A Class Act — Ilhan Omar

It has nothing to do with how much money a person has, nor does it relate to a person’s position in society.  You cannot purchase it … you either have it, or you don’t.  Barack and Michelle Obama both have it in spades.  Donald and Melania Trump do not.  What is it, you ask?  It is a thing called ‘class’.

U.S. House Representative Ilhan Omar has this thing called class. ilhan-omarMs. Omar has been the target of some of the most vicious racist and Islamophobic threats and verbal attacks imaginable.  Why?  Because she is a Muslim, because the ‘man’ who is masquerading as president of this nation has instilled a fear of ‘other’ into some 40% of our population and has, in fact, launched a personal attack against Ms. Ilhan.

And yet through it all, she has retained her grace and dignity.

Back in March, Patrick W. Carlineo Jr. of Addison, New York, called Ms. Ilhan’s D.C. office and spoke to a staff member …

“Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”

patrick-carlineoOn Monday, November 18th, Mr. Carlineo pleaded guilty to threatening to assault and murder the freshman congresswoman and for being a felon in possession of firearms.  He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Carlineo hates Muslims and even went so far as to tell the FBI when they began their investigation into him, “if our forefathers were still alive, they’d put a bullet in her head”.

Ms. Ilhan, whose life he threatened, however asks for compassion for the man …

“We must apply a system of compassion to criminal justice. Who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves?”

This, folks, is class.  It is compassion.  It is human decency.

Although she had just turned 19 when, on 11 September 2001, 19 Middle-Eastern terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, some have sought to place the blame, by extension, on her shoulders.  Trump himself re-tweeted an obnoxious tweet several months ago that falsely claimed she was seen partying in the aftermath of 9/11.  And, in the West Virginia State Capitol, a poster was at a table in the Capitol’s rotunda …ilhan-omar-911The poster led to a brawl outside the House of Delegates that eventually spilled into the chamber, where at least one person was injured.  The body’s sergeant at arms submitted a letter of resignation at the end of the day after being accused of a making an anti-Muslim slur during the dispute.

And then in August, Ms. Omar received an anonymous death threat …ilhan-omar-death-threatThis was shortly after Trump said that Ms. Omar and three other Congresswomen of colour should “go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”, and then-Senate candidate from Alabama, Roy Moore, echoed Trump, saying “… Trump was right, she should go back to Somalia from whence she came”.  When such ugly talk comes from our politicians, especially the faux president, is it really any wonder she receives death threats?

And that brings us to this week, when her republican challenger in next year’s election, Daniella Stella, got herself and her campaign banned from Twitter for her hateful tweets.  On Tuesday, she posted …

“If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged.”

And she followed up with an image of a stick-figure being hanged.  Her reference to Ms. Omar passing “sensitive info to Iran” stems from a conspiracy theory started by Canadian businessman Alan Bender who has links to the Saudi government, and he implicates everyone from Jared Kushner to Ty Cobb to Ms. Omar.  The story has been proven false, yet apparently Ms. Stella failed to get that memo.

Danielle-StellaThis is not the first time that Daniella Stella has come onto my radar.  Back in July, I wrote a snippet about her having been arrested twice for shoplifting, and once for trying to outrun the police when they stopped her for driving drunk!  She is also a supporter of the conspiracy group QAnon, if that tells you anything.  I don’t think Ilhan Omar needs to worry overly much about keeping her seat next year, if Ms. Stella is the best the Republican Party of Minnesota has to offer!

I began this post talking about class.  What is class, exactly?  It can be a lot of things – being kind and compassionate, being calm in the face of adversity, walking away from a fight.  Class is one of those things that … you know it when you see it.  Class is definitely not defined by racism or any other form of bigotry.  It is not defined by cruelty.  Those who would attack Ms. Ilhan Omar simply because of her ethnicity, her religion, or the fact that she is a woman, are the ones who have no class.  Ms. Ilhan Omar has more of it in her little finger than Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Daniella Stella, and Patrick Carlineo combined.

Note to readers:  Saturday Surprise will return next week … probably.

Monsters, Monsters Everywhere

There are monsters everywhere we look in the federal government today.  Those who are opening their mouths to say, “But it has always been so”, just hush, please.  Sure, every administration has had a few corrupt members, some more than others.  But the current administration is the most corrupt in history, and that is only based on what we know!  I think that once they are gone and the digging begins, we will find many dead bodies that we are not aware of yet.  But I’m not talking about corruption at the moment, I am talking about monsters …

It isn’t only the corruption, but the sheer lack of any shred of conscience or humanity in most of Trump’s administration, from his hired bimbo Kellyanne, to his senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.  Look into their eyes … nothing.  No warmth, no sign of life.  And at the top of the monster chain is none other than Trump himself.  But today I write about other monsters …

Trampling the Constitution … again

Trump & Co are at it again, this time attempting to shut down journalists whose reporting is unfavourable to Trump.  A group of Trump allies has begun a program to start dossiers on these journalists consisting of basically any dirt, real or imagined, they can dig up on them, including potentially embarrassing personal social media postings.  According to the New York Times

The group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects.

Operatives have closely examined more than a decade’s worth of public posts and statements by journalists, the people familiar with the operation said. Only a fraction of what the network claims to have uncovered has been made public, the people said, with more to be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up. The research is said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president.

