Tuesday, December 31, 2019

My wish for us all as 2020 arrives

We stand, together, on the threshold of a new year.

And my wish for you is that 2020 will be a very good year.

I have to say that 2019 was an awful year in many ways.

I have been–and continue to be–greatly alarmed to see our National nightmare unfolding.

And, yes, I most certainly hope to see a lot of that turmoil and tragedy be resolved in this year which is just around the corner as I'm writing this.

For me personally, 2019 was a mixed bag, you might say.

The first half had some challenges and plenty of ups-and-downs.

The second half could be described as 99% bliss.

And I’m grateful.

I’m thinking that for many of you, 2019 may have been something like that. After all, life’s experiences are often a strange mixture of good stuff and the stuff you hope you’ll never have to go through again.

So I wish for you and all of us a 2020 with more–way more–of the good stuff.

May it be so!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, December 23, 2019

Grand Funk and the Doobies? Oh, my!

It was late August in that eventful year of 1972 when I arrived at a little-known University in Oklahoma for my Freshman college orientation.

Because of my background as a good little church boy and my pretty tightly-controlled upbringing, I hadn't seen many rock concerts.

The Association, at the Bob Carr Auditorium in Orlando, was about as wild as it got for me.

And that's not a knock on that fine band, not at all.

It's just a way of saying that, although I spent a very considerable chunk of my time listening to Rock and Top 40--especially over WLOF, Central Florida's fondly-remembered Channel 95--I had experienced few Rock concerts.

Especially compared to most of my boomer buds in those heady days of the '70s, when Rock 'n Roll was in its heyday.

So when my college bestie and I heard on the radio that Grand Funk Railroad was coming to Skelly Stadium on Tulsa's north side, we put it on our calendar.

Grand Funk and Sugarloaf. Yeah, the "Green Eyed Lady" group.

The opening act was some other band we didn't know so well, The Doobie Brothers.

There was not a shadow of a doubt that we'd make the show come hell or high water, but there was one little problem: we knew that Public transit would get us there--it was eight miles to the site--we had no idea how we'd get back to campus.

As you might imagine, the show was awesome! I'm still a Grand Funk fan and think that Mark, Don and Mel made up one of the very best bands from the late '60s and '70s.

Jerry Corbetta and Sugarloaf impressed.

And the Doobies absolutely tore my 17 year-old head off! I damn sure knew who they were after that show!

We didn't mind the really, really long walk back all the way to 71st Street and Lewis.

Even though Tulsa received its first snow fall for the year on that October night and we were only wearing light jackets.

We two hard-core Rock lovers trudged all the way back, knowing that that sojourn southward was but a small price to be paid to see a show like that.

The memory of that night is still fresh in my mind.

Like so many of us, I'm now a total Rock 'n Roll wimp and am not willing to go to any more effort to hear the good stuff than to start one of the playlists on my trusty laptop.

But in the Fall of '72, I was more-than-willing to go to great lengths to be there in the middle of it.

Hell, yeah! Those were the days!

Still a Rock child at heart, I am,

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Poser Prez is Impeached

As pretty much the whole world knows, donald trump was impeached yesterday in the House of Representatives.

Two Articles of Impeachment passed--pretty much along party lines--and the Senate will be tasked with conducting the trial and acting on whether or not to remove him from the Presidency at some date to be determined.

The first Article charged Dolt 45 with abuse of power.

The second charged him with obstruction of Congress.

No one who has even the slightest grasp of what happens in Washington these days believes that the Republican-dominated Senate will actually remove him.

But it was very important that the House did its job.

Needless to say, this is big story. A very big story.

It will, in all likelihood, grind on for quite a while.

But regardless how this turns out, it's a very big deal that trump became the third President in our history to be impeached.

Removal by the Senate?

Not in this lifetime.

But he faces, at long last, some measure of accountability for his many high crimes and abuses of power.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, December 13, 2019

Articles of Impeachment Unveiled

Today the House Judiciary committee approved two articles of impeachment in the bizarre matter of our bully-in-Chief focusing his tried-and-true strong arm tactics on Volodymyr Zelensky.

The whole thing is, truly, quite bizarre and illegal on its face to boot.

Hard to say where we will go from here but the spinning has begun!

Dolt 45 may jump the shark here, as he has on so many occasions. One day his luck will run out.

Until then we continue to marvel at the depths of his stunning venality, ignorance and incompetence.

It's possible that we'll only be rid of him after November 3rd. Perhaps the day will come before then.

In the meantime, our beloved country continues to suffer at the hand of this hateful Polit-i-thug and grifter.

The fact that his Kool Aid-slurping followers are still sticking with him through all of this is truly baffling. And it bodes ill for our country.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, December 5, 2019

More troubling signs

Those of you who know me know that I’m very much focused on environmental issues.

If I say something about the degradation of the Earth and that we’re all in deep trouble as these trends proceed, no one will be surprised.

But as more and more signs and facts come in, I’ll surely be passing them along.

Don’t turn away. Get involved.

The signs are everywhere. I wish it were not so.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The first two to support trump are...

There are times when a simple story--or even its headline--is so straightforward and telling that you really don't have to throw in any thoughts or commentary of your own.

This is one such story.

So Representatives Hunter and Collins were the first to publicly support Adolph Twitler? And they're both convicted criminals now?

Yeah, I've got nothing to add.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The disgraceful firing of Richard Spencer

It's no secret that Cadet Bone Spurs loves to meddle in our Nation's affairs, to stick his nose where it doesn't belong.

He's shown that again and again.

In the latest chapter in the sordid story of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, he has shown the Nation and the World once again that he's intent on carrying on with this ham-handed and unwarranted interference.

He sacked his own hand-picked Navy Secretary, Richard Spencer, two days ago because he -- unlike most trump appointees -- was loath to enable his hateful, insane meddling.

If you're not up-to-date on the case of Mr Gallagher, it would be a good thing to take a look at this particular chapter in the never-ending saga of trump's frequent attempts to manipulate everything that happens in our country to suit his whims.

To suit his whims, and often to just poke in their eyes the people he doesn't like.

This poser to whom oversight of our military has been entrusted is not up to the job. He knows nothing about how our fighting forces operate. Knows nothing about military justice or the chain of command or true leadership.

He just wants to use the military as a means to carry out his own agenda. And that's to go on throwing red meat to his cult followers and wreak havoc on people who've pissed him off.

He's really good at carrying out that agenda.

And he really sucks at carrying out the actual duties of our Commander-in-Chief.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Yes, the Army thinks Lt Col Vindman may need protection

It's stunning, isn't it?

The U.S. Army is doing an evaluation right now to see if it may be necessary to move Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman to an Army base.

To make sure he's safe.

Lt. Col. Vindman, the guy who was also on trump's now-infamous phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine.

That call took place on April 21st.

The call where this poser, this thuggish clown tried to shake Zelensky down.

He had already put our military aid to Ukraine on hold. Something he had no authority to do, of course.

And Lt. Col. Vindman knew this was an egregious and disgusting abuse of Presidential power and something very much at odds with our long-time policy to Ukraine.

And so he knew he was duty-bound to report it.

And he did.

And he testified at length about the whole disgusting affair before the House Intelligence Committee.

