Friday, July 6, 2018

Put My Mind At Ease, Conservatives

                                                 

I'm really asking these questions respectfully to try to learn why I'm so nervous and you're not. Do you have answers that I don't have? If you do, please share them.

I've been anxious about Russia from the very beginning. Put all those questions about collusion and obstruction aside. For the sake of argument, I'll accept your claim that it is all baseless.

But why did several Republican senators spend the Fourth of July in Moscow meeting with their Russians counterparts with no Democrats, no press, no official agenda or transcript of what was discussed. Does that make you even a little bit uneasy? What do you think it was all about? 

And, reportedly when Trump meets with Putin in July, he wants a one on one meeting - again with no press and no schedule of what they will discuss. We will be dependent on Moscow to tell us what went on as we have been every time the two leaders have met. Why is that do you suppose?  I'd sort of like to be informed, wouldn't you?

The Republicans changed exactly one thing on their platform - a statement to go lighter on Russia regarding its attack on Ukraine.

Since the election, our government has acceded to everything Putin had on his wish list. There is a huge divide between America and its allies. It appears Trump is ready to pull us out of NATO, the alliance that has kept mostly peace in the world since the end of World War II. Is that a good thing, do you think? Do you really believe Putin and Kim Jung Un are better and more reliable friends to us than Germany, France, England and Canada?

Putin wants to divide us from our traditional allies in every way. Trump cooperatively withdrew America from the Paris Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, The Human Rights Commission, The Iran Agreements. The negotiations on NAFTA have broken down. All these have been replaced with...nothing. And yet, with not nearly the safeguards to ensure compliance as the Iran Agreement, Trump assures us we can rest easy because North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.

Trump thinks Russia should be allowed back in the G7 although he was rejected for taking Crimea and attacking Ukraine and that hasn't changed. Trump is talking about letting bygones and simply allowing Russia to keep Crimea.

He called to congratulate Putin even though everyone knows his "election" was a sham. Putin is a dictator, not an elected leader.

Trump didn't want to impose sanctions on Russian and refused until Congress forced his hand. Even then, he waited a year.

Please assure me, Conservatives, that you honestly see nothing to be alarmed about in all of this...and please explain why you feel that way.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

....Or Maybe Both

                                                

I have watched my country teeter on the abyss for several years. Of course, Trump couldn't do it alone. It took the Republicans to pave the way of destroying our democracy for him to bring it to this point. It began when they impeached Clinton for partisan reasons. It went on when they stated their goal of obstructing Obama on everything he tried to do including government shutdowns, threats to default on our debt, threats to push us over a fiscal cliff, sequesters. We were almost ready for Trump by the time Mitch McConnell refused to give Obama's Supreme Court nominee a hearing and instead held up the confirmation process for a year. It continued when they spent years and millions of dollars to try to undermine Hillary (which they successfully did although they found zip in the end) and now they are in a hurry to complete the Mueller investigation - go figure). .

So then we get Trump with a little help from his friends and even not-so-much his friends - James Comey and Vladimir Putin. In the time since, the Republicans have changed their minds on everything they always said they believed in. The national debt is soaring. Forget free trade - now they love tariffs. Any attempt to cooperate on a comprehensive immigration bill is dead on arrival.In fact, any attempt to cooperate with the other side on anything is extinct.

And it has been the same with evangelical Christians. Jesus? Who's that? Remember how they once said "character counts"?  Forget that nonsense, that was only when it was the other guy. Now they love them some amoral, vile, filthy-mouthed cheater. Both the lilly-livered Republicans and the hypocritical Christians have been conned and they probably know it. I believe they have willingly traded integrity for power.

That power will have been immensely consolidated if Trump gets to choose a Supreme Court justice and I don't see how the Dems can stop him. Ironically, this justice will probably end up voting on issues that arise from the Russian investigation and do you think Trump isn't intensely aware of that? (Pardons anyone?) How about that not confirming a justice during election years. Oh, no, now we discover that only applies to presidential election years. The people's voices don't count in mid-term elections.

There are lots of things that disturb me deeply about Trump. How he is withdrawing us from our previous leadership positin in the world, for instance (which is to Russia and China's benefit). How he takes us out of negotiated agreements with no replacement plan whatsoever - the Paris Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Human Rights Commission, the Iran Agreement. Possibly NAFTA will be next. He just leaves them hanging out there with no solution in sight.  His penchant for a trade war which he says can be easily won though history tells us that not only aren't they easy to win, they can't be won at all. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson moves part of its work over seas, GM lays off, Our soybean farms are losing money. A nail factory in Missouri shuts down an assembly line for lack of parts...and on and on. And the Trump Cult eats it up. This is their idea of Making America Great Again. I despise the cruelty of our Zero Tolerance immigration policy and well, just the viciousness and deceit of this administration generally. I stress about the environmental rollbacks that will send us back to acid rain and polluted air and dirty water and despoiling national parks and shrinking national monuments. I hate his corruption, nepotism and the way he uses the White House as a gravy train that pours money directly into the Trump coffers. For example, he shouldn't even have anything to do with Trump International Hotel as there is a regulation that government property isn't to be leased to government officials. Trump brushes off these nit-picky little rules as if they don't apply to him and he must be right.

But one thing worries me more than all the others. New Congresspeople and presidents can be voted in. Executive orders can be overturned. Laws can change. Even Supreme Court rulings can be overruled in time (that is probably about to happen with Roe V Wade and gay marriage).

No, it is virtually turning us over to the Russians that I'm most afraid of. Republicans used to hate Russia too but that is another thing they've changed their minds about. They dismiss the Mueller investigation - and in fact, do everything they can to trash Mueller, Rosenstein and Wray - none of them angry Democrats. Republicans all and appointed by Trump himself. They demand unconstitutional access into evidence from an on-going investigation. They threaten to impeach Rosenstein if he doesn't comply with their ridiculous orders.

From the beginning, it was pretty clear that Trump was in bed with Russia. So many in his campaign met with Russian officials and lied about it. They changed the Republican platform to please Putin. Michael Flynn was tweeting a Russian oligarch during Trump's Inaugural Address. Many high-up Russians got tickets to the inauguration as well as the private dinners held afterwards. Trump's son, son-in-law and campaign manager met with Russians in Trump tower to get dirt on Hillary, then lied about what they discussed (with Trump himself writing the false narrative). The Russians visit the Oval Office after Trump is elected and he tells them that he fired Comey and now the Russian problem is off his mind. Incidentally, he also divulges classified information we'd received from Israel. And Russian press only at this meeting only, no Americans. Jared Kushner talks to Russian about setting up a back channel with Russia in their embassy so our intelligence can't listen in.

Mueller has so far gotten 20 indictments, 5 guilty pleas, a former Trump campaign manager in jail but the Republicans pooh-pooh it all. They impugn the honesty and honor of the very foundations of our democracy- the Department of Justice, the legal system, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies.

