I thought I’d give you a break from my usual snarkiness this afternoon and let you have a few laughs instead. Jimmy Kimmel is always good for a few laughs, so …
Most of us never heard the name Crede Bailey, but our friend Jeff is correcting that oversight for us, and showing us yet again the effects of the cruelty in Trump’s handling … bungling … of the pandemic. Thanks Jeff!
I assume that most of you have not heard of Crede Bailey, so I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned about him the past few days.
Bailey, a 54-year-old married father of one and career civil servant, is the current White House director of security. His job includes handling White House credentials and working with the Secret Service. If you remember, back in September, we began to hear about numerous Covid-19 infections spreading within the White House.
It’s believed that Bailey contracted Covid around this time and was hospitalized shortly before the official September 26 super-spreader event nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. I remember hearing about Bailey around this time and how he was very sick but have not heard anything since then. Until Monday, that is.
It turns out that Bailey has been gravely ill for the last three months, spending much…
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My last snarky snippets post failed the snark test … not quite snarky enough. So, you’ll be happy to hear that tonight I am loaded with snark … it is oozing from my pores! Mondays are rather always like that, though … Trump & Co kick back into high gear after the weekend and give Filosofa much fodder for the gristmill. So, sit back and be prepared for … S-N-A-R-K (all caps!).
Say ‘Goodbye’, Sue …
Good ol’ Susan Collins is back in the news. This time, as she has on rare occasions, she found a shred of conscience and called out Trump (very mildly) for his firing of yet another Inspector General, Steve Linick, the latest in his Stalinistic purge.
“I have long been a strong advocate for the Inspectors General. They are vital partners in Congress’s effort to identify inefficient or ineffective government programs and to root out fraud and other wrongdoing. The investigations and reports of IGs throughout the government help Congress shape legislation and oversight activities – improving government performance, providing important transparency into programs, and giving Americans better value for their tax dollar. The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law.”
Well said, Susan … a day late and dollar short, but thanks for finding your voice and your conscience. Turns out that in addition to investigating Mike Pompeo for having staff run personal errands such as picking up the dry cleaning, and walking the dogs for Mike and his wife, Linick was also investigating a highly questionable sale of arms to Saudi Arabia in their quest to overtake Yemen and kill as many Yemenis as possible. Trump’s administration has admitted that he fired Linick as per a request by Pompeo.Ms. Collins is trailing behind her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, in the polls by 2.5%. It’s hard to say whether this will give her a boost or bring her even lower, but it is well past time for Susan Collins to retire. She has been in the Senate since 1997, twenty-three years, and while she has done some good things, of late she seems to be more of a Trump bootlicker than not. She was, of course, one of the Republican senators who voted not to convict Trump on the impeachment charges, thereby handing him the keys to the castle, giving him carte blanche to do such things as purge all oversight via the Inspectors General.
Do you know where your tax dollars are going?
It comes with the job … Secret Service protection for the president, his wife, and immediate family members. Nobody argues with it, for we surely don’t wish to see a member of the president’s family kidnapped or gunned down, but there are limits. Since Donald Trump took office, those limits seem to have been repeatedly broken, as We the Taxpayers are funding Secret Service protection for Trump’s grown children while they flit about the globe conducting Trump Organization business … nothing to do with the nation or its people … the only beneficiaries carry the surname ‘Trump’.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look at this one …
Yes, my friends … those last three super tall bars represent the number of trips Trump or his family have taken that required protection that WE paid for. On average, Obama’s family took 133.3 protected trips per year, while the Trump family has taken an average of 1,625 annually. More than twelve times as many! Much of the Trump family’s known travel has been to promote Trump Organization businesses, which Trump still owns and profits from. But does he use some of those profits to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the protection Junior and Eric were afforded? NO, he does not. Next time somebody tells you that Trump doesn’t take a salary (which is not true, either), remind them that he is spending more money protecting his grotesque sons than the past three presidents combined! This, my friends, are what you and I are paying millions of dollars to protect. WHY???
Oh, the irony!!!
You’ll remember that last week, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr stepped down as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee because he is under investigation for insider trading, among other things. Well, of course a replacement had to be chosen … now, before I tell you who it is, remember the name of the committee … the Senate Intelligence Committee. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that … wait for it … Senator Marco Rubio would replace Burr! I nearly choked on my coffee, for when I think of Rubio, ‘intelligence’ is the furthest thing from my mind.
