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Archive for the ‘Evidence of Harm’ Category

Day 99.

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Yesterday we discovered that the trump administration is “running like a finely tuned machine”.  If trump really believes that to be true, might I suggest he find another machine to replace the one he has?

I don’t even know how to discuss or talk about his “thing” that took place yesterday.  He and his staff are calling it a “press conference” but I admit I haven’t seen any press conference like it.  What I saw was the old “blame game” from trump for his miserable failures so far in his term as president.

Everything that has gone wrong is not his fault.  The Muslim Ban didn’t get blown to pieces because it was poorly writer and violated several clauses in the Constitution,.  No, it was because the Judiciary is incompetent.

Michael Flynn wasn’t let go because he was a liar whom even the president decided he couldn’t trust.  No, it was all the media’s fault for printing those leaks about him.  He is a “wonderful guy”.  Despite the fact that trump can’t trust him enough to keep him on the job.

Nor did he mention anything about the report that Flynn lied to the FBI about his sanction talks with Russia, which is a felony.  Not that Sessions would let him go to trial for his crime.  Come on trump supporters say it:  “Lock him Up!”

He claims to have “accomplished so much in his first month”.  But, he really hasn’t accomplished anything that will help anyone but his buddies.  Let’s take a look at his “wonderful accomplishments”.

His first “wonderful accomplishment” was raising the mortgage insurance rates on millions of first-time home buyers by $500 per year.  That will really help the insurance companies, but do nothing to help average people who want to own their own home.

Another “wonderful accomplishment” was stripping away protections of people with retirement accounts.  He is now allowing brokers not to have to get approval and explain any switches in their portfolio so the brokers can make changes not based on the benefit of the owner of the portfolio, but rather on their commission.  Great for brokers, lousy for portfolio owners.

The next “wonderful accomplishment” was the elimination of the regulation that required energy companies to disclose their overseas investments, profits, and even bribes to governments to get the contract.  Again, wonderful for the energy companies.  Lousy for the American people and will produce absolutely ZERO jobs.

Then we have the “wonderful accomplishment” that takes away the requirement that Social Security report to the national background check database anyone who is so severely mentally impaired they cannot take care of their own personal business like cashing their Social Security Check.  That way, these people will be able to purchase any firearm they want.  Great for gun manufacturers and the NRA.  Lousy for public safety.

Yesterday, he signed another “wonderful accomplishment” with a bunch of coal miners behind him.  This “wonderful accomplishment” will make it much easier, for that matter perfectly legal, for the coal companies to dump their waste in streams and rivers.  Again, something wonderful for the coal companies, but lousy for those same miners behind the president who will see their drinking water polluted by the company they work for without anything stopping it from happening.  Did trump tell those miners that part of what he was signing?

Then there was that “wonderful accomplishment” called a “Travel Ban”.   This thinly disguised Muslim Ban was struck down in the courts.  Not one court as trump wants you to believe, but several courts all around the country.  This ban caused chaos at airports all across the nation because Customs had never been told it was coming and how they were supposed to handle the people affected.  Many of those affected were actually mid-air when it went into effect and didn’t even know they weren’t going to be allowed in.

Yet, yesterday trump claimed that the roll out of the ban went “so smoothly”.  I would hate to see what trump calls chaotic.  And, during the press conference, trump repeatedly said they would beat the stay in court.  All the while his own Justice Department was telling the ninth circuit of appeals to hold off on more hearings.  They said trump would rescind the order and write a new one in the near future.  Showing that in the trump White House the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.  As trump would say, Sad!

Yesterday, trump was asked a couple of times about the rise in anti-Semitic activities in the country since his election.  He went on to say how he won the election by such a huge margin and that he was not anti-Semitic.  He never said anything about what he would do to stop this rise in anti-Semitic actions.

One of the questioners even premised his question by stating” Our community does not believe you are anti-Semitic” but what are you going to do about the rise in anti-Semitic activity?  Again trump went off on a tantrum about how he is not anti-Semitic.  When the questioner tried to bring him back to the point, he told him to be quiet and kept ranting about how wonderful he was.

This is the second day in a row that trump ducked this issue.  Anti-Semitism actions have risen dramatically since he was elected.  Just in the last two weeks there have been over 48 bomb threats to synagogues and Jewish centers.  That number doubles to over 90 since he was inaugurated.

Is trump ducking the question and issue because he knows it is his supporters who are guilty of these activities?  Is he that afraid that he would lose about half of his “base supporters” if he tells them to “knock it off”.  Since he has a Jewish son-in-law, a Jewish daughter, and Jewish grandchildren, that can be the only answer.  But what does that say to his Jewish family members and why aren’t they saying anything?

Yesterday, several career State Department workers were fired.  They were told that their services were no longer needed.  The people laid off were the department that coordinates between the Sec of State and the various departments.  And, when Netanyahu was visiting, no one from the State Department sat in on the meeting between him and trump.  As a matter of fact, the Under-secretary was scheduled to sit in but the White House staff shut him out.

The Hispanic Congressional Caucus had requested a meeting with ICE officials to discuss the “round ups” taking place.  When the meeting was granted, the Caucus that requested the meeting was shut out.  As usual, the Republicans changed the rules and said it had to be “bipartisan” and the only member of the Caucus let in was their chair person.

