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Archive for the ‘Evidence of Harm’ Category

Day 166. 

Today Congress returns from their break.  They have until Friday night to pass legislation to keep the government funded.  As I wrote, it should be a simple thing to do.  Simply pass a clean bill that funds the government through the end of the year at current levels.

That is not a hard thing to do.  Then, they can finish a new budget plan for next year, and hold their hearings and come to some kind of bi-partisan budget to keep the government being a government.

But, beloved leader and his minions don’t seem to get this simple fact.  In typical Republican fashion they are bound to put what are called “poison pills” into the bill that cannot pass both houses of Congress.  We have seen this before from Republicans and I am sure we will see it again this time around.

Beloved leader has stepped into the trap as well.  He keeps saying that his Berlin Wall must be funded in this bill.  According to his own words and those of his minions, he is willing to shut down the government just to get some money for his wall.

This bill is supposed to be a “continuing resolution” that keeps the government running.  It is not intended to increase spending beyond what has already been agreed to.  But, Republicans always try to increase spending or cut spending for pet projects rather than look out for the overall good of the country.

Except, this time around, they are the party in full control of the government.  They are the ones who have been bitching about the deficit, and yet they are apparently willing to raise the deficit in order to build a wall that is not needed.

As a result, beloved leader is starting to walk back from his wall thing.  At least, he is willing to play semantics games to make it look like it isn’t for a “wall” but rather for “security”.  This administration just doesn’t understand the problems at the border.

They have been arguing that the wall is needed to “stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country”.  But, the drugs are not coming into the country through those “holes” in the border.  They are coming through at border crossings.

The vast majority of drugs coming into the country are coming in through normal border crossings on the bottom of cars and trucks.  These vehicles get “special” tags or passes so they can use special lanes to cross across the border more easily.  The drugs are not coming in being carried by undocumented immigrants.  So, this “beautiful” wall that beloved leader loves so much would do nothing to even slow down the flow of drugs.

The only way to slow down and stop the flow of drugs is for Americans to stop using the drugs.  If there is no demand for them, there won’t be any need to stop the flow.  If the administration is really interested in stopping the flow of drugs, they need to support programs that will educate and help people get off of drugs.  That way the money will dry up and the cartels will also dry up.

The trump administration has proven over and over that they have no clue about the real world.  They have proven their love for the oligarchs and corporation profits, but they don’t have clue about anything else.  We have had a drug problem for as long as I can remember.  There are ways to cut that problem, but a wall is not the way to do it.

Walls do not stop anything.  If walls and fences were so effective, how do you explain the people who managed to get onto the White House grounds?  It has gotten so bad that the Secret Service has permanently closed down the sidewalk on the south side of the White House.  The Communists built a wall in Berlin and still people were able to escape.  So, what is the value of a wall?  It is simply a symbol of fear that you are in the wrong and need to show how “strong” you are against your fear.

We are facing a bunch of problems.  The Republicans are trying again to pass their Americans Without Health Car Act.  Beloved leader wants to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy.  The infrastructure “promise” seems to be on the back burner.  The only bill that could possibly help the average person.  I say potentially because how that bill is written will determine if it is a real infrastructure bill or another give away to companies.

Beloved leader said he would release his tax reform bill tomorrow.  We will see just how much the deficit will explode with his proposed bill.  But, more importantly, we wait and watch to see if we will have another Republican caused government shutdown.

Stephan Bannon and his right-wing wackos want trump to “stand firm” on funding for his wall.  Even if it means the government will shut down.  The funny thing, and not a ha, ha funny thing, is that most of the government doesn’t even have enough workers right now.

The West Wing, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and every single District Attorney office are like ghost towns.  This administration hasn’t filled important positions that are necessary for a smoothly running government.  They fired all of the District Attorneys but haven’t hired one new one.  They haven’t even nominated a single one.

The State Department is missing people who generally advise the president and the Secretary on key issues around the world.  No one has even been nominated to fill those positions.  Same thing applies at the DOD and just about every single government agency.

A lot of people are wondering what this administration is really up to.  Are they deliberately trying to shut down the government for real and permanently?  Are they trying to limit the number of people who disagree with their analysis of the world?  Or are they trying to establish such a small government that it will be easier to establish an authoritarian government?

We may get our answer by Friday night.  If trump and his administration allows the government shutdown over his stupid wall, that could be a signal that he wants total control.  Even Chuck Schumer said that a continuing resolution can be reached by Friday if trump stays out of it.  But, trump being trump, immediately stepped into it.

The first 100 days of the trump administration has shown us just how bad and how incompetent he really is.  He has no clue how to run a country.  Rather than setting up a working government with qualified people to fill key roles, he has tried to establish a new Romanov dynasty in America.

Rules mean nothing to him.  Laws mean nothing to him.  Governing means nothing to him.  This mess about a possible government shutdown over a stupid wall that won’t do a damn thing, is just another indication of his incompetence.

So far trump has accomplished absolutely nothing.  And, from what he is saying now, he isn’t about to accomplish anything for the foreseeable future either.  This clown is making Millard Fillmore look like an accomplished problem solver.

But trump has a lot in common with Fillmore.  Fillmore was backed by the Know Nothing Party and finished third in the election of 1852.  One can only hope that this version of the Know Nothing Party Candidate faces the same fate.

In the meantime, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 165. 

