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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Day 106. 

The third step in dismantling democracy and establishing your authoritarian government is to control your Justice Department.  If that department isn’t doing what you want, interfere and make sure they comply with your wishes.

If anyone cares to remember back when Richard Nixon was impeached, the first Article of Impeachment was “Obstruction of Justice”.  This was because when the break-in at the Watergate was first reported, Nixon and his administration tried to stop the investigation.

After that incident, it was decided by the Department of Justice that they would no longer allow such actions.  As such they put in place rules as to whom could be contacted by any investigation agency, like the FBI, at the White House.  There were four positions on that list.  The President, the Vice President, The White House Counsel, and the White House Counsel Deputy.

And then, that contact could only be made if it was necessary in order to help the President do his job in matters of national security.  In other words, the Justice Department was not to discuss ongoing investigations with the White House.

Even in the George W. Bush administration, violation of these rules resulted in an Attorney General and a White House Chief of Staff being forced to resign.  So, even though these “rules” aren’t really laws, they are set precedent and are intended to make sure the Justice Department remains independent from White House Influence.

We have already seen instances where trump and his staff ignore rules.  This is no exception.  The New York Times has reported that the trump campaign staff was in “constant contact with Russian officials” throughout the campaign.  Naturally, the White House has denied these allegations even though Russian Officials have said they were true.

Although we don’t know for sure, it has been reported that the FBI has three different investigations on the Russian Hacking and interfering with our election process.  One of them the report of constant contact between Russia and the trump campaign.

We have an Attorney General who was part of that trump campaign staff.  He refuses to recuse himself from any investigation involving trump or his campaign.  That is bad enough.  Anyone with any amount of ethics would quickly recuse themselves from such investigations.  However, no one ever accused Jeff Sessions of having any ethics.

But, here is where it gets more interesting, and more dangerous.  It has been reported by several agencies, including CNN, that “a white house official asked the FBI to tap down the Times story about the contact between Russia and Trump’s campaign”.  The FBI refused.

All fingers are now pointing to Reince Priebus as the “White House official” who made that contact.  According to new reporting, Priebus reached out to Deputy Director McCabe.  When McCabe turned him down, he then called Director Comey who also turned him down.

But that didn’t stop Priebus.  He went on Fox News on Sunday to blast the reports as “total baloney”.  Then in another interview he went further.  He said:

The top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that that story is not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated and it was wrong. And there’s nothing to it.

In another interview he stated that he “knew what the FBI told Congress in their briefing on this subject.  I spoke to the FBI.  I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t know the facts.  And, I have been cleared to say this.”

That raises a whole lot of red flags.  The Chief of Staff is not on the list of people who can be contacted about an ongoing investigation.  So, how could Priebus know what the FBI told Congress?  Who “cleared him to say this”?

Former Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem blasted Priebus’ reported actions as “so wrong” and “so desperate.” Another Justice Department alum, Matthew Miller, called the interaction “beyond inappropriate,” adding that it “veers dangerously close to tampering with an investigation.”

Avoiding the possibility of the White House “tampering with an investigation” is what these rules are all about.  They are intended to keep the investigation quiet and away from political influence.

The trump campaign made a lot of hay out of the former Attorney General meeting Bill Clinton on her plane while the FBI was investigating Hillary.  But, they don’t seem to think this is such a big deal.  Only it is.

House Judiciary Committee ranking member John Conyers probably said it best:

The need for an independent, bipartisan investigation into these matters has never been more clear.  The Trump team has clear ties to the Russian government—and we ignore those ties at our own peril.

Yet, the House Republican Leadership still remains very silent about anything to do with Russian interference in the election.  That outstanding public figure whose committee’s responsibility is to use Oversight over such matters is also very quiet.  Oh, he finally decided to “investigate something” but it isn’t anything to do with Russia.

He intends to investigate a tweet from a State Park in Utah welcoming the new National Parks to the family the day after President Obama made that announcement.  Chaffetz thinks they had previous knowledge of the decision and wants to know how they got it.  That is really critical in his job to oversee the Government.

See, this is just another step in order to dismantle our democracy.  At the “tin-hat” convention known as CPAC yesterday, Steve Bannon basically said that was the goal of the administration.  Only he used different words like “dismantling the administrative government”.  When you also put that in context with his statements about “our culture” you understand what he means.

“Our culture” is white supremacist speak for White Culture.  And, since Bannon is a favorite of the white supremacists there was no doubt what he was referring to when he used those words.

