Devin Nunes: Poster boy for Congressional impotence

Clete Wetli, Contributor

California Congressman Devin Nunes is up to his old tired tricks again. He’s calling for an investigation into the investigators of the Trump/Russia probe in yet another vain and sycophantic attempt to distract the American people from the fact that an incompetent lying grifter resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Without evidence, he’s suggesting that the investigation into Trump’s Russian ties was a partisan ploy to spy on him. He wants us to forget all the lies and financial ties. He wants us to be ok with Jared’s obsession with back channels and Trump’s blatant laundering of Russian money.

It’s sad. It’s atrocious. Fucking pathetic, actually.

Wasn’t Nunes the guy who wasted tons of money investigating Benghazi ad nauseum? Wasn’t Nunes the guy who went off the rails early in the Trump investigation by holding a fact-free press conference after secretly meeting with White House officials and inappropriately disclosing classified information which led to an ethics investigation and his recusal as Chair of the Intelligence Committee?

Oh, that didn’t stop him from unilaterally issuing subpoenas in a bizarre attempt to paint Obama administration officials as politically biased in order to further undercut the Russia investigation. It didn’t stop him from having an aide send Republican staffers to London to meet with Christopher Steele, author of the infamous golden shower dossier, in another brazen attempt to obstruct justice.

Later, this ass clown tried to independently meet with MI5, MI6, and GCHQ, but they wanted nothing to do with a more incompetent and less sane version of the fictional idiot, Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

Prior to his latest embarrassing kerfuffle, he filed a defamation lawsuit against the Twitter accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom” (@DevinNunesMom) and “Devin Nunes’ Cow” (@DevinCow) for $250M. Instantly, they had more followers than his own Twitter account. Nunes is upset because the bovine was really, really mean to him. America is so freaking glad he has a steak in this critical issue…

Udderly moronic.

Nunes is the poster boy for why Congress stays hopelessly gridlocked and largely impotent on important national issues. He could care less about solving the real problems facing our nation because his sole focus is on toxic partisan politics and, apparently, seeking revenge against libelous cows.

Nunes has no real achievements other than being anti-environment, anti-immigrant, anti-pot, anti-clean energy, anti-universal healthcare and, most importantly, anti-free speech for cows with Twitter accounts. He is pro-Trump and pro-giving rich people more tax breaks. His accomplishments are pretty much relegated to the realm of being a partisan hack and to doing his very best to circumvent the law to show Trump that he is willing to be an unconditional gimp, ball gag optional.

Nunes’ latest ploy of investigating the investigators is a hackneyed and cliched ploy that Republicans love to use as a smokescreen to distract from their own lack of competence and vision. The only people falling for this charade are Trump’s base and they happen to be the kind of folks who think the moon landing was fake and that the Deep State is commanded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Unfortunately, our highly partisan Attorney General, William Barr, will gladly eat all the shit that Nunes feeds him. Barr will assuredly open a new bogus investigation into the Russia investigators claiming they were “spying” on Trump because that’s the conspiracy du jour on Fox News and because the very, ahem, trustworthy cow-litigator Nunes says it might be so.

For the life of me, I’ll never understand why the Republican Party sold its soul to a despicable con-man like Trump. Nunes has proven that he’ll do absolutely anything for Trump. Nunes has no problem whatsoever wasting taxpayer dollars on nonsense. All I can say is that I hope the cow wins the lawsuit and that Nunes not only has to pay the legal costs, but also develops lactose intolerance.

Passion That Can’t Be Denied

LaVerne Roxby, Contributor

We sank to the floor and gave in to the passion that had been building between us for weeks.  Yes, we knew it was wrong! We had tried to deny it, but, NO!  we couldn’t – the sexual tension was too strong. We became one as we yielded to our basic animal sexual instincts, all the time saying, “this can’t be happening, but it is” and other stuff like that.

After “it” was over, we went for hamburgers and cokes and never saw each other again . . . not for many years, and then we did. I looked up and said, “Ari?” at the same time he said, “Lola?” Damn, he looked good. Call it karma, call it fate, call it what you will, but there is no denying that when our eyes met once again, the fire that we had long ago extinguished had returned.  It was like a roiling boil on a hot stove.  My heart literally melted as I hit the go button on my scooter and raced across the dollar store to embrace him, flinging a great-grandchild off my lap as I went. He, wearing thick glasses and using two canes, ran to me, oblivious to the fact that he had knocked over a whole display of $1 a can peaches.  It was at that moment that I wished I wasn’t wearing a Depends, but I knew he would understand.  Love is like that;  never having to say you’re sorry. We met in the center of the dog food section, and it was there, on top of a 50-pound bag, that we took care of our long unfinished business as my granddaughter yelled at me for racing and for dropping HER child, and for not stopping to pick up HER child, and while the store manager called the police.  As we were being led away to separate police cars, I made the little sign with my finger that means “call me” and he blew me a kiss.  As the police car door was closing, I yelled to my granddaughter: “Don’t forget to get me that chocolate pudding that I like; you hear me now?”