The information unearthed by the operation has been commented on and spread by officials inside the Trump administration and re-election campaign, as well as conservative activists and right-wing news outlets such as Breitbart News.

This is very shaky ground they are treading upon.  Be afraid, people, be very afraid.  Trump has trampled the Constitution multiple times already, has declared himself to be above the law, and sadly the Department of Justice is now headed by a Trump sycophant who will not pursue any action against Trump.  The 1st Amendment, perhaps most especially the free exercise clause guaranteeing freedom of the press, is the major safeguard from becoming an autocracy.  It isn’t, as some would tell you, the Second Amendment keeping us free … it is the First.

Though the Times was unable to identify all the members of the group, one such member is noted as Arthur Schwartz, a friend to both Don Trump Junior and Steve Bannon.

A monster re-surfaces …

“On this day, August 25, 2019, after consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be reelected Sheriff. Watch out world! We are back!”Arpaio-2Those were the words spoken on Sunday by the man who was convicted of contempt of court, who has engaged in racial profiling and crimes against humanity, former Maricopa Country, Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio.  In case you’ve forgotten, Arpaio …

  • engaged in “unconstitutional policing” and established a “pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos”
  • failed to investigate over 400 alleged sexual assault cases reported to his office, including dozens of child molestations between 2005 and 2007 alone
  • arrested a 6-year-old child during an immigration sweep
  • arrested a reporter from The Phoenix New Times for reporting on him in an unfavourable light (The Times sued and won a $3.75 million settlement)
  • refused to comply with a previous court order to stop racially profiling, and was found guilty of contempt in July 2017
  • Was convicted of contempt of court and faced a prison sentence, but Donald Trump pardoned him on 25 August 2017

Despite the pardon, Arpaio is a convicted felon and a rotten-to-the-core excuse for a human being.  Surely the people of Maricopa Country cannot be stupid enough to elect him again???

And yet another monster rears its ugly head …

moore-4You remember ol’ Roy Moore, right?  Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama who was removed from the bench for breaking the very laws he had sworn to uphold … not once, but twice!  Ol’ Roy Moore made his own rules, refusing to remove the granite Ten Commandments monument from a federal government building, and the second time for issuing an order to Alabama judges to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the same-sex marriage case of Obergefell v Hodges.

In 2017, he ran against democrat Doug Jones for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, and lost, largely because numerous credible accusations of sexual harassment emerged during that time, the most heinous one by a woman who says Moore sexually abused her when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney and she was only 14 years of age.

In the weeks that followed, Moore called into question the accuser’s character, saying she was a part of a “liberal conspiracy”.  The woman, Leigh Corfman, filed a defamation of character suit which is still pending.  And now, ol’ Roy is running once again for the U.S. Senate, and he wants the court to dismiss Ms. Corfman’s suit so that it doesn’t cause him problems with the voters in Alabama.

Moore’s senate bid is unlikely to gain much momentum, even without the shame of having been accused of such misconduct, for he has raised far less in campaign donations than his two opponents.  Doug Jones has raised some $4.3 million, Bradley Byrne has raised around $2.4 million, and Roy Moore has raised a paltry $16,000.  However, the mere fact that his arrogance allows him to believe he is fit for any office higher than that of garbage collector is appalling.

To offset the darkness of this post, I bring you just a little bit of humour …

Saturday Surprise Is On Temporary Hiatus …

Once again, I must put Saturday Surprise on hiatus for this week.  Sorry folks, but I will try to bring it back next week.  Meanwhile, I have a couple of things that I came across in the last day or two that have me … well, filled with a snarky attitude, and you know what that means …snarky-toon

Rerun in Alabama …

First up … good ol’ racist, twice de-throned federal judge, and sexual abuser Roy Moore is back in the running … once again for a seat in the U.S. Senate, once again challenging Doug Jones, who won the special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ senate seat in 2017.  According to Moore …

“I will run for the U.S. Senate in 2020. Can I win? Yes, I can win. They know I can. That’s why there’s so much opposition.”

moore-3However, thus far I have only read of opposition to his candidacy, even from Trump!  The GOP plans to do everything in their power to block his candidacy.  Even ol’ Turtle-head Mitchell McConnell is opposed to Roy’s candidacy.  A few of the objectors …

“Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men.” – Republican Senator Martha McSally of Arizona (I’m not a fan of Ms. McSally, but I LOVED this comment!)

“The people of Alabama are smarter than that. They certainly didn’t choose him last time, why would they choose him this time?” – Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado

“Roy Moore is going against my father and he’s doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country in the process.” – Don Trump, Jr., a nobody

“We’ll be opposing Roy Moore vigorously.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

AlabamaNow, one would think that it’s a no-brainer Moore won’t even get the republican nomination, let alone win the general election against Doug Jones, right?  But wait … it’s Alabama, folks.  They nominated him last time, despite credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors.  Despite having been thrown off the judicial bench, not once but twice, for failure to uphold the law, putting his personal beliefs above the law of the land.  Alabamans do not care if Donald Trump has cheated on three wives and sexually abused minors, they don’t care if Roy Moore has done the same.  Alabamans want whoever will guard their precious anti-LGBT and anti-abortion views, and nothing else matters to them.