And now we're not sure if we can keep him and his family safe.

It's stunning.

It's truly hard to wrap your mind around this brazen and disgusting abuse of power.

But it's the kind of thing that Adolph Twitler does on a daily basis.

Rethuglican sycophants, save me your lame explanations, rationalizations and excuses.

All of this--once again--makes it crystal-clear that Dolt 45 must be removed from office.

The health of our Republic demands it.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, November 7, 2019

She's not dumb, she's principled

One of the stories making a splash today in the world of politics right now is really instructive. What Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) had to say about Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) perfectly illustrates how unprincipled and very, very sick GOP pols have become in the trump era.

He says that Speaker Pelosi--who set the impeachment process in motion--is "dumb" for pursuing her Constitutional duties because the economy is doing well with trump as President.

We will leave aside, for the moment, the whole issue of whether our economy is really doing all that well these days. There are many signs that we may be heading for a serious recession in the very near future.

But Senator Kennedy quite clearly believes that the Poser Prez should be able to do anything he wants--even engage in criminal acts--if he can manage the American economy well.

It certainly calls to mind how some some Italians who were supportive of Mussolini believed--as the story goes--that living under the boot of Fascism was okay because Il Duce made the trains run on time.

The plain truth is that Donald trump is a thug of the highest order. An incompetent one at that. And he truly believes that he can do anything, literally anything whatsoever and that there should be never be any accountability for his venal, hateful, incompetent or criminal actions.

This won't fly. The American people--or I should say, I suppose--the ones who have not quaffed the Kool Aid, will have none of that.

We will hold Mango Mussolini accountable for his hateful, dishonest and incompetent behavior while he stinks up the Oval Office, the constant Republican attempts to thwart that accountability notwithstanding.

Trump will not succeed in his attempts to stave off the day of reckoning which is surely coming. And John Kennedy's belief that he should be allowed to continue tearing our Nation apart with his thuggish and insane behavior has clearly exposed how complicit and sick the Republican Party has become with trump as its leader.


"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Red State Embrace of Sentencing Reform?

Some good news here for anyone who cares about Justice issues and doing things about folks who have been given insanely-long sentences for relatively minor crimes.

Oklahoma is quite possibly the reddest of the red states and they just released over 400 prisoners serving long sentences who--in just about everyone's view--shouldn't have been locked up for so long.

The somewhat-worrisome thing is that it seems to have been done mostly to save money and not necessarily because those very, very long sentences should never have been handed out in the first place.

There are more details here in this story from the Associated Press.

So much more can and should be done about the plight of people serving extremely long sentences in the US.

This is not a simple issue.

A lot of this has happened because of mandatory-minimum sentencing laws which went into effect in many states back in the '80s and '90s.

A lot of it has come about because of how very, very out-of-control the so-called War On Drugs has become.

A lot of it is because of disparities in how Judges and Courts handle the sentencing of different drug-related crimes once a defendant has been convicted.

So while it most certainly is a good thing that the Sooner State has done this, many more states need to get moving on these issues.

And if--at the end of the day--the motivation is not only because the people wrongly sentenced deserve to be treated justly and fairly, then I think we can live with that--for now.

But many, many more Americans need to walk free again.

And in the meantime, we'll keep working on righting the many wrongs in our Justice system which have put so many of our fellows in these fundamentally unjust situations.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Fundamental Values and Choices Made

Yesterday, an opinion piece ran in USA Today with this title: "The Republican party must choose between Donald Trump and the party's fundamental values".

But the truth is that the GOP made that choice months ago. 

There are no decisions left to make. None.

The Rethuglican party and its sycophantic elected officials are standing 100% in support of trump and his hateful, criminal policies.

The only thing that has changed is that they're appearing on news shows less often to sing his praises.

When one of them has the nerve to make an appearance, they mouth the exact talking points that come from the White House and Fox Noise.

The (very) few members of the GOP caucus who have begun to show signs of having a backbone or a conscience are not saying anything critical of trump, anything that would address his obvious, out-in-the-open criminal activity.

In most cases, they have merely stopped parroting those official, false-on-their-face talking points. Temporarily.

Mitt Romney is the only Repug I've seen who's ventured so far as to say anything the least bit critical of the Poser Prez.

It's been very mild, very half-hearted criticism and he's getting a lot of push-back now from the true believers in the cult-of-trump.

And it goes without saying that that push-back has come to the surprise of absolutely no one who's been paying the least bit of attention to what the GOP has been doing since Putin and Dolt 45 stole the Oval Office.

And so he will--I say this with zero fear of being proved wrong--he will stop saying those mildly critical things about all of Adolph Twitler's many high crimes and misdemeanors, take his seat again and then convene a new round of daily damage control sessions with his PR team until he's sure he hasn't pissed off his constituents too badly.

This will not change.

Folks, it's 2019 and to the Republicans on team trump today, standing by while Dear Leader abuses and strangles Lady Liberty is an option.

Saying nothing while he uses twitter to tell trump nation to get ready to start killing those pesky, unpatriotic journalists and democrats is just fine.

But standing up for America and for democracy and doing something--anything--to stop our Thug-in-Chief as he marches our once-great Nation closer and closer to the edge of the abyss?

No. THAT is NOT an option.

It's just NOT going to happen.

If you were thinking otherwise, you're completely, sadly mistaken.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Follow this link  to read that opinion piece in USA Today for Nov 1st.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

GOP Reps crash closed door Impeachment hearing

Yes, they did indeed crash that closed-door hearing yesterday, just before Pentagon official Laura Cooper was to give a deposition.

The usual suspects were in command of the White House-approved op: Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Louisiana's Steve Scalise.

There were around 25 GOP Reps taking part, all told.

When they pulled off their disruptive, obstructionist stunt, they showed the country once again that today's GOP cares nothing at all about preserving our democratic institutions, respecting our Constitution, following the rule of law or allowing Congress to actually function.

They only care about winning political battles and keeping a very tight death-grip on the power stick.

Which means, of course, covering up the many misdeeds and crimes committed by donald trump, their esteemed Thug-in-Chief.

They're really, really good at doing that.

This story from Bloomberg is a good place to start if you'd like a more detailed accounting of yesterday's events.

Here's the truth: trump supporters and enablers in the GOP Congressional Caucus have been reduced to attacking the Impeachment process now that the Country--and the whole world, for that matter--can plainly see how stupid, petty and utterly corrupt their Poser Prez is.


"Bulldog Ben" Basile

 © 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, October 14, 2019

Tee shirt hate speech and right-wing propaganda

This week some fine citizen boarded a United Airlines flight wearing a tee shirt with this message you can read below:

"Rope, Tree, Journalist
Some Assembly Required"

You've got to wonder how the airline could have allowed it to happen. 

How could they have heard the complaint from another passenger who correctly believed that the message on the shirt was calling for the lynching of journalists and then done nothing to stop the wearer from boarding their flight?

The reason is simple: right-wingers bitch, whine, moan and complain every time anyone demands any accountability from them about anything.

They'll scream that you're trying to muzzle them, take away their 1st amendment rights and so on. Even if you're merely calling them out on their hate speech or something like this where there can't be the slightest doubt that they're advocating violence.

