Snarky Snippets Waiting For The Asteroid

A few days ago, I read that there is a slight possibility … about .04% … that an asteroid could hit planet earth before election day.  My first thought was to cross my fingers that it lands squarely on the head of Donald Trump.  My fingers are still crossed.asteroid-trump

Meanwhile, I shall open the vent and let off some steam in the form of snarky snippets …


Penalizing the Free Press???

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Fahrenthold is under fire by the Trump administration.  Why?  Because of his report in The Washington Post on Thursday exposing the way in which Trump’s company has been gaining financial benefit from the Secret Service when he travels to his own properties.

“Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel …

Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.”

Apparently, Trump & Co took umbrage, though Mr. Fahrenthold has the facts to back up every statement in his story.  Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere issued a ‘statement’ …

“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop. Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”

Say WHAT???  Mr. Deere has a B.A. in Political Science and History from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, but apparently he never managed to take a course in Constitutional Law, else he might have a better understanding of the First Amendment as it relates to freedom of the press!

No doubt such a dossier would go back to Fahrenthold’s best-known article, the one that exposed Trump describing how he felt stardom gave him permission to assault women on the Access Hollywood videotape.

Fahrenthold responded to Deere’s threats …

“If you think the Washington Post got something wrong in a story, we want to know about it. Doesn’t have to be in dossier form, and you don’t have to be the president. We listen to everybody.”

Trump & Co need to tread very cautiously here, for their own house is riddled with vermin, the latest being multiple violations of the Hatch Act in their campaign rally known as the Trump Circus earlier this week.  We the People will not tolerate our free press being infringed upon!  We the People have every right to know where our hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, and I for one salute Mr. Fahrenthold for uncovering the fact that Trump’s businesses are benefitting from his travel.  This is a blatant ethics violation and should be public knowledge.  It only makes me wonder how many other abuses of our money are being hidden from us.


Speaking of that Hatch Act …

Doesn’t it seem to you that the “president”, the person who is tasked with ensuring the laws of the land are enforced, should … obey the laws?  Well, we all heard Attorney General Bill the Boob Barr say that Trump is ‘above the law’, but that immunity does not extend to his family and members of his administration!  There were numerous violations of the law known as the Hatch Act this past week, and this wasn’t the first time, but what made it worse this time was the blatant, in-your-face violations by more than a few people in the Trump administration, including his daughter, Ivanka.

The Hatch Act prohibits civil service employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president and vice president, from engaging in some forms of political activity.  Any way you cut it, the Republican National Convention is political activity.  And yet … Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared from Jerusalem, where he was on official state business, to make a campaign speech with the Old City as backdrop. Melania Trump delivered a speech from the White House Rose Garden. And acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf performed a naturalization ceremony on television as Trump looked on.

Ethics officials warned that using the White House (which, technically, belongs to We the People) as a backdrop for campaign speeches could constitute a violation of the Hatch Act, but their concerns were ignored.  And White House chief of staff Mark Meadows proved his complete disrespect for all of us when he said …

“Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares.”

Oh yes, Mr. Meadows … I REALLY CARE!  This was reminiscent of when Donald Trump first refused to make public his tax returns, saying that nobody would understand them.  BULLSHIT!  I would understand his tax returns (far better than he does, no doubt), and I DO care about the people in this administration using the power of their positions for political gain!  If we cannot trust them to follow one law, then in my opinion, we cannot trust them to obey any law.  Which makes them lawless.


Heads will roll …

The U.S. now has 187,000 deaths that we are aware of as a result of the coronavirus.  So far, Trump has pushed his uneducated theories that ingesting household disinfectants could be a cure, and has claimed that an anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, is also a cure.  Neither are true, both can be lethal, but this is what happens when you let an idiot dictate to the scientific community.  His latest promotion is for another treatment, blood plasma treatment.  This, too, is unproven as a cure for the coronavirus and may well have negative effects.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can no longer be trusted and has gone along with Trump’s touting of the blood plasma treatment, authorizing its use without further testing and against the warnings of the medical community.  FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn initially said that 35% of people could be saved by this unproven treatment.

Mr. Wayne Pines served 10 years in senior positions at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He was FDA’s chief of consumer education and information, chief of press relations and associate commissioner for public affairs. He was the chief media spokesman for the FDA for seven years and also was the founding editor of FDA Consumer magazine.  Mr. Pines was fired last week.  Why?  Because he recommended that Hahn reverse his misleading claim on blood plasma.  Such is life in the Trump administration … you either go along, or you go out the door!

