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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Day 105. 

I think it is time to discuss the Republican lie about “states rights”.  According to Republicans, especially conservatives, that whatever they want as law should be “up to the states to decide”.

This came up again yesterday when trump rolled-back the transgender rule for schools about which bathroom and shower they should be allowed to use.  The order said that children should be allowed to use the bathroom and shower based on their actual gender and not what is necessarily on the birth certificate.

Yesterday, after months of saying he supports LGBT rights, he rescinded this rule.  there is some confusion over the order in that of all people Betsy DeVos was originally against the order.  Sessions reportedly pressured her because he needed the Education Department to back it.  It was also reported that trump pressured her as well, and in the end she caved.

We knew this was coming because the day before, Sessions’ Justice Department told the courts they would no longer support the rule in the courts.  Then, in typical fashion, they all said “this is something better left to the states to decide”.

I have always found it dangerous the way Republicans use “states rights” so selectively.  This stupidity goes back a long way.  We had a Civil War over the issue of slavery.  Yet, today, the south still says that it was fought over “states rights”.  Only, the only “states rights” that they fought over was the right to keep slaves.

So, even if you buy their lie about it fought over “states rights” they still lost the war.  Yet, conservatives and especially today’s Republican Party keep trotting out the “states rights” claim for anything they don’t agree with.

However, the only things that seem to fall under “states rights” are laws that affect the civil rights of people across the country.  This same cry of “states rights” was the crux to the Jim Crow laws that discriminated against African-Americans for so many years.

Other topics that seem to fall under their “states rights” cry are things that affect all people, but may hurt profits of certain businesses.  Like clean air and water.

To name just a few, here are some of the things that Republicans want the states to decide.  Jim Crow Laws, Same-Sex Marriage, Abortion Rights, Bathroom Rights for Transgenders, Voting Rights, Clean Air Regulations, Clean Water Regulations.

These are just some of the issues covered by their lie.  If you look at all of these issues you will discover that the laws affect all parts of the country, not just a particular state.

The Jim Crow laws were so strict, that an African-Americans who were riding on a train from the north in was forced to leave the coach they were sitting in and go to sit in the “colored coach” when the train crossed into a southern state.  That even included service members during World War Two.

Same-sex marriage is another one that affects everyone.  If a gay couple in New York get married and need to move to another state that does not recognize same-sex marriages because of their job, they could lose their married status for taxes and health coverage.

Abortion rights is really convoluted.  Under Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court that women have a constitutional right to have a  “safe and legal abortion”.  Republican controlled states hate that idea.  They want to change the law in their states, claiming “states rights”.

The other oddity in this is that these same Republicans say that the ACA put the government between you and your doctor and that is the biggest reason it needs to be repealed.  Yet they are very willing to get between a woman and her doctor if comes to abortion or birth control.

They also cry about “religious beliefs” and say it is okay to discriminate against same-sex couples trying to get married based on the business’ “religious beliefs.  Yet they want to deny “religious beliefs” for women who want an abortion whose “religious beliefs” disagree with their viewpoint on the issue.

Many states have passed what they call Photo ID laws.  In order to vote, you need to show a Photo ID.  However, in order to make sure that only the right people have Photo IDs, they do some odd things.  They close all of the DMV offices in certain areas that are mostly populated by African-Americans and Latinos.  They reduce the number of early voting stations to one in heavily African-American and Latino areas while opening more polls in less populated areas but are mostly white.

Here in the Soviet State of North Carolina, they actually did research on the types of Photo IDs that minorities usually have.  Then they said those photo IDs were not acceptable.  The courts caught them on that issue and said they acted with “surgical precision” to restrict minority voting rights.

Our current Head of the EPA says that only states should have the right to pass clean air and water regulations.  He says that only states know what effect these regulations have on “business”.  He doesn’t seem to think that the dirty air from his state will drift over other states.  That isn’t his problem.

On the other hand, they won’t cry “states rights” if a law goes against what they want.  Just look at the gun rights issues.  When a state, like Maryland, passes a law banning assault weapons and large capacity ammo, these same “states rights” liars run to court calling the law “unconstitutional”.

Under the Constitution, the states do have rights.  However, the same Constitution says that the Federal Laws supersede state laws.  Meaning if the Federal government passes a civil rights law, the states cannot ignore it under the guise of “states rights”.