And clearly targeting specific groups of people.

Because their accursed president does these things--quite literally--on a daily basis, this is even more of a problem than it was before.

And it's going to get worse. Much worse.

There are militia-types and haters of every stripe who're itching to begin "cleansing" America of people they hate.

They want to do this very badly and there's every indication that they will.

And all the while, they'll say that they're the good guys and that they're just being patriotic.

And you can bet that their propaganda outlets and web sites will echo that insanity.

I'd say it's likely to happen soon, especially if we're successful at holding Adolph Twitler accountable for all of his treachery and crimes.

I wish I could say that what I've written in this post is hyperbole, but it's not. It's the sad truth.

They say this things out loud every day.

If you're not listening, you should be.

Here's a link to The article in Forbes about this outrageous event on that United Airlines flight.

Bulldog Ben

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Trump caves to Erdogan and everyone hates it

Everybody--and I mean everybody--is rushing to condemn trump's act of treachery which came to light yesterday.

I'm talking about how he green-lighted Turkish strong man Tayyip Erdogan's impending military op in Syria to hunt down and massacre our Kurdish Allies.

Even perpetual licker of trump's boots, Lindsey Graham, finally spoke up about one of fearless leader's endless blunders.

It's not clear at this time whether this near-universal condemnation of this particular act of trump's incompetence and treachery will make any difference.

We can only hope.

But we must rid our beloved country of this cancer on the Presidency, on our Nation.

And we must do it as soon as humanly possible.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Poser Prez abandons the Kurds in Syria

Yes, he did. After--and how shocking, how unprecedented is this--after a phone convo with Turkish stong man Tayyip Erdogan.

The sad truth is this: America is saddled with a thuggish, know-nothing, incompetent scum-bag for a President.

And his obvious incompetence is making America weaker and further undermining our standing in the world.


Donald tRump couldn't read a petition before the next meeting of the Poughkeepsie City Council without fucking it up.

So it goes without saying that he should never have been entrusted with the highest office in the Land.

His abandoning our Kurdish allies to please Erdogan is quite possibly his greatest blunder in carrying out America's Foreign Policy so far.

And there's a lot more where that came from.

This fool, this poser, this fellator of dictators must be removed from office.

America waits.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Right Wing Thugs and Militias are listening closely

Donald trump incites his followers to violence.

And he does it on a regular basis.

Here's the simple truth: Dolt 45's lies could very well set in motion a chain of events which could finally unleash the Right wing death squads who've been itching for a reason to start cleansing the Country from bad, unpatriotic Americans.

That is, cleanse the Country from liberals, Democrats other people they hate and regularly marginalize.

An recent article here from Daily Kos site is fascinating--in a very dark way--and lays out clearly just how serious a threat impending Right wing violence truly is.

These thuggish Americans are for real.

And they must be taken seriously.

If you're having a hard time wrapping your mind around this, don't just stick your head in the sand.

We've got to keep our eye on this and be ready.

Your survival and the survival of our Nation may well depend on it.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The true beginning of Fall

I think you know that the beginning of Autumn falls each year around the third week in September.

It does. But for me, I really feel like it's Fall when the 1st of October comes around.

So many good things happen at this time of year: the temps begin to moderate, we begin to pay close attention to football. Not to mention the start of the Major League playoffs.

We start to feel a sense of anticipation about all the holidays which we know are just around the corner.

There are many more good things I could mention here. The list is pretty long.

The bottom line is that I truly do love and take great delight in this time of year.

And I sincerely hope that Autumn brings a lot of wonderful things to you and yours.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Yes, trump would try to enlist a foreign government to...

Now that more facts are in, here's a brief follow-up to my last post:

To the surprise of no one, trump would--and did--try to enlist the help of a foreign government in his efforts to get a second term.

Because every day brings a fresh outrage, it's easy to think that Ukraine Gate is just the latest trump transgression and that it will blow over.

I don't think so.

I will admit that it's a bit too early to see how this will go.

It's a big and multi-faceted affair.

But it very well could be trump's undoing. Don't think that it can't.

If you'd like to get up-to-date on the latest, this article from NPR would be a good place to start.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Trump and the fresh whistle blower outrage

So let's see a show of hands of everyone who's surprised about the latest outrage from Mango Mussolini.

You know, whole thing about a whistle blower coming forward and revealing that the squatter in our White House made some kind of dangerous, inappropriate promise to some foreign leader in a phone call...

Yeah, that outrage!

What! No one's raising their hand?!

Yeah, that's what I thought.

When he comes up with this crap, we do get outraged but then admit that it's just the kind of thing he does pretty much on a daily basis.

And he gets away with it every time.

Yes, this time could be different.

But don't bet the ranch on that.

Only Congress can put a stop to this madness.

But I'm not at all sure that they ever will. Or ever could.

The Senate--where the GOP holds a slim majority--will never turn on trump. Especially with #MoscowMitch in charge.

So on we go.

How many fresh outrages can this once-great Nation take?

I guess we're going to find out.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Poser Prez steals from our military to...

Here's the latest story from our "Shocked But Not Surprised" file: our #LyingLoserPrez has found a way--with plenty of help from his sycophantic, complicit Rethuglican friends--to divert funding for military projects to build a few more miles of his expensive and ineffective wall.

There is no way that congress would have ever enabled this political stunt if anyone else was in the Oval Office.

No one else who's ever been--or would ever be--President would ever have considered or proposed such a folly, but I won't go there right now.

To get up-to-speed on this latest outrage from the hateful and incompetent fool who is occupying our White House, just click on this article.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, September 2, 2019

It's Labor Day and you should...

It most certainly is Labor Day and you should take life easy today!

I'm off and I hope you're not having to put in your eight hours today.

If you'd like to know a bit more about the history of this auspicious holiday, just follow this link.

I'm so aware that we have some time today to just chill and maybe fire up the barbie because of the sacrifices of so many workers before us.

I do not--and never will--take that for granted.

Enjoy the day and take a moment to reflect on the importance of remembering that the working people in this country are one of the main reasons that America is great.

Best wishes to all of you who may pass your eyes over this post today.

Especially those of you who work for that paycheck.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Dorian comes, we hunker down

We are making preparation for the approach of this storm.

Although it's not at all clear where the storm will go, Floridians are taking this seriously.

As well we should.

We're well prepared here, what with our two burner, propane camp stove, tons of AA batteries, flashlights, lanterns aplenty and even a dependable, 10 inch battery-powered fan.

Did I mention our three burner propane grill with oven capability? Got lots of propane, too.

We've got eight gallons of fresh water, a pool for grey water and the flushing of toilets and so on.

Oh, and a good, old-school, battery-powered radio which gets AM, FM and even short wave broadcasts.

Sad to say, the battery-powered TV is still in storage.

But we've got this.

So if the D-man comes our way, we're about as well-prepared as we could be.

And if not, we'll be ready for the next one.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Poser Prez WILL crash our economy

Many economists are prognosticating about the US economy and where we're headed.

The signs are not good.

One of the main reasons why a downturn is most-likely looming is trump's ill-advised and ineffective trade war with China.

I hope I'm off-target here, but I'm one of those who think we are, indeed, headed for trouble.