But, remember all of these “failures” of diplomacy, ethics, and decorum are not trump’s or the Republicans fault.  It is the fault of the “leakers” and the “media”.  If we didn’t have leakers trump could do whatever he wanted and no one would know.  If it wasn’t for the media, he wouldn’t get caught trying to set up his little dictatorship.

What we saw yesterday was the president of the United States of America stand in front of the American people and whine, complain, and bitch about being “treated unfairly” because he is incompetent.  If he wants praise, why doesn’t he DO SOMETHING for the American people instead of his donor class.  Maybe then someone will say nice things about him.

Yesterday’s press conference was nothing more than a rallying cry to his base to get them fired up to reelect him in 2020.  That is what the “rally” in Florida tomorrow is all about.  Instead of concentrating on doing his job and making life better for ALL Americans, he is starting his 2020 campaign.

I hate to say this, but trump is making Richard Nixon look like an honest upstanding fellow.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

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Day 98. 

“I love WikiLeaks.  Here is another email about Hillary Clinton.  I can’t wait for more information from WikiLeaks.  I love WikiLeaks.”

That was our beloved leader on the campaign trail.  He couldn’t wait for the next “illegal” leak from an organization that breaks the law all over the world.  It is illegal to hack into emails and/or any other cyber systems and WikiLeaks is an organization who does exactly that.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum.  Our beloved leader discovered that leaks can hurt you.  He discovered that leaks can actually make a leader act reasonably.  And, that is beyond the pale for trump.

Our beloved leader has attacked our intelligence agencies because they said they have proof that Russia was behind the hacks during the campaign.  The thing he really hates is that they say Russia hacked our election process in an attempt to sway the election to him.

FALSE – LIES – FAKE NEWS!  That was our beloved leader’s response to this announcement.  He even went so far as to blame some unnamed “400 lb. guy sitting on a bed in his mother’s basement”.  He attacked the intelligence community comparing it to Nazi Germany.

Then, within days of the inauguration, the acting head of the Justice Department told the White House Counsel that the new National Security Advisor had made an improper telephone call to the Russian Ambassador, lied about the call to the Vice President, and was “subject to blackmail from Russia” as a result of his actions.

Three weeks later, Flynn was still on the job.  Only, one night, the press reported on this “story”.  Then the shit hit the fan.  On Monday night Flynn resigned.  Then, the next day, trump’s White House went into spin mode.

The Minister of Propaganda, Sean Spicer said that there was an internal investigation at the White House and the White House Counsel did not find anything illegal about the call.  However Spicer said that the “president asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation because of an erosion of trust over this matter and other issues.”

Of course the media let that “other issues” fly by without swatting it and asking what other issues.  So, as usual, trump’s team got away with another one.  Since then, there have been lots of calls for an independent special investigation into Flynn’s actions and the other part of the report that trump campaign aides had “constant contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign”.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is going to look into the matter.  They don’t seem to be worried about the consequences and are only interested in the truth, “wherever it leads”.  Good for the them.  Only, I hope they don’t keep the whole thing secret so we don’t know what actually happened.  Which is why it is so important to have an independent investigation.

However on the House side we keep hearing nothing but silence.  They seem very willing to just roll over and let trump do whatever he wants.  They don’t think this has anything to do with protecting our national security or our country.

Then yesterday, during a press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu standing next to him he said:

Michael Flynn ― General Flynn ― is a wonderful man. I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases. And I think it’s really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.  I think in addition to that from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked, it’s criminal action. It’s a criminal act and it’s been going on for a long time before me but now it’s really going on. People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton. I think it’s very, very unfair what’s happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated and the documents and papers that were illegally ― I stress that, illegally leaked. Very, very unfair.

So, as you can see, the real problem isn’t that Flynn did something wrong enough for trump to personally ask for his resignation, it is all the fault of the intelligence community and the press.

Hell, Rush Limbaugh the other day even tried to blame President Barak Obama.  It is always the Democrats fault when Republicans break the law and get themselves in trouble.

As a result of this horrible treatment of Flynn, trump is determined to “get to the bottom of all of these leaks”.  He started tweeting, not about the Russia scandal, but against the people who brought it to light.

In one tweet he said:  “Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!”

In another he tweeted:  “The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!”

Falling right in line with their beloved leader, Jason Chaffetz and Bob Goldblatte sent a letter to the Inspector General at the Justice Department demanding an investigation into the – leaks.

It seems probable that the fact that an intelligence agency monitored the call, if it did, as well as any recording of the call, would be classified.  We have serious concerns about the potential inadequate protection of classified information here.

Finally, trump seems ready, according to reports, to investigate and “review” the intelligence community.  And, just to show just how serious he is about getting to the bottom of these leaks, he is willing to appoint a “real professional” to do this investigation and review of the intelligence services.

He decided that the best candidate is none other than Stephen Feinberg.  His credentials to run such an investigation and review?  He is a private equity executive and close ally of our beloved leader.  Needless to say, this has all the earmarks of a political purge of the intelligence community.

Of course that would be step three in dismantling our democracy.  Get the intelligence community to only agree with your worldview and keep them in line so you can control information and make the citizens too dependent upon your propaganda.

Of course we have seen this kind of behavior before.  We saw it with Richard Nixon.  People forget that the people who got caught breaking into the Democratic offices in the Watergate were called the “plumbers”.  Their original goal was to “plug all of the leaks coming out of the White House and other agencies”.  Remember where that got us?