Trump has to be be pushed to enforce the sanctions Congress imposed almost unanimously on Russia (back when Republicans still had a shred of loyalty to their country).

He meets with Putin privately - no Americans. We always have to find out about interactions between the U.S. and Russia through their media. We get the transcripts of their calls from Russia - even Fox isn't told!

Trump turns on our allies and wants to let Russia back into the G7. He is probably going to pull us out of NATO. He actually offers better trade deals to countries (i.e. France) if they leave the European union. These are all things Putin wants badly.

So why is Trump engaging in this treasonous behavior? I can only think of two reasons: 1) Russia is blackmailing him. This could very well be. Back when American banks refused to lend him any money because he was such a deadbeat businessman, Russian banks came to his rescue so they probably know a lot about his various financial deals and entanglements. Or 2) he has been promised a gigantic pay-off when he's done being president.

Pick your poison.








Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sickening to Watch

                                              

I liked Barack Obama. I thought he was an excellent president. Did I agree with him 100 percent of the time? No. Did I ever criticize him? Yes and you can go back into my blogs and see for yourself if you doubt me. Did I accept every word he said as the gospel on par with the Sermon on the Mount? Of course not. I have my heroes but I don't worship any of them (no, not even Hillary Clinton).


But this is how Trump's supporters see him - as just one step away from a God. They believe the most fantastical things if he tells them it is so. I had two people on Facebook just today tell me, they still believe Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim. They still say "lock her up" without a smidgen of evidence against her of any criminal wrong-doing - and its not like the Republicans weren't searching every nook and cranny trying to find anything they could hang their hats on.

Yet, they totally dismiss the Mueller Investigation as a witch hunt despite reams of evidence, 20 indictments, five guilty pleas and a jailed former campaign manager. They shrug it all off as meaning nothing.

Trump can lie and lie and all you have to do to know it is watch his limited press availabilities on the White House lawn (he doesn't do real press conferences). He says one thing one day and the exact opposite the next and then watch his fans shift in a great wave to whatever he said most recently, never doubting his ever-changing statements.

This is the very definition of a cult - unquestioning loyalty and obedience. Trump says he envies Kim Jung Un because his people stand and wave when they see him. Ah, wouldn't it be nice to be a dictator?

Because Donald loves him some autocrats. The worst they treat their people, the better he likes them - Kim, Putin, Duterte, Xi. They're tough, don't you know. Meanwhile, our allies for the last 70 years are two-faced weaklings. Piss on Britain, France, Canada, Germany, the E.U., NATO. In the words of a Trump administration official, our new national motto is: "we're America, Bitch."

And our latest inhumane Trump policy to be ashamed of - snatching immigrant children out of the arms of their parents and putting them in detention centers, the latest of which will be a tent city in the 100 degree southern Texas heat. It was bad enough when Arpaio did it to adults but children?

Meanwhile, Republicans won't take him on. They are too frightened of his tweets. They might lose their cushy jobs if they criticize him! Anyway, they sold their souls for a Supreme Court Justice long ago. And evidently, the evangelicals can overlook a policy that would have made Jesus cry because they evidently want power more than salvation.

And then Trump bald-faced lies about his new policy, saying that it is the Democrats who initiated it, which it absolutely false.

But all he had to do it say for for it to become true to his brainwashed followers.

Trump is a cruel, corrupt person. You only had to watch the debates and see what fun he had demeaning his opponents to understand that we've seen it even more every day of presidency. Oddly, this is what the Trumpies love most about him. He mean and racist and anti-woman and he gives them permission to be the same. They know longer have to be "politically correct". They can say nigger if they want to....and many of them do.

It is really sickening to watch what has happened to our country under Trump and his robots..




Friday, June 8, 2018

Trump's Walls

                                                    

Donald Trump campaigned on the idea of a "big, beautiful wall". It was supposed to be a wall between Mexico and the U.S. That wall may or may not ever happen but he definitely has been engaged in wall building ever since he moved into the White House.

Unfortunately, the walls he's been so busily constructing are between different groups of Americans. He's built walls between whites and African-Americans, between whites and Latinos, between whites and Muslims, between men and women, between gays and straights, between conservatives and liberals. We are now divided into our own tribal groups and the obstacles between us are so high and so thick that we can't see through or around them.

Trump rules by fear and he, his followers believe, is the only one who can save us.

This president has divided us from our most trusted agencies of government - the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the Intelligence agencies. None of them can be relied upon to do the right thing anymore. They are all part of the nonsensical deep state. The administration trashes Robert Mueller, James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, all of whom have spent their lives in honored public service. All the judges who signed off on FISA court warrants are are guilty of deceit. John McCain was a traitor but it doesn't matter because he is almost dead anyway.

The Mueller investigation is a "witch hunt" although it has so far resulted in the indictments of 20 people and guilty pleas from five more for collusion/obstruction/or coordination with Russia.

Trump has divided us from our friends. He is at the G7 Summit in Canada as I write this. We are riven from our most staunch allies - Britain, France, Germany, Canada. Meanwhile, he believes Russia should be allowed back into the G7 (that used to be the G8) although Russia was ejected for invading Crimea and that hasn't changed). He also has worked a deal with China to save their giant telecommunications company though they were sanctioned for engaging in espionage against us. What is that all about?

Trump has deliberately built a wall between Americans and their most admired sports heroes even though he knows good and well that taking a knee never had anything to do with the national anthem or honoring our flag and soldiers.

On the other hand, Donald Trump has torn down some walls too. The once-unscalable wall between truth and lies is all but gone. So is the wall between corruption and the Rule of Law. Anything goes in Trump World and you only have to look at Head of the EPA, ScottPruitt, with his dozen ethics investigations, for the perfect example.

I have watched the gutless Republicans and my conservative friends disappear down the rabbit hole of conspiracy, following their president. It started with Obama not being an American and it has gone on from there. No matter what he says, they buy into it even though most of it is sheer lunacy. Obama was an American Christian. There is no witch hunt. There is no "deep state".

I have no idea how this will end but I don't think it will be in a good way for our democracy.




Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Much Does Your Boss Buy When He Pays You?

                                            

I  have been thinking a lot about athletes lately. Well, not just athletes, employees in general. (You have a great deal of time to think when you're hooked to an intravenous tube for six days).

In my 50 years of working, I've been a bartender, a punch press operator, a solderer, a secretary, an executive assistant, an insurance underwriter and many more. I will admit that over that time, I developed a somewhat contentious relationship to management. It always seemed to me that, in general, the head offices had all the power and didn't hesitate to use it to unfair advantage, not all of them, but most of them.