According to an analysis in FiveThirtyEight

Moore still has a passionate base of support, particularly among conservative evangelical Christians. So the main question for his candidacy moving forward will be whether he can attract voters beyond his base.

As things stand, he could have enough backing to reach a primary runoff — Alabama requires a nominee to win a majority of the primary vote or the top-two candidates must face off in a subsequent election. However, while Moore would probably struggle to win the majority support necessary to advance to the general election, others in the field might have weaknesses Moore could exploit.

moore-4In other words … yes, Roy Moore could conceivably win the republican nomination, and could win the election against Jones, for Alabama is a heavily republican state that heavily supports Trump.  As I said, their prejudices are more important to them than the welfare of the nation.

Dear Alabamans:  While your holier-than-though bigotry may drive you to tolerate such an ass as Mr. Moore, please note that you do NOT have the right to inflict his brand of racist misogyny on the rest of the nation … we already have one such creature sitting in the Oval Office, and one is one too many.  If you want him, then make him a state senator, but do not under any circumstances send him to Washington D.C.

Where are they hiding?

There is a bill under consideration in the Oregon state legislature that would limit greenhouse gas emissions and would require carbon-producing businesses to purchase pollution credits.  Over time, the state would decrease the number of credits available, thereby lowering the level of emissions allowed.  It is just the sort of bill that is needed in every state in the union, or better yet, at the federal level, but … sigh … we have Donald Trump up there.

Long story short, the republican lawmakers in Oregon didn’t like the bill, just as republicans everywhere in this nation seem opposed to such things as clean air, potable water, safe and healthy food … or in other words, a livable planet.  They apparently felt so strongly about it that rather than simply vote against the bill, which would have passed anyway, for the democrats in Oregon hold a supermajority (2/3 or more), these republicans simply went away.  Yep, the cowards left the state.

The republicans claim that their fear is the passage of the bill would increase fuel costs, affecting the trucking and logging industries.  Oh well, says I. 🤷 The trucking industry is a large contributor to carbon emissions, and the logging industry is decimating our forests, thus further destroying our environment, so I have zero empathy for either.

The republicans’ presence is requisite to achieve a quorum, without which the bill cannot be voted on.  So, they fled in dereliction of their duty to their constituents.  But … Governor Kate Brown had an ace, or what appeared to be an ace, up her sleeve … she called the police!  She instructed the Oregon State Police to track down and round up any lawmakers on the lam, an order that authorizes authorities to put the elected officials in patrol cars and drive them back to the Capitol in Salem.


Governor Kate Brown with student climate activists

One big, bad senator, Brian Boquist, threatened violence, saying …

“Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”

BrianBoquistResistsOooooohhh … hear me quaking in my shoes?  Sheesh … and these ‘men’ are supposedly intelligent enough to have been elected to the State Senate?  What were Oregonians thinking?  Are they no brighter than the Alabamans?

And the next thing that happened was that right-wing militia groups began mobilizing across the entire Pacific-Northwest to prevent the State Police from arresting the senators!  That’s right … you heard me right … the thugs are going to fight the cops to protect the men who are trying to speed up the destruction of our planet, in a nutshell.  Sounds vaguely like a Sci-Fi flick, doesn’t it?  What could possibly go wrong, eh?  Another right-wing militia group, this one in Idaho where it is believed the senators are hiding out, is working with the Oregon group.  Said spokespersons of Real Three Percenters Idaho …

“We’re doing what we can to make sure that they’re safe and comfortable.  We will stand together with unwavering resolve, doing whatever it takes to keep these Senators safe.”

So … I guess these senators, like the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, are above the law?  It’s just the ‘little people’ like you and me who are obliged to follow the law, and expected to give an honest day’s work for a day’s pay.  When the heck are people going to wake up and understand that we are burning down our home???  All this game playing is … it is criminal … it is murder!

What?  I’m over 1,200 words already?  But … but I was just getting started … I had at least three more snippets!  Okay, fine … I shall return soon with the other three, and I shall try to be less verbose in he future … though I make no promises.  Have a happy weekend, and hopefully Saturday Surprise will return next Saturday.

Snippy Snarkets … er … Snarky Snippets

These days trying to keep up with the news is a full-time job, and just a bit overwhelming most days.  The insanity that defines the Trump administration may be contagious, for lately I’ve been doing really stupid things, like … well, never mind … I’m not going to give you that weapon to use against me some day when I least expect it.  Anyway, two stories today gave rise to these snarky snippets …

Fox is doing what???

Fox-News-logoOkay, folks, I want you to be sure you’re sitting down for this one.  I also suggest you keep a hand firmly planted on your chin to keep your jaw from dropping to the ground.  I swear I am not making this up, but next week, Fox ‘News’ will be airing an ad by republicans that calls for the impeachment of Donald Trump!  Are you still with me, or have you fainted?

Turns out there is a conservative group called Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL) that has developed an ad calling for politicians to stand up to the president.  Who knew?  And to add insult to injury, they will be airing the ad on none other than Trump’s favourite show, Fox and Friends.  According to Chris Truax, a spokesman for RRL …

“Everybody — Republicans and Democrats but especially Republicans — need to step up and say, ‘Look, this is bigger than the politics of the day, this is about our democratic institutions.’ If we don’t defend them, that will have an impact on our country for decades to come. President Trump still does not want to admit that this happened and that’s wrong, absurd and dangerous. Republicans need to stop enabling this behavior.”

