What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 22, 2017

My TWENTY-FOURTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I have to ask you another question about Donald Trump's responses to the violence in Charlottesville.

At a little before 2pm on August 12, a 20-something Nazi-sympathizer drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring almost 2 dozen others. That day, Trump made his first statement regarding the violence in which he condemned the violence "on many sides." This statement was almost universally criticized for appearing to blame the counter-protesters for the violence done to them. Two days later he declared (reluctantly, it was reported) that racism was evil and declared the KKK, neo-Nazis and so on to be "criminals and thugs". That same day, you updated your Facebook page to read:
I am disgusted by white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis and believe the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.
The very next day Trump reverted to his "blame both sides" argument at a news conference in Trump tower. It was so bad that even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer called it a "moral disgrace."

So here's my question: Given your statement of the 14th, when you asserted your unambiguous disgust with white supremacists (et al) and Trump's departure from his statement and re-embrace of "blame both sides", has your support for Donald Trump, the leader of your political party and the man you voted for for president, wavered in any way?

And if not, why not?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


August 20, 2017

Meanwhile, Outside (UPDATE)

While our collective national attention is currently focused on the assault on decency and equality by white supremacists and their enabler/apologist in the White House, NOAA continues to provide a monthly assessment of the state of the global climate (SPOILERS: The Earth is getting warmer and it's all our fault).

Take a look:
The average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2017 was the second highest for the month at 0.83°C (1.49°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), behind the record year 2016 by 0.05°C (0.09°F). Nine of the 10 warmest Julys on record have occurred during the 21st century (since 2005), with only one year from the 20th century (1998) among the top 10 warmest Julys on record. July 2017 also marks the 41st consecutive July and the 391st consecutive month with a global temperature at least nominally above the 20th century average.
The guv'ment bureaucrats even included some art work:

Of course the science deniers in Washington continue to deny the science. From Politico:
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said his staff will gauge the “accuracy” of a major federal science report that blames human activity for climate change — just days after researchers voiced their fears to The New York Times that the Trump administration would alter or suppress its findings.
A few paragraphs later:
Scientists called his remarks troubling, especially because the report — part of a broader, congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment — has already undergone “rigorous” peer-review by a 14-person committee at the National Academies. The reviewing scientists backed the report’s conclusion from researchers at 13 federal agencies that humans are causing climate change by putting more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, leading to a clear increase in global temperatures.
How much of that last sentence, do you think, will make it past Pruitt's (and Trump's) EPA?

It's still getting warmer, human activity is still to blame and there are no good Nazis.

UPDATE: I found this in this morning's Washington Post.
The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning.

The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel.
Of course they did.

August 18, 2017

Tina Fey, Last Night

You'll want to watch this a few times.

Moral equivalence? Who drove the car into the crowd, Hillary's emails?

August 17, 2017

Men Of Honor

The Navy:
The Army:
The Marines:
The Air Force:
And let's not forget:
In contrast, look at anything said by the current Commander-in-Chief at his most recent news conference.

Even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said Trump's comments were "a moral disgrace."

August 16, 2017

I've Looked At Covfefe From Both Sides Now

This weekend a woman was killed by a white supremacist/neo-nazi/alt.right supporter who drove his Chevy Challenger into the crowd she was in. He also injured 19 other people with his car. The woman, Heather Heyer was protesting the white supremacists/neo-nazis/alt.right supporters who had descended onto Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of a man, Robert E. Lee, who defended the "states' right" to enslave other human beings. He was a traitor for levying war against the United States.

And yet, Donald J Trump said there was blame on "both sides" for the violence.

He also said that there were some "very fine people" among the white supremacists/neo-nazis/alt.right supporters.

David Duke liked what Donald J Trump said.

When you get a hearty thumbs up from a racist for imposing a false moral equivalence onto, as Senator McCain tweeted, "racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry," you're doing something very very wrong.

Even though there are many Republicans who denounced Trump for this, he still is leader of the GOP, he still is the (orange) face of American conservatism right now.

If you voted for Trump, this is yours. You made this happen.

What are you going to do about it?

August 15, 2017

It's Tuesday - But It's DIFFERENT This Tuesday

For the past twenty some odd Tuesdays, I've been posting open letters to my Senator, Pat Toomey. He's answered a few, ignored most and pivoted and dodged when he did respond.

Considering the events of this past weekend, however, I've decided to take a break from the Tuesday letters to Toomey - I'll be back next week.

To his credit, the Senator did post this on his Facebook page - but only two days after the racist violence:
I am disgusted by white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis and believe the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.
It's good that he's finally there, I suppose.

But condemning Nazis and White Supremacists and the KKK is easy.


August 14, 2017

How The Local Politicians Responded To The White Supremacists UPDATE - ANOTHER UPDATE

As the man said "All politics is local," it might be a good idea to see how some local elected officia
ls reacted to the violence of this weekend in Charlottesville, specifically whether they denounce or even mention the white supremacists at the heart of it.

First the Governor. In a series of tweets, he got it right. Including this:
Then Senator Casey:
And now Senator Toomey:
Sadly, you'll note that he fails to take that last big step to mention "white supremacy" or "Nazis" or anything more specific than "racism, hate and violence" in his tweet. I mean it's great to see racism as vile, but just as I can imagine the alt.right folks in Pennsylvania concluding that those opposing them are "the real racists," I can imagine a lot of them actually agreeing with Toomey's tweet. At the very least, a clarification is in order, doncha think?

Representative Tim Murphy does the job without explicitly calling out the white supremacists or Nazis by name:
Saturday's violence in Charlottesville was an exhibition of racist hate masquerading as political dissent. There is no "other side" to the debate over racial equality and common decency. The racist extremists who sought and invited this violence should be driven from all venues of public life. Hate is hate, and there is no antidote for it but universal rejection.
His "other side" is probably a reference to this tweet from former Vice President Joe Biden:
Which is itself a repudiation of Donald Trump's offensive "On many sides." moral equivalence. And in doing so Murphy does in fact, though in a round about way, denounce those who stand against racial equality (that is to say, those promoting white supremacy).

Representative Mike Doyle's response was short and to the point, while not specifically denouncing the white supremacists at the center of the protests:
This is almost exactly Pat Toomey's reaction. However, as I can't imagine very many alt.right folks among Doyle's constituency (or indeed looking at Doyle's twitter feed for political reinforcement), the context is different. Still, perhaps a clarification might be in order.

Take a look, for example, at what Senator Lindsey Graham had to say this weekend:
“[Donald Trump] missed an opportunity to be very explicit here,” said Graham on Fox News Sunday. “These groups seem to believe they have a friend in Donald Trump in the White House. I don’t know why they believe that, but they don’t see me as a friend in the Senate and I would urge the president to dissuade these groups that he’s their friend.”
Dissuade these groups that they are your friends. They're white supremacists, they're Nazis and they should be re-fringed to political impotence.

UPDATE: Senator Toomey just posted this on Facebook:
I am disgusted by white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis and believe the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.
SECOND UPDATE: Representative Mike Doyle updated his Facebook page with this: