has set the tone for all, or perhaps it is simply that he has surrounded himself with people just like himself – crass and vulgar.McCain Holds Townhall Meeting In York, PennsylvaniaSenator John McCain is dying of a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer.  For his entire life, he has served his country well.  McCain is a genuine American hero – one who fought and suffered for his country in the theater of war and has dedicated the better part of the last four decades of his life to public service as a House member, a senator and a two-time presidential candidate.  He is not a man who deserves to be derided, and this certainly is not the time for derision.

McCain has not been able to return to Washington for several months, but nonetheless on Wednesday, he felt compelled to issue a statement calling on his fellow-senators to reject Trump’s nominee for Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel.  Haspel, as an undercover operative, was directly responsible for much of the torture that took place in the years following 9/11, and during her confirmation hearings, she refused to admit that such torture methods are inhumane and morally wrong.   McCain was captured, held and tortured for years (1967-1973) during the Vietnam War.mccain-pow

“However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”

The next day, special assistant Kelly Sadler made the derisive comments during a closed-door White House meeting of about two-dozen communications staffers.

“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

Ms. Sadler wasn’t the only one who had something snide and rude to say.  Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, appearing on a Fox Business program, said …

“Well she can’t use it anymore because we have determined in Congress that it’s not legal. The fact is, is John McCain — it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John,’”

McInerney’s comment is false.

McCain has already begun planning his funeral and has requested both Presidents Obama and George W. Bush to give eulogies, but has indicated that he does not wish Donald Trump to be at his funeral.  This is understandable in light of an ongoing contentious relationship between the two, starting in 2016 during the presidential campaign when Trump claimed that in his book, McCain was not a hero because he was captured.  I would not, under any circumstances, want Trump within 5,000 miles of my funeral!  But Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah had to say …

“I think that’s ridiculous. He’s the President of the United States. He’s a very good man. But it’s up to John. I think John should have his wishes fulfilled with regard to who attends his funeral.”

A ‘good man’?  Seriously???  I think not.

I concur fully with former Vice President Joe Biden, who said …

“People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday. Given this White House’s trail of disrespect toward John and others, this staffer is not the exception to the rule; she is the epitome of it.”

And there were others who shared his outrage:

“Our nation should be grateful for the exemplary service and sacrifice of [McCain], and treat this war hero and his family with the civility and respect they deserve.” – Senator Joni Ernst, Iowa

“It’s a sad day in this country when White House officials are mocking a man who was tortured as a prisoner of war. He’s more than earned the right to speak out on these matters. A public apology should be issued immediately.” – Representative Walter Jones, North Carolina

“Whatever one’s differences with John, he’s a patriot who has served our nation selflessly and honorably and deserves our respect.” – Senator Jerry Moran, Kansas

“Look, John McCain is a hero. No two ways about it. John McCain, I mean he gave his entire adult life for this country. John McCain fought for us in Vietnam, was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, came home and dedicated his life to public service. His vocation in life was making life better for people and better for the country. There are so many accolades I could heap on a John McCain.” – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan

“I spend a lot of time trashing politicians. This [John McCain]  is about the one I’ve admired above all others over the last quarter century.” – Dana Milbank, OpEd columnist, The Washington Post

mccain-2There have been many times that I disagreed with John McCain’s position on certain issues, but he has, I have always believed, had the best interest of the nation and the people in mind.  I have never heard him speak disrespectfully to anyone.  I have the utmost respect for this man.  Perhaps he is among the last of a dying breed, people who believe in dignity, in civil discourse, and in respect for others.  I’m sorry to say that those things have gone by the wayside in our government since January 20, 2017.

GOP Beliefs About Poor People Are Myths To Justify Tax Cuts For Rich/ Cuts To Entitlement Spending

Today’s Congress is the richest in the history of the nation. These wealthy men & women have zero concept what it is like to choose between putting food on the table or taking their sick child to the doctor. They have no understanding what it is like to wonder how to pay the rent or electric bill. And thus, since they have no real life experience, they make up myths to justify cutting social services that benefit the lower income groups in order to increase their own wealth via tax cuts for the wealthy. Our friend Gronda has done an excellent job de-bunking those myths and showing our elected representatives for the greedy, self-focused people they are. Please take a moment to read, and remember this on November 6th! Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

I have observed the resurrection of the racist myth of the “Welfare Queen” as well as other misleading talking points to describe poor people by members of the GOP.

