Who Loses?

Well, folks, the Fool on the Hill is determined to have his wall/fence/whatever at any cost and no matter who it hurts.  I’ve already discussed the concept of the wall, how it has no value other than as a propaganda tool, so I shan’t repeat all that.  However, we need to be aware of where the money is coming from for that wall … who will be hurt the most.

James Hohmann is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, and author of The Daily 202, The Post’s flagship political newsletter.  Just as I was looking for information for this post, his newsletter hit my inbox and … lo and behold!  Mr. Hohmann had done my work for me.  What follows is portions from Mr. Hohmann’s article, for it is too long for this post, but if you’re interested in further details, you can read the entire newsletter here.


The Daily 202: The biggest losers from Trump’s diversion of military funds for his wall

HohmannBy James Hohmann
September 5 at 10:18 AM

THE BIG IDEA: Sometimes it’s worthwhile to step back and remember how we got here.

President Trump promised repeatedly that he would get Mexico to pay for a border wall when he ran in 2016. Unable to accomplish that, he failed to persuade Congress of the need to appropriate the money – even when his own party controlled both chambers. Just before Christmas, Trump forced what became a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in American history, in a bid to coerce the legislative branch to give him the money he wanted for the wall.

When House Democrats stayed unified, buoyed by their mandate in the midterms, the president declared a “national emergency” in February. Under the auspices of that emergency, Trump announced he would divert money that had been explicitly appropriated for the military to move ahead with his pet project. In late July, the five Supreme Court justices appointed by Republicans voted to lift a freeze on the money that had been put in place by a lower court and upheld by an appellate court.

Last night, the Pentagon finally released to the public a list of the 127 construction projects that stand to lose funding to free up $3.6 billion for 175 miles of fencing and other barriers on the southern border. These are spread across 23 states, three U.S. territories and 20 countries. Here are some of the most notable projects that Trump is raiding:

1) Puerto Rico will lose out on more than $400 million of planned projects.

The Pentagon is defunding 13 projects at military installations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 10 of which were related to recovery from Hurricane Maria. Among them is the rehabilitation of Camp Santiago, a training facility operated by the Puerto Rico National Guard.

Guam, another U.S. territory, will lose a quarter of a billion dollars in construction projects. North Korea threatened to strike the Pacific island in 2017.

Trump’s disdain for Puerto Rico and his resistance to helping the U.S. commonwealth has been well established. It led to a delay of several months in a disaster relief funding bill.

2) Another $770 million is being diverted from projects that have been approved to help American allies deter attacks from a revanchist Russia.

This is the bulwark of the European Deterrence Initiative, which was created after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Along with Trump’s push to get Russia back in the G-7, this is the latest illustration of the president projecting weakness in the face of Kremlin bellicosity.

A facility for special operations forces and their training will not get built in Estonia, the tiny but thriving democracy whose sovereignty depends on the American security guarantee. Also on the chopping block are projects to construct ammunition and fuel storage facilities and staging areas in Poland, and planned upgrades to surveillance aircraft facilities in Italy, as well as airfield and fuel storage upgrades in Slovakia and Hungary.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling tweeted: “To the untrained eye, the 127 defense projects postponed for the border barrier may seem confusing. But as a former commander in Europe, many of these … are big deals. ‘Support the troops?’ Not so much.”

3) Nine of the projects on the list involve renovating or replacing schools for the children of U.S. troops.

4) Utah will lose $54 million. This is striking because both of the state’s conservative senators, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, voted against Trump’s border emergency in March and supported the resolution of disapproval. Is it retaliation?

5) To be sure, GOP senators who supported Trump’s emergency declaration didn’t get spared.

“Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), one of those who voted in support of the declaration, announced early Wednesday that the Trump administration was diverting $30 million in funds from an Army base in her state to construction of the wall ― even though she previously received assurances from an acting secretary of defense that her state would be spared,” HuffPost’s Igor Bobic reports.

“Other Republican senators whose states are impacted by Trump’s diversion of military construction funds to build the wall include Thom Tillis of North Carolina ($80 million), Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ($62 million), John Cornyn of Texas ($48 million), Lindsey Graham of South Carolina ($11 million) and Cory Gardner of Colorado ($8 million),” Bobic notes.

6) In the long term, the greatest damage from the diversions could be the fundamental break that it represents with the founding fathers’ conception of the separation of powers. James Madison made the power of the purse explicit when he drafted Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

Trump is creating a potentially dangerous precedent for future presidents to disregard the will of a coequal branch. He’s using an obscure provision from a law passed during the Cold War that was intended to give executive branch officials flexibility in the event of truly existential emergencies, such as a Soviet first strike.