As our adversaries are testing us, like North Korea, Iran and of course Russia, our beloved leader is way too busy trying to consolidate his power over us than dealing with real threats.  He overlooks things of importance and instead fixates on trivial matters that are of his own making.

There have been leaks in our government for as long as we have had a government.  That is almost unavoidable.  The only thing I watch for is if any real “classified” information is released to the public.  That would be illegal and the leaker should be punished.

But, having someone in your administration break the law and be exposed for it is not the same.  If the trump administration wasn’t so secretive, and more transparent, leaks wouldn’t matter that much.  As a matter of fact, leaks wouldn’t even exist.  But when you wrap yourself in secrecy and expect no one to notice what you are doing, leaks are inevitable.

During the campaign, trump “loved” leaks.  As long as they only happened to Clinton.  Now that he is in charge and operating like a dictator, he hates leaks and calls them “illegal”.  Dictators always use double standards.  If something helps them, great.  If the same something hurts them “get the bastards”.

We don’t know just how deep the new “plumbers” will go.  We don’t know just how much they are going to politically purge our intelligence agencies.  We only know that trump had declared war on our intelligence communities and he seems surprised that they aren’t going down without a fight.

The New York Times and the Washington Post seem to be emerging as the “police” on trump’s actions.  That is what an independent press is supposed to do.  They are supposed to investigate and report their findings to the American People.  I say – keep up the good work.

Let us be clear about one thing.  Flynn was apparently caught trying to undermine our government’s policies before he took office.  He was apparently caught trying to appease the Russians by telling them that things would get better and the sanctions would be removed after trump took office.  He apparently lied about the phone calls even to the Vice President Elect.  Then Pence took to the airways to tell the American the lies that Flynn told him.  Then the White House was informed just days after the inauguration about the lies.  It took trump three weeks to ask for Flynn’s resignation, all the while keeping the information from his Vice President.

The American People were told by the administration that Flynn was fired because of an “erosion of trust’ between him and the president.  Now, that very president who claimed he couldn’t “trust” Flynn is blaming the press and leaks for a “political assassination” of Flynn whom he called “a great guy”, the same person just a couple of days ago the president said was “untrustworthy”.

Either Flynn became so untrustworthy that he could no longer work in his position of trust, or he was a victim.  You cannot have it both ways.  Besides, please explain to me how if what he did was not “wrong” or “illegal” did he feel the need to lie about it.

The answer to this is real simple.  This isn’t about Flynn or anything else.  This is all about trump and his ego.  By hiring an untrustworthy person, it casts doubts about his “great leadership”.

We have heard over and over about how this was such a hard thing for trump to do.  Asking for Flynn’s resignation because of his loyalty to those who work or support him.  That is bullshit.  If someone around him casts a bad light on trump, they are gone.  It is that simple.  He will hold off if he thinks it will die down, but he is very willing to throw someone to the dogs to save himself and his ego.

Then, after the scapegoat has been sent out-of-town, he will launch into a tirade on those that exposed his incompetence and the incompetence of those around him.

We have a president who has lived his life based on causing severe distress on others.  He has been richly rewarded rather than being punished over his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy.  Those are not good traits to have when you are supposed to be the leader of the free world.

Only time will tell if “The Plumbers II” will be successful or if it will end in disaster like the prequel did for Nixon.  We can only hope that if it ends in disaster it will not bring down the American People, too.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 96. 

The only question to ask today is “is this the end of the beginning, or is it the beginning of the end?”  I don’t ask that question lightly either.  The problem is that even with Flynn’s resignation, there are still way too many questions about the situation, and how trump handles classified information as well.

Let’s start here.  The Yemen raid was supposedly discussed over dinner.  That in itself isn’t a problem, but who was at the dinner and where it was held is a question.  As I have written before, I do not see any reason why Kushner was present.  Nor do I understand how the president could discuss and then make his decision without a full briefing from the entire security staff in a non-secure space.  Having dinner outside a SCIF to discuss such a raid is very troubling, at least to me.

Then we have what happened over the weekend.  As you probably heard, the Prime Minister of Japan was visiting.  Our beloved leader took him to Mar-a-Lago for a weekend of golf.  While they were having dinner on an outside patio, North Korea launched their missile test.

In another breach of security, the president and the Prime Minister started talking about the launch and their reaction to it at the dinner table.  According to reports, the president’s staff began bringing documents about the launch to the table and other guests were milling around and taking pictures.  There are even pictures of staff holding cell phones to light up the documents so they could read them.

We don’t know what was in the documents, and we probably never will.  I don’t even want to claim that the information was classified, but the optics of just how lackadaisical the president seems to hold such discussions is very troubling.

Then late list night, Mike Flynn resigned his position over the Russia scandal that he started.  I am sure that trump and his team will consider the matter closed.  But it is not closed and we the people cannot let it end with Flynn’s resignation.

There was something very odd about his letter of resignation.  It wasn’t what he said in the letter, it was what he did not say.  In his letter he wrote:

Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.

He admits that he misled the Vice President Elect.  However, he does not admit that he misled the president-elect.  That is a glaring omission to me.  If you are resigning because you lied to your boss, why didn’t you mention his name in your letter?  If I were Pence, today I would be demanding and explanation from trump about that omission!

This all means that there are way too many questions about this whole mess that still need to be answered.  As we discussed, “What did the President know and when did he know it?”  Additionally, why did the president take so long to do something about this?  We never heard anything from trump about this matter right up to Flynn’s resignation, except a lie when he sad “I didn’t see that report”.