Hurricane Crazies

The day of the “big” hurricane, the one we had always feared, was upon us. She was ‘a comin!! My in-laws, plus granny, descended on my house like a herd of migrant workers. The next thing I knew, granny was filling every bottle in the house with water; I’m not kidding – we had to clear a path to get from the kitchen to the living room. Next, she scrubbed the tub and filled it, too.  Oh, well – nobody was much interested in taking a bath anyway; plus, if this baby was as big as they said she was, we were all going to get plenty wet anyway. Suddenly, my mother-in-law started dragging blankets out of the linen closet – at first, I thought it was to pad the area where the sliding glass doors were (if you live in Florida, sliding glass doors are a must-have) but, no, she was settling in on the couch and my father-in-law was wrapping himself up and getting comfy on my loveseat. (Did I mention that we were in FLORIDA where blankets are only for show?  – you never take them out and actually use them.) About that time, my father-in-law yelled: “When are we going to eat?” Feeling the need to escape,  I ran into the dining room – that’s when  I heard a loud thumping noise against our  bay window – were we being bombarded by huge limbs from those high winds we were told were headed our way? NO, it was our stupid horse banging his head against the glass – even he wanted in!! I had a few words with him and then I shut the drapes. I yelled to my husband, “Who let the damn horse out – let me guess.” He said he had read in a book that that is exactly what you should do in a situation like this – let the animal run free.  I knew I was losing “it” so I took off for the family room (big mistake) where I came upon one of our two teenagers – the female one. She was walking around in short shorts and was barefooted (you can get away with that 24/7 in Florida, even when a hurricane is coming). She was pouting because we wouldn’t let her use the phone while it was lightning, and she said she was bored. I said, “Get me a gun so I can kill myself.” About then, I heard a loud thumping at the front door. I looked through the peep hole and, you guessed it – it was “the horse” only this time I was looking at his rear end (always a pleasant sight.) Upon closer inspection,  I realized that he was making a deposit, if you know what I mean. I yelled out, “Did you let the damn pig out so he could run free, too? I knew by the look on my husband’s face that, yes, he had. I was in a dad gum loony bin. I took off for my son’s room where I found him sprawled out on his king-sized waterbed (people are really into water down there) reading a surfing magazine, snacking and listening to a mellow Bob Marley song. Always Mr. Cool, he looked up and said, “What’s up, ma?” I said, “Move over and hand me the chips – there’s a bunch of crazies in the house.”

The Virtues of Colon Cleansing

Being a person who is into rituals, on a glorious Sunday morning, I brewed my coffee and picked up my low fat granola bar before leisurely seating myself at the computer to check my emails.  I immediately saw where two high school classmates had left me messages on Facebook. I excitedly clicked on the link only to discover that their messages were the same:  both  were extolling the virtues of colon cleansing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have that on my to-do list, but only in about 100 years.  In fact, colon cleansing is sitting right up there next to begging my dentist for a root canal. I know that my classmates only care about what is best for me,  and they certainly didn’t know that I would check my messages while eating my breakfast, but having a discussion about colons, period, is just not what I do on a social networking site. I prefer to keep it light out there – I mean, I have participated in discussions  about minor health issues, and the repairs that go with them,  but colons are something that I think are best kept as discussions between patients and doctors,  if a discussion is even necessary. In fact, my primary doctor doesn’t even ask, “how’s your colon?” unless it’s time for the dreaded, un-fun, drink that nasty drink beforehand, colonoscopy.  We have, I think, an unwritten agreement that she will not bring it up again for 10 more years because I recently went after she talked me into it.  I remember very well our discussion when I first agreed to undergo the  polyp check. She brought out a giant  (like 4 x 6 foot) diagram showing the large intestine and the path  the “see all” tube with the giant camera would travel  during the colonoscopy process.  Whoa! I had no idea of all the  activity that goes on in that area –  It looked  like a bustling little city. After 5 minutes of watching the path she was tracing with her long stick, I covered my eyes and said “ I really don’t need to see this – can I have the drug now that takes me out of this nightmare? “ Anyway, I am happy to report that I got an “A” on the colonoscopy experience and I now pretty much ignore anything that has to do with colons, except the punctuation kind. Now, if my former classmates want to start a campaign to cleanse the English language of that type of colon, I will jump right in and offer my opinion.  However,  I prefer to pick on the semi-colon because there’s only half as much to clean – and less chance of polyps.


Grudges

Some people hold grudges, and I don’t think it’s a good thing. “Get over it!” is what I say. Here’s one example: Fifty years ago (yes, 50!!) I did one small thing wrong and got my whole Girl Scout troop (Troop 354) in trouble. Even now, after  all these years, I can’t go home to Florida without having one of them say: “Remember that time when LaVerne got us all in trouble at the Coca-Cola plant?” They also usually bring up the other little incident, which happened at the local Air Force base, but that is another story entirely (definitely). Anyway, here’s what happened at the Coke plant: All of us were loaded up in the back of the troop mother’s station wagon – back then, you could do that – just tell everybody to climb in; if a few heads got knocked around, like up against the window glass, that was okay, it toughened you up for what life had in store for you later on. Anyway, we were merrily cruising along, with all the windows open, when the troop mother spotted a woman in another car that she needed/wanted (whatever), to talk to. She pulled over to the curb in front of the Coke plant (a big mistake) and so did the other woman. She left our car and, of course, told us to “stay right there.” Well, that was fine for about 5 minutes, and then it got HOT IN THERE. I suggested, in a sweet way, that perhaps we should go in and tour the Coke plant while she was busy talking and ignoring us. After all, we WERE wearing our uniforms. All of us formed a nice straight line (me in front) and marched in. I calmly told the receptionist that we were here for our tour. She looked in her little appointment book and said she didn’t see a tour scheduled for us. I looked at her and said, “There MUST be some mistake; we are supposed to be here NOW.” She asked where our leader was and I told her that she would be inside in a few minutes and that we had been instructed to begin the tour immediately as time was an issue.  The next thing I knew, we were on our way. I, of course, was leading the group. About 7-8 minutes later, as we were watching the bottling process (for you younger ones, this was back when Cokes came in glass bottles), and I was really enjoying myself,  I heard a small commotion, and then the troop monster (at this point, from the look on her face, I didn’t think she should be called “mother” anymore), had me by the arm and was  pulling me away from all the fun. She marched me, and all the rest of the troop followed, straight to the car. She was quite upset, and so was I – I did not get the free coke that I had been promised!!! Neither did the other girls, and that’s why they are still carrying a grudge today, I think. One of my troop members is now a psychologist. The next time I’m back home, I’m going to ask if I can lie on her couch and talk things out. It would really help me and, maybe her. You never know.

