Republicans and Abortion

It seems these days that republicans, in general, don’t much like facts, but prefer right-wing rhetoric. Roe v Wade shouldn’t be the major issue on the docket for the 2020 election, but for a large portion of the republicans, it seems to be the only issue. But, they have their facts all wrong, so our friend Xena has done her homework and sets the record straight for us all. Thank you, Xena!

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

I’ve never been one to vote based on issues that are not relevant to my life or the betterment of this country, such as climate change.  For at least two decades, I’ve personally heard Republicans say they were voting for a politician because they are anti-abortion and/or anti-gay rights.  I always asked if they planned to have an abortion and if they are gay?  To that, they wanted to quote from the Bible, in which I had to remind them that the United States does not have a theocratic government.

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing Republicans say that they don’t understand how Christians can be Democrat when Democrats  made abortion legal in the United States.  That is simply not true.  At the time of Roe v. Wade, six (6) of the Justices on the Supreme Court were appointed by Republican presidents.

Voting because of wanting laws that control the lives…

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Musings From The Rabbit Hole — Trust

One of the things about spending large quantities of time in the ‘rabbit hole’ is that one lies awake at night pondering on such things as trust, respect, responsibility, honesty, humanity and whether there are enough lemons in the fridge to make lemon chicken for supper tomorrow.

Trust.  It’s a funny thing … one may spend a lifetime earning the trust of others, yet it can be shattered in a single moment.  How many people do you trust … I mean, really trust as in you would trust them with your life?  I’m guessing you can count them on one hand … I can, and I would still have a thumb left over.  How many people trust you in that way? trust-1When we speak of trust in the broader sense, of trusting people who hold our well-being in their hands, it’s a bit different than trust on the more personal level.  We should be able to trust these people … our members of Congress, state governors, police officers, and certainly the president and his minions … to at least make the best possible decisions based on the information they have for the good of the whole.  None of us will be pleased with every decision that comes out of any administration.  As much as I admire and respect President Obama, there were times I disagreed with his decisions.  However, I always felt that he was listening to his advisors, was studying every situation and staying well-informed, and that at the end of the day, he made what he thought to be the right decision for the nation as a whole.  I have felt that way about nearly every president this nation has had in my 69 years, both republican and democrat.  Until the current one.

Trust is important in any relationship, parent-child, husband-wife, teacher-student, employer-employee.  It is equally important that the people of any nation be able to trust their chosen leaders to be honest, to tell them the truth as much as possible, and to make decisions that take into account the entire nation, not just a few.  Leaders will make mistakes, for they rarely have perfect information on which to base their decisions.  But, when leaders lie to the people, the bond of trust is broken and is unlikely to ever be restored.  This is what happened with Richard Nixon in 1974.  But even worse than Nixon’s lies are those of Donald Trump, for his entire administration is filled with the most corrupt and dishonest people in the nation.  There can be no trust in a ‘man’ who has been caught in over 20,000 lies in just over three years and has hired people who have been almost equally dishonest.trust-3How do we trust a ‘man’ who told us the coronavirus was just a minor thing, nothing to worry about, really … when a short six months later more than 180,000 of our friends, family and neighbors have died from it?  How can we possibly be expected to trust an administration that has spent money we didn’t have for frivolous things, all the while giving special perks to the very wealthy people who don’t even know we exist?  How do we trust a ‘man’ who cozies up to dictators, who asks foreign nations to help him cheat in an election?  How can we trust an administration that has turned its back on the most important global issues that affect all our lives:  the environment, the pandemic, and systemic racism?

How do we trust a ‘man’ who has spent his entire adult life lying, cheating, discriminating, breaking the law, and stealing?  How do we trust a ‘man’ who claims credit for things he did not do, and refuses to accept responsibility for those he did do?  How do we trust a ‘leader’ who represents less than half the people of the nation and spends his days denigrating the rest?  How do we trust a person who praises racists and bullies good people?