According to our intelligence communities, Flynn also had contact with the Russians during the campaign.  That is extremely troubling.  Especially when you consider the fact that our intelligence agencies say Russia was behind the hacks during the campaign and that Russia was trying to influence the election in trump’s favor.

So, was Flynn and/or trump actually coordinating the campaign with Putin and the Russians?  Was there any illegal activity between the two parties during the election?  If there was any coordination, then there were a whole bunch of laws broken.

Then we have the fact that Flynn talked to the Russian Ambassador about the sanctions that the Obama Administration was going to impose on Russia over the election interference.  I am sorry, but I do not believe that trump did not know about the phone calls.  I can’t even say I believe that trump did not order the phone calls.

Furthermore, it was also reported last night that Sally Yates, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Justice warned the White House about Flynn.  According to the report, she said that Flynn was “compromised and could be subject to blackmail from Russia.”  She gave the warning last month.  With that information in hand, the White House did nothing!

Then, Yates said she believed the travel ban that trump ordered was not constitutional and would not defend it.  Right after that, trump fired her.  Question – Was she fired due to her not defending a law she considered unconstitutional or because she ratted out Flynn?

And, who are the ones crying the most about Flynn’s resignation?  The Russians!  There have been some very interesting tweets from Russian lawmakers about what they are calling “Flynn’s Retirement”.  One even said he was forced out because of “Russophobia”.

This mess has become so bad, I have to wonder if we can trust trump or anyone in his administration on anything?  What makes them think that the American People are so stupid as to not see through the veil they are trying to place over everything.

Our beloved leader is a disaster when it comes to national security.  He keeps saying that his travel ban and his round up of undocumented immigrants are all designed to “keep America safe”.  Yet, when you look at the overall picture, you will discover that the biggest threat to our country’s safety and security is our beloved leader.

We now have a president who really believes that he is above the law.  He believes that we, the American People will just fold up our tents and follow him wherever he decides to lead us.  That became very apparent when one of his top advisers, Miller, said on national TV that the president’s orders are “unquestionable”.

The media and other pundits keep saying that the administration just doesn’t know what they are saying.  They try to give us the impression that they are just getting their feet under themselves.  That they are learning a real tough job on the job.

Do not believe this bullshit!  THE ADMINISTRATION KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT IT IS DOING!  Their campaign against the media and the judicial system has only one goal.  Make people distrust those institutions so they can ignore the media and the courts and just do what they want.

The whole process behind their methods is to establish an authoritarian government.  Our beloved leader does not want to have to deal with a court system that challenges his unconstitutional actions.  He does not want a media that tells the people what lies are being forced down their throats.  He does not want a Congress who will stop his agenda.

He explained everything very well during the campaign.  He said:  “ONLY I CAN FIX OUR PROBLEMS”.  Once the election was over, he started taking steps to do just that.  He began taking steps to make it possible for him to make all decisions and do whatever he wants because he wants to be dictator.

Congress needs to act on the mess.  They need to investigate just what the hell happened and who knew what and when.  This is way too big for normal committee to investigate.  We need a Special Committee with a Special Prosecutor to get to the bottom of this sink hole.

Yesterday was only the fourth Monday of the trump presidency.  And, in that short four weeks, we already have a potential constitutional crisis like we haven’t had in about 50 years.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat or Republican.  I don’t care if you are a conservative or a liberal.  You can not close your eyes to this potential explosive mess that was created by trump and his administration.

We cannot accept any more excuses.  We cannot keep explaining away these breaches in protocol or security.  Our president is a disaster and he needs to start explaining himself.

If you are willing to accept Flynn’s resignation and let the matter go, then you cannot call yourself a patriot!  Patriots don’t sit around and let a president establish his authoritarian government without screaming back, NO YOU DON’T!

Are you listening Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell?  Our president ran his campaign on fear and hate.  He is running his presidency on fear and hate.  He keeps talking about “security” as something behind all of his actions.  But, his actions have either been unlawful or inhumane.  Is that the kind of president you really want in the Oval Office?

This is not being limited to just “national security” matters either.  Our entire government is under threat.  The Justice Department has already cancelled a case involving LGBT rights.  They have put on hold other cases about voting rights and abortion rights.

If you are concerned about anything special, it will be under attack in the near future by this administration.  Even “conservative” ideas since trump is not really conservative.

I warn you.  Be very concerned with any administration that claims that everything they do is in the name of “national security”.  That is just a cover to sidestep the constitution and the laws.

Remember the warning from Benjamin Franklin.  “If you are willing to give up some freedoms for security, you will soon discover that you have neither”.  We are being forced by our president to make that choice today.

If you read this and think I am pissed off, you are right.  This is not the America I served, and not the America I want my grandchildren to grow up in.  All things begin at the top.  I do not believe Flynn acted alone.  I believe trump knew what he was doing.  I don’t know for sure, which is why we need the investigations.  We need to find out the truth.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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Day 93.

The Washington Post has a story that claims there is evidence that Michael Flynn, trump’s National Intelligence Advisor had several phone calls and text messages with the Russian Ambassador and they “did talk about the sanctions on Russia based on the Russian interference with our elections.  I put the emphasis because of what will follow.

As you remember, Flynn denied that when he called the Russian Ambassador in December, he did not talk about the sanctions.  Vice President Pence said in January that Flynn did not talk to the Ambassador about the sanctions.  Sean Spicer also said, more than once, that Flynn did not talk about the sanctions.