Sooner rather than later.

And when the dust settles, the way Dolt 45 has wreaked years of carefully-crafted and even-handed trade agreements will be one of the main reasons.

Yeah, I hope I'm wrong. I'm no wonk on our economy, not by any means.

But I don't think I am.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Paying Attention and Taking Action

Climate Scientists have been sounding the alarm for years about how the Earth is warming and how big changes are on the way for all of us.

The signs that our planet is changing–and changing very fast–are so numerous that it’s hard to know what to focus on.

But we should not allow that to keep us from getting and staying engaged and advocating for policies and actions to mitigate the damage we are inflicting upon our beleaguered planet.

In an article that appeared in June, writer Jordan Davidson lays out for concerned readers some of the alarming signs that the melting of ice around Greenland is a very big deal and is–most troubling of all–accelerating at a rapid pace.

Davidson followed up with another piece yesterday which focuses on one of the more urgent aspects of this whole matter of melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

Scientists, researchers and policy wonks have been warning all who will listen that we need to be prepared to move away from the coastal regions of our planet as the phenomenon of rising sea levels proceeds.

And to this observer, it appears that not too many people are listening to those warnings.

Mr. Davidson’s article makes a fine entry point for anyone who’d like to take a closer look at these issues. It focuses closely on the melting of ice around Greenland, the Helheim Glacier in particular. The piece is very timely and not overly-wonky and can be read here. 

So many are doing this work of watching for the signs, for the evidence, that our planet is struggling, is being seriously degraded.

Keep listening. Stay engaged. Stay engaged and take action!

The plight of the Earth demands nothing less.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, August 9, 2019

It's National Read A Book Day

Yes, that is what day it is today!

I’m going through two tomes at this moment.

The first is Hunter Killer by Lt Col T. Mark McCurley. It’s all about the use of drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you like books that shed light on newer developments in weapons technology or just like Military History in general, it’s a good read.

The author and his colleagues in the USAF were pioneers in the employment of RPA’s and their use is only going to become more important in the conflicts of the future.

The second book I’m reading right now is Incredible Pirate Tales, edited by Tom McCarthy and it’s a real page-turner.

I’m going through The Ghost of Captain Brand at this moment and am enjoying it immensely!

If you’re not already immersed in a good book, it’s time you were. And what better time to recover your love of reading than on National Read A Book Day?

“Bookdog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

Friday, July 26, 2019

Moscow Mitch blocking laws meant to safeguard our elections

Mitch McConnell thinks laws proposed by Congressional Democrats to safeguard our elections are highly partisan.

That's true in the sense that Democrats are doing their dead-level best to secure our elections and safeguard them from Russian interference.

And the Rethuglicans are absolutely doing all they can to make sure that doesn't happen.

How very partisan.

In an article that just came out on MSNBC's site, writer Steve Benen takes a look at this situation. It's a succinct and timely article and it's well-worth the next few minutes of your day.

Benen's conclusion is that something has gone terribly wrong in Washington.

And he's absolutely correct.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Today is National Moon Day

As you may know, today marks exactly 50 years since Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Lunar soil.

It is, indeed, a monumental occasion. For so many reasons.

One of the many things that have happened as a result of this historic mission is that today, July 20th, has become National Moon Day.

So today we look back over that amazing achievement. It is, in my estimation, the Crown Jewel for NASA and quite possibly for the U.S. in general.

I will never, never forget what I was doing at the moment Mr Armstrong thrilled our Nation and the world with this stellar feat of human achievement.

And it’s a very good time to just reflect on how awesome it is to have our luminous and singular moon.

And to think about space exploration and new vistas in general.

It’s ever onward and upward!

“Moondog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The GOP wants to destroy Obamacare so bad!

Yes, they most certainly do!

And they'll stop at nothing to do it.

Republicans--with trump's enthusiastic support--filed suit back in February of 2018, hoping to have the courts invalidate the Affordable Care Act and finally wipe away Barack Obama's most important achievement.

They may very well get their wish.

And sooner rather than later.

It is true that the SCOTUS will have the final say, but it is quite possible, if not likely, that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will rule in their favor.

Most within the GOP are hoping that the court will do just that.

But they have no clear plan to move forward if, indeed, it goes their way.

There is some awareness on their part that it will ignite a crisis in our healthcare system and galvanize support among the majority of the American electorate who support the ACA and do not want to see it taken away.

Yes, millions will lose their coverage. Thousands will die as a result.

Yes, the prohibition against insurance companies refusing to cover Americans with pre-existing conditions will almost certainly go away.

This is, without a doubt, the worst part of their disastrous and fool-hardy plan to kill Obamacare.

The chances of the ACA going away, putting at risk millions of Americans who depend on it?

Those chances are pretty good.

The chances of Republicans in Congress competently putting together anything to take its place and protect Americans whose welfare--and very lives--depend on the protections in the ACA?

Those chances are very, very close to zero.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th to All Today

I want to send out a quick greeting to everyone today as we celebrate our Day of Independence for the 243rd time.

And remember that we show our patriotism and loyalty to our great Country by embracing and nurturing democratic values and ideals and not with displays of military prowess or the spouting of slogans.

Happy 4th of July, friends!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A laid-back afternoon at the Canaveral Nat'l Seashore

Had a ball yesterday at the National Park that’s the closest to me. Yes, that would be Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville, Florida.

This laid-back sea-side experience is by far the best way to enjoy a trip to the beach. To me, at least!

Such a fine and mellow outing it was. Can’t remember the last time I had that much fun!

My companion for this trip had never seen the Atlantic in that glorious and simplified fashion before; she loved it, to say the least. And we’re going back soon.

We did not miss the tacky beach-side rentals and masses of sunburned visitors at all.

I hope all of you have had an outdoor adventure of your own recently. If not, plan one now and then just do it!

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

© Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, June 28, 2019

Record Spending for the Environment in Florida

One of the really important headlines coming out of Florida this last week was about the just-passed budget for the coming year and how it highlights new priorities in the Sunshine State.

Make no mistake, this thorough re-ordering of spending priorities is a direct result of Gov. Ron DeSantis replacing former Governor and infamous boot-licker Rick Scott.

Some quick facts to help you get a feel for what this new budget in Florida can mean:

  • $100 million for spring restoration in several locations
  • $417 million for Everglades restoration in particular
  • $40 million for alternative water supply
  • $25 million for research to combat blue-green algae and red tide, specifically.

If you’d like to dive a little deeper into this issue of the new budget and how it impacts our Florida environment, here’s a link to an excellent article that just ran in the latest issue of Florida Weekly.

This development has certainly been heartening for those of us who keep a close eye on environmental issues in the Sunshine State. Governor DeSantis has been commended over and over again for stepping up on this issue, as well he should be.

I’m hopeful that we all will still be offering kudos to Mr DeSantis for his wise and serious advocacy for Florida’s environment as his time in office draws to a close.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

ICE Agents Losing Patience with trumpian Chaos

There are so many who've seen from the very beginning that, in addition to being a grifter and con man, trump was thoroughly, irredeemably incompetent.

A few million more Americans picked up on that a few months in. Many of whom had bought in to the "it's a good time to shake things up" idea spouted by so many in the lead-up to Election night.

