Stand with Sweden in it’s darkest hour

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Bowling Green. Atlanta. Sweden. The toll continues to climb, and only Donald J. Trump can save the world.

I’m just not sure which world that is, exactly.

I stopped by the White House web site this morning, and found this little gem on the biography page:  “Likewise, his entry into politics and public service resulted in the Presidential victory in, miraculously, his first ever run for office.” Except for that run in 2000 as a Reform Party candidate. Perhaps that’s another one of those “alternative facts” we’ve heard so much about lately.

Back to Sweden, though. Our thoughts, and the prayers of the religious among us, are with the Swedes today. We urge them to stand strong in the face of whatever it was that struck last week, and to know that we are with them. I would suggest they contact our embassy, but, as far as I know, Hair Furor fired the ambassador last month. I suppose a cultural attache will have to do for now.

Perhaps the survivors of Bowling Green and Atlanta can join together to offer support and guidance as the Swedes struggle to recover.

Special shout out to Fox News, for keeping the President informed of such tragedies. It’s clear the CIA and the NSA dropped the ball on this. No wonder the President’s Daily Briefings are held in such low esteem in 45’s White House.

Image: whitehouse.gov

Nunes: Flynn is in good. Trump: Flynn’s fired. Spicer: Flynn quit

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What a difference a day makes.

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) says he expects embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn to keep his job amid controversy over his talks with the Russian ambassador.” – The Hill, 2-13-17

Nunes told Bloomberg News on Monday, “there’s a lot of nothing there”.

Monday night, Trump fired Flynn, then Tuesday the White House basically changed the story and said he resigned, so I suspect it was a case of Flynn saying “you can’t fire me, I quit!”

Either way, Nunes isn’t going to investigate Flynn or the Russians, but is hot to find leaks in the FBI, and why calls to the Russians are monitored (maybe he’s not up on the legacy of the Patriot Act?). He’s not going to go after the collaborator, but he will go after those charged with catching them.

One thing is for sure – Nunes has been left holding the bag by the Trump administration, and it certainly doesn’t contain Hershey Kisses.

I keep seeing images in my head of a Keystone Cops movie, set at the White House and Capitol Hill.

Image: https://nunes.house.gov/ 

Nunes to SSI recipients: It’s OK to keep your money from you, but not your gun

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Some SSI recipients are incapable of managing their own affairs, and often those reasons are related to mental illness. In such cases other people are authorized to receive and disburse their benefits, basically stepping in to make sure the recipient has someone providing them with at least a minimum of care and supervision.

On December 16, 2016, the Social Security Administration issued new rules requiring notification be made to the Attorney General of the United States, for inclusion on National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the names of those individuals who have been deemed unable to manage their own affairs for “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease”. This would have the effect of preventing such individuals from purchasing a gun. (This rule was first proposed in July 2015, as part of ongoing actions after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. It wasn’t a last-minute decision by an outgoing administration.)

The NRA has, of course, taken a stand against this rule, saying it was part of the Obama administration’s “politically-motivated gun control binge“, “stripping individuals of their Second Amendment rights“.  Those against the ruling posit that people who are forgetful, who cannot balance a checkbook, or have an eating disorder will not be able to own guns.

Playing right into the NRA’s hysterical hand-wringing though, liberal media have chosen to play up the possibility that a seriously mentally deranged individual would be able to buy a gun (assuming, of course, that their payee cut loose with enough of their SSI check to do so).  The NRA points out that “the federal prohibitions on people who have been subject to involuntarily mental health commitments or subjected to “adjudications” of “mental defectiveness” remain on the books“.  The technicality of that is, of course, that it takes an actual commitment or “adjudication” to prevent a seriously disabled person from purchasing a firearm. At that point, it’s often the case that a crime has been committed, and the courts are dealing with the aftermath.