We are a nation.  Yes, it is made up of several states.  And, the states have a right to determine most of their laws.  However, since we are a “nation” we cannot have 50 different laws dealing with simple human and civil rights.  As a nation, we need to ensure that all citizens regardless of their zip code have the same human and civil rights.

We must protect our minorities from the excesses of the majority.  We must make sure that civil rights don’t end just because a couple or person is required or chooses to move from one state to another.  We cannot live in a country where one state can pollute the air of their neighbors.  We cannot live in a country where one state can pollute the drinking water of another state.

The unfortunate thing about this is that “states rights” has become code words for “legal discrimination”.  It has no other meaning the way Republicans try using it.  The only time you hear them cry “states rights” is when they pass a law that makes discrimination legal in their state.

Civil rights are protected under our Constitution.  Sates do not have the right to change those rights in their state.  They do not have the right to legally discriminate against any minority group.

Rescinding this order will allow more bullying in schools.  It will allow more attacks against LGBT students.  It will make our schools less safe.  And, it targets children the most.  And, it is all in the name of “states rights” not in the name of “civil rights”.  To use trump’s own words, the first time that a transgender student is attacked in a bathroom or locker room, you can place the blame and the blood at trump’s door.

It is the primary responsibility of the president to protect people and their rights.  It is especially his responsibility to protect our children.  He has just failed “bigly” under the false claim of “states rights”.

Disgusting!

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 91. 

This evening the ninth circuit court of appeals said no to our beloved leader.  They said that the government did not show any imminent harm if the stay on his Muslim Ban were not lifted.  But, it went way beyond just that.  It went into civics 101 lessons to our beloved leader.  Though I doubt that he will read the lesson plan or act on it.

The first argument that the government tried top use was that the court had no right to review an order that was based on national security.  The court answered that by saying:

There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.

he court also said that the Trump administration pointed to “no evidence” showing a need for the executive order.  During the argument segment the other day, the court was almost pleading with the government to give any evidence that there was a good reason for this ban on these seven countries.  The government did not give any evidence.

Even if the evidence was classified, there is no reason that the court should not have been given that evidence because there are rules for the court to seal the evidence and not allow it to become public.  This kind of action has happened more times than I can count.

That argument came up when the government asserted that the courts do not have any classified information that could affect the case.  As the court pointed out, rightly, in their ruling that was not a good reason because there was nothing that prevented the government to show the court any such evidence.  A government lawyer should have know that simple fact.

So the court said that the government could not show a reason for this particular travel ban based on evidence.  In essence they were questioning the government why these seven countries and not others were in this ban.  I read that as saying there has to be a “need” to place a ban like this in place, and the government couldn’t show one.

The one argument that the government tried to use was so stupid, even I as a non-lawyer would never try to use it.  They argued that the portion of the ban that kept out “legal residents with green cards” should not be considered because the counsel to the President said in a memo that would not be enforced.

The reason I said it was “like really stupid” is that portion of the order is still in the executive order.  Even the court said basically the same thing.  They told the government that the order had not been changed, and with the changing interpretations of the order since it was signed, the court could not be sure that it would not be enforced once the government got its way.

These are only a few lessons the court tried to give our beloved leader and his administration.  Of course trump wasn’t pleased.  He tweeted almost immediately after the ruling:  “See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake.”  Of course to show his displeasure he tweeted in all caps to show he was yelling at the court.

This ruling does not kill the ban.  It merely keeps the stay holding it in limbo in place.  The administration now has to decide who to handle the next step.  They could run to the Supreme Court to try to get the stay overruled, but there is no guaranty they will get what they want.  They could ask the full Ninth Circuit of Appeals to rehear the case.  Or, it go just go ahead and go back to the District Court and try the case on its merits.

Some are saying that trump could swallow his pride, fat chance, and pull the executive order and rewrite it to pass constitutional muster.  The problem with that is there is already too much out there in print and on tape that basically says it was intended to be a Muslim ban which is unconstitutional.

One final step he can take is to sit down with members of congress from both sides of the aisle and come up with a bi-partisan plan to really make our country safe.  But, don’t hold your breath on that either.  He is more interested in “winning” and getting his way instead of doing what is best for the country.  He is acting more like a stupid “super jock” and this is just kind of sick game.

In another effort to put down the judicial system he called the ruling “political”.  The only thing political about this ban was the simple fact that he blew it because he was more interested in feeding his base more red meat against Muslims than in actually doing something reasonable.

