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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Day 194. 

As our beloved leader tramps around the globe trying very hard to look presidential, the Russia Investigation is not leaving him alone.  So far, there isn’t really a lot to talk about this trip.  He stopped over in Saudi Arabia where he signed some agreements over defense help and some economic things.  The total of these agreements is in the $360 Million range.

But, we also know that Saudi Arabia is not happy about the law that the Republican Congress passed allowing victims of the 9/11 attack to sue Saudi Arabia.  They want Congress and to repeal that law.  And, they want trump to help them get the repeal.  So, if that does happen, would that constitute quid pro quo?

In Israel, he stopped by the Holocaust Museum.  He signed the guest list with what seems more like a High School Yearbook signing.  I really hope and wish every day that if this clown uses the word “great”, or “outstanding”, or “bigly” again his orange dead tribble will catch fire on his head.  The child really needs to expand his vocabulary.

Even still, the Russia Investigation is taking its toll.  We found out that Bannon and Priebus were sent home early from the trip to keep tabs on that investigation and try to keep things under control until beloved leader returns.  We also learned that beloved leader has decided he better have a personal lawyer to help him navigate the problem.

Only, to my way of thinking, he is again showing just how dumb he is.  He has reportedly hired Marc Kasowitz as his lawyer.  He has used Kasowitz before and we will talk about that.  First, it must be pointed out that this is an unusual choice for one big reason.

The last “big” case Kasowitz worked was defending Sberbank, a Russian government-owned bank, in a case before the Southern New York District.  Think about that for just one minute.  Our beloved leader thinks that hiring the lawyer for the largest Russian owned bank is a good choice to help him navigate the Russia Investigation.

But, it gets even better.  Kasowitz was the lawyer who handled the Trump U case that cost trump $25 million.  He was also the lawyer who let trump sue a New York Times reporter who wrote a book on trump and claimed in the book that trump was not worth billions of dollars, but rather in the $250 million range.

As usual, trump was furious at the slight to his ego and sued the writer.  He sued for $5 billion for slander.  In court, he could not show proof that he was worth a billion dollars.  At one point, he even said that his worth was based on “his feelings” at the time.  The case was thrown out of court, and an appeals court later tossed it as well.

This is the man who reportedly will “help” trump in his side of the Russia Investigation.  You would think trump would have learned his lesson in the past, but obviously he doesn’t learn anything.

Then we have Mike Flynn deciding that he doesn’t have to follow the subpoena he was issued for his documents involving his ties with Russia.  His lawyer claims that these documents fall under the 5th Amendment, which is dubious.  So, the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed his companies for the same documents.  As the two heads of the committee said, companies are not protected under the 5th Amendment since they are not people.

However, the biggest crash came when former CIA Chief John Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee.  During his testimony, he made no accusations and offered no “evidence’ as Republicans keep trying to say there is none.  But, he did say:

I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign.

He further told lawmakers that he could not say with certainty whether the president’s campaign associates colluded with Moscow.

But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the FBI to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring or colluding with Russian officials.

Republicans again tried to pin him down on whether or not he had “evidence’ of any collusion.  In very carefully worded responses he declared as CIA Chief he was interested in the intelligence and not evidence and the intelligence warranted further investigation.

Which brings us to another point.  This case of “evidence”.  It is my experience that evidence is gathered by investigation.  Investigations do not start only after hard evidence has already been found.  That is why they are called investigations and not just confirm the evidence things.

Republicans seem to think that if there is no outward “evidence” of a crime being committed, then there should be no investigation.  If that were true, then why were there so many “investigations” about Benghazi, even after other previous investigations showed no evidence?

We need to stop pretending that the Russians did not interfere with our last election.  And, we need to stop pretending that they won’t try again.  There is a lot of information that shows an investigation is warranted.  I am not saying that anyone is guilty of any crime.  But, there sure are a lot of circumstantial things that make it look bad for the trump campaign.  That is what the investigation should unveil.

I know I grew up and served during the Cold War, but I have never seen a campaign of either party so tied to the Russians as the trump campaign was.  That doesn’t mean they did anything criminal, but it does ask a lot of questions and those questions need to be answered regardless of what those answers are.

You especially need to have this investigation after our beloved leader’s behavior over this issue.  First, he claims that the Russians were not involved.  Then he says they might have been involved.  It turns out he lied about not knowing about Flynn’s connections with the Russians.  Even today, he tells associates that firing Flynn was a “mistake”.

Shortly after she informed the White House about Flynn’s lying about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador, Sally Yates was fired as the Acting Director of the Department of Justice.  Beloved leader used the excuse that she refused to defend Muslim Ban 1.0 in court.  That could be true, but the timing is very intriguing at best.

Then we have the firing of Comey.  Beloved leader had his surrogates run around telling everyone it was because of a memo written by the Deputy Head of the Justice Department about Comey’s handling of the Clinton email scandal.  Then less than 24 hours later he said it was because “I had that Russia thing on my mind and would have fired him regardless of the recommendation”.  Clear indication Comey was fired over Russia and not Clinton.