When I read this, I had to do a quick check of my calendar to make sure it isn’t April 1st, for I was sure this must be a joke.  The 30 second clip, set to air next week, will feature clips from Robert Mueller’s statement yesterday. The spot will end with the line, “Mueller did his job, now it’s time for members of Congress to do theirs.”

How encouraging to know that there are some republicans who are not enamoured of Donald Trump and are willing to put the welfare of the nation ahead of personal gain.

I literally laughed when I heard this and wish I could see Trump’s face when he sees it.  Or, perhaps his aides will find a way to distract him or ‘accidentally’ turn off the television just before the ad comes on, like they covered up the USS John S. McCain so that Trump would not see it and become upset.

Not again???

roy-mooreRemember Roy Moore, the former Alabama judge who ran for Senate against democrat Doug Jones in a 2017 special election?  He, along with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, remind me of the Energizer bunny … they just don’t know when to quit, but keep on going … and going … and going.  Roy is planning another run at the senate seat next year.

As you’ll recall, Moore has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with at least nine women, two of whom were underage at the time.  He was suspended not once, but twice from the Alabama Supreme Court.  Moore is the classic definition of a jerk.  The strangest thing is that, while he did lose the 2017 election to Jones, it was by a very narrow margin.  So, apparently in Alabama, it doesn’t much matter whether you have morals or a conscience, as long as you’re a republican.

Trump initially supported Moore in 2017, then backed off when the sexual accusations started coming to light.  So, what is Trump’s take on Moore’s current bid?

“Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama. This time it will be for Six Years, not just Two. I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win. But he didn’t, and probably won’t.  …If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories. Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating….Judges and Supreme Court Justices!”

His reason for being against Moore running is not because Moore is not a person of conscience, or because Moore is a racist and a sexual predator, but only because he thinks Moore cannot win, and to Trump winning is the only thing that matters.  Returning Jones to the Senate in next year’s election would possibly mess up little Donnie’s grand plans for the further destruction of the U.S.!

Moore was not happy with Trump’s response and fired back.

“The president doesn’t control who votes for the United States Senate in Alabama. People in Alabama are smarter than that. They elect the senator from Alabama, not from Washington, D.C.”

The frightening thing is that Moore continues, despite his abhorrent behaviours, to have a large following and could actually win the republican nomination.  Moore is 72 years old and would be 74 by the time he took his seat in the Senate if he were to win.  We do not need any more rich, bigoted, old men in Congress!!!

And thus concludes today’s supply of snark.  Have a great whatever-day-it-is!

Head-Shakers …

I don’t know about you guys, but I need a just a tiny break from this week’s relevant news stories that are swirling in a mad maelstrom of colours rather like a Picasso painting gone awry.  And so, this afternoon, I give you two almost completely irrelevant stories that gave me cause to shake my head and roll my eyes.  🙄

I am somewhat of a dud when it comes to pop culture these days.  I don’t watch television, for I far prefer to read, and I have little enough “me-time” as it is. So I am not ‘up’ on the latest in entertainment.  For the past few months, a name kept crossing my radar, but I ignored it, for it didn’t seem apropos of anything.  But now, this person is being sued by Roy Moore, so my curiosity is piqued.  Thus, I was drawn to Google where I typed in “who is sacha baron cohen”.

Per Wikipedia:

sacha baron cohen“Sacha Noam Baron Cohen (born 13 October 1971) is a British actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film producer. He is best known for creating and portraying fictional characters Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno, and Admiral General Aladeen. Like his idol Peter Sellers, he adopts a variety of accents and guises for his characters and rarely appears out of character.

In most of his routines, Baron Cohen’s characters interact with unsuspecting people, documentary style, who do not realise they are being set up for comic situations and self-revealing ridicule.”

Okay … so, just what did he do to annoy former judge and pedophile Roy Moore?  Well, apparently Moore accepted an invitation to appear on Cohen’s show, Who Is America, because he “thought he was receiving an award for supporting Israel.”  Now wait … Moore was a federal judge for years … surely the man cannot be so bloomin’ stupid as to believe that a comedian, known for setting people up to make fun of them, would be awarding him for supporting Israel!  According to The Guardian …

“In the segment Baron Cohen appeared as the bushy-eyebrowed faux counter-terrorism instructor “Colonel Erran Morad” discussing bogus military technology, including a supposed paedophile detector. The device repeatedly beeped as it got near Moore, who sat stone-faced.”

moore-cohenSo, why didn’t he get up and leave when he figured out that he was the brunt of the joke?  Not that he wasn’t getting what he deserved, but still … he had the option to get up and walk out.  The lawsuit asks for $95 million in punitive and compensatory damages for “defamation and emotional distress”.  Awwww … pobrecito!  First, he was stupid enough to get suckered into going on the show, and then he just sat there like a bump on a log while being insulted, and now he wants to collect $95 million!!!

