The Gladys Kravitz of the World

Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. Yemen. Somalia. Libya…Niger. I did not list those countries in any particular order, with the exception of Niger. Niger receives special placement on this list as it appears to be the freshest of American entanglements, or at least in the consciousness of the American people.

Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama entered our country into  various on-going conflicts when they were in office. We could debate the necessity of our involvement and the issues in each country, but that never happens. Maybe we should have a presence in all the countries listed above, who knows.

Iraq was the last real debate, regrettably a demonstrably dishonest one, and that was back in 2003. The U.S. military has remained busy since then. America now sneaks into war and conflict under cloak of darkness, it’s citizens – and politicians – apparently none the wiser.

And now the demented, tangerine colored septuganerian that occupies the White House is supposed to make rational decisions to make all of this better – great. Oh, and I am not even including Iran and North Korea on this list because they represent unique nuclear challenges unrelated to our War on Terror activities listed above.

So this brings me back to Niger, a country I am sure most Americans have never heard of and are secretly mistaking for that abominable “N word” we are all taught never to say, has an extra G, and remains popular at Ku-Klux-Klan and Trump rallies.

Why didn’t we know that America had close to 1,000 service members in Niger? Why didn’t we have this discussion as a country when President Obama decided to send the first soldiers to Niger over two years ago? Why did things seemingly escalate under President Trump without discussion or coverage? I mean we all know those Kardashian sisters copulated and are pregnant. Why did the current President of the United States say yesterday and I quote, “I didn’t specifically approve this mission.” Huh? What? So much for that civilian control of the military as our founders intended, sheesh! Now I will be partisan for a moment, could you imagine if that had of been President Obama’s response to say – Benghazi? I digress.

I am not going to debate the merits of America’s continued behavior as the Gladys Kravitz of the globe, peeking over fences and peering into the windows of countries looking for boogeymen and monsters. I am not opposed to American intervention in the world, but I am opposed to the autopilot approach our country seems to be on since 9/11 where it comes to supposedly rooting out terror.

And frankly, I am beginning to be more fearful of Americans with guns shooting me at the Whole Foods than I am about terrorists in Niger or Syria or anyplace else for that matter. I am probably more likely, in America, to be shot on the street – for no reason – than by a terrorist from Niger. Oh, and  the bullets that might come flying at me could come from a cop, a gang member, or a “domestic terrorist” – the title we reserve for any person of color who commits mass murder with a gun who isn’t a white male. So many ways to die – how fun.

I hope the four service members who died in Niger rest in peace and that their families find solace. I believe that our country should have known about their sacrifice before they died. I hope that our government, specifically members of Congress, remember they have the power to authorize and declare war – not the Executive. They also control the purse strings. Senator Graham and Senator Schumer shouldn’t be on television saying they didn’t know about the number of soldiers in Niger – it’s outrageous. America, as is the case with so many things, needs to do better.

 

 

Time To Dust Off Your Conscience

I have a conscience. It generally keeps me honest, striving to do and be good, and when I behave like an ass (which happens), it serves as an internal alarm bell to self-correct and change course. It also has this annoying way of gnawing at me when I see wrong and inappropriate things happening right in front of me.

I like my conscience. I suspect you have a conscience too. While they seem to be in short supply in Washington D.C., it turns out that Bob Corker, John McCain, and Jeff Flake have one as well.

For those who did not see Senator Flake’s remarks on the Senate floor yesterday, it is worth the time to read the transcript or find a clip. Flake’s comments are too long to recount here, but surprise – he will not be seeking re-election and apparently finds the current POTUS to be unpresidential – among other truthful and disparaging thoughts. It was quite the rebuke of  a sitting President by a member of his own party. Of course, just a few hours before, Senator Corker – also a Republican – was once again lamenting the behavior of the person who currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He talked about his propensity to lie, his moral failings, and inability to govern. Ouch.

It is refreshing to hear a few Republicans not mince words about Trump. After all, the possession of a conscience is not tied to one’s partisan beliefs, right? Sadly, all three of the men I have mentioned are retiring (Flake, Corker) or will most likely not finish their term (McCain). It would be nice if we could get some courage from someone planning to remain in office. Oh well, small steps.

