What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 20, 2017

Just Yesterday...

The previous "worst president ever" said this yesterday of our current state of affairs:
Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.
And this:
We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization.
And this:
We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.
And finally, this:
In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.
And when the guy who lied the country into a war that killed 4500 servicemen and women, authorized illegal domestic surveillance and waterboarding calls out the current occupant of the White House on his bigotry, nativism, and casual cruelty, you know Trump's a bad bad hombre.
Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. - A. Lincoln



October 19, 2017

There is Something Seriously Wrong With Donald Trump



Just as there's something just as seriously wrong with his enablers in Congress:
Republicans are waiting to pass their tax-reform bill before they move to impeach Donald Trump, a former Republican member of Congress reportedly told a former US labour secretary.

In a Facebook post, Robert Reich said the former senator, an old friend of his, told him Republicans are "just praying Trump doesn't do something really, really stupid before the tax bill."
Shame on them. And shame on everyone who supports them.

October 18, 2017

Donald Trump Is Completely Unworthy

Not of being president - for we all knew that already.

No he's completely unworthy of being called a human being.

This news hit last night - after the debacle of Trump lying to us about how President Obama never called any Gold Star families.

No, that's just the set up.

Here's the story:
President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow Tuesday that "he knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens, it hurts anyway," when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida.

"Yeah, he said that," Wilson said. "So insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn't have said it."

The president called about 4:45 p.m. and spoke to Johnson's pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, for about five minutes. She is a mother to Johnson's surviving 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. The conversation happened before Johnson's remains arrived at Miami International Airport on a commercial Delta Airlines flight. [Emphasis added.]
The Washington Post has confirmed that Rep. Wilson heard the conversation via speakerphone.

Donald Trump is a soulless coward.

October 17, 2017

My THIRTY-SECOND 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."

Senator, I have to ask you about Donald Trump's recent Executive Order - the one ending the CSR payments (the subsidies that help low-income consumers afford health care insurance).

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that "Pennsylvania insurers offering Obamacare plans will need to raise premiums an average 30.6 percent in 2018, nearly four times the increase that had been anticipated."

Last August, the CBO estimated that ending the CSR payments would raise the federal deficit by $194 billion over the next decade or so.

So here's my question: Does any of this sit well with you? If one of the main reasons the GOP wanted (and presumably still wants) to repeal and replace the ACA was to lower premiums, then what are you going to do now that Trump's actions will raise them for so many Pennsylvanians? As a fiscal conservative, how can you support a plan that would both harm your constituents and add to the deficit?

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

Follow-up:

October 16, 2017

Trump vs Bill of Rights

Round One.

A Supreme Court Decision, 75 years ago:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
Donald J. Trump, a few weeks ago:
President Donald Trump criticized some in the National Football League Friday night at a rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, saying team owners should fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem.

Trump added that if fans would "leave the stadium" when players kneel in protest during the national anthem, "I guarantee, things will stop."

Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired. He's fired!"

Round Two.

The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Donald J. Trump, a few days ago:
He has little understanding of (or respect for) what protects our freedom.

October 15, 2017

Meanwhile, Outside

Sorry folks, I missed this one. It should have been posted a few weeks ago. This is the "State of the Climate" report from September about August.

From NOAA:
The August 2017 global land and ocean temperature was 0.83°C (1.49°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F) and the third highest August global temperature in the 138-year record, behind 2016 (+0.90°C / +1.62°F) and 2015 (+0.88°C / +1.58°F). Nine of the ten highest August global temperature departures from average have occurred since 2005, with only one year from the 20th century (1998) among the top 10 warmest Augusts on record. August 2017 also marks the 41st consecutive August and the 392nd consecutive month with a global temperature at least nominally above the 20th century average.
And:
The seasonal global land and ocean temperature for June–August 2017 was third highest such period since global records began in 1880 at 0.81°C (1.46°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F). This value falls behind the record year 2016 by 0.08°C (0.14°F) and 2015 by 0.05°C (0.09°F).
It's still getting warmer out there. It's happening and it's undeniable, in fact.

Meanwhile in our climate denying White House, this is happening:
President Trump has nominated a skeptic of climate change science to lead the White House’s environmental policy board.

