DOA … Dead On Arrival

Fortunately, since we have a caveman at the helm, the president does not write the budget – Congress does.  The president can submit his proposal, his request or wish list, but at the end of the day, it is Congress who writes the budget.  Thankfully.

This week, Trump gave his wish list to Congress, and as we all suspected, it is atrocious.  In short, he wants to take as much as he can possibly take from We the People and give as much as he possibly can to his wealthy cronies, raising the already-staggering deficit in the process.  Let’s take a look at some of the most egregious items, shall we?

  • First, there is “the wall”. Since he couldn’t bully Congress into giving him the $5.7 billion he asked for to start work on the wall, he is now asking for $8.6 billion!  And this guy is supposed to be a master dealmaker?  The art of compromise is entirely lost on him!
  • Then there is the environment. His proposal is to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 31%.  It would cut the EPA’s Global Change Research office, which exists to provide scientific information to policymakers about the threats posed by climate change, as well as a number of other programs involving clean water and air.
  • Along similar lines, he proposes massive cuts to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) renewable energy and energy efficiency budget … some 70%!!! The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which falls under the DOE, provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year in grants and other financial assistance for clean energy, has financed research into technologies ranging from electric vehicles to energy projects powered by ocean waves. It has been credited with financing research to help make the cost of wind power competitive with coal, and cutting the costs of LED lighting.

Note that Trump has repeatedly vowed to zero out federal spending on clean energy research and development, while doing everything in his power to promote and even subsidize the fossil fuel industry.  The only conclusion that can be drawn is that either he truly desires the destruction of the human race, or he is really that damn stupid.

  • He proposes to cut safety net programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance, all programs that low-income families depend on for their very survival. In spite of inflation, he proposes to freeze the maximum Pell Grant for low-income college students.
  • He has also proposed to cut Medicare … that benefit that we all paid into every single paycheck of our lives … by $845 billion over the next ten years! And … he plans to cut $25 billion from Social Security … again, a program that we all paid 6.2% of our gross pay into every paycheck we ever earned in our entire lives!

Note that in 2016, when he was still a wanna-be, he said, “I’m not going to cut Social Security, like every other Republican, and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” More damn lies! 

  • He also proposes to cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 16 percent and the Education Department by 12 percent.
  • He does, however, wish to increase the defense budget by $750 billion (that’s in addition to the $8.6 billion for his damn wall).

No part of the plan addresses increasing revenue, and in fact it extends the tax cuts for the wealthy that were passed in December 2017.  It is by no means a balanced budget, and will absolutely, without question add to the national debt and deficit, both of which are already out of control, by trillions of dollars.  What happened, I would ask, to those fiscal hawks that put Obama down for eight years for not balancing the budget, for deficit spending?  Yo!  Republicans!  Can y’all hear me out there in la-la land???  This ‘man’ you all think so much of, that you’re willing to lose friends over, is going to cut Social Security … the money you have saved for your retirement since the first day of your first job.  Are you going to continue to sit on those fat, white posteriors and not even raise a stink?

But, there is good news.  And that is …

Trump’s budget proposal does not stand snowball’s chance in hell of passing Congress!  Not even a slight chance.  Even the republicans don’t like it!  It is naught but his pie-in-the-sky wish list.  However … what it does do is it speaks volumes about Mr. Trump’s priorities, and his lack of concern for the people who put him into office.  A president is elected, in theory, by the majority of the voters.  In Trump’s case, he was not elected by the majority at all, but was nearly three million votes short of it.  One might think that would make him work a lot harder to win over those of us who did not vote for him, but instead, he devotes seemingly every waking moment to finding ways to stab us in the back.

We’re tired of it.  Instead of working with Congress to attempt to develop a budget that benefits the nation and its people, he is submitting a proposal that his own advisors have told him will not fly.  He is working against the very people he swore to represent.  His priorities are a wall, his rich cronies, his Star Wars-type toy, a ‘Space Force’, and other useless crap, for lack of a better word.  Meanwhile, the poor and middle class, the 99% of the nation, will suffer if he gets his way.  Those are his priorities, folks.  His budget proposal tells us exactly where we stand … out in the cold.

It’s All About Me … Right?

Melania-jacketSo … the government has been shutdown for almost two weeks?  So what? I haven’t noticed any difference … and really, my friends, it is all about MOI, right?  We each see to our own happiness, so I’m sorry, but I see no disruption of my life, so in the words of our gracious {choke, cough, spit, sputter} First Lady {choke, cough, spit, sputter} Melania, “I really don’t care, do U?”

