Snarky Snippets … Version MCXII

I used to do Snarky Snippets once every couple of weeks.  Now, it’s more like several times a week.  There is just so much …


Who could blame him?

Yesterday, a man in a wheelchair tried to set fire to himself outside the White House gates. The man lit his jacket, officers immediately responded, extinguishing the fire and giving the man first aid, the man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries yada, yada, yada.

A “suspicious package” was found near the area … turned out to be the man’s backpack.  The White House was put on lockdown because the Idiot-in-Chief was there, even though it was obvious there was no threat to him.  And thus ends the story, right?

So why did the guy do it?  There comes a point where hopelessness leads to not caring anymore which leads to … this.  A man who figures life isn’t much worth living any more, and whose fault is it?  Donald Trump’s.  And so … let’s put an end to it, but let’s make sure Trump knows that this blood is on his hands, that he is responsible for the death.

The official story, by later today or tomorrow, will be that the man had a history of mental illness.  I’m betting not.  I’m betting that he’s given up on the hope of seeing this country rise above the abomination that is Donald Trump, decided it’s not worth sticking around to watch the final chapter, but wants Trump to know … as if Trump had a conscience and could understand human pain, the suffering of humanity.


Score one for Maxine Waters

Steve Mnuchin … just seeing his picture makes me want to relieve him of that smirky little smile he always seems to wear.  For any who are unaware, Mnuchin is Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, another of Trump’s boot-lickers.

Well, on Tuesday he met his match in the persona of one Representative Maxine Waters!

Waters-Mnuchin

Mnuchin had been testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, when he decided he had enough and cited a meeting with a “foreign leader” as his reason for needing to leave.  Ms. Waters, chairperson of the committee, asked Mnuchin if he could give the committee another 15 minutes so members who had been waiting for their five-minute turn could ask him questions.  He again cited the importance of his meeting.

Finally, Ms. Waters said, “If you wish to leave, you may.”  Well, Mnuchin was caught off-guard by that, apparently, and responded with …

“Please dismiss everybody. I believe you are supposed to take the gavel and bang it.”

WHOA-DEE … You could have heard a pin drop, for about 3 seconds, until Representative Waters said …

“Do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this hearing.”

Mnuchin stayed the extra 15 minutes and then told Waters, “I look forward to being back in May, and we will work on a date.”  Waters responded, “Thank you very much.”

The lady has class!


He just keeps coming back …

Ol’ Roger Stone just won’t go away and stay gone.  On Friday, his lawyers asked a federal judge to dismiss Stone’s indictment for lying to Congress and obstructing justice and to order that Stone receive a full unredacted copy of Mueller’s recently completed report.  Say WHAT???  We the People are as unlikely to see it as a man is likely to give birth, but Roger Stone thinks he deserves a copy?  Yo … Roger!!! You can read the heavily-redacted version in the New York Times the same as the rest of us! At least, I suppose they let you read the Times in prison.

“No other person, Committee, or entity has Stone’s constitutionally based standing to demand the complete, unredacted Report,” said the lawyers.

bullshit


A new bromance for Trump?

Trump has found himself another strongman dictator to love … what a surprise, eh?  This time it is Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, a ‘president’ in name only, but in reality, a dictator who is in the process of making changes to Egypt’s Constitution that will make him a de facto dictator for life, while permanently enshrining military control over Egypt’s political system. He continues to hold tens of thousands of political prisoners, including at least a dozen U.S. citizens.Trump-al-SissiSo, how did Trump respond when al-Sissi arrived at the White House for a visit on Tuesday?

“I think he’s doing a great job. I don’t know about the effort. I can just tell you he’s doing a great job. Great president.”

The Egyptian president, naturally, returned the compliment …

“Let me emphasize, Mr. President, that the relations have not been better over the years of our bilateral relationship, and that is why I’m extending, Mr. President, to you our thanks … All the credit goes to you, Mr. President.  Thank you very much for your support on all fronts.”

