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Archive for the ‘Environment’ 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Yesterday, after months of saying he supports LGBT rights, he rescinded this rule.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 99.

car2

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 97. 

We are coming to the end of the fourth week of the trump administration.  And, what have we gotten in those four weeks?  From where I sit, we have gotten nothing but chaos, lies, and miserable leadership.  There seems to be no limit to the depravity of the trump administration.

The problem is that the Republican Party, especially those in the Senate and House seem to be willing to go along with this depravity if it gets them something as well.

During the last four years of the Obama administration, we couldn’t count the number of investigations held by the Republican Controlled Congress.  I am not even going to talk about whether or not they were valid.  But, with one of the biggest potential Constitutional crisis looming, Republicans in their controlled Congress don’t seem to willing to investigate their own.

Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul on Kilmeade and Friends on Fox said he doesn’t think this warrants an investigation.  He seems to think the president did everything that needs to be done.  But, he went even further.  He said:

I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party.  We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do like repealing Obamacare if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.

It would appear that Paul only believes in “investigation after investigation” only if it involves Democrats.  It makes you wonder just where the true heart of Republicans is.  Is it with the American people or is it with the party.  If it is with the party, then they should all be fired.

Then let’s look at three “roll-backs” of “burdensome” regulations that Republicans are rushing through Congress.  The very first one was to repeal the prohibition of coal mines from dumping waste from their mines into streams and rivers, even if those waters provide drinking water for people.  This tells me that they are more interested in saving coal mine owners money over providing clean drinking water for people.  Party over the country.

The second was signed yesterday by our beloved leader.  This rule involved the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and involved energy companies, like oil companies.  This regulation was in connection with the Dodd-Frank bill that is intended to make sure we don’t go through another 2008 meltdown of our economy.

This order required energy companies to disclose their foreign investments.  Meaning their profits, their taxes, and any “payments” they may have made to get the deal to a foreign country.  Yes, as you can see that is a real burden on the profits of the energy companies and keeping them from hiring lots of Americans into new jobs.  And, who was the number one opponent of this rule when it was first talked about?  Rex Tillerson, head of Exxon/Mobile and the current Secretary of State.  Another case of party over the country.

The Senate today is set to vote on another repeal bill that the House already passed.  This one is really needed because it really takes away freedoms from every single person in the country.

This is the Executive Order that President Obama issued that makes the Social Security Administration provide information to the national background database on people collecting Social Security Disability because they are so mentally ill they cannot take care of their own affairs.  According to this order, if you are so mentally incapacitated you are not allowed to cash your Social Security Check and need someone else to handle your affairs, you should not be able to buy a gun.

Republicans, the true lobbying arm of the NRA cried foul!  How dare the government say that a mentally impaired person can’t buy a gun!  This is a total outrage and it needs to be overridden as soon as possible.

Forget that every time some white guy shoots up a bunch of people they say it was just someone with mental problems.  That doesn’t matter.  The mentally impaired should all be armed.  How else can we protect the right of every American to be shot and killed by a mentally impaired person?  A third case of party over country.

These are the types of things that Republicans are so interested in.  And in each case, their donor class are the ones who benefit, not the American people.  Then, when something like this mess about the administration and Russia come to light, they don’t think any real independent investigation into the matter is necessary.

What Republicans want is for the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate this mess.  Why?  Because that way they can keep the whole investigation secret.  Without transparency during the investigation they can say anything they want at the end and no one would know.

The reason is because the Intelligence Committee always deals with classified material.  That way they can hide behind “national security” and not let the American People know if this is something critical or not.  Another step to show party over the country.

Some of these questions could be answered if trump would just release his tax returns.  Many of the questions surrounding this mess is whether or not trump is being so nice to Putin and Russia simply because of personal business dealings.  I didn’t know this, but there is apparently a way that Congress could order the IRS to release trump’s tax returns, and Democrats introduced that the other day.  Republicans very quickly killed the idea.

Trump surrogates all over the country are pounding their chests and saying what a wonderful job our beloved leader is doing.  Only, we don’t know what he is doing.  We don’t know what “response” we can expect against North Korea for test firing their missile on Saturday night.  We don’t know what “response” we can expect against Russia for violating international treaty by deploying cruise missiles.