They say there is a build up of trash and debris in the National Parks, but … I haven’t been hiking for a year-and-a-half now, so what do I care, right?  I am, after all, still getting my mail.  They say people cannot sign up for food stamps, as the staff of the Food and Nutrition Service branch of the USDA (Department of Agriculture) is only minimally staffed, but what do I care, for I don’t receive food stamps anyway. overflowing-trash.jpgMy Social Security check was deposited to my account yesterday, so why should I worry?  What’s that you say?  The power station that serves my neighborhood isn’t being monitored?  So what?  I have electricity – I know this because every light in my house is burning brightly!

800,000 people aren’t getting paid?  Oh piffle, but really … I got my social security check, so why should I worry, right?  And after all … surely they have enough money in the bank to carry them over the hump? And anyway, I heard that they will get backpay when the government is open again, so what’s the big deal, Lucille?  And anyway, I’ve heard they’re only democrats, so … who cares, right?

Sorry, I cannot even keep up that charade any longer, for it is making me want to smack myself upside the head!  I just thought I’d try it on for size, but I don’t know how people like that live with their consciences at the end of the day, when all is quiet.

Note, my friends, that the above is not just a figment of my imagination but is the attitude of a large portion of the people in this country.  It is also not exclusively a republican attitude, but I have heard very similar statements from democrats.  It is not only an attitude shared by the un-and-under-educated or the ignorant, for just recently I heard a similar statement from somebody who I know to be well-educated and intelligent.  Indeed, this attitude crosses all divisions:  party, race, religion, etc. In some cases, it is a true disdain for others, or a stubborn ‘faith’ that whatever happens today does not matter and will be righted by some magical force at some point.  But, I believe that in the majority of cases it is simply a case of overload leading to apathy.

So much has happened in the last two years in this nation, almost all of it with negative impact, that what once would have been horrifying has now become the norm.  People tire of it, they learn to tune it out, for it wears on the psyche, steals their good humour, their Zen, if you will.  So, we hunker down and concern ourselves only with our immediate family, our present situation, and try to ignore the rest.  It is understandable, but dangerous, for we need people to not only be aware and informed, but we need them to care. We need them to care deeply enough to write those letters to their congressmen and women, to stand up and say, “Hey, this isn’t right!”

One of my biggest concerns is that over the next two years people will become so inured that when the 2020 election rolls around, they won’t even bother to vote, and that could very well lead us to a place I don’t even wish to contemplate.  Yesterday I read a piece in The Guardian by Robert Reich, a former U.S. Secretary of Labor, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of numerous books.  His thoughts tie in with my own, and I share his words here.

Robert ReichAfter his first bizarre year, his apologists told us Donald Trump was growing into the job and that in his second year he’d be more restrained and respectful of democratic institutions. Wrong. He’s been worse.

Exhibit one: the “Wall.” After torpedoing Mitch McConnell’s temporary spending deal to avert a shutdown, he’s holding hostage over 800,000 government employees (“mostly Democrats,” he calls them, disparagingly) while subjecting the rest of America to untoward dangers.

On-site inspections at power plants have been halted. Hazardous waste cleanup efforts at Superfund sites are on hold. Reviews of toxic substances and pesticides have been stopped. Justice Department cases are in limbo.

Meanwhile, now working without pay are thousands of air traffic controllers and aviation and railroad safety inspectors, nearly 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents, 42,000 Coast Guard employees, 53,000 TSA agents, 17,000 correctional officers, 14,000 FBI agents, 4,000 Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and some 5,000 firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service.

Having run the Department of Labor during the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, I’m confident most of these public servants will continue to report for duty because they care about the missions they’re upholding. But going without pay will strain their family budgets to the point that some will not be able to.

Shame on Trump for jeopardizing America this way in order to fund his wall—which is nothing but a trumped-up solution to a trumped-up problem designed only to fuel his base.

In his second year he’s also done even more damage to the nation’s judicial-criminal system than he did before. At least twice in the past month he’s reportedly raged against his acting attorney general for allowing federal prosecutors to reference him in the crimes his former bagman Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to committing.

This is potentially the most direct obstruction of justice yet. He’s now pressuring an official whom he hand-picked and whose entire future depends on him, to take actions that would impair the independence of federal prosecutors.