Yesterday there were more reports that trump asked the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the NSA to “push back” against all of the media reports about Russia and say they had no “evidence that the president was involved”.  Both reportedly declined.

Then Coats, the Head of the DNI was asked explicitly if the report was true.  He refused to say yes or no but simply said that he didn’t think it appropriate to discuss his conversations with the president.  Most observers think that means “yes”.  Otherwise, he could have simply said no and ended the whole thing.

Finally, since trump continues to support his “good buddy” Mike Flynn, we need to remember what he said over the Clinton Email Scandal.  He said:

Anyone who takes the Fifth Amendment must have something to hide.

I guess that means, according to his “good buddy” that Flynn has something to hide by taking the Fifth.

Beloved leader has been in office less than four months.  And already there are more ethical questions about his behavior than we have had since the Tea Pot Dome Scandal.  His administration is under a “counter intelligence” investigation over possible collusion with a foreign government to sway our election.

He has accomplished virtually nothing while in office.  Oh, he has made it harder to buy a home for the first time.  He supports a “health care” bill that will throw at least 24 million people off of their coverage and increase the premiums and deductibles for addition millions of people with pre-existing conditions.

He has proposed a budget that will all but destroy the social safety nets while giving the rich a huge tax cut.  He plans to cut about 1.4 Billion dollars from Medicaid, a program he promised not to cut.  He will also cut money from Medicare if the Americans Without Health Insurance Act passes the Senate.

His budget will also cut funding for SNAP, CHIP, Welfare, the State Department, and a bunch of other programs like college grants and student loans.  The cuts to the State Department also cuts the spending for security at our Embassies and Consulates around the world potentially placing our diplomats lives in jeopardy.  Even Lindsey Graham said this budget would result in many more Benghazi’s.

Yesterday, when asked if the cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance program would result in lower payments to people already on the program, Mulvaney said: “I hope so” (emphasis mine).  He claims that there are lots and lots of people in the SSDI program that aren’t really disabled.  Does he know what it takes to receive SSDI?  I am not saying that there aren’t any “fakers” on the rolls, but it isn’t enough to justify the cuts they are making to the program.

The budget also cuts deeply areas like the U.S. Coast Guard, Scientific Research, the National Health Institute, the EPA, Public Education, and just about everything that is not under defense or immigration.

Beloved Leader’s budget proposal does nothing except break at least seven campaign promises.  And, the people he will hurt the most are the very people who put him in office.  Rural areas will be especially hard hit, but he obviously doesn’t care about those people.

He has compromised highly classified information by openly giving it to the Russians without proper protocol.  He also possibly compromised one of our allies who gave us the information.

It is up to us to remember all of this throughout next year.  Republicans are so far supporting their hero in the White House, and they need to be replaced in 2018.  That will be the only way to save our country from this madman and his corrupt associates.  The only question is will we last that long?

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 193. 

The upcoming budget from our beloved leader’s administration is a perfect example of fantasy in the real world.  This budget is the worst budget I have ever seen.  And, the arguments behind it are even more weird than the budget itself.

As is usual in a Republican budget, the poor and the working poor in our country are expected to take huge cuts to their benefits in order to give the rich huge tax cuts.  It is planning to remove billions of dollars from food stamps, WIC, Children’s health care, welfare, Pell Grants, Student Loans and a lot more.

It is also calling for huge increases in the defense spending and money for his stupid Berlin Wall.  The very wall that he claimed Mexico would pay for.   Then there is the trillions of dollars being given to the very rich in massive tax cuts.  And, of course don’t forget the trillions of dollars being handed out to corporations.

Some people are claiming that the elderly are not going to be hurt.  But, if you consider the fact that a lot of people in nursing homes get their money from Medicaid, they will be hurt by the massive cuts in that program.  How many will actually be thrown out of the nursing home they are in?  Medicaid is about to lose an estimated 800 Billion Dollars.

But, the argument they are using is pure fiction.  It is the usual Republican argument that people need to be removed from the social net and put back to work.  Yet, even though that sounds admirable, where are the jobs going to come from?

Beloved leader believes that his budget will grow the economy by over 3 percent.  That is also a fantasy.  And here is why.

We heard a lot of talk during the campaign about jobs being shipped overseas.  That was true.  However, what you didn’t hear was how many jobs have been lost due to automation of those jobs.  Most of the manufacturing jobs in this country have been lost to robots.  And, as the manufacturing industry grows, fewer people are being hired because the new factories are being automated as well.

That is really old news.  We have discussed automation before.  But, it is just beginning to ramp up.  The next industry to be hit with massive layoffs because of automation is the retail industry.  We are already losing massive amounts of jobs in that industry because of the internet.  More and more brick-and-mortar retail outlets are closing and losing business to the internet.

And, it is going to get much worse in the very near future.   According to a 56-page report by the investment advisory firm Cornerstone Capital Group roughly 6 million to 7.5 million retail jobs “likely will be automated out of existence in the coming years, leaving a large portion of the retail workforce at risk of becoming ‘stranded workers'”.