Countries, including ours, have a tendency to monitor calls made to the Ambassador to a country they consider an opponent.  That is common.  According to the report, they have recordings that Flynn did in fact talk about the sanctions in December.

A brief recap of the report goes something like this.  According to Intelligence officials, a total of nine from different agencies, this came about because when the sanctions and order for several Russian Officials to leave the country was announced, there was no push back from Russia.  Everyone expected Russia to retaliate against the U.S. by expelling our Officials from Russia.  As a matter of fact, Putin announced two days later that he would not retaliate.

That caused red flags to be raised in our intelligence community and the White House.  So, intelligence officials began searching the records of the monitored calls and discovered that Flynn made the comments to the Russian Ambassador that basically said “don’t worry about the sanctions, once we take office we will take another look at it”.

It was also discovered that there were several text message and phone calls between Flynn and the Ambassador at the time the announcement was being made about the new sanctions.  It was further reported that Flynn had continuous conversations with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign as well.  That raises other questions which we will talk about in a little bit.

Democrats are calling for Flynn to be fired.  That would be the easy way out.  I don’t want him just fired, I want a Special Congressional Investigation into the whole mess.  And here is why that is necessary.

If these reports are true, and there is no reason to believe they aren’t, especially since Flynn now says he can’t remember if the sanctions were discussed or not after a full month of denying they were discussed.

Let us begin at the beginning.  During the campaign the DNC and Podesta had their systems hacked.  Shortly after that, WikiLeaks started leaking emails from the DNC and Podesta that were unflattering to Hillary Clinton.

We also have to remember that trump publicly suggested that Russia hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails as well.  That shortly after the intelligence agencies started laying the blame for the hack at the door step of Russia and Putin.

Trump kept denying that Russia was the culprit.  He kept saying no one knows who did the hacking.  He claimed it could be Russia or China or some 400 lb. guy sitting on a bed in his mother’s basement.

Even when the evidence kept mounting and every intelligence agency said they were certain that Russia was behind the hacks, trump kept deflecting the hack away from Russia.

He kept talking about starting over with Russia and claimed that Putin was a “far stronger leader than President Obama”.  When the agencies claimed that Russia was definitely behind the hacks, and that they were trying to influence the election in favor of trump, he went ballistic.  He called our intelligence agencies awful clowns and were acting like they would in Nazi Germany.

A war broke out between trump and our intelligence agencies.  All because they said Russia was trying to help trump get elected.  That was a slap in the face of trump.  At no time did anyone say that Russia succeeded or had actually influenced the election, nor did anyone claim that made the election invalid.  But trump claimed that was what they were saying. Even Mike Pence joined trump in his admonishment about the hacking being Russia and saying there was no proof.

There were some other very curious coincidences.  The trump campaign seemed to have talking points for the campaign that were almost word for word from leaked emails before the emails were leaked.  Where did they get that information?  One has to ask the question if the campaign was somehow working with or getting information from Russia during the campaign?

All the while, Republicans leadership in the Congress remained silent.  Even when some members like McCain suggested we needed an investigation into the hacking, they balked at that idea.  A couple of committees have said they plan to hold an investigation, but there has been no timeline announced yet as to when they will start.

As a retired military man, I was appalled when I saw Flynn in Russia to give a speech to RT, the government-owned television station, and sitting next to Putin, shortly after he was fired from the DIA.  Yes, he was a private citizen when he was there, but as they say, “come on man”.  A retired general who just left the DIA sitting next to Putin at a dinner the general was going to give a speech to in Russia?”  In my opinion, that should never have happened.  Shortly after that, Flynn joined the trump team to help get him elected.  Coincidence?

Now we see this report from the Washington Post hat while in transition, Flynn basically tried to undermine the sitting President by calling the Russian Ambassador telling him to ignore the sanctions because trump will probably change them after he gets in office.

This mess is turning out to be too much like Watergate.  What did the President know and when did he know it?  Did Flynn lie to Pence, or did Pence lie to the press to cover up Flynn’s actions?  Did trump know that Flynn made the calls?  It is hard to believe that he didn’t know since he micromanages everything going on around him.

You also have to wonder about a very puzzling response from trump to a question about this.  Today, on Air Force One, he was asked for a response to the report about Flynn.  He said “what report”?  When told again, he said “I haven’t seen it.  I will look into it”.

Say What?  This story had been out for 24 hours before he was asked about it.  This cable news junkie and tweeter about what he considers bad stories in the press “didn’t see it”?  I find that extremely hard to believe.

This whole mess needs to be investigated.  The Republicans in Congress need to establish a Special Committee complete with a Special Prosecutor to oversee it, to investigate the whole thing.  There are way too many questions that need answers.  They need to try to figure out if the trump campaign was working with Russia during the election.  If they were, did trump actually know and/or order the cooperation?

Once the election was over did trump order or was he informed about Flynn’s continuous contacts with the Russian Ambassador?  Did he know or order Flynn to bring up the sanctions and tell Russia not to worry about them?

Who else in the campaign knew about all of this?  Did Bannon, Pence, and/or Conway know about any of this?  How deep did it go?  Here is a big question to ask our officials, and I don’t know the answer, if trump and his campaign did cooperate with Russia to influence the election, what then?  These are the questions that need to be asked, and need to be answered.

I do not know and I am not saying these stories are true.  But, I do believe that there is enough circumstantial evidence to investigate the situation.  This cannot be a partisan issue either.  Both sides of the aisle and every citizen of this country deserves nothing less.

