Steve King Strikes Again!

Back when I was still doing my Idiot of the Week posts, in March 2017 to be exact, I awarded Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award to a member of Congress named Steve King of Iowa.  Mr. King apparently appreciated the award so much that he keeps flitting across my radar, begging to be given some additional recognition, it would seem.  All I can say is that he’s lucky I don’t live in his home state of Iowa!

Let’s face it … any representative that earns a score of zero from the Humane Society, but an ‘A’ rating from the NRA is not somebody you’re really going to look up to!  Now, King has a reputation, well-earned, of being a racist and a bigot.  He is firmly against LGBT rights, has spoken cruelly against Mexicans in general, against Muslims, was against President Obama because of his ethnicity, loves Donald Trump, supports racial profiling, is a climate-change denier and … need I go on?  There is a word for people of his ilk … it starts with a ‘J’, ends with another word for a donkey, and if I have to tell you what it is, then you are in the wrong blog!

So, what has King done now, you ask, to ruffle the Filosofa’s feathers? Back in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit both the Florida and Louisiana coasts and nearly devastated much of New Orleans, as parts of the levee system were breached, King was one of 11 members of Congress who voted against a federal aid package for New Orleans.  On Thursday, 14 years after the devastating hurricane that took the lives of at least 1,500 in Louisiana alone, King spoke at a Town Hall meeting in his district.

“Here’s what FEMA tells me. We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody’s looking around saying, ‘Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?’ We go to a place like Iowa, and we go, we go see, knock on the door at, say, I’ll make up a name, John’s place, and say, ‘John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you.’ And John will say, ‘Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It’s Joe that needs help. Let’s go down to his place and help him.'”

What. A. Jerk.  FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), by the way, denies his claim. It should be noted that King’s state, Iowa, is predominantly white, whereas New Orleans is 60% African-American.  If New Orleans were predominantly white, King would almost certainly not have made such a ridiculous statement.

Once again, as has happened multiple times in the past year, his fellow republicans took him to task.  Representative Steve Scalise, whose district includes parts of New Orleans, said …

“His comments about Katrina victims are absurd and offensive, and are a complete contradiction to the strength and resilience the people of New Orleans demonstrated to the entire nation in the wake of the total devastation they experienced.”

Last weekend, King came under fire for this Facebook post …Steve-King-fb-post

Nice, huh?  And in January he was stripped of his committee assignments in the House for white supremacist remarks he mad.  When asked about an apology for his remarks, he refused to apologize.  Even Mitch McConnell condemned King’s remarks …

“There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind. I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. Representative King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position. If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.”

The late night hosts didn’t miss the opportunity …

The people of Iowa have elected this doofus nine times now!  This nation is undergoing a very tense, divisive time and the very last thing we need is an obnoxious white supremacist with a loud mouth in Congress, for we already have one in the White House.  Iowans … PLEASE remove your heads from your patooties, wake up, and vote Mr. King out of Congress next year!!!

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.

Warren Davidson’s Newsletter

Yesterday, I received a routine newsletter from my representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Warren Davidson.  I have little or no respect for this man or his policies, did not vote for him and would not vote for him if he were the only candidate on the ballot.  However, I receive his newsletter because a) one needs to keep tabs on what one’s elected officials are doing, not that you can believe a word they say, and b) I like to annoy the heck out of him by responding to each one.  Below is his latest newsletter …

Warren DavidsonDear Friends,

Congressman Davidson voted against H.R. 1, the For the People Act, as this deceptively labeled legislation would put our free and fair elections system under federal control, infringing on several Constitutional rights. H.R. 1 is the top item on Speaker Pelosi and House Democrat’s policy agenda for the 116th Congress. Congressman Davidson introduced several amendments to H.R. 1 that would protect free speech, uphold states’ rights, and defend nonprofits from political targeting by the IRS. He led a debate on these amendments this past Thursday on the floor of the House.

Addressing anti-Semitic Comments

On Fox News Radio Congressman Davidson also reacted to anti-Semitic remarks recently made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this week. He told host Todd Starnes that America is not an anti-Semitic country, yet Congresswoman Omar has continued to make anti-Semitic remarks. Congressman Davidson said that if there is any place where these comments would be out-of-line, it would most certainly be the Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Congresswoman Omar is a member.