Remember back in 2016 on the campaign trail when things got ugly? Oh yeah … that’s right … the entire fiasco was ugly, wasn’t it?  But there were a few that stood out, like the feud between Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.  Trump kept mocking Rubio, who stands only 5’9”, calling him “Little Marco”, and so finally in March 2016, Little Marco decided to reciprocate by saying of Trump …

“He is taller than me, he’s like 6′ 2″, which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5′ 2”. Have you seen his hands? And you know what they say about men with small hands — “

Anyway … to the point … turns out “Little Marco” is a tough guy after all.  After attending a Senate intelligence committee hearing yesterday, Rubio was being interviewed by reporters in the hallway.  Alex Jones happened to be in the same place at the same time and he was heckling and harassing, interrupting the questions, and then, he … touched Rubio on the shoulder!  GASP!!!  And that touch led to … The Confrontation:

Rubio:  “Hey, don’t touch me again, man. I’m asking you not to touch me again.”

Jones:  “Sure, I just patted you nicely.”

Rubio:  “But I don’t want to be touched. I don’t know who you are.”

Jones:  “You want me to get arrested.”

Rubio:  “You’re not going to get arrested. I’ll take care of you myself.”

alex-jones-marco-rubioWow … who knew he had it in him?  Jones, by this time out of patience, proceeded to call Rubio a few choice names like “little frat boy,” “snake-like” and a “gangster thug.”  Heh heh heh … don’t you just love the maturity here?  Now, personally I don’t much like being touched by strangers, and if Alex Jones ever so much as looked like he was going to touch me, he would be on the ground holding his nethers in a heartbeat, but then, I’m not a senator.

And that’s it for now … I’ll be back later!  T.G.I.F.  (Please don’t disabuse me of the notion)

The Power of a Woman!

Ryan Cherwinski got more than he bargained for at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s pizzeria in Savannah, Georgia last week!  And I have to say, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.  As he was leaving the restaurant, he decided to ‘cop a feel’ and grab the derrière that was attached to and owned by waitress Emelia Holden.  Bad move, bucko.  Look what happened …

As you can see, she didn’t even think twice about it …

“I was like nope, that’s not going to happen. It felt a lot longer than it was, but then watching it I realized how quickly I reacted to it. I’m 115 pounds. … I didn’t know I could do that.”

Holden asked a co-worker to call the police. After speaking to Holden and watching the surveillance footage, the Savannah Police Department arrested Cherwinski, took him into custody and charged him with sexual battery.

“I was really satisfied when he was arrested. It not only felt like justice for me but justice for the other women who have had that happen.”

Now, I am not condoning violence here, okay?  Some are probably thinking, “But Filosofa, we thought you were against violence?”  I am, however, in this case, I think it was fully justified.  Personally, I do not like being touched by a stranger and would likely have acted similarly. Women were not, contrary to what some like Donald Trump believe, put on this earth to be a plaything for the male race.  With one possible exception, no man I know would dream of making unsolicited physical advances toward a woman.  But, recent studies have shown that women who work in low-wage restaurant jobs are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment.

Jocelyn Frye, who researches women’s economic security at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington, found this year that workers in food services and retail filed more than three times as many claims as employees in higher-paying fields of finance and insurance. Frye also found nearly three quarters of those filing sexual harassment complaints also reported retaliation.

A 2014 report from the Restaurant Opportunities center also found two-thirds of female restaurant workers were sexually harassed by restaurant management, by their co-workers and by customers. A third of women reported that unwanted touching was routine.

This is simply wrong.  The #MeToo movement went viral last October and has continued to grow beyond its origins in Hollywood to the fields of science, religion, medicine, sports, academia and politics.  It is time to bring it to the retail & food service industries. Emelia-HoldenMs. Holden was brave, and likely very fortunate that the restaurant’s security camera was in the right place at the right time and recorded the incident, otherwise it would have been a matter of “her word against his”, and Mr. Cherwinski initially tried to claim that his hand accidentally brushed her as he walked by her.  The video shows otherwise.  If there had been no video?  I’m willing to bet that Cherwinski would have reported the incident to restaurant management and Ms. Holden would have lost her job, while Cherwinski would have been given coupons for a free meal or two.  The tendency seems to believe the man over the woman.

The #MeToo movement has heightened our awareness.  I don’t think most of us realized how wide spread the problem of sexual abuse was until last year.  I certainly didn’t, and I am constantly amazed, befuddled and disgusted by the people who thought they had a right to take advantage of a woman just because they could.  Because the woman relied on them for a job, in many cases.  This is a crime against women, and there should be no doubt of that.  BUT … when the president of the country has proudly admitted to sexually abusing women, and has not been held accountable either in the courts or in the court of popular opinion, it sends the message to some that it must be okay.  Even evangelical Christians, when asked how they reconcile his behaviour with their own values, rationalize that “God has forgiven him”.

There are others in our federal government who, rather than set a positive example, have chosen to ignore social norms and denigrate women:  former Judge Roy Moore who ran for U.S. Senate last year, was credibly accused of pedophilia; Blake Farenthold, former representative from Texas; Trent Franks, former representative from Arizona; Al Franken, former senator from Minnesota; John Conyers, former representative from Michigan.  And the list goes on and on.  These are men who make the laws, men we all trust to ensure equality, and they cannot even keep wee willy winkie put away!  ENOUGH!!!

For far too long, women have been afraid to come forth, afraid to tell, afraid not to succumb to men’s sexual aggression.  I applaud the move taken by Ms. Holden and hope it serves as an example for women everywhere that we do not have to put up with this!