Hahn later admitted that he had “oversold” the treatment and it was more likely that only 3-5% of people might … might be helped by blood plasma treatment.  Another FDA staffer, Emily Miller, was also fired this week, after only 11 days in her job as Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs, although I’m unclear of the reason, for she was playing along nicely with Mr. Hahn’s myth.  Perhaps she was the ‘sacrificial lamb’.


A double whammy …

The poor people of Louisiana … first they are hit with Hurricane Laura, and then in a double whammy, they are hit with Hurricane Donnie.  Donnie went to Louisiana and Texas to “survey storm damage and receive briefings on emergency operations and ongoing relief efforts”.  His appearance helps nobody and accomplishes nothing, but is yet another photo op.  Ask yourself, if he weren’t campaigning, fighting to retain his title, would he have bothered?  I think not, and I can only wonder if he took a case of paper towels to throw at people as he did when he toured Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.  Ask yourself this:  how much did this photo op cost U.S. taxpayers?  I wouldn’t begrudge any amount of money to actually provide help to the victims of the storm, but I absolutely do not wish to fund Trump’s pointless trip.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/29

As always on Saturday, our friend TokyoSand has picked the cream of the crop in this week’s political cartoons. She also shares a story of one of those cartoons that appalls me and I think it will you, too. Thank you, TS, for all your work on this. By the way … I did go follow Luckovich on Twitter and re-tweeted this important cartoon!

Political⚡Charge

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As a lifelong admirer of editorial cartoonists, I love looking for the cartoons that grab my attention throughout the week and compiling my favorites for all of you. This week, the cartoonists were primarily focused on the GOP convention and the ongoing fallout from the police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In a slight departure from what I normally do on Saturdays, which is to let the cartoons speak for themselves, I do want to point out that I picked Mike Luckovich’s “Active Shooter Drill” cartoon as the header for a very specific reason. That story is at the end of today’s roundup.

GOP Convention

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByClay Jones

By David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMichael de Adder

ByMatt Wuerker, Politico

ByTom…

View original post 327 more words

End of Republican National Convention 🙏

As I’ve noted before, I did not waste so much as a single minute watching the ludicrous circus that was called the Republican National Convention.  I read a few news stories about the cast of clowns who spoke, nothing really surprised me, and I chose to largely ignore it, for I really do have better things to do with my time than listen to a pack of ugly clowns telling lies and screeching like banshees.  Frank Bruni, writing for the New York Times, however, gives us his take on the “grand finale” last night with his usual clear insight and tongue-in-cheek humour.


Is There Nothing Trump Won’t Say?

Shamelessness meets illogic in a memorable (and endless) speech.

bruni-2By Frank Bruni

Opinion Columnist

I’m so relieved that the pandemic is over! I’d somehow missed that news, but then I watched the Republican National Convention, culminating in President Trump’s big speech on Thursday night, and learned that with his swift, muscular action, he’d pretty much vanquished the “China virus” and other countries wish they were so lucky. I learned that the economic toll of it was fast receding and would be a blurry memory soon.

I learned that it’s now perfectly safe for hundreds of people to sit cheek by jowl without masks, because that’s what they did in order to bathe the president in applause and chants of “four more years.” I learned that anyone who says different is just being a hater. But Trump is a lover. I learned that, too.

How to reconcile that with the vicious tone and vitriolic content of much of his remarks, which were as grounded in reality as a Tolkien novel and about as long? I’m stumped.

But I’m impressed: that he claimed such big-heartedness while showing such small-mindedness; that he twisted facts with such abandon and in such abundance; that he again trotted out that nonsense about having done more for Black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln; that he disparaged Joe Biden for not “following the science” about Covid-19 when he, Trump, mused about injections of bleach and vouched recklessly for hydroxychloroquine; that he characterized Biden’s positions as a “death sentence for the U.S. auto industry” when the Obama administration helped to save American carmakers.

It was an astonishing performance.

When Joe Biden spoke a week earlier, he never uttered Trump’s name. Trump sure as hell uttered Biden’s, over and over, in order to call him a latent leftist or an enemy of cops or a friend of terrorists or a baby killer or the bridge to economic Armageddon or any other awful thing that popped into Trump’s and his speechwriters’ minds.

A few of Trump’s attacks in particular demonstrated one of his superpowers, which is smearing opponents along the very lines where he’s most flawed and vulnerable. It’s a crafty form of denial and a potent kind of diversion — you just have to be amoral enough to avail yourself of it.