Feeling sick yet? 🤢 Trump also took the opportunity to lie and whine to al-Sissi …

“We are building a lot of wall, and we are being very strong on the border. But we are bucking a court system that never, ever rules for us, and we are bucking really bad things with the Democrats in Congress not willing to act. Nobody can believe these decisions we’re getting from the 9th Circuit. It’s a disgrace.”

And al-Sissi sat smiling at Trump, for he has had his own troubles with judges who were trying to thwart him by upholding the law.  President al-Sissi’s answer to his troubles was to change the law.  Think about that one for a minute.


Okay folks, I’ve vented enough for one day.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend … I’ll be back!

Open Letter to Donald Trump

Disclaimer:  This is a rant that is much needed in order to preserve my own sanity. 

Mr. Trump,

I have not written to you since last June, and frankly had hoped that I would never have occasion to write to you again.  However, you haven’t learned a damn thing and cannot seem to keep your mouth closed and your thumbs off your tweety-machine, and thus I am once again compelled to write.

Two issues need to be addressed.  The first is your attempt to denigrate Senator John McCain, a true hero.  Yes, Donnie, Senator McCain is a war hero … you can choose to believe what you wish, for that is your right, but it is not … I repeat it is NOT your right to publicly make the sort of statements that you have been making which strike grief in the hearts of every person in this nation, but especially Senator McCain’s family.

John McCain’s plane was shot down by a missile on October 26th, 1967 and he was severely injured and taken prisoner.  Tortured daily, he nonetheless refused the early release that was offered to him by the North Vietnamese, stating “I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy”.  This, Mr. Trump, was a man of honour.  Meanwhile, where were you?  Oh yes, that’s right … your daddy paid a doctor to lie and say you had blisters, or some such thing, and thereby you were able to dodge the draft, while Senator McCain was being tortured in a POW camp.  I hope you understand when I tell you that Senator John McCain was a thousand times better man than you will ever be.  Perhaps you could learn about being a man by reading this wonderful tribute to Senator McCain.   Whatever you do, stop causing his family grief!  This is beneath even you, and makes you look the fool, not him.

Now, about those sanctions against North Korea and your buddy Kim.  Let me make myself perfectly clear, on behalf not only of myself, but on behalf of the entire nation:  You do not own the United States of America.  You are an employee of the people.  Your job is to do that which is in the best interest of the nation in accordance with the law of the land.  The United States Department of Treasury, under your own choice, Steve Mnuchin, imposed additional sanctions on North Korea just yesterday.  Those sanctions were determined by people who understand far more than you, to be just and appropriate.  It is not … I repeat it is NOT … your place to rescind those sanctions!

You have proven, twice now, that you are incapable of convincing Kim Jong-un to relinquish his nuclear weapons program and have made yourself look a fool to both North Koreans and your own fellow-citizens.  Cease and desist, already!  Admit your defeat and move along now. Leave these crucial negotiations to those who know what they are doing.

These latest sanctions were against two Chinese shipping companies for their role in evading U.N. sanctions against North Korea.  Every indication is that the sanctions were just and proper.  Who the Sam hell do you think you are to decide otherwise, against the opinion of experts?  When asked to explain this dangerous action on your part, your own spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, could only come up with “Trump likes Kim”.  Right … you like Rodrigo Duterte and Vladimir Putin, too.  You overstepped your bounds on this one, Donnie.

There is so much more I could address here, but it would fill several volumes, so I leave it with these two.  I realize that you believe you are popular, but among the majority, among thinking people, you are not.  You are a pariah.  You did not win the election, you won only the electoral college.  You are not a president, but rather a moron sitting in the chair that was occupied by presidents, men of intellect, for many years before you.  The best thing you could do for this nation today would be resign, but as I realize your egotism will not allow you to do that, then please do the next best thing for the remainder of your sole term:  Sit down, shut up, and do nothing.  Let the rest of government function in its own right without your interference.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, voter, taxpayer, member in good standing of We The People