Retail cashiers will be hit the hardest with an estimated 73 percent of them being laid off due to automation.  Most cashiers in this country are women. The losses will also disproportionately affect the working poor, since most hourly retail workers live below the poverty line. About 16 million people, or one in 10 American workers, are employed in the retail industry.

“This in-depth examination of retail automation gives investors insights as they consider investment risks and opportunities,” Lukomnik of Cornerstone Capital Group said in a news release. “While the findings are important to investors, they should sound the alarm for economists and political leaders. The shrinking of retail jobs in many ways threatens to mirror the decline in manufacturing in the US. Moreover, in this case, workers at risk are already disproportionately working poor, so any disruption may cause strains in the social safety net and stresses on local tax revenues.”

The automation services that are disrupting retail employment can range from tablets where customers can check out without the help of a cashier to more complicated technologies like the robot that Lowe’s is testing that can interact with customers in stores and help them find the items they need.

Automation is also impacting the restaurant industry. The CEO of Taco Bell’s parent company said in March that machines could replace human workers in 10 years.

“I don’t think it is going to happen next year or the year after, but I do believe that probably by the mid ’20s to the late ’20s, you’ll start to see a dramatic change in sort of how machines run the world,” Greg Creed, CEO of Yum Brands, told CNBC. Yum owns a handful of fast-food companies including KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.

Between the growth of the internet and the automation of jobs in the retail and restaurant industries, jobs will be lost in the millions.  Most of these workers are paid at or just above the minimum wage and the employees are considered the “working poor”.

Many others are working in the industry because they need more flexible hours to care for their families.  And, many are older people.  The retail industry employs lots of people across all spectrums of society.  And, they are all at risk of being “automated” out of work.

And, this is not their fault.  They are not sitting at home waiting for a government check, yet.  These people are hard-working people trying to support their families and trying to just survive in today’s world.

They are the very people that Republicans claim are eating up government money because they are lazy and don’t want to work.  Worst, these are also the very people who keep voting Republican and voted for trump because they promised more jobs.  Looks like that was just another empty promise unless you consider giving a robot a job as creating jobs.

That also brings us to the fantasy that the economy will grow over 3 percent.  How can the economy grow if fewer people are working?  Who is going to spend money and help the economy grow?  The fewer people working, the less money they will spend simply because they don’t have any money.

Using simple basic economics, that means there will be less demand for products.  Less demand means more supply and a downturn or recession in the economy.  Meaning the economy will not grow by 3 percent.  It won’t even grow by 1 percent.

Couple that with the massive spending increases in defense and border protection along with the massive tax cuts, the deficit has nowhere to go but up.  Meaning that the economy will probably slow down even more than by the simple rules of supply and demand.  We may even be looking at another crash of the economy.

Through its actions so far, this administration has proven itself to be a friend of the very rich and the enemy of everyone else.  They are trying very hard to eliminate the poor.  Not through actions that will help them get training they need to compete in today’s economy, but through blaming them for the economic problems.

People who need assistance have been demonized for generations by this Republican Party.  There are more and more Republican controlled states that want to drug test everyone who gets assistance because as we all know, people on the social safety nets are simply lazy drug users who don’t want to work.  They are placing all kinds of obstacles on the poor to get the money they need to just survive.

Don’t you find it funny that there is never a proposed drug test before the rich can receive those massive tax cuts?  That is because we all know that inherited fortunes means the inheritor is a good person and never uses drugs.  Yeah, right.

Ever since at least 1968, the Republican Party has been waging a war against the poor.  They believe that the poor should just be happy to live in the gutters and watch how the rich live.  They don’t believe in fair pay for workers, hence their hatred of the minimum wage.  They believe that if you cannot afford health coverage, you don’t deserve it.  They believe that only the wealthy deserve a college education and that the poor should just be servants to the rich.  Servants don’t need a college education.

The budget that will be rolled out today is a blueprint of this agenda of the Republican Party.  Beloved leader has taken it even further.  We have had all kinds of presidents in my lifetime, but this one is the most anti-poor president I have seen.

Of course, if this horrible budget does manage to get through Congress, and Republicans are itching to change the rules to insure their agenda goes through, then maybe it will be good for America.  Beloved Leader’s voters will be hit extremely hard by this budget.  Maybe, just maybe, they will finally see the light and realize just how horrible he is.

The down side is that we need the Clown in Chief to crash the economy which he seems hell-bent to do.  In that case, we all lose, again.  There is an old saying in this country that goes back years and years.  That saying is:”  “If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic”.  The economy has done much better under a Democratic President than a Republican President.

As the economy continues its steady growth under the policies and regulations the Obama Administration put in place after the crash of 2008, beloved leader and his administration is doing everything in its power to return to 2008 and a bad economy.  This proposed budget is a step in that direction.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 192. 

Yesterday we heard from our beloved leader as he gave a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia.  He called on all Muslim states to “weed out this evil” of terrorism.  He said they should force all of the terrorists out.