The order did not go through the normal channels to make sure it was constitutional.  They did not use any legal expertise to write the order.  They allowed political strategists to overrule legal experts in the wording.

It was a total disaster from the beginning and it should never have been signed or implemented.  This is what you get when a power hungry moron tries to put his name in the headlines.

Then again, what do you expect when the White House staff is only about 10 percent full.  The staff usually has about 400 people working to help the president.  Today there are about 40.  There are reports of nothing but empty desks in the West Wing.  He has no one to ask for advice that knows anything because he hasn’t hired them yet.

All of this chaos is starting to show just how bad things really are.  There is a new PPP Poll coming out that gives very low favorability rating to our beloved leader. If I remember it correctly over 50 percent believe this ban was intended to be a ban on Muslims.  Over 60 percent said they do not want a Muslim Ban.

We have had presidents who were very very good.  We have had presidents who were very good.  We have had presidents who have been average.  We have had presidents who were very bad.  And we had some presidents who were very very bad.

The problem we are facing with this president is that he is exceeding the very very bad presidents with such poor performance and we are only three weeks into his presidency.  Some might argue that it can only get better.  But, the evidence of his past performances is that it is more likely to get even worse.  That puts our country in a very bad place.

My personal opinion is that trump does not respect the law.  He does not respect the other branches of government.  He does not respect the constitution.  He does not respect our democracy.  He does not respect the American People.  He only is interested in donald trump and no one else.  He wants total power, and he will keep doing what he has been doing in order to try to get that power.

It just shows that the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 90. 

Another day, another mess.  Yesterday we saw some things that were expected and some things that were not expected.  We expected the most unqualified person ever to be nominated to a cabinet position get confirmed.  We saw VP Pence do his beloved leader’s bidding by casting the deciding vote for DeVos as Secretary of Education.

We saw Sen. Elizabeth Warren censored in the Senate for a debate over Sessions nomination for Attorney General.  Her crime was that she read a letter from Loretta Scott King about Sessions that she wrote in 1996 when Sessions was denied confirmation to a Judge position.

According to McConnell, that letter apparently was impugning Sessions by Warren and he asked that she be shut up.  The “impugning” words were not even Warren’s.  They were the words of Loretta Scott King.  McConnell must believe that a letter that is part of the congressional record already from a dead person has no merit.  So, he shut up Sen. Warren.

We saw trump’s bogus list of terrorist attacks that were “under-covered” by the media.  The list came straight from InfoWars.  When Kellyanne Conway was asked why trump hasn’t said anything about the murders by a white supremacist at a Mosque in Ottawa, she answered:  “he doesn’t tweet about everything”.  Especially when it is a white person attacking Muslims.

Additionally, Sean Spicer has been hawking the Atlanta Terrorist Attack to help justify the ban.  Only problem is that there has never been an Atlanta Terrorist Attack, just like there was never a Bowling Green massacre.

Then we have our beloved leader lying to a group of Sheriffs about the murder rate.  He called it the highest in 47 years, which is a bare-faced lie.  The murder rate in our country is really very low.  As a matter of fact, it is lower than when Saint Ronald Reagan was President in the 1980s.

But, as I said these were pretty much expected incidents.  Republicans will do anything to make sure the most racist Attorney General we have had in a very long time is approved.  We knew that the imbecile but very generous donor to Republican Senators got confirmed.  And we knew that trump would open his mouth which means a lie is inevitable.

Here is the unexpected part that no one is talking about.  Yesterday and over the weekend, our beloved leader told his newly appointed Secretary of State and newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security they are both incompetent.

It began with his tweets and ended with his words.  He said that because of the stay on his ban “some really bad people are going to rush to this country so they can kill Americans”.  That means one of two things.  Either trump does not understand the visa program of our country, or he believes that his two newly appointed Secretaries and their entire staffs are incompetent.

If someone wants to come to our country, with some exceptions, they need a visa.  The exceptions are for people from certain countries like members of the EU and Canada, Mexico and some others.  If you live in one of those countries and want to visit us for vacation, you don’t need a visa.

However, the rest of the world does need a visa.  Including every single country listed on trump’s Muslim travel ban.  That means if a person in say Iran who wants to visit the U.S. who has not already been vetted and holds a visa must go through the vetting process before getting a visa for the visit.  Even if it is for just a few days.