First, he is the 17th most conservative republican in Congress, leaving no room for negotiation, no compromise whatsoever. Second, he is in the pockets of the NRA, and in February 2018, after the Parkland school shooting, he made a virtual ass of himself when he was questioned by a survivor of the shooting about the more than $3 million he had received in donations from the NRA. Rubio replied, “I will always accept the help of anyone who agrees with my agenda.”
He has been dead-set against ACA, is dead-set against women’s rights, immigrant’s rights, and has vacillated on LGBT rights, depending on which side of the coin seemed most popular at the moment. And, of course his most recent crime in my book came in February of this year, when he refused to stand for justice and instead voted “not guilty” in the Trump impeachment trial. That one is unforgivable, for look at the consequences. Intelligence??? I think NOT.
Doctoring the numbers?
The headline in The Washington Post caught my eye …
By order of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp: The day after Thursday is now Sunday
So naturally, I had to take a quick glance. Turns out that, eager to prove his decision to be among the first to ‘re-open’ his state, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp played fast and loose with the statistics regarding new cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to coronavirus in his state. The graph looked real nice … that ‘curve’ the experts keep talking about appeared to represent a steady decline in the new cases and deaths.
But on further investigation … the dates on the chart showed a curious ordering: April 30 was followed by May 4; May 5 was followed by May 2, which was followed by May 7 — which in turn was followed by April 26. The dates had been re-sorted to create the illusion of a decline. I ask, of nobody in particular, why a governor’s office should be the ones reporting these statistics anyway? Especially one of the most appallingly corrupt governors in the state’s history!
More importantly, however, is this makes us wonder if ANY statistic we have been given is true, or if the numbers, bad as they are, are being manipulated and hundreds of thousands of new cases, as well as thousands more deaths are being hidden from the public. I’ve long said that I do not believe a single word that comes out of the Trump administration, and this only confirms what I’ve been saying all along. Over the past month, I have seen numerous articles positing that the death toll in the U.S. has been under-reported by tens of thousands. Perhaps even more? Perhaps we’ve already hit the 200,000 mark, while the statistics say we will hit 100,000 by the end of this week. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could TRUST the government that our hard-earned tax dollars support???
Will there ever be a day that there isn’t so much to be snarky about? Not in my lifetime, I suspect. A number of things came onto my radar late last night … here are a few of them:
Keeping it in the family …
Imagine that! Ol’ Mitch McConnell’s wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, is under investigation for possible ethics violations! Who would’ve thunk it, eh? Yesterday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee opened an investigation into whether Ms. Chao may have used her connections to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by her family, and whether hubby McConnell may have received preferential treatment. A few salient points from the letter sent to Ms. Chao …
- Several reports indicate that you have used your official position to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by your father and sisters … These reports suggest that you used your official position to elevate Foremost Group’s influence and status with the Chinese government, which has extended hundreds of millions of dollars in low interest loans to the company …
- In addition, you have appeared alongside your father, the founder of Foremost Group, in at least a dozen Chinese media interviews – many of which were behind the official seal of the Department of Transportation (DOT). During some of these interviews, your father touted your influence with the United States government and boasted about his access to … Trump on Air Force One.
- DOT reportedly was forced to cancel an official trip you were planning to take to China in October 2017 after ethics officials at the Department of State challenged your attempts to include your family members in official meetings with the Chinese government.
- Questions have also been raised about your involvement in the decisions to deprioritize or reduce funding for DOT programs that benefit U.S.-flagged vessels in the foreign trade, decisions that could benefit your family’s company, which owns entirely foreign-flag ships.
- Given the decline in the number of U.S.-flagged vessels in foreign trade, DOT’s approach to these programs may threaten national security by increasing the likelihood that our military will be dependent on foreign-flagged vessels during times of war or emergency.
- The committee is also investigating your failure to divest of stock in one of the nation’s largest construction companies, Vulcan Materials Company (Vulcan), where you served on the Board of Directors for nearly two years immediately before becoming Secretary of Transportation. Vulcan’s annual revenue depends heavily on annual infrastructure funding allocated by the DOT. Vulcan granted you approximately 3,000 “deferred stock units” for serving as a director, giving you a significant and direct personal financial interest in the company.
The letter goes on to describe in further detail the ethics breaches the committee is questioning and requests a number of documents and written explanations for the above. In addition, there are questions about special consideration being given to husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.Corruption? Nah, surely not!