One’s conscience is a powerful thing. I know we live in hyper partisan times, but I cannot fathom, cannot fathom, how anyone cannot see or understand that Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy and the world. The values he tramples upon, the boorish behavior he displays, is not a “Republican” or a “Democrat” thing. How do we get more people, despite party affiliation, to wake up and realize that? How do we have more people finally have a Jeff Flake moment?

The likelihood that I agree with any of the policy pronouncements espoused by Corker, Flake, or McCain are slim. They are self described conservatives with checkmarks beside all the little boxes one needs to mark in order to belong to that group. And you know what, that’s ok. However, I don’t question their overall morality, sanity, or their ability to understand the most basic tenets of our government and disagree with their policy views. 

I have a conscience. I would like to believe that more leaders in Congress have one, or hell, can afford to purchase one if they came assembled without one. The time for everyone to find their conscience whether on Main Street, or on Capitol Hill, is now. It is unthinkable that there are people out there either so blindly partisan or gleefully ignorant to think that the ride on the Trump train is normal and will come without consequences. The ability for people to lead prosperous, healthy, and dignified lives is at stake. The reputation of our country is at stake. The safety of our country, and the world, is at stake.

Morons and Adult Day Care Centers

Rex Tillerson and Senator Bob Corker are my new heroes. Yes, I know that this is an exceedingly low bar for heroes as these two have not actually done anything tangible that will protect the nation and the world from our orange lunatic.

Let’s start by talking about Mr. Tillerson. Mr. Tillerson should have never been appointed to his current position in the first place, let’s not forget that. He was another woefully unprepared person picked to lead a department of extreme importance, which seems to be the thing the Trump Administration does in their continued efforts to handicap the federal government.

Putting that aside, I understand Rex’s concerns. Being woefully unprepared does not make you an idiot. Mr. Tillerson strikes me as someone who at least knows what he doesn’t know, which is more than can be said for the President. So his description of the President seems fine and fair to me. We all have had at least one boss in our lives who we thought was a moron. Actually, slight correction, he supposedly said that Mr. Trump was a f*cking moron which, again, appears accurate.

Here’s the thing though. Why is Rex still there? It certainly is not for the money or the prestige of working at the State Department, as neither Tillerson nor the President seem to believe in diplomacy or to know much about it. But if Trump is such a moron, and in my experience morons cannot help but be anything other than morons, why not leave? Respectfully offer your resignation, pack up your papers and parcels, and leave. Yes, Trump is a moron, but Tillerson looks like a whiny, spineless sap – who is a coward and without principles. He’s shooting off at the mouth, but still shows up for work everyday to take more crap.

And then there is Senator Corker from Tennessee, who might be my favorite person of the week. He wasn’t having any of Trump’s shenanigans over the weekend. As the President attempted to start one of his Twitter feuds, Corker essentially ended it with a delicious verbal smack down. “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.” OUCH. There is a level of messy cattiness to that quote that I just love. I don’t think the Twitter-in-Chief responded to that one. Score One for Corker! But unlike Tillerson who I think should resign, Corker is leaving the Senate, which I think is terrible. Will Tennessee voters do what was done in Alabama and give us someone more conservative and wacky like Roy Moore, the man who believes homosexuality should be illegal and 9/11 was some sort of moral retribution?

Senator Corker is not running for re-election so he has nothing to lose and while I love his retort to the President, it isn’t exactly brave. Is there anyone in Washington willing to speak up while they actually have something on the line? Can anyone speak up AND decide to stay in the fight? When did everyone become so cowardly? After all, we are only talking about the future of our country. If everyone secretly believes the emperor has no clothes, when are they going to do something about it?

Poverty Lessons from Ben Carson

Cover your ears, Ben Carson is talking again. I am serious, someone has allowed him to speak and it’s painful.  It wasn’t  enough to talk about slaves taking an odd journey of sorts to pursue happiness and prosperity in this land, now he is opening his mouth to discuss poverty. By the way, the slavery language is not a direct quote, but that’s pretty much what the man said. Oh, even better, remember when Obamacare was the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery? Oy vey. He’s got to let the slavery thing go.