New Executive Order Aimed at Lowering Veterans’ Suicide

President Trump recently signed an executive order aimed at decreasing the number of veteran suicides and creating a task force of state and local groups to raise awareness of the crisis. The new task force created by the executive order will create a grant system like the Housing and Urban Development VA Supportive Housing program, which provides funding for state and local programs that help homeless veterans and their families find permanent housing.

Davidson Receives Defender of Economic Freedom Award

The Club for Growth recognized Congressman Davidson this week for his consistent defense of economic freedom and pro-growth policies in Washington. This year, only 25 Members of Congress (20 House members and 5 Senators) will receive the Award.

Second Amendment Visit

Congressman Davidson met with a group of gun owners in West Chester this past week where he discussed two gun control bills, which he opposed in the House. He spoke with the group about how these bills would have made it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, carry and use a firearm.

Thank you for taking the time to keep up with the work I am doing on your behalf in Washington and at home in Ohio. I encourage you to stay connected with our office through my website , Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter pages. It is an honor to represent you.

Sincerely,

Warren Davidson

Member of Congress

Don’t you hate it when someone refers to themself in the third person? So much more I could have said, would have liked to say, but short, sweet and to the point is always best … these guys have short attention spans.

Davidson won in a special election in June 2016 to replace John Boehner after Boehner resigned. He then won again in 2018 by a 68.76% margin … obviously my neighbors have no sense.  He is a member of the ignoble House Freedom Caucus, that most radical of all conservative elements in Congress.  They aren’t even well-liked or respected by their own fellow republicans.

Predictably, Davidson is anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBT rights, opposes the use of renewable energy, has an “A” rating from the NRA, wishes to repeal ACA (Obamacare), supports maintaining a “numerically superior” nuclear arsenal, supports Trump’s border wall and a ban on Syrian refugees, supports a “Judeo-Christian” national code of morality, and more.  In other words, he is against We the People and for a Christian/military complex.  To put it kindly, he is a fool of the most dangerous sort.

I responded briefly, touching only on two of the issues raised in his newsletter …

Mr. Davidson,

I just read your latest newsletter and I have a few questions.  Are we, the people you are elected and paid to represent, supposed to applaud you for voting against legislation that would serve a number of purposes, including taking some of the corruption out of the election process?  And are we to applaud you for opposing sensible gun legislation that might … just might save some lives?  Thus far, you are the antithesis of what this nation needs and what the majority of We the People want.  You’ve licked the boots of Trump and of the NRA for long enough, Mr. Davidson.  Unless you show some accountability and responsibility, I will work as hard as I can to see that you are voted OUT of Congress next year.

Jill Dennison, tax payer, citizen, VOTER

Do you get periodic newsletters via email from your senators and representatives?  If not, you should sign up for them, if for no other reason than to let them know you are watching, you are aware, and you will not tolerate any b.s.

Stop Calling Me!!!

Seven.  Seven.  Eight.  Seven.  NINE!  This is ridiculous.  This must stop!  NOW!!!  Those are the number of scam or robo-calls I have gotten per day for the past few days.  It used to be two or three a day, and while I found that annoying, I could live with it.  But this has gone far beyond what I find acceptable and I am, quite frankly, highly pissed!  This is harassment, especially considering they start before I am awake and go as late as 9:00 p.m.!  I have to keep the ringer turned off on my phone, meaning I occasionally miss a call that I needed or wanted to receive.  I do not answer these calls, for I’m told that doing so confirms to the caller that it is a working number and the calls will merely increase in number.  I did answer one a few months ago with, “What the [expletive deleted] do you [expletive deleted] want???”, and perhaps that is why the calls have increased, but still, there must surely be a way to stop it, other than giving up my cell phone altogether?  And besides not answering, I immediately block every number from which I receive a call from an unknown number.  My ‘blocked calls’ list now numbers more than 400!!!  It doesn’t seem to matter, for these scammers buy blocks of hundreds of numbers, so if I block one, their computer just uses another.

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped up its fight against unwanted calls, implementing a rule authorizing phone companies to block scammers before they reach consumers by spotting invalid numbers and an initiative to develop an authentication system for caller ID.  Sorry, guys, but it ain’t working!

The problem, in part, is that although phone companies are now authorized to preempt scammers under the FCC’s rules, they are not required to.

It is not my imagination that these unwanted, harassing calls have increased.  In 2017, only 3.7% of all cell phone calls were by scammers.  Last year, the number jumped to 29%, and in early 2019 it is estimated at 45%.  For me, it is more like 90%, since on average I receive only one wanted call per day, and 7-9 unwanted ones!