(Sour) Cream of the Crop — Part III

Corey-StewartHis name is Corey Stewart.  He is a white supremacist and he is the GOP nominee for senator from Virginia in November.   Remember back in 2015 when Trump warned of ‘bad hombres’?  Well, Corey Stewart is just one such bad hombre.  But guess what?  Donald Trump is supporting Stewart’s campaign.  Surprised, aren’t you?

Where to start?

On July 15, 2017, Stewart announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate seat currently held by Democrat Tim Kaine. He promised a “very vicious, ruthless race,” claiming that Republicans “are looking for a more aggressive populist candidate.”  The GOP doesn’t particularly like him, and in fact the Republican Party of Virginia was said to be trying to find a way to block his nomination at the end of 2017.  On the other hand, he has the support of such bigots and fools as Jerry Falwell, Laura Ingraham, Steve Bannon, and of course Trump himself. corey-stewart-2Last night, Stewart won the GOP nomination, and today republicans fear that his nomination will adversely affect other republicans running for office in Virginia.  Former Republican lieutenant governor Bill Bolling said, “I am extremely disappointed that a candidate like Corey Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. This is clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved and proudly served. Every time I think things can’t get worse they do, and there is no end in sight.”

Let me list just a few of Stewart’s more egregious points:

  • In a tweet on December 8, 2017, Stewart drew criticism for reviving the birther conspiracy by suggesting that former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and Roy Moore accuser Beverly Nelson’s yearbook were forgeries.

  • Following a vote in the Virginia House of Delegates to expand Medicaid in February 2018, Stewart led an event outside the Virginia State Capitol where he held up rolls of toilet paper and called Republicans who voted for the measure “flaccid” and “garbage”.

  • Stewart led the successful effort to reduce Prince William County’s concealed-carry handgun permit fee, reducing the overall cost to lawful handgun owners from $50 to the state minimum of $15.

  • Stewart raffled off an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in January of 2017, and he praised the weapon as “a good rifle.” He posted on Twitter in March of 2018 that the gun — which was used in horrific mass shootings, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — was actually less deadly than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

  • He supports ‘Constitutional carry’ in Virginia, which would enable law-abiding citizens to conceal carry handguns without a permit.

  • In March 2017, Stewart admitted that he and his campaign had been editing his Wikipedia page since at least May 2014 to remove unflattering information and add positive spin, through at least two registered accounts.

  • He is a staunch defender of Civil War monuments and has gone so far as to say that anyone who wants to take them down is “like ISIS”.

  • Last night at his ‘victory’ party, he had his fans chanting that tired old chant, “lock her up”, referring to Hillary Clinton, and then he added that his democratic opponent, incumbent Tim Kaine, should also go to prison (no reason offered), saying, “That might just happen, by the way. And Timmy too. Oh, we’re going to have a lot of fun between now and November, folks!”

As if all of that weren’t bad enough, he has claimed Paul Nehlen to be his “personal hero”.  Nehlen, you may remember from my post of January 9th, is the Wisconsin candidate who is an extreme white supremacist, and who supported the likes of Roy Moore and was a major proponent of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, among others.

Stewart, predictably, condemns his fellow republicans who spoke out against the white supremacist march in Charlottesville last August.

Trump, naturally, had a professional and dignified response to Stewart’s nomination win last night …trump tweet re stewartA “total stiff”?  Didn’t most of us stop with the name-calling along about junior high school?

The good news is that he will be running against Senator Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, and Kaine has a relatively strong approval rating in the state.  Conversely, Donald Trump’s approval rating in Virginia is a low 37%.  I am not going to jinx Kaine by saying that I don’t think Stewart stands a tadpole’s chance in the desert, but if … and it’s a big if … the trend of common sense and values that Virginians have shown of late persists, I see Kaine coming out on top in November.

There was a time I would have referred to Stewart as an insignificant circus clown, but that was in the days before Trump, the days before all forms of bigotry and hate came to be considered acceptable behaviour by the masses.  Corey Stewart is pond scum an undesirable choice to sit in Congress, and does not belong in the United States Senate.  Let us hope the voters in Virginia remember that on November 6th.

Roy Moore’s Clone?

Last December when former judge Roy Moore was defeated in his bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate, many applauded and said it was a sign that Alabamans were finally awake, that there was a turnaround in the south, the nation.  Though I applauded Moore’s loss, I wasn’t so sure it was a sign of change, since Moore only lost to Doug Jones by a narrow margin, 1.7% or only 22,819 votes. Moore, an accused pedophile, a disgraced judge who had twice been thrown off the judicial bench for failing to uphold the law, and a homophobic bigot, should have been defeated by a landslide, if there were truly a change of heart among Alabama voters.  I did not then, and still do not see Moore’s loss as a sign of a blue wave, or that Alabamans have changed their way of thinking.

As evidence, a former top aide to Moore, Tom Parker, an associate justice on the Alabama Supreme Court since 2004, has been nominated by the Alabama GOP to become Alabama’s the next chief justice.  Parker is very nearly a clone of Roy Moore.

tom parker-2Like Moore, Parker holds a deep animus against the LGBT community, and he believes that his judicial decisions should be driven by his conservative religious beliefs. Parker once compared a federal judge, who ruled against the now-defunct ban on gay members of the military serving openly, to Al-Qaeda. He also wrote a judicial opinion claiming that the Supreme Court’s decision permitting same-sex couples to marry “conclusively demonstrates that the rule of law is dead.”