Well since Mr. Carson’s speaking privileges were not revoked because of those other dimwitted statements, we now have the opportunity to hear his views on poverty! Ok, you ready? Here it goes. Apparently, if only people had the right mindset, they wouldn’t be poor. Moreover, if people grew up with Mama Carson as their mother, they definitely would not be poor. That’s it folks – the solution to the issue of poverty for millions in this country. So simple, who knew!

As a reminder, Mr. Carson is the official in charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). I am glad he loves his mama, but it cannot be the policy of the United States of America to say, “if Mama Carson were your mama you wouldn’t be poor.” That cannot be policy.

I just can’t. I miss the times when we only trotted out all the kooky African-American Republicans for laughs, and no one took them seriously, let alone put them in a position to make policy. Remember Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 plan. All of America’s problems were going to be solved with that 9-9-9 plan.  Iraq – 9-9-9. Teen pregnancy – 9-9-9. The Kardashians – 9-9-9! Ah, the good ole days.

But now we have Ben Carson, a celebrated neurosurgeon turned political loon, spouting off ludicrous statements every chance he gets, who is now actually in charge of housing policy.

I will say this, I will not dismiss one’s mindset and, of course, the role of parenting in helping people to become good, productive citizens who ostensibly won’t be unfortunate enough to be poor. I also know some very strong willed people, who had good parents, who are still poor. Actually, some of the strongest people I know probably could be considered working poor. I am not sure what Mr. Carson is getting at here.

It is sad that this country has a habit of demonizing the poor and the less fortunate every chance we get – from discussions on welfare to education, to healthcare – those that are less fortunate did something to get there, so screw them.

Mr. Carson’s statements are just expressing this sentiment in cute folksiness, as he is essentially saying poverty is a matter of will and good parenting. Somehow, in Mr. Carson’s world, poverty isn’t cyclical and actual government policy and the choices our country makes and does not make policy wise, apparently, play no role in this poverty.

Yes, Mr. Carson, there are stories of people who rise out of poverty. I am surprised he didn’t mention Oprah. Everyone always loves trotting out Oprah. But for every Oprah, there are millions of struggling people without adequate housing, healthcare, access to quality education in a safe school who are probably doing the best they can with the tools they have and most likely are not going to own Harpo Studios tomorrow.

Have these black-hearted holy rollers ever heard the expression, “there but for the grace of God go I?” It is truly unfathomable to me that people can be so dismissive of others, and I don’t even consider myself Christian.

So I am glad Mr. Carson had a good mindset and believes poverty is just “a state of mind” and that his Mama was the best Mama in the whole world and universe for that matter. That’s all well and good, but that’s probably of little solace to someone who is poor and in need of decent housing.

Good grief. Is it 2020 yet?

 

 

What Will Happen?

I have been an absent blogger! Not writing about the crazy has not stopped the crazy from happening, so I suppose I will just pick up with the latest drama as soon as I get settled.

I rarely delve into my own personal life on this blog, but April has been a bit of a busy month. I started a new job which has been exciting but has caused the need for a little scheduling adjustment and now I am traveling to Egypt for a little vacation. So, I hope to get back to my usual writing routine the second week in May upon my return.

So while I am out of the country, what will I miss? Maybe the American public will regain its collective sense and overthrow the Trump dynasty? And folks, with Ivanka, Jared, and the crazy one in charge – it is a weird undemocratic democracy but I digress. Maybe Sean Spicer will be fired? Hell, maybe Sean Spicer will fire himself and quit for the sake of his soul?

Maybe Sean Spicer will be fired? Hell, maybe Sean Spicer will fire himself and quit for the sake of his soul? One can only hope, but then what will Melissa McCarthy do?

Will Caitlyn Jenner finally retreat and stop talking? Honestly, can we stop making her the face of transgender women? THERE ARE OTHER TRANSGENDERED WOMEN! Now, according to her, she regrets her Trump vote! Sheesh! Just figuring this out Caitlyn? All of that California sun must have long ago fried her brain.