As I said, I do not take these calls, and rarely do they leave any message, but a few times they have left a message warning me that I am wanted by the FBI, that there is a warrant out for my arrest in _____________ (name that state, typically one I haven’t been in for 40 years or more, if ever), and I must call now!  But imagine the person, most often a senior citizen (I refuse to think of myself as one just yet), who does answer the call.  Here are a few of the possibilities …

  • Callers use telephone numbers that mimic actual IRS assistance centers, claim to be IRS employees and use fake names and phony badge numbers. The IRS says victims are falsely told they owe money to the government and are urged to pay through a gift card or wire transfer. Scammers may also take advantage of the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, the IRS warned. Scammers can pose as a charitable organization, preying on the generosity of Americans who want to help those affected by the storm.
  • Scammers also trick people into answering their calls with a scheme known as neighborhood spoofing, in which they manipulate caller ID information so that their actual phone number is masked. Instead, the calls appear to have been placed locally. A person looking at their caller ID will see a number that matches their own area code, as if the caller is a neighbor or a relative. Because the number appears familiar, people are more likely to answer the call. (Approximately 70% of my unwanted calls are from numbers where the first 6 digits match my own)

scam-callIt’s illegal for telemarketers to call someone whose number is on the national do-not-call registry (as mine is), unless they have an existing business relationship or the phone owner’s explicit written permission. But people who ignore the list or engage in deception are often hard to hold to account. They make calls from abroad, obscure their locations and place a tremendous number of calls.

Now, enter our knight on the white horse (sarcasm intended), the United States Federal Government.  According to a February 10th article in The Washington Post

Thankfully, proposals in both chambers of Congress offer some hope. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J) introduced a bill in the House last week closing the loophole on autodialers who today take advantage of outdated legal language. That should deter legitimate businesses from abuse. As for the spoofers, major carriers could deploy a technology as early as this year that will tell consumers whether an incoming call comes from a verified number. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had already urged carriers to adopt these authentication systems, but he stopped short of mandating it. Mr. Pallone’s bill would do just that, as would legislation in the Senate co-written by Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and John Thune (R-S.D.). And Mr. Pallone’s sensibly would require phone companies to provide blocking services against spoofers free of charge.

My antennae automatically go up when I hear Ajit Pai’s name, for he is the one who killed net neutrality, thereby making it quite clear that his interests are tied with big business, not We the People.  However, we must start somewhere, for otherwise our cell phones have become naught but an albatross.  Congress needs to get busy on this and pass these bills, although I have doubts that it will be enforced.  It’s a damn shame that we pay exorbitant amounts to purchase and use our cell phones, and then find that we have no control, they are not for our convenience, but for the convenience of scammers and big business who have found a cheap way to market their junk.

An Open Letter From Adam Schiff

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff of California published an open letter in The Washington Post to his republican colleagues.  I am sharing this letter, for in it Mr. Schiff makes a number of very valid and valuable points that the republicans in Congress need to hear, and not just from Mr. Schiff, but also from We the People.  I have sent a copy of his letter with my own plea to the republicans who represent my state/district and with a rather stern warning that if they fail to step up to the plate, I will do everything in my power to unseat them next year.

Adam Schiff: An open letter to my Republican colleagues

By Adam B. Schiff February 21 at 6:06 PM
Adam B. Schiff, a Democrat, represents California’s 28th Congressional District in the House and is chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress.

And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week’s Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.

For the past two years, we have examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow’s effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American.

But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist’s name, we must say it.

I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trump.

The president has just declared a national emergency to subvert the will of Congress and appropriate billions of dollars for a border wall that Congress has explicitly refused to fund. Whether you support the border wall or oppose it, you should be deeply troubled by the president’s intent to obtain it through a plainly unconstitutional abuse of power.

To my Republican colleagues: When the president attacked the independence of the Justice Department by intervening in a case in which he is implicated, you did not speak out. When he attacked the press as the enemy of the people, you again were silent. When he targeted the judiciary, labeling judges and decisions he didn’t like as illegitimate, we heard not a word. And now he comes for Congress, the first branch of government, seeking to strip it of its greatest power, that of the purse.

Many of you have acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations over the past two years. You have bemoaned his lack of decency, character and integrity. You have deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth. But for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you have chosen to keep your misgivings and your rising alarm private.

