Trump’s “Saudi Arabia First” Policy

Donald Trump likes ‘tough’ talk, and apparently thinks it is becoming to sound like a B-grade actor trying out for the role of one of Don Corleone’s sons in The Godfather.  This could be forgiven or overlooked if he were a teenager still trying to impress girls despite his pimply face and false bravado.  But no, he is 73 years of age, and more importantly, holds the highest office in the government of a nation of 330 million people.  We don’t need a mafioso-sounding idiot running the nation … we need intellect and compassion, neither of which Trump possesses.

“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

On Saturday, Trump actually called Crown Prince bin Salman to offer U.S. military support.  Besides the aforementioned Cagney-style speech, there is much wrong with this entire scenario.  The first, and most obvious, is that Saudi Arabia is not a member of NATO and thus we have no obligation to come to their defense.

Second, although the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are strategic allies, Saudi Arabia are by no means our friends.  Remember how Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the brutal slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October?  That was not an act of friendship.

Third, Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities last weekend, and yet, out of his posterior Trump pulls the idea that he thinks Iran is to blame.  The Saudis have also claimed that they believe it was Iranian weapons that attacked, but with no proof whatsoever.  Within hours of the attack, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, despite the fact that Yemen’s Houthis had claimed responsibility, and with not a single shred of evidence, said …

“Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

Fourth, it is not up to Donald Trump, even as president, to start a war all by himself.  It requires an act of Congress.  The U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 8, clauses 11–16 give Congress the authority to declare war.  The framers of the Constitution were reluctant to concentrate too much influence in the hands of too few, and thus denied the office of the President the authority to go to war unilaterally. If America was going to survive as a republic, they reasoned, declarations of war required careful debate in open forums among the public’s representatives.

Under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the U.S. President can send the Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, “statutory authorization,” or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”  It requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period.

When Trump won the presidency in 2016, few countries were as happy as Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had felt neglected and dismissed under Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, who had prioritized reaching out to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival.

They hoped Trump would be friendlier to their interests, and in many ways, he has delivered: signing off on weapons deals, abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and downplaying the Saudi state’s human rights abuses. Trump even made Saudi Arabia the first foreign country he visited, famously posing in front of a glowing orb with Saudi royals during a conference on fighting terrorism.  And then, there was Jamal Khashoggi.  Though U.S. intelligence services confirmed that bin Salman had ordered the killing, Trump said he doesn’t care if the Saudi crown prince played a role because Saudi Arabia is an important ally, one that buys a lot of U.S. weapons and is a key global oil producer.  And if all that isn’t enough, keep in mind that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 11 September 2001 were Saudi nationals.

The implication that the royal family in Riyadh will dictate U.S. actions has many up in arms.

  • “Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not ‘America First.’” – U.S. Representative and presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard

  • “Under our Constitution, the power to commence war lies with Congress, not the president and certainly not Saudi Arabia. We don’t take orders from foreign powers.” – U.S. Representative Justin Amash

  • “This administration reneged on the Iran nuclear deal, put in place crippling sanctions and is now openly threatening war. We must hold this President accountable and avoid another wreckless war!” — U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar

And, there is, as there always is where Donald Trump is involved, sheer irony and contradictions run amok.  For example, in 1987, he paid nearly $100,000 for full-page ads in The Washington Post, the New York Times and Boston Globe that spotlighted Saudi Arabia as a country that was taking advantage of the United States’ patronage.

trump-ad-1987.jpgAnd then, there were these …Trump-Iran-Obama-tweets

Secretary of State Pompeo has been biding his time, waiting and hoping for the opportunity to attack Iran for most of his career.  Donald Trump is an ignorant fool.  What could possibly go wrong?  The reality is that the very last thing this country needs is to start a war with Iran.  Anyone who thinks it would be a good idea … go back to bed and wake up when you’ve become an adult.

Another Dirty Trick …

I am not a republican, and most of you reading this aren’t either, however we have a vested interest in the GOP at this point in time, for their dirty tricks in 2016 placed the most unsuitable candidate in the history of the nation into the highest position, and the GOP is up to even dirtier tricks for next year’s election.