Hazel Brooks

As I got up to leave, she said: “I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.”  Her name is Hazel Brooks and she is 80 years old. We sat next to each other  on my recent flight from Grand Junction, Colorado to Dallas. I had been up since 2:00 am and had planned to sleep, but she and I ended up talking the whole 3 hours. She told me she lost her husband of 62 years this past April – she said they had a wonderful life. I love the story she told me of how they met. She was working in a restaurant in Texas and a lady came in and asked for a table. The lady said she was expecting her son who was home on leave from the war and asked Mrs. Brooks  to look for him – she said he was tall, dark and handsome and would be wearing a uniform.  Mrs. Brooks said he came in, she directed him to the table where his mother sat, and their romance began that day. They married 2 years later. They had three children – two daughters and one son. She also has 8 grandchildren and 10  great grandchildren.  While we were talking, she opened her wallet and showed me  photo after photo – the first one was of her handsome husband in his uniform. She knew the name of each person and age he or she was when each photo was taken.  She also told me where each one of them lives today.  She said she now lives with one of her daughters, who is blind, near Houston.  Her own home is up for sale – she and her husband lived there for  over  50 years.  She said it was hard to move out.   I told her I understood.

As we talked, she told me about her life. When she was a young girl, and her father was ill with cancer, the family went in two covered wagons from Texas to Arkansas and back – a trip that took 3 months – so her father could soak in the hot mineral springs in the hope of a cure.  He died a few weeks after they returned home – he was in his early 40s. She also told me about her oldest brother, nicknamed “Son.”  She remembers him being in horrible pain for several days before he died at 16  – it turns out that his appendix had burst.  Her eyes misted over as she told me about her brother and her father, both dead all these years. I thought about my own father, who died at 52. There was no miracle cure for him, either.

I listened as she told me about her crazy aunt – the one who had a daughter who couldn’t stand up straight so she put her on a table and ironed her back. She told me the hot iron caused horrible blisters and holes in her back and that her aunt then poured kerosene on the whole area, which also brought terrible pain.  I asked her what the family did when they found out – she said they tied the aunt up in the barn. We moved on to another topic so I found out little more except that her cousin grew up with a straight back.

I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.

On Bass Tournaments

I love to talk. Sometimes I say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong people. My husband, Al’s, big bass tournament was no exception. Here’s what happened: We went to Charleston, SC for a MAJOR tournament – we’re talking big names in fishing. There were 12 fishermen on each team from seven southern states. Anyway, I was milling around with at least 80 other women as the men were coming in on the last day of the 3-day tournament to weigh their fish. I was “lookin’ for muh man” just like the other wives – I was there to support him because he was “muh man.” One of the big sponsors of the tournament, chewing tobacco producers, was handing out samples (as in whole boxes) of their product to all wives.  I politely declined when I was asked if I would like some “for muh man.” Anyway, the crowd was getting larger all the time – the anticipation was building – we were about to have ourselves “a champyon.” The next thing I knew, a microphone had been stuck in my face and I was asked: “Little missy – have you got a man out there on the water today?” I answered, “yes.” The man then said: “What’s his name and what team is he on?” I responded, “Al Krakatos – Alabama.” Next, he said, and I’m not making this up: “Why ain’t you got yourself a box of that ‘baca for yur man?” I said, “Because it causes cancer and there are lots of children here today who see these tobacco-chewing bass fishermen as their heroes.” Well, you could have heard a fishing rod drop – they had a very good loud speaker, and I have a very big mouth. The large crowd suddenly got really, really quiet. About that time, “muh man,” he done come in, and I reverted to being the quiet little wife I was supposed to be but, funny thing is, we were totally ignored at the hoedown that night, which was sponsored by the tobacco people – imagine that. When we got back to the motel later, Al  whined, “The least you could have done was get me one of those brass spittoons that they were giving away with the chewing tobacco.” Knowing now what I didn’t know then (about the future state of our relationship), I should have gotten him at least five boxes of that ‘baca, and encouraged him to chew it. Live and learn.

No More Chubby Cheeks

Like many others, as the last new year approached, I decided to make some major life changes. You know the ones: eat better, eat less, exercise more, drink more water, etc.  I decided to work on all four at once because that’s the kind of person that I am. I hopped out of bed on day 1,  ate three grapes, drank a gallon of water, and prepared for the exercise phase. 

Step 1 is to dress for it. I found my exercise clothes in a large bag from the 1960s, dusted them off, and put on what still fit, which was basically the bag. (I have heard that simply putting on your exercise clothes will automatically cause you to lose 1 pound, and I believe it.) Once I was dressed, I headed to the gym. 

Step 2 is to go into the gym and actually use a piece of equipment. I entered the gym trying to appear as if I had been in one before, and casually surveyed the equipment.  Some of it looked like it belonged on an X-rated website, not that I have ever visited one.  I finally found a machine that looked like a bicycle, except it had a special torture gear. The minute I started pedaling, my legs began to tingle. Because it was such an unusual, uncomfortable feeling, I decided not to overdo it and hurt myself. I only pedaled until I had burned 10 calories and then I stopped to rest. After 5 minutes, I decided to go again. I pedaled to burn 10 more calories and then I knew I needed a major rest. I decided to lie down on the carpet by the bicycle from hell until I felt well enough to walk. While I was down there, I rose up on one arm and looked around. What I saw was a sea of chubby cheeks (both kinds) and some hairy armpits (mostly on men).  The cheeks motivated me to get up and head to the weight room while the hairy armpits motivated me to get up and move, period.  Once in the weight room, I approached a piece of equipment that had a sign stating  that I needed to use enough weights to equal my actual body weight. Well, there was a good-looking guy standing nearby so there was NO way I was going to use the correct amount of weights. I fudged by 30 pounds as he looked on. However, after I grabbed the overhead bars and put my feet on the lower bar, the jig was up: my whole body slammed down and the weights hit the floor.  He was kind enough to turn his head the other way.