Then we heard Mike Pence, his empty suite vice president talk about “tolerance” towards opposing views on college campuses.  Pence decried the intolerance towards speakers on college campuses around the country.

I find both of these comments to be very disturbing.  I find both of these comments to be extremely prejudiced.  Not because they were given by so-called “conservatives” but because of the lies they were telling and because neither of these “leaders” of our country actually practice what they preach.

We all know that terrorism and intolerance are both evil.  We all know that terrorism is also an outgrowth of intolerance.  Especially when you talk about religious terrorism.  In the Middle East and other parts of the world, there are Muslim Extremists who are totally intolerant towards other religions and as a result they engage in serious terrorism.

That is evil in anyone’s definition of the word.  They are not interested in anything except their own fanaticism and thus are willing to kill others simply because they don’t believe the same thing as these fanatics.  They need to be rooted out.

However, they are not alone in their religious terrorism practices.  We have plenty of religious terrorists right here at home.  The problem is that no one in the political world wants to talk about it and no one wants to do anything about it.  Especially our president and vice president.  Rather, they are encouraging the practice of religious terrorism in our country because this terrorism isn’t the result of Islam, it its the result of Radical Christianity.  It is also the result of “conservative” intolerance.

As it turns out, the State of Texas has become our own version of a Caliphate of hate towards anyone who does not follow the Radical Christian Terrorist beliefs.  They are not alone either.  They are joined by states like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and others.

The real danger is that these Radical Christian Terrorists are not all private citizens.  The real problem is they are actually in control of these state’s legislatures.  And, they are not afraid of their Radical Christian Terrorism being found out.  They are quite open about it and are very proud of it.

In the Caliphate of Texas, they are in the final days of their legislative session and are working very hard to pass their terrorist agenda into law.  And, their head terrorist is the governor and he is very willing to sign any terrorist bill into law.

At first they tried to pass an anti-LGBTQ law.  But that got stymied in their own legislature.  So, they have decided to tear the bill into parts and “add amendments” to necessary legislation so they can get their terrorist agenda into the law books.

Of course, they are masquerading these laws in the agenda of “Religious Freedom”.  Which tells you immediately that it is nothing more than a terrorist agenda.  The first big bill was HB 3859, that will allow state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away applicants on religious grounds, denying parents who are LGBT, or even those who are Jewish, Muslim or atheist. It passed the Texas House and is now moving through the Senate, causing a great deal of concern because similar bills have been passed in other states, including in South Dakota this year.

This bill is nothing more that an open attempt to refuse the adoption of needy children to anyone who is not considered by these terrorists as “straight, homosexual, Christian” parents.  Then there is the insidious attempts to write discrimination into must-pass bills that have already been debated. An amendment added at the last-minute to a nursing care bill, HB 2950, for example, would bar the Texas Board of Nursing from punishing discriminatory actions if they are committed in the service of a nurse’s “religious beliefs.”

Under this amendment a nurse could cite his religious beliefs as a reason to refuse to care for a gay patient on the grounds that he believes homosexuality is a sin or is against his faith.  Likewise, a nurse who believes that men are the head of the household could breach client confidentiality to disclose a woman’s medical condition to her husband against her wishes.

Another amendment added to HB 2561, a pharmacy services regulatory bill, pharmacists could opt-out of the practices that are standard among pharmacists across the country, based on personal religious convictions. For example, a pharmacist could decide not to fill a prescription for hormone therapy for a transgender customer, claiming doing so goes against his or her religious beliefs about gender. Or, a pharmacist could use religion as justification to refuse to serve African-American customers because she believes the Bible mandates the segregation of the races.

There are two other bills that would regulate legal services, SB 302 and SB 303, that now have amendments which allow for religious refusal by state-licensed attorneys. If these bills become law with these amendments an attorney could deny his or her duty to inform a client about his or her rights in a divorce proceeding, for example, even trying to talk the client out of getting a divorce, all based on the attorney’s religious objection to divorce.

It is not hard to determine the true intent of these pieces of legislation.  They are intended to discriminate against and to scare all people in Texas who are not white conservative Christians.  These amendments and laws are intended to hurt people that the terrorists in the Texas State Legislature don’t like.  They are written and proudly put on display for all to see their intolerance against everyone not a white Christian.  In short, they are open displays of intolerant terrorism.  There is no other reason for them.

If you are going to write me that if you don’t like your lawyer, pharmacist, or nurse, get a different one forget about it.  If you are that intolerant of others, then you should not have chosen such a career in the first place.  There is no room in professions like these for intolerance.  Additionally, actions like these are in violation of the Ethics Oaths these professions are governed by.

Then we have another perfect example of intolerance on full display which is nothing more than a terrorist act.  This one comes due to the idea that the City of New Orleans is removing Confederate statues from the city.  This action is being taken after a vote of the city council.  Naturally, the white supremacists are up in arms and complaining the city is removing “our heritage” from city property.

