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  • December 18, 2016 04:45:26 AM
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Broken Laughter is an occasional blog by a middle aged Midwesterner. It will include posts and articles about politics, current events, arts, and anything else that the Broken Laughter editor chooses to post.

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Karen Pence And Mayor Pete Buttigieg Trade Comments

Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, said on Tuesday, April 9, that people “shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are,” responding to recent comments from South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Pence made her remarks while appearing on the radio show of Fox News host Brian Kilmeade. She was there to promote a children’s book… Read more The post Karen Pence And Mayor Pete Buttigieg Trade Comments appeared first on Broken...

Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, said on Tuesday, April 9, that people “shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are,” responding to recent comments from South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Pence made her remarks while appearing on the radio show of Fox News host Brian Kilmeade. She was there to promote a children’s book she and her daughter had written about the Pence family’s pet rabbit, called Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Nation’s Capital.

Pence was responding to comments that Buttigieg had made that referred to her husband on Saturday, when speaking at an LGBTQ Victory Fund brunch event.

According to NBC News, in his speech, Buttigieg said, “If you could have offered me a pill that could make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you could give me a swig of water. It’s a hard thing to think about now. If you had shown me exactly what it was that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”

He added later: “Thank God there was no pill. Thank God there was no knife.”

He said his marriage last year to schoolteacher Chasten Buttigieg had made him a better man, “and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.

“That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me,” Buttigieg said. “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

It is possible neither the Vice President nor his wife understands that there is a difference between “having beliefs” and “acting on or creating policy based on one’s religious beliefs.”

Mrs. Pence said people shouldn’t be attacked for having religious beliefs, “for what one’s religious beliefs are.” OK. I can understand that point. I can even agree with it.

However, her husband has acted and created policy that wouldn’t exist if his beliefs were different than they are. Some people have objected to (using her word, “attacked”) his policy prescriptions or actions. Those people are not objecting to or attacking what his beliefs are.

It’s that distinction — the one falling between being criticized for having a belief vs. acting on that belief — that both Pences appear to miss completely.

The post Karen Pence And Mayor Pete Buttigieg Trade Comments appeared first on Broken Laughter.


The Behavior Of Joe Biden

People are once again examining the way former Vice President Joe Biden has behaved with women. Lucy Flores recently described how uncomfortable Biden’s kissing the back of her head made her feel. Flores was a member of the Nevada State Assembly from 2011-2015 and was running for lieutenant governor in 2014. According to the Washington Post, “A onetime Democratic nominee… Read more The post The Behavior Of Joe Biden appeared first on Broken...

People are once again examining the way former Vice President Joe Biden has behaved with women.

Lucy Flores recently described how uncomfortable Biden’s kissing the back of her head made her feel. Flores was a member of the Nevada State Assembly from 2011-2015 and was running for lieutenant governor in 2014.

According to the Washington Post, “A onetime Democratic nominee for Nevada’s lieutenant governor accused former vice president Joe Biden on Friday of touching and kissing her without her consent during her campaign in 2014, an experience she says left her feeling mortified, embarrassed and confused.

“In an essay published by The Cut, Lucy Flores wrote that when she learned the then-vice president had offered to appear at a rally in Nevada to support her campaign, she was grateful. But that feeling changed, she said, when Biden approached her from behind as she was getting ready to address the crowd.”

Was Biden’s behavior inappropriate? Yes. Did he step over the line? Yes. Should he change his behavior and be more considerate of others’ personal space? Absolutely.

Can we compare Biden’s behavior to that of Real estate developer and reality TV figure Donald Trump?

I remember that during the 2016 presidential campaign, a recording of Donald Trump surfaced. In that recording, Trump bragged that because he was wealth-famous, referring to women, he could “grab ‘em by the pussy.”

To put that in greater context, nearly 20 women have come forward to acccuse Trump of sexual assault.

Did Trump’s bragging about pussy-grabbing bragging matter to many people? Or, did Trump suffer extensive embarrassment as a result of his behavior? Did he experience permanent harm to his reputation or public standing?

The Electoral College elected Trump President.

The post The Behavior Of Joe Biden appeared first on Broken Laughter.


The Mueller Report And Attorney General Barr

The Mueller report has been the subject of a lot of discussion this past week. There has also been a lot of discussion about the length of the report. The report is the result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into crimes or conspiracies between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Someone on Fox News said that it… Read more The post The Mueller Report And Attorney General Barr appeared first on Broken...

The Mueller report has been the subject of a lot of discussion this past week. There has also been a lot of discussion about the length of the report. The report is the result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into crimes or conspiracies between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Someone on Fox News said that it was 700 pages long. On Friday, March 29, Barr claimed that it’s closer to “400 pages” long when he said that he would produce a redacted version of the report by “mid-April.”

Did Mueller tell us the Mueller report is 400 pages? If he didn’t, and he didn’t do so on video while showing the document and flipping through the pages to the very last numbered page, then I don’t know how many pages the report contains.

Mueller provided his report to Attorney General Bob Barr on Friday, March 21, 2019. Barr provided a four-page summary of the several hundred-page report on Sunday, March 24,

It is quite astounding that Barr was able to digest the entire Mueller report and issue a summary containing only a few quoted sentence fragments from the report in less than two full days. I doubt that Barr actually read and digested the entire report. He probably read a summary on the first pages of Mueller’s report, from which he drew the quoted sentence fragments.