It's an indicator of just how many are now on to trump's con that a lot of rank-and-file ICE Agents are now waking up and smellin' the covfefe!

Trump's pronouncement that it was time to round up millions of illegals had a nice ring to it for those who'd already quaffed the Kool Aid, but the impossibility of actually carrying out this cruel and insane PR ploy began to dawn immediately on the folks who were actually going to have to carry it out.

They honestly didn't even know how or where to house those sinister illegals once they were properly rounded up!

It turns out there were no adequate facilities, what with all the previous rounds of "rounding up" and all the detentions of asylum-seekers, many of whom broke no laws when they presented at the border to pursue their cases.

An article in The New Yorker shines a bright light on how this story is unfolding and I recommend it highly. It came out yesterday and you can read it here.

This is just one more crystal-clear indicator of how thoroughly incompetent our liar-in-chief  truly is and how breathtakingly impossible it is to even make sense of his ideas and policies, much less to implement them.

How, in God's name, can the U.S. take another 19 months of this insane, unparalleled combination of cruelty and incompetence?

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, June 3, 2019

Trouble in the Arctic, Trouble everywhere

As many of you no doubt know, I post about environmental issues regularly. That's true of thousands of bloggers, of course.

I usually give a great deal of thought to whether the tone of my posts is too dark. I often agonize over such things, truth be told.

But the news is so overwhelmingly bad as the bill comes due, so to speak, for humanity's stunning and persistent failures to take care of our planet that merely passing along the plain truth about all this can sound like some blogger woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I came across writer Dahr Jamail's article in Truthout yesterday and could see right away that its message was timely, spot-on and needed the widest possible dissemination.

It details a lot of the most recent events that have those of us who keep an eye on environmental issues from getting much sleep. It's not an easy read.

But you should read it. All of it.

The part of the article that deals with the importance of feeling the shock and grief that any of us feels when coming to grips with the reality of our planet's degradation is vital. Don't shrink back from that part of the piece. Let it all the way in.

There are so many engaged in this work. The work of sounding the alarm as we rush ever-closer to the abyss.

Don't stop reading. Don't turn a blind eye.

It's time for all of us to look unflinchingly at the truth and take the actions this grave situation demands.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Orwell and trump's lies

The squatter who currently occupies our White House lies so outrageously and so often that it's easy to just tune out and let him flap his gums and talk shit about everybody he hates.

That's so common. And it's big mistake.

In this recent dust-up with Meghan Markle, trump resorted to his usual trash talking; he called Markle "nasty" and it was recorded by the media.

And then his re-election staff sent a tweet with a link to what trump actually said. In it he can be heard calling Ms. Markle "nasty!"

Yes, the campaign staff tweeted a denial that trump had done what they know full well he did and included the evidence that showed that they--and trump--were lying, plain and simple.

In this piece from Political Wire this morning, Teagan Goddard writes about how this is exactly the kind of deception and doublespeak that Orwell's 1984 highlighted.

Is anyone surprised that trump and his incompetent and criminal administration would engage in this kind of mind-blowing manipulation and gas lighting?

It's no surprise to me. Not at all.

And outrages like that one will continue unabated until this thuggish con man is finally removed from power.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Beer, the Beach and The Meaning of Life

This brief blog entry simply cannot be appreciated or understood unless you’ve cast your eyes over the accompanying photo. And, yes, I took the pic myself. No issues about ownership, copyrights or any such thing. And, if you must know, this humble sign adorns the north wall of the bar in my fave barbecue joint. In my fave beach town.

Having gotten the preliminary stuff out of the way, let me state for the record that I do not believe that the true meaning of life can be found in this lighthearted aphorism; it’s merely there to keep the wall from looking bare and, perhaps, to amuse the drunks who spend way too much time and money reading silly plaques tacked to the walls of our many infamous watering holes here in the Sunshine State.

The message of that damned sign does not seem to grow more profound with each lager lifted to my lips. I’ve never shared this barroom bromide with friends, nor incorporated it into an update on Facebook. (No need going to my Facebook page to verify that statement!)

Let’s be real. Life’s true meaning cannot be divined by reading this sign no matter how much beer you’ve quaffed. I just like it because, as I stand right on the threshold of qualifying for social security, I think it just might be true! Not sure my doctor would vouch for that, but, it could be!

Now I think I’ll ponder that message one more time as I order one more beer… Ashley!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

This gem of a post comes around every now and then. It's up today because summer's the perfect time to explore that awesome place where beach stuff and beer stuff meet.

© 2016 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mueller statement: No exoneration

This Poser Prez we've been saddled with for the 29 long months works so hard to spin all the breathtakingly-horrible events in his accursed administration.

And the sycophants around him are first-class spinmeisters, too.

So, of course AG Billy Barr and the MAGAts who work for the head of the trump crime family did their very best to spread the utterly-ridiculous notion that the Mueller Report was a full exoneration for the boss.

It succeeded. Brilliantly. They're good at what they do.

The fact that trump was able to find an AG who will run political interference for him and act as his personal attorney--something he said he wanted from day one--is a stunning development in itself. It could certainly be fodder for another post.

But that's been covered by so many journos and bloggers that I don't need to go there.

But the MAGA crowd believes the lies and spin--as they always do--and that narrative ruled the day.

So it comes as no surprise that Bob Mueller knew he had to step up and engage in some truth-telling.

And it's a very good thing that he did.

The full transcript of his statement is here.

Although we know that what he said yesterday will have absolutely no effect on the trump faithful, it was a badly-needed correction to Barr's evil spin and will help keep hope alive for those of us who still believe that the thug who now occupies the Oval Office will one day be called to account for his many crimes.

If you'd like to read an article that covers Mueller's statement and how it may affect things moving forward, just follow this link.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Species are disappearing while humans...

It’s alarming to think about, but it’s nevertheless true that hundreds of thousands of species are disappearing while humans carry on with their ever-expanding enterprise to exploit absolutely everything on God’s green Earth.

In early March of this year–just over two months ago at the time of this writing–the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, issued a Global assessment and highlighted for an ignorant and often-uncaring world just how grave the situation is.

Nature is collapsing at an astonishing rate and many humans are blissfully unaware that this is happening.

The assessment was quite wide-ranging and examined closely many dark trends which we have not yet addressed as aggressively as we must to keep our situation for going from merely horrible to unthinkable.

Among the issues which the assessment addressed are:

  • Land degradation
  • The health of fish stocks
  • Plastic pollution
  • The rapid collapse whole ecosystems
  • The full extent of the threat to non-human species
  • How much of the Earth’s land surface and water resources are devoted to livestock and farming

To read the press release issued by the IPBES at the time the results and conclusions of the assessment were publicized, click here.

It’s past time to stop driving so many plant and animal species into extinction and putting at risk our own survival.

Way past time.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Juice of the Sacred Bean

This puppy loves coffee! My Mom got me hooked on black coffee when I was only twelve. I’ve always believed it was good for me.

Studies that show that the juice of the sacred bean can be a boon for one’s health are not hard to find. A new one published in March in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is the most recent.

The study’s bottom line: quaff up to five cups each day and you’re likely to reap considerable health benefits.