The latest yelling about a war on free speech” comes after the University of California at Berkeley cancelled Ann Coulter’s speech for what they say are “safety concerns”.  We must remember that there is a group of anarchists that have caused violence during speeches at Berkeley before.  Maybe, the university is right, maybe it is wrong.

The question really isn’t about why the speech was cancelled, but whether or not it is another “battle” in the war on free speech.  I guess that depends upon our definition of free speech.  Which makes us look at just what free speech is.

We have seen lots of cases where this so-called war on free speech could be used by both sides.  But, it is the fringes on both sides that use the free speech argument the most.  In just the past year or so, we have seen many people blasted for their opinions on different issues.  We could call those attacks as a war on free speech.

There was a big problem when Milo Yianapolis tried to give a speech at Berkeley.  We also saw and heard all kinds of attacks against Kapernick just because he chose to kneel for the national anthem as a protest in favor of Black Lives Matter.

Those attacks are still going strong, and many conservatives are very happy that he seems to be having a problem landing on new team.  Couldn’t we call that a war on free speech?

Free speech is one of our fundamental rights a citizens.  The speech we use is not limited to “correct” speech.  I have written before that even hate groups like the KKK or the American Nazi Party have a right to hold rallies.  That is what free speech is all about.

Even still, there are limits to our free speech rights.  We do not have a right to cause disturbances or riots from our speech.  We do not have a right to cause public safety concerns with our speech.  For example, we cannot simply yell “fire” in a crowded theater just for fun and claim free speech.

We are even seeing this play out in the courts right now.  Three protesters at trump rallies are suing the trump campaign, their supporters, and trump himself for inciting violence at his rallies.  Even one of the accused trump supporters has said that he was encouraged by trump to attack the protesters.

The odd thing is trump isn’t really arguing against the claim of inciting violence, he is arguing that he cannot be sued because he is president.  You may argue that protesters do not belong at a political rally.  But, if that is the case, what about your free speech argument?

In 1968, I attended to protest at a rally for George Wallace in Chicago.  During that campaign, Wallace took great joy at protesters disrupting his rally because it put his name in the headlines.  He ran into a problem in Chicago that time.  Whenever he used his hate speech towards the protesters, they sarcastically cheered his hate.  As a result, no one was “thrown out” and there were no “violence” headlines at the rally the next day.  Needless to say, Wallace kept getting angrier and angrier as the night went along.

We are hearing that people like Bill O’Reilly are victims of liberal attacks just because he is a conservative and liberals are trying to shut up conservatives.  The argument goes that sponsors were bullied to pull their ads from his show by liberal extortionists.  They claim that liberals just wanted to stop a conservative from expressing his views.

That argument is bogus.  O’Reilly thought that his position allowed him to abuse and harass women.  He thought he could get away with it because he was “famous” and that meant he could do whatever he wanted.  Just like beloved leader bragged about in that Hollywood Access tape during the campaign.

Then you have the Kapernick argument.  If you are claiming that O’Reilly shouldn’t have been fired because he is a conservative, then Kapernick should be left alone too.  If you wrote a letter or complained openly about his protest, than you are doing to him exactly what you complain liberals are doing to O’Reilly.  You are trying to silence his political views.

Conservatives have tried to paint the Black Lives Matter movement to anti-American activities.  Even calling them “terrorists” on Fox News more than once.  Where is the cry about waging a war on free speech?

The biggest problem we have with our right to free speech is the speech itself.  In the 1960s protesters were met with violence.  Many times they were attacked by police just because they were protesting.  That was really the case in the Civil Rights movement.  But, the anti-war protests against the Vietnam war faced similar attacks.  As Mayor Richard J. Daily famously said on television: “The police are not there to cause the violence, they are there to preserve the violence”.

That sentiment still goes a long way today.  When violence breaks out over a conservative speech, the rioters are trying to “suppress conservative views”.  When violence breaks out when a liberal speaks, then the liberals are just a bunch of anti-Americans trying to cause trouble.  Yes, the same can be said in both directions, but today it mostly comes from the right.

In order to have a proper discussion and/or debate over issues, we need free speech.  We need to hear both sides of the argument and then decide which direction the nation should go.  However, we also need to have rational debate.

Ann Coulter is not better than any other right-wing fringe wacko.  The pundits try to place her more in the main stream, but her speech and her writings are anything but mainstream.  She has never had a good word about anyone who isn’t white, Christian, and conservative.  She is a white supremacist nationalist who hates anyone who is not white and wants to keep any non-white out of the country.  That is not mainstream.

Still, she is entitled to her opinions.  However, others have a right to their opinions, and if they decide to show up and peacefully demonstrate against her then they are exercising their right to free speech.  Yet, that isn’t how her supporters see the world.  They see the world as she can say whatever she wants, and no one can protest against her.

In our history, we had the fringe wackos on the left do the same thing.  There have been times when they argued they were right and everyone was wrong and therefore any protest against them should not be allowed.  Today, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction.

Before you take sides in this so-called war on free speech, remember it works both ways.  You may feel like the victim today, but the other side was the victim before.  The only answer is for each side to understand that hate speech of any kind is not really political speech.  It is hate speech pure and simple.

Both sides have a right to say what they want.  I am not advocating for a ban on any form of speech.  However, if anyone is wanting to give a speech, they should expect blowback from those who disagree.   If you are not willing to accept that blowback, then you shouldn’t be giving a speech in the first place.

You should also be careful of what you say.  Yelling from the podium words like “get ’em out of here” or “I will pay for your lawyers” can and should be considered incitement to violence.  That is what the suit against trump’s campaign is all about.