“Officially, the Pentagon is saying the affected projects are ‘deferred,’ but in order for them to go ahead in the future, Congress must again fund them,” Paul Sonne and Seung Min Kim note.

Tell Me Again …

Tell me again, Donald Trump, why we should fear Latino or Muslim immigrants, when just a few hours ago yet another white male, natural-born citizen, went on a shooting spree, this time in Odessa, Texas, killing at least five people and injuring at least twenty-one?

Tell me again, Republicans, why we cannot ban assault weapons or have a single shred of meaningful gun legislation in this country?

Tell me again, how a “good guy with a gun” is the answer to a bad guy with a gun, when at least three of the wounded were police officers, supposedly the “good guys with guns”?

Tell me again, somebody, how allowing more and more civilians to carry guns in public makes this a safer nation?

Tell me again just what benefit your damn “thoughts and prayers” will give to the families of the dead and wounded?

Answer these questions for me, those of you who support the NRA, a Bozo in the White House, and a Russian pansy as Senate Majority Leader, but don’t … DO NOT … send your meaningless, thoughtless, “thoughts and prayers”.  Nobody wants them.  We want answers, we want an assault weapon ban, we want extended background checks and waiting periods, we want requisite skills training and testing, but we do not want you thoughtless “thoughts and prayers”.

Tell me again what it takes to wake you fools up?  Does it take having one of your own children become the victim of gun violence?  Think about it.

Israeli’s PM Netanyahu Is Siding With Trump And His GOP Cronies Racist Rhetoric/ Policies

Today, the world finds out that Donnie Trump and Benji Netanyahu are brothers in bigotry, in hatred of “other”. The first thing I saw when I woke this morning was that Trump was urging Netanyahu to bar two Congresswomen from traveling to Israel. 15 minutes later, my phone dinged with the “breaking news” that Netanyah had acceded to Trump’s wishes. This, my friends, is the epitome of racial hatred, of white supremacy, or religious exclusion. Our government is now complicit in religious terrorism. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu deserve the positions they hold, and I deem them both evil, greedy, arrogant beings. I will applaud when they are ousted from their positions, hopefully in leg irons and handcuffs. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

REPS. OMAR/ TLAIB

I’m shocked at Israel’s officials decision to bar two Muslim US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel based on an August 15, 2019 demand from the republican President Donald Trump. Until August 15, 2019,  the Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer had said US Reps. Tlaib and Omar would be allowed to visit Israel “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”

On a personal level, I had literally started planning a trip to Israel, a trip that’s number one on my bucket list. I’m crushed because I can’t visit a country that’s trumpeting/ amplifying the president’s Trumpian Republican Party’s racist rhetoric/ propaganda that GOP officials have chosen to implement as their 2020 campaign strategy. What kind of country does Israel want to become?

If Israelis want an explanation as to why hate crimes in USA have risen dramatically…

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A Handful of Mini-Rants

Yesterday, I shared a post of Gronda’s telling about the arrests of immigrants working at Koch Foods, the cruelty of the administration and ICE agents acting on behalf of Trump & Co.  More than a few times I have written about the cruelty of the administration ripping children from their parents arms, putting them in detention centers that are no better than prison camps, depriving them of basic human necessities.  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m getting sick and tired of this administration’s lack of compassion, lack of humanitarian values.  I am in a ranty mood tonight, so buckle up …


jimmy-aldoudJimmy Aldaoud has lived in the U.S. ever since he was six months old. Born a refugee in Greece, his parents migrated to the U.S. legally in 1979. He was a member of the Chaldean Catholic minority, many of whose members fled Iraq following the second U.S. invasion. He did not speak Arabic and had never been to Iraq. But when he encountered legal issues in the United States, which his lawyer attributed to his mental health issues including paranoid schizophrenia, he was deported to Iraq by the Trump Administration.

Jimmy Aldaoud had Type I diabetes and was insulin-dependent.  He had no family, knew nobody in Iraq.  Shortly after arriving there, he was filmed in a video where he said …

“I’ve been sleeping in the street. I’m diabetic. I get insulin shots. I was throwing up… sleeping in the streets, trying to find something to eat. You know, I got nothing over here.”

Jimmy Aldaoud is now dead because he could not get the insulin he needed.  No … actually, he is dead because the Trump administration decided to deport a man who lived in this country for 40 years.