Here’s a link to an article that excerpts that study. It’s an excellent source if you’d like know more without diving into the clinical literature.

Continue working your personal wellness strategy, that’s always a good thing.

And make sure you don’t slack up on your caffeine consumption!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

At the Bottom of the Ocean! Really?!

The deepest point on our planet is appropriately named Challenger Deep. You can find it on the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench, a mere 35,814 ft below the surface.

Intrepid explorer Victor Vescovo reached that point in a submersible last week and the results of that dive were released this last Monday, May 13th.

Although the expedition was a great success in so many ways, one of the things we learned from Mr Vescovo’s ground-breaking mission is that there is–wait for it–there is a plastic bag on the ocean floor, at the absolute deepest point on the planet.

Let that sink in. In Humanity’s mad rush to despoil the Earth, we've placed trash on the ocean floor. What an achievement!

If you’d like to read more about Victor’s very deep dive, follow this link.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Thursday, May 2, 2019

William Barr makes the boss proud

The main thrust of yesterday's post was that special Counsel Robert Mueller knew that A.G. William Barr misrepresented his report that wrapped up his two year investigation.

Like so many others, I'm shocked but not surprised to see that Barr engaged in this charade to protect the boss.

It's now crystal-clear that trump's new, hand-picked A.G. is just another lackey. No shortage of those in trump's accursed administration!

It's all laid out for you in reporter Dahleen Glanton's just-published story in the Chicago Tribune. Just one more outrage from trump's lawless and incompetent administration.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Mueller's letter to William Barr

Yesterday's revelation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr complaining that he had misrepresented his report is a very big deal.

Mueller also followed up with a phone call.

This is not a surprise in the sense that many of us were 100% certain that Barr's infamous four page summary was nothing more than a whitewash.

It is a surprise in the sense that the letter and the call were things we could never have known about had the Washington Post not uncovered them.

Barr's testimony at today's hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee will be starting in about three minutes.

Even though the committee is very trump-friendly, you can bet that the testimony will add a lot more fuel to this fire.

Count on it!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A big step toward sustainability

There’s so much to like about springtime. And April just might be my favorite month.

Well, this April is really special, especially for those of us who are environmentally-conscious and are rooting for our planet while she is being brutalized by modern industry and billions of unaware and indifferent humans.

We are in the last few moments of April as I write this, but it was in this month that renewable energy–that is, hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal and especially solar–generated more power than coal.

Stop and think about that for a moment. It is quite a noteworthy event and shows clearly that in spite of all the ways that our planet has been horribly treated–especially in the last two years–we can, and we must, do everything in our power to make progress and to mitigate the damage being done to Mother Earth.

If you’d like to read a good and highly informative article about this salutary event, just follow this link.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, April 26, 2019

Today is National Arbor Day

Many folks and environmentally-focused organizations will be out planting trees today. I would love to be among them, but another evening at work is going to be my fate today.

I think it’s a very good thing that there is a day set aside for trees and the planting of trees. I'm setting my sights on next year. A little prior-planning should do the trick.

The banner photo is one of three majestic oaks that live right outside the apartment where I was living in 2015 and ’16. The view from my patio was just breathtaking.

If you’d like to know more about National Arbor Day, just follow this link.

More trees, please!

Bulldog Ben

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

Friday, April 19, 2019

Redacted Mueller Report is out

Trump's sycophantic Attorney General, William Barr, released the Mueller Report today.

With redactions, of course.

Without a doubt, Barr is covering for the boss. He was hand-picked for that purpose.

The American People and Congress need to see the full report. Congress needs to hold plenty of hearings on this, and Robert Mueller needs to be called to testify.

And it needs to happen as soon as humanly possible.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Compassion In Action

Sometimes the language we use when speaking or writing about things is pretty abstract. It’s always good give more life, more substance, to your story by citing examples or giving more detail.

I talk about compassion often and believe it's vitally important. Especially at a time when a lot of people, including many in positions of power, seem to be trying to be intentionally cruel.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing to come up with a really good, a really clear example of someone acting compassionately.

Here we go: last Saturday night, Hanna Pignato, a waitress at the Joe’s Crab Shack on the Daytona Beach Pier noticed that a young swimmer in the ocean beneath her restaurant was struggling in a rip current.

Most folks would have hollered for a life guard or dialed 9-1-1.

Not Hanna. She gave her apron and wallet to a colleague and jumped into the sea.

Unfortunately for this hero, she hit a sandbar and broke her foot and fractured three vertebrae.

The swimmer was pulled to safety by someone else and Hanna was barely able to swim back to shore safely.

But the overarching fact here is that she put it all on the line! She acted compassionately, to say the least, when the limit of most folks’ compassion would have been to feel intensely sad if the boy had not ultimately been saved from the rip current.

Hanna is a hero! Her ennobling act of compassion stuns and inspires me.

Needless to say, her medical expenses are considerable. And her apartment is on the third floor so this is a big deal.

If you’re able to help Hanna, I hope you will. Click here if you’d like to know how you can help.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Suspect in custody in church burnings

Many of you know that three historically-black churches in Louisiana were torched in a ten day period earlier this month.

It's an ugly thing. It's clearly a hate crime. Crimes like that have become more prevalent in the last couple of years.

America's Hater-in-Chief is clearly inciting violence against people he dislikes. It's something he's been doing since before he was elected.

This article lays out many--if not all--of the times he egged on his hateful followers but it's about six months old. The poser prez has dipped into his well of hate many times since.

It's a good thing--a very good thing--that Law Enforcement arrested the alleged arsonist pretty quickly.

He's the son of a Deputy Sheriff and has no prior arrests.

But he's another in a long procession of hateful white people in the south who are just itching to inflict as much damage as possible on people of color.

It's a very severe problem, especially in the south and it's getting steadily worse.

If our president had a shred of conscience and even one once of compassion, he would be trying to address this situation and make it better.

But he doesn't and he seems to be doing everything in his considerable power to make it worse.

Churches are burning and this lying, loser prez is fanning the flames.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Peter Poacher has a very, very bad day at work

I caught wind of this somewhat unusual story coming out South Africa last week.

I didn't post about it at the time because is sounded like one of those stories that may or may not have actually happened but are put out there mostly to sell papers or garner lots of clicks.

Then I noticed today that the story's been picked up by so many for-real news organizations that I know it's been verified many times over. So here we go.

Some poacher in Africa was stomped to death by an elephant last week. The scene of this wonderful but somewhat rare event was Kruger National Park in South Africa.

But wait, there's more! After getting squashed like a roach, the hapless dude was eaten by a pride of lions!

In these encounters, the humans usually "win". And it's only because they're way ahead of the animals in treachery and weapons technology.

But now and then, the critters really bring their A Game and get to make up for the previous hundred rounds or so of the disgusting and grim contest.

In the very unlikely event that you're not completely sure of which side I'm on when poachers go out to murder and butcher animals I love, just leave me a comment and I'll be only too happy to explain.

Ardent, long-time lover of Elephants and Cats, I am,

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ban on Arctic Drilling Restored

It created quite an outcry when the trump Administration overturned an Obama-era ban on most drilling in the Arctic.