Step 3 is to face reality. As I hurriedly left the weight room, I told myself that it was ridiculous to think I could look like a Hollywood starlet after only one gym visit – I needed to pace myself.  I therefore stopped in the lounge area and watched a little TV.  After a couple of shows, I felt re-energized and I completed my exercise regimen by watching other people work out while I drank a frappuccino.  All in all, it was a good first effort to get in better shape. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Fun at Grandma’s

Sometimes, when I was a child, I was downright evil – not evil like Linda Blair in The Exorcist where her head was spinning around as she was spewing out green split pea soup, but evil nonetheless. Take the incident with my cousin, Samantha, for example, when we were both about 12 years old. It was summertime and we were at our grandparents’ home in North Florida. They had an outdoor shower located a good 20 feet from the back of the house. The shower sides were covered with tarpaper and it was open at the top. Samantha decided to take a shower in the middle of the day, and this is where the evil side of me took over. Knowing that she was deathly afraid of “rain frogs,” (small green frogs that sort of stick to your skin when they make contact), I decided to take full advantage of the situation. Once she was inside the shower, this is what I did when the bad LaVerne took over:

           1.  Locked the back porch door

           2.  Grabbed nine or 10 frogs and put them in a Mason jar

3.  Quietly removed her clothes and towel from the top of the shower where they

     were hanging

4.  Climbed up on a ladder and poured the frogs on her.

Approximately 5 seconds later, all hell broke loose. Samantha ran screaming out of the shower, buck naked, and headed for the back door which was, as I said earlier, locked. She then threw open the lid on the wringer washing machine on the porch and grabbed some dirty towels, which she used to cover herself. I, meanwhile, ran around the side of the house and hurriedly got up on the front porch and sat in a rocking chair. All the adults were busy running to the back porch to see what the screaming was about so I felt sure that I was in the clear. Little did I know that one of my other cousins, a little brat about 6, had seen what I had done and he ratted me out. My grandfather, a wiry little man, gave me a few good swats with a hickory switch, and then all the adults went back to doing whatever it was that they were doing before.  What did I do? I calmly went back outside and beat the crap out of that bratty little cousin. This time, I made darn sure there weren’t any witnesses.

Trump and the blowing wind

Clete Wetli, Contributor

“If Hillary got in you wouldn’t have that stat, I can tell you right now. You would be doing wind, windmills and if it doesn’t — if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night. [Laughter] Darling, I want to watch television. I’m sorry, the wind isn’t blowing. I know a lot about wind. I know a lot about wind.”- Donald J. Trump, MAGA Rally, Grand Rapids, Michigan – March 28, 2019

Yes, if Trump knows anything, he is undoubtedly an expert on blowing wind. Many people are saying that, believe me.

He has blown wind for his entire life and he knows more than his generals and scientists about it.

So, here we are. Two years and thousands of lies later. Our debt at historic levels and our institutions under a constant, corrosive attack by people whose only motivation is preserving their power and increasing their personal ill-begotten wealth. In truth, that is where we are.

In science, every human eye has a blind spot that corresponds to the placement of the optic nerve within the retina where there are no photoreceptors. In all their wisdom, the Founding Fathers never anticipated the blind spot of Trump in our democracy. It seemed that they thought that the electorate would never choose someone who was so hell bent on wreaking havoc on our political norms or who was so uniquely and blatantly unqualified to lead. In fact, it was never even considered that we might elect a leader who was intrinsically incapable of coherent thought or formulating complete sentences. Yet, here we are.

Listening to the blowing wind and suffocating on the stench it brings.

This week, I spoke with gleeful Trump cult followers that were simply drunk on the idea that Barr’s shameful initial synopsis of the Mueller Report seemed to clear Trump of Russian collusion.  I listened to their cacophonous illogical explanations and obtuse justifications of Trump’s obvious lies and unethical conduct. Ironically, without exception, each Trump zealot would reluctantly admit that they thought he was a terrible person in one capacity or another. They would cite his continual lies or his infidelity or his lack of ethics or his obvious criminal financial self-dealings. Yet, they would always circle back to supporting him because they thought he was on their side.

They were overjoyed to suck his wind.

Yes, a third, to perhaps half of our country gleefully breathes the foul air that blows from Trump’s rank wind-hole. They seemingly can’t get enough. They find it liberating, intoxicating, and elevating. They are like addicts who make any excuse for another hit of Trump; no matter how insane and no matter the consequence.

We’re two years in and I’m not exactly sure how to fight this effectively. Initially, I thought the truth might be an antidote, but it has sadly failed.  I am slowly coming to the realization that this is less about changing them and more about galvanizing those who refuse to breathe in the wind he blows. That, maybe, we need to put aside our single issue causes and learn to fight together for a greater good. The Republicans figured that out when they employed Grover Norquist’s strategy of, “We know what direction to go. We just need a president to sign this stuff. Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to be president of the United States.”  Well, he may have small digits, but they got exactly what they asked for. A useful idiot who can blow wind and sign decrees.

So, I write this tonight because I feel it’s imperative that we continue to resist and continue to fight for what we know in our hearts is true and right and American.

Trump may know a lot about blowing wind, but we know a lot more about truth and what it will really take for America to find its soul again.  2020 is coming and, soon, a fresh invigorating wind will blow from a different direction and it will bring a new season of hope and desperately needed change.

