Saturday, February 4, 2017


A White House adviser's commentary about a massacre in Kentucky that never happened has sparked seemingly endless snickering online, with jabs like "never remember" and "I survived the Bowling Green massacre."

Kellyanne Conway mentioned the fictional massacre in an MSNBC interview Thursday as the reason for a temporary travel ban for Iraqis in 2011, saying it also proved why the Trump administration's ban was necessary. It thrust this college town back into the national spotlight, nearly three years after a sinkhole that swallowed several classic Corvettes at a museum in Bowling Green garnered worldwide attention.
Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said he understands how a person can "misspeak", but what if the same person "misspeaks" over and over?  When do we stop understanding?  Conway "misspoke" again later the same interview when she said Trump's immigration ban of immigrants from several majority Muslim countries was similar to the plan President Obama put in place to slow the vetting of Iraqi refugees in 2011.  Two Iraqis were arrested and charged with trying to send weapons and money to Iraq and helping Al Queda attack Americans in Iraq.  The two were convicted and are now serving prison sentences.
For Bowling Green radio personality Jelisa Chatman, Conway's remarks were like a gift from heaven as an on-the-air subject.

"You wake up in the morning and you think, 'What am I going to talk about today?'" she said. "And God is like, 'Here you go. You need something to talk about, how about this?"
Heh heh.
At Home Cafe Marketplace, the most popular pizza Friday was "the Bowling Green Massacre" pie. The specialty pizza with blackened chicken, mac' and cheese and jalapenos was on pace to set a one-day sales record at the Bowling Green restaurant, said owner Josh Poling.
All proceeds from the specialty pizza's sales will go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, he said.
Bravo, Josh!  I give regularly to the SPLC, but I gave an extra and generous donation after the group quickly filed suit to temporarily halt Trump's travel ban from the seven countries.  The order barred entry even to US citizens with dual citizenship, permanent residents with green cards, and refugees who had already been rigorously vetted and cleared for entry into the US.

Many thanks to the many attorneys at airports around the country who volunteer their services to assist people who are detained and interrogated.
"It's funny and we can laugh at it," said Barry Kaufkins, who teaches at Western Kentucky. "But I think a lot of the laughter is so we don't cry. A lot of people are really worried about some of the rhetoric, not to mention the behavior, from this administration."
Indeed. We take our small satisfactions and humor where we find them to take a break from weeping and wailing over the damage the Trump maladministration has done at home and abroad in two short weeks.

Spokespersons for Trump say the several court orders from federal judges around the country to stop implementation of the executive order will be appealed.  I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me Trump's tweet could to his appeals, but what do I know?
@realDonaldTrump  7 hours agoMoreThe opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!

Friday, February 3, 2017


On Chris Matthews' show last night, Kellyanne Conway cited the "Bowling Green Massacre" in Kentucky as a reason that Obama put a six month ban on the Iraqi refugee program as an "Obama did it, too" defense of Trump's executive order banning immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries.  Matthews did not follow up and ask Conway about her reference to the "Bowling Green Massacre" that "didn't get covered" during the interview.

The "Bowling Green Massacre" never happened, and Matthews might have been able to clarify Conway's statement right then and there if he had stopped her and asked about the massacre, but he did not.  Thanks to Conway and Matthews, the massacre will live on as an alternative fact in certain fevered minds.  Conway later tweeted that she misspoke and meant to say "Bowling Green terrorists", but I'm certain her original reference will have a long life and will continue to be cited by Trump supporters.

Also, Obama never put a six months ban on Iraqi refugees.

Alex Wagner explains on CBS.

Reactions to the "Bowling Green Massacre" on Twitter are hilarious.  Below are two of my favorites:

Saddened and sickened by Frederick Douglass' silence surrounding the Bowling Green Massacre.

Where were you when  didn't happen? I was in Stockholm, getting a Nobel Prize. It was awesome. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Queen Elizabeth is uncomfortable with Trump's state visit to England.
It is the British government that invites heads of state on the queen’s behalf, but it is the queen who acts as personal hostess. In most cases, that involves lavish pomp and ceremony and a stay of several days at the queen’s official residence, Buckingham Palace.
I ask you, would you want Trump staying in your  I would not want Trump to visit my humble abode.