And, since that person is coming from an area of the world that already requires “extreme vetting”, that will take a very long time to get the visa.  So, I ask how can a terrorist suddenly decide to “rush” to our country before the ban is put back in place, if it ever is?

Is our beloved leader saying that you don’t need a visa to visit our country?  Is our beloved leader saying that neither the State Department nor Homeland Security nor the host of other agencies involved in vetting are competent?  Just what is our beloved leader saying?

We keep hearing from him that we need “extreme vetting” for immigrants and refugees.  He has never defined exactly what “extreme vetting” is.  He has never said what we are already doing is bad and what is good.  He has never said what parts of our current vetting process needs fixing.

It takes at least 18 months and up to 36 months for a refugee to get vetted to the point where access to our country is granted.  From what I have heard from people outside the country, it can take at least a year to get a temporary visa just to come here on vacation.  I don’t know, it sounds pretty extreme to me.

Since trump is a world traveler, I am sure he understands visa requirements.  That means his complaint about all those “bad people” rushing to our shores is because his department heads are incompetent.  Why else would he say such things?

This whole mess amounts to one thing.  I do not believe that the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security are incompetent.  Nor do I believe for one minute that the staffs at those two departments are incompetent.  What I do believe is that trump is using his rhetoric as another scare tactic in order to ban Muslims from coming her at all.

I believe that these seven countries were just trial balloons to determine the public’s stomach for discrimination.  I also believe that more countries will be added as time goes by.  I further believe that if trump does not have any business dealings in your Muslim country, you will end up on the ban list as well.

But, the outcry from the general public was way too unexpected by trump and his team of haters.  They suddenly realized that the American People as a whole are not racist or anti-Muslim.  The found out that the American People are fair and honest and charitable people.  They found out that Americans are open to helping the oppressed.

That means the fear meter needs to be ratcheted up.  That means more lies and more scare tactics must be used even if it throws members of your own administration under the bus for the sake of raising fear.

Raising that fear even means making up terrorist attacks that never happened like the Bowling Green massacre and then complain that they were never covered.  Or, using a made up terrorist attack asking “what do we say to the families affected by the terrorist attack in Atlanta?”  Hey, fear is fear and that is all that counts in trump’s world.

I don’t know how the courts will rule on the ban.  I don’t know if the appeals court will keep the stay in place, cancel it, or modify it in some way.  All I know is that trump will not stop his hate and fear campaign.  He intends to follow Bannon’s advice and ban all Muslims from the country.  It is just a matter of time and a matter of how.

The one thing we can take from this incident is that trump is willing to blame everyone and anyone for his mistakes and his wrong-doings.  Even his newly appointed Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security.

Why would anyone want to work for this maniac?  Our beloved leader’s definition of “loyalty” is to keep you mouth shut when you are in his crosshairs.  Both of these Secretaries seem to have learned that lesson very early in their terms.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 89. 

Today the Muslim ban executive order will get a hearing in an appeals court.  This hearing isn’t really about whether or not it is legal or unconstitutional, it is about whether or not it should remain on hold until the legality of it is determined.

Also, Betsy Devos will get her vote to head up the one Department she has absolutely no qualifications to head, the Education Department, other than giving over $200 million to Republican lawmakers in the past.  It looks like she will get her nomination approved because Mike Pence will have to cast the “tie breaker” vote and he won’t go against his beloved leader.

After his rambling incoherent speech yesterday at CentCom, the administration put out a list of terrorist attacks that were never covered by the media to prove they are “hiding” things.  The list includes many of the hugely covered attacks, and the best part is the list originated on that bastion of integrity and news reports InfoWars.

It also turns out that every attack that is listed on the list has been covered.  Maybe not a headline buster because of their location or number of people, but I read something about everyone of them.

Speaking of not being reported.  There is a story that none of the major media outlets are talking about.  This one story shows exactly just how unqualified trump’s intelligence advisors really are.  It shows them to be totally amateurish at best, and too interested in Russia News media at worst.

Since you have probably not heard about this one, let me give you a little background.  When the old Soviet Union broke up, a country known as Belarus became independent again.  They have a President named Alexander Lukashenko.  Actually, he is more of a dictator than a president, but anyway.

He has been in power since 1996 which is when Russia and Belarus settled on their border agreement.  That border was basically open between the two countries.  However, when the U.S. placed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine invasion, Putin announced that Russia would not accept any food from the U.S.