So, the question is: how much of you does your employer buy when they pay you to work for them? If we are going to have a hard and fast rule, then it should be the same for everyone. If your boss essentially owns you from the time you clock in (rhetorically speaking) until you punch out, then that's the rule If they say, you can't take a knee during the national anthem, there you go. If they sayyou must provide contraceptive products to customers (against your conscience), then so be it. If they say you must marry gay people, you marry them. Refusal to play by management rules is automatically grounds for dismissal.

Forget all that stuff about free speech and civil rights. It doesn't exist when you're on the clock. 

And politicians should keep their noses out of these issues and not take sides either way, putting an unfair thumb on the scales.

Okay,  Done deal. Seems rather draconian and undemocratic to me but the rules are the rules.

What about on your own time? If your boss loves Donald Trump but you wear a prominent "Impeach Trump" button when you're off the job, can he forbid you to wear it? What about talking at work? I was once employed in factory where we were trying unionize and some people were terminated for discussing it on the assembly line. (Only the pro-union people, not those who were opposed).

What brought this up, of course, is NFL players (most of whom are black) taking a knee during the National Anthem. Something that had absolutely nothing to do with patriotism or the military but tried to highlight injustices in the black community. It offended many football fans (most of whom are white) and they boycotted the games. Trump initially brought up this controversy and he revives it whenever it starts to flag as a way to keep his base stirred up.

Naturally, being all about the bottom line, the NFL caved and decided to ban taking a knee during the anthem.

A friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook saying, "he died for my freedom, the least I can do is stand for the anthem" seemingly unaware of the irony of that word freedom in that sentence. He died for their freedom too, the freedom to protest injustice where they see it.

I wonder why this offends people so much? The players harm no one. They don't slow down the game; they don't stop work It affects no one in any impactful way but it make many Americans livid because they conflate it with patriotism. And these are rich black spoiled babies. They should be grateful, not protesting. Who do they think they are? In the immortal words of Laura Ingraham, "shut up and dribble" (or punt or whatever the comparable football term is). Maybe, as the president says, they shouldn't even be allowed to live in this country.

I've always hated the way we unconsciously say owners as if these rich white men own not only the sport but the players themselves.

But then American have almost always submissively accepted the concept that the boss who pays you, owns you while you're on his clock and even sometimes when you're not.








Sunday, May 13, 2018

It's Official - I'm a Hater

                                                   

I went 72 years without being a hater. My motto was "to each his own". That's not to say I wasn't critical in my writing of things I disapproved of. I could be sarcastic and snarky. But I never hated, not Ronald Reagan or George W Bush, though they were two of my least favorites. I never doubted their patriotism even when I vociferously fought against some of their policies.

When my candidate lost an election, I shrugged it off and said, "life goes on, there will always be another election."

But that attitude has collapsed in the face of Donald Trump and now I am a full-fledged hater. In fact, I'm not sure hate is strong enough. I despise this president and detest his administration for its lies and its cheating and its cruelty. I loathe the Republican party for the sycophantic and gutless ways it is letting Trump get away with what he's doing without resistance. I despair over all the ways I see my country being dragged down to a level I never remember before.

I have so often read that hate comes from fear. The right-wing fear Muslims, African Americans, gays, Latinos, women who speak up. Their fears result in tyrannical and vicious laws - Muslim bans, taking immigrant children away from their parents, refusing to allow gay families to adopt the babies who need them. Legislation that denies kids sex education, denies women contraception, denies them abortion, then want to deny them the subsidies that help them raise those very children.

Fear is what has inspired me to hate too. I don't deny it. I'm terrified of what Trump is doing to this country. All our principles - from the Rule of Law to Due Process (Lock her up!) are in danger. All the agencies we once trusted - from the Justice Department to the F.B.I. - are being undermined and condemned as "deep state" traitors. Our free press is being attacked as fake news.

At this point, I am honestly not sure that our democracy can survive Donald Trump and his Swampy cronies.

I am stunned that so many of my fellow Americans don't see it. They hear him call people demeaning names and they laugh. They chant "lock her up" without charges, indictments or convictions. Just their hate is evidently enough for them....and more and more I hate them back for their blindness and their ignorance. And it seems, the more Christian they claim to be, the more they jump on the bandwagon.

I know this is not a good road to go down. Mutual hate leads to no place positive. But I don't know what to do about it. As long as they are in charge, I think I will be a hater.






Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dishonest Doctor - Dishonest Patient

                                              

Really, if we'd been paying attention, wouldn't the situation with Dr. Harold Bornstein have told us everything we needed to know about Donald Trump right up front?

I thought Bornstein was a total fruit loop the first time I ever heard him speak. I never believed for one minute that he came up with the exaggerated claims about Trump's superior health on his own. I don't consider him a legitimate doctor and I don't consider Trump a legitimate patient. Now Bornstein admits that Trump dictated his own report. The good doctor explains it away by saying it was "black humor". Seriously, lying to the American people about their president's health is supposed to be funny? It should be criminal on both their parts.

Forget all the other scandals that are going on in the Trump administration. Let's just consider what this relatively small incident (in the wider scheme of things) reveals about Donald Trump.

1) Lying. We learned from the git-go that Trump has absolutely no compunction about lying if he feels its in his best interest. All this time later, he has proven it over and over again. We just seem to accept that we can't trust him now....about anything.

2) No respect for his office. I can't think of any other president we've ever had who would brush off their own medical examination as a big joke. (In fact, I can't imagine how anyone would have Bornstein as their doctor for decades.  wonder how many times he's treated Big Don for a sexually transmitted disease?)  It shows us that Trump has nothing but contempt for the gravity and dignity of being president.

3) No ethics. At the very least, it is unethical to fake a medical report.

4)  No loyalty. Presumably, Dr Bornstein was willing to go along with Trump's deceit because he wanted to move into the White House as the President's Physician. But after their many years of association, Bornstein made a fatal mistake- he let it out that Trump took Alopecia for hair loss. And questioning the vain Trump's swoop of orange hair, just could not be borne. So Bornstein ended up under the bus, (where the President's Physican, Admiral Ronny Jackson, ended up as well along with so many others in the administration).

5) Preference for bully tactics rather than the Rule of Law. There is a legal process for obtaining the president's medical records. Instead, according to Bornstein, the president's body guard, an attorney and another man he didn't know swooped in in what was more a raid than a transfer of records. They also demanded Bornstein take a picture of Trump off his wall. This all sounds a little hinky because Bornstein never reported it. He said he was frightened and intimidated. Still, it is in keeping with how we know Trump behaves.