King of Debt …

The Commerce Department announced Wednesday that the overall U.S. trade deficit in goods last year soared to an all-time high of $891 billion.  That’s an all-time high … of $891,000,000,000.  That’s the second record Trump has broken in as many months … he must be mighty proud of himself.  But wait … it seems that I recall something he said …

  • “I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN” – 04 December 2018
  • “We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!” – 04 April 2018

Now, frankly, although concerning, the trade deficit does not worry me nearly as much as the national debt that rose to a staggering all-time high of $22 trillion last month.  That was the first record he broke.  Between the two, the national debt and the trade deficit, it would appear that Trump’s real goal is to bankrupt the United States of America.  Is this what he meant by “Make America Great Again”?  And worse yet, his blind-faith followers, both in the Congress and among the voters, are still busily applauding him, chanting “Lock her up”, and still waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall that will never be built.tax-cuts-debt.jpgCare to know some of what happens when a nation becomes ‘bankrupt’ and cannot pay its debt?  In part, domestic savers and investors, anticipating a fall in the value of the local currency, will scramble to withdraw their money from bank accounts and move it out of the country. To avoid bank-runs and precipitous currency depreciation, the government may shut down banks and impose capital controls. As punishment for default, capital markets will either impose punitive borrowing rates or refuse to lend at all. And credit-rating agencies will no doubt warn against investing in the country.

mnuchin

Mnuchin … a seedy-looking character

That Donald Trump does not understand economics is obvious, but what’s worse, what is unconscionable, is that he refuses to listen to and learn from those who do understand.  To add insult to injury, Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury is Steve Mnuchin, an investment banker and former hedge-fund manager.  Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house!!!

Trump’s ignorance is quite frankly costing us … we the taxpayers, We the People.  Farmers are filing for bankruptcy because Trump’s tariffs have virtually closed the Chinese market for soybeans and damaged exports of milk and pork.  And still, the people are applauding him with their eyes closed and cotton stuffed into their ears.Farm-bankruptcyAnd while our debt increases, while our trade deficits are skyrocketing, while farmers are losing their life savings, Donald Trump wants to spend billions more dollars to build a useless, unneeded wall on our southern border.  As I said … it would seem his goal is to take what he, his family, and his rich cronies can get during his four-year term and destroy the rest.

The biggest cause of the national debt increase is the tax cuts for the very wealthy that were voted into law in December 2017.  If you think of your household budget, it is as if you took a large pay cut, yet still have the same obligations such as mortgage/rent, electricity/gas, car payment, water bill, fuel, food, clothing, etc.  You can see where this just doesn’t work.  Obviously, Trump cannot see, for apparently he either missed out or slept through Econ 101, and has never had to prepare or maintain a household budget.  After all, this is the ‘man’ who thought you had to present identification to buy groceries!

Way back in 2016, when he was campaigning for the office he now holds, he said this:

“People said I want to go and buy debt and default on debt, and I mean, these people are crazy. This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money, I hate to tell you, OK?”

That is reminiscent of the time, when my children were small, and I couldn’t afford to buy my son a toy he wanted.  He said, “But mommy, you have lots of checks!”  Sigh.  It simply doesn’t work that way, as most of us who are thinking individuals realize.  I could understand that lack of comprehension from my 6-year-old son, but not from a ‘man’ aged 72 who is the leader of a nation of some 300 million people!

Perhaps most telling is an incident from 2017 when economic advisors (ones who actually understood economics) were trying to explain to Trump that his policies would ultimately lead to a severe spike in the national debt, and Trump’s response was …

“Yeah, but I won’t be here.”

