Time For ‘Toons!!!

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?  It started with getting up late, finding that the kitties had knocked over my flowers and water was everywhere, then trying to quickly get a beef roast into the crock pot for supper took me nearly an hour for some reason.  So, long story short, I am in a time crunch today and thought … what a perfect opportunity to showcase some cartoons!  Political cartoons sometimes make us laugh, sometimes shake our heads, and sometimes make us want to cry, but they say so much with a simple drawing.  So, let’s see how the cartoonists have viewed the past week or two …


Trump does love tariffs.  Too bad he doesn’t understand them.  

tariffs-1tariffs-2tariffs-3toon-2tariffs-4


One of the biggest issues dividing this nation … one of the few hundred, that is … is guns.  Every time there is a multiple-death shooting as there was in Virginia Beach on May 31st, the debate becomes more vocal, with the gun nuts saying “this isn’t the time to discuss it”, and the rest of us positing that this is exactly the time to discuss it. 

guns-1guns-2guns-3


Of course, regardless of political party, the “I-word” is on everybody’s mind these days …

impeach-1impeach-2impeach-3cover-up.jpg


Who can resist poking fun at ol’ 2-faced Lindsey Graham?

Lindsey-Graham


And just for kicks …

democracyTom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190609.tiftoon-1.jpg


Have a great week, folks … remember, humour helps us maintain perspective in these troubled times!

Timely Advice From Morning Joe

Yesterday, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the amount of news … tariffs, Trump’s trip to the UK, anti-trust investigations, impeachment, gun control, anti-abortion laws, etc., etc., etc.  Where to start?  My mind spun, then bounced as I read article after article, most somehow involving Donald Trump.  I think we are all beginning to feel as if we are on a carousel that is spinning faster and faster while we try to hold on for dear life.

This morning I happened upon an OpEd by former member of Congress, now host of Morning Joe on MSNBC with Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough that I think makes a lot of sense.  Mr. Scarborough offers us some timely advice about keeping our eye on the ball, so I decided to share it with you.

Disregard Trump’s ground noise. Focus on the signal.

By Joe Scarborough, June 3 at 4:08 PM

Joe-ScarboroughMy first year in Congress was spent absorbing attacks from a local newspaper unimpressed by the fact I was the first Republican elected in my area of Florida since Reconstruction. They appreciated my lectures on small government conservatism no more than does the current collection of Big Government Republicans in Washington.

During my freshman year on the Hill, I tried to respond to every charge from every article, political cartoon or editorial page. After one particularly stem-winding speech that I delivered at the downtown Rotary Club in Pensacola, Fla., three-star admiral Jack Fetterman took me aside and gently offered advice that I carry with me a quarter-century later. He put his arm around me and said, “Joe, you have to learn to separate the ground noise from the signal. And here’s the secret, son: It’s almost always ground noise.”

I thought of the admiral’s words this weekend as I glanced at the news feed coming in over my phone.

Video from the Sun, a British tabloid, showed that President Trump called a princess “nasty”; then he denied calling her that; then Trump had his team release a tape that showed he called her that; then Fox News hosts attacked those quoting the Trump manuscript that showed he called her “nasty.”

Trump then dismissed reports of him calling her “nasty,” waving off the Sun’s transcripts as “fake news.”

I also learned from my news feed that Trump staffers told the Navy to keep the USS John S. McCain out of Trump’s line of sight; Trump then denied that request was ever made; Reporters proved that request was, in fact, made. Trump staffers admitted to the request.

Trump then dismissed the reports as “fake news.”

It is easy to be blinkered by the ground noise generated by from the president’s Twitter feed, or from his ministers of propaganda, or from his quivering quislings on Capitol Hill. It is difficult to brush aside the steady stream of lies and half-truths that insult our intelligence. But the good admiral would tell you that you have no other choice unless you want to fly your fighter jet straight into the side of a mountain.