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made myself clear … when we elect a person, whether a member of Congress, president, or city councilman, we expect … we have a clear right to expect … that person to act in our best interests.  We give that person a certain level of trust simply by voting for him or her.  But, when they act in their own best interests, causing us financial ruin, job loss, loss of homes and in some cases loss of our very lives, that trust is gone.  Forever. trust-2Trust.  A small word, but so filled with meaning.  The breaches of our trust since January 20th, 2017 have been so numerous and so deadly that it amazes me to find that some people do, in fact, still trust the current occupant of the White House.  To them, apparently truth, honesty and integrity do not matter.  To me, without them there can be no trust.  Today, I have neither trust nor respect for anyone in the administration whose salaries I help pay.  Damn shame, isn’t it?

Snarky Snippets … Or … Mini Rants?

I’m not sure if this is a snarky snippet or a mini rant … I’m leaning toward mini-rant, but I’ll let you decide.  I know that by the time I finished writing it, there was smoke coming out of my ears, and my throat was sore from incessant growling.  Aren’t you glad you don’t have to live with me?


Rogue cops … or is this the wave of the present?

Y’know … I have long said that most police officers are good people doing their best to keep the public safe, and that there were only a few rogue cops giving them all a bad rap.  Today, I’m not so sure about that.  From an article in The Washington Post

“Police swarmed an impromptu field station in Asheville, N.C., on Tuesday, dispersing medics who had gathered in an alley to treat protesters.

The officers, wearing riot gear and carrying shields, violently dismantled the station. Police can be seen stomping on the provisions and stabbing water bottles in video and images captured by journalists at the Asheville Citizen Times.”

Asheville-policeWTF??????

Sean Miller, a student at University of North Carolina at Asheville who spoke on behalf of the medics, told the Citizen Times that about a dozen people — including doctors and first responders — were at the medical station when police suddenly arrived.  The medics moved the station to a public park after the police smashed about $700 worth of eyewash, food and other supplies.

This reminds me of something I would expect to see in a movie about Nazi Germany, not the former United States of America.


Sure, just trash the environment, Donnie!

Yesterday, Trump signed another one of his executive orders, this one calling on agencies to waive required environmental reviews of infrastructure projects.  Environmental reviews.  Waived.  So, if a project will contaminate the water source that serves a community of thousands of people … oh well.  If a project will completely eradicate a species of rabbits that live in its path … so what?  This is Donald Trump’s land, after all, Donald Trump’s water and air supplies … none of the rest of us matter one whit!

The stated goal is to fast-track big new infrastructure projects to boost the economy, but in truth it is yet another bonus for the fossil fuel industry.  Trump’s order directs federal agencies to look for ways to avoid time-consuming processes and build transportation and energy infrastructure, including highways, oil and gas pipelines, and fossil fuel export terminals.

Usually big projects like these require long approval processes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). President Nixon signed NEPA into law in 1970. It requires agencies to examine the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and consider alternatives. It also gives people a chance to see how a project might affect them and weigh in on what decision the government should make. If a project affects an endangered animal or plant the Endangered Species Act might also be involved.  Nixon may have been a crook, but he hads a hell of a lot more conscience than Trump has!


Another one takes a stand …

Grassley-1I am not a fan of Senator Chuck Grassley.  He has been in the U.S. Senate since January 1981, nearly 40 years, and before that he served six years in the House of Representatives.  He has an ‘A’ rating from the NRA, which tells you a lot right there, and after Trump took office and almost immediately fired James Comey, Grassley told people to “Suck it up and move on.” 

But yesterday, he did something that I have to applaud.  He announced that he is blocking Trump’s nominations of Christopher Miller to head the National Counterterrorism Center and Marshall Billingslea to be the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control and international security, pending explanations by Trump for the firing of a number of Inspectors General.  He said he will not allow consideration of Miller’s nomination to proceed until the White House provides answers on Trump’s firing in April of intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson.  In addition, he said Billingslea’s nomination cannot proceed until Trump explains why he terminated State Department inspector general Steve Linick last month.

In recent months (since February, when the Senate, including Grassley, gave Trump a free pass by refusing to convict him of the well-proven impeachment charges), Trump has fired five Inspectors General.  In addition to Atkinson and Linick, he has pushed out Glenn Fine, chairman of the federal panel Congress created to oversee his administration’s management of the government’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. He removed Christi Grimm as principal deputy inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, after Grimm’s office criticized the administration’s response to the pandemic. And he replaced the acting inspector general at the Department of Transportation.