We have a right to free speech.  We also have a responsibility to control our free speech.  You cannot have it both ways.  If you claim your side has a right to free speech, you cannot deny free speech to the other side.  If you agree that you can protest against a speaker, then you cannot argue the other side doesn’t have the right to protest against your speaker.

For example, when something like the resistance movement protests against your leader, you cannot simply call them “paid protesters” to dismiss them.  Neither can you reject someone’s right to give a speech, even if you disagree with the content.

The oddity to me is that Berkeley is known as the birthplace of free speech from the 1960s.  That same birthplace cannot tamp down on conservative views either.  Free speech must be allowed so anyone can express their views.  Yes, public safety must be taken into consideration.  We do not need violence just because some is giving a speech.

The point is that there really is no “war on free speech”.  There is simply a politicization about what free speech is all about.  That is the real problem we face today.  Free speech actually shows us where our problems lie.  It puts on full display the evils and the corruptions that we face as a nation.

The discrimination problems we face today are the same as we faced 100 years ago.  They are bases on race, sex, national origin, color and sexual orientation.  Immigrants are hated, especially if they are immigrants of color or non-Christian religion.  It is the same as it was throughout our history.

Instead of stopping these speeches, we should simply show up and peacefully protest against the views we disagree with.  We should let our voices be known as well.  That is the best way to stop the spread of hate and the formation of an authoritarian government.  When free speech is controlled by the government, we all lose.

Free speech can be controlled in many ways.  Not allowing a speech to take place is one form of controlling it.  Another way is to label the protesters as anti-American.

Protests are a form of free speech.  Marches are a form of free speech.  And, yes, hate is also a form of free speech.  In order for our democracy to survive in troubling times, we need to fight hate speech, but not with violence or trying to silence it.  We need it to be heard so we know how to fight it.

Throughout hour history, hate has eventually lost in the fight for our nation’s soul.  There is no reason why we should expect it to win this time either.  Unless we go off the rails and try to silence dissent.  Fight hate with love and we will win.  Fight hate with hate, and we all lose.

 

 

 

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Day 160. 

As coal mines began to close down, they began showing up in bankruptcy court.  The victims of those bankruptcies were the retired miners who were about to lose their health benefits.  And, since most retired miners suffer from very debilitating diseases like black lung, something had to be done.

Those health benefits began to head towards the Federal Government.  The government took over those health benefits for the retired miners.  After all, it wasn’t their fault they were losing them.  Last fall Congress voted to finance health benefits for a large swath of retired miners for several months.  However, they have been unable to pass any long-term plan.

This brings up a real problem for these retired miners.  If nothing is done by the end of the month, about 20,000 retired miners will lose their health benefits.  These miners are all in states that went for trump in the last election.

Yet, beloved leader has said nothing about how much he wants Congress to come up with a long-term solution.  He has given coal mine owners breaks in several ways including Executive Orders, but has done nothing for the workers or these retired miners.

The health benefits are critical to these miners.  What is at stake is not only the ability to maintain a middle-class retirement, but in a lot of cases, their lives.  For example, Norm Skinner worked for more than 20 years as a miner in eastern Ohio and had triple bypass surgery in 2010. Without the retiree health plan, he said, the surgery “would have broke me,” even with Medicare picking up much of the bill.

Another miner Mr. Van Sickle, who lost parts of two fingers on the job, said his doctor advised him to retire two years ago, at 59, because he suffers from black lung, a condition associated with long-term exposure to coal dust.

He manages the illness by attaching himself to a breathing machine that essentially props open the airway to his lungs while he sleeps. “My oxygen content would drop so low without it,” he said.

Last fall, Mr. Van Sickle priced out a private insurance plan that would provide roughly comparable benefits for him and his wife, who takes about a dozen separate medications to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The estimates came in at $1,500 to $1,800 per month.

“I always wanted to be a person who would leave a little legacy for my children,” he said. “If I lose these benefits and my pension, there will not be enough for me, let alone for my children.”

The other odd part of this story is that Mr. Van Sickle and his wife might be eligible for thousands of dollars in subsidies if they were able to purchase their insurance from the ACA.  However, that plan would be less generous and trump and the Republicans want to kill the ACA which would leave him with nothing.

The other thing you need to realize is that miners, like many other union workers over the last 20 years, took lower pay raises in new contacts in order to ensure health benefits and retirement pensions were never hurt.

Beloved leader made all kinds of promises to the miners during his campaign.  He talked about how those mines were going to be digging more coal than ever under his administration.  He made promises that even miners knew in their hearts was untrue, but they were hopeful that at least some of the promises would come true.

They believed their wish was a modest one. The price tag for their benefits averages a little under $200 million per year over the next 10 years, which can be partly offset through interest that accrues in a federal fund for reclaiming abandoned mines. Because no new miners would become eligible for the health benefits awarded to this group, the cost would eventually dwindle to zero.

But, Mitch McConnell is reluctant to expedite a vote on a permanent fix of this problem.  And, Paul Ryan says he may be open but not for more than 20 months at which point the benefits would either end or have to be reapproved.  Gee, how generous of the bastard.

In the last few days, the House Republican leadership has suggested that it, too, might support a permanent fix, according to Phil Smith, the chief lobbyist for the miners union, but only if it can settle on a revenue source to offset the full cost. “It leaves the door wide open to ‘Well, we couldn’t find one,’” Mr. Smith said.