Last month he blasted Judge Jon Tigar as an “Obama judge” after Tigar blocked the Administration’s limits on asylum eligibility to ports of entry, a decision summarily upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and sustained by the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Roberts issued a rare rebuke. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges,” he wrote, adding that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Which prompted his rejoinder: “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’” followed by his baseless and incendiary claim that “they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country,” and their “rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”

In his second year Trump displayed even less commitment to keeping the military nonpartisan than he did initially. During last month’s teleconference with U.S. troops and coast guard members he continued his rampage against the judiciary, calling the ninth circuit “a big thorn in our side” and “a disgrace.”

Then he turned last week’s surprise visit to American troops in Iraq and Germany into a political rally—praising troops wearing red “Make America Great Again” caps, signing a “Trump 2020” patch, and accusing Representative Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats of being weak on border security.

Some Americans are becoming so accustomed to these antics that they no longer see them for what they are—escalating attacks on America’s core democratic institutions.

Where would we be if a president could simply shut down the government when he doesn’t get his way? If he could stop federal prosecutions he doesn’t like and order those he wants? If he could whip up public anger against court decisions he disapproves of? If he could mobilize the military to support him, against Congress and the judiciary?

We would no longer live in a democracy. Like his increasing attacks on critics in the press, these are all aspects of his growing authoritarianism. We normalize them at our peril.

Our institutions remain strong, but I’m not sure they can endure two more years of this. He must be removed from office through impeachment, or his own decision to resign in the face of impeachment, as did Richard Nixon.

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CHAOS!!!

He is … he isn’t … he will … he won’t.  Our federal government is in full-chaos mode and for the most part, the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the so-called president, who is playing childish games, and those who put him in office.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.” – Donald Trump in meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, 11 December

Then only two days later, he appeared to signal he was on board with backing down, writing in a series of Twitter posts that he would continue to press Democrats for wall funding next year and also claiming that he had taken other steps to make the border “tight.”

And now, one week later …

“At this moment, the President does not want to go further without border security, which includes steel slats or a wall. The President is continuing to weigh his options.” – Sarah Huckabee Sanders, 20 December

And now, to add insult to injury … as if Trump isn’t already creating enough turmoil … enter Mark Meadows and his mis-named “Freedom Caucus”.

Meadows appeared on Fox News on Thursday morning, warning that a continuing resolution without border wall funding was not a “punt” but a “fumble,” and complaining that Trump’s mind must have been poisoned by “bad advice.” Meadows urged Trump to veto the spending bill, should it reach his desk, and to shut down much of the government days before the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.  How very mature, yes?

Then Trump tweets …

“The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country. What they are just beginning to realize is that I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security. U.S.A. WINS!”

Does anybody in this administration have a maturity level beyond 3rd grade?  This isn’t a government – it’s a zoo!!!

The fact is that the wall is not a pragmatic solution to illegal immigration.  It will be costly, likely somewhere near $70 billion, and experts who have studied the situation have plainly said it will achieve little.  Border states stand to lose billions of dollars in tourism.  There is the potential for significant damage to wildlife and the environment. And frankly, there are much better uses that money could be put to … silly little things like feeding the poor, improving our foundering education system, affordable healthcare, renewable energy development, updating our infrastructure, and the list goes on.

baby-trump-temperCongress cannot cave in to Donald Trump’s virulent temper tantrum, for just as with a child, he would then know the way to get what he wants is to throw a 2-year-old fit.  In fact, I’ve known 2-year-olds with more maturity than Trump.

Last January, during another of Trump’s back-and-forth position-shifting episodes, Chuck Schumer said that negotiating with Trump was like “Negotiating with Jello”.  Seems an appropriate comparison, for Jello has just about as much substance and intellect as Donald Trump, and it’s jiggly.

This type of petulance in a world leader is simply unacceptable.  It is counter-productive and extremely dangerous.  If Donald Trump’s goal is to thoroughly destroy the government of the United States, he is doing a damned good job of it.  If ever, in the history of this nation, there was a cause to remove a leader from office, this is it.  His announcement that he is, against all advice, pulling out of Syria is dangerous and potentially catastrophic, but he woke one morning and just decided that it was what he wanted to do to please his buddy Putin.  Some will applaud the move … most will not, and I will have more on that in another post. Trump-chaosBut the evidence is clear that we cannot afford another two years of this madman in the White House.  Impeachment?  Amendment 25?  Neither seem feasible at the moment because of the sycophants in both the Senate and the cabinet.  I don’t know the solution, but I know that these past weeks, ever since the mid-term elections, have proven what an inept and dangerous situation we have with Trump in the White House.  Republicans in Congress and in the cabinet need to be finding their consciences and putting this nation ahead of their own gluttony.  Those 40% of voters who still support Trump might want to take their blinders off, turn off state-run Fox News, and do a bit of research, enlighten themselves, before they get us all killed.