Those two things seem to not be as interesting to our beloved leader than figuring out those leaks from the White House or calling the national press “fake news” to protect himself and his minions.

Our adversaries are testing this new administration and our beloved leader is too busy tweeting insults against his domestic opponents and not taking care of our country.  And, Republicans in Congress are letting him get away with this simple case of incompetence.  As usual, today’s Republican Party is only interested in party and not the country.

Just ask Paul Ryan.  He says they shouldn’t be wasting their time investigating members of their own party.  If their party’s president is shredding the constitution and ignoring adversaries, that’s okay.  It isn’t the Republican’s problem.  Party above all else!

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 95. 

During the campaign, our beloved leader showed a complete disregard for just what a nuclear war could unleash.  He once asked about nukes “Why do we have them if we aren’t going to use them?”  He also said more than once that he believes that countries like Japan and Saudi Arabia should develop their own nukes.

Of course the trump apologists said that he was just be sarcastic, ironic, or comedic.  We are supposed to believe that trump is really afraid of nukes, even though he told Putin just last week that the New Start Treaty was a bad treaty even though he didn’t even know what it said.

Then we have Mr. Alt-Right Steve Bannon.  There have been reports from various sources that he believes that we live in apocalyptic times and that war with either Iran or China, or both, are inevitable.  Those are very serious comments if they are true, especially coming from the man who has the most influence on our beloved leader.

But, before you really begin to worry, you better understand that they are not alone.  They have members in their Republican Politburo in Congress who think the same things.  The two most vocal supporters of this fantasy are Sen.Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.

You may remember Cotton who last week introduced legislation to reduce “legal immigration” to half of what is now allowed.  And, his plan hits non-European countries the hardest.  Meaning, he only wants white people to be allowed into America.

So, Cotton, apparently not knowing a damn thing about nuclear war introduced another stupid bill, S332.  To help out his fellow moron, Wilson introduced a companion bill in the House.

These two bills effect an organization with the long name of Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.  If you don’t know, here is the story of the group.  Between 1994 and 1996 the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was hammered out.

The treaty was signed by 183 countries and subsequently 164 ratified it, including nuclear powers France, Russia, and the United Kingdom.  However, in 1999 the Republican controlled Senate refused to ratify the treaty along with other countries like Israel, India, Pakistan, China, and North Korea.

Since then India, Pakistan and North Korea have violated the test ban treaty.  The U.S. has held by its pledge to not test nuclear weapons.  Despite not being fully ratified, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization went ahead with their activities of monitoring nuclear tests.  They get the funding from almost every country including the U.S despite the fact we haven’t ratified the treaty.

This organization does nothing but monitor the world for nuclear tests.  They have a world-wide organization of 337 nuclear monitoring stations.  The commission explains on its website:

The ban makes it very difficult for countries to develop nuclear bombs for the first time, or for countries that already have them, to make more powerful bombs.  It also prevents the huge damage caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions to humans, animals and plants.

Here is something to consider about the program.  China’s warheads are heavy enough that they cannot put very many of them on their missiles according to experts.  China would need additional nuclear testing to develop a lighter warhead.  If it were free to test and thus develop lighter warheads, China would have the potential to field more, perhaps significantly more, warheads without expanding its current missile force.

As a result, a fully ratified Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is in the best interests of the U.S.  Even in the absence of full ratification, so is the norm against testing nuclear weapons.  I don’t think that anyone with a normal thinking brain would disagree with that idea.

This brings us back to Cotton, Wilson and Trump.  The bills introduced by Cotton and Wilson would defund America’s contribution to the commission.  Of course this prohibition of contributing to the fund will have a huge impact on balancing the budget.  See, our country contributes a whopping $30 million annually.  Geeze what a waste.

Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists in New York City, told The Daily Beast.

Any move by the United States toward reducing commitment to the CTBT or resuming nuclear testing would without doubt trigger similar actions in other nuclear weapon states.  Such a development would undermine U.S. national security and international efforts to restrain nuclear weapons development.