I mentioned a few days ago that Joe Walsh had declared his candidacy for president in 2020 on the Republican Party ticket.  Now, under the best of circumstances the odds are stacked against Mr. Walsh, in part because an incumbent president almost always has the upper hand.  However, what we can hope for from Mr. Walsh’ run is that it will detract some of the attention away from Donald Trump, and that he may be able to help republican voters see that there are better options than Trump.  But …

The GOP is doing everything in its power to keep Walsh’ name off the ballot next year.  Four states — South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas – will finalize the procedure to keep Joe Walsh off the primary ballot for the 2020 presidential election.  Think about that … republican voters will be robbed of their opportunity to choose a candidate other than Trump.  And this may well be only the beginning, for it will not surprise me at all if other states follow suit.

The question comes to mind:  What are they afraid of?  Mr. Walsh had the same thought …

Joe-Walsh

Joe Walsh

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states. It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft. Primary elections are important, competition within parties is good, and we intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do. We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.”

Good for him … I really hope that he raises such a stink that even the cotton balls republican voters are wearing in their ears are penetrated.  Another, less likely contender for the republican nomination, Bill Weld also weighed in …

“We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

The cancellations have been orchestrated by the Trump campaign, not the GOP itself, though these days, the Trump campaign seems to be calling the shots for the entire party.  You almost have to feel sorry for diehard republicans these days … like sheep being led to the slaughter, they are corralled, deprived of the freedom of choice, the freedom to think for themselves, and are apparently not informed enough to see what’s happening.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick made a statement that I take offense to …

“As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary.”

So … what if that incumbent has proven over the past four years to be totally incompetent and unfit to serve for another four years, such as the current incumbent?  Just because his fat patootie is already sitting in the Oval Office doesn’t mean it should stay there.  Being president should be an honour that is earned, not given by default!  And second … perhaps the republicans, not known for deep thinking these days, haven’t considered that if their own voters have become disenchanted with that incumbent, they may just either vote for a democrat or stay home on election day! 

Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald has an interesting and disturbing spin …

“It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte. We should be spending those funds to get all our candidates across the finish line instead.”

What I find so disturbing about that remark is the precedent it could potentially set.  To extrapolate … if it’s too expensive for states to hold primaries and caucuses, when we come up on the 2024 election, if Trump is still in office, does he decide the nation cannot afford to hold a presidential election and he’ll just stay in office?  No … wait … I hear you, and you’re right … that would be unconstitutional.  But think about it … Donald Trump has been trampling the U.S. Constitution for two-and-a-half years now.  Much of what he does goes against the text and intent of the Constitution, but nobody has bothered to stop him.  Can you imagine how much the Constitution will actually matter if he stays in office another 5.5 years?  My guess is that by that time people will laugh when they hear the word “constitution”.

Bottom line is that the people’s choice is being taken away from them.  Perhaps not unlawfully, but certainly immorally.  Will republicans sit down and take this?  Sure they will … they haven’t risen up against the injustices perpetuated by Trump and his minions yet, so there is no reason to believe they will over this, either.  If I were a republican, I would be screaming at the top of my lungs, but fortunately I am not.  We can only hope it turns the tables and proves to be an advantage to the democratic candidate as at least some republicans leave the GOP in disgust.

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.

Sources of *Sigh*s

As most of you who have followed this blog for any length of time know, I am a lover of animals.  I have often said I prefer goats, bears, lions, snakes and spiders to most humans, especially these days.  So, you might imagine the low-throated growl that has been emitting from me ever since reading the following headline this morning …

U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act

First, he destroys the camaraderie of the nation, turns brother against brother, mother against child, and friend against friend.  Then, he destroys the environment, not only of the nation, but of the entire planet, by reversing nearly every environmental protection regulation on the books and pulling the U.S. – against the will of the majority – out of the Paris Climate Accords.  And now … now he is destroying the beautiful wildlife, many species of which were here on earth long before humans were, and all of which are more worthy of life than humans!Bald Eagle.jpgThe story:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.  Under the current law, assessments about which species should be labeled as ‘endangered’ must be made solely based on science, without consideration for economic impacts.  But, if the new ruling is allowed to go into effect, regulators would be forced to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.

David Bernhardt

David Bernhardt (Why are all of Trump’s minions like him:  fat, old, white, male???)