In an attempt to stop other cities from taking such an action, the Louisiana Legislature is trying to pass a law that would make it ‘illegal” to remove such statues unless there was a “ballot” issue where the majority of the people vote to remove them.  Another attempt of a state legislature telling local governments what they can and cannot pass in their own jurisdictions.  Meaning, only the state can control a city’s monuments with the city paying for them, of course.

But the worst example of intolerant terrorism came not from anyone in Louisiana, but rather than a Missouri legislator.  On Saturday, Karl Oliver, a Republican member of the state’s House of Representatives described the “destruction” of Confederate monuments in Louisiana as “heinous and horrific” and compared leaders in that state to Nazis.

He said in his tweet:

The destruction of these monuments, erected in loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific.  If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historic monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED!  Let it be known that I will do all I can to prevent this from happening in our state!

I find it ludicrous when any so-called conservative calls someone else a Nazi when they are trying to rid their community of white supremacist symbols.  After all, it was the Nazis who epitomized white supremacy.  Which tells me that erecting white supremacy symbols is more Nazi-ish than removing them.  Especially when the City Council votes to remove them.  They are the representatives of the city residents.

Plus, everyone who has followed my writing knows I consider these “white heritage” nuts to be traitors to our country.  They are more interested in pledging loyalty to a failed, losing party of a war, than to the country of which they claim to be patriots.

But, their view is the only view that matters to them, therefore, it is supposed to be the only view that matters to us.  That is the full definition of intolerance.  And, it is terrorism if you tell people if they disagree or remove a confederate statue, they should by lynched.

Far more Americans have been killed by Radical Christian Terrorists in this country than any other group, including Islamic Terrorists.  The difference is that when a Muslim commits a horrible act, it is automatically called terrorism.  When a Radical Christian Terrorist commits a horrible act, it is called a “one-off” or that person has “mental problems”.

And, both our beloved leader and our vice president are mum on all of this Radical Christian Terrorist activity.  See, you don’t have to “kill” someone to be considered a terrorist.  You merely need to make them afraid of going out on the streets, or in their own home, or know that they can be discriminated against simply because they are different.

The laws being passed in the Caliphate of Texas and other Republican controlled states are forms of terrorism because they formally make discrimination “legal”.  You won’t hear beloved leader or our vice president voice any condemnation of these acts either.  Beloved leader got elected because he ran a hate campaign.  Our vice president signed such terrorism laws while he was Governor of Indiana.

If beloved leader is really interested in “weeding out terrorism” he needs to begin at home.  If he really wants to make terrorism something to be afraid of carrying out, he needs to crack down on the Radical Christian Terrorists in our country.

If pence is really interested in ending intolerance, then he needs his own “come to Jesus moment” and start condemning the very laws that Texas is passing and the ones he signed into law in Indiana.

I am not holding my breath about either of these cowards doing anything different.  They are part of the radical Christian terrorists and they are very proud of that fact.  All of this is proof of the conservative Republican agenda to remove all non-white, non-Christian people from the country.  They want a white only, Christian only country.

Only once they get it, they will work to eliminate the Christian sects they don’t like either.  So, you are in the crosshairs too.  Unless you are part of the Radical Christian Terrorist organization.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 187. 

If you think that everything swirling around our beloved leader is finally going to split him from the Republican Party, think again.  The last few weeks are living proof that Republicans are far more interested in screwing non-rich Americans than they are in protecting our country.

In the last few weeks our beloved leader fired the Director of the FBI.  He had his surrogates tell us that it was because of his sloppy handling of the Hillary Clinton scandal.  Then 24 hours later he announced that it was more because of the ‘Russia thing” that he was thinking about when he made up his mind to fire Comey.

The very next day, he met with the very people that the Russia thing was all about.  He met with the Foreign Minister of Russia.  And, without saying ahead of time, he had the Russian Ambassador, the one who is behind all the Flynn thing, in the meeting as well.  We only found out that Kislyak was in the meeting because the only news organization allowed in the meeting, TASS took pictures of the meeting and there was the Ambassador laughing it up with our beloved leader.

Later we discovered that beloved leader shared highly classified information with the Russians.  Problem was that the information came from one of our partners, and they had not given trump permission to share it with the Russians.  Nor, did trump even bother to talk about sharing the information with his own intelligence team.  Maybe that is why our journalists were not allowed into the meeting.

Additionally, the information he shared could be very hazardous to the people who gathered it in the first place.  Meaning they could be found out and even possibly killed because beloved leader likes to brag about what he knows.

When this story broke, trump hauled out McMaster, his National Security Advisor, to denounce the story as being false.  But, McMaster did not say the part of him sharing highly classified information was false.  A sort of non-denial denial.

Then the next day, trump tweeted and said that maybe he did share the information, but as president he has the right to do so.  Even McMaster defended the “passing” of the information to the Russians.  That is quite different from what McMaster said during his very brief news conference.

Then yesterday, the New York Times revealed that Comey had sent himself a memo concerning a meeting he had with trump in February.  He claimed that trump said “I hope you can let this thing with Flynn go.  He is a good man and I hope you can see clear to let it go.”  In they eyes of most sane people, trump was asking Comey to drop the Russia Investigation and the Investigation into Flynn.