Trump availed and availed. There was the science bit, and then there was the suggestion that he had special intelligence that China was rooting and possibly working for a Biden victory because, in Trump’s words, “China would own our country if Joe Biden got elected.” If ever a hostile foreign power connived for a certain result and seemed to own an American president in the aftermath, it’s Russia in the case of Trump. But that didn’t give him pause.

He also accused Biden of betraying blue-collar workers as he “gave them hugs — and even kisses.” The “kisses” prompted laughter from people in the audience, who clearly heard what Trump surely intended: an allusion to some women’s stories about Biden. But those accounts pale, in number and severity, beside the accusations of sexual assault by Trump and his “Access Hollywood” confession of grabbing women “by the pussy.”

Still, Trump went there. He’ll go anywhere. And a shockingly large number of Americans will follow him.

On Thursday night he didn’t just give a middle finger to norms by delivering his convention speech at the White House. He reveled in that naughtiness. He milked the magisterial setting for all it was worth, appearing first with Melania on a balcony, then taking an eternity to descend a curved staircase with her, then musing aloud on the history of the residence, complete with a roll call of many of its most beloved denizens before him.

He later taunted Democrats by gesturing at it and saying, “We’re here and they’re not.”

This wasn’t patriotism. It was puerility. He was rubbing his rebellion against tradition and presidential etiquette in his critics’ faces.

He also insisted that he had kept all his promises. Really? How’s that wall coming, Mr. President? And will Mexico’s payments for it come in installments or one lump sum?

He said precious little about the pandemic, except to blame it all on China, and he most certainly didn’t mention that we’re No. 1 in the world in recorded deaths (more than 180,000) and in reported infections, which are quickly nearing 6 million. He had different figures, ones that painted us as the envy of other countries. Gee, then why aren’t they letting Americans visit? Is that just sour grapes?

Given how thoroughly the convention had reinvented Trump, I half expected him to show up at the lectern on Thursday night with the physique of a man half his age and the hair of a man in less follicular distress. If he’s going to fabricate his character and record, inserting a saint in his place, why not do the same with his appearance, inserting a stud?

I wrote in a previous column that this convention was defined by its shamelessness, which President Trump’s speech certainly exemplified. I gave short shrift to its illogic.

Why would we need to make America great again again — an actual pledge that Mike Pence made on Wednesday night — if Trump had made America great again already? This isn’t a re-election campaign. It’s a tape loop. I’m surprised Trump on Thursday night didn’t crow that he alone can fix what he alone didn’t fix despite more than three and a half years so far to do so.

He did tell Americans to look long, hard and fearfully at recent scenes of lawlessness and violence in some cities for a glimpse of Biden’s America. But, wait, isn’t this Trump’s America? The unrest is happening on his watch, so how does keeping him in office protect America from it?

It takes a vacuum of integrity to sell such bunk with such righteousness. It takes a Trump.

Like Ivanka! Introducing her father, she bragged that he, unlike those icky career politicians, didn’t “kick the can until it was someone else’s problem.” Did she mean a can like the national debt, which he promised to curb but which ballooned monstrously during his first term, even before the pandemic came along?

Ivanka achieved a norm-busting double whammy by not only shilling at the White House but deciding that it was OK as a federal employee to make a nakedly partisan speech at an expressly partisan event, much as Kellyanne Conway and Mike Pompeo and Ben Carson before her had done. It was another trailblazing moment for America’s princess, who can put a picture of it in her photo album alongside portraits of her and the president with Kim Jong-un in the Demilitarized Zone.

Will this mix of pageantry and prevarication work? My stomach is in knots, maybe just because the stakes are so high, maybe because Trump offers the kind of simple answers and jingoism that are often most seductive to voters, maybe because, in the midst of all the malarkey, there was a cunning recognition of where Biden and Democrats are weak.

“How,” Trump said, “can the Democrat Party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?”

That’s a misrepresentation, of course, but one that will have resonance for many voters. Biden should beware of it and shut it down, lest Trump’s barely endurable speech presage a wholly unendurable second term.

Trump’s Campaign Platform: Abortion

In this year, a year of pandemic, global strife, a looming recession, sky-high unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, millions without health insurance, etc., there are any number of things that I would expect to see on the platform of any candidate for the presidency.  Among them, in no particular order, are …

  • Climate change and environmental issues
  • Education
  • Gun policy
  • Immigration
  • International relations
  • Civil rights
  • Election security
  • Health care
  • Affordable housing
  • Income inequality
  • Minimum wage
  • Campaign finance
  • Taxation
  • Consumer finance protection

And the list goes on.  You may notice that nowhere in my list do you see the word “abortion”.  Abortion is not … or at least should not be … a political issue!  As I’ve said at least a hundred times before, if you think abortion is wrong, then don’t have one!  But don’t impose your religious or moral beliefs on the rest of us!