Make America great again?  What he has done is the exact opposite.  He is destroying the country with every breath he takes.  Would that he would simply stop taking them.

A Day For Snarky Snippets …

Today just seems like a good day to release a bit of snark, don’t you agree?  I’m fed about up to the gills with Trump, his mouth, his rhetoric, his immaturity, and I’m ready to vent, so …


Mr. Kellyanne ConwayGeorge ConwayGeorge Conway has the misfortune of being married to Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s “senior advisor”, or right-hand man woman.  George Conway is an attorney who was actually offered a high-ranking position at the Department of Justice last year but turned it down (smart man).  Conway has been a frequent critic of Trump and his policies, his rhetoric, and recently, he participated in an 80-minute wide-ranging discussion on Yahoo News’ Skullduggery where he didn’t pull any punches when it came to Trump.

Conway has created a group consisting of conservative lawyers called ‘Checks and Balances’, of which he says …

“It’s about the principles, it’s about the rule of law. You don’t have to stay silent when you see something that you don’t like that is inconsistent of these timeless principles.”

In speaking of the position he turned down at the Justice Department, he says he feels like he dodged a bullet …

“It’s like the administration is like a shit show in a dumpster fire, and I’m like, I don’t want to do that. I realized, you know, that this guy is going to be at war with the Justice Department. He’s going to be at one end, and if I get this door prize, I’m going to be in the middle of a department he’s at war with. Why would anybody want to do this?”

Trump, for the record, claims not to know George Conway …

“You mean Mr. Kellyanne Conway? He’s just trying to get publicity for himself. Why don’t you ask Kellyanne that question, all right? She might know him better than me. I really don’t know the guy.”

While Conway did vote for Trump, because he says he didn’t like the Clintons and felt Trump was the ‘lesser of two evils’, when asked if he would vote for him again, he says …

“Faced with the choice again, I would probably move to Australia.”

Conway is in favour of impeachment, saying …

“I’m open to supporting what’s constitutionally appropriate, and if any constitutional officer commits an impeachable offense, then they should be subject to potential impeachment and removal under the Constitution. Including any president.”

I still have to wonder what the conversation at the supper table is like in that household.


Here we go again …

I am so tired of this same ol’ threat coming from the ugly mouth of the ugly man in the Oval Office.  It’s really getting old and tired and somebody ought to shut him up.  The latest?  He thinks now would be a good time to shut down the federal government if he doesn’t get funding for his abominably expensive and thoroughly useless, unnecessary southern border wall.  Yawn. govt shutdown.jpgWho thinks it’s a good idea to shut down the government to assuage Donnie’s ego?  Virtually nobody.  The republicans in Congress don’t think so.  The democrats in Congress don’t think so.  And We The People, at least the thinking majority of us, don’t think so.  It’s like the 8-year-old kid who wants a BB gun for Christmas.  It’s dangerous, it’s a horrible idea, but he will throw a temper tantrum until he finally wears mommy and daddy out and gets his way.

Never before in less than two years have there been threats of shutdowns as many times as since Trump took office.  It’s lost its clout, Donnie … grow a pair and give up on your damn wall.  Put the nation ahead of your ego, or take your ego and go play in somebody else’s yard, please.


In the matter of the medal of honour being awarded to Miriam Adelson

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with the Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian award of the United States.  Don’t let that fool you, for it doesn’t necessarily mean that the recipient did a damn thing to promote freedom within the nation.  The intent is to “recognize those people who have made ‘an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors’”Trump-AdelsonThe Medal of Freedom was established in 1945 to honour civilian service during World War II.  Somehow, last week’s recipients pale in comparison to anyone who received the medal under other presidents.

Donald Trump draped the Medal of Freedom around the neck of Ms. Miriam Adelson, the wife of Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate who donated some $30 million to Trump’s campaign toward the end of 2016.  Frankly, I think she should be stripped of this medal, for instead of promoting freedom, she and her husband have contributed to robbing the citizens of this nation of their freedom.