If these reports are true, we can only hope that Flynn was a rogue agent acting on his own.  If not and others in the campaign were involved, it would create a constitutional crisis we haven’t seen since Watergate.  I don’t even know how many laws they broke.  If the report is false or inaccurate, we need to know that too.

This is something that can no longer be swept under the rug.  This MUST be investigated and we need to find out if the reports are true or not.  If they are true, then we need to know who was involved.  Our country and our democracy depends on the outcome of that investigation.

In my opinion, we have seen too many instances of this administration ignoring ethics, truth, and the law.  If these reports are true, then heads must roll regardless of who they belong to.

This is one time that we need to call our Representatives and Senators and demand they investigate this matter.  If they ignore us, they will be telling us they don’t care about the law or the constitution either.  Call or email your Representative and Senators and demand an impartial investigation now!

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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Day 70

We are now seeing just why Republicans have been so worried about having ethics watchdogs hanging over their heads.  Now, I am fully aware that there are some Democrats who follow the same lack of ethics in office, but it is the Republicans who are trying to do away with the ethics groups in government.

Rep. Chavetz and the incoming administration’s Cabinet Picks are showing why getting rid of ethics watchdogs are so important.  They don’t have any ethics and they are damned proud of that fact.

First we have Chaffetz who has been screaming at the top of his lunges that OGE Director Shaub “blew off a meeting with him” in December.  Problem, emails that were released yesterday through the Freedom of Information Act, proves beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was in fact Chavetz who blew off the meeting.

Those emails were not just from the OGE, but from Chaffetz’ office as well.  In the last one, Chaffetz own person told Shaub that Mr. Chaffetz was backlogged and was trying to “get home” which is why he missed the meeting.

This unethical, lying buffoon is the  chairman of the House Oversight Committee to top it all off.  Instead of threatening to close the OGE because Chaffetz didn’t like Shaub’s comments about Trump’s non-divestment from his businesses, they should look at shutting down the Oversight Committee.  Or, at the very least replace this liar from his chair on the committee.

Then we have the case of Wilbur Ross who is the nominee to head up the Commerce Department.  He came out and said that last month he fired a household employee because that person couldn’t produce a valid driver’s license and Social Security Card.  He claims that he did produce what appeared to be the same documents when he hired him.

He is saying that he “unknowingly” hired an undocumented immigrant.  Of course, if he had used E-Verify, he would have discovered the discrepancy when he hired the person in the first place.  When other nominees had similar problems, Republicans said at the time that ignorance was no excuse and they pulled their names from nomination.  Not so for Ross.  He is being given a pass.

There is the nomination to head up the Budget Office, Mick Mulvaney who did not pay employer taxes for his employees for years.  The final bill was over $15,000.  Again, when other nominees were found out doing the exact same thing, they were disqualified.  Republicans don’t think this is a big deal for Mulvaney.

Then, of course, is Tom Price.  He is the nominee to head up Health and Human Services.  His problems come from stocks.  Seems Mr. Price purchased stocks just before he introduced legislation that would help that company’s stock prices rise.

You can quibble about how much money was involved in that one deal or the many other stock purchases he made.  The real question comes in when you look at what he was and what extra jobs he had.

When this first came out a few days ago, the Trump team put out a statement that read:

Dr. Price’s Morgan Stanley financial advisor designed his portfolio and directed all trades in the account.  Pursuant to the arrangement with Morgan Stanley, the financial advisor, and not Dr. Price, has the discretion to decide which securities to buy and sell in his account.

Here we go again with another lie.  During his testimony, Price admitted that Morgan Stanley’s financial advisor was told by him to purchase the stock and did not do so on their own.  The company in question makes hip replacement parts.  Exactly six days after purchasing the stock, Price introduced legislation that would eliminate regulations on that particular industry.  Can you say “conflict of interest?”

It turns out that Price has a lot of medical company stocks.  At first glance, the idea of a doctor purchasing medical equipment stock may not seem all that horrible.  But, this is also a man who served on a committee that was responsible to regulate the health care industry.  Additionally, even if he wasn’t on that committee, he would have to vote on legislation affecting his stock.

Senator Murray questioned Price on whether he thought it was appropriate for members of Congress to be trading stocks that could benefit from legislation under consideration, adding that the 21st Century Cures Act had numerous provisions that would benefit Innate Immunotherapeutics, the company Price purchased his stocks in after Rep. Collins told him about the company.  Collins was a board member of the company at the time.

“Do you believe it is appropriate for a senior member of Congress actively involved in policy making in the health sector to repeatedly personally invest in a drug company that could benefit from those actions?” Murray asked. “Yes or no?”

“That’s not what happened,” Price said.  Sorry doctor, that is exactly what happened.  Why didn’t you divest your health industry stocks to avoid any possible conflicts of interest?  Because you wanted to be able to influence your stock’s worth with laws and lack of regulations that you personally introduced.  In other words, you are a crook.

As I said, ethics hold no meaning for these people.  They are even proud of the fact they have no ethics.  So much so that they want to kill all of the ethical watchdogs in Washington that could call them out for their actions.

The amount of money involved is neither here or there.  The simple fact that a sitting member of congress is willing to take advantage of their position for any personal gain is repugnant at best, and criminal at worst.