The ruling appears to be in the interest of the fossil fuel and logging industries.  David Bernhardt, Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, is a former oil and gas lobbyist who has long been a critic of the Endangered Species Act, saying that it places an “unnecessary regulatory burden” on companies, such as coal, oil and gas companies.

Environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and Democrats in Congress denounced the changes and vowed to challenge them in Congress and in the courts.  But, as we have seen, both Congress and the courts have had very limited success in stopping the runaway train that is Donald Trump.Grizzly Bear.jpgMake no mistake … allowing thousands of species to become extinct will have a significant impact on this planet, as will allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue operating unregulated.  The human species is on the brink of bringing about its own extinction, and frankly, I’m not so sure that’s an altogether bad thing!  We are not trying to live in harmony with nature but are rather trying to dominate and destroy nature.

I have a terrific idea!  Since Trump is removing the protections for both the environment and wildlife, let’s also remove the protections for Trump … protections, I might add, that we the taxpayers pay with our hard-earned money!  No more Secret Service protection for Donnie!


And in other news … if you didn’t think that Donald Trump had brainwashed republicans before, this will surely convince you.  According to a recent study by Pew Research, while most Americans continue to say it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power, the share expressing this opinion has declined since last year. Most of the change has been among Republicans – especially conservative Republicans. The study found that …

Currently, 66% of the public says “it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power to deal directly with many of the country’s problems.” About three-in-ten adults (29%) offer the contrasting opinion that “problems could be dealt with more effectively if U.S. presidents didn’t have to worry so much about Congress or the courts.” In March 2018, 76% of the public said it would be too risky to give presidents more power.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (51%) now say it would be too risky to give presidents more power, down from 70% last year.

The share of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts has increased 16 percentage points since then, from 27% to 43%.

There was a reason the framers of the Constitution put in place three independent branches of the federal government, a system of “checks and balances”, to provide oversight.  Donald Trump has already largely trampled the Constitution in this area, for any time he cannot get his way through Congress or the courts, he simply writes an ‘executive order’, or circumvents the system altogether.  And now, we find that increasingly, republicans are fine with that.  At this point, I would say we are already experiencing an autocratic government, and teetering on the brink of a dictatorship.  This is no longer just a nightmare scenario, my friends, but a clear and present danger. So yes, be afraid … be very afraid.

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

A Scrapbook Of Life In America: Excerpts From The Pro-Gun Forums

Just over a week ago, I re-blogged a post by Greg, aka Ohio Realist, over at On the Fence Voters. It was the initial post of their new project on the issue of guns and the tragic gun culture in the U.S. Today, I share with you the second post in the project, a plethora of excuses for the fact that there is almost zero regulation on guns in this country. We have a problem … a huge problem … and the key to solving that problem is awareness. Please take a look at these pictures and read the words. The U.S. doesn’t lead the world in much these days, but we certainly do lead in gun fatalities, and once you see this post, you’ll understand why. Thank you, Greg and Jeff, for keeping this issue in the limelight … great work!

On The Fence Voters

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Justin Amash Speaks; The GOP Should Listen

While I was not familiar with Representative Justin Amash from Michigan until very recently when he, the lone GOP Congressman willing to stand for the nation instead of his own interests, called for the impeachment of Donald Trump.  Suddenly, all eyes were on Representative Amash.  He took flak from Trump & Co., and from his own fellow members of Congress on the right side of the partisan aisle, but he stood his ground, had the courage of his convictions.

The very first news story I saw today was an OpEd by Representative Amash … news that he is leaving the Republican Party, aka GOP.  Thumbs-up to Amash, and the GOP would do well to listen, for We the People are sick and damn tired of the republicans in Congress being naught more than a mouthpiece for the would-be dictator in the Oval Office.

Justin Amash: Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP.

Justin Amash

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan listens as he is introduced during a town hall event in Grand Rapids on May 28. (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg News)

By Justin Amash July 4 at 6:00 AM
Justin Amash, an independent, represents Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District in the House.

When my dad was 16, America welcomed him as a Palestinian refugee. It wasn’t easy moving to a new country, but it was the greatest blessing of his life.