Robert Weissman, president of public interest group Public Citizen, said it was difficult to believe the decision to recognize Miriam Adelson was based on merit …

“It’s emblematic of the corrupt and transactional presidency of Donald Trump, and it is a shame, but not a surprise, that he is corroding and corrupting a civic treasure, an honor like the Medal of Freedom.”

According to E Fletcher McClellan, a political science professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, there are no limitations and Trump has total discretion regarding who should receive the medal.  Frankly, after Adelson receiving it, I don’t see that it has meaning any longer.  Such a slap in the face to truly deserving people who have received the medal in the past.  At least it didn’t cost the taxpayers much … the medal is made of brass alloy and is said to cost $29.98.

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Mind Bounce & Snarky Snippets

Good Monday Tuesday morning!  Somehow it feels like Monday … I suppose because yesterday was a holiday and other than 4 loads of laundry and mopping up pineapple juice from the kitchen floor, I didn’t do so much as a smidge of housework!  Anyway, I had mind bounce yesterday that carried over into last night, so I started multiple posts, then couldn’t figure out how to wrap them up … in one case, couldn’t even figure out where I was going with it, what my point was.  So, instead I am opting for some bits ‘n pieces, this ‘n that, with just a bit of my usual snarkiness added in for fun.


Bannon Gets Bounced …bannon-2Last week it was announced that white supremacist and former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon would be featured during The New Yorker Festival that is scheduled to run from October 5th thru 7th. He was to be interviewed by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, who is a frequent critic of the Trump administration.  The response to the announcement was rapid and served as a potential death knell for the festival, with prominent participants saying they would not attend if Bannon were there.

Sometimes, voices truly are heard.  In a note to his staff yesterday evening, Mr. Remnick said, “I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues—and I’ve re-considered. I’ve changed my mind.”  Jim Carrey, Judd Apatow and Patton Oswald were among the celebrities who said they would not participate in the event if Bannon were to attend.

Bannon was miffed: “In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”  Oh well, Stevie … sorry ‘bout your luck!  Score one for good sense, eh?


Thumbs Up For Nike …

Having written a rather lengthy post about the latest regarding Colin Kaepernick, I had no plans for writing about him again so soon.  But, in the comments section of yesterday’s post, two readers, Ellen & Larry, gave me the heads up about Nike’s announcement to feature Colin in a new ad campaign for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” motto. Colin KaepernickNow, you may not think this is a huge deal … Colin Kaepernick is a big football star, Nike sells athletic clothing & shoes … this is what they do, right?  But, given the controversy over the past two years, given that some 53% of the nation, including the ‘man’ in the Oval Office think what Mr. Kaepernick is doing is terrible, Nike is taking a huge risk.  It could go either way … people might, like myself and some of my readers, plan to start buying more Nike products, or Donald Trump and others such as conservative news sites may call on their fans & followers to boycott Nike.  My instinct says the latter is the more likely scenario.

Nonetheless, I give Nike a 👍 👍 for having the courage to stand by their convictions.  According to Nike executive Gino Fisanotti, “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward. We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”


What … Again??? 💤

baby-trumpIf your favourite brand of coffee changes the taste just a bit, you may grumble and grouse for a bit, but after a few days you are used to it and you don’t even notice anymore.  This is how we are becoming in certain areas … complacent, immune.  One such area is the threat of a government {yawn} shutdown.  How many times now since Trump took office have we been threatened with it?  Three, I think?  💤 Who knows … I’ve lost count.  The one constant here is … the bloomin’ wall!  Wah, wah, wah … da baby isn’t gonna play nice if he cannot have his multi-billion-dollar toy.  It’s old, folks … it’s well beyond old and tiresome.

One might think that with a republican president, a republican majority in both chambers of Congress, and an administration that is filled to the rafters with boot-lickers and sycophants, they could likely agree on a compromise early on so that we wouldn’t have to be threatened.  Oh, but wait … he likes to threaten … it’s how he feeds his mighty ego.

This time, the threat of a shutdown has another layer of intrigue, for the deadline to pass a budget comes a short 36 days before the all-important mid-term elections.  It must be tough on the republicans tasked with soothing and cajoling Trump.  I understand that Pence, McConnell, Ryan and McCarthy have all been handling him with kid gloves, trying to talk him into postponing the border wall issue until next time, for they fear the additional damage a shutdown will cause at the polls.

On the other side, however, are the hardliners who are encouraging Trump to stand firm.  My, oh my … what’s a man to do? trump-golf


Stay tuned, folks … never a dull moment these days!