Naturally, the White House denies this latest from Comey.  However, his sidekicks don’t seem too quick to question the authenticity of the memo, just how bad it was for Comey to even write it in the first place.  The memo also states that trump suggested that journalists who print “leaked” information should be put in jail.  Something that goes against the First Amendment especially the part of a free press.  It also goes against that little troubling thing for trump called “due process”.  But, what the hell, if you are tying to be a dictator, laws don’t matter to you.

This is where the Republican party comes in.  As well as those idiots at Fox news who live and die for trump and would love nothing more than for trump to lock up their competition so they can become the formal propaganda machine for trump and his administration.

Dave Weigel tweeted this:  Rep. James Comer, a member of the Oversight Committee, says Trump may well have been joking to Comey. “It looks different on paper.”

John Bresnahan tweeted:  Heard this last night from some Rs on Hill. “Trump was just spouting off, wasn’t serious attempt at obstruction.”

Marianna Sotomayor tweeted:  A senior WH official tells @PeterAlexander that POTUS wasn’t telling Comey to end Flynn investigation and suggest this is the way he speaks.

Avi Asher-Schapiro tweeted:  Meanwhile, on Fox, @BretBaier responds to reports that Trump asked Comey to consider imprisoning reporters by saying “maybe he was joking”.

Then we have Paul Ryan saying “we should look at the facts”.  But then added, just to give cover to his fascist friend: “Some people are out to harm the president.”

Yeah, but not as much as you and your president is out to harm the American People.  You are actually willing to put lives at risk by taking away people’s health care in order to give a huge tax cut to the rich.

Then there is Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) attempting to mount a legal defense of the president. He claimed the Comey memo qualified as “hearsay”, and that therefore it is inadmissible. According to past precident in court cases, an FBI agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence.

But, in order to make Comey the villain, Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign spokesman who backed out of a White House job after allegations surfaced he had an affair with another transition official, argued Comey’s habit of writing down conversations ― standard practice among law enforcement and in the business world ― was “weird and vindictive.”

“It’s absolutely absurd the president supposedly made such a comment and director Comey sat on it for three months,” Miller said Tuesday on CNN.

He added: “It’s a little bit weird and vindictive on Comey’s part that he had a little diary that he could play gotcha with.”

But Hugh Hewitt led the real conspiracy theory topic and tried to make Comey look like he was the criminal.  On his radio show Wednesday, Hewitt ridiculously compared Comey to one of his infamous predecessors ― J. Edgar Hoover, who “kept files on everyone, and that as a result he was untouchable.”

“And so if Comey has a vast trove of notes, I want to know when did they begin, about whom and what subjects are they on?” he said, while speaking with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who sits on the Judiciary Committee. “Yes, I want to know whether President Trump obstructed justice, and that’s an open question. But I want to know about what was the FBI director noting and not telling you, because I read that hearing. He should have brought this up to you then.”

The point is obvious.  The Republican wacko fringe has their puppet in the White House.  Yet, they are willing to say and do anything to defend someone who is acting like someone who presents a “clean and present danger” to our country and our democracy.  You may ask “why would they do that?

The answer comes in their policies.  First they want to take away health care from millions of people because obviously the real problem in America is too many people have health care.  And, if they can give the rich a tax cut at the same time, even better.  Hence, the Americans Without Health Care Act.

Secondly, they want to give themselves, their donors, and the very rich a huge tax cut.  Although taxes are lower than they have ever been in our country, except when there was no income tax, they still claim it is too damn much.  Well, it too damn much for rich people to pay.  You can pay more, that is okay.

Third, they believe that corporations should pay even less taxes than they do.  About half of the S&P top 500 corporations don’t pay a dime in corporate taxes now.  But, Republicans say that is too much and all companies deserve to have their taxes slashed “hugely”.

They want you to keep believing their lies about how tax cuts to the rich and corporations creates jobs.  We already know that is a lie because they have tried that gimmick before, more than once, and no jobs were created.  Only the rich got richer and we all paid the price.

Finally, and I know this one is stretching things, but I do believe it, they want the economy to collapse again.  They want all of the regulations that are in place to protect us from another economic collapse eliminated and allow financial industry to run roughshod over us.

If you are asking why, you aren’t alone.  But let me explain.  See they are totally against the minimum wage.  They believe that companies should be able to pay whatever they think is “reasonable” wages to their workers.  If the economy totally collapses, they believe that the surviving companies will take over the market and pay wages well below today’s minimum wage.

Today’ Republicans will even change the law to make it legal for that to happen.  They want to return to the days when companies made all of the rules.  Made all of the profits, and paid slave wages to their workers.  They also created “towns” that workers had to live in, for a huge rent, and purchase all of their goods at the company store.  In other words they want to return to the days when the company owned you.

For these reasons, don’t expect Republicans to split with trump anytime soon regardless of the havoc he creates.  They have the very person in the White House that will sign the legislation to make this all come true.  If Republicans need to rubberstamp everything trump wants, including destroying our democracy, that is the price they are willing to pay for their anti-American agenda.