He even ran a media campaign showing how they were burning and running food over with tanks.  That included his outrage about Belarus accepting food from the U.S. so he went in and took it for his media campaign too.

A few years ago, Putin approached Lukashenko with the idea of establishing a Russian Military base inside Belarus.  Lukashenko refused and said he did not want Russian Troops inside his country.

That prompted Putin to use Sputnik, a state-run media outlet, to ramp up pressure on Lukashenko.  Sputnik ran a story that Belarus was “begging Russia for Arms and Men to ward off an upcoming invasion of Belarus from Poland”.  If you don’t know where Belarus is it is a landlocked country wedged in between Poland and Russia, with Lithuania and Latvia to the north and Ukraine to the south.

You also need to know that when the Leninist took over Russia, Belarus was also known as White Russia.  That is where the civil war between the Red Russians and White Russians basically began.  Belarus acts as a “buffer” between Poland and Russia.

As you probably know from history, Poland is very afraid of Russia.  The two countries have had very difficult times between them and it was also in Poland where the breakup of the old Soviet Union began.

Late last year the U.S. began sending troops into Eastern Poland complete with tanks because of the Russian incursions on NATO countries.  Eastern Europe are mostly NATO members now, and we were showing Russia that we would uphold our NATO alliance against them.

Now things have gotten even a bit worse.  Lukashenko decided that he wanted more western visitors to his country.  So, he announced that people from 80 countries including the EU and the U.S. will no longer be required to have a visa for any visit up to five days.

You read that right.  If you were wanting to visit Belarus and you are going to stay for no more than five days, you won’t need a visa to visit the country.  Needless to say, Putin’s head exploded.  The last thing he wants is to have any EU or U.S. citizens wandering around his border with Belarus.

Almost immediately after the visa order was announced, Putin announced that he was going to “militarize” the border with Belarus.  Barbed wiring went up, and Russian soldiers were questioning everyone at the border.

As a result, Belarus’ leader Lukashenko is upset by the Russian Moves.  As the Financial Times reported:

Russia and Belarus share a border under a 1996 deal that set up a commonwealth known as the Union State. But Russian border guards this week set-up checkpoints at crossings into Belarus in response to Mr Lukashenko’s decision to introduce five-day visa waivers for citizens of 79 countries, including the US and EU member states.

“These tensions are happening because people in Russia are concerned that Belarus will move towards the west,” Mr Lukashenko said at an annual press conference in Minsk, the capital.

“As president I’m not supposed to play games or show my hand, because there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t see or hear and don’t need to know,” he added.

The comments by Mr. Lukashenko, often described as Europe’s last dictator, highlighted growing tensions between Moscow and Minsk over Belarus’s balancing act between east and west.

So, that is the background.  And, I am sure you are wondering what this has to do with trump.  Well, it goes like this.  All the while this was going on, Russia has broken the ease-fire in Ukraine.  Their surrogates have attacked a Ukraine city in Eastern Ukraine.  You would think that trump and his advisors would be concerned about this and want more intelligence on the matter.

But, you would be wrong.  The Associated Press reported the other day that trump senior aides aren’t too interested in Ukraine.  Julie Pace the Associated Press’ correspondent to the White House tweeted on February 4:

Also eyebrow raising: senior aides requesting info on Polish incursions into Belarus, which don’t appear to exist

That is right ladies and gentlemen.  The trump White House is looking for information that relates to Polish incursions into Belarus which has never happened!  I wonder exactly where these aides got their information?  There has been no story or any reports from any media anywhere in the world talking about Polish incursions into Belarus except in Sputnik, Russia’s state-run media.

According to the Associate Press:

“According to one U.S. official, national security aides have sought information about Polish incursions in Belarus, an eyebrow-raising request because little evidence of such activities appears to exist. Poland is among the Eastern European nations worried about Trump’s friendlier tone on Russia.”

Here we go folks.  We have U.S. troops located inside Eastern Poland to help protect that ally from Putin and his aggression.  And, our current administration wants information on Russian made up information about Poland’s incursion into Belarus.

The odd thing is that Lukashenko has never said a thing about being worried about Poland invading his country.  He has never said a thing about any incursions from Poland into Belarus.  Lukashenko dos not want Russian bases inside his country, and is not “begging” Putin to save him from that military juggernaut Poland.