So, the whole Bornstein episode sums up Donald Trump in a nut shell...if only we'd taken it seriously






Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Boo Fucking Hoo


                                       

Here's the difference between liberals and conservatives: liberals just can't get over having a conscience. When conservatives say vicious things, try to call them on it and they just double down. And they call us snowflakes if we complain about unfairness or hatefulness. We need to retreat to our safe place with our coloring books, don't you know?
Then along comes the White House Correspondent's Dinner and we discover anew that they can dish it out but they sure the hell can't take it. Conservatives are indignant, they're feelings are wounded, wounded, I say!. And what do liberals do? Why we rush to apologize. We were too nasty to poor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Even Mika got in on it - she doesn't like seeing a MOTHER criticized so harshly. Well, cry me a freaking river about Dear Sarah, who gets up and flat out lies to us every time she has a briefing. She's high on the food chain of the White House. Are we now saying she is beyond reproach because she's a female? Come on, Ladies, let's toughen up, shall we, or maybe we really don't deserve those jobs after all. You can't have it both ways.
Meanwhile, as Michelle Wolf was pouring it on (did they really not know the type of humor she specialized in before they booked her?), Trump himself was in Michigan doing what he does best - trashing the media, trashing the Democrats, trashing immigrants, trashing Muslims, trashing Mueller, trashing anyone who is not a fan. He's the president of the United States - the most vile, ugly, filthy-mouthed president we've ever had and WE are mea culpaing all over the place about Michelle Wolf. Are you serious?
Did Michelle Wolf say the former president wasn't even an American as Trump claimed? Did she say he wasn't a Christian but a Muslim as the right claimed? Did she chant "lock her up" about an opponent?
I thought it was a set-up from the git-go. Trump knew what he was going to do. Skip the dinner. Send a couple of surrogates who would probably get roasted, then claim the high ground. Oh, those liberals are so awful.
And we fell for it like we always do.
Who should really be apologizing here. I say - "go, Michelle"!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Too Much A Christian for the House?

                                                

“As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle. May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”

                                                              --------------------------

It is believed that this statement on the floor of the House is what caused Speaker Paul Ryan to terminate Father Patrick Conroy from his position of House Chaplain, a job he'd held since 2001. Ryan had warned the priest - "Padre, you becoming too political".

And surely, we all can agree that this outrageous prayer by the Father is in opposition to everything Christianity teaches. That's sarcasm in case you don't recognize it. It is, in fact, exactly what Jesus taught but not so much what American evangelicals believe these days.

So, Ryan fired the Chaplain, something that has never been done before in America's history and not only does he fire him, but he did so without consulting the rest of the House or giving any particular reason for why Conroy had to go. It is truly bizarro times we live in.

I suspect it had to do with those conservatives I mentioned. I think they were sick of a Jesuit priest being their spiritual leader. They want one of their own in that position.

"A little more fire and brimstone and judgment, please."

Even conservative Catholics probably believe a Jesuit is too socially compassionate for them.

One of the representatives said he wanted the next Chaplain to be a family man, with a wife and children. So much for considering another Catholic.

And Ryan, as always, caved before their demands. It was one more cowardly act he could perform on his way out the door. Why not? His "legacy" is already hopelessly compromised.

I'm not standing up for Father Conroy for religious reasons. I don't even think Congress should have chaplains. I think our representatives are fully capable of seeking their own spiritual guidance without the taxpayers paying for it. But if chaplains there must be, they should serve on a rotating basis with all religions and denominations represented. Yes, even Muslims, gasp!

It is just one more sign of the hyper-partisanship that has taken over our country when a Chaplain is fired for no reason except politics.







     

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

                                        

I am no James Comey fan by any means. I believe his horrendous judgment in reporting the re-opening of the Clinton investigation right before the 2016 election (an investigation that turned out to be nothing) significantly impacted that election and foisted Donald Trump off on America. (Of course, he had help from both the Russians and misogyny.) He should have followed Department of Justice protocol and not inserted himself in the campaign. Or if he felt duty-bound to report that Hillary was under investigation, it would have only been fair to report the same about Donald Trump. But he put his finger on the scale and here we are.

Having said all that, I think he is aware that his actions were momentous for his country in a very negative way and I do truly think he is horrified and fearful of the behavior of the man he helped put in the White House.

Comey had worked with other presidents and while I'm sure he disapproved of some of their actions, they weren't egregious. Not like Trump, whom he has watched cross every ethical and moral boundary, who scorns the Rule of Law, who has tried to destroy our most respected institutions, like the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts. Trump shouts loudly via Twitter whom he thinks should be prosecuted and jailed with no evidence whatsoever, ignoring due process.  This includes his political opponents. He acts more like the Dictator of a Banana Republican than a president of the United States. None of this is normal.

Comey has testified before Congress and Robert Mueller's investigation. He has written a book - A Higher Loyalty - and set out on a book tour to try to explain his interactions with the Trump administration. Is he seeking to undo some of the damage he has caused? Probably, but it is too little, too late.

Nevertheless, I believe Comey is head and shoulders above Trump in the honesty and sincerity departments so I see him as a another soldier in the foxhole in the war against Trump. Neither of us believes in impeachment, at least for now. Comey thinks the American people should get the opportunity to correct their mistakes via the do-over of an election. I'm a little less sure that the country will survive two more years of Trump but I'm equally afraid of Mike Pence's (who was our governor in Indiana so I know him firsthand) quietly devious Christianity. He wouldn't make waves like Trump but his policies would be equally as abhorrent.

Comey and I, along with many others, are trying to raise the alarm about Trump. For the time being, at least, that makes us friends.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Who Would You Choose As Your Suspect?

                                       

Just for fun, let's say you're a detective. You investigating some serious crimes that have been committed. You have two suspects. Naturally, as part of your investigation, you have extensive background and criminal history checks done to give you some insight into who the perpetrator is most likely to be.

Guy One is about a clean as anyone can get. He married his college sweetheart and there has never been a breath of scandal to indicate that either one has ever cheated on the other. Guy One appears to be a loving, hands-on father to his children. He has a low-key and self-deprecating sense of humor.

So far as we've ever heard, his financial background is exemplary. He pays his bills. He's never filed bankruptcy. He has no conflicts in his business life. We know all this because he released his tax returns.

Guy One has never been sued so far as we know - not by creditors, employees, old girlfriends or anyone else.

He is judicious in his decision-making, perhaps a little too much so.

Guy One provided a stable work environment for his employees and most of them stuck with him. When they did leave, it wasn't because of bad blood. None of his staff has ever been indicted for any crime.

Although he may curse in private, in public, he is always conscious that he serves as a role model and talks in such a way that parents don't have to be embarrassed to have their children hear him.

He has never been charged, indicted or convicted of any crime.

He is respectful, even of his opponents.


Okay, now we come to Guy Two. He has five children from three marriages. He cheated on all his wives . He's been accused of having affairs with adult film stars and Playboy Bunnies shortly after his wife gave birth. Now he is also accused of paying those women off to keep their mouths shut.

He's been sued over 3,000 times - by creditors and employees and students in his university and investors. He often wins because he uses threats by his attorneys and bullying  and money to outlast his litigants.