Throughout my childhood, my dad would remind my brothers and me of the challenges he faced before coming here and how fortunate we were to be Americans. In this country, he told us, everyone has an opportunity to succeed regardless of background.

Growing up, I thought a lot about the brilliance of America. Our country’s founders established a constitutional republic uniquely dedicated to securing the rights of the people. In fact, they designed a political system so ordered around liberty that, in succeeding generations, the Constitution itself would strike back against the biases and blind spots of its authors.

My parents, both immigrants, were Republicans. I supported Republican candidates throughout my early adult life and then successfully ran for office as a Republican. The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty — principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family.

In recent years, though, I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.

George Washington was so concerned as he watched political parties take shape in America that he dedicated much of his farewell address to warning that partisanship, although “inseparable from our nature,” was the people’s “worst enemy.” He observed that it was “the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Washington said of partisanship, in one of America’s most prescient addresses: “The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. …

“It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

True to Washington’s fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law. The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy.

These are consequences of a mind-set among the political class that loyalty to party is more important than serving the American people or protecting our governing institutions. The parties value winning for its own sake, and at whatever cost. Instead of acting as an independent branch of government and serving as a check on the executive branch, congressional leaders of both parties expect the House and Senate to act in obedience or opposition to the president and their colleagues on a partisan basis.

In this hyperpartisan environment, congressional leaders use every tool to compel party members to stick with the team, dangling chairmanships, committee assignments, bill sponsorships, endorsements and campaign resources. As donors recognize the growing power of party leaders, they supply these officials with ever-increasing funds, which, in turn, further tightens their grip on power.

The founders envisioned Congress as a deliberative body in which outcomes are discovered. We are fast approaching the point, however, where Congress exists as little more than a formality to legitimize outcomes dictated by the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.

With little genuine debate on policy happening in Congress, party leaders distract and divide the public by exploiting wedge issues and waging pointless messaging wars. These strategies fuel mistrust and anger, leading millions of people to take to social media to express contempt for their political opponents, with the media magnifying the most extreme voices. This all combines to reinforce the us-vs.-them, party-first mind-set of government officials.

Modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral, but there is an escape.

Most Americans are not rigidly partisan and do not feel well represented by either of the two major parties. In fact, the parties have become more partisan in part because they are catering to fewer people, as Americans are rejecting party affiliation in record numbers.

These same independent-minded Americans, however, tend to be less politically engaged than Red Team and Blue Team activists. Many avoid politics to focus on their own lives, while others don’t want to get into the muck with the radical partisans.

But we owe it to future generations to stand up for our constitutional republic so that Americans may continue to live free for centuries to come. Preserving liberty means telling the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that we’ll no longer let them play their partisan game at our expense.

Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.

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Note to Readers:

Apparently WordPress has mucked up again, for the very minute that this post was published, it showed 24 ‘likes’, and I know that is impossible.  Sigh.  Just thought I’d better let you know so that if you see your picture in the row of ‘likes’, and don’t remember reading or liking it before, you’ll know you aren’t losing your mind … WordPress is!

July 4th? Just Another Day …

Once upon a time, in the ‘Land of milk and honey’, Independence Day, celebrated on the 4th of July each year across the United States, meant something.  It was a time of remembrance, a time when the independent spirit of the founders of this nation rose up and declared that this would be a nation in and of itself, that we would fight for the right to make our own laws and to form a nation based on humanitarian values.

That was then, and this is now.  Today, the United States has become a greedy, war-mongering nation rent by political differences, fueled by greed and lust for power.  Add to that, a government so corrupt that it enables a power-hungry dictator to shred the Constitution that has been the fabric of our nation for 232 years and has meekly handed over the keys to the castle in exchange for empty promises of great riches.

This nation once opened its doors to the “tired and poor” from other nations who sought asylum from evil dictatorships … today, we are the evil dictatorship.

The men and women who sought to make this a respectable and worthy nation would no doubt be horrified by what this country has become, as are many of us still living today.  It would be rather like seeing your child, a child who once had so much potential, fall victim to drugs and alcohol and throw away his opportunities.  This is exactly what has happened in the U.S.