While it should be a personal issue, not a political one, a good chunk of time on Tuesday night was spent by the republicans at the Republican National Convention, dissing and discussing a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body.  These people call themselves “pro-life”, but in fact they are not that at all, for most of them support the death penalty, and few of them are in favour of their tax dollars going to help support low income families who are struggling to feed their children.  Most of them seem unconcerned about the extremely high number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., relative to every other nation.  Most of them own guns and put their right to do so ahead of the rights of the public, and even their own children, to be safe … that in itself puts paid to the “pro-life” argument!

The religious right in this country has become a strangling, suffocating movement whose foray into the political forum is not welcome by the majority of us!  I very intentionally stay as far away as I can from any discussion or opinion on religion, for I truly believe that everyone has the right to believe as they will, and it is not my place or anyone else’s to attempt to bend others to my own beliefs.  HOWEVER … I also expect the same courtesy in return!  I do not expect to have evangelicals or any other religious group tell me what I can do based on the tenets of their religion … tenets that even they do not follow, except when it suits them!  This is exactly why we have separation of church and state.

Separation of church and state means that no religion or religious group has the right to set public policy.  There is good reason for this.  We are a very diverse nation with hundreds of different religions and a good number of us (23%) who ascribe to no religion, as is our right.  It is our right.  We … most of us … do not wish a specific religion to be taught in our schools.  We do not wish to be held to honour laws that are created by and for a particular religious sect, for they may very well go against our own beliefs.

For the right-wing religious extremists to call for government to interfere with a woman’s rights is beyond unconscionable … it is nearly a return to the days when women were considered second-class citizens, subservient to their menfolk.  For no matter how women view this issue, it is largely men who are making the laws in this country, even today.  In fact, one of the speakers at the RNC on Tuesday was a woman named Abby Johnson who sermonized on the ‘evils’ of abortion.  Ms. Johnson’s anti-women ideology goes much further, however, for back in May she spoke of her support for the idea of “household voting”, where only the “head” of each household would be allowed to vote …

“I would support bringing back household voting.  Each household would get one vote. In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

If you are reading this and are not sputtering or spouting obscenities, then I’d have to question what planet you were born on.  And then, on Tuesday night she yammered about abortion …

“This election is a choice between two radical anti-life activists and the most pro-life president we have ever had. That is something that should compel you to action, go door-to-door, make calls, talk to your neighbors and friends, and vote on November 3.”

Really?  So, the republicans honestly think this election is about … abortion???  What about climate change, what about civil rights, what about education, what about health care, what about our relations with other nations, what about gun violence, what about … all of the things that really matter?  Frankly, if abortion, or rather anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, is the only issue the republican voters care about, then there is a definite lack of understanding within the Republican Party.  There are far more monumental issues to be concerned about.

To the best of my knowledge, no woman in the United States has ever been forced to have an abortion against her will, and only about 1% of abortions are performed after the fetus becomes viable, those only in extreme cases to save the mother’s life.  Yet Trump claimed back in March …

“Virtually every Democrat candidate has declared their unlimited support for extreme late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth.”

It is this sort of verbiage that seems to fire up Trump’s base, despite being devoid of any facts.  In fact, not one single democrat has advocated for such.  I would remind voters that possibly the biggest, most lethal single issue that should be what they are considering, is that of the environment.  Frankly, if we do not re-implement environmental regulations, if we do not take fairly drastic measures and work with other nations to curb the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that we are emitting every minute of every day, you won’t need to worry a heck of a lot about whether a woman has an abortion or not.  You’ll be too busy fighting for every last breath to be worried about seedlings.

The Blood on Trump’s Hands — Is Ours

I have shared Nicholas Kristof’s work before, and I do so again today.  Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist whose major interests are human rights and social injustices.  He is more than just an opinion writer – he is a scholar, a deep thinker, and a man of great intellect.  What follows is his column in the New York Times yesterday evening.


‘We Did the Exact Right Thing,’ Says Our Glorious Leader

So why does the United States have 4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of coronavirus deaths?

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

What a relief!

I’d worried about the coronavirus, but we’re fine! I’ve been watching the Republican National Convention, and it turns out that while everyone else stood helpless before the pandemic, our national lodestar, President Trump, stepped up and saved millions of lives. Whew!

“From the very beginning, Democrats, the media and the World Health Organization got the coronavirus wrong,” according to a G.O.P. propaganda film shown at the convention. Fortunately, “one leader took decisive action to save lives: President Donald Trump.”