These aren’t the only people nominated by Trump with potential ethical problems.  Don’t forget Mr. Mnunchin who ran a bank known as the “foreclosure machine”.  He once foreclosed on a home for an elderly lady over 24 cents.  And, Trump wants him to be the Treasury secretary.

Trump has promised to “drain the swamp”.  If this is his idea of draining the swamp, please stop.  After screaming about the evils of Goldman Sachs, he has placed six Goldman Sachs executives into his administration.

He has offered up the most unethical cabinet nominees in a very long time if not history.  There is the real possibility that we are going to see a whole host of “Teapot Dome” scandals follow his administration if these people are confirmed.  And, with Republican repugnance to ethics on full display, they most surely will get confirmed.

By the time Trump takes his oath of office tomorrow, he won’t be able to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House without wading boots.  The swamp is overflowing right into the heart of our capital.

This is what happens when “businessmen” are selected to run the country.  The only thing they are interested in is running more money into their own pockets.  Take for example the Facebook ad that says Trump wants to invite you to the inauguration for “free”.

It is a scam to raise money.  If you click on the RSVP button, you don’t get an RSVP response, you are taken to a page where you can buy a Commerative Inauguration License Plate for $30.  If you want to go to the inauguration, you can go for free anyway.

Raising money for the inauguration is fine as long as you are up front about it and not trying to scam the people.  This is an open and blatant scam to raise money, but we don’t know where exactly that money is headed.  Another con from the conman!

Money in politics is very bad as we can see.  But, it isn’t just the money in contributions to campaigns, it is the money these scoundrels make everyday right under our noses because of their “secrecy” protections.

But don’t worry, Trump has promised us more “military parades” so you don’t have to think about their lack of ethics.  You can be proud of the military parades just like they are in Russia and other authoritarian countries around the world.

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Day 29

“I know more about ISIS than the Generals do.  Believe me.”  “The Generals have been reduced to rubble.”  “The Generals leading our military are losers.”

Those are just three direct quotes from our Slanderer In Chief (SIC), Donald Trump during the campaign.  I have decided to start calling him by his real title since he can’t help but slander people who say things against him like he did the other day with the Union Leader at Carrier.

So, now that he is filling out his cabinet who is he appointing to key positions?  Generals.  Why would anyone who thinks that our Generals are losers want them on his team?  Why would anyone who thinks he knows more than they do place them in positions that deal directly with our security?

I cannot say I know any of the three Generals so far named to his administration,.  However, I do know people who worked for Flynn and they absolutely hate the man.  It says something to me when the next President picks a conspiracy theorist as his Intelligence Director.  I thought that position required someone with actual intelligence.

A lot of people are concerned about the “over militarization” of the cabinet.  Especially in the positions they are being earmarked to fill.  There is a lot of concern about Mattis being the Secretary of Defense.  Our Constitution says that the military is to be under “civilian” control.  A retired four star General isn’t exactly what most people consider as “civilian”.  But, considering some of his other picks so far, Mattis may be the only adult in the room.

Now it is being reported that our SIC is going to announce his third General to head up the  Department of Homeland Security.  That choice is General John Kelly.

I don’t know a lot about Kelly except that our SIC picked him because he was in charge of U.S. Southern Command which includes Latin America.  Other than that, he really has no experience heading up a department of 22 different agencies including law enforcement, transportation security, and the Coast Guard.

If you are wondering how good of a job he will do, you are not alone.  I share your concerns.  Back in 2002 Retired Adm. James Loy was named by George W. Bush to head up the TSA.  I was very involved in security management at the time and was a member of ASIS International.  That group along with others offered suggestions as to how to best handle security at airports.

Unfortunately for all of us, we weren’t listened to very much.  Adm. Loy was a fine Coast Guard Officer, but unfortunately, I don’t think he did a very good job at TSA.

The problem comes from one simple fact.  Running a military organization is totally different from running a civilian organization.  In the military we sort of live in our own world.  We have our own criminal justice system.  We have our own rules.  We even have less “freedoms” than our civilian counterparts.

When a military leader attempts to head up a civilian organization, the military way just doesn’t work very well.  I believe that was the biggest hinderance to Adm. Loy succeeding better at TSA.

Should our SIC decide to start rounding up “illegals” and deporting them,  Kelly is the one who will be responsible to do so.  If our SIC orders that stupid wall of his to be build, it will be Kelly who will have to do it.

Problem is that he already stated that the wall probably won’t work.  And, he knows little to nothing about the legal implications of rounding millions of people for deportation.

I cannot remember a time in my lifetime when so many Generals were being selected to head up important cabinet posts.  Even President Eisenhower didn’t have as many Generals on his payroll as our SIC is going to have.

Then again, no one worried about Eisenhower establishing a militarized government either.  We cannot say that about our SIC.  If you want to militarize the government the best way is to put military people in top positions.  Especially if you believe the military would follow them even if they were breaking the law.

Our SIC has made some god-awful choices for filling out his cabinet.  I cannot say that Mattis and Kelly fall into that category.  Only time will tell.

It is going to be interesting though watching the infighting after our SIC takes office.  I wonder if our SIC knows that when appointing so many retired Generals, rank does matter to these people.  Flynn who will have the closest spot to our SIC’s ear is the junior officer of the three.

That could make for some interesting fights.  It will be interesting if the other two “pull rank” on Flynn when it comes to final decisions.  I bet Flynn comes up with some wild conspiracy theory about how Mattis and Kelly will be “out to get me”.