Ignore the ground noise and search for the signal, instead. That may seem difficult but, after three years of Trumpian madness, it is imperative.

The signal is the Mueller report. Read it. The evidence inside is both impeachable and indictable. It also documents that the Russians tried to undermine U.S. democracy and that the president and his team, rather than reporting the interference, welcomed our enemy’s help.

William P. Barr is ground noise. The attorney general has been caught lying to the American people with his letter, lying to Congress with his testimony and lying to the media in his interviews. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times accurately labeled Barr as Trump’s minister of disinformation. She is right. His words are now as meaningless as Kellyanne Conway’s or Roger Stone’s.

The signal is the United States’ $22 trillion debt; record deficits; a fading bond market; trade wars with Mexico and China; a $16 billion welfare scheme for farmers; tariff taxes; a bloated defense budget that funds military-industrial complex programs that the Pentagon does not even want; a Middle Eastern war taxpayers are underwriting for the benefit of a bloodthirsty Saudi prince; and rising tensions in the Persian Gulf also aimed at mollifying that same leader, who had a Post contributing columnist tortured and killed.

Focus also on the pattern of behavior. After the economic crisis, Donald Trump endorsed the Wall Street bailout and praised the feds for giving billions of dollars to bankers whose greed had crushed middle-class workers. A decade later, the populist plutocrat championed tax cuts for multinational corporations and millionaire members inside his clubs. As Trump told a group of wealthy Mar-a-Lago Club members the day he signed the tax bill into law, “You all just got a lot richer.” In this one respect, Trump was right. His Palm Beach buddies did make millions from “tax reform,” but as with the tariffs he keeps touting, it is working-class Americans who will ultimately pay the tab.

Ignore the noise and focus on the signal coming from North Korea, where the building of a nuclear program continues unimpeded. The president’s bewildering response to this growing threat has been to adopt the party line of North Korea’s Communist Party and profess his love for the dictator who tortured and caused the death of a U.S. college student for trying to bring a poster home. A strong warning signal also gets sent every time Trump chooses to accept the word of a former KGB agent over the professional conclusions of the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and Homeland Security leaders that the president, himself, appointed.

That signal may lead us back to the Mueller report as well as Trump’s personal pursuit of riches. And focusing on that signal may lead us to better understanding why the president has been so willing to sell out American democracy to Russian dictators and Saudi Arabian sheikhs.

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Tuesday’s ‘Toons …

I decided to hop around and see how the cartoonists are handling things this week.  Y’know, it’s odd that we can still manage to find humour in the atrocities our government is inflicting on us every day, but … I guess in order to maintain some degree of sanity, we must find something to laugh about, yes?

This week the three biggest topics were Trump’s & Bolton’s taunting of Iran and the likely fallout, the draconian anti-abortion laws being passed in many states, and Trump’s trade wars.  But first … the world lost two fabulous entertainers last week, Doris Day and Tim Conway … so let’s start there.


Doris-DayBruce Plante Cartoon: RIP Tim Conway


Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Ohio, Missouri, Mississippi and other states have recently passed highly restrictive laws banning abortion, in some cases calling for long periods of incarceration for both mother and doctor.  The ultimate goal of the far right evangelicals and Trump, of course, being to get these cases to the Supreme Court and overturn the federal law established by Roe v Wade, thus completely subjugating women to the whims of a few.  They call it “pro-life”, but it is, in fact, anti-women’s rights, nothing more.

abortion-1abortion-2Power grababortion-3abortion-4abortion-5abortion-6


Trump and his National Security advisor John Bolton have been seemingly trying to poke the beast (Iran) and start a new war in the Middle East.  Just what the world needs, eh?