That must end. The time for silent disagreement is over. You must speak out.

This will require courage. The president is popular among your base, which revels in his vindictive and personal attacks on members of his own party, even giants such as the late senator John McCain. Speaking up risks a primary challenge or accusations of disloyalty. But such acts of independence are the most profound demonstrations of loyalty to country.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III may soon conclude his investigation and report. Depending on what is in that report and what we find in our own investigations, our nation may face an even greater challenge. While I am alarmed at what we have already seen and found of the president’s conduct and that of his campaign, I continue to reserve judgment about what consequences should flow from our eventual findings. I ask you to do the same.

If we cannot rise to the defense of our democracy now, in the face of a plainly unconstitutional aggrandizement of presidential power, what hope can we have that we will do so with the far greater decisions that could be yet to come?

Although these times pose unprecedented challenges, we have been through worse. The divisions during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were just as grave and far more deadly. The Depression and World War II were far more consequential. And nothing can compare to the searing experience of the Civil War.

If Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, could be hopeful that our bonds of affection would be strained but not broken by a war that pitted brother against brother, surely America can come together once more. But as long as we must endure the present trial, history compels us to speak, and act, our conscience, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Trump Has Gone Off His Rocker By Declaring A National Emergency Over Funding His Wall

Gronda has said this as well as I could have, so I ask you to read her timely post. Thank you, Gronda.

Gronda Morin

Image result for images of the president declaring a national emergency PRESIDENT TRUMP

The republican President Donald Trump has gone and done it. On the 15th of February 2019, President Trump has agreed to sign off on the budget agreed to by the US Congress avoiding another US government shutdown but he has decided to declare a ‘National Emergency’ to use reallocated taxpayer monies to fund his SW border wall to the tune of an additional $6.5 billion for something that is a non emergency. He even started off this announcement with the words “I didn’t have to do it, but…

It’s the US House which appropriates taxpayer monies which the president has acted to usurp. Of course this action will be challenged in the US courts, but this high risk tactic should have been avoided as it sets a dangerous precedent.

See: Presidents have declared emergencies 59 times since 1976 – ...

See: What exactly is a national emergency

View original post 830 more words

#$%&*@ 👿

I try not to use foul language on this blog, try to keep it professional, but tonight, the title of this blog seems to fit as no other would.  In an attempt to circumvent the United States Congress, and to defy the will and best interest of We the People, Donald Trump has announced his intention to declare a state of ‘national emergency’ today at the same time he signs the budget bill.

Allow me, please, to begin by making one thing perfectly clear …

THERE IS NO DAMN NATIONAL EMERGENCY AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER OR ELSEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!!

There is no emergency, but this is King Trump using the ‘power’ of his office to spend our money on a wall that the majority in the U.S. do not want and that, if built, would damage both the U.S. and Mexico far more than it would help anybody or anything.   The cost of his wall would be astronomical and would deny food and housing to millions of people.  I fully agree with the joint statement issued by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi …

“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.”

Since I am livid and sputtering with rage, my rant is far too likely to turn into an expletive-laden diatribe, so I have decided to let Eugene Robinson, writer for The Washington Post, and a much more professional writer than I, finish this post for me …

We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump.

Eugene-RobinsonBy Eugene Robinson

February 14 at 6:50 PM

We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump, and it is a force of mindless, pointless disruption.

The president’s decision to officially declare an emergency — to pretend to build an unbuildable border wall — is not only an act of constitutional vandalism. It is also an act of cowardice, a way to avoid the wrath of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the far-right commentariat.

It is an end run around Congress and, as such, constitutes a violation of his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — which gives Congress, not the president, the authority to decide how public money is spent. It does not give Trump the right to fund projects that Congress will not approve. Authoritarian leaders do that sort of thing. The puffed-up wannabe strongman now living in the White House is giving it a try.

Let’s be clear: There is no emergency. Arrests for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaked in 2000, nearly two decades ago, at more than 1.5 million a year. They declined sharply under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and, in 2017, were at their lowest point since 1971. In 2018, apprehensions ticked up slightly — but still barely climbed above 400,000.

There has indeed been an increase in families presenting themselves at legal points of entry to seek asylum — those groups of bedraggled Central Americans that Trump calls “caravans.” Under U.S. and international law, these people have an undisputed right to ask for asylum and have their cases evaluated. Again, they come to legal border crossings to seek admission. Only a handful try to navigate the forbidding rural terrain where Trump says he wants to build a wall.