The Death of Lady Liberty 🗽

One hundred and thirty-three years ago today, the Statue of Liberty came to our shores.  Lady Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrived in some 200 cartons, in 350 pieces – rather like a puzzle to be put together.  She was reassembled and dedicated the next year and would become known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Perhaps we no longer deserve having her grace our harbour.  But first, a bit of history, courtesy of History.com

Intended to commemorate the American Revolution and a century of friendship between the U.S. and France, the statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (who modeled it after his own mother), with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later developed the iconic tower in Paris bearing his name. The statue was initially scheduled to be finished by 1876, the 100th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence; however, fundraising efforts, which included auctions, a lottery and boxing matches, took longer than anticipated, both in Europe and the U.S., where the statue’s pedestal was to be financed and constructed. The statue alone cost the French an estimated $250,000 (more than $5.5 million in today’s money).

Finally completed in Paris in the summer of 1884, the statue, a robed female figure with an uplifted arm holding a torch, reached its new home on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor (between New York City and Hudson County, New Jersey) on June 17, 1885. After being reassembled, the 450,000-pound statue was officially dedicated on October 28, 1886, by President Cleveland, who said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” Standing more than 305 feet from the foundation of its pedestal to the top of its torch, the statue, dubbed “Liberty Enlightening the World” by Bartholdi, was taller than any structure in New York City at the time. The statue was originally copper-colored, but over the years it underwent a natural color-change process called patination that produced its current greenish-blue hue.

In 1892, Ellis Island, located near Bedloe’s Island (which in 1956 was renamed Liberty Island), opened as America’s chief immigration station, and for the next 62 years Lady Liberty, as the statue is nicknamed, stood watch over the more than 12 million immigrants who sailed into New York Harbor. In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, written 20 years earlier for a pedestal fundraiser, was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal. Lazarus’ now-famous words, which include “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” became symbolic of America’s vision of itself as a land of opportunity for immigrants.

Some 60 years after President Calvin Coolidge designated the statue a national monument in 1924, it underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration (which included a new torch and gold leaf-covered flame) and was rededicated by President Ronald Reagan on July 4, 1986, in a lavish celebration. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the statue was closed; its base, pedestal and observation deck re-opened in 2004, while its crown re-opened to the public on July 4, 2009. (For safety reasons, the torch has been closed to visitors since 1916, after an incident called the Black Tom explosions in which munitions-laden barges and railroad cars on the Jersey City, New Jersey, waterfront were blown up by German agents, causing damage to the nearby statue.)

Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous landmarks. Over the years, it has been the site of political rallies and protests (from suffragettes to anti-war activists), has been featured in numerous movies and countless photographs, and has received millions of visitors from around the globe.

The Statue of Liberty once stood for something, but today when I read those words … “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, I shake my head, for they are a great hypocrisy.  We no longer welcome immigrants, but rather abuse them, call them names, and take their children from them.  We are planning to spend tens of billions of dollars – enough money to feed those tired and poor for many days, weeks, perhaps even months or a year – to build a huge wall, the sole purpose of which will be to keep immigrants out.

Here is how we greet immigrants today …With the exception of the Indigenous People in this nation, we are all descended from immigrants, but as time and generations have passed, we have become an arrogant lot, believing that somehow we are entitled to more, to better than others.  We no longer welcome the “tired and poor”, but instead would choose, in the words of Donald Trump, “only the best and brightest”.  Huddled masses?  Oh no, throw them in jails and detention centers, humiliate them, berate them, beat them and even kill them.No, my fellow Americans, we no longer deserve the Statue of Liberty for we are no longer the ‘land of the free’, but rather the land of the wealthy.  Only the wealthy are welcome here.  If you or I were attempting to flee to the shores of the U.S. today, would we be welcomed and embraced? I think not, but then … I would not choose to come to this country today, either.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers who have dedicated their lives to being awesome dads!

Happy Dancin’ and Mud Fightin’

Arizona … home to Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake – both republicans, but of the lovable sort, if there is such a thing.  And I just discovered another Arizonian to love, based on a single sentence.   His name is Ruben Gallego (think of it as ‘guy-eggo’ for pronunciation) and he is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona.  The sentence that won me over?

“I will gladly work with the president when his ideas aren’t stupid and detrimental to the United States. Unfortunately this is what this plan is.”