What else could happen? Will former President Obama be blamed for faking the moon landing, as the current administration seems to find reasons and ways to blame him for everything? Sean Spicer actually tried to blame Obama for the Mike Flynn debacle yesterday. According to him, President Obama was supposed to do the vetting! It’s a bird, a plane, anything to deflect. P.S. Sean, the Obama Administration FIRED Mike Flynn – probably should have been Team Trump’s clue that General Flynn was no Girl Scout.

So many intriguing possibilities.

In the meantime, I am off to catch a plane with my “Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Vote for Trump” t-shirt in tow for my international audience. Ok, I don’t really have one of those, but it might not be too late to locate one and slap it on my person!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Just Stop Talking

Put a lid on the lips and clamp the tongues! Truly, for the love of God, can folks just take a minute and stop talking? Just stop talking. It’s a lesson for us all when we have royally screwed up or maybe to consider before we screw up!

It has been a week since I have written anything and my brain aches from the pure stupidity flying around through the atmosphere in America right now and making national news.

I am talking to the lovely folks at Pepsi, the CEO of United Airlines and, of course, my pal Sean Spicer who, as a baby, can’t help play in his own fecal matter on a weekly basis.

But it’s ok, we all make mistakes, start to dig our own graves and bravely prepare to jump in. However, at some point, you have to stop digging. You can put the shovel down and do the Kool-Aid man backup shuffle and get out of the pile of dong you have found yourself standing in.

I previously wrote about Pepsi but did not have time to add a post about their non-apology statement. I don’t even know what that initial response was supposed to be. Then there was United Airlines who apparently don’t need customers, which is the only thing that explains their CEO’s initial response.

And then there was my absolute favorite step in poo person of the week, Mr. Spicer. Mr. Spicer has stepped in it before, but this week – man – there are no words. Even I almost felt for the guy. Mr. Spicer quibbling about chemical weapons and airborne attacks – and comparisons to Hitler and which mass murderer was worse. Sheesh. It’s probably a safe bet for us all to forego any comparisons to Hitler. It never ends well. Someone should have come out from underneath the podium, gently tapped him on the shoulder, and just told him to be quiet – instantly.

Because of my failure to write anything these last couple of days, I was unable to comment on the events about Syria. I actually believe the U.S. and the West should respond when countries violate international laws and norms, like using chemical weapons. So, for a day or two, I suppose I was on the same side as Trump. But we have a White House who cannot even seem to agree on why they did this or what the end goal is and they’ve had a week, if not months to come up with that rationale.

It also doesn’t help that we are learning that Trump apparently acted because Ivanka was upset by this event. Huh? Trump didn’t know about this before, never thought about this as a candidate? Can’t he just go out and buy his daughter an ice cream cone like all good father’s do when their daughter’s are upset? If that doesn’t work how about a nice dress or, hell, their rich –  buy her a penthouse! I mean come on!

And we really can’t intelligently debate the merits of any military action because there was Sean babbling like a buffoon about Hitler not gassing anyone – although he presumably meant during combat. Either way, it was just awful, painfully awful.

Poor, poor, Sean Spicer. I actually don’t think he meant to sound like such an offensive dweeb but, you know what, as the title states – sometimes it better to just stand quietly. No one asked that man to make that comparison.

So, for today, I am going to advocate that everyone just stop talking. When you screw up, apologize quickly, put your lips together, and just be quiet. Put down the shovel. Get out of the dirt. Walk away from the grave you have created and just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to jump in.

 

 

Folks, There’s Nothing To See Here But A Brand New Bag of Shiny Balls

While the words in the title of this post have not been uttered by the President or his cronies yet, at this point, they might as well have been. Give Sean time folks, give him some time. Things are getting dicey so who knows what they will say or do next.