How did a probate judge get the power to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

With all of the hypocritical right-wing pearl clutching over ‘activist judges’ making law from the bench, it’s shocking that newly elected Madison County, AL Probate Judge Frank Barger felt like it was in his limited judicial purview to grant an aborted fetus the right to have an estate and an attorney in an obvious underhanded ploy to overturn Roe v. Wade. What’s equally stunning is that Barger doesn’t even have a law degree because it’s not currently a requirement to hold the position. But, he has somehow decided that he can upend centuries of precedent and grant legal rights to an aborted fetus in a clearly misguided attempt to prosecute a woman who simply did not violate the law when she decided to have a legal abortion.

What makes this rogue Probate Judge’s actions so despicable is that he’s using a recently passed Alabama ‘personhood’ statute to justify his blatant, religiously-motivated overreach.  The obviously unconstitutional Alabama law that was passed during the last midterm elections states that a fetus and mother have equal rights under the law and it was a highly partisan political attempt to make abortion illegal in the state in direct defiance of Roe v. Wade. In this particular case, the suit was filed two years after the abortion occurred which suggests that, again, this is a scheme designed to circumvent established constitutional law and precedent.

Sadly, this could lead to an enormous amount of very negative legal consequences if this absurdity is upheld. In short, it implies that all abortions are murder and because murder has no statute of limitations, it would open up legal liability to any woman alive who ever had an abortion. That’s just wrong in every way imaginable. But, that’s been the plan of extremist conservatives all along.

That’s what’s terrifying about Trump stacking the Supreme Court with ultra-conservative white bread frat boys who view their position on the high court as a chance to infuse their religious and extreme conservative beliefs into lasting legal precedent. This is dangerous and this must be stopped. Women should never be criminalized for exercising their right to choose or for making decisions about their own bodies.

The biggest outrage in this pathetic ploy is how conservatives have branded themselves for decades as the ‘law and order’ party, yet they continue to show no regard for the Constitution when it serves their political advantage. Whether it’s equal rights or equal pay for women, extremist Republicans have continued to try to pass laws that ensure women will be treated as second-class citizens. This latest bizarre and unethical plan is just another example of what conservatives and their religious zealot base thinks of women.

It’s time to demand that Probate Judge Frank Barger be impeached for his ignorant judicial malpractice. It’s also time to demand that Probate Judges in Madison County actually have a law degree as a pre-requisite to holding office. Next, people should demand that Alabama rescind its unconstitutional abortion laws because they are in direct conflict with existing federal law. After this horrific fiasco, Republicans have no right whatsoever to utter complaints about ‘activist’ judges.

In this unfortunate case, the woman who had the legal abortion deserves our sincere support She does not deserve public censure, not vengeful prosecution, and certainly not mountains of legal bills so that rabid Republicans can throw more red meat to their far-right religious base as they try to out-conservative each other. This is simply a travesty.

Let’s stand up for women and fight this judicial overreach. Probate judges shouldn’t be making any type of decisions in a legal matter such as this. Shame on you, Probate Judge, with no law degree, Barger. We can only hope you’re looking for another job in the next trimester.

Anti-vaxxers Ignorance Causing Irreparable Damage and Needless Deaths

Jerry Waters, Contributor

One of the unfortunate consequences of the modern conservative movement’s war on science and facts is that it has given credence and legitimacy to people who think that they shouldn’t be legally required to vaccinate their children from diseases like the measles. It’s part of the bizarre, deep-state conspiracy, politically evangelical mindset that believes that climate change is a hoax and that the acceptance of scientific facts are dependent on one’s personal beliefs and religious convictions. They believe their rights supersede the common good and they are causing irreparable damage and needless deaths, especially as they spread false and inaccurate information about the safety and effectiveness of medical vaccinations.

Right now, we’re seeing the effects as their actions are directly responsible for the enormous spike in measles cases (200 and counting) in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington. It’s getting so bad that a state of emergency was declared by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

This has happened because medical geniuses like model and horrible B-movie actress Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah in 2007 to claim that the MMR vaccine caused her child’s autism. Other celebrities with no medical background like Alicia Silverstone, Rob Schneider, Robert DeNiro, and Charlie Sheen have spread similar misinformation. Well, if you’re taking your medical advice from Charlie Sheen, you’re in for a bumpy and ride that may leave you with a burning, itching rash that just won’t go away!

To address these false claims and concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, the scientific community has done tons of research to determine the validity of these claims. Without the smallest doubt, numerous studies have shown that the anti-vaxxers are simply wrong. The most recent longitudinal study followed 650,000 children over a span of years and showed no correlation between MMR vaccinations and autism. In fact, they found that unvaccinated kids were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than vaccinated children.

Yet, people are still taking the word of Charlie Sheen and Jenny McCarthy over studies that rely on facts, the scientific method, and rigorous, professional peer-review. Sheen, who thinks he’s made of, um, tiger blood, once said about his life, “It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view.” Isn’t this the guy who lost his sitcom job in an epic drug-fueled meltdown and then announced he was HIV positive? Is this a guy who should be using his celebrity to dispense medical advice? In all fairness to Sheen, he’s gone a year sober now and he’s not making an embarrassing spectacle of himself anymore, but his misguided public remarks on vaccinations have already caused serious damage to public health.

This is why educated, fact-based leadership matters. The right-wing is guilty of giving the anti-science crowd a platform with a megaphone and the devastating effects are becoming palpable in public policy and health.

The Trump administration’s war on science is destroying our environment and remains largely silent on important issues like vaccination so that they don’t lose the ignorant, bat-shit crazy folks that make up their cult-like base. It’s also a wink-nod approach that’s designed to line the pockets of their donors who have no sense of ethics or public responsibility because they prefer short-term profit and political power regardless of the human cost.