To show his utter ignorance on this matter, Wilson said:

Congress never ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, so it is only logical that we should no longer fund the preparatory commission for its implementation,  This bill will leave in place only the funding for the international monitoring system aspect of the preparatory commission—which improves our global nuclear detection capability.  Nuclear deterrence is a critical part of protecting American families, and this legislation protects that capability.

There you have it.  He is claiming that the commission obviously does other things than test monitoring, and that we are only cutting those additional funds.  Except the commission only conducts nuclear test monitoring.  Which means if you eliminate funding for this commission, you will be defunding the monitoring the commission does.  That is a great way Cotton and Wilson will be helping protect American families.

To put it better Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey said:

The international monitoring system that’s part of the [test-ban organization] feeds back into an international data center.  So they’re not going to fund the people who read the computer screens when the data comes in?

Lewis believes that Cotton and Wilson’s bill is, in part, a thinly veiled attack on the pro-ban United Nations, another institution trump has attacked. He said:

Can you imagine hating the U.N. so much that you’re willing to kick yourself in your own nuts?  This is madness.

If Lewis understood the current Republican Party, he would understand that is exactly what the party is about.  Madness!

Ever since the end of World War II, the world has lived on the edge of a possible nuclear war.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis we came extremely close to fulfilling that fear.  Since the 1970s we have worked with Russia and other countries to limit the number of nuclear weapons on the planet.  We understood that unleashing a nuclear war would be the end of our planet.

Now, we have a beloved leader and a Republican Congress that seems hell-bent on unleashing the very thing we have all wanted to avoid.  It begins with little steps.  Like defunding the global organization whose only function is to monitor nuclear testing to keep other countries from getting the weapons.

Once that happens, and other countries begin testing nuclear weapons, we can pound our chest and say we need to start testing again to get better weapons ourselves.  In essence we would get what trump told Morning Joe once “let it be an arms race”.

But, remember, it isn’t just trump and his regime that wants this.  They are getting help from Republicans in Congress.   As I have said more than once, trump is not the only problem we have in this country.  The Republican Controlled Congress is just as dangerous as trump.  That is really frightening.

And, 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 84.

Those are the words that best describes our new president.  Not to mention ignorant and clownish.  This evaluation comes from a few things that has taken place over the weekend and yesterday.  Besides the Muslim Ban he imposed, trump has made a complete ass of himself on three other occasions.

One came when he had another phone call with the President of Mexico,.  It was reported that trump told him that if he doesn’t “take care of his bad hombres, maybe the US would go down there to take care of them”.

What a brazenly stupid thing to say.  Our president is threatening another country’s president with an invasion to “deal with their bad hombres”?  The meaning was clear since he had also added that the Mexican military “was scared of those bad hombres, but ours isn’t”.

Then there was the phone call with the Australian Prime Minister.  Please take note that in all of the conflicts and wars we have fought since the start of World War II, Australia has been the one country that has fought by our side.  They have been our staunchest ally.

Yet, trump doesn’t care about those facts.  The talk centered around the agreement we have with Australia.  There are about 3000 immigrants being held in a camp by Australia.  Our country has agreed to take in 1250 of those immigrants “after they have been properly vetted.”

Our president doesn’t like that plan at all.  He told PM Turnbull “I don’t want these people”.  He even kept saying the number was 2000 instead of the 1250 that was agreed to.  He did say that it was “my intention” to honor the agreement.  Of course that leaves wiggle room for him to back out.

According to reports, when Turnbull tried to turn to other topics, trump said “this is the worst phone call yet” and ended the one hour call after 25 minutes.  To show what a real diplomat does in such situations, when Turnbull was asked about the call, all he said was:  “These conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately.  If you see reports of them, I’m not going to add to them.”

The worst came yesterday.  During a press briefing, Spicer brought out Michael Flynn who said that Iran was a bad player.  He ended his part of the briefing by saying:  “we are officially putting Iran on notice” for what he called a provocation.

This all came about because Iran on Saturday test fired a medium range ballistic missile.  The administration said it was a violation of the Nuclear Deal which trump hates, and a violation of a UN resolution.  Additionally, Houthi militants, who are Iran backed, launched an attack on a Saudi naval vessel off the coast of Yemen.