Paying for them to play …
The Secret Service wants jet skis. Why? So that they can ride along while the Trumps – Ivanka, Junior, and Eric – are participating in water sports. HELLOOOOOO??? Tell me again who pays for all this? The Secret Service wrote…
“President Trump and his family spend several weeks throughout the year in Mar-a-Lago, Florida and Hamptons, New York. The first family is very active in water sports. Several family members along with their guest participate in open water activities for which USSS Special Agent Rescue Swimmers are responsible. SA’s have rented watercraft with their own personal funds to allow them to be near our protectees in various water environments to fulfill the USSS Rescue Swimmer mission.”
The cost of the requested vehicles, made by Kawasaki, runs from $9,999 to $15,299. These won’t be normal jet skis, though, as they will feature special rescue saving equipment, such as rescue sleds. While most of us struggle to even afford a small vacation to the beach or the mountains, WE are paying for the entire Trump entourage to frolic in the surf and for them to have maximum protection while doing so. Tell me again how Trump & Co are not benefiting from his office? BAH HUMBUG!
Brett Kavanaugh — back in the news
New allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose Senate confirmation was pushed through without the initial allegations ever being properly investigated. Comedian Trevor Noah sums it up well, and with a bit of humour …
Hello All! I returned this evening from my mini-vacation, relaxed and content. Had a great time and now just trying to get back in the saddle both at home and on my blog! I see that I missed quite a bit in the news, and will attempt to catch up some this week. Thanksgiving is in just two short days, however, so don’t expect much of me until after Thursday. This year, as last year, we are planning to share our Thanksgiving with our neighbors and dear friends, Maha, Ali and their three sons, who are refugees from Syria. It is always an interesting co-mingling of the traditional Turkey/gravy/stuffing/mashed potatoes and the Arabic foods that Maha prepares. And we always enjoy time spent with our friends, so it is sure to be a good time. Then on Friday I stay home while everybody else goes shopping. I am not a shopper and definitely not a fan of crowds, so I will be working hard on catching up my blog the latter part of the week!
Meanwhile, a bit about my trip. I returned unscathed this time! No major falls (I did fall once, but only once, compared to 5 times last month), no broken bones, and I did not get lost a single time! The latter is a record for me, since I am directionally challenged and cannot read a map … I might be able to read one if I could actually see it properly, but that is a whole ‘nother story. Anyway, H and I hiked up a mountain on Saturday. A few things to note here. H is an experienced hiker, has been hiking for a couple of decades, has hiked nearly 1,000 miles on the Appalachian Trail. He has hiked mountains, rock cliffs, in rain, sleet, snow, etc. I do well to walk 4 laps (3.2 miles) around the track at the park behind my house. But that said, we hiked up a mountain called Pole Steeple. It is, by almost any standards, a short hike … about a mile is all (that is a mile up and a mile back down). However, it is rather steep for a novice such as myself. The other thing of note is that when we started out, it was 60 degrees and the sun was shining. By the time we got to the top, which is comprised of huge rocks (see picture below), I was puffing and panting, wheezing and gasping, the wind was howling and nearly blowing people off the rocks, and dark rain clouds were moving in at an alarming speed. The temperature had also dropped some 20-25 degrees. The view from the top was awesome, and I wished we could have stayed a bit longer and I would have taken my own pictures, but it was imperative to return to the bottom of the mountain and the warmth & safety of the car before a torrential downpour came. We did make it down, just in a nick of time, with me whining every step that I couldn’t breathe, my foot hurt (the one I broke last month) and I was tired. Nonetheless, it was fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat. H has given me the trail name of Tortuga, which is Spanish for turtle … I can hike an average of one mile per hour, while he can hike five miles per hour without breaking stride. Sigh … one does what one can do. The rest of the weekend we more or less just hung out, talked, played cards, and had a generally happy and relaxing weekend. I did not even look at news until this morning!
So now, I turn my attention back to the news of the day. I am too tired tonight to address anything in depth, but I thought I’d just touch on one thing that caught my attention.