I believe Barr made up his mind about the investigation before that report ever hit his desk. Very simply, I do not trust an attorney general appointed by one of the targets of the investigation. And I especially do not trust an AG who auditioned for the AG job when he wrote a 19-page memo explaining why the subject of the investigation could not be convicted of obstructing justice.

In addition, I do not trust an AG who wrote this 19-page memo months before seeing the Mueller report. I especially don’t trust an AG who does so months before investigators handed down all the indictments resulting indictments.

Now that Barr has had the report for a week, what should happen next?

Barr should release the entire Mueller report within the next five days.

But I doubt that he will.

The post The Mueller Report And Attorney General Barr appeared first on Broken Laughter.


Trump’s “National Emergency”

Trump has declared a National Emergency because Congress won’t appropriate money for his border wall with Mexico. First, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for a border wall. Second, Trump never promised or asked that I would have to pay for his border wall — a wall that can be easily tunneled under, as has happened along many sections of… Read more The post Trump’s “National Emergency” appeared first on Broken...

Trump has declared a National Emergency because Congress won’t appropriate money for his border wall with Mexico.

First, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for a border wall.

Second, Trump never promised or asked that I would have to pay for his border wall — a wall that can be easily tunneled under, as has happened along many sections of existing border fencing between the US and Mexico.

Third, Trump was unable to get Mexico to pay for his wall. He was unable to negotiate that, despite marketing himself as a masterfully skilled negotiator.

Trump’s inability to get Mexico to pay for a border wall is not a National Emergency.

Trump’s inability to persuade Congress to pay for his ineffective wall is not a National Emergency, either.

Remember, what made the Great Wall of China effective was not the wall, but the hundreds of men with guns standing on top of the wall.

The post Trump’s “National Emergency” appeared first on Broken Laughter.


Trump Presidency Grows More Chaotic After Mattis Resigns

United States President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on Sunday morning, Dec. 23, that Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis would be out of his cabinet post by January 1, 2019. Trump was not firing Mattis through Twitter. Mattis had submitted his resignation letter on Thursday, Dec. 20. In it he made clear that significant differences of opinion existed… Read more The post Trump Presidency Grows More Chaotic After Mattis Resigns appeared first on Broken...

United States President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on Sunday morning, Dec. 23, that Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis would be out of his cabinet post by January 1, 2019.

Trump was not firing Mattis through Twitter. Mattis had submitted his resignation letter on Thursday, Dec. 20. In it he made clear that significant differences of opinion existed between himself and Trump. Those differences concerned US alliances, enemies and management of the US involvement in Syria. They made it impossible for Mattis to remain in his role.

In his letter, the Defense Secretary wrote, “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.”

He continued, “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

Mattis is the first U.S. defense secretary in decades to resign over policy differences with a president.

As he explained, Mattis planned his resignation to take effect in late February. This would allow sufficient time for Senate confirmation of his successor as part of an orderly transition.

However, media coverage of the letter — which was swift and intense — frustrated Trump. The media coverage demonstrated that Mattis was no longer willing to provide supervision in the White House, which some have described as a day care center for an increasingly incompetent Trump.

Reaction to the resignation came not only in the United States. As reported by The Hill, Germany’s Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen asked the White House on Friday to provide “clarity” about next steps following the resignation.

Another indicator that conditions in Washington are not likely to settle down soon: incoming Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, whom Trump appointed Dec. 14, said on Dec. 23, while appearing on Fox News, that the federal government will probably not be back to normal until well into the new year.

“This is what Washington looks like when you have a president who refuses to go along to get along,” Mulvaney told host Chris Wallace.

This is also what Washington looks like when someone with the maturity of an adolescent occupies the White House.

 

The post Trump Presidency Grows More Chaotic After Mattis Resigns appeared first on Broken Laughter.


Trump Control Of Judicial Branch Complete?

You may remember this. In late September 2017, according to CNN, “Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant, according to court documents obtained by CNN. “The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys… Read more The post Trump Control Of Judicial Branch Complete? appeared first on...

You may remember this. In late September 2017, according to CNN, “Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant, according to court documents obtained by CNN.

“The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as ‘anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration’s policies.’ ”

In the past, it used to be possible to fight police state tactics like this request in court and win. That was then.

However, Trump has packed appellate courts with dozens of his own yes-men appointees. He managed this court-packing because the GOP-majority legislature deliberately did not take action on appellate appointments made by President Obama. 

Now that Trump has appointed two justices, he has a SCOTUS majority that will rule however he wants. The Judicial branch will no longer serve as any kind of check on Executive Branch power. 

We already know that the GOP majority in the House and Senate will do whatever Trump wants. The Legislative branch has demonstrated this repeatedly. A very recent example of this is its confirming Kavanaugh, someone who should have been rejected for very good cause before anyone other than the Judiciary Committee ever heard of Christine Blasey-Ford.

Remember, Trump cannot name the three branches of American government correctly. However, he owns all of them.

 

The post Trump Control Of Judicial Branch Complete? appeared first on Broken Laughter.


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