It’s time to start publicly denouncing these ant-vaxxers and to enthusiastically support science and facts. The stakes are too high to ignore these fools who do their damage daily on social media.

If only we had a vaccine that prevented ignorance and idiocy. Oh, wait, we do- it’s called education.

‘Repeatedly and brazenly’- Republicans’ disdain for the law

Franklin, Contributor

While more details emerge about the decades-long white-collar crime spree of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Special Counsel Robert Mueller just released a heavily redacted 800-page memo advocating harsh federal sentencing for Manafort due to his deliberately, ‘repeatedly and brazenly’, violating the law for decades. Repeatedly and brazenly.

It’s a recurring and despicable theme in the dark era of Trump. If you’re a rich older white guy, the rules just don’t apply to you. It’s what happens when extreme capitalism conspires with Machiavellianism whilst having an obsessive affair with status-inspired vanity. It’s the only sensible explanation for Manafort’s $15,000 ostrich-leather jacket or his insane expenditures of over $900,000 in five years on designer suits.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

This outrageous disdain for the law and Constitutional norms is evident in every one of Trump’s appointments or picks for senior level positions. It’s obvious in his bullshit declaration of a national emergency on the southern border; yet, his previous declaration of a national emergency on the American opioid epidemic was simply flaccid and clearly inadequate. It was brash and shamelessly apparent in Trump’s tax plan that shifted more money to those sitting on mountains of cash at the expense of the working-class and poor.

Repeatedly and brazenly; rinse and repeat.

When Republicans consciously and intentionally decided to be Trump’s bitch, they prostituted their party and ideals in a way seldom seen in political history. They did it because they believe crap like Joe diGenova, former U.S. attorney and Kool-Aid drinking Republican, said recently to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, “We are in a civil war in this country. There’s two standards of justice, one for Democrats one for Republicans. The press is all Democrat, all liberal, all progressive, all left. They hate Republicans, they hate Trump. So, the suggestion that there’s ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future is over. It’s not going to be. It’s going to be total war. And as I say to my friends, I do two things – I vote and I buy guns.”

Repeatedly and brazenly, they espouse a bizarre amalgam of greed, white supremacy, entitlement, privilege, and xenophobia. And it’s happening because Trump is literally the extreme conservative icon’s dream of an ideal president, as articulated in 2012 by Grover Norquist, who claimed the ideal president would be “a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen.” Republicans sold their souls for a debaucherous grifter, man-child who could do just that to advance their perverse political agenda.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

As we endure the constant and startling atrocities of Trump and his ilk, we should somehow remain optimistic that our nation will survive this assault on our sacred norms and proud institutions. Surely, Republicans are not genuinely proud of Trump or the immoral swamp he represents. Certainly, they will repent and regroup as the inevitable indictments fall and the ugly truth of his corruption and moral bankruptcy is irrefutably exposed. And not just Trump’s, but all his cronies who have engaged in the same type of reprehensible and obviously illegal behavior. We must remain steadfast that they, indeed, are not above the law.

Don’t think that Democrats or others aren’t prone to this sort of repeated and brazen illegality. The difference is that we hold our own responsible. Just ask Al Franken. And, true, there are those like former President Clinton who got away with egregious misconduct, yet liberals can still claim the moral high ground by committing to doing what’s morally right, particularly as we move forward. It matters that Democrats, in spite of their failures, continue to adhere to the highest ethical standards. If we don’t, we become them.

Repeatedly and brazenly and wittingly.

It’s time to remember that the goal of public service isn’t power, it’s all about making our nation a more perfect union. Our adherence to our American values is the only thing we should be doing repeatedly and brazenly.

Oh, and fuck all those greedy, immoral self-indulgent traitors like Paul Manafort… He truly deserves what he’s about to get and we can only hope it’s repeatedly and brazenly in federal prison.

Catastrophic loss of bugs should really bug you

Contributor, Clete Wetli

A new study released in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Biological Conservation, predicts that 40% of the world’s insects face extinction over the next few decades due to global urbanization and corporate agriculture. The research took empirical data from over seventy reports around the world that have been tracking the alarming decline of insects, notably dung beetles, wasps, bees, and butterflies.

Folks, that’s Mother Nature’s primal scream to stop the exploitation of natural resources.

It’s the gravest warning yet for mankind to change its destructive ways.

And, yes, this is very political and highly controversial. It’s why some Democrats are pushing for a New Green Deal and why Republicans are giddy that America pulled out of the Paris Climate Change Accords.

Notably, the 1 out of 6 species of bees that have recently become irrevocably extinct were not registered as Republicans or Democrats or even the Green Party and they certainly didn’t see the need for the massive concrete parking lot that took the place of their once pristine natural habitat.

Hey, so long as some entitled rich guy gets to make another billion, it’s worth it, right? Besides, as resources get increasingly scarce, it just means more dollars for some folks, what’s wrong with that?

Well, it’s bugging the hell out of me that people aren’t taking this seriously. It’s bugging me that this story isn’t dominating the headlines. Instead, we’re contemplating whether the Bloviator-In-Chief is going to shut down the government again if he doesn’t get to build his absurd border wall.

So, why should the loss of a few pesky bugs bug you? I mean, who the hell cares if mosquitoes or gnats become extinct, right? Well, the truth is that bugs are an integral part of our food chain and they are key players in necessary global functions like pollinating crops and ensuring carcasses end up becoming fertilizer. You may not like them, but a lot of animals on the planet eat some Honey Bunches of Bugs for breakfast. No bugs, no coffee… no coffee, no peace. Don’t even get me started on how important bugs are to the production of chocolate. Seriously.