There are lots of glittery balls in the air these days with reporters batting them around like little puppies. A red one! A blue one! Will we get a yellow one? Oh, look this one has just been pumped full of fresh air! Sigh. It’s really rather unfortunate. I decided to recount some of my favorites below:

1) Not only did President Obama wiretap Trump Tower, but his behavior has also been much worse than that. The former President was so desperate to implicate Trump in something, he took the unusual step to scale Trump Tower donning a ski mask, with suction cups on his hands and feet, peering into the Trump family penthouse and snapping pictures in an attempt to get dirt. The former President turned up empty handed and the only thing he saw was Melania dancing with glee because she has yet to be forced to leave her gilded palace and move to the White House.

2) Last year, Hillary Clinton received questions from Donna Brazille before her debate with Trump – as President Trump continues to remind us. (As an aside, has anyone informed Trump she lost?) But that’s not the real scandal. The real scandal is that she will receive the debate questions in the 2020 election too, regardless as to whether or not she is a candidate. Because Hillary is a Clinton, she will then offer to sell the questions to whichever candidate is willing to pay the most for them. How do we know this? We know this because we know and the President will provide evidence of his knowledge into future events when he sees fit because that’s what he does.

3) Not only did Susan Rice “unmask” American’s partaking in dubious contacts with shady Russian folks, she also “unmasked” a man named Carl who pretended to be a caveman in one of the Scooby-Doo episodes. Oh, you didn’t know Scooby-Doo had a fifth character who was black? Well, that’s because the liberal media hasn’t reported the story. Susan Rice has been unmasking people for decades. Wait and see, this will be the scandal – if only the media would cover it!

So many scandals – so many untold stories! Look into – they are all true!

Also, for good measure and not to be forgotten – Tupac and Biggie are still alive and the Moon is made of cheese. I hear it’s a tasty Vermont cheddar. Let’s cover this too. Tweets and Fox News commentary are sure to follow.

Ok, I had to have a little fun with all of this, but the level of absurdity is off the charts. And as absurd as my version of the “news” is – is it really that absurd? Washington has gone completely off the rails. We have a President who will say anything and yet, when it counts, says nothing at all (see his Syria Press Conference today as an example). I mean is everyone taking shots of bong water and eating bath salts as appetizers?

Everyone needs to keep their eyes on the ball – one ball.  The ball is Russia and this White House, not a bunch of people out of office and out of power. Can we give the American electorate, the media, and our politicians a dose of Adderall. Pay attention!

It is worth repeating the following until everyone understands the gravity of the situation.

The FBI is investigating the sitting President and his pals for possible collusion with a foreign government in an attempt to sway an election through hacking and possibly other backroom deals and shenanigans. We are a democracy so it’s sort of a big deal to think an outside adversarial government had a favorite in the race and worked to get that person elected. It’s even a bigger deal if those same individuals knew about the plan and worked with the adversarial government.

We are a democracy, so it’s sort of a big deal to think an outside adversarial government had a favorite in the race and worked to get that person elected – to the detriment of the other candidate. It’s even a bigger deal if one of those campaigns knew about the plan and worked with an adversarial government against an American election.

Why the hell don’t more people care about this? If we don’t care about this as a country, then what’s the point of continuing this little democratic experiment? Let’s just let a handful of folks pick people to be President. Better yet, they don’t even have to be American to do the picking.

The FBI is also reportedly creating a separate unit that will continue looking into this issue, which would be a sign of an expanding investigation – not a shrinking one. A new connection to Russia is found almost daily. This is the story no matter how much certain folks allege Susan Rice apparently behaved like Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched for political purposes (if that is to be believed). Nevermind what her actual job was and why she would “unmask” someone.

 

President Trump can deny everything and call it “fake news.” Sean Spicer can tap dance until he is out of breath and red in the face. I mean, honestly, the man is going to beat-box next in an effort to deflect. Kellyanne can offer up alternative facts. Ivanka can be brought out to be pretty and say nice things about women. The Trump team can continue to razzle dazzle the populace until they catch wise, but there is always the chance they will catch wise! I mean people will catch wise. Maybe not everyone, but enough.

More importantly, where there is smoke there is usually fire and anytime someone repeatedly tells you, move along there is nothing to see here folks – there is probably something to see.