Take a look at Parker’s campaign ad …

In one case in 2016, referring to the Supreme Court decision supporting same-sex marriage, Parker said …

“But in regard to the Obergefell decision, where it’s clear that they jumped outside of all the precedents in order to impose their will on this country, that yes, resisting that decision could maybe start a revival of what we need in this country to return to our founding principles.”

But homophobia isn’t his only fatal flaw.  In 2004, Parker was photographed handing out Confederate flags at a funeral.  Take a look at the photo …Parker et al

See the two men on either side of him?  They are Leonard Wilson, a board member of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, which describes black people as a “retrograde species of humanity”; and Mike Whorton, a leader with the League of the South, which advocates for the secession of Southern states.

Parker was pleased when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) criticized him based on the company he keeps, saying he “must be doing the right things” if the organization was upset at him. He said the SPLC was “the most liberal, politically correct law firm in the country, and they have fought virtually every attempt in our state to acknowledge God, who is the source of our rights.”  Ever hear of separation of church and state, Mr. Parker?

The SPLC also filed a complaint against Parker in 2015 after he went on a radio show as a sitting judge to advocate that state courts resist the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

Parker’s 2016 Supreme Court campaign was supported by another ally and neo-Confederate, Michael Peroutka, who travels the country preaching about merging the Bible, the Constitution and Confederate values.

If we think that Roy Moore’s defeat last December was  indicative of a future wave of voters against racism, against bigotry … think again, for Parker won the primary against incumbent Lyn Stuart …parker ballotpedia

Granted it isn’t a huge margin, but the fact that he won, the fact that he had 241,000+ votes, speaks volumes.

Trumpier Than Trump …

There have been some fairly bizarre things happening in U.S. politics since the election of Donald Trump in November 2016, wouldn’t you agree?  Some really off-the-wall candidates have shown up on special election ballots but, for the most part, common sense has reigned at the polls.  But this morning’s New York Times headline had even the jaded Filosofa scratching her head and saying, “Huh?”  (I’m not all that sharp when I first wake up) 

At McConnell’s Urging, Trump Asks West Virginians Not to Vote for Don Blankenship

Don Blankenship has touted himself as being “Trumpier than Trump”.  He just spent a year in prison.  He is a former coal baron.  One of his campaign ads claims, “We don’t need to investigate our president. We need to arrest Hillary”.  Doesn’t it seem that he would be Trump’s candidate of choice?  And yet, Trump tweeted …

“To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State…No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!” — 6:53 AM – May 7, 2018

What was I missing?  And to make the situation even more bizarre, once I found what I was missing, I found myself rooting for Mr. Blankenship to win the Republican primary tomorrow!!!   Now, I hear some of you saying, “Girl … have you gone and lost what few marbles you had left???”  Well, let me explain …

There is much to hate about Blankenship, and as I wrote in my April 24th post  he has been referred to as the “most hated man in West Virginia” and the “next Roy Moore”.  And taken together, those two things explain why not only Trump, but the entire GOP do not want to see Blankenship win the primary.  Because he likely cannot win the November election!  And once you realize that, you see why I am rooting for him, for his win would likely serve to hand the senate seat to incumbent Joe Manchin, a democrat.

Now, let me make it even more interesting.  Blankenship, supposedly the most hated man in the state, is actually doing quite well in the polls!  I think this may be a case of what I referred to before as “push … and push back”.  The West Virginia GOP has been running a series of ads like the one below, against Blankenship.Blankenship-1Blankenship is still on probation after serving a year in prison for his role in a mine accident that killed 29 miners in 2010.  As CEO of the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine, Blankenship ordered the company to delay or stop various safety improvements in 2008, a move that was ultimately proven to have contributed to the mine accident, and Blankenship was convicted of conspiring to violate mine safety standards.  One wouldn’t think that the citizens of West Virginia, a state whose economy relies heavily on coal mining, would even consider this man to represent them in the U.S. Senate, right?

But, as Politico reported last week, Blankenship “is surging ahead”.  Even Don Trump, Jr. got in on the act, tweeting …

“I hate to lose. So I’m gonna go out on a limb here and ask the people of West Virginia to make a wise decision and reject Blankenship! No more fumbles like Alabama. We need to win in November. #wv #wvpol” — 3:44 PM – May 3, 2018

Blankenship wasn’t too upset about it, though, and didn’t blame Trump …

“As some have said I am Trumpier than Trump, and this morning proves it. The President is a very busy man and he doesn’t know me, and he doesn’t know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary. The establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the U.S. Senate and promote the President’s agenda. West Virginia voters should remember that my enemies are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and my opponents would not even be running as Republicans had I not resurrected the Republican Party in West Virginia.”

Ahhhh … the “establishment” is feeding Trump lies, and this man is single-handedly responsible for the GOP’s existence in West Virginia, eh?  I wonder if he’s friends with Alex Jones? An analysis by the New York Times claims that …

“The emergence of a former coal boss with a criminal record as a potential Senate nominee seems partly an expression of many West Virginia voters’ desire to poke a thumb in the eye of the Washington establishment, Republicans very much included.”