The GOP in the US Congress cannot be allowed to disseminate these myths as an excuse to enact cuts to current safety-net programs for the poor and/ or to justify additional tax cuts for the wealthy.

See: Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty … in America/ Guardian/ December 2017

Here is the rest of the story…

(Source for below AP report published by the Chicago Tribune on the 19th of December 2017 by Michele Gilman, University of Baltimore: (The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Excerpts from “3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net:”

Republicans continue to use long-debunked…

View original post 1,059 more words

Racism … the New Wave of the Future?

Racism, just one of many forms of bigotry, has been around since the beginning of time.  Here in the U.S., we thought we had it whipped with the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act.  But make no mistake … racism in the U.S. is not only alive and well, but in the past few years has actually gained momentum, despite our having an African-American president for nearly eight years.

Hate crimes are motivated by race more than anything else, and there are active hate groups in every state in the nation.  Unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire. African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics consistently earn less than whites.  Around a third of America’s population is comprised of people of color, yet they account for nearly two-thirds of the prison population. And one in three black men will go to prison at some point in their lives.  Racial disparity exists, also, in housing, healthcare and education.  So no, we have not whipped racism, we have not overcome the arrogance of race to form a nation where “All Men Are Created Equal”, and in fact, we are getting farther and farther from that goal with every passing day.

Racism has been making a comeback in the U.S. for several years, though I cannot put my finger on when it started to escalate, as it has been gradually rearing its ugly head, bit by bit.  It certainly showed its face when George Zimmerman murdered young Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. Justice was not served, Mr. Zimmerman was allowed to go free, and many white Americans applauded the decision.  The flames of racism were further fanned by a series of killings of unarmed black men by police across the nation.  But I believe that the hate toward not only African-Americans, but also Hispanics and those of Middle-Eastern background has intensified more acutely in the last 12 months than at any time in the past 45 years due to the unbridled and unchecked rhetoric of Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump’s negative, hate-filled comments seem to have given some element of our population the idea that it is okay, perhaps even laudable, to criticize others based on such false criteria as skin colour, ethnicity, gender, disability, or religion.  Take, for example, Karl Rove, former Deputy Chief of Staff under George W. Bush. During a recent debate between Rove and Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile, Rove said “I did you a great favor bringing you into politics in the 1860 campaign and this is how you repay me? We’re happy you got the right to vote but it wasn’t your current party that was responsible for it.”  Brazile, for those who may not be familiar with her, is an African-American political analyst and syndicated columnist, a well-respected persona among both Democrats and Republicans, white and black alike.  Brazile, ever gracious, reminded Rove that as a woman, she did not receive the right to vote until 1920 and as a black woman did not have her right to vote protected until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I, not so graceful as Ms. Brazile, would have added that you, Mr. Rove, did nothing to free the slaves nor to give women or African-Americans the right to vote.  In fact, I suspect, that if those decisions were on the table today, Mr. Rove and his ilk would vote against them!

Most in the public eye, politicians and journalists alike, condemn the racist rhetoric, as they should.  A few, however, choose to overlook or excuse it, and therein lies a large part of the problem.  Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah says Trump “doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump is “certainly a different kind of candidate.”  It rather sounds like a parent of an unruly child declaring that he is merely “full of energy”.  And just like children, as long as we condone their behaviour, it will not only continue, but escalate. Why, I ask, should a person, any person, have to fight for the same rights everyone else has, simply because their skin is darker than somebody else’s, or their ancestors came here from the African continent rather than the European continent?

When people say that Trump’s speech is not racist, but merely colourful, they are, in fact, saying that it’s okay to make disparaging comments about minorities, women, and people of other religions.  To fail to condemn racism and bigotry  is to support it.  Failure to avidly and vociferously condemn racism is to propagate racism.  There can be no middle ground, no ambiguity.  One cannot say they support Donald Trump, but that they are not racist.  One cannot say they think African-Americans are lazy, or justify the fact that African-Americans are seven times more likely to be shot by police than Caucasians and claim to not be racist.  If you support a racist, then you are supporting racism.  Think about it.