His sense of humor is cruel. He engages in childish name-calling. He enjoys demeaning people he doesn't like...and even people he does like. No one walks away from him with their self-respect intact. His offices are chaotic and confusing. His rate of turnover is huge and most often the people who leave feel diminished by their service to him. Several of his business associates have been charged with crimes. Some of them have pleaded guilty.

His finances an intertwined mess. He uses his office to enrich his business. He's been accused of working with the mob and taking money from Russian oligarchs and other dictators and their banks. He's filed bankruptcy multiple times. We would know more if he released his taxes as he promised he would

He makes spur of the moment decisions that are not well-thought-out and often ago against the advice of his advisers, even though he himself has very little experience. What he does have is an ego the size of Russia. He likes strongmen better than advocates for democracy. He changes his mind on important issues from one day to the next.

He is a pathological liar. He says whatever he wants to say with no regard for the truth. His language is vile. He talks about "shithole countries" and grabbng women by the pussy and "son-of-a-bitches" and "fuckers".


Okay, so here are our two generic suspects. Just based on this background, would be be biased in favor of one being the lawbreaker than the other? Of course, you would, any rational person would.

But you notice I used the term rational because the right-wing of this country looks at this research and believe the exact opposite. It is the squeaky clean Guy One who belongs behind bars for having pulled off the most outrageous plot of all times and evidently luring thousands of people, hell, tens of thousands of people that would to have been involved in on it with him.

It is Guy Two - the liar, the cheater, con man, who the conservatives see as their hero and anyone who doesn't agree is a traitor.

It is a topsy-turvy world we live in. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Trump's "Worker-Friendly" De-regulations????



          


I am always asking my conservative friends (and believe it or not, I do have some) what that Donald Trump has done in the way of de-regulation they think is good for the working class. I say, "tell me five, hell, tell me three". He's signed hundreds, thousands even, so you'd think it would be easy to find three that are positive for the middle class. Not one person has ever answered me, not one. If you have some nominees, I'd be glad to hear them.

Here, I'll make it easy on you. You don't even have to do any research, just pick the ones you like.

- changing the law so that investment bankers no longer have to consider their clients as their first priority, but instead their shareholders. (Fiduciary Rule)

- making it easier for employers not to have to play overtime.

- allowing energy companies to release their coal and gas residue into streams and rivers.

- allowing energy companies to drill on every bit of the coastline of America, well, except for Florida where Mar-a-Lago is located.

- reducing the size of our two most recent national monuments (with many more under consideration for having land taken for mining and drilling.

- cutting back on the number of work safety inspectors.

- cutting back on the number of food safety inspectors.

- gutting almost every environmental program, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Powes act. Loosening the Clean and Efficient Auto standards.

- pushing legislation to allow employers to take employees' tip to distribute them as they please, including keeping them.

- loosening the rules on the big banks that almost bankrupted the country in 2008.

- relaxing the rules on what notoriously high interest rates payday lenders can charge (this was an Obama rule that had not yet gone into effect).

- allowing bears and wolves to be poisoned in their dens

- allowing hunters to bring back trophy elephants (this was dropped once but it is back under consideration.

- extending state flexibility on what is considered an "essential health benefit".

-ending Net Neutrality

- Rescinding Guidance Rules on arbitration on college campus assault.

- Rescinding Guidance Rules on Transgender issues.

- Re-interpreting rules on "Accidental Take" for Migratory Birds.

There are a few of them. There are many, many more if you want to look them up for yourself and tell me which ones you think are "worker friendly".

I'll write another blog about the answers  I get....but don't hold your breath.






Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Funeral Home? Are You Kidding? In a Black Neighborhood? Are You Kidding?

                                                     

My husband was not a perfect man by any stretch but one thing he definitely wasn't was racist. He learned that when he was a combat veteran in Vietnam. He said when you were in a jungle with people trying to kill you, the men who had your back, as you had theirs, were brothers, not colors.

When we first moved to Springfield, Illinois, the only place we could find to rent was a small, shabby, cockroach-ridden apartment. It was awful so of course, when we had a opportunity to rent an abandoned funeral home in a black neighborhood, we jumped at the chance. It was an interesting place to live to say the least.

The funeral home had been foreclosed and the previous owner had fled, leaving all the tools of his trade behind. In the basement, the embalming table sat under a single unshaded light bulb. There was a moat and a hose leading to a drain for the blood to run out, along with several large bottles of Ozmatone. There were trays of make up and nail polish and curling irons. In what used to be the coal room, were a bunch of robes and other types of clothing that I guess bodies were wearing when they came in. A wicker body basket sat in one corner. Most people shivered when they saw it, those who would go down. It was far from the spick-and-span, white tiled mortuary most of us think of.

On the main floor, all the chairs for funerals were pink and purple wicker. There was a raised floor for the casket to sit and an organ off to the side. John could ride his pedal car in huge circles. We had friends in two different bands then and we let them practice in this room so after we came, it was filled with instruments and mike stand and coils of wire. The place was loud with rock and roll several nights a week. I guess those were our hippy days though we both worked and were clean-cut types....and we didn't do any drugs.

The second floor contained 3 apartments, one of which we lived in. The third floor had two larger apartments. We roamed through them all. We would have loaned them out to friends but few people wanted to stay there....even for free rent.

We were probably the only white people for six blocks in either direction but it didn't bother us and all our neighbors were welcoming. It wasn't a ghetto but a tidy, well-taken-care of lower-middle class neighborhood.  When John (he was a toddler then) and I would walk the three blocks to the little store, the old ladies would come and talk to us and usually send him on his way with a cupcake or cookies.

Jim used to drink with the guys in the bar down on the corner. It was a rough place (there was no sense calling the police if a fight broke out because they would not go there after dark) but they treated him the same as everyone else. They applauded his skill in shooting craps.

That was in 1970. Later, America was proud to think it had become a post-racial society but of course, it wasn't true. The most virulent bigotry had simply gone underground, as evidenced by the vicious way so many treated our first black president, making up ridiculous conspiracy theories so they could justify hating him, one of the worst being our current president.

I really think the latent racism came on strong with the killing of Trayvon Martin and escalated from there. Most conservatives, including Donald Trump, did not even want to try to understand where the "take a knee" or "black lives matter" movements came from.

I truly do not know where we go from here.




Tuesday, March 13, 2018

America' 'Liddle" President.

                                        

It's hard to know what to write about on any given day during the Trump administration. There's so much chaos and confusion (some of it would be comedic if it weren't so serious). You finally pick a subject and complete your first paragraph when you're alerted that some new, even bigger thing has happened.

Like the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today. And it's not that I have any great affection for Rex Tillerson or that I don't think presidents shouldn't get to choose their own staff - it is his nasty, petty, gutless way of doing it. Trump actually wanted to be even more slimy by calling the SOS when he was in Africa but I guess he was talked out of it by John Kelly so he called just after Tillerson arrived back home (Trump, of course, was winging his way across the country on Air Force One). That is about the same as Trump did with James Comey. He fired him when he was in California and was pissed because the F.B.I. let him ride back to Washington on a government plane. For a man who made his fame and fortune saying, "you're fired!", he prefers the cowardly way of "termination by tweet" in real life instead doing it face-to-face.