Iran-1Iran-2Iran-3Iran-4


Trump’s trade war … some time ago he said, “Trade wars are easy to win”.  Well, we know … we knew then … that he is clueless, that he doesn’t understand international trade any better than a banana does, and now he’s proven it.  He has gone tariff-crazy and it is hurting US, especially the farmers, but he’s oblivious and doesn’t care anyway.  

trade-war-1trade-war-2trade-war-3trade-war-4trade-war-5trade-war-6trade-war-7trade-war-8trade-war-9


And I close with just a few miscellaneous ‘toons …

democracyguns-1Lindsey-Grahamrepublican

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

Deep Dark Thoughts From A Bouncing Mind

It is Thursday, 11 October 2018 … oops … that reminds me … I’ve got to get daughter Chris’ birthday gifts ordered … just over two weeks now!  Anyway … as usual, my head is filled with bits of this and pieces of that, and the ol’ mind bounce has returned in full force, making it nigh on impossible to focus on longer pieces, so once again I share with you the latest causes of my angst …


Trump has been taking credit for a “great economy” that was largely in place before he came on the scene, and to which he and his policies have contributed very little.  However, one of his ignoble policies in particular is set to take that ‘great economy’ down more than a few pegs, as I have said for months now:  tariffs.

From an article in Fortune yesterday:

Ford is having a bad year in 2018. Its stock is down 29%, and the tariffs imposed by President Trump have reportedly cost the company $1 billion, as the company is in the midst of a reorganization. Now, the company is announcing layoffs.

While the company hasn’t said how many jobs will be lost, a report from Morgan Stanley estimates “a global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent,” or 24,000 of Ford’s 202,000 workers worldwide.

The beginning … keep your eye on the ball of that ‘great economy’.


I read this headline to my daughter and her jaw hit the ground …

GOP House nominee: We can stop rape by ‘educating females’

In Virginia’s 5th congressional district, there was a debate between the two candidates, republican Denver Riggleman and democrat Leslie Cockburn, during which the candidates were asked about their proposals to address sexual assault in the military.  Riggleman replied …

“As far as what’s going on on campus … I think a lot of it comes to educating females, specifically in the fraternities and sororities that they’re a part of.”

There is so much wrong with that single sentence that I am left too speechless to even remark on it.


Steve King … no, not the author Stephen King … Steve King, the member of the House of Representatives from Iowa’s 4th congressional district.  Steve King is, like so many other members of the GOP (Grumpy Old Perverts, as Gronda has dubbed them), a rude, undisciplined, bigoted man who would be better suited to driving a truck than serving in Congress.

Steve King has earned an ‘A+’ rating from the NRA, and yet has a zero rating from the Humane Society, for he is against animal rights. He is also against immigration and multiculturalism … in other words, he is a gun-totin’ white supremacist who the people of Iowa have been voting for since 2002. Eight times, the people have gone to the polls and voted for a racist.  He has called for a ban on same-sex marriage, and predictably mocks and denies climate science, calling it a cult religion.  I have only one question for the people of the 4th district of Iowa:  What the Sam Hell is wrong with you???

But here is the really disturbing part … he doesn’t even bother to filter his bigoted comments.  He has called for an electrical fence along the southern border, saying he understands it works well for cattle.  He has blatantly stated that none of the “sub-cultures” had made contributions to civilization as the Caucasians have (where did this guy study history???).  King is no stranger to this blog, for in March 2017, he earned the coveted Idiot of the Week award  .  Donald Trump held a rally in Iowa a few days ago whereby he praised King.  That in itself should tell you something.  Iowans … please, for the sake of our nation, take your heads out of your patooties and vote this bigot out of Congress next month.  See … I even said ‘please’.


And speaking of Trump’s Iowa rally … that is where he made the following inane comment:

“The only reason to vote Democrat is if you are tired of winning.”

Winning?  WINNING???  Winning WHAT???  Thus far, since Trump took office I have won exactly nothing … nada … zip … zilch!  Oh wait … unless you count the permanent scowl etched into my face, the ulcers that wake me in the night, the shaking hands, the grey hair, the sleepless nights, the loss of friends, and depression.  That, folks, is what I’ve ‘won’.  What about you … have you any winnings to show for Bozo being in the White House?