Those who valued wealth over humanitarian causes, have given us a cruel and malevolent dictator who, by all appearances, plans to continue on the path to completely destroying all that was once good about this country, and we seem helpless to stop the madness.  Point in case … Trump’s plans for tomorrow.

Trump-circus

A circus by any other name … (notice the ‘crowd’ in the viewing stands)

The Fourth of July in Washington D.C. was once a fun family affair, with picnics, music, festivities, and at the end of the day, fireworks.  This year, all fun festivities have been cancelled in favour of a political rally by a madman whose already-bloated ego requires that the entire nation bow down and pay fealty to him.  He has turned the marking of a historical event into a celebration of … Trump.  Forgive me if I view this in rather the same vein as a celebration of the sinking of the Titanic.

Tomorrow’s events promise to be a disgusting display of hedonistic arrogance on the part of Trump and of some portion of this country at a cost to We the People of somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million, though the cost estimates have not been forthcoming by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.  Congress, specifically the Senate Appropriations Committee, requested the cost estimates days ago.  A similar affair was considered for Veteran’s Day in 2018, but was cancelled in the face of cost estimates around $92 million.  What changed?  Why is it all of a sudden alright for Trump to stage this costly “tribute to self”?

The only thing that will, hopefully, put a damper in Trump’s illusion of grandeur is that there are multiple large protests being planned.  The baby Trump blimp that featured prominently in the UK’s “welcoming” of Trump has arrived on our shores and was planning to fly above the Lincoln Memorial all day, but now the government has said that it cannot be filled with helium and must be kept out of Trump’s field of vision.  Other protests are guaranteed, and while Trump will wear blinders to them, they will firmly show that We the People do not favour a display of military hardware and a political campaign speech by he-who-would-be-king.

I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when children are being held in captivity without adequate food, clothing, or medical care, separated from their parents for literally no just cause.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when we are treating asylum seekers as if they were hardened criminals.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when the nation is in the grips of a madman who is teetering on the brink of taking us into a war that nobody wants, and for no reason whatsoever.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when this nation is so divided that we now judge people by their political party, by the colour of their skin, by their religion or lack thereof.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate a nation that is taking away the rights of people … of women, of LGBT people, of Muslims, of Latinos and more.

The fourth of July is just another day … one where the trash will not be picked up and the mail will not be delivered, but still … it’s just like any other day.  There is no longer anything special to celebrate, for what once was, is no longer.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Plenty.  Last month, Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, signed a bill into law giving a specific church the right to have their very own police force.  The church is Briarwood Presbyterian Church, one that has a history of racism and bigotry.  The law, in summary …

Relating to law enforcement; to amend Section 16-22-1, Code of Alabama 1975, to authorize the president or chief executive officer of Madison Academy and Briarwood Presbyterian Church and its integrated auxiliary Briarwood Christian School to appoint and employ one or more suitable persons to act as police officers to protect the property of the school or academy.

Did these people ever hear of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution?  I know it’s Alabama, and they are just nuts enough to like a doofus like Roy Moore, but still … last I looked, Alabama was still one of the 50 states comprising the United States.  Thus, they fall under the law as set forth by the Constitution and as upheld by the Courts.

The Establishment Clause begins quite simply …

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …

What … WHAT is so hard to understand about that?  That the Alabama State Legislature AND the Governor of the State are all so uneducated about the law is simply astounding!

The law is scheduled to go into effect in the fall, but I’m thinking that if there are any judges in Alabama with more sense than the legislature has, it will never see the light of day.  What could possibly go wrong with racist white people toting guns and given a badge, told to protect those good white Christians, eh?  Remember George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin?  Need I say more?

I Can’t Seem To Stop The Snarky …

Will there ever come a day that I don’t have an excess of angst just bubbling over, demanding to put fingers to the keyboard and words to the page?  I have my doubts.


On Sunday morning, Trump posted the following tweet that was liked by 52 thousand mindless people:

“A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse? The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!”

There are multiple problems with these brief 103 words.

The first, of course, is that the New York Times is not failing, nor is The Washington Post, and that neither are necessarily dishonest, though they occasionally get it wrong.  Both have made mistakes, and to their credit, they have printed apologies and retractions when necessary.  Neither are “the enemy of the people”, and in fact they are #2 and #3 on my daily source list, preceded only by The Guardian.