Here we go again.  If something benefits average people, especially their health, it must be paid for by cutting something else.  If it benefits banks and/or billionaires, it doesn’t have to be paid for by anything.  You can always count on Republicans to screw over the “little people” with stupid arguments about the “deficit”.

And, while all of this is going on, beloved leader, who used coal miners to win his election is saying nothing about their plight.  He isn’t calling McConnell and Ryan and demanding these retired miners be taken care of like they were promised.  No, he is off playing golf and spending tax payer’s money, like from these retired miners, on lavish vacations at his own resort, thus putting money into his own pocket.

As far as he is concerned, the retired miners can just shut up and die.  He doesn’t care about them.  They are a burden on coal mine owners and the Government because the mine owners are pawning off their responsibilities on the tax payers.  Talk about the “takers”.

Working is a mine is a very dirty and dangerous job.  These people literally risked their lives to get out that coal the powered our power plants for generations.  They don’t deserve to be thrown to the side of the road by Republicans or trump.

Ever since beloved leader took the oath of office, he has shit all over the average American with his policies, executive orders, and silence.  He has shown that we don’t matter.  You only matter if you are in the top 1 percent of the economic ladder.

His Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross founded the International Coal Group, which was formed after several coal companies went bankrupt. The United Mine Workers of America protested the bankruptcy reorganization as it led to changes in health care and pensions for the existing employees.  Arch Coal purchased International Coal Group for $3.4 billion in 2011.

But before that, in 2006 there was an explosion in the Sago Mine owned by Ross’ company that killed 12 workers.  In a report from the New York Post, Ross apparently knew all about the mine’s safety violations.  The article also reported that the mine had 12 roof collapses in 2005, and that the U.S. Department of Labor data showed 208 citations for safety violations in that same period, including 21 times for build-up of toxic gasses.

So, is there any wonder why trump is not saying anything about protecting these retired miners?  Ross didn’t give a shit about the miners when they worked for him.  He certainly doesn’t care about them now either.  So, why would trump?

This administration should be called the “billionaires club”.  Because it seems that if you aren’t a billionaire you cannot work in the administration.  And, when the “little people” need something, the common answer from the billionaires club is “screw you”.  Those are words Republicans have been telling us for years.  We are unused to hearing an administration use them so blatantly by their actions before.

Hell, I bet Exxon/Mobile gets their waiver to return to the oil contract they signed with Putin to drill oil there.  They applied for a waiver today.  If that goes through, there will be no question whose side trump is on.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 159. 

From now on, April 18 will be known as the real April Fools Day.  Our beloved leader has decided that today would be a good day to show his total lack of integrity by signing an Executive Order to “Review Buy American, Hire American” policy.

If you think that beloved leader is really interested in enforcing such a policy, you have not paid attention to his family’s own businesses.  Oh, I know that he is talking about Buying American and Hiring American when it comes to government contracts, but he even lied about that.

When he said he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline he said both would have to use American Steel.  Only, they aren’t using American Steel.  As a matter of fact, the entire Keystone XL Pipeline will be made using German Steel.  And, he said that was okay with him.

As you know, the day above is the count of days since he was elected president and still has not moved his own business manufacturing to the U.S.   All of his products are made overseas.  Including his family’s products.  Except Junior’s wine business.

The review will also look at the H-1B visa process.  You know, the very same process that Junior has hired over 1600 people using at his winery.  Meaning the majority of his winery is made up of immigrants, not American Workers.  Then we have trump himself hiring foreign workers for his resorts, specifically his Mar A Lago resort where he spends more time than just about anywhere else.

How is junior going to keep his winery stocked with employees if he can’t use the H-1B visa program?  How is trump going to keep his resort stocked with employees if he can’t use the program.  You can bet it will either not be changed, or it won’t affect certain industries.  That way, he can exempt himself and his family from any changes on the horizon.

It has also been reported that Ivanka got her three trade marks approved in China the very same day she was sitting next to the Chinese President at dinner at Mar A Lago.  Her and hubby Jared were both there and surprise surprise the trade marks were approved right then and there.

Beloved leader says that he is exempt from “conflict of interests” but his family isn’t.  Ivanka could seriously be suspected of conflict of interest when she sat in at the dinner and miraculously she gets her trade marks in China.

The problem is that everyone is falling for this shit.  The media, the people, and especially the trump supporters are all falling for this shit.  They think that he really means what he says.  But, he doesn’t mean a damn word.  He simply says what he thinks they want to hear and then does something different that will benefit himself.

One of the craziest things I heard at a press briefing the other day was when the propaganda minister, Sean Spicer, said that the White House will keep the visitor logs secret and not be transparent.  The reason that the trump White House will not be transparent at all is because Obama wasn’t transparent enough.

President Obama put the visitor log online so everyone could see it.  He was the first president to do so.  But, he did block out certain names if it meant national security or other potential secret work.  This president who claimed to be even more transparent says that gives him the right to just not follow his predecessor’s lead.  He claims that no other president made the visitor log public, and he is right.  Only, the other Presidents did not claim to be so open and transparent.  Or in trump’s own words “this will be the most transparent presidency in history”.  Another lie.

There is nothing transparent about trump’s presidency.  He won’t release the White House visitor’s log.  He won’t release his own tax returns on the bogus excuse that they are under audit.  He doesn’t do anything to make his presidency “transparent”.

Now, in what will probably be a wonderful photo-op, he will sign an Executive Order about Buying American, Hiring American.  Only it won’t be anything that will affect his own businesses.  Why?  Simply because his is a brazen liar!