I don’t like people who mock others.  I don’t like people who are rude and treat others shabbily.  Thus far, just off the top of my head, I recall Trump mocking a disabled reporter (Serge Kovaleski), , the parents of a soldier killed in action (Khizr and Ghazala Khan), a female reporter (Cecilia Vega), Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and most recently Senator Diane Feinstein.  After mocking Feinstein, he roused the crowd at whatever event he was attending to begin chanting “Lock her up!”, only this time Feinstein was the victim.

Now … I realize that I tend to be confrontational most of the time, but this time I am not.  This time I would like a serious answer to a serious question (I seem to find that extremely hard to get these days!!!).  Republicans … do you like this behaviour?  Does it not sicken you?  I remember when I first started school, I had leg braces and Coke-bottle-thick glasses, and I do remember the mockery.  I was called ‘four-eyes’ so many times that finally one day, I fought back.  I had a boy twice my size pinned on the ground and I was pummeling him.  I remember those days of being mocked and made fun of.  It is rude, it is vulgar, it is nasty, and it is immature.  Sure, I expect it of five-year-olds … but I do not expect it of a ‘man’ age 72 who is, whether legitimately or not, the president of a nation of 300+ million people.  Republicans … I ask again … are you proud?  How can you condone this?  How do you justify or tolerate it?  If you do … if you can … then I would seriously like to know how.


And that’s a wrap for this morning, folks.  Have a great Thursday.

An Ego Trip …

The people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 did so based on certain things that they believed in, that they believed would make their lives better, and he promised to fulfill their wishes.  One of those things was a smaller government that provided fewer services.  The reasoning was that if the government shrunk, had fewer employees and provided fewer services, money would be saved and taxes could be lowered, thus putting more money in the pockets of the working class.

However, theory and reality are often not quite the same, and the reality here is that Trump has cut services to the poor and disadvantaged, he has cut taxes for the wealthy, but the working class is no better off than they were before, and in fact have less now than they had before.  Why?  There are a number of reasons, including massive amounts of waste by Trump’s cabinet and by Trump himself, the tax cuts were only to the wealthy, Trump’s tariffs are causing prices to rise, and this …

Trump Military Parade To Cost Taxpayers Nearly $100M

What a colossal and foolish waste of our money!!!

This ego trip was initially, we were told, to cost a mere $12 million.  That would have fed 2,307 average families for a full year, but hey … Trump’s ego is far more important than feeding hungry kids, right?  But now, the estimated cost, $92 million, could have fed 17,692 average families for a full year!  How do we justify this?  What is the purpose of this ‘military parade’?  The answers are that we cannot possibly justify it and the only purpose is to stroke the ego of the megalomaniac in the Oval Office.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, November 10th, and is to start at the U.S. Capitol and end at the White House where, undoubtedly, the 5,000-7,000 troops who are marching will be expected to salute Trump.  Now, not only is the parade costing an exorbitant amount of money up front, but there is a likelihood that there will be ‘after-the-fact’ costs to repair Pennsylvania Avenue.  Initially, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that no tanks would be included in the parade, for they would cause “damage to local infrastructure”.  But now, because Trump wants them, eight tanks will make their way to the White House on a street that taxpayers will then be required to repair.

Now, how did this all come about?  Well, remember last July when Trump happened to be in France during their annual Bastille Day celebration?  As a part of the festivities, there was a military parade, and Trump, exactly like the child who, upon seeing his friends new toy, then insists that his parents buy the same toy for him, decided that he must also have a military parade.  And so, during a meeting at the Pentagon on January 18th, Trump ordered just such a parade for himself.  The Washington Post got wind of it and published the story, after which the White House issued a statement that said Trump “has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”  Hello?  First, very few, if any Americans will travel to DC to watch this costly display of foolishness. Second … show our appreciation to whom and for what???  Are we supposed to be appreciative to Trump for destroying our environment, our schools, our reputation, and our very nation?  I think not.