Often, we focus on the plight of cute mammals, like pandas or spotted owls, becoming extinct, but insects are a vital part of the Earth’s ecosystem and actually outnumber other animals.

Americans don’t realize the peril they are in with Trump in office. It’s wasn’t just his rejection of the Paris Accords, it’s his administration’s unwavering, insane commitment to roll back all types of sensible environmental regulations. Frankly, I’m shocked that Trump’s White House didn’t serve dismembered spotted owl instead of ‘hamberders’ to championship college football teams.

That’s the real problem with the Republican Party’s incestuous embrace of the science deniers and the fossil fuel barons- for them it’s only about making a buck; for the rest of us, their willfully ignorant and prejudiced rejection of climate change evidence is a clear and present existential threat.

Republicans and their ilk are literally laying waste to our planet. They are killing the pollinators and destroying the bugs that are vital links in our fragile ecosystem. The evidence is all around us and it’s heartbreaking and overwhelming.

It’s why we’ve got to get behind people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yes, she’s young and rough around the edges, but she is absolutely right when it comes to the environment. We are running out of time for incremental policy change and it’s time for drastic, corrective action. This is especially true as Trump tries to undo decades of beneficial environmental regulations and safeguards. AOC is plainly telling us the inconvenient truth and that’s why the establishment wants to silence her.

Yeah, it’s fossil fuels and toxic waste and landfills and polluted aquifers and oil spills and deforestation and, yes, the extinction of the bees and butterflies.

It matters.

We can still stop this zombie-like march toward our deliberate self-destruction, but it’s going to take more than just remembering to use the office recycle bin and avoiding those stupid coffee pods. It’s going to require comprehensive legislation and policy initiatives that are truly big and genuinely prescient.

We’ve got to figure out a way to get folks to care about the creepy crawlys because they are key to the survival of our planet. They really matter that much.

When 40% of the Earth’s insects are gone, it may be too late.

I hope this bugs the hell out of you, just like it’s bugging the hell out of me. d���_��

The Sublime Crime of ‘Executive Time’

Contributor, Clete Wetli

In another unsurprising leaked and humiliating revelation this week, some disgruntled senior White House staffer disclosed Trump’s actual presidential work schedule to a salivating media. It turns out that Trump devotes the majority of his day and a good deal of his legendary stamina to a mysterious category called “executive time.”

Alrighty, then. What, pray tell, is this sacred time? Now, the word ‘executive’ is defined as a person having the power to put plans, actions, or laws into effect. In Trump’s case, that may be true in the most superficial of ways. So, maybe, the word ‘executive’ should be looked at in terms of its root word- to execute. That is, to kill. Killing time. Sleeping in and killing time until it’s time for that one afternoon appointment. Can’t let anything interfere with tweet time.

No wonder this got leaked. Anyone who actually works in any sort of real job would be pissed that this tanning bed addicted imbecile gets to just lay around on the clock for over half the day chugging Diet Pepsi and nibbling hamberders while calling his fawning buddies. I mean, this clown barely shows up for work and seems to spend most of his time murdering grammar on Twitter while watching Fox and Friends. But, “executive time” sure sounds a lot better than letting America in on the big secret that our Commander in Chief is simply fucking off all morning.

Well, I asked my boss for some executive time and didn’t get any response except an email from HR that advises me to attend some mandatory seminar or find other employment. Whatever.

Well, we all understand that being POTUS is very demanding and that there should be some flexibility in scheduling and hours. But, folks, Trump is making a mockery of the institution in every way imaginable. Whether it’s the outright violation of the emoluments clause, the shady profiteering and cronyism, the disrespect for traditions and norms, or his juvenile and stubborn refusal to listen to his own intelligence chiefs; it has become clear that Trump is derelict, incompetent, lazy, arrogant, and selfish in the most infantile of ways.

Some pundits have vociferously expressed gratitude for Trump’s excessive use of executive time because they believe it diminishes his preternatural and uncanny ability to harm and embarrass America. They may have a salient point. Yet, others like Cliff Sims, Trump apologist and founder of the propaganda machine Yellowhammer News, are trying to say that Trump’s executive time is just a style choice that is somehow key to his effectiveness. Yeah, right. Ok. Effective at what, exactly? Being an asshole and manufacturing imaginary crises? Making the rich richer and poor poorer? Bring back a bajillion coal jobs? Oh, I guess not so much.

What Trump is doing in the White House would get him fired in any other employment setting. He continually shows that he is purposely ignorant and bent on nothing more than confirming his own prejudices whilst indulging his base desires and instincts. It’s sad that a euphemism, ‘executive time’ had to be created to mislead people about what this deliberately ignorant lazy man-toddler is really up to. We laugh at the covfefe and hamberders, but it’s only because laughing prevents us from rioting in the streets and demanding wholesale revolution. Somehow, we’ve survived half a term with this charlatan.  Hopefully, Mueller has discovered enough to help forcibly remove him. If not, let’s pray that voter’s have had enough of Trump’s malarkey and that they quickly show him the door.

In the meantime, I’m curious to know if people get ‘executive time’ in prison… asking for a friend… wink, wink.

Attack of the Democratic Cannibals!

Well, it’s looking like there’s going to be literally scores of Democratic candidates running against Donald Trump in 2020 and the race is already a fascinating study into why we can’t have nice things.  You could see this clearly when California Senator Kamala Harris announced her candidacy in front of 20,000 adoring supporters because it drew immediate, puerile condemnation from the Bernie-bots on social media. Notwithstanding the obvious irony that Bernie Sanders is not really a member of the Democratic Party, the attacks on Harris were disproportionally vicious and extreme.  Sadly, this scenario will continue to play out as more and more candidates announce their intentions to run. The Democratic Cannibals have been awakened and they are ready to eat other Democrats that fail their fickle tests of ideological purity.

