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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Yesterday, after months of saying he supports LGBT rights, he rescinded this rule.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 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 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 92. 

The beginning to the end of our daunting national problem is at hand.  Republicans approved Tom Price to be the next head of the Health and Human Services Department.  This proves their determination to correct something very wrong in the country.  They have known for the last seven years what the real problem facing our country really is.  And, it is way out of control.  Too many people in our country have health care insurance.

Think about it, our uninsured rate has fallen to about 10 percent.  What the hell is going on here?  How can the richest country in the world actually believe they should not lead the developed world in having the highest uninsured rate in the world?

But, you don’t have to worry anymore about this dismal problem that is dragging down our society.  Republicans are on a mission to fix this terrible problem.  They have approved an unethical, inside trading doctor to be our next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The first thing to help alleviate this problem will be to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Forget that the majority of the people don’t want it repealed, Price and his cronies know it cannot continue or we won’t be able to raise the uninsured rate and obviously the American People aren’t really paying attention to this dire problem.

If you have a preexisting condition, don’t worry, they are going to make sure you have “access” to “high risk pools” that will cover you and it will only cost you about 2 to 3 times as much as you pay now.  Price loves this idea and put it in his plan that he wrote in 2015.

Of course we will rescind the mandates so women’s health care is taken away.  Who cares if a woman has health care that only affects them?  Why should the rest of us care if they have the right coverage.  If they want things like birth control, they should pay through their nose for it.  Hello, everyone knows that just being a woman means you have a pre-existing condition.  They are only women and who cares what they thing?  They should just shut up and listen to their husbands.  If they don’t have a husband, they are obviously losers.

Then we will make sure insurance companies don’t waste money covering those abominable “gays”.  Unless they are willing to go through “conversion therapy”.  We all know they are an abomination, so why should we cover their health care?

Another thing that will be cut or eliminated to help the problem is Medicaid.  Too many people are taking advantage of Medicaid in order to have health care insurance.  There were some brave, bold, and wonderful states like Texas who fought against expanding this give away.  And, they are the shining city on the hill to show just how to keep your uninsured rate the highest in the country.

Needless to say Price and the rest of the Republicans believe that is the perfect model that all states should follow.  That way we can reduce the number of people insured without having to do very much.  But, that will be just the start.

In order to really make an impact, you have to give states “block grants” to spend on Medicaid as they see fit.  If they decide not to spend it on health care for the poor, even better.  That way the uninsured rate will really go up.

Then of course, we have to do something about those useless, mooching, takers – the old people.  How dare they expect that all of the taxes they paid for their Medicare coverage actually give them that coverage?  Who the hell do they think they are – Andrew By God Jackson?

These lazy old people who didn’t become rich in their lifetimes really hurt the uninsured rate.  They actually believe that they have a right to live longer and enjoy their retirement.  They actually believe the society should actually “take care” of their sorry asses.  Well, Price and Republicans have the fix.  After all, they don’t do anything useful anymore like working for minimum wage for 40 years so the CEOs can make billions off their labor.

They are going to tell the old farts that they will only get a voucher when they are eligible for Medicare.  Of course the voucher won’t cover the full cost of their insurance.  Of course their out-of-pocket costs will go up.  What do they expect?  They are old and have pre-existing conditions.  They really belong in the high risk pool with the highest premiums.

Just think of it.  If we can cut off as many old people from their insurance, they will die off faster and we won’t have as much of a problem with that other give away, Social Security.  If we can get rid of that useless give away, we can really save more money for bigger tax cuts to the rich.

Just think of the huge tax breaks for the rich we can give if we can do away with Medicaid and Medicare.  They are the only people who count.  Especially those rich ones who give Republicans insider trader information to further enrich themselves and huge secret donations to their campaigns so they can keep getting elected.

So, under Price we can expect our uninsured rate problem to be repaired.  First we will repeal the Affordable Care act and that will mean at least 18 million people will lose their health care insurance.  Then we will block grant Medicaid and ensure that even more millions lose their health care.  Then we will voucherize Medicare and that will mean all those old bastards will lose their insurance too.

If Price and Republicans do their job correctly, we should be able to take that measly 10 percent of uninsured Americans and raise it back up to 20 to 30 percent where it belongs.  Hell, if we do this right maybe we can break the magical 50 percent mark.  How great would that be?

So, you see, there is no reason to worry.  Republicans and Price will make sure we lead the world again.  They will make sure that only wealthy people have health insurance.  We don’t need “death panels” we only need to take away peoples’ health care and they will die naturally.

See, we are on the threshold of a brave new world that can only happen in America.  What a country!

 

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Day 85. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 83.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until they do, the shirts keep marching along.

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