Says Grassley …

“Though the Constitution gives the president the authority to manage executive branch personnel, Congress has made it clear that should the president find reason to remove an inspector general, there ought to be a good reason for it. The White House’s response failed to address this requirement, which Congress clearly stated in statute and accompanying reports.”

This time, anyway, I’m proud of Grassley … it apparently takes a lot of courage to stand up to the bully in the White House … courage that very few of them seem to have.


They’re spending our tax dollars on WHAT???

You remember that $2 trillion bill Congress passed back in late March?  Some taxpayers received $1,200 from the bill, some small businesses received some money, large chunks went to corporations affiliated with Trump & his cronies, but much of the money that was allocated to the Pentagon to “battle the coronavirus pandemic” has been spent on things that have literally not a damn thing to do with providing medical equipment or helping people in any way.

The Washington Post received a copy of the Pentagon’s spending plans to use the money.  To date, of the $10.5 billion they received, they have spent only $2.65 billion.  Most disturbing though, are some of the things they are spending the money on, such as submarine missile tubes, space launch facilities, and golf course staffing.  GOLF COURSE STAFFING???  And just what earthly purpose in battling the coronavirus pandemic do submarine missile tubes and space launch facilities have???  Are they going to torpedo the virus, or send those who contract the virus into outer space?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Take a look at the article in The Post  … it is guaranteed to make smoke start pouring out of your ears!

Discord & Dissension – Part XI -The Climate

The single most important issue in the 2020 election (apart from unseating Trump, of course) is climate change. We have stepped back 20 years in the last three years under Trump, and quite frankly, time is running out. The earth’s resources are finite and we are using them at an alarming rate. For this, Part XI of our series Discord & Dissension, Jeff discusses where we are, where we need to go, how we can get there, and what happens if we don’t.

On The Fence Voters

While the Republican and Democratic Parties disagree on most things these days, nothing epitomizes the significant divide more than does climate change. And it’s not just those who sit in Congress either. According to a recent Pew Research poll conducted in February of this year, among Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party, 78% said climate change should be a top priority.

However, among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, only 21% felt the same way. To put that in even more stark terms, Democrats view climate as a top priority by nearly three times that of Republicans.

And, it gets even worse when registered voters were asked whether climate change is a problem for the country today. 77% of Democrats/lean Democrat said yes, it was a huge problem, and 17% said it was a moderately big problem—a net of 94%. On the flip side, Republicans/lean Republican answered 13/27% for…

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The Purge Begins …

President Richard Nixon kept an “enemies list”, the purpose of which was to “screw” Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the Internal Revenue Service, and by manipulating “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”  According to then-White House counsel John Dean …

“This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration; stated a bit more bluntly—how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”

At one point, there were as many as 576 names on Nixon’s list.  Some have jokingly referred to Trump’s own ‘enemies list’.  It is no longer a joking matter.  While Nixon sought to punish his ‘enemies’ through such things as tax audits, Trump uses no subterfuge, no circuities.

In a 1992 interview with Charlie Rose, Donald Trump said …

“I love getting even when I get screwed by someone … Always get even. When you are in business you need to get even with people who screw you. You need to screw them back 15 times harder. You do it not only to get the person who messed with you but also to show the others who are watching what will happen to them if they mess with you. If someone attacks you, do not hesitate. Go for the jugular.”

 When he did a television program called The Apprentice, apparently his buzz line was “You’re fired!”  He used that three times yesterday, and unless I miss my guess, he intends to use it a few more times.

First, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was fired from his role as the top Ukraine policy officer on the National Security Council and was escorted from the White House.  At the same time, his brother Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman was also fired from his NSC job.

A few hours later, Trump ordered U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordan Sondland, recalled from his post and fired.

Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland’s only ‘crime’ was that they told the truth.  Both testified in the impeachment hearings held by the House last fall … an act Trump claims was ‘disloyal’ to him.  Funny that … I always believed that any government official’s loyalty was to the nation and to We the People, not to the person occupying the Oval Office.  Yevgeny’s only crime, apparently, was being Alexander’s brother.