I was just trolling various news outlets, half asleep in the warm afternoon sunshine when I saw that and immediately felt Snoopy doing a bit of a happy dance in my heart!We all know the backstory … Trump has signed an order to send the National Guard to ‘guard the Mexican border’ until such time as his wall can be built.  We also all know that, despite Trump’s rants, there is no immediate threat on the border, there are no ‘caravans of evil’ threatening to cross the border with the intent of raping and pillaging, and it is all a big hoax on the part of Trump.  A potentially costly hoax for a number of reasons.

While many republicans were busy licking the Donald’s boots, praising his ‘strength’ in this matter, most democrats were less over-joyed, but perhaps none so outspoken as Mr. Gallego.  Of course, the mouthpiece, Ms. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, had to speak:

“If that congressman’s so concerned, maybe he ought to show up and actually support legislation that would fix these problems instead of blaming the president that’s actually doing something about it.”

To which Gallego responded with a tweet:

“Hey @PressSec – Unlike your boss, I did show up and served my country in the Marines. Now, I show up in Congress to serve my country again and act as a check to some of your boss’s worst plans.”

Okay, okay … it’s mud-slinging at its finest, accomplishes little if anything and is beneath us.  But …

 

I’m the kid who got kicked out of kindergarten for fighting … I can get down & dirty with the best of them sometimes!

But now, let me just wipe some of this mud off and let us take a closer look at Ruben Gallego.

Gallego has been in office since 2014, when he won 74% of the vote in Arizona’s 7th district, a district that is heavily democratic and majority Latino.  In his first year, he earned a B+ rating from the NRA, but ever since has an ‘F’ rating … a plus, in my book.  He has the endorsement of Mayday PAC, a super PAC that seeks to reduce the role of money in politics.  Another score, in my book. On February 28, 2013 Gallego voted against an amendment that sought to raise campaign finance limits for federal candidates and abolish all limits for state candidates.

Gallego is a relative newbie, but so far, I like what I see.  I see no barriers to him winning re-election in his district in November, so no real need to highlight him, other than that he ‘walked the walk’ in standing firm against Trump’s ludicrous waste of our resources to combat his fairy-tale threat on our southern border.

Arizona seems to turn out people with good sense, on both sides of the political aisle.  I wonder … is it something in the water?

The Wall That Donnie Didn’t Build …

Okay, folks, I want everyone to repeat after me:  We do not need a wall to secure our southern border.  Period.  It is a damn shame that all of us … bloggers and paid journalists alike … are spending the bulk of our time these days trying to peel away the layers of lies and fraudulent claims by the ‘man’ who claims to be president.  To an extent, he uses all this b.s. as a smokescreen, a distraction from Robert Mueller, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.  But to a larger extent, the reality is simpler:  Trump simply does not know how to be honest.  He has spent so much of his life telling lies, that it is his norm.  Unfortunately, he is now in a position such that his lies, if people in key decision-making positions believed them, could cause all manners of grief, leading up to and including an all-out war.  And so, we all keep doing our best, wasting entire days, digging for what’s real and trying to shine a light in the dark corners where the truth has been hidden behind the web of lies.

The latest?  We are back to the bloomin’ border wall between the Southern U.S. and Mexico.  A superbly ridiculous idea at its inception, it has become even more so.  To recap, though … does anybody remember how he kept saying Mexico would pay for the wall?  We all knew he had no leverage, no power to force Mexico to pay for something that had no benefit to them.  And Trump knew it, based on a conversation he had in August 2017 with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

“But the fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall – I have to. We cannot say that anymore because if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that. I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall. I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about.”

Translation:  You know you’re not going to pay for it, and I know you’re not going to pay for it, but let me keep saying it for a while, and then it will fade away.

But in Trump’s mind, that wall must be built regardless of who pays for it.  Why?  Because he remembers fondly how his supporters kept chanting, “Lock her up!  Build that wall!!!”  And he is as aware as any that some people don’t like him … really, really don’t like him … and that his very survival depends on those chanters staying happy.

Now, the problem is that there is no need for a wall, and most of us know that, so how can he justify paying for it with our money.  We don’t want a damn wall! We want health care, we want clean air & water, we want better schools and affordable college, we want a myriad of things, but a wall is not one of them.  Even the chanters didn’t really want a wall … until Trump convinced them that Mexicans were “bad hombres” and were coming to rape, pillage, and take their jobs.  None of which, of course, has a shred of truth.  So, since there is no need for the wall, no possible justification, Trump must create an illusion of a need.  Which means he must lie.  And that is exactly what he has done, yet again.