“We did the exact right thing,” Trump said in his speech on Monday. “We saved millions.” He has moved seamlessly from the fantasy that the virus would “go away,” as he has said some 31 times, to the fantasy that he has already dispatched it.

I feel well equipped to cover the Republican convention, having covered personality cults in China, Iraq and North Korea. But this grotesque manipulation deserves a response, for it dishonors and erases the 180,000 Americans confirmed to have died from Covid-19.

“The Trump administration is responsible for the single worst public health failure in the last 100 years,” Peter J. Hotez, a global health expert and dean at the Baylor College of Medicine, told me.

Devi Sridhar, an American who is professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said it had been “astounding” to watch the Trump narrative from afar. In Scotland, she noted, children are now back in school because the government there was committed to suppressing the virus.

“The biggest obstacle to an effective Covid-19 response is President Donald Trump,” Sridhar told me. “There is a path through this crisis, but it requires strong leadership, transparency and letting scientists lead the response.”

That’s the problem in America: Trump fought science, and the virus won — so the public lost.

(The hostility to scientific expertise is also evident in the Republican National Convention’s obliviousness to climate change, even as California is in flames and a hurricane bears down on Texas and Louisiana.)

The consensus among health experts is that while local leaders and citizens sometimes messed up, and that luck matters along with other random factors we still don’t fully understand, huge responsibility lies with that “one leader.”

Some 40,000 confirmed infections are being reported each day in the United States, and another American still dies of the virus every 90 seconds. The University of Washington model projects that about 310,000 people will have died by Dec. 1 — a figure greater than the number of American combat deaths during World War II.

So portraying this toll as a tribute to Trump’s leadership takes real chutzpah.

Trump initially dismissed the coronavirus as like the flu, scoffed that it was “totally under control” and insisted it would disappear “like a miracle.” He imposed some travel restrictions on China (with enormous exceptions), which may have helped modestly, but he fumbled testing, didn’t ensure adequate protective equipment, and offered confused messaging.

The president resisted masks and embraced miracle cures — some dangerous ones, like injecting household disinfectants. He encouraged followers to “liberate” states with lockdowns and his administration pressed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise testing guidelines to exclude those without symptoms. He has suggested that his aim is to “slow the testing down,” so that fewer people will test positive; that’s like trying to reduce cancer fatalities by ending cancer screening.

Trump still doesn’t have a national Covid-19 strategy any more than he has a 2020 campaign platform.

The United States does not, as many Trump critics believe, have the highest death toll from the coronavirus on a per-capita basis; deaths per million have been higher in Belgium, Peru, Spain, Britain, Italy, Sweden, Chile and Brazil.

Yet while other countries made terrible mistakes — especially initially — they learned from them. China at first put more effort into suppressing warnings of the virus than into suppressing the virus itself. Italy delayed a lockdown. Britain at the beginning didn’t take the risks seriously.

Yet those countries were able to self-correct and bring infections down, although imperfectly and with risks of a return. Italy brought infections and deaths down and currently has a death rate over the last seven days just one thirty-second that of the United States. In contrast, Trump never learned and still tackles the virus with magical thinking while resisting a coherent national strategy driven by science.

Pandemic control involves not a single tool but a broad set of skills, making it a measure of good governance. It’s not surprising that Germany — led by a disciplined scientist, Angela Merkel — has done particularly well, with a death rate now only one forty-eighth that of the United States.

If Trump had managed the pandemic as well as Merkel, some 143,000 American lives could have been saved.

Think about those people’s lives when you see Trump try to rewrite history this week. The indisputable truth is this: The United States has 4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of the world’s confirmed coronavirus deaths.

Just A Little Bit Of Snark …

These days, I typically am not even out of bed before I have a lovely buildup of snark.  Perhaps I should stop reading the headlines on my phone before my feet even hit the ground?  Today is no exception …


A new idiot on my radar … this one a Democrat!

This morning, a new abomination crossed my path and left me (nearly) speechless.  And this one, my friends, is a democrat!  Meet Rubén Díaz Sr., a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 15th District of New York, South Bronx.

Ruben-Diaz

Mr. Díaz was born and raised in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, served in the U.S. Army from 1960-1963, and moved to New York City in 1965, the same year he was found guilty of marijuana and heroin possession charges and was sentenced to probation.  The following year he became an evangelical Christian and eventually an ordained minister.  But those are not the reasons I call him an abomination.