I mean, why would Poland or any other Eastern European NATO ally be afraid that trump won’t honor the alliance?  He only called it out of date and that he might only defend those members who have “paid their fair share”.  So, Poland is very nervous about Putin and Russia and I don’t blame them.

But instead of worrying about and talking about the Ukraine and the problems Putin has caused there, they are looking for non-existent information about a non-existent issue.

So, like me you might be asking “what the hell is going on in the White House?”  Just who ordered this inquiry about information concerning the non-existent Polish incursions into Belarus?

But, the other questions you should be asking is just who does the trump administration really represent?  Are they just stupid pawns of Putin, or are they actively cooperating with Putin so he can rebuild his “empire” like the old Soviet Union?

The first shows their incompetence and the second would show treasonous activity.  I don’t like either option.  One will get us into more wars and the second will destroy our country.

Serial liar Kellyanne Conway once said not to listen to trump’s words, but watch his actions and listen to what is in his heart.  She may be right.  This issue shows exactly where trump’s heart is.  And, it isn’t with the United States Of America, it is with Putin and his Russia.

This also shows that if you just listen to trump’s bombastic outbursts you will miss the real goal behind the curtain.  We have a fake person sitting in the Oval Office.  He needs to be watched very closely or else we all lose.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 85. 

We are facing a lot of problems with our new president.  We are also facing a new president who believes that he was elected to be our dictator.  He has bullied our closest allies and sent loving kisses to our biggest adversary.

The main problem is that too much of our media is letting him get away with his “alternative facts” and seem to be afraid to challenge him and his supporters when they openly lie to the American people.

We have had several judges put stays on the executive order enforcing the Muslim Ban.  Yet, there are reports coming out of airports that Customs officials are secretly defying these lawful orders.  There are reports that people are continuing to be detained in violation of court orders.

We have lawyers at the airports saying openly that Customs is still not allowing them to speak to the detainees until after they have been released.  That is also a violation of several of these court orders.  Yet, the American people isn’t hearing about these contempt of court incidents because they at not getting the press they deserve.

Virginia has asked a court to force Customs to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for disobeying the court orders.  Customs has not upheld the LA court order stating that people in foreign airports cannot be kept from boarding planes.  The airport security at those airports are still blocking them from getting on planes to the U.S. claiming they are “following CBP orders”.  Meaning CBP is again disregarding the court order.

It is extremely difficult to find out just how many detainees there are because CPB won’t provide anyone that information.  It has gotten so bad, that even someone with a diplomatic passport, and was the former Prime Minister of Norway, was rounded up at the airport the other day because some Customs official saw a stamp from Iran 3 years ago.

Kjell Magne Bondevik the former Prime Minister of Norway said that when he landed at Dulles Airport, he was put in a room with Muslims from the Middle-east and told to wait.  After 40 minutes, he was questioned about his stamp that said he visited Iran in 2014.

His passport clearly states that he is a “former Prime Minister of Norway” and it is clearly marked as a diplomatic passport.  Take note that this happened on Tuesday.  Days after all of the court orders placing a stay on the executive order were issued.  In case you are wondering, he came to this country to attend yesterday’s “Prayer Breakfast” that trump attended.  How diplomatic of the trump administration.

The most egregious act of spreading “alternative facts” came last night on Hardball with Chris Matthews.  I don’t understand why, but Chris Matthews seems to fall all over himself trying not to upset Kellyanne Conway.  That was very apparent last night.

Conway appeared on Matthews show about the Presidency and Power which was part of his college tour.  When discussing the Muslim Ban, Conway offered this up as an excuse why t was so necessary.

I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.  Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.

She is right.  The American People would have learned about it for the first time last night, and this massacre was never covered simply because IT NEVER HAPPENED!  With that huge lie just sitting there screaming to be hit out of the park, Matthews let it slide and did not confront Ms. Liar with any facts.  Mr. Hardball wilted again.

The facts about this are simple.  Two Iraqi refugees were living in Bowling Green, KY when ABC News heard rumors about their activities in Iraq.  They wrote about those rumors.  That prompted the FBI to look into the matter.

They found the two’s fingerprints on IEDs that were used in attacks against our troops in Iraq.  They were also found to be sending money to Al Qaeda in Iraq to help them get more IEDs to attack troops in Iraq.