The day after the Senate voted to acquit Trump of his crimes, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, who never holds press briefings, said …

“… how horribly he was treated, and maybe people should pay for that.”

It seems the Trump purge has begun.  Of the twelve people who testified against Trump in the impeachment hearings, only three remain in their positions:  David Holmes, a diplomat at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine; Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the Pentagon; and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state.  Will their heads roll next?

Others on his ‘enemies list’ no doubt include various members of Congress, starting with Mitt Romney, the only senator with the courage to vote to convict Trump on one of the articles of impeachment, Jerry Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Joe Manchin and others.  Since Trump cannot fire a member of Congress, one wonders how he plans to extract his ‘revenge’.  Think about this one for a few minutes, folks.  The aforementioned Stephanie Grisham stated earlier this week …

“Adam Schiff lied to Congress and the American people with a totally made up statement about the president’s phone call. Will there be no retribution?”

It should be noted that a threat was made on Adam Schiff’s life earlier this year.  And then there was this statement by Jeff Buckles, a police department assistant chief in the Alabama town of Geraldine …

“Pelosi just ripped up his speach [sic]. Road Side bomb on her way home and any other Dumbocrats.”

Hyperbole?  Probably, but troubling, nonetheless.  Remember Cesar Sayoc, who sent pipe bombs through the mail to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other democrats?  Remember Jarrod Ramos who shot and killed five employees at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis Maryland in 2018?  In the divisive atmosphere in this nation today, and with so many avid Trumpeters determined to keep their hero in office, and with more guns in the hands of civilians than there are people in the entire nation … what could possibly go wrong?  Trump has convinced his base, some 40% of adults in the nation, that he is their savior, that he is great and has made their lives somehow better.  He riles the masses at his rallies and in his speeches.  This is a toxic situation.

One report I read claims a “person in the know” said former national security advisor John Bolton is at or near the top of the list.  No doubt there are others, perhaps some in the press, perhaps some who testified but have already left the administration, such as Fiona Hill, the Europe policy chief at the National Security Council, and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine.

I don’t care if you identify as a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, or none of the above … you must be incensed by this purge!  This is not normal and we simply cannot turn a blind eye and allow it to become normal!  Never in my life did I imagine that this country would stoop so low, would become, in essence, a tin pot dictatorship, yet for all intents and purposes, that is what we have become.  It is a dark day for the United States.  Keep your eye on the ball, folks, for this is only the beginning.darkness

Discord & Dissension – Part II – “How did we get here? – Part 1”

As we promised last week, here is the first part of our project. We welcome all comments and suggestions and we hope you find this to be of value!

On The Fence Voters

Note to readers: This week’s post on our ‘Discord and Dissension’ project ended up being too long for a single post, and so it will be presented in two parts. This is the first part, the second will follow this afternoon. It seems we have a lot to say, and this is likely to happen from time to time. 😉

As my good friend Jill over at Filosofa’s Word pointed out in her excellent intro to this project last Friday, Wake Up America! 2020 is here, and if you thought 2016 was bad, buckle up your seat belts. Campaign 2020 promises to be one of the most divisive in history. As we speak, the current president of the United States is about to go on trial in the Senate for two articles of impeachment.

And he’s not happy about it.

But beyond the current chaos in Washington, our political…

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But Will He Leave?

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking, my friends.  While today, it looks unlikely that the Senate will vote to convict Donald Trump of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ and boot him out of office, I suspect that as the impeachment investigations turn up more and more skeletons, some republican senators may begin to have second thoughts about throwing their lot in with Trump.  The end result, by somewhere around mid-February of next year, may well be that he is not only impeached, but tried and convicted in the Senate, and removed from office.  Granted, this isn’t a likelihood, but is nonetheless a possibility.

But … what if he digs in and says, “Hell no, I won’t go!”?  What then?  This is uncharted territory, friends … we’ve never before had a president who alluded to staying in office longer than his two terms … Trump has made that statement more than once.  We’ve never before had a president who was so paranoid that he couldn’t handle even the slightest criticism.  We’ve never before had such a bully, such a manipulator, in the Oval Office.