Trump originally intended the parade to be on July 4th, Independence Day, but apparently it couldn’t be pulled together quite that soon, so he settled for the November date, which is one day before Veteran’s Day and also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  What Trump fails to realize … or simply doesn’t care … is that the Bastille Day parade in France is a long-standing tradition, dating back to 1880!  And, France’s Bastille Day parade is a celebration of citizen’s rights, not military might. The U.S. has no such tradition, nor do we need one.

The U.S. has not held a major military parade in Washington since 1991 to mark the end of Operation Desert Storm. That parade reportedly cost approximately $8 million and was paid for with about $3 million in government funds and the rest with private donations.  Trump’s parade, all $92 million, would be paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Our economy is on the verge of a downturn, due largely to some very poor decisions on the part of Donald Trump and his minions.  The average wage earner has not seen an increase in his or her real wages in years, and in fact, today’s real wages have dropped to 1974 levels (more about this in a future post).  Trump takes credit for a lot that is not his due, and is spending our money willy-nilly on such foolishness as a parade to show American’s gratitude to him, when we should be showing him the back door!  This is nothing but yet another ego trip for Donald Trump at a huge cost to We The People.

Note to Readers:  This evening, a couple of hours after this post was published, it was announced that the parade has been postponed until 2019!  Perhaps sometimes our voices are heard?

Alternative Facts …

In the beginning … way back on January 20, 2017 … we were first introduced to a concept that would be the foundation for the Trump presidency:  Alternative Facts.  It first came about because the crowd at the inauguration was significantly smaller than that at Barack Obama’s first inauguration, eight years earlier.  Then-press secretary Sean Spicer, however, on orders from Trump, claimed that the crowd was the largest ever seen at any presidential inauguration.  The following Sunday on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Kellyanne Conway why Spicer made that claim, saying, “It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.”  Kellyanne’s response was …todd-conway.png

“Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You’re saying it’s a falsehood and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

Todd shot back …

“Alternative facts? Look, alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods. What was the motive to have this ridiculous litigation of crowd size?”

And Kellyanne took offense …

“Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That’s not your job. Chuck, I mean, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

And thus began the Era of Alternative Facts.  Not a single day has gone by since that we have not been subjected to alternative facts, aka lies, from the administration, usually from Trump himself.  But this past week has been the crowning gem of alternative facts.  Let us look at a couple.

alt-facts-4Just yesterday, Trump was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri, and made this utterly ludicrous statement:

“Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

Say what???alt-facts-2

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. And if all others accepted the lie, which the party imposed, if all records told the same tale, then the lie passed into history and became the truth.”  – George Orwell, 1984

Ever since his disastrous, from my point of view, summit in Helsinki just over a week ago, Trump has had a great deal of trouble deciding whether he believes that Putin interfered in our 2016 election, and whether Putin is primed to interfere in our mid-terms this November.  He has changed his tune so many times that my head was spinning like the little girl on The Exorcist, so I finally just stopped even paying attention.  Bottom line is he knows damn good and well that Putin did everything he could to ensure that Hillary Clinton would not win in 2016.  It wasn’t that he liked Trump better, but he was afraid of Hillary, and he figured he could manipulate Trump.  But yesterday, Trump topped even his own record for ignorance.

“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

Tough on Russia?  When???  He’s on a short leash held by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has refused to speak a single critical word against Putin, and he’s tough???bullshitIf anybody believes a single word of that, I’ve got this lovely bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll sell cheap.  Just last week he told a reporter he doesn’t think Russia is still targeting the US and publicly doubting Russian interference on multiple occasions.

alt-facts-3A few days ago, in my spam folder I found an email from Trump.  Well, actually it was from a computer program authorized to solicit funds on behalf of Trump.  I have unsubscribed to this blasphemy so many times that I finally gave up.  Anyway, he talked about his favourite topic these days, the “witch hunt” and reminded me what a great job he is doing, then, right before asking for a campaign donation, he referred to himself as my “favourite president”.  After I returned from the bathroom being sick, I deleted the email.  Another very alternative fact.