This is what I despise most about Trump although I loathe many things about him - his lying, his policies, his greed, his corruption - but it is his penchant for humiliation that really stokes my fire of dislike. I hated it during the campaign when he found demeaning little nicknames for his opponents. I hated it when he targeted Hillary with Crooked Hillary and then his abject fans obediently and gleefully shouted, "lock her up!" Now we're getting to see it all again in triple time because he's back on the campaign trail.

This is not the behavior of a president with any grace whatsoever, but, of course, it has continued into his administration. Hardly a member of his staff or politicians on either side of the aisle have escaped his scathing mockery. Yet most of them have swallowed the indignities to which he subjects them without complaint. When you're in this position, do you eventually build up a tolerance to being abused, sort of like battered wives, or is there some underground site most of us don't know about in which the Trump administration put an ad - "only masochists need apply"?

Trump is my idea of a real thug, not those black kids in pants pulled down to their knees singing rap in the ghetto. Yes, they can be violent and mean but they have no real power over most of us. Trump has power and he wields it with brute force. It's power that affects millions.

And I think he enjoys it. If he'd been at Abu Ghraib, he'd have been the first in line with the leash and the feces, speaking of which, America is probably on target to get back into the torture business with the new head of the C.I.A., who essentially ran the torture program under George W. Bush. Trump will probably want to be there when they waterboard the first prisoner.

I don't know that he enjoys embarrassing his wife but he certainly doesn't seem to do anything to try to avoid it. Poor Melania, I bet he wrote such an iron-clad pre-nuptial agreement to benefit himself that she'd probably lose custody of Barron if she opens her mouth or tries to leave. Not that I think he wants the kid, who he treats like a complete non-entity, but he'd fight her just out of vindictiveness.

He uses DACA kids as political pawns, not really giving a damn what happens to the Dreamers. He pays lip service to kids who have experience a massacre in their school, then backs down completely in favor of the N.R.A. agenda.  Come on, Dianne Feinstein, didn't you know that's how it would end?

Trump is just pure mean and that's the way it is. And what's even worse is that his fawning followers love it about him. The more hateful he is, the more they cheer him on. They see him as strong when he's really small-minded and weak. What does this say about them?


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Is This When America Was Great?


              
             



                   


I've lived through seven decades and I keep trying to remember when America was great. You know, the time the Trumpies are referring to when they say they want to make America great again..

I don't remember much about the 50's being still just a little girl when they were over but I know people who idealize that innocent, Father Knows Best era. And for a lot of white Americans who'd just come back from the war, it probably was pretty great. They went to school on their VA loans, became professionals, bought houses, raised families. That's if they weren't suffering from battle fatigue (now called PTSD) from the horrific things they'd seen and done in World War II.

Maybe it wasn't so great for the women who'd gone to work en masse to help their country while their men were gone, then told to get back in the kitchen where they belonged when the boys returned.

And maybe it wasn't so great for gays who were mostly probably afraid to admit who they were for fear of losing their family, their job and their church.

And it wasn't so great for African-Americans. I remember hearing a black grandmother tell her story on the radio about an amusement park that existed at that time. ( I think it was in Birmingham). White kids could go have fun there 364 days a year but black kids could go one day a year. One stinking day!

This woman told how longingly her children would peer through the fence at the white kids and ask, "when will it be our turn again, Mama?" She talked about how sad and furious it made her. She would liked to have told the park people to stick it and never let her kids go there but they waited so eagerly and patiently for their day.

I thought then, and still think, that was one of the saddest stories I ever heard. I could feel that mother's anger and bitterness and defeat in my own stomach.

That surely wasn't when America was great.

Then came the Sixties and the assassination of a president and of a presidential candidate and of a civil rights leader and another. That was when we threw stones and cursed little girls trying to go to school and beat African-Americans crossing a bridge for voter's rights.

My husband was in Vietnam in 1965, in the first group that was announced to be going to combat. We barely knew where Vietnam was then but a decade and 58,000 plus bodies later, we'd learned a lot about Vietnam....except why were there.

When Jim came home, he wasn't approved to join the Veteran's of Foreign Wars because they said he hadn't been in a war, only a police action.

"Huh," said the ex-combat medic, "it sure felt like a war to me."

(He died in 1989 of Agent Orange-related lung cancer - something the Army admitted when they paid him an Agent Orange pension).

Many people protested, of course, but the final tragedy of Vietnam was our kids (the National Guard) killing our kids (the Kent State protesters).

Surely that wasn't when America was great.

In the 70's, I was helping my father in his bar. I couldn't sit at the bar myself. Women couldn't. I couldn't walk with a drink in my hand unless it was on a tray and I was delivering it to a customer. I guess those things weren't considered lady-like.

I was working then as a Personnel Secretary. My boss quit and I filled in for him for six months until his replacement was hired. Everything went fine for that six months and I went to talk to the Plant Manager about getting the job full-time My boss made $18,000 a year; I made $9,000. The Plant Manager said no. He was adamant that people would never accept a woman in that position.

Incidentally, they hired a man who had been the head of the welfare department in a fairly large city.  (Naturally, I had to train him). He hated African-Americans and thought the answer to the "black problem" was to neuter every male nigger baby for 100 years. Just in case you were thinking, you know, that racism had become a thing of the past by the 70's.

Was that when America was great?

Then came the 80's. It's true that many Americans who worked in factories were living high, wide and handsome. It was all my peers' goal in life to get a job in one of the auto plants. They could live well - houses, cars, vacations, send their kids to college. The people who worked in pissy-ass, low-wage factories were often jealous of the auto workers instead of proud that a group of American workers had fought, literally fought, to join the middle class.

But then Reagan came along with the "trickle down" theory which Republicans keep trying even though it keeps failing. Reagan busted the Air Traffic Controllers Union and that was the start of the downfall of American Labor. Union membership declined, wages began going down (many plants then began implementing a two-tier wage system pitting one group of employees against the other). Benefits declined. Pensions were rescinded. We forget that even that wasn't enough. Before we'd ever heard of NAFTA, American businesses were leaving the U.S. in droves. We had a war in Iraq in the 80's. At least, Old George Bush made it short and sweet. It ended with the Highway of Death, burning alive 100s of 1000s of fleeing Iraqis. Ah, it made you proud to be an American. Maybe that's when we were great.

I don't remember exactly when Rush Limbaugh came on the scene but he was the forerunner of the right wing media. I can recall being shocked at how mean he was. Remember when he said the Clintons didn't need a dog because they had Chelsea and all his conservative followers thought it was hilarious? They've only gotten more hateful since.