And the concern goes beyond the threat of impeachment and conviction.  What happens when he loses the election next November?  Does he, as every other president in the history of this nation has done, quietly pack up and move out of the White House on 20 January 2021?  I can’t picture it.  There are 77 days between the election on November 3rd and the inauguration of (hopefully) a new president the following January 20th.  How do you think Trump will spend those 77 days?  Protocol would demand that he spend the time briefing the incoming president, wrapping up loose ends, aiding in the transition, but I don’t think anybody with half a brain believes that Trump would spend his time following that protocol.

I am not alone in this line of thinking.

An article in yesterday’s Foreign Policy, titled The Tyrannical Mr. Trump, posits that even if Trump is impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, he may well reject such a verdict as illegitimate.  A snippet from the article …

What were once only hints of anti-democratic tendencies have become clearer in recent weeks as news surfaced of Trump’s efforts to find dirt on Biden—allegedly holding Ukraine’s military aid hostage to this effort (and including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the call, as we’ve now learned). Trump appears to have ordered his administration—including, most recently, Pompeo—to defy congressional perquisites and subpoenas. He has insisted that he can do as he pleases and has abused any coherent interpretation of the Constitution, telling a crowd of young people in a July speech: “I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

Most political analysts cringed last week when Trump tweeted …

“As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!”

In 2016, Donald Trump waffled over whether he would accept the election results if he lost. Since then, Trump has repeatedly joked about staying in office beyond the two terms the Constitution allows. Jerry Falwell Jr., Trump’s most prominent evangelical supporter, has suggested Trump should get two years tacked on to his first term as “pay back” for the Mueller investigation. The president’s own former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has warned that “there will never be a peaceful transition of power” should Trump fail in his reelection bid.

Some have argued that the fears are ludicrous, noting there are too many forces working against a sitting president simply clinging to power — including history, law and political pressure.  Ordinarily, I would agree.  Up until 3 years ago, I would have agreed wholeheartedly.  But, there is nothing ‘ordinary’ about these times or this ‘president’, and almost all of the norms have been shredded already.  The Constitution has been trampled many times over by Trump, with Congress and the Courts being only partly able to rein him in.

At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, Trump said …

“We ran one time and we’re 1-and-0. But it was for the big one. Now we’re going to have a second time. And we’re going to have another one. And then we’ll drive them crazy. And maybe if we really like it a lot — and if things keep going like they’re going — we’ll go and we’ll do what we have to do. We’ll do a three and a four and a five.”

The stuff that nightmares are made of.  So, what happens if Trump is put out of office, either by impeachment or the vote in 2020?  What happens if he refuses to go?  One political scientist argues that the courts would evict him … okay, sure, but how would they physically remove him from office?  Who’s going to do that?  Will the FBI bring a swat team and physically drag him from the White House?  Will D.C.’s Metro Police?  Or, will the military be the ones who physically remove him?  And, perhaps the bigger question is, once he is removed, what does this fiasco do to an already polarized nation?

If Donald Trump had any integrity, any loyalty to the nation, he would have already stepped down, as did Richard Nixon in 1974.  But, he has already shown us time and time again that he has neither integrity nor loyalty to country, that he is completely self-serving, that he believes himself to be a supreme leader, above the law.  It is my hope that if there are any sane heads left in our intelligence services and military, and I believe there are, they are already quietly making plans for dealing with this eventuality.  Meanwhile, life goes on here inside the Trump circus.

Filosofa Rants …

Tonight I am on a rant.  I do know that what Trump actually does is more important than what he says, but … sometimes the two go hand-in-hand.  Now that a formal impeachment inquiry has been started, we fully expect him to go off the rails for the duration, and I’ve said before that he is even more dangerous when he feels threatened or cornered, as he surely must feel now.