I could understand his use of smoke & mirrors, gaslighting, lies, lies and more lies … er, excuse me – alternative facts – at this point, for he is deeply entangled in a web of lies & secrecy that Robert Mueller is close to exposing, and Trump is running scared.  Hence his threat to “shut down” the investigation. But … he started out lying on day #1!!!  Congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell make really sorry excuses for him, as if he were naught but a recalcitrant child.  But he is not a child … he is a 72-year-old man who by hook and by crook managed to land the highest office in the nation.

We laugh and joke about the term ‘alternative facts’, but the reality is that these lies are no joking matter, for they carry very real consequences for our country.  Why?  Because some 40% of the people in the nation believe them.  Trump could not care less what the rest of us think, so long as he can convince his base that we are the enemy.  But Trump tells his base, “Do not get your news from CNN, the New York Times, or The Washington Post.  Do not listen to the liberals, for they are only out to get us.  Believe only what I tell you to believe.”  And that is what they do.  Therein lies the danger.

trump-pinocchioTrump is a buffoon, an ignorant, under-educated fool.  But he holds the power and if there is one thing he seems to have a knack for, it is keeping his base hypnotized and believing that he is the answer to whatever problems they perceive.  Or rather, whatever problems he has told them they have.

There is no such thing as alternative facts.  Facts are irrefutable and not subject to interpretation.  Fact:  Trump’s inauguration crowd couldn’t hold a candle to Obama’s.  Fact:  Vladimir Putin admitted that he wanted Trump to win in 2016.  Fact:  Trump refused to hold Putin accountable for the election interference when the two met in Helsinki.  Fact:  Many from Trump’s campaign have already either pled guilty or been indicted for their dealings with Russia during the campaign.  Fact:  Trump has damaged our relationship with our allies.  Fact:  Trump’s tariffs will hurt U.S. citizens far more than they will help bring new jobs.  Fact:  Trump has chipped away at ACA to the point that we will all see a rise in health care costs, and millions will be unable to afford healthcare at all.  I have many more facts, but I shall stop here, for you get the picture, right?

The 40% who still love him because he tells them to are in for a very rude awakening. As I told a friend last night, I would like to say they will be getting what they deserve, but for the fact that the rest of us will suffer as well. This, even though we have spent the past year-and-a-half fighting tooth and nail, while the 40% sat in front of their television watching Fox News and scarfing down Lays potato chips and ice cream.  Bah humbug.

On Promises …

What is a promise and how important is it?  I rarely make promises … never, unless I am reasonably certain that, barring any unforeseen catastrophic event, I will be able to keep that promise.  Because I live by this standard, my family & friends know that a promise from me has value, is not an empty promise.  A promise, to me, is a symbol of my honour, of my word.  To break a promise is a breach of trust, and trust is important to me.  I find that trust is one of those things that has a very tenuous thread, and once broken, is never fully restored.

With that said, however, promises ought to be right and just.  If I promise Miss Goose that from now on, every meal will consist only of sweet treats, it is a foolish promise, I am a fool for making it, and she is the bigger fool for believing it.  It would be a promise to harm her, as it were, to make her less healthy.  It is what I think of as a negative promise, one that does harm … in other words, a threat.

On the campaign trail from June 2015 to present, Donald Trump made a number of promises to his Kool-Aid-drinking minions.  He promised to build a wall to keep out immigrants on the southern U.S.-Mexican border.  He promised immigration reform and to keep out Muslims.  He promised to undo basically everything that President Obama had done – good, bad or neutral.  He promised to undo the non-existent “war on coal” and bring back jobs in the coal mining industry.  Let’s take a closer look at a couple of Trump’s more egregious promises, or threats, as it were, see where they stand and assess whether they have helped or harmed the nation.