What the administration really needs to do is expand and improve facilities for processing, caring for and, when necessary, housing these asylum seekers. But Trump doesn’t care about doing the right thing, or even the necessary thing. He cares only about being able to claim he is following through on his vicious anti-immigration rhetoric, which brands Mexican would-be migrants as “rapists” and Central Americans as members of the MS-13 street gang.

Trump had two years in which Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate — and could not persuade Congress to give him funding for a wall. He decided to make it an issue only after Democrats won the power to say no. The president’s negotiating strategy — pitching tantrums, walking away from the table, venting on Twitter, provoking the longest partial government shutdown in history — was never going to work. You might think he would have learned something about how Washington works by now, but you would be wrong.

Because there obviously is no legitimate emergency, Trump’s declaration — and the shifting of resources from duly authorized projects to the wall — will surely be challenged in court. It is possible, if not likely, that any actual construction will be held up indefinitely.

Indeed, legal briefs arguing against Trump’s action practically write themselves. An emergency, by definition, is urgent. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, for example, clearly qualified as a national emergency. But Trump has been talking about issuing an emergency declaration to build the wall for a couple of months. If such action wasn’t necessary in December, some judge will surely ask, then why now?

Money for the wall will have to be taken from other projects, all of which have constituencies in Congress and among the public. Ranchers and others whose land would have to be taken by eminent domain for the wall will be up in arms.

Politically, Trump carelessly put Republican senators in a tough spot. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may have the House pass a resolution of disapproval, which the Senate would be compelled to take up. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his caucus would have to decide whether to support a presidential power grab they know is unwise — or oppose Trump and risk the ire of the GOP base.

One of the most strident Republican criticisms of Obama was that he took executive actions that should have been the purview of Congress. But this action by Trump goes much further and sets a dangerous precedent.

What would keep the next Democratic president from declaring an emergency, in the wake of some mass shooting, and imposing a ban on assault weapons? Is that what McConnell wants as his legacy?

Trump cares only that his base is mollified. And that nobody remembers how Mexico was supposed to foot the bill.

A Letter From Parkland …

Today, February 14th 2019, marks one year since 17 people were killed, 14 of them students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  I would like to share with you a letter written by Jaclyn Corin, a senior at the school and the founder of March For Our Lives.  The letter was published yesterday in the New York Times.

Corin.jpgWhen I arrived at school on Feb. 14, 2018, like any junior, I was mostly caught up in Valentine’s Day chatter and events. But that all changed in the space of a few minutes that afternoon when a gunman opened fire on my classmates and my teachers, killing 17 of them and injuring just as many.

Despite the countless tragedies you see on TV, nothing prepares you for the day it happens to your community.

The familiar images of students fleeing their school as SWAT teams entered, of parents waiting by the perimeter desperately praying to get their kids back, were now my reality. They were my classmates and friends, too many of whom never came home.

After the shooting, my friends at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and I decided we couldn’t sit by as school shootings and gun violence became a normal part of life in America. We were determined to turn an act of violence into a movement, to do everything we could to send a powerful message to the country and to Washington.Parkland-2.jpg

There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of the shooting. When I hear the sound of sirens or fireworks, I’m taken back to that horrific afternoon. For me, Valentine’s Day will now forever be a reminder of loss.

Yet our community isn’t alone in its tragedy. In 2017, nearly 40,000 Americans died as a result of guns, an average of 109 people a day. And according to a tally from Education Week, there were 24 school shootings that resulted in gun-related deaths or injuries in 2018 alone.

While several states have taken positive legislative measures in response, there have been zero bipartisan investigations or new laws from Congress.

Not a single federal law has been passed since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 to address the crisis of school shootings. This year could be different — but only if we organize and insist on it.

Last week, Congress held its first hearing on gun violence prevention since 2011. This week, the House Judiciary Committee is poised to approve a bipartisan bill to requiring background checks for all gun purchases, a proposal that represents one important step toward keeping deadly firearms out of the wrong hands. However, it’s also likely this bill won’t get a hearing, let alone a vote, in the Senate.

That chamber’s majority leader, Mitch McConnell, needs to explain to all of us who have survived a shooting or lost someone to gun violence why the Senate won’t even vote on such a bill even though there’s been over half a million gun deaths since 2000, the year I was born.

And Americans should truly reckon with why this epidemic of gun deaths is treated so differently from any other health crisis in our country.