Yo folks!  Remember in 2016, during the never-ending presidential campaign, when Donald Trump said that he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it?  Remember that?  Well, those of us with functional brains knew the instant he said it that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for the wall.  Why should they?  They aren’t the ones who asked for a damn wall, and the president of the U.S. has no leverage to force another country to pay for his own ego trip.

Well, guess what?  Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall … YOU are!!!  The latest is a proposal by the Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a republican (go figure) from Alabama (go figure, again) that would transfer some $5 billion from the departments of Labour, Health & Human Services (HHS), and Education in order to divert those funds for … you guessed it … Trump’s wall!

It is not a done deal yet, for even if it gets the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate, it would still need to pass in the Democratic majority House of Representatives, but the fact that Mr. Shelby and his cohorts think this is a good idea should raise the hackles of every single citizen in this nation.  Taking away from health care for the poor and elderly, and taking away from the education of our young!

Ironically, in Shelby’s last campaign, he campaigned on cutting wasteful spending.  So, does he consider saving lives and educating our children to be wasteful, yet building a stupid wall that serves no purpose other than to stroke the ego of a megalomaniac not wasteful???  Where is the man’s brain?  Better yet, where is his conscience?  Oh, that’s right … he’s a republican.


Martha McSally of Arizona lost the election in 2018 for U.S. Senate to Democratic candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, and yet, Martha McSally sits in the U.S. Senate today.  Why?  Because republican Governor Doug Ducey appointed her to replace the late Senator John McCain after McCain’s death.  Martha McSally is another republican fool who believes that any single gun regulation is unconstitutional and that mass shootings really aren’t the federal government’s problem nor responsibility.

It won’t surprise you to know that McSally has an “A” rating with the NRA and is in their pockets.   She was one of the nation’s largest 2018 recipients of campaign contributions from gun-rights organizations, with more than $200,000 in gun money.

“Just like I can sell my car, I can sell my gun. Any restrictions on that at gun shows or other places is just absolutely unconstitutional.”

There is a word for her, but out of respect for my readers, I shall leave that to your own imagination.


It seems to me that this nation no longer stands for anything.  We once welcomed people from other nations who were seeking a better life, or fleeing from persecution, but now they are called ‘vile and reprehensible’ by the so-called leaders of our nation, and are treated abominably, in violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.  We once promoted something called the “American Dream”, but it turns out that dream was only allowed to white, straight, Christian males.  We once spoke of “liberty and justice for all”, but today that is a joke, unless again, you are white, straight, Christian and male.  What does this nation stand for … what is its value?  As best I can tell, it stands for the wealthy people, for big businesses, for making money … but only for a few … less than 1% of the people of this nation are currently represented in our government.  Why don’t we do a thorough housecleaning and see if we can restore some values to this country?  Because we have no power and are quickly losing our voice.  If we don’t raise our voices very loudly and very soon, we will be living as the German and Italian people did in 1940.  Think about it.

Deconstructing government in Trump’s America

The important things, as I have said before, are slipping under the radar. Jeff, from On the Fence Voters, has shone a spotlight on one such thing. This administration is working so hard to destroy not only the nation, but the entire globe. Please take a minute to read Jeff’s assessment. Thanks, Jeff, for keeping us informed!

On The Fence Voters

Bannon’s prophetic prediction playing out before our eyes at USDA

In the early days of the Trump administration, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon declared that the President’s cabinet picks are well suited to implement a complete “deconstruction of the administrative state.” The quote by Bannon is relatively well known. Unfortunately, large swaths of the American people do not understand that that deconstruction is not only alive and well, but proceeding with lightning speed—with no end in sight.

To put it in more simpler terms, the administration is on track to weaken regulatory agencies and other bureaucratic entities, faster and more extreme than any previous Republican administration had ever tried to do. And it’s not like George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan didn’t try mightily to achieve this end. After all, less and smaller government is one of the main objectives of most Republicans as it is. But the…

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It’s Always About The Size Of His …


Crowds.  It’s always about the size of his crowds.  The “man” goes to El Paso, where a mass shooting has left some 22 people dead and many more injured, as a direct result of his own words.  Protestors abound, for he was not welcome in El Paso after inciting the violence that has left the city in mourning.  And what does he do?  He comes away bragging that the size of his crowd was double the number of the protestors.  How disrespectful, tacky, inconsiderate, and a bunch of other adjectives I could think of.  This, folks, is the person that we have sitting in the Oval Office, the person whose decisions could lead to peace … or war.  The person, in essence, who holds our very lives in his tiny hands.