As long as he can milk it for what it’s worth to him, personally, while he’s in office, he does not care what happens to our economy, our nation, our lives, once he leaves office.  I fear that by the time somebody manages to awaken the republicans, remove their blinders and pull the cotton from their ears, it will be too late to avert a full-fledged depression such as  the one that began in 1929 and lasted for ten years.  milton-friedman

On Draining the ‘Swamp’ …

swamp-1Remember back in 2015-2016, that long, ugly, disgusting, tiresome campaign Trump conducted?  Yeah, who could forget, right, especially since he doesn’t seem to realize that the 2016 election has ended and the campaign is over, so he keeps holding more and more of his really crappy rallies where he still has his minions chanting “Lock her up!”, even though they have forgotten who it was he wanted locked up.  One of the many things that he spent that year-and-a-half (have I mentioned that it was a very looooooong year-and-a-half?) shoving down people’s throats was how he was going to “drain the swamp”, a euphemism for getting rid of corruption in the federal government.  Well, we now know, thanks to Kellyanne Conway, that Trump uses a different dictionary, a different vocabulary than we do, called ‘alternative facts’, and that by ‘drain the swamp’, what he really meant was he was planning to bring in much more lethal, corrupt, greedy, criminal gators ‘n crocs.

One of my favourite comedians, John Oliver, has applied his own special brand of humour to the notion of Trump ‘draining the swamp’, and it is worth a watch … both educational and humorous …

Thank you, John!swamp-4

The Rich Get Richer …

In a recent tweet, Donald Trump claimed, “I will keep fighting for the American people!”  Donald is not particularly literate, and thus his words often need some translation.  In this case, the translation only requires the addition of a single word:  wealthy.  “I will keep fighting for the wealthy American people!”  And by default, the rest of us can go to hell.  If you’ve been awake for the past 18 months and kept your eye on the ball, this will come as no surprise.  The 40% or so who still think Donald Trump is the greatest thing since sliced bread will, no doubt, continue to ignore the writing on the wall.

You will remember that last year Congress passed a tax bill that included tax cuts for the wealthy, but did very little for the average wage earner.  And the wealthy were happy, for they heard the ‘ka-ching’ of still more money hitting their bank accounts, so they donated some of that money to republican candidates so the republican candidates could buy more air time on national television to stay in office and ultimately give those wealthy people even more advantages.  It’s a vicious circle.

But apparently the glow of their tax cuts wore off, and now they want even more.  And guess what?  Trump and his minions want to give it to them!  Now, members of Congress are cognizant of the fact that there is an election in less than 100 days, and they don’t want to rock any boats right now by giving the wealthy more money, for they understand that the rest of us also get to vote on November 6th.  So, Trump & Co have found a way to do their reverse Robin Hood act without the blessings of Congress, and certainly without the blessings of We The People!

From The Washington Post

The Treasury Department is considering a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans through a change that would not need approval from Congress, officials said, a move that would follow a package of tax cuts last year that also benefited the super-rich.

The agency is studying whether to allow investment income, known as capital gains, to be adjusted for inflation in a way that shields more of it from taxation. Most capital gains are paid by wealthier Americans, who disproportionately hold large portfolios of investments.

A brief explanation of capital gains …

When you sell stock, you likely realize either a capital gain or loss, which is the difference between the amount for which you sold it and the amount you initially paid for it.  If you paid $1,000 for 25 shares of XYZ stock in the year 2000, and you just sold it for $900, you have a capital loss of $100.  Conversely, if you sold that same stock for $1,100, you have a capital gain of $100 which is subject to income taxes.

MnuchinBut what Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury Department, is suggesting is that the basis, or what you paid for that stock, should be adjusted for inflation in the calculation of capital gains.  Thus, it could be argued that the $1,000 you paid in 2000, adjusted for inflation, is equivalent to $1,100, thus wiping out your capital gain and BINGO — you now owe no taxes on that gain!  Now, when you consider that for the wealthy those capital gains may be in the millions of dollars, well you can only imagine how much they would save in taxes.  You and I won’t benefit more than a few dollars, if that, but people like Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, and a host of others, stand to save hundreds of thousands in taxes.

The wealthiest 1% of American households own 40% of the country’s wealth.  That share is higher than it has been at any point since at least 1962, according to a study by economist Edward N. Wolff.  Meanwhile, you and I struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table, keep the 10-year-old car running for another year, and cut corners wherever we can.