One of the first ones that comes to my mind is his ‘promise’ to repeal ACA, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’.  I’d just like to point out that little word ‘care’ in there.  Well, Trump was unsuccessful, thanks to Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.  However, he has chinked away at ACA by way of executive order, to the point that by the end of this year, there will be several million people without insurance, without access to affordable health care — people who were covered before Trump took office.  The latest assault on ACA came just two days ago, when Trump ordered the halting of billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

Insurers say this move will result in higher premiums for millions of people.  For most of those millions of people, higher premiums mean they will have no choice but to drop their insurance.  It will also lead to insurance companies refusing customers who have pre-existing conditions, else setting the premiums out of reach to such individuals.  Why?  Because Donald Trump made a promise to his base.  Now, never mind that his base will be negatively affected by his keeping of this particular promise as much as any of us.  Frankly, sorry folks, I don’t want to sound cruel, but I will choke on my coffee as I laugh uproariously when I hear the first republican whine and wheedle about not being able to afford her medicine, or having to pay $300 just to see her primary care physician!  ‘Welcome to my world’, I will say!

Let’s talk taxes, shall we?

Trump made a number of tax-related promise/threats.  The first was that he would cut corporate income taxes from 35% to 15%.  Well, he failed in that promise and was only able to cut them down to 21% … do I hear an “awwwwww”?  Another part of his illustrious tax plan was to allow Americans to deduct child care and elder care from their taxes.  Well, folks, sorry to tell you but that one went by the wayside.  Along the same lines, he promised to create tax-free dependent care savings accounts for young and elderly dependents.  Nope, not even on the docket.  Oh … here’s one … he promised to provide matching contributions for low-income families to the dependent care savings accounts!  Nope, not a snowball’s chance in hell.  But what about the one where he promised to incentivize employers to provide on-site child-care services?  Sorry, sucker!  But hey!  Those big corporations got their 14% tax cut, and you know that since they have such big hearts and good intentions, all of that lovely money will ‘trickle down’ to us little folk, right? evil laughBriefly, a few of his other “promises”.  He promised to …

  • Enact new ethics reforms to reduce the corrupting influence of special interests. Um … ethics schmethics.  He has, among his administration, some of the most corrupt individuals in the history of the U.S.  Think Scott Pruitt.  Jared Kushner.  Ivanka Trump. Trump himself.  And the list goes on … and on …
  • Make two- and four-year college more affordable. Trump’s budget contains deep cuts in aid for low-income and first-generation college students. The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a 50-year-old program, for a savings of $732 million, which goes to more than a million poor college kids each year. The budget would also reduce Federal Work Study “significantly” though no dollar figure was given. The tax bill that Trump signed raised taxes on four-year universities. How is any of this making college more affordable???
  • Establish tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free. Well, he established tariffs alright, but the results are the exact opposite of what he promised.  Companies are already beginning to lay off workers, and considering moving operations overseas – think Harley Davidson for starters.

For a more complete list, check out the Trump Promise Tracker in The Washington Post  .  Although it isn’t quite up to date (April 2018) it is the best I’ve found so far.

In short, Trump made some 60+ ‘promises’ to the people of this nation. A handful would have been to the benefit of the people, but those he did not even attempt to keep.  The rest were threats.  The threat to take away healthcare from those of us who are not wealthy.  The threat to decrease corporate taxes, thereby decreasing the nation’s revenue, increasing both debt and deficit, and leaving the rest of us without much needed services that can no longer be funded.  The threat to put “America First”, which has isolated us from our allies, put us in danger of a trade war, and proven to the world that we cannot be trusted to keep our word (Paris Accord, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.).

Promises should be kept.  Unless they are the wrong thing, made for all the wrong reasons, but then they are not promises, they are threats.  Trust is earned.  Loyalty is earned.  Need I say more?