While Congress is on break, trump is hiding out in the White House or at Mar A Lago doing nothing, as usual.  Republicans are being battered at town hall meetings across the country, and trump is trying to look presidential at an Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn.  While Vice President Pence is trying to look “stern” at the North Korean border, and trump is playing golf.

Oh, he launched missiles at Syria that didn’t take out the military airbase like he said.  It destroyed about 20 planes while his administration tried to claim that it took out 20 percent of the Syrian Air Force.  A lie.  Then he decided to show off and dropped a huge bomb in Afghanistan on ISIS.  His followers all hailed him as being “presidential”.  But, he hasn’t said what he will do next or what he even thinks should happen next.  That would entail some real thought.  Something that is really foreign to trump.

No, singing this Executive Order will be another empty photo-op that won’t do a damn thing to help the American People.  It won’t help make sure that contractors use and hire Americans when working on government contracts, because if they cry it will cost too much, trump and the Republicans will give them a pass and let them use whatever material and whatever workers they think will be cheaper.  That is how they have handled everything so far.

The man is such a fool his foreign-born wife even had to remind him to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem at the start of the Easter Egg Roll yesterday.  Where are all the conservatives slamming him for being anti-American like they tried to do with President Obama?  But, as usual, there is not a peep from the right-wing wackos.  Which only proves to me they are the ones who are anti-American.

So, go ahead and mark your calendars.  April 18 will now officially be known as April Fools Day.  It has been declared so by the number one American Fool, our beloved leader.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 154. 

I am very sorry, but I refuse to give our beloved leader any credit for seemingly acting like a president for two minutes.  This low bar acceptance for this clown is getting real old real fast.  In the last two days, our beloved leader has changed his position on six different campaign promises, and for two minutes during a press conference with the head of NATO, he sounded presidential.  Whoopee!

How is it that in the 21st century, we are willing to allow the so-called leader of the free world such a low bar to say he is doing his job.  That is ridiculous and I refuse to go along.  While the pundits are falling all over themselves praising the clown for his meaningless attack on Syria, for his now saying NATO is no longer obsolete, and for claiming that China is not a “currency manipulator” and looking presidential, he is on the verge of killing his own people.

Our beloved leader is so upset that he was unable to get his Americans Without Health Insurance Act passed, he is willing to make sure that Americans will lose their health Insurance anyway.  He says, “I don’t want to hurt anyone” but he is going to go ahead and not only hurt people, but possible kill people just to make a political point.  And, our wonderful pundits aren’t even talking about it.

According to the ACA, there is something called cost-sharing subsidies.  These are payments that are made to insurance carriers in order to help poorer people afford health insurance.  The Republicans sued to stop the payments, and that suit is in appeals, and even trump’s administration is defending the subsidies in court.

Yet, trump is now saying that if Democrats don’t help him repeal the ACA, he will probably cut off those subsidies.  You read that right.  In order to blackmail Democrats into helping him kill the bill they are proud of, he is willing to take health insurance away from millions of people.  Additionally, it will result in raising premiums for everyone else an average of 19 percent.

It is also expected that insurance companies will simply walk away from the exchanges altogether.  Which will mean even more people will lose their insurance.  But, trump doesn’t care.  He doesn’t care that a lot of his supporters and voters will lose their insurance either.

This whole plan of his is what we called a “protection racket” on the South Side of Chicago.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal that appeared on Wednesday, he said:

I don’t want people to get hurt.  What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.

Those are the exact types of words you would expect to hear from a mobster heavy when speaking to a business they are trying to extort.  But, I am not sure Democrats have the stomach to go along with this extortion.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said, “Our position remains unchanged: drop repeal, stop undermining our health care system, and we will certainly sit down and talk about ways to improve the Affordable Care Act.”

My advice to any trump supporter it you better take a good look at what your beloved leader is trying to do.  He isn’t happy taking away your health insurance in the long run, he wants to use your health care as extortion bait against the other party.

Yesterday I told you about a “bait and switch” game Republicans and trump are going to use to try to take away social security.  Their plan is to eliminate the Social Security tax from your payroll deductions.  They will claim they are saving you a lot of money.

But, on the flip side there will be no dedicated funding for Social Security.  Meaning it will fall to Congress to ensure the system gets enough money to survive.  Naturally, they will claim it will be too expensive and therefore they will need to cut or eliminate the plan.

The biggest argument against their plans so far is that we pay into the system, so it isn’t really an “entitlement” it is a paid for benefit that we earned.  If the tax is eliminated, they will claim it is an “entitlement” and therefore you would be getting something you don’t deserve.  Another angle to the “taker” mantra they love to bandy about.

As you can see, our beloved leader is anything but presidential.  He is acting more like a mobster than a leader.  He is willing to lie to his supporters and then hurt them without any guilt at all.  He is a man who has no morals, no integrity, and no conscience.

Rather than working with both moderate Republicans and Democrats to fix the ACA and make it better, he wants to kill it and remove at least 24 million people from their health care insurance.  Even after saying “We will have a wonderful plan that will cover everyone”.

Rather than keeping his promise to “never touch Social Security and Medicare” he is planning a bait and switch game to take Social Security away from those who need it.  And, he doesn’t care who it hurts.  Even though it has been shown that his supporters are going to be hurt the most.

Of course none of this will matter much if he manages to bungle us into another war with Russia.  His tactics so far to “work wonderfully with Putin” as he claimed he would do, he admitted yesterday that our relations with Russia are probably at their lowest point in history.