Under an administration who is willing to defend our democracy Reince Priebus would be forced to resign, today!  But, since no one at the White House thinks that is necessary, we can only argue that they are not interested in defending our democracy.

If an administration can control what the investigating agencies actually investigate, then they have more control over the people and the government.  They can get those agencies like the FBI to stop investigating them, and focus more on “protesters” and “leaks” and “reporters” in an effort to make their words the only ones that matter.

If the Justice Department remains independent and follows the rules that keep it independent, then our democracy stands a chance of surviving.  That is because we can count on the FBI to let an investigation go wherever it leads them.

Under normal circumstances, I would think that if trump and his cronies are so sure that they are innocent of contacting Russians during the election, they would be thrilled to have the investigation go forward to prove their case.  The only reason they would try to “tap down” a story if it scares them to death.

If they would keep away from the FBI in this matter and it turns out the story is not true, they would be able to move forward.  However, since they insist on keeping their fingers on the scale, it would be impossible for reasonable people to believe a report that they did not contact the Russians during the campaign.

There will be doubts if Sessions or the White House influenced the investigation to have a positive outcome.  Does anybody in that administration have any brains at all?  Are they that devoid of the ability of rational thought?

This is simply how it works.  You put in place an Attorney General with no ethics and who worked for your campaign.  You then ignore all protocols and rules in order to sway the FBI to say what you want them to say.   Then you deny the reports on this attempt, and when you finally say it did happen you blame the FBI as the one who “reached out”.

If it is true that Priebus knows what the FBI told Congress, then we really do have a serious problem because that means that someone in the FBI gave him a briefing on an ongoing investigation about his boss.

That would be like the FBI calling in the head of a Mafia Family to give him a briefing on an ongoing investigation into his family about their criminal activities.  That would cause heads to roll and this issue should too.

The first Article of Impeachment of Richard Nixon was “Obstruction of Justice”.  Rules were put in place to prevent that from happening again.  This administration has shown us just what they think of rules.  They don’t like them so they ignore them.

You cannot control the Justice Department if you follow rules.  And, you cannot control investigations unless you control the Justice Department.  That is step three in dismantling our democracy.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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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 104. 

The one thing we learned about trump’s presidency in the first 32 days or so is that we definitely need hip waders just to be able to wade through the bullshit that constantly comes out of his mouth.  If people worried about the swamp flooding out Washington, D.C., they forgot that you can drown in bullshit just a well as water.

After at least three attempts to get trump to say anything about anti-Semitism, yesterday he said he was against it.  Most people think that since he didn’t stutter as much as usual, he meant what he said,.  Only he really didn’t mean much of what he said.

Besides saying he denounces anti-Semitism, he also talked about a culture of hate.  He even said that the “country will come together”.  He talked about how hate seems to run in cycles, and at least that part was true.  Even still, I will give him some credit, he did sound genuine in his comments.

But it is still words.  Just words, and trump uses more words than anyone I have ever listened to before.  As a matter of fact, he uses so many words, at the end of his statement never know what the hell he said.  Does he hate anti-Semitism or does he just hate that is was brought to light?

A lot of people are saying he caved to the press on this matter.  I don’t believe that.  I think he caved to his daughter.  Ivanka tweeted the day before his comments to say that we should all be tolerant of other religions.  That tweet was met with a lot of responses that were less than praising her.

The main theme of the responses was “tell that to your daddy”.  There were also many questions about if that “tolerance” includes Muslims.  The very next day, trump made his announcement about the issue.

But, since you cannot trust the words that come out of trump’s mouth, you need to watch his actions.  His actions do not show any attempt of “bringing the country together” or helping to eliminate “hate”.

Yesterday, the same day, DHS released two memos about deporting undocumented immigrants.  In essence, these memos mean that anyone who can be picked up and deported if they are here undocumented.  Of course there are fears of a “mass deportation” on the horizon.

There is also nothing in the memos that talk about how to handle undocumented immigrants who have children who are U.S. Citizens.  Are we really going to break up families just to get “rid of those damn illegals” as the right-wing wants?

If we do deport parents of these children, what happens to them?  Are we also going to deport U.S. Citizens with their parents?  Or, are we going to place them in an orphanage or the mostly broken foster care program?  What happens to these children?  Of course the memos also talk about our upcoming Berlin Wall being built.