Today’s Republicans look over to Russia and see how Putin has made his cronies billionaires and think trump will do the same for them.  That is the Republican agenda.  You and I don’t count now, and never did to these buffoons.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 185. 

We are going through another round of smokescreens from our beloved leader.  The latest is all about firing Comey as the Director of the FBI.  He admitted, though not using exact words, that he actually fired Comey because of the Russia investigation that is driving trump to the point of madness.  But, with all that going on, we are missing key points that prove that trump has no intentions of keeping his promises from the campaign.  Which means that the Average American will be badly hurt by his policies.

The Americans Without Health Care Act is set, if passed by the Senate, to cut $880 Billion from Medicaid.  You will remember there were three things that trump promised would never be cut under his administration.  Those three were Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Only he lied.  That became obvious the other day, when his campaign economic advisor, Stephen Moore told the American People exactly that.

On May 8, Moore was on CNN’s Newsroom.  He was joined by the University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee to discuss the merits of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett’s argument that the Trump health care agenda amounts to little more than a tax cut for the rich funded by cuts to health care subsidies for low-income Americans. Goolsbee pointed out that Trump’s health care legislation “cuts taxes for high-income people by hundreds of billions of dollars” at the expense of Medicare and Medicaid, which Trump promised “he would never cut.” Moore interjected falsely: “He never said that we weren’t going to reform Medicaid,” arguing, “That was central to our plan all along”.

There you have it.  Moore simply told the American People that trump planned to cut Medicaid all along and that it was “central to his plan all along”.  The talking heads mostly ignored the statement.  But co-hosts John Berman and Poppy Harlow, as well as Goolsbee, did cite trump’s tweets and public statements as proof that he had broken his promise to protect Medicaid.

According to a September article from HuffPost political reporter Christina Wilkie, Moore had outlined Trump’s often contradictory economic plans during a “question-and-answer session” at a private July 14 meeting of the conservative Council for National Policy (CNP) in Cleveland, OH. During the event, Moore suggested that Trump planned to pay for his costly economic agenda by removing supposedly onerous public protections imposed by the federal government and enacting “draconian public assistance reforms and cuts in social services.” Since taking office, Trump has proposed a budget and health care agenda that would fulfill those promises. As the article noted, Moore’s zeal for tearing down anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid, seems to undermine Trump’s claim that he would focus on “looking out for the downtrodden.” It also confirms that imposing this harsh agenda — and lying about it — was indeed “central to” the Trump team’s economic plan “all along.”

This also means that Social Security and Medicare are not under trump’s protection.  The Republicans have been wanting to gut those program for years.  They want to privatize Social Security and hand out “vouchers” for Medicare.  They are not interested in saving or protecting either of those programs.  Meaning that trump is not interested in saving or protecting them like he said either.

That is what the trump agenda is all about.  He wants all of the social safety nets eliminated in order to give his rich pals a bigger tax cut.  He wants to lead the Republican sick eugenics program.  Only, Republicans and trump aren’t interested in the normal eugenics program of saving the best genes.  They are only interested in creating a safe rich class.  If that means the “downtrodden” are hurt more and more, so be it.

This goes along with the Republican view that America is supposed to be a haven for the rich.  They don’t care about saving your jobs.  They don’t care about you at all.  They know that they can make their products overseas for a lot less money and benefits than they need to pay out here.  So, if the poor and the middle class are forced to leave the country to find work, that is perfectly fine with them.

See, if you eliminate all those poor working class slobs by sending their jobs overseas, you can live a life of luxury and ignore the problems of “little people” like us.  The Americans Without Health Care is the first step in trump’s plan to get rid of anyone who isn’t rich.  You take away their health care and you eliminate those “problems.  When the workforce declines, you simply start shipping more of the jobs overseas to low-income countries.

Oh, they will make exceptions so there are enough “little people” to man their military and clean their houses or fix their cars.  But other than that, the rest of us should just leave.  How else do you explain cutting the medical care for millions upon millions of people just to give the very rich a huge tax break?

If you believe that trump will keep his promise when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, just remember that Medicare is also being cut in the Americans Without Health Care Act.  Under the ACA the CBO said Medicare’s finances were strengthened.  Under the Americans Without Health Care Act up to a trillion dollars will be cut from Medicare.  Another lie from our beloved leader.

Republicans finally have a puppet in the White House that thinks like they do.  Someone who believes that the Average American isn’t worth helping.  The Average American simply costs too much for corporations to actually hire.  That is why they haven’t done a damn thing to stop the outflow of American Jobs.

Unfortunately, if you believe their nonsense that huge tax cuts for corporations will magically bring back jobs, you are making a huge mistake.  They will get their tax cuts, and they will continue to ship your job overseas.  But, that is the point.  By getting both huge tax cuts and protection to ship out your jobs, their profits will go up and they will get richer.  That is the Republican agenda.  That is trump’s agenda.