Theresa May's invitation to Trump for a state visit to London was beyond stupid.  There are petitions against Trump with thousands of signatures, and there will be protests if he goes ahead with plans for the visit.  Trump will be a pariah in England and in many countries around the world.  My guess is Trump will not go.  He lusts for acclamation by crowds, but he fears protests.
President Donald Trump will not head to Milwaukee for a previously scheduled visit of a Harley-Davidson factory after the company decided it wasn’t comfortable hosting him amid planned protests, an administration official said Tuesday, January 31st.

Harley-Davidson issued a statement Tuesday night saying they “don’t have, nor did we have, a scheduled visit from the President this week at any of our facilities.”
Ha ha!  Who us?  Trump is not coming here.  H/T to Charles Pierce for the link,

Trump will not only be a pariah around the world, but he will be unwelcome in many places in the US, because protests will follow him wherever he goes, some large and some small.

I still miss Molly Ivins and long for her commentary on present day politics.  You can't make this stuff up.
“There are two kinds of humor,” she told People magazine. One was the kind “that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity,” she said. “The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule. That’s what I do.”
UPDATE: The number of signatures on the petition protesting Trump's visit is now over a million, and Parliament will take up the matter later this month.

UPDATE 2: We can but hope that if Trump's state visit to England takes place, he will not shake hands with the Queen as he did with Neil Gorsuch.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


From the Ministry of Truth:
Yes, I'm rereading 1984.

Winston: He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage.

If you're thinking, "She must be crazy," I don't blame you, but in some crazy way it makes sense to me.


Dozens of demonstrators converged on New Orleans City Hall on Monday for a second day of demonstrations against President Donald Trump's far-reaching executive order halting the admission of new refugees from war-torn Syria and suspending immigration from several other Muslim-majority countries.

The rally, the second in two days, came as some local religious leaders, including Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond, expressed outrage at the president's directive, condemning it as antithetical to humanitarian and American principles.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, called the order "immoral," while City Councilman Jason Williams described it as "unconstitutional."    

"President Trump's discriminatory travel ban will make our country less safe because it will further alienate us from Muslim allies in the fight against terrorism and extremism," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

"New Orleans will remain a welcoming city because we know that our diversity is a strength," he said. "We also know all too well what it feels like to seek shelter and refuge in a place that is not your home."
I'm proud of the people in New Orleans who are out there on the barricades, and I'm grateful to the Democratic political leaders and to Archbishop Aymond for speaking out against the despicable executive order.

And then our brave Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) weighs in:
Sen. John Kennedy said the United States has the "right to control its border," adding that it would be "stupid to let people who want to hurt us into our country."

"We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws," Kennedy said. "I support the following rule: If you want to come to America, you have to be rigorously vetted to make sure you are not a terrorist, regardless of your religion or country of origin."
Perhaps Kennedy does not know the US already has the most rigorous vetting process for refugees in the entire world.

Does the senator believe that translators and intelligence agents from countries in the Middle East who put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to support the members of our military stationed in those countries are "people who want to hurt us"?  Does Kennedy approve of putting our troops the Middle East at greater risk, because people in those countries will no longer be willing to help our military fight ISIS?  Does he approve of putting our country at greater risk by providing ISIS with an excellent recruiting tool to say, "Look! The United States hates all Muslims."

Does Kennedy think citizens with dual citizenship in the US and another country should be barred from reentering the country if they travel outside our borders?  Does he think people who have green cards for permanent residence in the US should be barred?  Students from countries in the Middle East who went to their native countries for a visit?  So many questions, but no answers.

Ever since Trump signed the executive order, I've been calling Kennedy's office, along with the office of Sen. Bill Cassidy to express my opinion, but I can't get through.  Either the line is busy, or I receive a message that the voice mailbox is full.  I spoke to a person in Rep. Garrett Graves office, but I could not get answers to my specific questions, only a vague statement that he supports the order, because he wants to keep us safe, which, of course, the executive order does not do.

There's no point in writing my GOP members of Congress, because they use my letter as an excuse to respond with a spiel about the great things they are doing.  Invariably, their responses have nothing to do with the subject of my message.

I may not be able to reach my GOP senators, but it's good therapy for me to put the questions in writing, outside of myself.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Military veterans were dumbfounded and furious when it became clear over the weekend that President Donald Trump’s executive order barring the admission into the United States of people from seven majority-Muslim countries keeps out interpreters who’d risked their lives helping U.S. forces in Iraq.

“They better make a damn exception, because we are here because of them,” said Andrew Biggio, a former Marine sergeant who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our lives, our families, we have everything to thank for our interpreters. We owe them, we owe them, we owe them.”