On Easter morning, while the rest of us were hiding/finding coloured eggs and chocolate bunnies, peeling veggies for later in the day, and relaxing with family, Donnie-boy was tweeting.  (One has to feel a little sorry for his youngest son, Baron, for it seems Trump forgets he exists!)

“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!” — 9:56 AM – Apr 1, 2018

“Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!” — 9:25 AM – 1 Apr 2018

And that stupid tweet actually garnered 125,000 likes!?!?  Ah well.  The point here, though, being that it is not true.  None of it.  Nada.  Ni siquiera un poquito.

First, why must the word ‘democrat’ always be prefaced with an insult by Trump & Co?  I am perfectly able to refer to ‘republicans’ without an offensive preface.  This is offensive and highly unprofessional for a ‘man’ in his position.  Second, ‘catch and release’ is an unofficial protocol first in use by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that began … oh, let me think … in 2001 under republican President George W. Bush.  Hmmm but the “ridiculous liberal democrats” get blamed.  And it is not a law, simply a protocol, the way things are done, and it started because ICE didn’t have time to be chasing down every immigrant that crossed the border for periods of up to six months.

And third, Trump claims that Mexico is doing little or nothing and that great “caravans” are headed our way and we must be afraid, very afraid.  Just yesterday, the Mexican government broke up a caravan of nearly 1,000 from Central America, as they have done in the past.  The government disbanded the group, issuing humanitarian visas to some, and giving the rest 10 days to leave or apply for permission to stay in Mexico.  Below is a picture of some of the people from that ‘caravan’ …Scary looking bunch, eh?

Donald Trump, my friends, is lying to us, just as he always has and just as he always will.  He uses fear tactics to get us to buy into his wall rhetoric.  The bottom line is that the wall would cost us, the taxpayers, upward of $25 billion and would serve no purpose other than to assuage Trump’s ego.  Congress realizes there is no need for a wall, since they allocated a small percentage of the cost in the budget, and put significant restraints on even that.

What Donald Trump has accomplished, however, is to once again anger the Mexican government.  President Enrique Peña Nieto has already cancelled a planned visit.  Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray came back with a tweet of his own:

“Every day Mexico and the U.S. work together on migration throughout the region. Facts clearly reflect this.”

It might, at this juncture, behoove us to recall that Mexico is one of our two logistically closest allies, as well as an important trading partner.  Who among us would pick, pick and pick some more on our closest neighbor, knowing that there were plenty of enemies on the next street willing to do us harm?So, Trump is willing to use the lives of young people, the DACA Dreamers, as a bargaining chip to get his wall, for that is what this entire spate of ugly tweets boils down to.  But let us not take our eyes off the real balls here:  Robert Mueller, Stormy Daniels, and Karen McDougal, for those are the ones Trump is really afraid of.  Those are the ones from whom he is trying to divert our attention.  Focus, folks.

Democrats, It’s Time For A Government Shutdown If Republicans Don’t Support A Clean DACA Bill

Every year in recent history, there has been a threat of a government shutdown because the two sides, republican and democrat, cannot agree on a few points to come up with a workable budget. Almost every year, there is a resolution at the 11th hour, a budget is agreed upon in Congress and signed by the president just in time to keep the federal government up and running. Ho-hum … same ol’ same ol’. This year is no exception, which was already a given, considering the polarization between the two sides in Congress and the idiot-in-residence at the White House. But this year, perhaps there will be no 11th hour solution, for the idiot-in-residence does not seem to be willing to put the good of the nation ahead of his own waning popularity. Our friend Gronda has written an excellent post showing us what happened last week and explaining how one person, Donald Trump, has put our nation in jeopardy to assuage his own ego. Please take a few moments to read Gronda’s post. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos about 1/11/18 meeting with trumpUntil recently, I was truly desirous of the Democrats working with this president and fellow republicans colleagues, even if it meant that Democrats would have to cave by giving the president a win with funds for his Wall in order to pass real immigration reform.

My thinking hardened when the republican President Donald J. Trump chose to blow up a bi-partisan plan worked on by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham and 4 others, to fix the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program and other immigration issues, at a Thursday morning meeting (1/11/18). Senators Durbin and Graham were prepared to present their proposal, but the president chose to renege on earlier commitments to approve any bi-partisan work product by blowing up the meeting with profanity and by referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as shxtholes,

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