The man has absolutely no clue what he is doing.  He doesn’t care about anything except that he is president and he won the election.  It is nonsense to saying that looking presidential for two minutes is a positive sign that he is learning his job.  I say bullshit.  Just look at what he is planning to do to us.  He is a buffoon who should have never even come close to the White House.

But, he is in the White House, so it is up to us to resist his madness.  The best way to resist is to throw his Republican Politburo out of office next year.  As my religious friends would say, “if we don’t god help us.”

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 153. 

We are at the end of month three of our beloved leaders presidency.  I am not one of those who think the first 100 days tells us anything, normally, but at this stage, I think it is time to reflect on just what our beloved leader means when he says “great”.

In the first three months, our beloved leader has accomplished absolutely nothing.  He failed in his attempt to “repeal and replace” the ACA with the House’s rotten Americans Without Health Care Act.  He twice tried to enact a Muslim Ban using Executive Orders and was blocked by the courts both times.

We keep hearing about all of the wonderful things he has done, so let’s look at what he has actually accomplished.  He has managed to raise the mortgage insurance rates for first time home buyers by $500 per year.

He has allowed coal companies to use rivers and streams for the dumping grounds for their toxic waste.  He has given the greenlight to a foreign company to build a pipeline across the middle of our country using foreign steel.  And, he is also allowing that foreign company to use U.S. Eminent Domain to steal land from the people who own it to build their pipeline.

He has ignored the environment case and the treaties with the Standing Rock Sioux to allow that pipeline to cross under a lake that provides drinking water to the reservations, and dumps into the Missouri River that provides drinking water to about 17 million other residents in three states.

He has started mass deportations of people who are undocumented immigrants.  He stayed quiet when his Secretary of Homeland Security announced they “might separate children from their families” when they are caught at the border.  He has allowed people under the protection of DACA to be rounded up with other undocumented immigrants.

He has refused to allow Syrian children and their families to seek asylum in our country, but then turned around and made a worthless attack on Syria because he saw those videos of “beautiful babies” being killed by the Syrian Regime.  He loves those “beautiful babies” so much he is willing to attack a sovereign country, but he hates them so much he won’t let them get away from the war and gain entry to our country.

His head of the EPA has given the greenlight to Dow Chemical to continue to sell and farmers to use a pesticide that has been proven to affect the brain development of children and the unborn that Republicans love so much.  The original ban was for “food crops” but his administration thinks that is too much to ask to protect our children.

His proposed budget will cut the State Department by over 30 percent.  It will cut the EPA by over 30 percent and he has placed a gag order on anyone at EPA from even talking about climate change science.  It will cut NOAA by at least 25 percent.  That isn’t too important, except that is the agency that provides the National Weather Service with information that helps get out weather warnings to the people.

He is cutting satellite time for the National Weather Service.  He wants to eliminate all of the Coast Guard’s funding for new equipment.  The Coast Guard only saves lives, protects our ports, helps with drug interdiction, helps with people trafficking, helps enforce and clean up after oil spills in our oceans, rivers, and lakes, and a lot more.  So, they aren’t that important.

It is going to cut out the National Broadcasting Corporation so you won’t find Sesame Street. They say you can now watch it on HBO, but they fail to tell you that you have to “subscribe” to HBO and poor people can’t afford that just to get children’s educational programming.  But what the hell, education is overrated according to beloved leader.

He has allowed ISP companies to sell your personal data to anyone without your permission or giving you any compensation.  He is about to eliminate net neutrality so those same ISP companies can charge you more for using their “fast lane” on your computer.  If you fail to pay the higher rates, you will be placed in the slow lane and have to wait longer to download your information.

His administration is embroiled in a counter espionage investigation being conducted by the FBI because it appears that at least some of his advisors were cooperating with Russia in their hack of our elections.  It was revealed that Carter Page was the target of a FISA warrant because the FBI believed that he was acting as an unregistered foreign agent.  The warrant was issued back in June or July while he was working for the trump campaign.

Paul Manafort has made the headlines again because at least $1.2 million form the so-called black ledger of the former Putin ally who was president did go to his consulting firm after he denied anything like has happened.

Both Republicans and Democrats who have viewed those classified documents that had Nunes all a tizzy said there is nothing in them that say anyone in the Obama administration, including Susan Rice did anything unusual or wrong.

The Immigration Advisor, Sebastian Gorka, has ties to an ultra-right wing party in Hungary that the State Department still labels as a collaborator with the Nazis during World War II.  He claims not to be a racist or belong to the organization, but he proudly wore the medal of the Order of Vitez to the presidential inaugural ball!  He claims he has not sworn allegiance to the Order of Vitez, but the Order say he has.  Yet, he still has his job with a president who has a daughter who is Jewish.

Our beloved leader has not created a single job since he took office.  He has done nothing to improve the lot of the working class.  He reuses to raise the minimum wage.  He has repealed worker protection orders on equal pay and sexual abuse for women working for companies under government contract.

He declared this as Women’s Abuse month, then went on to praise Bill O’Reilly for “being such a nice guy” even after the new blow up about his sexual abuse of women on his show and at Fox News.  Someone ought to tell our beloved leader that Women’s Abuse month is not a period of time to praise those who abuse women.  But, what do you expect from a man who brags how he can sexually abuse women and get away with it because he is famous.