So, we have now “put Iran on notice”.  But, no one said what that notice means.  We have heard things like more sanctions, which trump and his new Secretary of State don’t think are worth placing since they only hurt American businesses, to military intervention and just about anything in between.

I think it might be wise if someone in trump’s bubble of ignorance remind the beloved leader that Iran has two main allies.  The first in China and the second is Russia.  You know, trump’s good buddy Putin is a full on backer of Iran.

If Russia and China had not backed the nuclear deal with Iran, it would never have been concluded.  Yet, trump and his bubble of idiots are threatening their ally.  Does anyone in the White House think anything through?  Or, more importantly do any of them have a brain cell that is alive?

Three U.S. officials briefed reporters on the matter.  They said:

We are in the process of evaluating the strategic options and the framework for how we want to approach these issues.  We do not want to be premature or rash or take any action that would foreclose options or unnecessarily contribute to a negative response.

Our beloved leader ran his campaign crying about foreign wars like the one in Iraq, but now he is apparently looking to start one with Iran.  And, don’t think that is out of the question either.

As late as November 2015 his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, said that it was inevitable that we would be in a war with China over the South China Sea and that our major enemy was Islam and we would be in another serious shooting war in the Middle-East.

This is the same man who trump illegally named as a permanent member of the National Security Council.  Yes, I said illegally named to the Council.  But, only Congress can stop it.

According to Title 50 of the U.S. Code, Section of 3012, which established the National Security Council, it “shall be composed of” the president; the vice president; the secretaries of state, defense, and energy; and “the secretaries and undersecretaries of other executive departments and of the military departments, when appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at his pleasure”.

As you can see there is no mention of a Chief Strategist being on the Council.  In other words, if trump wants his chief strategist on the Council, the Senate would have to “advise and consent” the selection.  Meaning they would have to approve it.

Yes, there is a lot of talk about President Obama’s people “sitting in some of the meetings”, but they sat in the back with the aides of the members and were not “permanent members” of the Council.  Plus, they kept their mouths shut and did not help make policy.  There is a huge difference no matter how you cut the semantics.

With all of this going on, it is very easy to see that a war with Iran is very possible.  And, if that happens, what makes anyone think that China and Russia will sit it out?

Plus, I find it very coincidental that at the same time Russian backed rebels in the Ukraine have renewed fighting in violation of the ceasefire.  If I were someone like Alex Jones at InfoWars, I might suggest that trump promised his lover Putin the Ukraine and Georgia if he gave us Iran.  I’m not saying that because I don’t know and don’t make false accusations like Alex Jones or trump.

Yet, even if that were true, that doesn’t stop China from getting involved.  But, with Bannon saying we will “inevitably” be at war with China within the next 10 years, they probably don’t care if China tries to help Iran.

This just shows us that the belief that trump is totally unqualified to be our president is factual.  He has tried to bully our Congress to get his way.  He starts fights with our allies and friends. He makes threats against countries like Iran.  He has a “chief strategist” who seems to believe that wars are fun and you shouldn’t pass up on a good one.  Especially if it can be classified as another Crusades against the barbarian Muslims whom he hates above all.

The current administration is extreme, bellicose, reckless, and very dangerous.  In just the last five days trump has insulted one of our closest allies, threatened to invade another country in Mexico, and “put Iran on notice” without any definition of exactly what that means.

The scary part is that the two people who were classified as the “grown ups in the room”, the two Generals at DOD and DHS have been remarkably silent.  Which tells me we have no “grown ups in the room”.  It seems like “Mad Dog” Mattis is nothing but a whimpering puppy.

There is good news about all of this though.  Gas prices will go up.  Since Iran admitted the test, oil prices went up $1 per barrel.  That will surely make Exxon/Mobile really happy.  Guess how much better it will be with Tillerson as Secretary of State.

Just think, this has all happened in the first 12 days of trump’s administration.  It makes you wonder if the world will survive the first 100 days.  The resistance must continue.  We cannot get tired of resisting this madman.  Otherwise we will all lose.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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