Round and round it goes, where it stops no one knows

Ever since the news of the whistleblower was first hinted at, life for those of us who care about such things, has been rather like being in a high-speed blender … far too many goings-on to keep up with, far too many jaw-dropping moments.  And it just keeps getting crazier and crazier … I well remember the Watergate era, the resignation of President Richard Nixon … yes, I was a political nerd even then … I remember what would become known as the “Saturday Night Massacre”.  I remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the aftermath.  And through it all, I do not remember the level of chaos, of utter contempt for the rule of law, as we are seeing today.  And this is only the beginning!

The latest is that apparently Trump is trading a promise to the National Rifle Association (NRA) that he will not support any additional gun legislation in exchange for monetary assistance with his legal fees during the impeachment process and next year’s election.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a minute.

On Friday, Trump hosted Chief Executive of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, at the White House for a meeting.  The information was provided to the New York Times by two people who attended the meeting, but later an NRA spokesperson denied that there was an offer of support in exchange for Trump’s opposition to gun laws.  Sorry, but given the history of both Trump and LaPierre … I have no trouble whatsoever believing that they agreed to such a deal.  And what the heck else would they have talked about … the price of coffee beans?

The NRA, in case you’ve forgotten, provided some $30 million toward Trump’s election campaign in 2016 … if you wondered why he falls in line whenever the NRA calls and asks “How high?” when Wayne LaPierre tells him to “JUMP!”, wonder no more.

So, to summarize that … the lives of the people in this nation are as nothing to Trump, and he is willing to trade away our lives in exchange for financial help from the most dishonest group in the U.S.  Got that, folks?


In other Trumpian-news …

Donald Trump is about to face impeachment charges, in all likelihood.  He tried to blackmail the president of the Ukraine to rig next year’s election.  He has obstructed justice.  He is holding kids in cages at the southern border, despite an order by a federal judge to reunite those children with their parents.  He has diverted funds that were budgeted to help with recovery efforts for Puerto Rico still suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, in order to build a wall that nobody wants and that will serve no purpose other than to feed Trump’s ego.  But … what was the breaking news yesterday afternoon?

State Dept. intensifies email probe of Hillary Clinton’s former aides

That’s right, folks.  The United States Department of State is more worried about Hillary Clinton’s emails from several years ago … emails that were already investigated and it was determined that there was no crime, no breach of national security … than they are worried about the person in the Oval Office who is committing a crime-a-day, it would seem!  And on our tax dollars, folks … our hard-earned money is paying for the State Department to waste their time investigating a non-issue, while the most corrupt individual in this nation is playing footsies with the Russians and the Saudis, rigging next year’s election, and doing his best to shred the U.S. Constitution.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch … Ivanka Trump did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct U.S. business outside government channels, according to Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.  Is there some double-standard in play here?

Oh … and in case you didn’t hear a couple of weeks ago, Trump is urging the House Judiciary Committee to launch an investigation into President Obama!

Barack Obama signed a book deal in 2017, just as other former presidents have, and a production deal with Netflix a year later.  All on the up-and-up.  But Trump, under the gun himself, has to deflect … to anybody he can think of …

“We want to find out what happened with the last Democrat president. Let’s look into Obama, the way they’ve looked at me … They could look into the book deal that President Obama made. Look at the Obama Book Deal, or the ridiculous Netflix deal.”

Ridiculous?  Smoke and mirrors?  Sure, but … folks, this isn’t just some kid throwing a temper tantrum … it’s the person who was elected to lead a nation of some 330 million people, and this is what we get for our money?  I don’t know about you folks, but I feel cheated … terribly cheated.  We deserve better … much better.dump-trump

Ramblings …

I’m just trying to digest some of what is happening today, this week, and thought I’d share my thoughts with you all, see what your own thoughts are.

Yesterday, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died at age 99.  One of the things he will long be remembered for is his stance that a sitting president is not above the law.  In 1997, he wrote the opinion that Bill Clinton must face Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit because a sitting president does not have immunity from all civil lawsuits for actions when he was not in office.

In another case in 2006, Hamdan v Rumsfeld, he wrote: “The Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction.”  And in a recent interview, when asked how he viewed Trump’s abuse of power, Stevens said …

“The president is exercising powers that do not really belong to him. I mean, he has to comply with subpoenas and things like that.”