Mr. Díaz is both a homophobe and a misogynist … not to mention that he enthusiastically supported Donald Trump in 2016!  Let’s take a look at just a few of his political stances …

  • In 1994, while on the Civilian Complaint Review Board, Díaz was critical of the city hosting the Gay Games, claiming that doing so would lead to an increase in AIDS cases and to wider acceptance of homosexuality by young people. Díaz wrote that hosting the Games would lead children “to conclude that if there are so many gay and lesbian athletes then there is nothing wrong, nor any risks involved.”

  • In 2002, Díaz was elected to the New York State Senate. He represented the 32nd district in the New York State Senate from 2003 to 2017, during which time he attempted, along with two other state senators, to use his leverage to ensure that the Senate would not vote on the issue of same-sex marriage.

  • In 2017 Díaz was elected to the New York City Council, representing the 18th district. Last year, Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for Díaz’ resignation after Díaz claimed that City Council was “controlled by the homosexual community”.

  • He is strongly against a woman’s right to choose an abortion, saying, “Abortion is the American Holocaust…. The comparison is plain: six million Jews were exterminated by Hitler in Germany; Almost 48 million babies have been exterminated in the abortion clinics of America. We have simply been in the killing for a longer period of time than Hitler.”

  • Most recently, he claimed that he would not “rat” on fellow council members if he saw evidence of sexual harassment. “I’m not gonna rat my people out! This place is full of rats! So we’re supposed to be rats?”  He later claimed his comment was misinterpreted.

Interestingly, Mr. Díaz’ own granddaughter is a member of the LGBT community, and during one of his rallies, he called her on stage and proceeded to say how much he loved her.  Her reply …

“You cannot tell someone that you love them and stay silent when people call for their death. ‘Love’ is empty when you say someone’s life isn’t natural.”

Díaz’ support of Trump, much like most evangelicals, is based on Trump’s promise to nominate Supreme Court Justices who would, given the chance, overturn Roe v Wade and Obergefell v Hodges, thus returning the nation to the dark ages where women and LGBT people were treated as second-class citizens.  Sadly, Mr. Díaz is polling high in his district.  There are some 12 democratic candidates running for the congressional seat, but only one, Ritchie Torres, who seems to stand a chance.  Let us hope the people in his district wake up and smell the coffee before the primary election on June 23rd.


There’s a price to pay for listening to Trump …

Today, the New York Times reports that in at least 21 states, the number of coronavirus cases is on the rise.  The only thing that amazes me about this is that people are amazed by it.  The health experts all warned this was what would happen, but … to our government, it seems that the economy is of greater importance, greater value, than our lives.  Florida is one of those 21 states that have seen an increase in cases, and the RNC has tentatively scheduled their national convention in Jacksonville, Florida, where they plan to hold a “large-scale event” in August, further endangering thousands of people.  What could possibly go wrong, eh?


Michael Flynn – it ain’t over yet!

Last month, after the Department of Justice, without cause, dropped all charges against Michael Flynn, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan asked former federal judge, John Gleeson to weigh in on the matter.  Flynn had, after all, entered into a plea agreement, pleading guilty of charges of lying to Congress, while being let off the hook on numerous other charges in exchange for his guilty plea.  And then, suddenly, almost certainly under the orders of Donald Trump, William Barr announced that the charges were being dropped.  As I said at the time, I smelled a very large rat.

Well, former Judge Gleeson also smells one, and he has recommended that sentencing should proceed.

“The facts surrounding the filing of the Government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump.

Everything about this is irregular.

President Trump today has the unreviewable authority to issue a pardon, thus ensuring that Flynn is no longer prosecuted and never punished for his crimes because he is a friend and political ally. But the instant the Executive Branch filed a criminal charge against Flynn, it forfeited the right to implicate this Court in the dismissal of that charge simply because Flynn is a friend and political ally of the President.”

Gleeson recommended that Judge Sullivan not pursue new charges of contempt of court, but rather that he instead proceed to sentence Flynn on the original charge, to which he pled guilty two-and-a-half years ago.  We will see where this goes, but I think we can all make an educated guess.  Sigh.

Just Two Snippets Of Snark Today …

Trump seems to be occupying a heck of a lot of space on my radar screen these days, pushing out most everyone else.  I hoped to write about something else today, but fools, idiots and Trump were all I could see on my radar.  So …


Another temper tantrum …

Trump is threatening to change the venue for the Republican National Convention in August.  Initially planned for an Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump’s complaint now is that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper cannot promise that a packed arena will be allowed under the state’s rules to protect people from the spread of the coronavirus.

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the arena.  In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!”