The Executive Order lifting the ban was signed back in April of 2017.

The League of Conservation Voters believed that that executive order could not withstand a legal challenge and so they filed suit.

They won their case yesterday–and though the trump Administration is almost sure to appeal Judge Sharon Gleason’s order–the planning for drilling in some extremely environmentally-sensitive areas has come to a screeching halt.

To see a story with more detail about this rare piece of good environmental news, follow this link.

To learn more about the League of Conservation Voters, click here.

Bulldog Ben

Monday, April 1, 2019

Why does Alex Jones do what he does?

As many of you may know, Infowars front man Alex Jones is being sued by some of the families of children murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting. 

He was deposed just a few days ago by attorneys for the families who brought the suits. They had been repeatedly harassed by some of the thuggish followers of Jones, who repeatedly, over a period of years, helped to spread the vicious, accursed theory that the massacre didn't actually happen, that it was all a part of a left-wing plot. 

There's a lot of chatter on social media right now about all of this. One person I know referred to the case and opined that Jones is insane. Otherwise, the thought was, he would never have kept alive those ridiculous conspiracy theories and worked so hard to spread them. 

I, on the other hand, believe that Jones is perfectly sane and does things like that for two main reasons.

The first reason is because it gets his brain-dead audience to tune in, buy the sponsors' products and put money in his pocket. It doesn't bother him in the least that doing that harms real people. He hates them--meaning survivors and families of victims of mass shootings--so that's even better for him.

The second reason is that he can! He's never had any real negative consequences from spreading hate and chaos; he enjoys doing it, so there's no reason to stop.

Getting kicked off Twitter might be seen as a negative consequence but Jones and his cronies didn't miss a beat. They just had to change platforms. The methods, the message and the ugly way he and others operate didn't change at all.

It is true that these law suits could change all that but I'm not sure they will. I sure hope they do. If they can take away enough cash from Jones and others like him, it could be a very big deal.

In the meantime, the Reich Wing has unlimited stores of money and hate which will make sure that Jones and others like him who wallow around in that right-wing media cesspool can keep doing what they do.

Bulldog Ben

© 2019 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The AG has released his summary of the Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr has released his summary of the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

You may certainly count me among those who watch the events of our National political life quite carefully and were surprised by the conclusions of Mueller's report.

The short version is this: Mueller found no actionable evidence about trump and his staff conspiring with the effort by Russia to help him get elected.

And as to the matter of whether trump obstructed justice or not, the report neither recommends charges nor exonerates the President.

You might say this is like a draw in a soccer game.

One wonders what in the world it would take to prove an Obstruction of Justice charge.

You may also count me among those who find it very troubling that AG Barr decided that an obstruction charge for his boss was not warranted in less time than it usually takes a middle-schooler to write a book report.

That is a real head-scratcher.

For more about that specific angle to this story, click right here.

Barr's letter with his summary was addressed to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Judiciary Committees in both the House and the Senate and you can read it in its entirety by following this link.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

The EPA and Environmental Policy

If you’re familiar with this blog at all, you know that environmental issues are a very big deal to me.

If you care about our planet, no doubt you’ve made sure that the way you go about living your life reflects that attitude of caring. Caring about the Earth on which we all depend.

No doubt you also think that public policy should be made and be carried out in ways that favor the Earth. Ways that, if they don’t actually help our planet, would at least not harm it.

Well, if you feel that way, you’d definitely be at odds with the way our policies about the environment are being made and being carried out right now.

If you’d read this far, some thought relating to the EPA most likely has popped into your head.

And yes, how the EPA goes about its business is a very big deal.

If you’re not quite sure what the EPA does or whether its work actually matters, this article from Nat Geo would be a big help.

It’s a fairly quick read. I recommend it highly.

Public policy matters. It matters a lot!

It’s time to step up our game. The welfare of our Planet and the survival of our species depend on us and what we do. Our elected officials are not only not helping, they’re making it harder for concerned citizens and Earth defenders to do anything.

The sad truth is that this will not change unless we force those in power to make the changes.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Florida's New trump-loving Governor did what?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a big-time supporter of Donald trump. That was the cornerstone of his primary campaign when he was in a serious fight with fellow conservative and Florida Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam to get the nomination on the Republican side.

You can count me with the environmentally-minded voters who believed at the time that the election of DeSantis was going to mean, at minimum, four more years of of disastrous policies for the environment in the Sunshine State. And for the everglades, in particular.

I am very surprised and incredibly relieved to say that those fears were unfounded. I'm delighted to report that DeSantis has shown in at least three ways, that he's for real about standing up to Big Sugar in Florida and doing all he can to protect our fragile, beleaguered environment here in the Sunshine State.

What I mean, specifically: he issued executive orders to reverse some of Rick Scott's horrible policies affecting Florida's ecosystems.

He sacked pretty much everyone who served on any of Florida's five water management boards and replaced them with people who actually care about environmental issues and were not lackeys of Big Sugar.

And he immediately beefed up funding for efforts to clean up the Everglades. That included a strong commitment by the State to get the project to complete the Everglades reservoir taken off the back burner.

In an opinion piece published on January 11th, Carl Hiaasen, writing in the Miami Herald, summed up some of these happy and completely-unexpected developments in this editorial. It's a good place to start if you'd like to see why many folks in Florida are happily admitting that they had Gov. DeSantis pegged all wrong as far as our state's environmental issues are concerned.

I still believe that Florida's interests writ large would have been better served by the election of Andrew Gillum.

But I also believe that it's always appropriate to give credit where credit is due and I'm delighted to say that Mr DeSantis has--at least up to this point in his time as the state's chief executive--definitely proved that he is a strong friend of Florida's environment.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Earth: The Good News and the Bad News

It may sound like the lead-in to a joke, but that cliche does perfectly sum up where we are right now with the environment. Where we are as far as taking actions which are desperately needed today, to be more precise.

The bad news first: the situation is dire. That's an understatement. There are thousands of studies and documents to substantiate just how bleak the situation is for our planet.

And here's another study for good measure.

The good news is that the nascent Sunrise Movement is a huge potential, not only to change the conversation, but to prod us into taking some very, very necessary actions.

Or to slow down all the foot-dragging, at the very least.

The Guardian published an article last week to highlight the work being done by this largely youth-led movement; it's well worth the next few minutes of your time.

The Earth is our common home. She is not dying. She is being killed! We cannot afford to go on with the status quo.

As you no doubt know, there are very committed, well-financed interests which are going all out to muzzle the voices calling for action and to stifle any change.

We'll always have that to deal with.

But getting more and more committed friends of the Earth on-board for the fight--including the people who are being galvanized by the Sunrise Movement--may at least give the Earth a fighting chance.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Poser Prez swings and misses in Vietnam

When donald trump's much-ballyhooed summit with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un wrapped up last weekend, it was crystal-clear once more that he sucks as a deal-maker.

tRump was hoping to come home with some kind of deal he could crow about. The two leaders had been widely expected to come to an agreement whereby KJU would scrap--or at least mothball--some part of North Korea's nuclear program and trump, in exchange, would roll back some sanctions.