It seems that Melania Trump and son Barron will not be moving into the White House with da trumpeter until at least summer because Barron attends a ritzy Upper West Side private school. Melania does not wish to ‘disrupt’ Barron’s life. Additionally, Ms. Trump has expressed concerns about bringing Barron into the media spotlight, and she plans to “revisit the issue at the end of the school year.” All of which I fully understand. However … this creates a huge cost that … well, guess who is going to pay for it? That’s right … We The People … the taxpayers, hard-working citizens of the U.S. Keeping Trump Tower as a residence for the incoming president’s family will create security and logistical hurdles for the Secret Service and the Police Department. Already, there have been serious traffic problems around Trump Tower, since Trump is using it as his transitional headquarters, which is unfair to the taxpayers and extremely unfair to the citizens of New York who have to travel in that area, since Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare. Some lane closures are planned, and pedestrians will have to pass through a security checkpoint. Come on, now! Perhaps da trumpeter might have thought of all this before he decided to run for president? Apparently it does not matter who is inconvenienced for the convenience of the Trump family. Can we say “arrogant”?
Okay … that was my rant for tonight. I will catch up on other news in the coming days, and particularly the new ‘short list’ of cabinet members and advisors that Trump has either chosen or is considering. I see he is considering America’s #2 Bimbo, Sarah Palin for a cabinet position: Secretary of the Interior! Palin who ‘can see Russia’ from her home. Palin who said North Koreans and South Koreans should be able to get along since they are all Japanese! Palin who … oh, never mind! I’ll get to all that soon. So, for tonight, I bid you adieu.
Who is Anthony Peter Senecal and who pushed his damn button? I am not sure whether it is hysterical laughter bubbling up in my throat, or a red haze of rage. If it is both, I shall surely choke to death on it!
So who IS Anthony Senecal? He is Donald Trump’s 84-year-old former butler. Trump needs a butler? He wants to be president of the U.S. and he cannot even dress himself? Sheesh. But back to good ol’ Tony … he looks like just a harmless, kindly ol’ grandpa, doesn’t he? But beware, he is not, in any sense of the word, kindly. His is the face of evil, just as surely as was Ted Bundy’s. He is the epitome of why one should not judge a book by its cover, nor a person by his looks.
Tony worked for the trumpeter for nearly 30 years and refers to his former employer as “The King”. Once, when da trumpeter was reportedly in a ‘sour mood’, Tony hired a bugler to play “Hail to the Chief” for him. Oh puh-leaze! In 1990, Mr. Senecal took a two-year sabbatical to become the mayor of a town in West Virginia, his ‘claim to fame’ there being that he required all panhandlers to carry ‘begging permits’. Huh? Why?
So now that you know who Anthony Peter Senecal is, you must be wondering why Filosofa is ranting about a seemingly innocuous, if not too bright, old man. Well, this old man is under investigation by the Secret Service for his posts on Facebook. A few shining examples:
- “I feel it is time for the SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION !!!!! The only way we will change this crooked government is to douche it !!!!! This might be the time with this kenyan fraud in power !!!!! …[W]ith the last breath I draw I will help rid this America of the scum infested in its government–and if that means dragging that ball less dick head from the white mosque and hanging his scrawny ass from the portico–count me in !!!!!”
- “Looks like that sleezey bastard zero (O) is trying to out maneuver Congress again, if the truth be known this prick needs to be hung for treason!!!”
- “Stop the LYING BITCH OF BENGHAZI, NOW—killery clinton !!!!!! She should be in prison awaiting hanging !!!!!!!”
- “Muzzie shits…are invading our country.”
- “Our current ‘president’ is a rotten filthy muzzie !!!!! Period !!!!!! He continues his war on Christians !!!!!! …zero is against the people of America !!!!!”
- “I think the actions of these a**wipes is so UN-American—they should be hung for treason !!!!!!” (in reference to the ‘Never Trump’ GOP movement)
There is more, but I think you get the idea. His Facebook page is open to the public and I visited it briefly. A few minutes was just about as much as I could stomach, as every post emanates hate and vitriol in almost visible waves. Apparently Facebook has removed some of his posts, but I cannot understand why they have not simply shut down his account. He often refers to Obama as “zero,” and several times he has called for the president’s execution.
News of Senecal’s Facebook rants was first published by Mother Jones last week, and was quickly followed by the start of a Secret Service investigation, as well as a disavowal (wisely) by the Trump camp. “We totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the president,” said a spokesperson for the Trump campaign. We all know that I dislike Trump immensely, however this time I am not blaming Trump, who even I cannot hold accountable for the actions of his former employee. If Senecal thought he was being helpful to and supportive of Trump by his rants and hate speech, he was wrong.