Biggio, who voted for Trump, said he and other Marines he served with are waiting for a clarification from the White House. Many of them personally pushed for years to obtain visas for their interpreters and then raised funds to help them settle in.
Andrew Biggio, why are you surprised at the executive order? Good for you that you're speaking up now about what you know is wrong and cruel. My only surprise is that the Bannon/Trump administration is moving so swiftly with a number of executive orders that are signed without the normal vetting process.

It's understandable that a new president will want to change policies, but the ban on immigrants from seven countries with Muslim majorities, and the attempt by the administration to link Obama to the executive order is despicable.  Man up, and take responsibility for your own actions, Mr Bannon and President Trump.  Refugees coming to the US are already subject to the most rigorous vetting in the entire world.
Veterans said that honoring the implicit promise made to those who risked their lives to help the United States has nothing to do with politics, and that they can’t believe it would be up for debate.

“You will find military veterans unified in support of this; it’s not partisan,” said Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq. “This order demonstrates that we don’t have their backs. It’s totally un-American.”  
Who is vetting the Bannon/Trump administration's executive orders?  Apparently, no one who knows anything about the process is included.
Veteran officials who normally would have reviewed the order’s language to ensure smooth implementation and avoid potential litigation have been cut out of the typical process by the Trump administration — or simply overruled, current and former officials told FP [Foreign Policy].
As one of my friends asked, is the administration trying to incite ISIS to attack the United States? The executive order is probably unconstitutional, and it will not make the people in the country safer.  It will increase the danger of a terrorist attack, and, worst of all, US members of the military serving in the Middle East will be put at risk.  To ask troops to put their lives on the line, even as the presidential order puts their lives at greater risk is abominable.
President Donald Trump is getting blasted for reorganizing the National Security Council to oust the director of intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [James Mattis] from always attending the Principals Committee -- and installing one of his top political advisers on the key panel.
Trump's order makes his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, a regular member of the Principals Committee. The committee is a Cabinet-level group of agencies that deal with national security that was established by President George H. W. Bush in 1989.
Does anyone on Trump's team know what they're doing?  What's going on in the White House?  What is Vice-President Pence doing?  Standing like a potted plant to watch Trump sign executive orders?

Is Bannon/Trump in the middle of an attempted coup to govern by fiat, with no regard for the other two branches of government?  Where is the leadership from the GOP?  Democratic Senators are expected to introduce legislation as early as Monday that aims to overturn President Trump's executive orders on immigration.  Democrats will need cooperation from Republicans to pass a bill to put an end to the madness of the executive order through legislation.  And Trump will have to sign the legislation into law.  What are the chances for an override of a Trump veto?  Probably zero, but Democrats must go on record loudly and proudly in opposing the ban.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


From the New York Times - despicable, chaotic tragedy.  Iraqis who put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to help the US are banned.  People from countries on the executive order list who have green cards are banned from reentering the US. This is our new president, only one week in office, and we are asked time after time to "give him a chance".  Not a chance of that for me.  Never in my wildest nightmares about a Trump presidency did I imagine such an ignorant, heartless dolt could do as much damage to our country and our international relationships in one week.
President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.

Mr. Trump’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen on Friday afternoon, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Confusion turned to panic at airports around the world, as travelers found themselves unable to board flights bound for the United States. In Dubai and Istanbul, airport and immigration officials turned passengers away at boarding gates and, in at least one case, ejected a family from a flight they had boarded.
Note: I have not previously used the picture of Trump at the head of the post, but it's time, or maybe way past time, as it so perfectly illustrates the message the president sends to the people of the country and to the world.  Of course, there is one exception, as even now the Trump maladministration is considering lifting sanctions on Russia, where his much beloved strong man and BFF, Vlad Putin, rules as despot.

UPDATE: From Talking Points Memo.
A federal judge in New York has issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to President Donald Trump's travel ban.

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued the order Saturday evening after lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union filed a court petition on behalf of people from seven predominantly Muslim nations who were detained at airports across the country as the ban took effect.

Cheers broke out in a crowd of demonstrators outside a Brooklyn courthouse as the decision, effective nationwide, was announced.
Thank you, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)! I will make a donation now. We need the organization desperately in these times.

Friday, January 27, 2017


President Donald Trump's administration has abruptly halted ads and outreach for Obamacare set to run during the final days of the 2017 open enrollment season, according to a report published Thursday by Politico.

The decision to halt outreach and ads came from the White House, according to the report. (My emphasis)
Just six days before the window to sign up ends, vindictive Trump and/or his advisers put road blocks in the way of people who need health insurance.