Breaking News: Mitch McConnell Revises Constitution

Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution:

He (the President) shall have the Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate National Rifle Association, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Councils, Judges of the supreme Court … (Emphasis added)

Last Wednesday, 16 March 2016, President Obama nominated Judge Merrick B. Garland to be the 113th Supreme Court Justice.  Let me tell you a bit about Judge Garland.

Judge Garland is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has served on that court since 1997. Garland graduated summa cum laude as valedictorian from Harvard College and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. After serving as a law clerk to Judge Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States, he practiced corporate litigation at Arnold & Porter and worked as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he played a leading role in the investigation and prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombers. In 1995, Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and (following a delay in Senate confirmation) took the bench in 1997. In 2009 and 2010, Garland was considered by President Barack Obama for two openings on the Supreme Court.

Yet, despite an illustrious judicial career, the odds of him being confirmed by the Senate this year are slim.  Why?  Basically because the republican-controlled Senate, has vowed that they will do all in their power to block any nomination that President Obama makes, regardless how qualified that person may be.  The biggest slap in the face to We The People, the citizens and taxpayers of this nation, however, came from Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) yesterday when he stated that he “Can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm … a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association [and] the National Federation of Independent Businesses.”  Excuse me, Mr. McConnell, but neither of those organizations represent my interests nor support my ideology, and I RESENT THAT THEY HAVE CONTROL OVER MY GOVERNMENT!  Yes, I am yelling and my fingers are pounding the keyboard at warp speed as I type this!

Deep breaths now … in … out … in … out …

In 1997, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a highly respected senator who has served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on three separate occasions, said, in regards to Merrick Garland, “Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned… His legal experience is equally impressive… Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court. I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.”  And in 2010, when Judge Garland was being considered as a nominee to the Supreme Court, Mr. Hatch again praised him, saying that Garland is, “A consensus nominee… I have no doubts that Garland would get a lot of votes. And I will do my best to help him get them… He would be very well supported by all sides and the president knows that.”  So where’s the beef?  Simply this … republican congressmen have decided to ignore their constituency, the vast majority of whom are in support of the Supreme Court vacancy being filled as quickly as possible, and refuse to do their job.  Why?  Who knows?  I suspect simply to show President Obama that they can.  It is a playground mentality and I thought we could expect better from our elected officials.  I was wrong.

President Obama did not choose to nominate a liberal-leaning judge to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.  He intentionally chose a moderate nominee who is well-respected by both sides. He also did not choose a young man who could conceivably serve 20, 30, or even 40 years on the bench.  He did everything in his power to nominate a judge who would be acceptable to both democrats and republicans, as he realizes the importance of filling the vacancy.  It is too bad our senators are not equally intelligent.

Senators earn, at a minimum, $174,000, which does not include the value of various perks and additional monies they “earn”, meaning that on average a senator is paid somewhere in the ballpark of $200,000 plus benefits, per year.  This is more than ten times what I earn for a year, and I am betting it is significantly more than anyone reading this blog earns in a year.  Understand that I have no problem with that – my intent here is not to complain, as some do, that congressmen and women are overpaid.  When they do their job and act responsibly on behalf of We The People, they earn every penny.  Rather, my point is that this year, at least, most republican senators, are failing in their jobs.  They are putting their hands in their pockets and saying, basically, “Screw the American people.  I am not going to do my job until after November.”  Think about it this way … we are the employer, they are the employee.  If you told your employer that you refuse to do the job for which you were hired, would you still be employed next week?  I think not.

I find it interesting that one argument these negligent senators give as their excuse for not considering Judge Garland is the “right of the people to have a say”.  We The People had our say in 2008 and again in 2012, when the majority of voters in this nation selected President Obama to lead our nation. To refuse to even hold hearings to review this nomination is blatant refusal to do the jobs for which they are highly compensated, at our expense.  There may be no solution this year, as we have spoken and the republicans in the senate have turned a deaf ear to us.  But we do have recourse.  As I mentioned in a previous post, there are 24 republican senators up for re-election this November.  I call on the voting public to ensure that not a single one of them retain their seats.  It is the only way to send a message to congress, a message that reminds them that We The People can put them in office or take them out.