I may have a tribute to Justice Stevens later, but for now I am wondering … how has this nation changed so much from the days of Justice Stevens’ rulings?  Nixon tried to abuse the power of the office, and he was stopped both by Congress and the Supreme Court.  That was in 1974 … forty-five years ago.  What changed?

Sure, Trump is a bully who rules by instilling fear of his red-faced wrath, but frankly, his power, his authority, derives from We the People.  He has no power without the approval of Congress and the Court, and Congress derives their power from us.  Or at least, so the theory goes.  Which brings me to my next thought.

After the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Trump remarked that there were “very fine people” on both sides – one of those sides being white supremacists who had committed murder on that day.  Based on those remarks, his net approval rating dropped by 10%.  But this week, after his blatantly racist remarks … and yes, they were racist remarks … about four members of Congress, it turns out that his approval rating among republicans actually went up by 5%!

How can this be?

His approval rating among independents dropped a bit, thus his overall approval rating remains unchanged.  But … think about this.  Some people who did not approve of him a week ago, now like him because he denigrated lawmakers based on their ethnicity and the colour of their skin.  What does this say about us?

One thing it says is that the divisiveness of this nation is a division of values, or morals.  Certainly, that is not the only cause of the deep chasm between right and left, but it is part of it.  Apparently, there is a large contingent for whom money is more important than humanity, profit over people.  But, I wonder … does it also say that the white supremacists, those who believe their Caucasian ancestry makes them somehow ‘better’ than the rest of us, are gaining momentum?  Are their numbers growing, and if so … why?  What has changed?

And where does this lead us? Are those who support Trump, not in spite of but because of his bluster, his arrogance, his racism, willing to hand him the keys to the kingdom, willing to allow him complete power to rule with impunity?  For it seems to me that is the direction this country is headed.  Those of us who are not without conscience are demeaned and mocked, told “if you don’t like it, leave”.  Trump has taken the law into his own hands and dared any to challenge him.

The democrats in Congress are divided, not because any are enamoured of Trump, but simply because this situation is without precedent and they are not sure which way to turn.  It’s understandable, but unfortunate, for we need them to be unified in the fight to keep this nation from becoming an authoritarian regime.  They are the last, best hope to force accountability, but instead they sit on their thumbs because they cannot agree on how best to proceed.

It disturbs me to see what is happening in this country today.  It makes me sad that not only do we have more corruption in the upper echelons of our government than perhaps ever before, but that the people of this nation are willing to turn a blind eye.  I don’t understand it, but it flies in the face of the premises on which the nation was founded.  Where do we go from here?Text dividers

♫ We Didn’t Start The Fire ♫

This Billy Joel song was mentioned twice in comments recently, by Keith and Ellen.  The lyrics are a stream of consciousness list of more than 100 events that Joel felt his generation was not responsible for. Many of the references are to the Cold War (U.S. vs. Russia), a problem his generation inherited.

we-didnt-start-fire

Joel says he got the idea for the song after a conversation with his friend, Sean Lennon, son of Beatle John Lennon, on the event of Sean’s 21st birthday, .  The conversation went like this:

Lennon: It’s a terrible time to be 21!

Joel: Yeah, I remember when I was 21 – I thought it was an awful time and we had Vietnam, and y’know, drug problems, and civil rights problems and everything seemed to be awful.

Lennon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but it’s different for you. You were a kid in the fifties and everybody knows that nothing happened in the fifties.

Joel: Wait a minute, didn’t you hear of the Korean War or the Suez Canal Crisis?

According to Joel …

I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said “Okay, what’s happened in my life?” I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 … It’s one of the worst melodies I’ve ever written. I kind of like the lyric though.

Musically, the song does leave something to be desired.  Blender magazine rated this the 41st worst song ever in its 2004 article “Run for Your Life! It’s the 50 Worst Songs Ever!” Comparing it to “a term paper scribbled the night before it’s due.”

But the song carries a message, and that overrides the flaws in the composition, at least for me it does.

My thanks to Keith and Ellen for reminding me of this song and its message …

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”

Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho”, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Songwriters: Billy Joel
We Didn’t Start the Fire lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group