The White House late Thursday announced that Trump picked Kathleen Hartnett White to serve as a member, and eventually chairwoman, of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
From the Washington Post:
From her post at the [Texas Public Policy Foundation], Hartnett-White often has challenged the conclusions of international experts on climate change science, as well as criticized the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

“I take issue with that,” she told The Post last fall. “Carbon dioxide has none of the characteristics of a pollutant that could harm human health.”

She has displayed similar contempt for international climate efforts, calling scientific conclusions from United Nations panels “not validated and politically corrupt.” Hartnett-White has also questioned the idea that carbon dioxide is a pollutant at all, calling it “an odorless, invisible, beneficial, and natural gas.”
Yes, but the science actually says that with more CO2 in it, the atmosphere absorbs more infrared radiation, thus warming the planet.

It's getting warmer out there and the current administration (and their many many enablers in the House and Senate) are denying the science.

October 12, 2017

Senator Toomey RESPONDS To Another Letter!

Yesterday, I received another response from Senator Pat Toomey.

It starts like this:
Thank you for contacting me about the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. I appreciate hearing from you.
Standard opening and it's about Charlottesville. Good as that narrows things considerably.

To this letter - my 24th to Senator Toomey.

In it, I ask this 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?
Senator Toomey's "statement of the 14th" was this:
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.
Just so you know where we are in the chronology.

In his response to me, Toomey addresses the events in Charlottesville AND Trump's comments:
Like you , I am deeply troubled by the racist march in Charlottesville and terribly saddened by the tragic loss of life that occurred there. The racism, hate, and violence seen in Charlottesville are vile and unacceptable. I am disgusted by the white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis, and believe that the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.

As to President Trump's statements about the events in Charlottesville, I believe and have publicly stated that there is no moral equivalency between neo-Nazis, bigots, and white supremacists, and those who oppose them. Our country has no room for corrupt ideology or violent acts.
As commendable as all that is (and it is, Senator) I have to ask my audience: Did you notice anything missing? Anything? Anything at all?

How about this: He utterly failed to even get close to my question. Which was, let's remember, this:
Given [his responses to the events in Charlottesville] 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?
Why didn't Pat Toomey answer the question? Either his Trump support has wavered or it has not because of Trump's wavering racism. Given all teh udder crazie wafting through the White House these days, don't we have a right to know?

I guess not.

There's an interesting footnote to this story. Whenever I get a Toomey response, I google the first sentence to see if he's already sent it to me (he doubled up once before, doncha know). What did I find this time?

This blogpost - it is word for word the same letter I received.

Welcome to my world, J.S. Brooks (I wonder if you knew that "Bach" means "Brook" in German.)

Toomey's letter in full:
Thank you for contacting me about the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. I appreciate hearing from you.

Like you, I am deeply troubled by the racist march in Charlottesville and terribly saddened by the tragic loss of life that occurred there. The racism, hate, and violence seen in Charlottesville are vile and unacceptable. I am disgusted by the white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis, and believe that the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.

As to President Trump's statements about the events in Charlottesville, I believe and have publicly stated that there is no moral equivalency between neo-Nazis, bigots, and white supremacists, and those who oppose them. Our country has no room for corrupt ideology or violent acts.

I hope that what occurred in Charlottesville will be an isolated incident. Moving forward, I pray that members of Congress will put politics aside, unequivocally condemn hate and bigotry, and find ways to work together to protect our shared American values of equality and justice for all.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Please be assured I understand and appreciate hearing your concerns, and will continue monitoring the fallout from the recent events in Charlottesville. Do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Pat Toomey

U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania

October 10, 2017

My THIRTY-FIRST 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."

Recently in the New York Times your colleague, Senator Corker of Tennessee, had some rather harsh characterizations of the man you voted for. Corker said:
  • I don't know why the President tweets out things that are not true. You know he does it, everyone knows he does it, but he does.
  • Trump may be setting the US on the path to World War III.
  • He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.
The Times also reported that "Mr. Corker said that his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican."

So here's my question, Senator. Are you one of those Senate Republicans? If you are, when will you be speaking out and if you're not then why not?

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), said of Corker, "It's easy to be bold when you're not coming back."