The two were indicted and convicted of crimes and are now in jail.  There was never a massacre in Bowling Green that wasn’t covered by the media.  This morning Conway tweeted that she meant to say “two terrorists living in Bowling Green” which is another lie.  She clearly stated that we didn’t know about this horrible massacre because it wasn’t covered by that awful press.

Secondly, there was no six month ban on Iraqis after that incident in 2011.  President Obama ordered a review of the vetting process of Iraqi citizens before they were allowed to immigrate here.  He DID NOT PLACE A BAN on Iraqi immigration like Conway and trump want you to believe.

They are also saying that the seven countries were named as terrorist sponsors by the Obama administration so even they knew the dangers.  What the Obama administration said was that with terrorism in those countries and the civil wars raging in most of those countries, they considered them dangerous.  As a result, they issued travel warnings to Americans traveling to those countries.

Conway used this argument last night too, and Matthews let it drop without any pushback.  The sharpest question last night came from a student.  She asked that if Christians from the seven counties were being allowed exemptions to the ban, doesn’t that place a religious test on people, and isn’t religious tests unconstitutional?  The trump supporter on the panel hid his head and would not speak up in defense.

Again, Matthews did not bring that up as a major point and try to get an explanation about it.  Nor, during his interview with Conway did he bring up a similar question.  He simply allowed her to put out her “alternative facts”.

Chris Matthews tries to act like he is a tough customer who won’t let people get away with not answering his questions.  Sometimes he does a good job at it.  However, recently he seems to be reluctant to keep that same “Hardball” technique he claims to use all of the time.  That is a problem.

If people like Matthews who calls his show “Hardball” won’t use hardball questions and challenge lies when they come up, how can we expect other reporters to do it.

As a result, the media has wilted under the pressure of the trump administration.  We have a president who spreads lies as if they were facts.  He insults our friends and allies all the while blowing kisses to Vladimir Putin.  He makes awkward and veiled threats against countries which is extremely dangerous.  He even has former Prime Ministers from allied countries held and questioned even when traveling on Diplomatic Passports.

And, the press lets him get away with it more and more.  Instead of headlining these dangers to our democracy, they headline his feud with Schwarzenegger about ratings on the Apprentice.  I guess that isn’t too controversial for our “investigative reporters”.

I hate to paint the press with broad strokes like this.  There are a handful of real reporters out there, but they are too few and too far apart, and they don’t the coverage they deserve.

Our beloved leader and his surrogates are leading us down the primrose path towards authoritarian government and our illustrious media is letting him get away with it.

To steal and change the words of a Simon and Garfunkel song “Where have you gone Edward R. Murrow?  Our lonely nations turns its lonely eyes to you.”  Will anyone in the national press with the high visibility show the guts and integrity of Edward R. Murrow or will they continue to bow down to our new dictator?

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 83.

A lot of things happened again yesterday, and not many of them were good for the country.  The biggest news should have been the nominee for the Supreme Court.  Neil Gorsuch was named as the nominee.  There will be plenty of time to get into this pick, but I am not going to say a lot today.  I need to review his record more before making serious comments.

However, from what I have researched so far, if you like the idea of a religious state, and allowing discrimination against anyone who does not share your narrow views of religion, you will love Gorsuch.  Some people are calling him Scalia 2.0.  But, at first glance he is even worse than Scalia when it comes to civil liberties for every citizen.

As I said, we will have more on Gorsuch as time goes on.  I need more research on his record so I am going to take my time on this matter.  Though I will say that since the only real “vetting” of him was from the right-wing Federalists, it doesn’t look good if you love all of our freedoms.

There was other news that we cannot stop looking just because trump nominated someone for SCOTUS.  The nomination was supposed to take place tomorrow, but his weekend was so bad with his unconstitutional executive order, he needed to change the subject and hope we wouldn’t notice the rest of the shit happening.

The Dissent Chain memo at the State Department now has about 1,000 signatures on it.  It was first reported that 100 employees were going to sign it, but that number rose significantly and more people are reportedly eager to sign it as well.

That will place all of these people in trump’s crosshairs.  They are risking their careers to show dissent against the immigration order.  Yes, it is true that in State, this dissent channel is supposed to “protect” employees who express dissent, but with trump and his henchmen in charge, there is nothing to stop him from trying to “get them”.