I also find it amazing that these memos were released the day before the Sec of State and Sec of DHS are to go to Mexico to try to mend the gulf growing between our two countries.  What the hell were they thinking?

I am not going to argue about this being illegal, because as the laws are written, they are not illegal.  However, what I am questioning is the rush to deport as many people as possible in a short period of time without regard to any circumstances that may change things.

What makes breaking up families moral?  What makes breaking up families even nice?  These attempts to deport 11 million people is simply stunning.  Rather than working with Congress and fixing our immigration problem, this administration is more interested in showing “power” than humanity.

The next thing is the so-called revised travel ban.  The administration is saying that this will pass muster in the courts.  Yet, one of his top advisors says that it is basically the same order that caused all of the chaos when it was first released.

We don’t know much about this revised order, but we are pretty sure that green card holders won’t be affected.  Other than that, we know nothing.  Are they going to make it effective immediately so people already on their way here with valid visas are turned away when they get here, like they were under the original order?  That is not how civilized people treat other people.  But, I must admit that I never accused trump of being civilized.

These are the contradictions that trump has unleashed on us.  On one hand, trump talks about anti-Semitism all the while he is issuing orders on deportation of mass amounts of people with no compassion in the orders.

On one hand he says we should not be anti-Semitic, and on the other hand he orders the deportation of massive amounts of people who are mostly Latino.  On one hand he says we should be more inclusive and on the other hand he says Muslims aren’t welcome here.

As a country, even an immigrant country that we are, we do need borders and have a proper system to allow immigration.  However, we cannot be a country that just rounds up people based on their race, religion or immigration status and either lock them up or deport them.  Instead of placing so much vigor in deportations, we should be putting that much vigor in fixing our immigration rules and make it more humane to the people of the world.

This is a country of immigrants.  Unless you are a Native American, you are either an immigrant or a descendent of an immigrant.  This is a country that claims to be a nation of immigrants.  Yet, we seem to want to slam the door on “certain” people from being immigrants to add to our diversity.

Instead of fixing a broken system, trump wants to punish people by breaking up families to show how “tough” he is.  That is insane.  Yes, we need to fix our broken immigration system.  Yet, we do not need to punish people just because they came here without visas.  Especially those who have been here for years and have actually contributed to our economy which most have.

I agree that criminals need to go if they are not here legally.  However, we need a very certain definition of what constitutes “criminal”.  Driving with a broken tail light is not “criminal”.

We have lost our moral compass.  We have a president who is the descendent of an immigrant claiming nativism as his excuse.  And, at the time his grandfather immigrated to this country, visas weren’t always necessary.  So technically, trump could be called a descendent of an “undocumented immigrant”.  His grandfather even went back until he found out he could be prosecuted for evading mandatory military service.  Which means he came here as a “criminal” back home.

All of the major groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are against these mass deportations.  They understand the havoc that deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants would cause on our economy.  Yet our beloved leader is deaf to their concerns.

We were once told by the liar Kellyanne Conway to judge trump by what is “in his heart not his words”.  If you look at just this one issue, you can see what is in trump’s heart.  Hate and contempt for people of color.  There is not other explanation for his actions.

Our beloved leader can use all the words he wants to claim he is not a bigoted person.  He can use all the words he wants to claim he is “trying to bring the country together”.  But, his actions say just the opposite.  His actions show his contempt for anyone who is “different’ from him.

He claims to not be anti-Semitic and not to be bigoted.  Yet, when his propaganda minister was asked about the tripling of hate groups against Muslims since 2015 at his press meeting yesterday, he avoided the question like the plague.

We know what trump believes ever since he rode that escalator down from his big office in Trump Tower and announced how Mexico is sending us “drug dealers and rapists”.  We know what trump believes ever since he declared that there should be a ban on all Muslims immigrating to our country.  We know what trump believes ever since he said there should be a “Muslim registry”.

Conway told us to look into trump’s heart to see what he really means when he speaks.   I agree to a point.  But, if you do, you will find a hate-filled heart.  Is that what she really wants us to see?

As we know, justice is not absolute.  There is far more than a story of if a person came here “legally or illegally”.  We are not just a country of laws.  We are a country of compassion.  Just look at what happened after that Jewish cemetery was vandalized.  Who were the people who started a fund-raising program to help repair the damage?  Muslims!

When the Mosque in Texas was burned down a couple of weeks ago, who was the first group to hand over keys to their place of worship to help them?  Jews.