A few days ago a teacher and one 8-year-old child were shot and killed in the school by the teacher’s estranged husband.  Not a peep out of the administration about this incident.  Why?  Because it did not involve a Muslim.  And, because it was committed by a man who apparently “abused” his wife when married.

Yesterday our lovely and stupid Attorney General announced a crackdown on every single person trying to cross the border “illegally”.  It even includes prosecuting people for “harboring” illegal immigrants.  It further appears that if a man comes across the border with his wife and children, he will face “harboring” charges for bringing his family with him.

Finally, beloved leader’s propaganda minister tripped all over himself with a horrible comparison between the chemical attack in Syria and Hitler.  Saying “even Hitler didn’t use chemicals against his own people”.  Then he called the concentration camps “holocaust centers”, like they were a nice place to go to be relocated.

Now, to be fair to Spicer, he actually did apologize.  He didn’t use the standard trump line of “if I offended anybody” he actually said he made a stupid mistake.  But, that doesn’t take away from the stupidity to begin with.  If you are going to be the Press Secretary, don’t you think you should know at least basic history?

It is also understandable that there has been no comment from the White House either.  Stephen Bannon, Gorka, and a lot of other “key” employees of trump are known to be white supremacists.  So the culture of such comments is not all that unusual for this administration.

What we have discussed here is just the tip of the iceberg.  There has been a host of other outrageous things that the administration has either done or is going to try to do.  For example, the proposed tax reform plan includes eliminating the Social Security Tax from your pay checks.  Sounds nice, but without that tax, how will Social Security be funded?  It will be at the mercy of Paul Ryan the Republicans who want to kill Social Security completely.

So, we must ask beloved leader one question.  What exactly do you mean by “Make America Great Again?  So far, you haven’t done anything that could remotely be any indication of making America great.  All you have done is lie to the American people and take just about every weekend off to go play golf at Mar A Lago on our dime.  At the rate you are going, you will have played more rounds of golf in one year than President Obama did in eight years.

It is very clear that when beloved leader says he is going to Make America Great Again” he isn’t talking about making it great for you and me.  He is talking about making it great for himself and the 1 percenters.

I guess it is possible that things will change.  But with trump, I find that possibility very unlikely.  And, we are only at the end of three months.  Seems like thirty years.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 147. 

For once, that quote from our beloved leader may be right on the nail.  Only, I don’t think it will be what he thinks it will.  He made that comment talking about Susan Rice, but I think it will be more about his incompetence than anything else.

Let me start here by explaining why all of the hoopla he is trying to place on Rice is a false narrative.  He is trying to make you believe that if Susan Rice requested redacted names be released to her is the same as leaking the information.  He is telling you in reality that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

I will try to explain the process as best I can.  It works like this.  Several people who are cleared receive intelligence reports about FISA warrants,.  When they get the report any U.S. citizen caught up in the warrant has their name redacted in the report.  If that person reads something that is disturbing, they can request the name of that person to better analyze what took place.

Once that request is made, it goes through a thorough process to determine if giving the name is necessary.  The person making the request is not involved in the process.  The National Security Agency has the final say so if the name will be given to the person requesting it.  It must also go through the intelligence agency who collected the information in the first place.

If it is decided that the name can be released to the person requested, that person cannot share that information with anyone else.  Except, maybe the President if necessary.

Secondly, a recipient of these reports, cannot request the reports of all incidents of a U.S. citizen being incidentally surveilled.  The reports are filed under the name of the person on the FISA warrant, not the people they are talking to.  So, the idea that anyone could ‘request” all reports dealing with a certain U.S. citizen is bogus.

One of the people who receive these reports on a daily basis is the National Security Advisor.  It is simply a matter of that person doing their job if they feel they need the name of a redacted person.  So, this idiocy over Rice is nothing but a political game being played by conservatives.

But, let’s get back to the quote.  We are sitting on the edge of two major international crises.  One is in North Korea where their version of trump is planning to go nuclear in the real sense.  And, the other is in Syria where the dictator has heard trump say he is safe from us.

Beloved leader has made a lot of political statements about these two problems, but he has yet to say anything about what he might do about them.  He has blustered and threatened with his infamous quote of “all options are on the table”.

That is one of the most ridiculous statements that can be made by a leader of any country.  Syria has used gas in attacking the rebels about 5 – 9 times since trump has taken office.  This is the first time he has even recognized the attack.  And, since he loves Putin so much, it is doubtful he will do anything without Putin’s permission.

You must also take into consideration that trump has said over and over for at least four years now, that “Syria is not our problem.  We need to let Russia and Iran settle the problem there”.  Now he claims to have had “a change of heart”.

We also have to look at what he did yesterday with the National Security Council.  He relieved Steve Bannon from his permanent seat on the NSC Policy committee.  The thing that struck me most about this move is the feeble excuse for the move given by the White House.

The White House said that Bannon was on the council to “keep an eye on Michael Flynn”.  Now that Flynn is gone he isn’t needed there anymore.  That only shows the American People that trump’s judgement of people is absolutely horrible.  How in the hell can a president name someone his National Security Advisor and then have to put someone on the council in order to  “keep an eye” on him.  That fact would tell any sane person that the nominee isn’t qualified to be the National Security Advisor in the first place.

To put in in terms trump might understand, that would be like naming someone the CFO of a major corporation, and then having to hire someone else just to make sure the CFO doesn’t try any embezzlement against the company.  It would be stupid business practice, and it is dangerous when it comes to national security.