For Trump and crew, this is just one more petty exercise of power to take vengeance on whom?  Obama? Democrats?  People who didn't vote for him?  Protesters?  Anyone who prevents him from enjoying himself in his first days in the White House?  Sadly, it could mean the difference between life and death to people who need help, including Trump supporters.

Another example of Trump's pettiness and vindictiveness is the order to the National Park Service to post photos of his inauguration that he liked, photos that didn't show areas on the Mall where there were no people.
In a Saturday phone call, Trump personally ordered Reynolds to produce additional photographs of the previous day’s crowds on the Mall, according to three individuals who have knowledge of the conversation. The president believed that the photos might prove that the media had lied in reporting that attendance had been no better than average.
Trump was especially angered by pictures that showed the crowd at President Obama's inauguration in 2009 side by side with his inauguration crowd.

There are more, so many more, examples of the president's child-like, bullying behavior than I have time to note, but he's had a busy week and done much harm and no good for the people of the country.

Trump's soured the relationship between the US and Mexico, our friend, neighbor, and third largest trading partner.

He's endangered our troops deployed in the Middle East by stating he believes torture works.

He's endangered our troops in Iraq who are deployed to advise the Iraqi military by threatening to take the oil from their country.

He's stated he will open a major investigation into massive voter fraud in the recent election, for which there is no evidence.  Trump believes three to five million "illegals", as he calls them, may have voted in the election and caused him to lose the popular vote.

He's put gag orders on federal agencies, forbidding the employees from speaking to members of Congress.

And Trump's been in office for only a week.  God help the United States of America!

UPDATE: The halt to outreach publicity in the final days of open enrollment in the ACA health insurance program has been reversed by the Trump maladministration.
HHS officials on Friday said automatic phone calls and other online and digital outreach — including Twitter messages and emails — would continue through the Jan. 31 deadline for obtaining coverage.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


After incorrect or unprovable statements made by Republican President Donald Trump and some White House aides, one truth is undeniable: Sales of George Orwell's 1984 are soaring.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway coined an instant catchphrase Sunday when she called his claims about crowd size "alternative facts," bringing comparisons on social media to "1984".
Heh heh. We're back to Newspeak with another name, and Orwell's book is as relevant today as it ever was.

"Quotes from Orwell's 1984 :
“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?”

"Reality exists in the human mind and nowhere else."
And now, for Donald Trump, reality exists only in his own mind and in the minds of his followers who choose to believe his reality.

UPDATE: Adam Gopnik's essay in The New Yorker on Orwell's 1984 is excellent.
"1984” seemed...too brutal, too atavistic, too limited in its imagination of the relation between authoritarian state and helpless citizens.

An unbidden apology rises to the lips, as Orwell’s book duly climbs high in the Amazon rankings: it was far better and smarter than good times past allowed us to think. What it took, of course, to change this view was the Presidency of Donald Trump. Because the single most striking thing about his matchlessly strange first week is how primitive, atavistic, and uncomplicatedly brutal Trump’s brand of authoritarianism is turning out to be. We have to go back to “1984” because, in effect, we have to go back to 1948 to get the flavor.

Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress, thoroughly intimidated, fear shining from one eye and cupidity from the other, will exploit the “question” of voter fraud to pursue policies of actually suppressing minority voters. 


What I write here is a rambling stream of thoughts about my time on Facebook. While I've missed contact with my many friends on the site, my thus far short break has been a relief, and I've felt better during the time away. I doubt I can return to FB on the same basis as previously. I was spending far too much there, and, in the end, I was suffering stress from overload. If I could post and pretty much ignore comments, that could work, but I can't. I want to monitor comments to make sure the discussions don't drift into attacks and name-calling on my page.

Also, when my friends take the trouble to read and comment, I feel obliged to return the compliment and read and comment on their pages. Thus, the time problem, and, in the end, Facebook became more of a burden than a pleasure.

Since I've always preferred blogging to Facebook, I'm thinking of taking my writing back to my blog and putting links to my blog posts on FB. A number of my friends will probably not read the posts, and that's okay. Unfortunately, people who have not joined Google tell me they can't leave comments on Blogger. It seems Google has taken over Blogger, and I don't know how to solve the problem. Still, I feel much more comfortable blogging than posting on FB.

I've pretty much made my decision because of the relief I already feel from spending less time and being less active on FB, but it's not set in stone. If I go back to my old ways of posting and commenting on FB, I'll probably soon suffer from stress overload again.