The second problem with Trump’s tweet is that Trump is doing nothing that even has the remotest chance of making the United States ‘great’, and it is highly speculative that he will have another six years, at least, if we have such a thing as a fair and honest election in 2020.

And lastly, though perhaps most importantly, is his innuendo that perhaps “people would demand [he] stay longer”.  No.  Effing.  Way.  The United States Constitution which, albeit singed around the edges, remains in place today, is clear on just how long a president may serve, and it is not one single day over eight years.  Trump will be an exception ONLY IF he is, at the end of his term, a dictator rather than a president.  If that happens, I blame every single person who ever voted for him, who ever attended one of his rallies and chanted “lock her up”, or who ever wore a maga hat.


Arthur-Laffer

Arthur Laffer

On Wednesday, Trump will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a man named Arthur Laffer. Who, you might ask, is Arthur Laffer?  Laffer is best known for the Laffer curve, an illustration of the concept that there exists some tax rate between 0% and 100% that will result in maximum tax revenue for government.  More to the point, Laffer was an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.  This, more than anything, is why he is receiving the Medal of Freedom.  Like Miriam Adelson, who received the medal last year for no reason other than her and her husband’s magnanimous donations to Trump’s election campaign in 2016. The medal no longer has any meaning for it is now being given as a reward to those who lick Trump’s boots.


Last week ABC News aired an interview on This Week between Donald Trump an ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.  There is quite a bit that was of interest in the interview, and the part where he said he would accept information from a foreign entity about his political opponent if it were offered has already been discussed at some length in the news and other blogs.  But, I want to share with you a bit of the dialogue they had concerning Robert Mueller’s report.  Remember, folks, don’t expect truth from the mouth of da trumpeter …

STEPHANOPOULOS:  What’s your pitch to the swing voter on the fence? 

TRUMP: Safety, security, great economy. I think I’ve done more than any other first-term president ever. I have a phony witch hunt, which is just a phony pile of stuff. Mueller comes out. There’s no collusion. And essentially a ruling that no obstruction. And they keep going with it. You know what? People are angry about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t think that’s why he found — but we don’t have time for that now. We’ll talk about later.

TRUMP: That is what they found. Excuse me. He found no collusion. And they didn’t find anything having to do with obstruction because they made a ruling based on his findings and they said no obstruction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t examine collusion. He laid out evidence of obstruction. 

TRUMP: Oh, are you trying to say now that there was collusion even though he said there was no collusion? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t say there’s no collusion. 

TRUMP: He said no collusion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said he didn’t look at collusion.

TRUMP: George, the report said no collusion. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you read the report? 

TRUMP: Uh, yes I did, and you should read it, too. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: I read every word.

TRUMP: All right, let’s go. You should read it, too, George.

monday-toon-1It’s reminiscent of an Abbott and Costello clip, don’t you think?  A more stupid man has never sat in the Oval Office.  And then the conversation turned to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who testified under oath to Robert Mueller’s team that Trump had asked him to fire Mueller, and then later that he had asked him to deny that he had ever asked him.

TRUMP: I don’t care what he says. It doesn’t matter. That was to show everyone what a good counsel he was. Now, he may have gotten confused with the fact that I’ve always said, and I’ve said it to you, and I’ve said to anybody that would listen, Robert Mueller was conflicted. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why would Don McGahn lie — … Why would he lie under oath? Why would he lie under oath to Robert Mueller?

TRUMP: Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer. Or — or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen, including you, including the media, that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.

After the interview, he tweeted …

“Think I will do many more Network Interviews, as I did in 2016, in order to get the word out that no President has done what I have in … the first 2 1/2 years of his Presidency, including the fact that we have one of the best Economies in the history of our Country. It is called Earned Media. In any event, enjoy the show!”

I think it is a threat to torture us!  And by the way … Trump’s approval rating based on an aggregate of polls rose from 41.2% to 42.5% just last week … an increase of 1.3%.  Can anybody ‘splain to me what the heck he did last week to make more people like him???


Last but not least, I promised a picture of my latest bumper sticker …

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And now, I return you to your own life, and I am going to knead some onion bread for tonight’s supper.