Then we have the problem of the nominations for HHS and Treasury.  Yesterday, the Democrats on the finance Committee boycotted the hearing that was supposed to vote on these two nominations.  They boycotted because the day before, reports and evidence said that both Price and Mnuchin lied to the committee in their hearings.

Democrats wanted them to be recalled to explain their lies.  Republicans hated the idea and did nothing except complain about Democrats using the same tactics they used in 2013 in a hearing for the EPA Secretary.  Oh, yeah, Republicans boycotted a hearing trying to get their way.

Only Democrats did not do what Republicans did today.  In an effort to show their support for their dictator in waiting, Republicans changed the rules for the committee that said they didn’t need any Democrats to attend to form a quorum.

As a result of this rule change, both were approved by Republicans on the committee by a 14 – 0 vote.  Republicans have no problem that nominees for their dictator lied to the committee.  That just shows Republican values, I guess.

Also yesterday, Betsy DeVos was approved by her committee to be voted on in the Senate to tear apart our public education system.  It was a total party-line vote and we can see the end of public education in the works.

The actions taken by Republicans on these three nominations show clearly that Republicans do not give a shit about the American people or what they want.  There is more pushback on these three nominees than any others with the possible exception of Jeff Sessions.

DeVos is totally unqualified to head up the Department of Education, and the other two were caught is bare-faced lies to the committee.  Yet, Republicans don’t care about qualifications or honesty.  They only care about pleasing their beloved leader.

This is the exact type of behavior we expect from a dictatorship.  If you can’t get what you want quickly through the normal rules, change them and do whatever you want anyway.  Democrats wanted more information on these two liars, and Republicans did not even talk to them about how to resolve the situation.

Yes, it is true that they would have probably been approved by the committee anyway, but the American People have a right to know if the people being placed in positions of authority in our government have even an ounce of integrity.

Republicans don’t seem to believe the same thing.  They seem to believe that if the nominee is appointed by a Republican, nothing else is required.  This also shows just how much and how quickly Senate Republicans are willing to change decorum and integrity of the Senate.  They only care about power, and now that they have a little bit of it, they are going to ram through whatever they want, the American people and our democracy be damned.

If you take a look at the SCOTUS nominee, what is going to keep McConnell from changing the 60 vote threshold for this nominee to be approved?  The filibuster is a tool that allows the minority to have a say in governing.  Without the filibuster, the majority can ram through anything without any problem.  That is true regardless of which party is in control.

The nominee for SCOTUS is far more serious than even the Appeals Courts judges.  SCOTUS is the final court.  There is no appeal to a Supreme Court decision.  If you claim to really love the Constitution, then you should be more in favor of centrist judges who will look at each law individually not ideologues who will make their mind up before the case is even heard.

The filibuster and the 60-vote threshold on SCOTUS nominees are intended to help make that possible.  They are intended to help keep the court independent of ideologues who want to dominate the rest of the country with their views.

The real frightening part of the rules change in the Finance Committee is that Republicans have shown that they only care about their agenda.  They are willing to destroy the very fabric of our government just to please their beloved leader.

Republicans have been very quiet about the executive order banning Muslims, except to say it “wasn’t rolled out very well.”  They have been very quiet about spending billions of dollars building our Berlin Wall on the Mexican border.  They have been quick to complain that Democrats have used some of the very tactics they used in their hatred of President Obama to “obstruct” him at every turn.

They have shown with their action in the Finance Committee they are not interested in cooperation with the other party.  They are not interested in bi-partisanship between the two parties.  They are not interested in what is good for America.  They are only interested in their authority and their power grab.

What they don’t understand is that once trump gets his dictatorial powers, they will also become “surplus to requirements”.  Our president came into office with the clear intent to establish an authoritarian government with him having all of the power.  Republicans in Congress are more than happy to give him exactly what he wants.

I am not even sure that the upcoming battle over the nominee to SCOTUS is even worth fighting.  If trump doesn’t like what the court says, he isn’t likely to follow it anyway.  That became clear over the weekend when courts across the country said detainees at airports were supposed to be allowed to speak to lawyers and CBP refused to let them anyway.

The administration has said over and over that trump won because many people wanted change.  That is true.  But, I don’t think the majority of Americans thought that change meant destroying our democracy.  They are beginning to discover that is what their votes will get them.  The real question is when and if trump voters will realize their mistake and join the resistance to his authoritarian desire?

Until they do, the shirts keep marching along.

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