The 90's were probably my favorite decade of my adulthood but it is also when the extreme partisanship between the parties began. I remember listening to hours of cable news discussing impeachment. Not content to try to win the next election on the merits, the Republicans (now the Trumpicans) were determined to rid themselves of Clinton at any cost to the nation's unity, the Rule of Law and the Constitution. They didn't quite succeed but they caused a great deal of damage to our country's psyche along the way. I despised them for what they did.

A new century and a new president - George Bush the Younger. I never really hated George Bush. I actually thought he was probably a nice man in his personnel life. But the Iraq War was his downfall. Another Vietnam. A war based on the lies of our leaders. Torture. Extreme Rendition. Guantanamo. Abu Ghraib. Oh, my God, those pictures were so horrifying. I couldn't believe that was Americans seemingly happily perpetrating those acts of torture and humiliation. We lost our morals and our principles in Iraq. And here we still are all those years later.

Nope, that was definitely not a great time.

We replaced Bush with Obama in the next decade. Wow, our first black president. Look at us evolve. No more racism for us! But the same people who'd engaged in Clinton Hatred came out from under their rocks and became even more vile and vicious against Obama. He wasn't even really an American or a Christian, an illegitimate president, don't you know? The product of a global conspiracy. The right-wing media became even more dishonest and poisonous. Still, we managed a few good things like national health care and civil rights for gays.

But the divisions between us were too ugly to be considered great.

And then, we elected (sort of) Donald Trump - and I suspect this will be the least great period of time in America that any of us alive today will have ever known.












   

Friday, February 9, 2018

From the Heights to the Depths


Tesla Motors LA Flagship Store Launch                                                    Donald Trump's back with 14 'Apprentice' All-Stars


Wow what a week - inspiration to desperation. On the one hand, we have the launch of Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. (See it here.  Falcon Heavy Launch.)  I've probably watched it at least 20 times. Not only the launch itself but the booster rockets - as the Falcon Heavy was streaking its way into deep space, the boosters turned around and headed for home making perfect landings on their launch pads. Abso-freaking-lutely incredible!

To show that Elon Musk is not only an entrepreneur extraordinaire and a brilliant inventor but that he has a droll sense of humor as well, the Falcon Heavy contains a brand-new cherry-red Tesla convertible with a dummy dressed in a space suit behind the wheel. Inside the rocket, a never ending loop plays Elton John's Rocket Man.

I don't know anything about Elon Musk's personal life and I don't want to know. I'm sick of knowing about personal lives of private people. I only want to know about accomplishments. Musk is the CEO of the Tesla Company and many other enterprises. (He's a billionaire many times over). His company invented a kind of roofing material that creates its own solar energy without the need for solar panels. He offered to build the entire Puerto Rican electrical grid via solar power. If they'd let him do it, the whole island would probably have power by now.

He's a risk-taker and a visionary who wants to make the world a better place. Climate change is one of his big issues and he puts his own money where his mouth is.

(Incidentally, he is also an immigrant, a native of Pretoria, South Africa -you know, one of those shithole African countries).

And then we have this week in Trump and the Republicans. I honestly can't believe anyone can watch our government in action and not conclude that is a total shambles. We've already had two shutdowns just this years and it is only February. The politicians solved that problem for a while but in doing that and giving the rich ginormous tax breaks, those deficit hawks, the Republicans added trillions to the budget deficit. Where is it going to come from. If you said, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, you probably guessed right.

Meanwhile, Trump continues a war with his own F.B.I. and Justice Department and Republicans put out secret memos that land with a clunk all to protect Trump. Now they are working on doing the same to the State Department although it is practically a skeleton of an agency already.

Our scandal-plagued White House is now embroiled in yet another one regarding a man, Rob Porter, who abused both of his ex-wives so that the F.B.I. wouldn't grant him a security clearance even though he saw every paper that went in front of the president. But, oh, well, we already had Jared Kushner, who also couldn't qualify for a security clearance.

The White House handled this latest mess with its usual tone-deaf ham-handedness. They ignored it until it became public, then they stood up for "their guy" and finally when pictures came out, they reacted, saying they didn't know before that. Bull! The President himself is the only one who can allow people to see classified information without a security clearance.

When Trump finally came out with a statement, it was the most milquetoast thing you've ever heard. He basically praised Rob Porter and wished him well and never bothered to mention the victims. I supposed Trump, the many-times-accused assaulter, relates to Porter's situation.

Meanwhile, staff continues to leave the administration like rats leaving a sinking ship. The latest one is Rachel Brand, Number Three at the Justice Dept. She has a sterling reputation and that's probably why she's leaving. She wants it to stay that way and she sees that Trump brings everyone he comes in contact with down to his amoral level

What else? Well, Trump said Democrats were guilty of treason because they didn't clap at his State of the Union address. The stock market is in "correction territory", whatever the hell that means. John Kelly, who is one of those people who've gone from being considered admirable to one considered a pathetic sycophant said most illegal immigrants brought here as children were too lazy to get off their asses and sign up for the DACA program though I expect it is because they simply don't trust this Congress or president not to use their paperwork to deport them. I could go on but what's the use?

God, I wish we'd elected Elon Musk - or really anybody - rather than Donald Trump.




Saturday, January 27, 2018

When Does Partisanship Cross the Line into Treason? We're There.

I doubt if anyone could detest Donald Trump more than I do but I save my harshest judgment for the Republicans.

I think they have moved from being a solid, reliable party that could be depended upon to defend the norms and traditions of our system and the rule of law to morph into a party so hungry for power that there was no norm they wouldn't smash, no tradition they wouldn't trash and no law they wouldn't crash.

I personally think it began with Clinton. The Republicans were willing to throw our government into total disarray in their lust to bring down a Democrat president. After months of investigation, Clinton's impeachment came down to the low crime and misdemeanor of a blow job. In the end, they didn't convict him but their vengeance called for the next best thing - publishing the entire salacious scandal on the internet. They had to settle for humiliation.

The Bush years were relatively calm for the Republicans but then came Obama and their partisanship ramped up to derangement levels. They would approve nothing Obama wanted, even things they had pushed for before, like the Individual Mandate and Cap and Trade. They vowed to make him a one-term president no matter what that took. They engaged in governing by crisis - shutdowns and sequesters and near-defaults on our debt (which resulted in our credit rating being downgraded).

They paraded as fiscal conservatives but they passed huge tax breaks without paying for them (they were supposed to pay for themselves but, of course, they didn't. And they put two wars on our credit card so that the deficit soared.

The Hastert Rule which stated that it was never enough for a majority of Congress to approve legislation, it had to be a majority of the majority - in other words, a majority of Republicans - became their norm. And during all that time in Afghanistan and Iraq, they refused to do their jobs by debating and renewing the authorization for war. They wanted to leave Obama hanging out on his own so if it turned bad (which it did), they could say it was all the president's fault.