This was not a day for politics, not a day to fuel the fires of division that are burning out of control in this nation.  It was a day of mourning, of grieving for lost loved ones, and Donald Trump, who should have been the most remorseful, apologetic of all, turned it into another “politics as usual” day in both El Paso and Dayton.

I cannot recall another person holding the office of president who has so degraded and devalued the office.  I cannot remember another who needed his own public relations team, working day and night, to go behind Trump and repair the damage he leaves in his wake.  We have had presidents in my lifetime who I didn’t like very much, but never have I felt such loathing for not only the actions, but the “man” himself.  Donald Trump is devoid of humanity, lacking a conscience, and has no love of this nation nor its people, but only loves himself.

The political posturing surrounding the question of whether to impeach or not to impeach must stop.  We elected Senators and Representatives, we pay their salary, and in return we expect them to act in the best interest of the nation and its people.  Congress has let us down mightily.  Those members of Congress are so afraid of the “man” in the Oval Office that they refuse to act.  They are afraid of his temper tantrums, his ignominious tweets, and most of all, they are afraid that he will speak against them at the next election.  Screw the next election, people!  There are fifteen months left until the election in 2020.  Fifteen months in which this “man” is doing more damage to this nation, to our reputation, our alliances, and our very lives.  GET HIM OUT!

Mitch McConnell and his band of scallywags have obstructed justice for long enough!  They, along with Donald Trump, have the blood of the victims in El Paso on their hands, for they are in the pockets of the NRA and have long refused to pass any meaningful gun regulations.  They are also responsible for the very election rigging that allowed Donald Trump to move into the White House and by refusing to even consider election security measures, they are rigging the 2020 election in Trump’s favour as well.

This nation cannot tolerate another 15 months of Donald Trump’s sheer cruelty and ignorance, let alone another 63 months, in the event of his re-election.  I would call for a mass movement to demand that he step down, but we all know how far that would get.  His ego will not allow him to step down, and frankly, I don’t think it will allow him to even admit defeat if he is voted out next year or reaches the end of his second term in 2024.  He is, as our friend Keith has said, a clear and present danger.  He is a danger to the very foundation of our government, he is a danger to every other nation on this planet, and he is a danger to the planet itself.

It matters not to me how he is removed from the Oval Office, but he must be removed.  He cares not at all for the people of this country.  I call on every member of Congress to support his removal, else frankly, you don’t deserve to be sitting on Capitol Hill, don’t deserve the salary that we are all working hard to give you.  Either get with the program, do your job, uphold the Oath of Office you took, or get the hell out.

Congressional Oath of Office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

Foot-Stomping Mad!

I am foot-stomping mad tonight over several things, not the least of which is the horrific shooting that has killed at least 20 people and injured 26 in an El Paso, Texas, Wal-Mart.

There is plenty of blame to go around, and no, I’m not going on a tirade at the moment about gun regulation and the NRA, although it would be easy and valid to do so.  But no, the blood from this shooting is on the hands of every single person in this nation who has cheered and applauded Trump’s anti-immigrant, racist rants.  It is on the hands of every single person who has shouted “build that wall!”  It is on the hands of every single person who believes immigrants do not belong in this nation.  It is on the hands of every single person who believes that white skin is somehow better than brown or black.  It is on the hands of every single person who has turned a blind eye to the maltreatment and abuse of children in detention camps.  And most of all, the blood is on the hands of Donald Trump himself.  It was only a matter of time before some damn fool took a notion to act on Trump’s words … after all, he has all but encouraged violence against immigrants, has painted immigrants as evil people out to murder those good, lily-white people and take their jobs, to boot.

In the past few weeks, as best anyone can tell, the only thing Trump has done is spend his days and nights carrying on with hate speech against people who happen not to be white.  An example … at a campaign rally (if he were actually the president, he wouldn’t have time to do all these campaign rallies, for he’d be busy working) in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this week, he riled the masses as he always does, and when a small group of protestors unfurled a banner that read “IMMIGRANTS BUILT AMERICA”, Trump’s loyal band of assholes snatched the banner and set to beating up the protestors.

The shooter in El Paso traveled some 600 miles, from Dallas to El Paso, a city whose population is 80% Latino.  The shooter, whom I shall not name out of respect for the victims, was Caucasian — white.  He was not Hispanic, nor of Middle Eastern descent … he was a white Texan. He had kept a manifesto that includes remarks attacking immigrants and sympathetic to the man who killed 51 people this year at two mosques in New Zealand.  The document lists “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” as one of several motivations for the attack.  Let me just remind everybody that Texas was founded by  Spanish conquistadors, and belonged to Mexico long before it became part of the U.S.