Now, I fully understand Governor Cooper’s reticence to commit to allowing thousands of people into the arena to mingle and share their germs.  However, think about it.  If the republicans who would attend are so ignorant that they would risk not only their own lives, but also those of their families … let them. Trump’s alternative venue is Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is one of the first to throw the doors to the state wide open and throw caution to the winds.  DeSantis, like Trump, has no concern for the lives of people, but only the financial well-being of the wealthy, the tourism dollars that would be put into the state’s coffers.

The only thing that puzzles me is why Trump even cares if there is a convention, for all those who would oppose him have been shoved out of the race by the GOP, so the outcome is a given.  Why bother, why spend all that money and put so many people at risk, when the conclusion is already signed, sealed, delivered?


Lost meaning?

Memorial Day in the United States, celebrated on the last Monday in May, is intended to be a day set aside to remember and honour those who died in service to the nation, those who defended not only this nation, but allied nations as well.  Instead, it has become largely just another day to grill out, drink beer, and socialize.  While you might expect this year to be different, with protections in place to try to protect people from the coronavirus, people don’t have too many brains these days.

People flocked to beaches and other public venues, acting as if their pleasure was the most important thing on earth, and not giving a damn about the lives of others.  Surprised?  I wasn’t surprised, but I am disappointed.  But then, what’s new … I’ve been disappointed in the human race most of my adult life now.

When you have a fool at the helm of the ship, though, the rest will follow.  Trump, in the spirit of patriotism, took the opportunity to mock former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ weight, ridicule the looks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and call former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton a “skank.”  What a way to honour dead soldiers, eh?  But then … being a draft-dodger, he’s already proven to us that he has no respect for the military. What a stalwart example he sets for the masses, eh?  No wonder the U.S. is so hate-filled … it filters down from the top.

Oh, and you know how demanding Trump was that the churches all re-open this weekend?  Well, that was a ploy to please his evangelical base, for Trump himself was out on the golf course again on Sunday morning. Not that I mind … I’m hoping that with all his layers of … er … blubber, the exertion will be too much for him someday, else he’ll get swallowed by a sand trap.


I came across these two cartoons yesterday while on my search for Jolly Monday ‘toons, and thought that, while not appropriate for the non-political Jolly Monday, they would be perfect for a snarky snippets post.

dim-reaperTitanic

♫ September ♫ (Redux)

I am reduxing tonight … for one reason only … I am too exhausted to go in search of backstory for a new song at the moment.  I last played this one two years ago, so it should be almost new, or “gently used” as they say in the thrift shops!  And, it’s one of those songs that you can’t help but love.

The story of the song begins in 1978. Allee Willis was a struggling songwriter in LA — until the night she got a call from Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. White offered her the chance of a lifetime: to co-write the band’s next album.Willis arrived at the studio the next day hoping it wasn’t some kind of cosmic joke.

“As I open the door, they had just written the intro to ‘September.’ And I just thought, ‘Dear God, let this be what they want me to write!’ Cause it was obviously the happiest-sounding song in the world.”

There’s some interesting history about the month-long writing of the song on NPR if anybody is interested.

In July 2016, this song was used at the Republican National Convention, without prior approval, and Earth, Wind & Fire was none too happy, tweeting “Another unauthorized use (September) at the Republican Convention, against our wishes.” 

September
Earth, Wind & Fire

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing
As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba duda, ba duda, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love
Remember how we knew love was here to stay
Now December found the love that we shared in September
Only blue talk and love
Remember the true love we share today

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days

The bell was ringing
Our souls were singing
Do you remember, never a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shinny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Songwriters: Al McKay / Maurice White / Allee Willis
September lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Rhythm Records Inc D/B/A Steelchest Music

♫ September ♫

I had a song picked out, but decided it was a bit on the dark side and we needed something lighter to cheer us today, so I thumbed through my playlist and settled on September by Earth, Wind & Fire.

The story of the song begins in 1978. Allee Willis was a struggling songwriter in LA — until the night she got a call from Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. White offered her the chance of a lifetime: to co-write the band’s next album.Willis arrived at the studio the next day hoping it wasn’t some kind of cosmic joke.

“As I open the door, they had just written the intro to ‘September.’ And I just thought, ‘Dear God, let this be what they want me to write!’ Cause it was obviously the happiest-sounding song in the world.”

There’s some interesting history about the month-long writing of the song on NPR if anybody is interested.

In July 2016, this song was used at the Republican National Convention, without prior approval, and Earth, Wind & Fire was none too happy, tweeting “Another unauthorized use (September) at the Republican Convention, against our wishes.” 