Is that true? Is it simply a matter of political courage to speak out against Trump?

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

Follow-up:

October 9, 2017

A Very Expensive Stunt!

This weekend:
Vice President Mike Pence left a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after some players knelt during the National Anthem, saying he did not want to "dignify" the demonstration.

"I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence wrote on Twitter.
This is, of course, bullshit because the protest isn't about anything near what Pence said it was about.

This is what Colin Kaepnernick actually said about his refusal to stand during the National Anthem:
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
And then there's this part from an different interview:
I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they have fought for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.
And in a response his team at the time, the 49ers, issued this statement:
The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.
Bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody.

None of which is untrue.

So the Colts are playing the 49ers - Kaepernicks old team doncha know - and before hand the little handed pussy grabber instructed Pence to leave "if" some players kneeled.

IF?

This was a stunt from the beginning:
Yes, all that money for a racist strawman argument.

This is the America we live in now.

October 5, 2017

One Last Tim Murphy Follow-Up (Until The Next One)

Murphy Resigns:
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), the embattled anti-abortion lawmaker who allegedly encouraged his lover to terminate a pregnancy, on Thursday announced his plan to resign from office later this month — just a day after announcing his plan to retire following the 2018 election.

The Pennsylvania Republican’s about-face came after House GOP leaders and senior Republicans upped the pressure on Murphy to step down. Republican sources familiar with Murphy’s thinking said the married father of one child initially believed he could weather a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story revealing he had sent a series of text messages to his girlfriend — a psychologist half his age — encouraging her to have an abortion. Murphy had been a strongly anti-abortion lawmaker during his 15 years in Congress.
Poor guy.

And to think - if only he'd been faithful to the family values that the rest of his party seems so eager to push onto the rest of country, he would never have put himself into this mess.

Poor guy.

Tim Murphy Follow-up (In Case You Missed It)

A follow-up on yesterday's blog post.

From the Post-Gazette:
Congressman Tim Murphy announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election.
You'll note that the hypocrite is not resigning - he's just not seeking re-election. You'll also note that the present term only started 9 months ago.  He's still on the job for another 15.

October 4, 2017

In Case You MIssed It, Here's Hypocrite Rep Tim Murphy (PA-18)

Before we start, let's get some factual data out of the way
  • Tim Murphy is a Republican.
  • Tim Murphy is pro-life.
  • Tim Murphy is 64.
  • Tim Murphy is married.
And now the woman on the other side of this story:
  • Shannon Edwards is 32.
  • Shannon Edwards is also married.
And now, onto the Post-Gazette:
A text message sent in January to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office's public account.

"And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options," Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh with whom the congressman admitted last month to having a relationship, wrote to Mr. Murphy on Jan. 25, in the midst of an unfounded pregnancy scare.
And now it's hit the big time (in the USA):
Yea, so now everyone knows.

What a hypocrite Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania's 18th District is.

October 3, 2017

My THIRTIETH 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."

While everyone in the world (myself included) is trying to come to terms with America's latest mass shooting, I'd like to ask you about something else completely.

ABC news has reported that the House and Senate have both missed the deadline to reauthorize the finding for CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program - a program that covers about 9 million low and middle income children.

The Kaiser Foundation reported that our own state of Pennsylvania will probably exhaust its CHIP money sometime in the last quarter of this year, meaning that unless the Congress does something, lots of low and middle income children will have to do without adequate health care next year.

Politico reported that The Senate Finance Committee (which I believe you're on) announced a deal to a 5-year extension of CHIP funding in the middle of September. And yet the Senate failed to vote on it.

So here's my question: What will you be doing to make sure the Senate reauthorize CHIP and if the Senate does not reauthorize, how are you going to explain it to the many Pennsylvania parents who rely on that funding?

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

Follow-up:

October 2, 2017

(Artist unknown)

ANOTHER Mass Shooting

From The Washington Post:
A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 200 in one of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, was later killed during a standoff with police, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters. NBC and others reported that Paddock was 64.
Stephen Paddock, a 64 year old white guy from Nevada.

So let's build that wall to keep out the Muslims!!

THAT'LL keep us safe!

MAGA!!