Trump’s policies and the December donor tax cuts have already plunged the nation into deeper debt and increased the deficit.  This move further reduces the income without doing a single thing to reduce expenses.  And it can all be done without Congressional approval.  If you ever had any doubt whether Trump had the good of the nation and its people in mind, this should convince you.

Oh … and would you be interested in knowing Steve Mnuchin’s net worth?  $400 million.  Personally, if this is what Donald Trump means when he says he will “keep fighting for Americans”, I wish he would just stop fighting.  The wealthy, under Trump, are having a field day, but eventually, as those of us whose brains have not been replaced with dollar signs know, eventually the party comes to an end.  Debts come due and there are very real consequences when there is no money in the treasury to pay those debts.  And what about the rising poverty rates in this nation?  How do you explain to a poor person that you are cutting their food stamps because the rich people are paying less taxes and, well, sorry but there just isn’t enough money for you to feed your children?

That “great economy”, that rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that he keeps bragging about?  Guess what, folks … it doesn’t mean a damn thing for the average citizen in the U.S.  Sure, unemployment is low, but wages haven’t risen.  Many lower income people still have to work 2 or even 3 jobs just to buy food and keep a roof over their heads!  But by all means, let us make the wealthy even wealthier.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball …

More than a few times, I have been told that one of the reasons Trump supporters continue to be his supporters is jobs.  When asked in a recent poll what the single most important issue was to most people, the answer was ‘jobs’.  Granted the job outlook has, until recently, looked pretty good, but not as a result of anything Trump has done.  Unemployment was already low and dropping at a steady rate under President Obama.  And now, with his tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs from other nations, that may well be about to change.  Actually, the pendulum is already beginning to swing back.  Consider this …

The following is an excerpt from a story in today’s Washington Post:

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — When a Mexican company bought Mid Continent Nail Corp. in 2012, workers at the factory here feared it was the beginning of the end. Their jobs, they suspected, would be given to lower-paid workers in Mexico, more casualties of the hollowing out of U.S. manufacturing driven in part by an embrace of global trade.

Instead, Mid Continent’s factory has doubled in size since Deacero’s purchase. The company, facing fewer restrictions on steel exports after the North American Free Trade Agreement, shipped steel into Missouri, willing to pay skilled workers more to take advantage of cheaper energy costs in the United States and a location that allowed swift delivery to U.S. customers.

But … Trump has put 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, bumping production costs and prompting Deacero to reconsider this arrangement. With Mid Continent charging more for nails, orders are down 70 percent from this time a year ago despite a booming construction industry. Company officials say that without relief, the Missouri plant could be out of business by Labor Day — or that remaining production could move to Mexico or another country.

The layoffs have already begun. The company now employs fewer than 400 workers, down from about 500 before the tariffs took effect last month.

The plant may close its doors by Labour Day.  That, folks, is just a month-and-a-half away!  We’re not talking about next year, or in three years … we’re talking about NOW.

Or consider the case of Harley-Davidson, who will begin shifting production for the EU market to its international facilities rather than raise their prices by as much as 31% if they stayed in the U.S.  Typically, when their decision was announced, rather than talk or negotiate, Trump did the only thing he knows how to do:  mock and threaten.  Such helpful, professional behaviour, eh?

Two weeks ago, the CEO of General Motors warned that the company may be forced to cut back production and cut U.S. jobs.  And the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), issued an analysis estimating the price of a typical new vehicle sold in the U.S. would rise by about $5,800 as a result of the tariffs.  Think about that one … nearly $6,000 more to buy a car!

An analysis by Trade Partnerships concludes that …

  • The tariffs, quotas and retaliation would increase the annual level of U.S. steel employment and non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminum) employment by 26,280 jobs over the first one-three years, but reduce net employment by 432,747 jobs throughout the rest of the economy, for a total net loss of 400,445 jobs;
  • Sixteen jobs would be lost for every steel/aluminum job gained;
  • More than two thirds of the lost jobs would affect workers in production and low-skill jobs.
  • Every state will experience a net loss of jobs.

These are but a few examples of the fallout from Trump’s trade tariffs, and the damage is only beginning.  The longer the tariffs remain in effect, the more jobs will be lost AND the more we will see the prices of both agricultural and durable goods rise.  While I do not wish the loss of a job on anyone, I have to ask:  is this what it takes to awaken Trump followers?  Do they have to lose their jobs before they begin to see that virtually nothing Trump has done has been in our best interest?  Will they finally get it when they awaken one morning and realize they have no job, no health insurance and cannot afford food for the next week, let alone a car to go buy that food or look for another job?

Trump’s cabinet were handpicked for their loyalty to Trump, and they received early training in “alternative facts” and “how to spin anything using blatant lies”.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin learned his lessons well, apparently, for he claims U.S. tariffs and China’s retaliatory actions haven’t dented the domestic economy, as he sought to calm fears from Republicans in Congress that a trade war is hurting American consumers and companies.

Paul Ryan, on the other hand, seems to have remembered his Econ 101:

“We risk having American products locked out of new markets, jobs moved overseas, and a decline in American influence. As our generals will tell you, these agreements are just as important for our national security as they are for our economy.”

It is time for Trump’s followers to wake up and realize that they are the ones who will be hurt most by his policies regarding education, the environment, foreign policy, and the economy.  A number of issues have been forgotten in recent days as we are all concerned with Trump’s horrific behaviour abroad last week, and his apparently slavish adoration of Vladimir Putin, as evidenced in Helsinki on Monday.  Trump has been in a whirlwind of tweets and speeches contradicting his own self at every turn, in a foolish attempt to put some favourable spin on his actions, else distract us from them.  But we cannot afford to take our eyes off any of the balls:  the immigrant children, abuses of power, tariffs, and much more.

The President’s Is Saying That His Recent Hard Line Stance Against Russia Was A Fluke

Friend Gronda has once again done an excellent job bringing us up-to-date on the latest about U.S.-Russian relations, sanctions, etc. Sub-title should be “Putin and his favourite puppet, li’l Donnie”. Please take a moment to read. Thank you, Gronda, for all your hard work on this one. Excellent post.

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of trump nikki haley NIKKI HALEY

Remember when the republican President Donald Trump recently took what looked like a real stance against Russian oligarchs. I was pleasantly surprised that he had finally taken a tough position for the first time against the country that attacked our US democracy on numerous fronts having to do with our election infrastructure in 2016. In addition this was supposed the send Russia a message that the US was backing our ally Great Britain where two Russian expats were poisoned by Russian agents on UK’s territory.

Then very recently, I was beside myself with joy when the US Ambassador for the United Nations Nikki Haley had announced that the US was poised to enact additional sanctions against Russia that would be announced by the US Treasurer Steven Mnuchin on the 16th of April 2018.

Image result for photos of nikki haley and larry kudlow NIKKI HALEY

I did openly wonder about how this momentous event had happened as I…

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The Gift That Was Delivered To Steven Mnuchin Should Have Been Sent To Republican Lawmakers

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin received a well-deserved and most appropriate Christmas gift this year! Check out Gronda’s post to find out what it was. Thank you, Gronda, for brightening my day!

Gronda Morin

https://www.facebook.com/drrobertstrongsong LA psychologist Robby Strong

There was literally a stink bomb in the form of manure packaged as a Christmas gift sent to the California home of the US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen with a less than flattering  thank you note about his Donor Class tax cuts bill.

On behalf of “We the People,” This can be dubbed, the best Christmas gift ever!

Image result for cartoon of steve mnuchinHere is the rest of the story…

On December 24, 2017 the Reuters staff penned the following story, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was sent gift-wrapped box of horse manure: reports.

“The package was found Saturday evening in a next-door neighbor’s driveway in Bel Air, the Los Angeles Police Department told the Los Angeles Times and KNBC television, the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles. The package also included a Christmas card with negative comments about President Donald Trump and the new U.S. tax law signed by Trump last week.”

“An LAPD…

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