The executive branch has over 500 positions that need Senate approval.  So far, trump has not even named a nominee for 512 of those position.  At least 38 of those positions are in the State Department.  These positions lead departments that are supposed to feed information to the president on international issues that he needs to make informed decision.   Beloved leader, by his own incompetence of not filling these positions, is not getting the information he needs at this critical time.

This week he sent his son-in-law to meet with Kurdish leaders in Iraq.  He did not send anyone with any real experience in the area to help advise him.  Kushner’s main sidekick on this trip was “trump’s private body-guard”.  And, he wasn’t there as a body-guard, he was sitting at the table with the Kurdish leaders.

I can only imagine what the Kurds thought of their counterparts at the meeting.  In one picture, you can see one of the Kurds staring at the body-guard and it is clear to me that he isn’t impressed with him.

Today beloved leader is supposed to meet with the President of China Xi Jinping.  He says that he will have frank discussions with him about North Korea.  We have been told by trump that “if China doesn’t do something about North Korea, we will”.

That can only be taken by China as a warning that trump will start a war on the Korean Peninsula.  My question is who is going to attend this “meeting” with the Chinese and trump?  You can bet that Kushner will be there.  But, who else is going to be there?  Especially who will be there that actually has experience dealing with China and knows something about the whole situation there and in North Korea?  Are we gong to be led by an incompetent leader with inexperienced advisors?

We have a president who has no experience in governing.  He promised the American People that he would “hire the smartest and best people available” to help him.  Instead, he has hired incompetent people with no experience in governing or international affairs.

Let’s be honest, being the head of a major oil company and bribing country leaders to get contracts to take the oil out of their country does not give you “international experience” that is required to be Secretary of State.  But, that was trump’s best pick for the job.

Whenever we have a change in Presidents, we get tested by our adversaries.  We are being tested right now, and I am sorry, but I have very little confidence in our beloved leader to make the right moves.

These tests come now because our adversaries know just how incompetent our beloved leader is.  They know that he has bashed NATO and our closest allies.  They know that he refused to shake the hand of the German Leader, but glad handed the dictator of Egypt.  They know that trump has weakened our national security like no other president before him.

They figure that now is the time to strike.  North Korea is blustering like a real country.  Although they are an enigma, they are nonetheless dangerous.  The capital of South Korea is in range of North Korean artillery.  We have thousand of our own troops stationed in South Korea.  This area has always been a powder keg waiting to explode.  Making the wrong moves right now will touch off that powder keg.

If trump cannot get China to realize they are in the same boat as we are when it comes to North Korea, that could mean not only a war with North Korea, but also a war with China, North Korea’s only real ally.  We need someone in those meetings with Jinping who understands this simple fact, and keep beloved leader from leading us to a war that could be devastating.

Syria is testing us mainly because trump gave him the green light to behave as he wishes.  There is no accident in the timing of the chemical attack the other day when you consider the “hands off” policy trump has been following for several years.  And, especially when his Secretary of State and UN Ambassador said we would not do anything to overthrow Assad.

Once Assad heard those words, again, he figured now was the time to strike.  Republicans are showing confusion as to why Assad would choose now to use his chemical weapons that Russia assured us were removed.  They claim that using chemical weapons is the behavior of someone losing and Assad is not losing.

Using chemical weapons is also a tactic used by a dictator to eliminate his opposition.  Even if you are currently winning, you need to make sure you totally eliminate the opposition so they cannot regroup at a later date.  That is why he is using chemical weapons now.  That and the fact that trump has said we won’t overthrow him.

But, again like with North Korea, we need to understand the real dangers.  If trump shoots from the hip and attacks Assad, there are real dangers there too.  Both Russia and Iran have troops inside of Syria.  Only, contrary to what beloved leader is telling us, they are not fighting ISIS, they are fighting the rebels fighting against Assad.  So, if we start bombing and kill Russian or Iranian soldiers, what will they do?  If you think they will sit back and let it happen, you are very badly mistaken.

The next few days or weeks are going to be almost frightening to watch.  Our incompetent president is being placed on the world stage and everyone will be watching how he will respond to these incidents.

This is the time that we need a president who is willing to learn his job, listen to real advisors who know what they are talking about, and be able to talk to and negotiate with our adversaries.  Diplomacy at the end of a gun is not the answer.

Instead, we have a president who is too worried about tweeting unproven accusations against those he considers his political enemies.  Instead, we have a president who relies on the advise of people with absolutely no experience dealing with hostile countries.  Instead, we have a president wo gives a speech using political rhetoric instead of defined policies.

Every time trump speaks about international affairs, the entire world, friends and enemies alike, scratch their heads and wonder what the hell he is talking about.  That is not what we need right now.  We need sober, intelligent, clear thinkers who understand the full complexities of these situations.  Instead, we have a spoiled brat as our leader who thinks that giving a campaign speech is policy setting.

So, he was right when he said “I think this is going to be the biggest story”.  When facing real crises, incompetence is the biggest story.  If it wasn’t so serious, I would find it very humorous when Republicans say “he is going to lead us where he wants the country to go.”  Because, he has no clue where he wants the country to go, because he has never thought about the country, only himself.  Is it any wonder his approval rating has hit a whopping 35 percent?  But, at least his numbers are higher than Bannon’s and Spicer’s.  So, he still leads the pack of his incompetent administration.

Beloved leader has said that he believes in “enhanced interrogation” or torture.  He keeps proving that belief.  Every day under his administration has been pure torture for the American People.

 

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