We need the president to be more interested in working with Congress to fix our immigration laws instead of acting like a heavy-handed dictator who will solely determine who is allowed in and who isn’t.

If you support this mass deportation on the horizon and the banning of Muslims, don’t dare speak to me about your Christian Values.  You don’t have any and you are a liar.  You have no Christian Values.

It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, this matter isn’t just about law, it is about humanity.  It is about treating other people like we want to be treated.  It is time for this bullshit to stop.  It is time to look at the problem with a humane lens and figure out the best ways to make things better for everyone.

These issues will not be stopped with laws that restrict immigration.  They will not be stopped with a Berlin Wall on our southern border.  They will not be stopped with a Muslim ban.  They will not be stopped with mass deportation.

We have seen this story before.  We have seen groups being made scapegoats before.  We have seen it in places like Russia.  We have seen it in places like Mussolini’s Italy.  We have seen it in Nazi Germany.  We have seen it in Hussein’s Iraq.

Our Constitution was designed to protect minorities from the excesses of the majority.  These actions are making a mockery of that premise.  It is time for it to end and real solutions to this problem found.  That is how democracy is supposed to work.  To me, these actions are more fascist than democratic.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

 

 

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Day 103. 

In all my years watching and participating in politics, I have never seen a president act so irresponsibly or incompetent as our current beloved leader.  And, I have seen the likes of JFK, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, etc.  This side-show we call our presidency has gotten completely out of control, and it is the fault of one person – donald trump.

Rather than taking expensive vacations that we pay for at his private club in Florida, maybe he should actually start filling the government positions that would help him govern.  Leadership is actually leading and making sure the proper people are in place to ensure things work.

This came to light yesterday at JFK airport.  At about 6 am, the TSA checkpoint was not fully manned.  They still opened the “prescreened” area.  However, no one was there to check the passengers as they went through the checkpoint.  Eleven passengers passed through without proper screening.  Three men were reported to have set off the metal detector.  No one stopped them.

To make matters worse, it took TSA 2 hours before they told the police about.  The police checked the terminals, but the passengers all had already boarded their fights.  The three men who activated the metal detector were identified from video.  They were eventually screened – after they landed at their destination in California.

At first glance it would appear that the screeners at JFK are to blame for this incident.  And they were.  But, it goes a little deeper than that.  The head of the TSA left the agency on the day trump took office.  He has yet to be replaced.  As a matter of fact, no one has even been named to replace him.

This is not an isolated problem either.  The government has a total of 549 positions that need Senate approval to be filled.  As of yesterday, 515 of those positions have not even had a nominee named.  That means a whopping 34 positions have had nominees named.  So far only about 14 of them are still waiting for approval.

As you can see, it is not the Democrats who are holding up trump from filling the government, trump is holding up trump from filling the government.  You also have to remember, those are just the positions that require Senate approval.  There are still hundreds of staff positions that haven’t been filled at the White House.

I am still hearing reports that the West Wing feels like a ghost town rather than a functioning government.  There are not enough people to do the job of actually governing.  Again, who is to blame?  Donald Trump!

Instead of filling vital positions for the government, trump is instead trying to figure out how to keep Muslims out of the country.  He is trying to figure out how to deport 11 million people.  He is spreading fake reports about terrorist attacks in Sweden.  And, he is sucking up to Putin.

This incompetence is showing in the nervousness of our allies.  Over the weekend, Mike Pence assured our NATO Allies that America was steadfast in its support of NATO.  Then on Saturday, trump said again that NATO was obsolete.

Yesterday, Pence tried again to reassure our allies about our “strong support for NATO.”  Is it any wonder that one of the questions he received from a foreign reporter “are we supposed to believe you?  What keeps trump from tweeting something in the next few hours that contradict with these comments or at a new conference in a day or two?   Who are we to believe, you or trump?”

He was even asked if our country was going to maintain our freedom of the press.  Why would our allies even think that?  Maybe because of trump’s attacks on the media including calling it “the enemy of the American People.” Maybe it is because European countries know that losing freedom of the press is the first steps in creating a dictatorship like happened in Germany, Italy, and Russia.

Secretary of Defense, Mattis, had to tell the world yesterday that the U.S. “was not in Iraq to take the oil”.  This was necessitated as Mattis was on his way to Iraq and he needed to calm Iraqi government fears about our intentions.  Especially in light of trump saying over and over that “we should take the oil”.