During the riots in Ferguson Missouri over the killing of an unarmed black man by police, he called for the city to be “removed”. “Move the sane people out during the day and carpet bomb the city from the face of the Earth at night,” he wrote. “If you blow up the protesters, oh well!!! Case Closed!!!” Makes me wonder how it is that he did not come under scrutiny by the Secret Service long before now! I am almost positive that if I posted something similar on Facebook, on this blog, or on Twitter, within the hour there would be men in suits and dark glasses knocking at my door!
Ours is a nation with certain guarantees of ‘free speech’. However, with any right comes responsibility. Along with the right to freedom of speech comes the responsibility to use good judgement, the responsibility to get your point across in a reasonable manner and without hate. I would add that there is an implied responsibility, also, to enhance one’s vocabulary beyond four-letter words. The right to free speech, I believe, carries with it all of the above responsibilities, and one more: respect. I invite people to disagree with me with every blog post, every Op-Ed, every Facebook post or Tweet that I write, but I insist upon respect. Mr. Anthony Peter Senecal is a vile individual who is lacking respect for everyone. I hope his rights to freedom of speech will be curtailed, as I believe they must.
The republicans do not want to talk about gun regulation. They resist even the most basic suggestions, such as creating “gun-free zones”, which they claim do nothing more than make targets for criminals, though statistically there is no evidence that this is the case. Their favourite saying is “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. My question is, has always been, how does one identify a “good” guy as opposed to a “bad” guy? But that is a whole discussion in and of itself, and not the point I am here to make today. The point I am making today is that … are you ready for this? Guns will be banned at the Republican National Convention that will be held in Cleveland this July! Oh the irony! I find this more than moderately humorous!
Although Ohio is an open-carry state, Quicken Loans Arena, where the convention is to be held, bans all weapons on the property. A petition demanding the right to carry firearms into the convention is being circulated and, as of this writing has more than 44,000 signatures. The petition demands that Quicken Loans Arena change their policy for the event, and that Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee relocate the Republican National Convention — which is less than four months away — and explain “how a venue so unfriendly to Second Amendment rights was chosen for the Republican Convention.” It also calls on the National Rifle Association to “condemn” the state’s law, which allows for gun-free zones, and for Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich to close what it called a “loophole”. The “loophole” to which they refer is the fact that Ohio law allows private entities to ban firearms on their premises. I see this not as a loophole, but rather a protection of a business or individual rights to manage their own private property. Today, some 22 states have passed “Bring Your Gun to Work” laws that limit property owners’ ability to ban firearms in vehicles in parking areas, however even in those states, employers can keep firearms out of offices and factory floors. You can read the petition here.
Ultimately the petition will not matter, because security at the convention will be controlled by the Secret Service, who is charged with protecting the safety of the candidates, not with protecting right-wing ideology. Earlier today the Secret Service responded to the petition, saying that only law enforcement personnel will be allowed to carry firearms at the event. Additionally, a federal spending bill provided $50 million to the city of Cleveland to offset the cost of security. Yet the petition argues that “without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.” Seriously? I am sorry to inform anyone who agrees with that statement, but guns in public venues is not “the American way of life”. It may be legal, but that does not make it “the American way of life” for most of us and it does not make it necessarily right. As regards choosing a new venue? Not a chance, less than four months from the event date.
It seems unclear who actually started the petition, as the person chose anonymity. There is also speculation that many of the signers are internet trolls, which seems likely. “This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk,” the petition says. “By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.” It goes on to note that Cleveland is ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the US. A couple of points here:
- Do they believe that they, the candidates, delegates, and other attendees, all presumably amateurs in the handling of firearms, are better able to protect themselves than is the Secret Service, men and women highly trained in protection, men and women who successfully protect the highest-ranking leader in the US?
- Why did the RNC choose Cleveland if they believe it is such a dangerous city?
It seems to me that every republican who will be attending the convention should be grateful that firearms will be banned. The republicans, as a whole, have become very ugly toward one another this year. There is Trump vs Cruz, Trump vs the GOP, and a few sane people vs Trump and Cruz. Given all the hostility within the party, if guns were present, I can easily see how the mood could become violent and lead to an escalation in hostilities and physical violence. Mr. Trump, in fact, seems to encourage violence if not in fact, then certainly by his rhetoric.
Like everyone else, I have a kinder side and a not-so-kind side. My less kind side says to let them bring their guns, let them take complete responsibility for their own security, and let the chips fall where they may. It would save the taxpayers a bundle by not requiring the presence of the Secret Service or other public law enforcement. Perhaps it would even narrow the field and simplify the nominating process.