Ever diligent in their desire to see more guns on the streets, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on February 2, 2017, passed H.J. Res 40, repealing the Social Security Administration’s rule. This resolution is not part of some other bill, tucked in as an amendment. This is a short, single purpose bill, with only one action. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Congressman Devin Nunes voted in favor of this bill. This means the Congressman is fine with giving a SSI recipient’s money to someone else because they’re unable to take care of their own affairs, but doesn’t think they need supervision when it comes to purchasing a firearm.

Such individuals don’t need their money, but they do need access to guns. I feel safer already.

Visalia’s Avenues of Heroes – The Brave Project

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Have you noticed the banners mounted to street lamp posts on Akers Road and on Caldwell Avenue? The ones listing a name and military branch? Ever wonder where those came from? Well, this is where.

The Brave Project Visalia’s Avenue(s) of Heroes places 6′ x 3′ banners to honor Visalia residents who are serving in the United States Military. Installed at the request of families (or the service members themselves), each banner costs $450 to purchase and have mounted on a lamp post.

At this week’s Visalia Pride Lions meeting, a presentation by The Brave Project Visalia explained the program and it’s costs. The speakers told the Lions Club members and guests how the organization accepted donations to help offset the costs for families who want to honor the service of their loved one, but might find it difficult to absorb the expense.

Other service groups interested in underwriting the cost the banners can contact them directly for details.

Donations can be made on the Brave Project Visalia’s webpage, through Paypal, or by sending a check to:

The Brave Project Visalia
1525 E. Noble, #164
Visalia, CA 93292

Make checks payable to: American Legion Post #18, and on the memo line indicate “Brave Project”. Your donation is tax deductible.

For complete information, visit their webpage, http://www.thebraveprojectvisalia.org

Email: thebraveprojectvisalia@yahoo.com

Phone: 1-855-BRAVE-GI (1-855-272-8344)

Image: BraveProjectVisalia 

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the Visalia Pride Lions, and I am not associated with the BraveProjectVisalia. Any errors or omissions in this post are mine alone. 

1st Amendment

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“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 redress of grievances.”  First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

In the first two weeks of the Trump administration, the President or his staff have taken actions against, or complained about, the expression of each part of the first amendment. It’s like they’ve never even read it.

Police departments in large cities have had to deal with protest crowds for years, and most of them, most of the time, do fairly well. Now, in the Trump era, departments in even small towns have had to engage in a crash course in how to respond. Most of them are also doing fairly well in respecting their citizen’s first amendment rights. Visalia held a protest recently, where organizers expected maybe 80 or 100 people to show up. Imagine everyone’s surprise, especially the Visalia Police Department’s, when an estimated 500 were on hand to express themselves. VPD must have done a good job, we’ve not heard of any issues arising from the peaceful protest. (a lot of nonsense on Facebook about it, but that doesn’t really count)

I think the protests are the only good thing I’ve seen happen as a result of Trump winning the Presidency. He’s reminded the American people of their basic civil duty, and their right to engage in defending their country. I doubt he thought it would be in response to his actions (or just his presence), though.

We’re going to be seeing a lot of this kind of thing in the future. I have no doubt that instigators will try to inflame things by engaging in violence and destruction (as we saw in Berkeley), and of course the Fox News and Breitbarts of the country will try to lay the blame on liberals and liberalism. They’ll ignore hundreds of peaceful demonstrations, and focus on the few outliers. After all, that’s how they drive their ratings and page clicks. I have no doubt that Robert Reich was correct when he stated on CNN that outside agitators invaded the Berkeley protests, set fires and broke windows, and that they are linked to right-wing organizations. Peaceful protests don’t suit their agenda, so it’s not unexpected that things like that happen.

I expect more events like Berkeley will happen, as the right wing begins to recognize how badly they’re losing the hearts and minds of the public.

To qoute Scotty: “Hold on tight, lassie. It gets bumpy from here.”