September
Earth, Wind & Fire

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing
As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba duda, ba duda, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda, badu
Ba duda, badu, ba duda

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love
Remember how we knew love was here to stay
Now December found the love that we shared in September
Only blue talk and love
Remember the true love we share today

Hey hey hey
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shinny days

The bell was ringing
Our souls were singing
Do you remember, never a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

There was a
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shinny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

Songwriters: Al McKay / Maurice White / Allee Willis
September lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Rhythm Records Inc D/B/A Steelchest Music

A Dangerous Shrug …

Roger Cohen has been a writer for the New York Times since 1990.  This morning, an OpEd he wrote titled Truth, Lies and Numbness caught my eye and I would like to share parts of it with you today, for it makes an important statement.

roger-cohenYou grow numb. You grow weary. I recall discovering a few weeks back that President Trump had lied about two phone calls, one from the president of Mexico and one from the head of the Boy Scouts. The calls, supposedly to congratulate him, did not exist. They never happened. They were pure inventions. Asked if Trump had lied, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said, “I wouldn’t say it was a lie.”

I actually remember shrugging. The shrug was terrifying. This is how autocrats — or would-be autocrats — cement their power. They wear you down with their lies. They distract you. They want you to believe that 2+2=5. They want you to forget that freedom withers when the distinction between truth and falsehood dies. In a dictatorship there is a single font of “truth”: the voice of the dictator. Remember Trump at the Republican National Convention a little over a year ago: “I am your voice.” And now his voice is everywhere.

There’s the scripted Trump voice, which is fake. There’s the unscripted voice, which is genuine. The two tend to alternate; call this the choreography of disorientation. It’s confusing, like having a president who isn’t really a president but instead acts like the leader of a rabble-rousing movement. The Oval Office is a useful prop, no more than that. He’s held eight rallies since becoming president in January. The latest was in Phoenix, where he called the media “very dishonest people.” He led the crowd in a chant of “CNN sucks.” He attacked the “failing New York Times.”

I read this before I was even out of bed this morning and it gave me a chill.  I easily recognized Mr. Cohen’s response … a shrug … because more and more of late I have found myself having the same response.  I shrug, roll my eyes, shake my head, and say something akin to “Whatever … so what’s new?”  It is not because his lies and hateful rhetoric no longer offend, but because I am becoming desensitized.  It is old news.  Trump lies. Trump cannot speak in complete sentences. Trump criticizes everyone who does not agree with him.  Nothing new to see here, folks … shrug your shoulders and move along.

That which, as recently as five months ago, stirred my ire, offended my sensibilities and incensed me, now earns a shrug or an eyeroll.  How did we (I speak for myself, but I use ‘we’, for I believe I am not alone in this) come to this point?  How?  Rather the same way a human body becomes immune to disease after numerous or prolonged periods of exposure.  Rather like that annoying rattle in your car that, after a few weeks, you no longer hear it.  The rattle is still there, it is ominous in that it indicates something is not right, but you have become desensitized, immune, and you no longer hear the rattle, no longer heed the warning signs.

Long ago I opined that Trump did not wish to be a president, but rather an autocrat.  Nothing that has happened in the past seven months has changed my opinion.  I was told months ago that I should not worry too much, for the system of checks and balances that is built into our foundation, the U.S. Constitution, would keep Trump from realizing his goal of supremacy.  But those checks and balances only work if we remain focused enough to force them to work, and I fear that we are growing weary, we are losing our focus. I was told that the American people would never allow Trump to gain too much power, but the American people are divided, disheartened, and tired after only seven short/long months of the freak show we have been watching.

I wish I had easy answers, but I do not.  I do not know how we remain vigilant … I only know that we must.  We must continue to call Trump out on every lie, no matter how minor.  We must continue to fight, to resist, those things that we know in our hearts are wrong.  We must somehow find renewed energy to fight against the abomination sitting in the Oval Office. We must continue to remind our elected representatives that they work for We The People, that they are independent of the executive branch and that we expect them to act in OUR best interests, not their own.  In fact, we must remind them that at the end of the day, their own best interests are closely tied to ours.

We must continue, fruitless though it may seem, trying to maintain a dialog with those with whom we disagree, continue trying to understand them and help them to understand us.  In the end, we are all in this together. Last weekend I drove 500 miles on Friday and again on Monday.  The highway became tiresome, mile after mile of sameness, and I grew weary, more than once felt my eyes slowly closing.  The danger was real that I would drive into an obstacle and be injured or die, so I stopped, walked around a bit, got fresh coffee, and renewed my energy.  This is what we must do today and for as long as it takes, for the danger is real and we must find ways to renew ourselves so that we can keep fighting.  We cannot afford to shrug.