This could all be comical if it wasn’t so serious.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust our SIC.  Nor am I thrilled with his choices for his cabinet so far.  As a veteran, I really do fear for the future of our country under this clown.  I hope I am wrong for all of our sake.

 

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Day 28

It may be apropos that December 7, 2016 was the day that Time Magazine named Donald Trump as their “Person of the Year”.  I say that on purpose.  78 years ago the “person of the year” on Time’s cover was Adolph Hitler.  One year later, that same person of the year invaded Poland and began World War II.

Then, 75 years ago today, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor which drew our country into World War II.  At the time of Hitler’s naming, he had just finished the Munich deal.  He had already taken over Austria.  And, he had already passed the Nuremberg Laws that made Jews non-citizens in Germany.

Time has said that the person they name as their “person of the year” is the one who has had the most effect on history and the news whether it is for the good or bad.  Just Like Hitler, Donald Trump said “I am honored to be named as Time’s person of the year”.

This is the man who will be our next president.  He has advocated for the deportation of millions of people from the country because he considers them “illegals”.  He has said Muslims should be banned from immigrating to our country.  And, he has said that there should probably be a “registry” for all American Muslims.  Sound familiar?

World War II was the most deadly conflict in the world’s history.  It is estimated that somewhere between 50 and 70 million people were killed during the war.

It was also the time when America interred Japanese Americans for the duration of the war.  It was a dark chapter in our history.  There was no reason other than pure racism that said all “Japs couldn’t be trusted not to be spies”.  Sound familiar?

To justify the Muslim ban and the Muslim registry, Trump supporters are actually pointing to this illegal internment of U.S. citizens simply because of their race and/or heritage as the precedent.

Even as their families were forced to live in these internment camps, thousands of Japanese Americans fought in World War II in our military.  Today, we have thousands of Muslims serving in our military.  Sound familiar?

My father told me that he and his father were at a Bears football game on December 7, 1941.  When the attack of Pearl Harbor was announced, about half the stadium left.  Chicago was a huge Navy town at the time.

A year later my father enlisted in the Navy and served in the See Bees.  He fought in the pacific theater.  His generation went to war to defend our country after the surprise attack.  They went to war to defend democracy from fascism and totalitarianism.

In the end, our side came out on top.  Our side won the war.  But, during the war, and even before our country was totally involved, our citizens were not told about the hundreds of dead sailors that washed up on our shores on the East Coast.  They were victims of the U-Boat war.

After the war was over, Japanese were allowed to leave the internment camps.  Only in many cases, their homes were no longer theirs.  Many found others living in their homes and they would not leave.  Sound familiar?  Most Jews returned to their homes at the end of the war in Europe and found out they no longer owned their homes.

Before and after Hitler took power in Germany many civilians were attacked and beaten for being Jewish or communist.  Many others were beaten because they weren’t Nazis.  Today before and after the election we have civilians being attacked and threatened by Trump supporters because they are Muslim.  Sound familiar?

Tom Brokaw wrote a book about my father’s generation.  He called them “the greatest generation” because of the sacrifices they made during the worst war in history.  75 years ago today thousands of those men lost their lives in a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

But, even as these brave men went off to war, we had internment camps being set up for Japanese Americans just because they were Japanese.  We had African-Americans serving in “segregated” divisions.  We were not perfect by any stretch.

Yet, since that war we have seen civil rights grow to include all citizens.  African-Americans finally got the right to vote everywhere with the Voting Rights Bill.  Businesses were no longer allowed to discriminate against people based on race because of the Civil rights Bill.

We have seen women gain the ability to be protected and not discriminated against because they are women.  And, this year, we have seen the Supreme Court rule that same-sex marriage is legal.

Still, today we are seeing “conservative” run states try to roll back these civil rights.  The Supreme Court basically gutted the Voting Rights Bill which opened up a series of voter suppression bills in Republican controlled states.

We are seeing Republican Controlled states try to roll back Roe V. Wade with anti-abortion bills that will make it virtually impossible for women who wish to exercise their right to an abortion not be able to have one.

We see Republican controlled states passing anti-LGBT laws that reduces their rights to human dignity and protects anyone who wishes to discriminate against them simply because they are LGBT.

During World War II, Germany committed the atrocity of genocide in the holocaust.  They murdered 11 million people in concentration camps and gas chambers.  6 million of them were Jews.  The other 7 million included some prisoners of war, especially Polish and Russian, homosexuals, physically handicapped, mentally handicapped, and political prisoners.

Today we remember Pearl Harbor.  I also remembered my father who fought in that horrible conflict.  But, I also think about what happened then and what is happening today.

At that time the most horrific things done to people were done overseas.  Today I wonder what our near future holds in my country.  My father served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War.  I served 20 years in the Coast Guard entering during the Vietnam War.  My youngest son served in the Marines and served in Iraq.

With what is going on during this transition, I wonder and worry what my country will look like a year from now.  To me, the similarities between the 1938 Time Person of the Year and the 2016 Time Person of the Year seem too close.

You must also remember that Stalin was also named Person of the Year by Time in 1939 and 1942.  Stalin was no better than Hitler.  He murdered millions of his own people in purges.  The Person of the Year is the person who dominates the news for good or bad.

We know what Hitler and Stalin did after being named Person of the Year.  We can only wait and watch what Trump will do.  But as I said earlier, if we fail to remember history, we are doomed to relive it.  Let’s hope we don’t relive it under Trump.

 

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