We were told that Rex Tillerson was going to be a “great Secretary of State”.  Yet, he and his under-secretary have been locked out of meetings with foreign leaders, especially Netanyahu.  How can he be a “great Secretary of State” if he is not included in meetings with the same foreign leaders he is supposed to represent us to?

We have seen a tremendous rise in hate crimes since trump’s inauguration.  Bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers have risen off the charts.  Vandalism of Mosques have risen dramatically as well.  Yet, the administration has said nothing about any of that.

Even when a Jewish reporter said he had no doubts that trump was not anti-Semitic but asked what he would do to stop these attacks, trump told him to sit down and accused him of asking a “bad question”.  Then he went on a rant about how he was not anti-Semitic.  We still have not heard him denounce these attacks.  I guess he doesn’t want to upset his most ardent white supremacist supporters.

We have what we in the service would call a “skeleton crew” trying to run a government and a leader who doesn’t seem too interested in filling the crew out.  We have a leader who has tried to consolidate all power inside a very small clique of power brokers inside the White House.

Our dear beloved leader has done nothing to “bring us together” since he took office.  Rather, he has done everything he can to divide us even more.  That is also a strategy of dictatorship.  If you can divide the country, you will know who your opponents are and can then better target them.

I’m sorry, but this president, at least in his first month in office, has been a total disaster.  He has no vision for America.  He has no foreign policy, except 20 second sound bites that vary depending on who he is talking to.  He has no plans to help the American People except huge tax cuts for the rich.  So far, he has only shown a desire to “take over” and become our first king of dictator.

We have a White House that leaks like a sieve.  Why?  Is it because they don’t trust trump either?  Is it possible that they understand the damage trump is doing to our country especially with our most ardent allies?  Are they leaking because they see how incompetent trump really is and want to avoid more damage by letting the American People know what bad is coming?

Then we have trump saying the “leaks are true but the stories are fake news”.  What?  Only trump can claim that the information a story is based on is true but the story itself is false.

Leaks are inevitable in a free government.  But, there have been more leaks in the first month of trump’s presidency than most Presidents have seen in their entire term.  What does that say about trump?

I am sure that this will upset trump supporters.  But, as the new dictionaries start rolling off the presses, if you look up the definition of incompetence, you will see the picture of donald trump.

Our great leader, who claims to be very successful, still has 515 vacancies in his administration and hasn’t even bothered to nominate anyone to fill any of them.  Although he is very quick to fire anyone who says anything not loving about him, like he did over the weekend to a senior NSC member who criticized him in a speech.  All signs of incompetence.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

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Day 102. 

There are always two sides to any question and answer.  When it comes to immigration, those sides are always presented as opposing and even hostile to each other.  On one hand there are those who say that we should stop people from coming into the country illegally.  On the other hand we have those who claim we are a nation of immigrants.  On their face value, both sides are correct.

However, as with any issue that can be rolled up in politics the issue of immigration is a lot more complex than that.  The fact of the matter is our immigration policies are archaic and broken.  There was an attempt to fix the problem with the so-called “Gang Of Eight” bi-partisan Immigration Reform Act.  That bill passed the Senate, but the House Republicans shoved it into a drawer and did nothing with it.

As a result, we are facing a real moral conundrum.  On the right we are told, especially by trump supporters, that all 11 million undocumented immigrants should be deported.  On the left, we are told that is inhuman and there has to be a better way.

As a country, we have to figure this out.  But, we should not figure it out in a way that only spreads fear. It doesn’t help that the administration is so confused over the issue either.  There have been more leaks about how “deportations” will be handled, and we have already seen how this confusion is affecting people’s lives.

There are already two incidents that show just how inhumane these policies can become.  One woman was allowed to stay in the country even after using false Social Security number to get a job.  As part of her agreement, she needed to report to ICE twice a year for interviews to ensure she broke no other laws.

Last week, she showed up and was taken into custody and deported.  The bad part is that she has two children who are American Citizens.  Another woman faced the same problem.  Only, instead of showing up for her ICE interview, she turned to a church and took sanctuary there.  She also has children who are American Citizens.

We also saw the havoc that trump’s Muslim Ban caused families when that was first rolled out.  There were reports where people who were legal immigrants complete with a Green Card were turned away.  There was also one report where Customs forced to brothers to sign away their Green Cards after being threatened that they wouldn’t be allowed in the “country for years” if they did not sign the papers.