My mother used to have an expression that I think fits well here:  Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

My current favourite comedian, John Oliver, sums it all up nicely for us

Trump won West Virginia in 2016, presumably based on his promise to “end the war on coal”, and remains popular there today.  And in truth, Blankenship is at least as “Trumpy” as Trump.  Keep an eye on this one, folks.  And remember that this is no longer the world of sanity we once thought it was.

Make Of It What You Will

quizzical confused emojiI’m working on some number of projects at the moment … I say ‘some number’, for I have no idea what that number even is, nor do I have a clue how many will reach fruition.  (Mind bounce in the rabbit hole can be a chancy thing) But for today, I had a bunch of snippets, bits ‘n pieces that I came across this weekend, most of which leave me shrugging my shoulders, saying, “make of that what you will”.  Hence the title of this post.


You all remember last September when Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, reported that hackers had gained access to the data of some 143 million Americans, including social security and driver’s license numbers?  Well, two news stories this week about the Equifax breach are of concern.

About six weeks after the initial announcement by Equifax, they raised the number of people whose data may have been compromised from 143 million to 145.5 million, an additional 2.5 million people.  Then on Thursday, they added yet another 2.4 million to their estimate, bringing the total up to 147.9 million.  That is 147,900,000 people whose social security numbers, as well as other sensitive information may be in the wrong hands.

At the time, Richard Cordray was director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and he immediately authorized an investigation into the Equifax data breach.  But Cordray resigned in November and was replaced by Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as acting director of the CFPB.  As acting, or interim director, Mulvaney did not have to pass muster by a senate confirmation.

Although there has been no official announcement, every appearance indicates that the investigation into the Equifax breach has been halted.  CFPB has shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data. No subpoenas have been issued. The CFPB also recently rebuffed bank regulators at the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when they offered to help with on-site exams of credit bureaus.

Prior to becoming director of the OMB, Mulvaney was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina, and a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, the farthest-right group within the GOP.

Make of that what you will.

Trump praises Xi Jinping, and then …

“He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great.  And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters.

Make of that what you will.

Roy Moore needs your help …

You remember ol’ Roy, right?  Last December he lost the election for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by current Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.  Roy, a former judge and a bigot, had been de-throned from the judiciary not once, but twice, for failure to uphold the very law he had sworn to uphold.  But that wasn’t likely what cost him the election, though it should have.  What cost him the election were the numerous (9 to date) credible accusations of pedophilia and other sexual abuses.

Well, ol’ Roy is now b-r-o-k-e, if he is to be believed. He is asking for help to pay his legal bills as he fights Leigh Corfman in court, a woman who claims she was molested by Moore when she was 14.

“Please help me fight this battle for the heart and soul of this Nation. Your financial contribution to my legal defense fund is crucial…My resources have been depleted and I have struggled to make ends meet.”

Moore is asking for $250,000, and has thus far received $32,000 in donations.

Make of that what you will.

Because Trump hasn’t said to do it …

Admiral Mike Rogers is a busy man … you can see it in his eyes, can’t you?  Mike is the director of the National Security Administration (NSA) and also heads up the Pentagon’s Cyber Command.  Nearly every single expert in cyber security has agreed that not only did Russia play a role in our 2016 elections in multiple ways, including cyber-hacking, but that they continue to do so and will no doubt do so in November when the mid-term congressional elections take place.

What are we doing to counter the Russian cyber-hacking?  Nothing.  That’s right … nothing.  Why?  Because Trump hasn’t said to do it.  Addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee last Tuesday, Admiral Rogers said …

“Clearly, what we’ve done hasn’t been enough. I need a policy decision that indicates there is specific direction to do that. The president ultimately would make this decision in accordance with a recommendation from the secretary of defense.”

Rogers also expressed frustration that Trump failed to implement the sanctions against Russia passed by Congress last year, saying the Russians “haven’t paid a price, at least, that has significantly changed their behavior”.

Trump has denied that there was any interference by Russia, and even when he admits it, he is lukewarm.  And he also insists that he has been ‘tougher’ on Russia than President Obama (he hasn’t).

Make of that what you will.

Bye-Bye FedEx …

Dozens of companies have severed their ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the two+ weeks since the tragic shooting that killed 17 in Parkland Florida last month.  All of the major car rental companies, which had previously offered discounts to NRA members, have stopped doing so, and Delta Airlines severed ties, in spite of the threat from Georgia lawmakers to revoke tax breaks that benefitted Delta to the tune of about $40 million.  But one company stands out … FedEx.

FedEx refused to discontinue discounts to NRA corporate members, offering some b.s. excuse that it would be ‘discriminatory’.  The truth is that FedEx gives some special consideration to gun manufacturers shipping weapons around the nation.  The rules are that all guns must be shipped using FedEx’ Priority Overnight service, and that they will not ship handguns via FedEx ground.  But … if you are Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, SIG Sauer, or the NRA itself … well, the rules can be bent to let you use 2-day shipping and save a bundle! And of course, FedEx gets some percentage of that bundle.

Fred Smith, President & CEO of FedEx

The good news, however, is that companies that use FedEx have said that if FedEx won’t distance itself from the NRA, then they will distance themselves from FedEx. So far it is just a handful of companies, but if the momentum grows, FedEx may live to regret their unholy alliances.

Make of that what you will.

And now, friends, I have given you enough to ponder on for the rest of the day.  Hasta mañana.