The theory being that if the two "concessions" were at least roughly proportional, trump and his despotic man-crush could both proclaim a win-win and they could toast one another at the awesome fete which was supposed to have capped off the whole charade.

It didn't happen. Neither the North Koreans, nor team trump had done the homework that would have made such an outcome even remotely possible.

The joint American-South Korean announcement that made the cessation of joint military exercises official did nothing to make Kim more willing to deal.

The announcement merely helped to cement the belief on the part of most Americans that trump gave away the store on the issue of the war games and whether or not they'd continue.

The majority of Americans who declined to swill trump's nasty Kool Aid have known since before the election that his supposed skill as a negotiator was nothing more than an act.

It's instructive to remember that before this debacle in Hanoi there was trump's groveling and ass-kissing in Helsinki.

With each spectacular failure of trump's seat-of-the-pants, incompetent forays into foreign policy, more and more Americans--including many who voted for this malevolent moron--are seeing him for who he truly is.

A petty, hateful con man who hasn't the slightest clue on how to carry out even the simplest of Presidential tasks.

This is a man who shouldn't be trusted with a shopping list for a trip to Kroger's. Much less with negotiating deals with the likes of Putin or Kim Jong Un.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Why does trump still hold rallies?

Well, why does trump still hold rallies?

I sure wish it were only about massaging trump's ego! It's also about getting his troops marching in lock step, trusting no one but him, taking orders from no one but him and putting loyalty to him over loyalty to the USA!

He has zero loyalty to our country and most of his followers, in similar fashion, will do any damn thing he says regardless of how it will affect our Nation and their fellow citizens!

Remember his remark about shooting someone in the middle of 5th Avenue?!

The nuts on the Reich Wing were NOT stockpiling weapons to use against a tyrannical government. They've got them to use against Americans who don't buy their toxic ideas about what America should be like!

They're full of hate and fake patriotism. They're locked and loaded and ready to eliminate socialists, LGBT+ folk, POC, whom they all believe hate America! The freeloaders! Their web sites, message boards and chat rooms make all of that crystal clear!

Don't ever forget that!

And in case anyone thinks I'm overreacting, they say these things openly! Even the TV ads the NRA produced and ran in the 2016 election made it very clear!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, February 18, 2019

National Drink Wine Day 2019

I'll bet most of you didn’t know that today's the day! I’m happy to do my part to let you know about really important things like National Drink Wine Day. It’s what I do. You’re welcome!

Sometime after 5 O'Clock, I’ll be doing my part to celebrate this momentous occasion.

If you pull your weight, I won’t have to drink an extra glass to compensate!

Whether you imbibe or not, I hope this Monday is a fine day for you; I’ll be checking in again in the near future with another post of monumental importance!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

PS: I did have some thoughts on the fact that N.D.W.D. falls on the same day as Presidents Day this year, but I'm gonna keep all that to myself! Now where's that Pinot Grigio? 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Where grief, mental health and self-care come together

Very important information near the end of this piece if you're in dire emotional straits right now.

It was five years ago today that our family lost our Mom. So I want to talk about my Mom's passing today and about some very important issues which connect with the story. Issues that are a part of the stories of so many of us.

It was Feb 17th of 2014, that she passed. Because I last saw her alive on Valentine's Day, I get very solemn when I see the the day approaching.

I got her a bouquet for V-Day and dropped it off at the Nursing Home where she had been for the five months before her death.

She had spent months in Convalescent Homes twice before; once for a bad fall and once because she nearly choked to death while eating.

In the choking incident, she coded while in her room. She had been eating her dinner and began to choke; she aspirated a very large bite of chicken and was unconscious when the staff found her.

The pulmonary specialist later told us that she was very fortunate to have survived as he had never removed a piece of food that large from a patient's lung and seen them live.

This was still--as you might imagine--a huge crisis. She spent the next six days in ICU and was then discharged to the Nursing Home where she passed five months later.

The family and I definitely saw the need for her to be there. She was at constant risk for falling, having taken three falls, one of which broke her shoulder. In addition, Mom had a very serious issue with depression and anxiety and frequently talked about wanting to end her life.

I had taken care of her for the previous seven years. For the last two, I was literally with her 24/7 as she couldn't cook for herself or get around without help. Most days, her mobility was close to zero.

She was at great risk for self harm or choking; the loss of many back teeth had made the choking risk even greater.

So when she was back in a facility, my brother John and I understood the need for it. She was on a list to have only softened foods and to never eat alone.

After two or three months of this routine, Mom learned that she could override John's instructions--he was her medical surrogate--and take herself off that list and eat food without a nurse or CNA in the room with her.

We were very concerned about this, of course, but could do nothing to change it.

It was only five days later that Mom was eating a sandwich--the nightly bedtime snack--without a staffer present. She choked on the sandwich and died in her bed.

A bit more about her depression: Mom was pretty much defenseless when she would descend into that cloud of despair, but as the saying goes, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

While caring for Mom, I was also struggling with constant thoughts of harming myself. And I had been walking on the edge of that abyss on-and-off for about 20 years before that.

But being a care-giver around the clock with few-to-no-breaks for years had made the problem of wanting to end my life much worse. 

To be brutally honest, the only two reasons I didn't were that the role left me no opportunity, as I wouldn't leave Mom alone for any reason. And I was 100% certain that it would crush her completely and suck every note of joy from her life.

So the fact that she died, and that she died by choking, after my brother and I begged the staff to try to keep that from happening, made everything worse. 

And this was a good thing, but not without irony: it also meant that her death would not come from self-harm, as we had dreaded for so long. I had gotten in the routine of keeping her Xanax and other powerful meds locked in my safe until dosing for many years.

So today marks five years since Mom passed. As I said at the top, I tend to get morose, introspective and very solemn each year as we approach Valentine's Day. It's good to be able to say that the thoughts of taking my own life are somewhat easier to deal with now.

I remain under a Doctor's care for my depression and anxiety, as I was for the years I took care of Mom. A situation where both the patient and the care-giver deal with serious mental health issues can be very tough. I'm very grateful I did get through that challenging time.

There are three things I'd like to see from "spilling my guts" here about Mom's passing: the first is to remind everyone to cherish the moments you have with the ones you love. None of us knows when those moment will have slipped away forever.

The second thing is that for those of us who think about harming ourselves, it's vitally important to practice good, proactive self care. Make sure you're under the care of medical professionals, take appropriate meds and keep an eye on stressful situations. That last one is so critical!

The third thing is that someone you know may be very, very close to the edge of that abyss. If so, please take a moment to let your friends and/or family member know that you care. Especially to ones who withdraw from life, family and work activities to a degree that seems extreme or just doesn't make sense.

Take special care with any friend or loved one who begins to speak in the past tense more than would be normal or begins to give away cherished or important possessions. This is a sign I've missed. Badly. 

When I say that, there's another situation, another story I have in mind. But that story will come another day.

This last week has been very stressful for me. For a couple of different reasons. I needed to ask for help and I did. And I got a lot of it and I'm very grateful! 

Please watch out for those who are at risk, who are in despair!

Call or text this number 24/7/365 if you need to talk: 800 273 TALK (8255)

Here's a link to the site of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I've contributed to their fine work and recommend them highly.

Ben Lawrence Basile