They can’t wait to eat Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard. They drool when they hear O’Rourke. They can’t wait to rip them to shreds, especially if they have changed their minds on a hot-button issue.

And it’s not just the Democratic Cannibals that are fanatically devoted to a particular candidate who seem to be engaged in eating their own kind. In some cases, it’s the actual candidate that’s ready to eat a pound of liberal flesh and wash it down with a little chianti. In the case of ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, it may be a venti chai latte that he guzzles after metaphorically poisoning his liberal colleagues. Pathetically, that’s all Schultz has rhetorically to draw attention to his lukewarm, no-message, vainglorious, not-a-snowball’s-chance-in-hell-of winning candidacy.

The funny thing is that it’s the Democratic Cannibals that are responsible for bringing us the Orange Stain that is currently occupying the Oval Office. They did it by loudly chewing on Clinton, especially when their candidate didn’t win the nomination, and they spitefully cast their votes for Johnson and Stein. It felt so good to eat other Dems and Liberals, didn’t it?

Look, I’m not saying that Democrats shouldn’t be able to criticize other Democrats, nor am I saying that we shouldn’t have a shared philosophical frame. But, the Democratic Cannibals have taken their derision and divisiveness to a new destructive level. Often, the choice to kill and consume their brethren comes from disagreement over a single controversial issue like abortion, healthcare, or taxation. Instead of engaging in intelligent discourse or debate, they rage and cause indiscriminate damage.  The Democratic Cannibal is the anthropomorphic symbol of political extremism.

So, as we gear up for 2020, let’s try to remember who the real opposition is. Let’s focus our energies on getting a Democrat elected and saving our democracy, not to mention our place on the world stage.  This isn’t the time for us to have an intraparty food fight or to throw support behind people that we know have a zero chance of winning. The stakes are way too high in the aftermath of the Trumpocalypse. We can’t afford to eat our own.

We want a Democratic Party that doesn’t march in lockstep, but we also need to understand that there’s time for debate and a time to be unified. Lately, there’s been no clearer example than Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ability to unite Democrats when it really counted. Yes, there’s also room for upstarts like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even though there are stark difference in substance and tone between the freshman congresswoman and party leadership. Yet, when the chips were down, Democrats effectively united.

So, if you’re going to be a Democrat, then be a loyal member of the Democratic Party. If you can’t play nice, go join the Donner Party, but please quit talking with your mouth full… well, how about just quit talking… hey, have you met Howard Schultz? He’s got a chai latte with your name on it…

No! “Both sides” are not to blame for the shutdown!

Republicans are doing everything they possibly can to convince a disgusted American public that Trump’s partial government shutdown is somehow the result of “both sides” failing to come to an agreement over Trump’s insane border wall.

It’s just not true.

Republicans and Democrats had come to an agreement over government spending that Trump refused to sign only after he succumbed to the influence of right-wing nut jobs like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh at the very last minute.  In fact, Trump’s legislative gimp in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, wouldn’t have allowed a vote on the legislation if Trump hadn’t already said he was going to sign it in advance. Alas, all was going well until Ann Coulter opened her moldy, hateful pie-hole.

Trump wants this shutdown because it’s an effective tool of mass distraction from the Mueller investigation- an investigation that is slowly and surely revealing the many illegal activities of the Orange Imposter and his band of money hungry, ass-kissing sycophants. Trump also knows that his racist base loves that he’s shutting down the government over a border wall because that’ll keep those bad brown-skinned hombres out. Facts don’t matter, they love the symbolism of the wall to keep out rapey, gang-member, drug-dealing, criminal, disease-carrying, every-bad-thing-you-can-possibly-imagine foreigners and don’t care if a bunch of free-loadin’, overpaid federal government workers are hurt by the shutdown.

No! Both sides are not to blame. The blame lies solely with Trump. Well, maybe a little with gimp Mitch for having no human adult gonads. Yeah, this shitstorm is all born out of Trump’s moronic tantrum. Trump can’t find a way to resolve this now because no one in either party trusts him anymore. Trump’s already walked away from other, better deals and, in fact, he’s the one who turned DACA into a huge mess in the first place. Add that to the fact that the Republicans have zero interest in solving the immigration problem because it’s such a useful tool when it comes to firing up their racist, hateful base. If you don’t believe it, just look at how Alabama Congressional mouth-breather Mo Brooks uses it whenever he needs a media jolt to remind his drooling base that he’s still a shill for all things Trumpy.

But you should be enraged by all of the inane commentary that tries to paint the shutdown situation as one in which both sides are being unreasonable. Um, no, not at all. Sorry, the Democrats have been exceedingly reasonable and generously flexible. They just know orange bullshit when they see it and they’re done negotiating with a man-toddler who revels in orange bullshit.

It’s high time that people stop being lazy in their commentary and observations regarding politics in the age of Trump.  It’s okay to assign credit and blame appropriately even if turns out to be disproportional because the facts bear that out. However, it’s terrible to continue this stupefying chant that demands a pox on “both your houses” because both sides are to blame- it’s simply not true and its damaging net effect is to increase voter apathy and/or suppress meaningful civic engagement.

Just because we ended up with reality tv president doesn’t mean we have to lower our standards or pretend that he bears any semblance to his intelligent and opposable-thumb-wielding predecessors. Trump is hopefully an anomaly, a malignant tumor on our democracy that will soon be excised if there is any divinely inspired justice in the universe.

So, let’s follow the lead of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and start telling some inconvenient truths as if we have no more fucks to give! Let’s quit saying both sides are to blame when it’s perfectly clear where the blame lies.

This is Trump’s mess and Democrats are not going to clean his shitty orange diaper- that sounds like a job for Mitch the gimp… if you can find him.