And since my recent posts have generated a lot of uniformed commentary on the Visalia Times Delta’s Facebook page, here some important information:

This is not an “article”. I am not a journalist. I am not employed by the Visalia Times Delta, and they do not edit or censor or otherwise control, my posts.

I am a “community blogger” and my blog is hosted at the Visalia Times Delta’s page, on Gannett’s servers. If you want to become a community blogger, contact the Times Delta. This has been available to the public for several years. Take advantage of it, it’s fun!

First Amendment quote and image from US Courts.gov.

The Bowling Green Massacre

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The Bowling Green Massacre wasn’t covered by the media, according to Counselor to the President of the United States Kellyanne Conway in a Thursday interview on MSNBC. Shame on them, right? Two Iraqi men in America became radicalized and carried out a massacre, and not a peep from what Sarah Palin (remember her?) calls the “lame-stream media”. Heck, even President Obama slapped a ban on immigration for six months because of it! A big deal!

Except for one little detail. It never happened.

Definition of ‘massacre’, dictionary.com:

noun
1. the unnecessary, indiscriminate killing of a large number of human beings or animals, as in barbarous warfare or persecution or for revenge or plunder.
2. a general slaughter, as of persons or animals:
the massacre of millions during the war.
3. Informal. a crushing defeat, especially in sports.
verb (used with object), massacred, massacring.
4. to kill unnecessarily and indiscriminately, especially a large number of persons.
5. Informal. to defeat decisively, especially in sports.

Bowling Green. That’s in Kentucky, if I’m not mistaken. (I’m not. It is. I checked.) Two Iraqi men who had been living there were convicted of making IEDs while they were in Iraq, and later attempting to send money and weapons to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, from Kentucky. Here’s the info on that. (You may want to check that link quick, the way things are disappearing from Federal websites these days it might not be there much longer. Especially once the administration realizes that it exists.)

Example of Fake News: Bowling Green massacre.

Example of Fake News source: Kellyanne Conway.

Two weeks in, folks. Two weeks in.

Image: AP/Evan Vucci

Invade Mexico? Hang up on Australia? WH fashion statements?

Donald Trump

On top of all the other insanity coming out of the Trump White House, now we learn that the United States is threatening to invade Mexico. Because they have some “bad hombres” there, and we’re not satisfied with how Mexico is dealing with them. We saw how well invading a country went when we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, didn’t we? Well! Let’s double down! Do it again! The supply chains will be much easier this time.

Mexico? Really? One of our (both literally and figuratively) closest allies and trading partners? We’re going to send in the Marines? How does that end well?

And Australia. Australia, who sent troops to help us in Afghanistan and Iraq. Australia, who wasn’t attacked on 9/11, didn’t “have a dog in that fight”, and could have said, “sorry, mate, you’ll have to get that one yourself”. Australia, whose people are perhaps the most like we Americans. President Trump gets into a tiff over refugees on the phone, and hangs up on the Australian Prime Minister? Somebody send him a copy of “Diplomacy for Dummies”, please!

Did you see the press release the White House put out when “the Donald” and his daughter Ivanka boarded Marine One to fly to Dover Air Force Base? On a trip to honor a fallen Navy Seal whose remains were flown home, the White House put out a fashion announcement!

POTUS and daughter Ivanka emerged from the Oval Office at 2:57 p.m. under cloudy skies on a chilly winter day, with Trump wearing a long, dark overcoat that was unbuttoned, allowing his signature blue tie to show. She was wearing black and blue overcoat that was buttoned, and carrying a black handbag. The first daughter had her blonde hair pulled up.”

They later put out an announcement that explained the reason for the flight, but you have to wonder who is writing White House press releases these days.

It’s barely two weeks. We’re in some kind of Twilight Zone episode, where the host of a really bad “reality” show has managed to grab the reigns of power. He’s already done the “YOU’RE FIRED” thing. There’s no telling what comes next. This does not bode well for the United States, or the rest of the world.

Photo: AP/Seth Wenig