Imagine for a moment that all these gun deaths were caused by something else widely feared: airplane crashes. There’s no universe in which we wouldn’t see it as a national emergency worthy of our undivided attention.

In fact, 2017 was a remarkable year in aviation. No one died in a commercial airplane crash, meaning it was safer for me to fly than it was for me to go to high school. It would take hundreds of completely full Boeing 737 flights crashing without survivors to total the number of people who died by guns in America in just 2017.

If even a handful of such crashes occurred, the government would declare a national emergency. All 737s would be grounded, there would be an independent commission created to investigate the crisis, and Boeing would be called before Congress to answer for its failures.

So why then don’t more than 30,000 gun deaths in a year rise to the level of a national crisis for America’s conservative leaders?

The past year has been one with the deepest of lows and, at times, the highest of highs — moments when the hope that springs from fighting for a better world makes anything feel possible. On Thursday, the anniversary of the shooting, I will be in the only place that matters, nestled in my community and with my family.

And for the next four days, the organization I helped found, March For Our Lives, will go dark to honor those we lost and their memory.

I am deeply proud of all that my friends and I have accomplished in the last year. Still, I can’t help but wonder why so many lawmakers are ignoring — and, at their worst, enabling — the horrific gun deaths that occur in our country each day.

Parkland-1.jpgIn the year since the Parkland tragedy, nearly 1,200 more children have lost their lives to guns in this country.   When do we say, “Enough!!!”?  When do we put the lives of our children ahead of politics and corporate greed?  The sign above says it all … “Choose Me, Not Guns”.

A Shutdown Hiatus …

So, Trump has “magnanimously” agreed to open the government for three weeks sans the $5,7 billion he has demanded for his atrocious border wall.  And he is hailed a hero … for doing what he could have done 35 days ago and saved this nation both mega-dollars and many, many headaches.  I, for one, have no praise for him … he’s a day late and a dollar short.  His reasons for finally agreeing to a very short-term truce?  His ratings in the polls were plunging and … La Guardia International Airport in New York was closed, with others sure to follow suit since workers were largely done working without pay.

Don’t get me wrong … I am thankful that the government will re-open for 21 days, at least.  However, a solution seems unlikely to be worked out during that time, and then what?  Trump didn’t capitulate … he is still demanding his ego-toy aka border wall … he just figured he better appease his base before he woke up one morning to find his approval ratings in the single digits. And, as I said, he could have stopped the bleeding long before, but didn’t care enough about the citizens of this nation to do so.  So no, folks, don’t applaud him or pat him on the back … he is still the same vulgar, self-serving Donald Trump.

Now, you would think that everyone would be breathing a sigh of temporary relief at the news, right?  Wrong.  Remember Q-Anon?  Back in August, I posted a re-blog of Gronda’s explanation of the group.   In a nutshell, it is a group of Trump-supporting conspiracy theorists who believe that Trump, at some unspecified point in the future, will declare martial law and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will hand down hundreds of sealed indictments against Deep State “traitors” like Hillary Clinton, George Soros and President Barack Obama. The group had their 15 minutes of fame last summer and have rarely been heard from since.

Today, Q-Anon crawled out from under their rock to express their outrage at Trump for, as they so succinctly put it, ‘caving’ on the border wall.  Sheesh … a bunch of nuts!  There is, however, reason to be concerned, for this is a radical, gun-toting group who, though lacking depth or organization, know no bounds.  Last June for instance a man with an AR-15 drove onto the Hoover Dam in an armored truck, demanding the government release evidence validating Q-Anon.  Already I have seen some tweets by Q-Anon members calling for the group to “Take the situation into our own hands.”

Surprisingly, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows praised the agreement to pause the shutdown until February 15th, although he said that Trump promised him he would not back down on his demand for the border wall funding.  He indicated that if the democrats don’t agree over the next three weeks to fund the border wall, he expects Trump to use “executive action”, in other words declaring the state of national emergency he has been threatening for weeks now.

And oh yeah … a few of the Fox ‘News’ pundits – the same ones who goaded Trump into this catastrophic shutdown 35 days ago – are not happy either!  Awwwww … poor babies …coulter-tweet

cernovich-tweetAgain, folks, this isn’t the end of the shutdown, but merely a deferment.  On February 15th, it is quite possible that the whole mess will begin anew.  Trump deserves no praise for finally doing what he should have done more than a month ago, and his motives are his own, not our best interest.