Meanwhile, #MoscowMitch McConnell and others in Congress expressed the usual “thoughts and prayers”.  Meaningless, useless thoughts and prayers, whereas for years and in some cases decades, they have passed up the opportunity to do something positive about the gun problem in the U.S.  Sorry, folks … keep your damn thoughts and prayers … give us action … address the gun problem.  It is a crisis every bit as much as the “opioid crisis” that everyone is so concerned about.  The gun crisis is more important, in my book, for these twenty who died in El Paso were innocent, some were even children.  They were killed through no fault or action of their own.

I will almost certainly have more to say about the El Paso mass shooting soon, but for today, let us move on to one of the other reasons for my foot-stomping …


On Monday, July 8th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to a tax law that would require the commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to share state income tax returns and reports when certain congressional committees request them.  This was a huge step forward … or could have been … in the investigations into Trump, his finances, his business interests, and potential Russian financial ties.  As Cuomo put it …

“This bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”

But, the various committees, including the House Ways and Means committee, that had previously requested Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, sat around the Capitol, twiddling their thumbs, debating whether to open an impeachment investigation or not, and they did not take advantage of the door that had been opened by Governor Cuomo.  They did not request the tax returns from the State of New York.

Trump and his lawyers, however, feared that someday soon the congressional committees might wake up and remember they owed something to the people who had elected them, remember that they had a constitutional obligation, and so … Trump did what he does best … he filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, July 23rd!  In the suit, he requested that the federal court prevent the House Ways and Means committee from seeking to obtain the New York tax returns, just in case they decided to do so … at some point.

Now for the kicker, the part that has me stomping my feet … last Thursday, federal Judge Carl Nichols granted a temporary order blocking New York state from turning over Trump’s tax returns. His reasoning?  He wished to ensure that, “Mr. Trump cannot suffer any harm”.  Trump can suffer no harm???  What about us???  We are suffering harm every hour of every day that he remains in office, but Judge Nichols wants to protect TRUMP???


I shall stop now, for I must go attend to my poor foot, which has been stomped so much that it has come open and red stuff is coming out of it.  Besides which, there are words about to come out of my fingertips that you’d rather not hear.  But, be advised that I am not done ranting … I’ll return later.

First thoughts on Mueller’s testimony

Yesterday, at long last, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified in a televised session before Congress … for nearly seven hours! I did not watch it, for a) I don’t have 7 hours to spare in any given day, b) I cannot sit and do nothing for more than about 5 minutes, which is why it takes me nearly a week to get through a movie, and c) I knew I could catch the action during and after the fact from a wide variety of sources.

One of those sources is our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters, and he did not disappoint. His take on it is honest, unbiased, clear, and cuts through all the b.s. to wrap it all up into a neat, easily readable, OpEd. My comment on Jeff’s post will give you my opinion of it all. Thank you, Jeff, for writing this with such clarity and saving me 4-5 hours of work! I owe you one!

On The Fence Voters

The marine who received a purple heart for his exemplary service in Vietnam and spent most of his life working for the American people, spoke today. My question is, did the American people listen?

The vast majority of the people in this country has not read the Mueller Report. Anyone expecting to learn a great deal more about the report from Robert Mueller’s testimony today was going to be sorely disappointed. My expectations were low, to begin with, and after watching the nearly seven-hour spectacle, that opinion has not changed.

Based on his nine-minute press conference a few months ago, which culminated in his resignation from the Special Counsel’s office, it wasn’t hard to figure out that if called to testify, he would do so reluctantly, and would not veer from the report in any substantial way. And that’s precisely how it went today.

It was also easy to predict…

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Some ‘Toons To Make You … Smile? Cry?

Some days are just made for cartoons, y’know?  Actually, I was working on a post that I don’t have completed yet, and there are other things requiring my attention this afternoon, so this seemed a good time to find some good cartoons!


The big news of the day is Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress today.  Since I really don’t have the time nor the patience to sit and watch anything for more than about 5 minutes, I’m not watching it, but am keeping abreast of the important parts through news briefings.  The first thing to note is that he plainly said that he did not exonerate Trump and that he could, in fact, be charged with obstruction of justice once he leaves office.  I was angered, though not surprised, that the Department of Justice sent Mr. Mueller a letter outlining what he can and cannot say.Trump-Mueller-rpt-3Trump-Mueller-rptTom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190723.tif


In other big news this week, the UK now has a new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, which came as no surprise to anyone, but a disappointment to most.  Johnson and Trump are in many ways as two peas in a pod, which bodes ill for both nations.  I think they even buy their hair at the same place!