They did things which had never been done before like holding a Supreme Court vacancy open for 14 months so they could claim it for themselves.

And then came the Donald and things went from bad to disastrous. They know their president is a corrupt con man but they rubber stamp everything he does. They know that he colluded with the Russians and obstructed justice but instead of taking it seriously, they keep coming up with faux-scandals that turn out to be nothing to try to muddy the waters so that if and when Trump is found guilty, they can say it was all a "witch hunt".

Their congressional investigations are a farce. Devin Nunes pulls a ridiculous stunt like pretending he was bringing the White House information about the illegal unmasking of Trump officials when he actually got what information he had (which had no legitimacy) from the White House. Nunes then recused himself from the investigation - but not really. Instead he was working behind the scenes the entire time.

The Republicans and their cohorts in the conservative media have worked tirelessly to undermine the Justice Department, the F.B.I., the Intelligence agencies, our previously most trustworthy defenders against terrorism. They have claimed there was a secret group in the F.B.I. plotting to take down Trump, which was a joke. They released memos from an F.B.I. agent and F.B.I. lawyer criticizing Trump but not the ones equally as critical of Hillary, Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder, et al.

Now Nunes claims to have a memo (which he wrote himself) that he's threatened to reveal to other Republicans though not to the F.B.I. or Justice Department (because they can't be trusted, you know) despite the warning from these agencies that publicizing classified information could be dangerous to our national security. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, continues to let this rogue congressman run wild.

They have not raised a finger to thwart the Russians from interfering in the 2018 election although we positively know what all Putin did in 2016.

This goes beyond malfeasance and steps across the line into treason.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Did You Know.....?

                                                               

* Almost all the members of the National Parks Advisory Board quit this week (we don't know exactly because it is still in flux at this time). In the year since Donald Trump made Ryan Zinke the Interior Secretary, he has never met with them one time although the administration wants to remove land from National Parks, something no other president has ever done.

* When a government official like Kevin McCarthy flies to Mar-a-Lago to have dinner with Donald Trump, the taxpayers pay for Mr McCarthy's plane trip and pays Trump for his food and room, even though they were both coming back to Washington the next day. We're generous-hearted souls, aren't we?

* The Trump administration is lightening the regulations on payday lenders - this was after the group had its conference at Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C.. Connected?

* The Trump administration is opening mining and drilling off all America's coastlines....except for Florida. Guess Trump doesn't want a drilling rig off the coast of Mar-a-Lago, huh?

* Many of OSHA's inspectors have quit or been fired and they aren't being replaced. Good luck to you if your employer decides to forego some of their safety policies.

* The Trump EPA is approving chemicals that were rejected by previous administrations as too dangerous.

*There were at least 19 Trump administrations transition/administration officials involved meetings with Putin's government. No administration as ever been as heavily involved in Russia. Suspicious?

* Republicans are now arguing that Trump, in an immigration meeting, didn't call Haiti and Africans nations shitholes but shithouses. Can someone explain the difference to me?

* It has been determined that the big winners in the Republican tax plan will be the big banks - yes, the very same ones that brought us to the brink of bankruptcy with their greedy, dishonest ways.

The Trump administration rescinded the regulation that mandated that investment bankers have to make decisions with the best interests of their clients at heart.

More jobs were created in the U.S. in each of the last six years of the Obama presidency than in 2017.

I could literally go on in this same vein forever but did you notice what these "did you knows" have in common? Not one of them is for the benefit of the middle class.




Tuesday, January 2, 2018

America's Dear Leader



                                                    


Well, we stumbled into 2018. So far, it feels pretty much like 2017. On the morning of December 31, 2017, the temperature read minus 9 degrees. By this morning of January 1, 2018, it had dropped to minus 11 degrees. Trump tweeted a New Year's Tweet that was as ungracious as usual. You'd have thought after the flamboyant New Year's Eve gala at Mar-a-Lago that featured bigwigs and red carpets and furs and jewels and any number of exotic dishes, he might have been filled with good will and passed on getting a New Year's dig in on his enemies but nope, he couldn't resist. There isn't a morsel of grace in his soul.

It's taken me two years but I finally realized why I detest Donald Trump so much: it's because of the pleasure he takes in playing the humiliation game. I've always thought humiliating someone is the worst thing you can do to them. Human beings can bear up under pain but not being stripped of their pride and dignity. I remember when the photos of Abu Ghraib were released. They literally made me sick. Leading prisoners around on all fours by means of collars and leashes. Rubbing them with human feces. Making them wear diapers. Making them stand on narrow boxes with electrodes around their testicles so they'd get a shock if they lost their balance. I was stunned that Americans would stoop that low.

I might be able to hurt someone if I was angry enough at whatever they had done but I couldn't humiliate them because humiliating a human (or hell, an animal, for that matter) humiliates you too. It shows what a pathetic human being you are. Humiliation happens when some being has more power than another and enjoys taking advantage of the situation by forcing the other to submit to moral indignities.

And I have come to the conclusion that it is this very quality about Donald Trump that so many of his acolytes love. It must make them feel superior when he labels black football players thugs and Mexicans  rapists and murderers and Muslims  terrorists. They crowed when he showed his contempt for women like Megyn Kelly and Elizabeth Warren. They howled when he labeled Hillary crooked and nasty. They cackled at his demeaning nicknames for his opponents - Little Marco and Lying Ted and Low Energy Jeb.

And yet, except for the women, he has a way of making people eat shit and act like they like it. Every one of those opponents came back to kneel before the throne before the election was over. Everyone who comes in contact with Trump is diminished. Mike Pence has elevated obsequiousness into an art form. I expect to see him tug his forelock at any minute. Even courageous men, respected men, admired men, four-star generals seem to leave their pride at the door when they enter his domain. It is painful to watch.

The Republican Party has degraded itself to stay in his good graces. I hope that tax cut for which they sold their souls is worth it. Even some of the ones who appeared to have some guts faltered before his threats in the end.

Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others7:48 AM - Jan 2, 2018

This is one of Trump's first tweets of the New Year. He sounds like a raging paranoid instead of a president! First, what he states isn't true but we are used to his lying by now. Second, no American president that I know of wanted to imprison his opponent and his predecessor. That's Banana Republic behavior. And third, "Deep State Justice Department"? Seriously. It is his Justice Department. 

I have written about the website, The Deplorables, several times. They are the hard-core Trumpies. They absolutely hero worship their leader. And they have this same penchant for shaming and debasing anyone who disagree with them. Many of their posts are absolutely vile and those are the ones that get the most likes. They are one with their hero. 

I'm 72 years old. I worked in politics for much of my life, for both Republicans and Democrats. I've worked for law enforcement, the judicial system, in taverns, offices and factories. I certainly never considered myself naive but I admit it, I am despairing about what my country has come to under this detestable man and his fawning sycophants..