That is where the Immigration Reform Act would have come in handy.  If that law had been passed, there would have been lots of money given to secure our borders.  The E-VERIFY system would have been placed in effect nationwide so undocumented immigrants could not get jobs.  And, there would have been humane ways to deal with the many undocumented immigrants already in the country to allow them to stay.

Immigration bans are nothing new to our country.  There were several attempts to close our borders to immigrants of all stripes.  There were bans on Asians, especially Chinese.  There were attempted bans on the Irish, Poles, Germans, Italians, Mexicans, Jews and Catholics.

The biggest stain on our handling of immigrants was in World War II when we rounded up all Japanese Americans and put them in camps for the duration of the war.  They didn’t do anything wrong, they were American Citizens, but they were Japanese and that was all that mattered.

The odd fact of this scandal was that the military took Japanese American Citizens into their ranks to fight in Europe.  So, as their parents suffered in internment camps, Japanese Americans were risking their lives to defend the country that imprisoned their parents and family members.

Both the administration and private citizens have used fear to justify these draconian methods.  The administration constantly rages about “terrorism” and how they are making our country safe.  Even Saturday, our beloved leader announced the “Terrorist Attack In Sweden Last Night”.  Only there wasn’t a terrorist attack in Sweden Friday night.

This is just another example of made-up attacks that his administration has put forth.  Like the bowling Green Massacre and the Atlanta Attack.  Neither of which happened.  Then we have a case in Texas where four hunters claimed they were attacked by illegal immigrants while on a hunting trip.

They claimed that illegal immigrants, probably drug cartels, attacked them in their RV one night.  That story went viral on social media.  The right-wing latched onto the story as the reason why we need a wall on the border.

Only, there is a problem.  According to police, the four were not attacked by illegal immigrants.  The two that were wounded were actually wounded by members of their own hunting party.

“There were no bullet casings or projectiles from weapons other than those belonging to the individuals hunting on the ranch nor in the RV belonging to the hunting party,” the sheriff’s department told Big Bend Now last month.

The incident took place near Candelaria, about 250 miles southeast of El Paso.

Bryant and Daugherty, both hunting guides with Redwing Outfitters, were indicted last Wednesday on charges of deadly conduct by discharging firearms in the direction of others, local radio station KTSA reported.

But, there was probably a reason for this lie.  It turns out that Daugherty does not have medical insurance.  After the lie went viral, Daugherty was able to raise a total of $26,300 on GoFundMe to pay for his medical care.

Even Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller cited the shooting as “proof” that the border wall is needed.  When confronted about the discrepancy, he simply said his tweets should not be held to the same standards as the press.  Nice copout dip-head!

That, unfortunately is the environment that this “fear” caused by our beloved leader has created.  We are living in a time when it is “fashionable” for people to blame others for their problems.  It is “fashionable” for people to blame immigrants for unemployment, not the billionaires who hire them instead of Americans.  Like trump’s own son who just asked for more visas for foreign workers to work at his vineyard instead of Americans.

We are constantly told how immigrants, especially “illegal immigrants” are trying to destroy our country.  We are constantly told to be afraid of anyone and everyone who looks different from us.

Of course all of the people who are very willing to break-up families in the name of “law and order” all claim to be “god fearing good Christians”.  Well, by their actions, they better be “god fearing” since they are going against everything they claim to believe in.

We have come to a point when our beloved leader can lie to us with impunity.  We are at a point where our beloved leader’s administration can lie to us with impunity.  We have come to a point where fear has been imbedded into our very social fabric.

Yes, we need to do something about our immigration problems.  We need to fix our broken system.  However, mass deportations are not the answer.  Mass bans against a specific religion is not the answer.  We have always claimed to be reasonable people who are willing to figure out the answers to our problems.  These actions are not reasonable.  They are not answers to our problems.  They are simply another attempt to divide us among ourselves.

The Republican Party has been on a mission of “divide and conquer” our country for their lust for power for the last 40 years.  Our beloved leader has taken that lust to new highs and instead of using “code words” he has openly declared war on everyone who thinks differently than him.

Under the so-called leadership of our beloved leader, we have lost our moral compass.  We have lost our humanity.  We have lost who we are as a nation and as a people.  Instead of being the “land of the free” we are quickly becoming the “land of fear”.  It may suit trump’s plan to establish his authoritarian government, but it is not who we are.

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 98. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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