Trump-BorisTrump-Boris-2Trump-Boris-3Trump-Boris-4


Speaking to a group of young conservatives yesterday, Trump made the following statement:

“Then I have an Article 2 [of the Constitution], where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

It was not the first time he has said it, either.  It isn’t true, and it’s high time Congress and the Courts teach him that there are limits to his “executive privilege”.

Article2Trump-executive privilegeTrump-executive-privilege


And, of course, he has continued to double-down on his racist remarks, tweeting daily as if determined to convince the world that he is the ultimate racist, lacking only a white robe and hood.  Why?  Because his bigoted base loves it, and because it provides a useful distraction from such things as his horrendous treatment of immigrants, the Mueller report, potential impeachment, etc.

the-real-threatTrump-racismTrump-racism-2Trump-racism-3COLORTrump-racism-5


And to wrap up … just for fun …

Melania-with-blob

Ramblings …

I’m just trying to digest some of what is happening today, this week, and thought I’d share my thoughts with you all, see what your own thoughts are.

Yesterday, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died at age 99.  One of the things he will long be remembered for is his stance that a sitting president is not above the law.  In 1997, he wrote the opinion that Bill Clinton must face Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit because a sitting president does not have immunity from all civil lawsuits for actions when he was not in office.

In another case in 2006, Hamdan v Rumsfeld, he wrote: “The Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction.”  And in a recent interview, when asked how he viewed Trump’s abuse of power, Stevens said …

“The president is exercising powers that do not really belong to him. I mean, he has to comply with subpoenas and things like that.”

I may have a tribute to Justice Stevens later, but for now I am wondering … how has this nation changed so much from the days of Justice Stevens’ rulings?  Nixon tried to abuse the power of the office, and he was stopped both by Congress and the Supreme Court.  That was in 1974 … forty-five years ago.  What changed?

Sure, Trump is a bully who rules by instilling fear of his red-faced wrath, but frankly, his power, his authority, derives from We the People.  He has no power without the approval of Congress and the Court, and Congress derives their power from us.  Or at least, so the theory goes.  Which brings me to my next thought.

After the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Trump remarked that there were “very fine people” on both sides – one of those sides being white supremacists who had committed murder on that day.  Based on those remarks, his net approval rating dropped by 10%.  But this week, after his blatantly racist remarks … and yes, they were racist remarks … about four members of Congress, it turns out that his approval rating among republicans actually went up by 5%!

How can this be?

His approval rating among independents dropped a bit, thus his overall approval rating remains unchanged.  But … think about this.  Some people who did not approve of him a week ago, now like him because he denigrated lawmakers based on their ethnicity and the colour of their skin.  What does this say about us?

One thing it says is that the divisiveness of this nation is a division of values, or morals.  Certainly, that is not the only cause of the deep chasm between right and left, but it is part of it.  Apparently, there is a large contingent for whom money is more important than humanity, profit over people.  But, I wonder … does it also say that the white supremacists, those who believe their Caucasian ancestry makes them somehow ‘better’ than the rest of us, are gaining momentum?  Are their numbers growing, and if so … why?  What has changed?

And where does this lead us? Are those who support Trump, not in spite of but because of his bluster, his arrogance, his racism, willing to hand him the keys to the kingdom, willing to allow him complete power to rule with impunity?  For it seems to me that is the direction this country is headed.  Those of us who are not without conscience are demeaned and mocked, told “if you don’t like it, leave”.  Trump has taken the law into his own hands and dared any to challenge him.

The democrats in Congress are divided, not because any are enamoured of Trump, but simply because this situation is without precedent and they are not sure which way to turn.  It’s understandable, but unfortunate, for we need them to be unified in the fight to keep this nation from becoming an authoritarian regime.  They are the last, best hope to force accountability, but instead they sit on their thumbs because they cannot agree on how best to proceed.

It disturbs me to see what is happening in this country today.  It makes me sad that not only do we have more corruption in the upper echelons of our government than perhaps ever before, but that the people of this nation are willing to turn a blind eye.  I don’t understand it, but it flies in the face of the premises on which the nation was founded.  Where do we go from here?Text dividers