I have urged you before, and I continue to urge you to keep up with what is going on behind the smokescreen.  We are getting screwed by Republicans in Congress and by our beloved leader.  We have to raise our voices and make the damage stop.  Otherwise, we won’t have a country anymore.  We will have the United Corporations of America.

That is what Republicans want.  If you don’t pay attention, that is what they will get.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 181. 

Am I the only one who sees this mess for what it is?  I watch what is going on with this administration and how Republicans are handling themselves, and I keep believing I am watching a reel of Looney Tunes cartoons.  The plots are so similar, that it cannot be overlooked.

Republicans are still trying to tell us how great their Americans Without Health Care Act is.  The brave ones, and there are few of them, even go through town hall meetings and really don’t listen to what their own constituents are telling them.  They simply stand there and repeat the party line.  The problem is that they don’t even listen to what they are saying.

They keep saying that it is okay to charge people with pre-existing conditions twice or three times as much for health care as long as “healthy” people pay less.  One bozo even said “I had my staff talk to an insurance company who is planning to raise premiums 53 percent next year under the ACA.  They told my staff that if the AHCA passes, they will reduce premiums by 10 percent”.  Think about that statement for just one minute.

This clown is trying to tell you that you will see a 10 percent DECREASE in your premiums if the AHCA becomes law.  Simple logic tells us that you can only decrease premiums if you decrease coverage.  That means that if the AHCA becomes law, you will see a decrease in premiums if you accept less coverage for your money.

Republicans are acting more like Wiley Coyote making his plans to catch the road runner.  Problem is, he never catches the road runner and usually winds up the victim of his own plans by having a boulder fall on him instead of the road runner.  Their so-called health care plan is so full of holes that it couldn’t hold water if the water was first placed in plastic bags.  The only real problem is that the bolder is about to land on Americans this time.

Then we have our beloved leader.  He reminds me too much of Elmer Fudd “huntin wabbits”.  This version of Elmer Fudd keeps looking down holes in the ground thinking he will find a wabbit to catch and put on display.  That is his idea of how to extricate himself from his horrible decisions, and his lies, and his connections with an enemy of our country.

If you keep chasing wabbits, and get the media to look down the holes with you, they won’t see what is really going on.  That became really apparent with the Comey firing.  The explanations that he has put forth for the reason for the firing are even worse than the Republicans plan to catch the road runner.

This version of Elmer Fudd has no idea of how to catch a wabbit than the original did.  He keeps plodding along throwing accusations around like candy at a children’s party and hoping one will actually stick.

From all reports, including one that had over 30 informants from the governmens say openly that Comey was fired because he was getting too close on the Russia investigation.  The reports say that Comey was fired simply because trump was furious that Comey would not defend the president and shield beloved leader from the investigation.

The hunting party that trump has surrounded himself with couldn’t give one complete reason for the firing.  I counted at least five different versions of why Comey was fired.  The firing was handled so ineptly, even his propaganda minister, Sean Spicer, had to huddle with his staff behind bushes to figure out what happened.  Then he held a brief “news conference” that wasn’t a news conference on the lawn to explain why Comey was fired.

He held his news conference in the dark without any cameras rolling because he didn’t want his boss see him on television.  The next morning, he was contradicted more than once by others in the administration.

I believe we finally heard the exact reason why Comey was fired.  That came from Foghorn Leghorn, Kellyanne Conway, who clearly stated that “the president expects people in his administration to be loyal to him”.  That sums up all of the bullshit that the administration has been pumping out.  Comey was fired because trump was furious that in trump’s warped mind, Comey was not being loyal to trump.  That is the only reason he was fired.

Finally we have Elmer Fudd meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and with the very ambassador who is behind the Russian investigation in the Oval Office yesterday.  That in itself wasn’t something that bothered me.  However, when trump banned U.S. Journalists from the meeting but let Russian journalists in is something that is troublesome.

The only photos of the meeting are provided by TASS.  If you are not old enough to understand, TASS was the official news propaganda machine for the Old Soviet Union.  They were allowed into the meeting and our journalists were not.  What is wrong with that picture?  You can bet your ass that if the meeting was held in the Kremlin, there is no way trump’s hero Putin would allow American press into the meeting and not his own press.

Additionally, the Foreign Minister actually made a joke over the Comey firing.  When asked about it he said “He was fired?” then smiled as he and our empty suit Secretary of State walked away.  The photos also showed that the three of them, two Russians and trump were having a great time back slapping and laughing.  We can only guess what they were so happy about.

But, Elmer Fudd did it again.  He got the news media to look down another empty hole in the ground looking for that damn wabbit, and they fell for it, again.

We are going to be asked to look down more empty holes in an attempt to get Elmer Fudd to catch that waskily wabbit.  The next will be his commission he wants to name to look into the phantom “massive voter fraud” problem in our country, which doesn’t exist.

If we are going to have to watch old Looney Tunes cartoons with this administration, what we need is someone in the media and someone in Congress at least as smart as Bugs Bunny to foil Elmer’s attempts to catch him and shine the light on Elmer’s goofyness.

The biggest problem with having to watch this new version of Looney Tunes is that it isn’t funny.  It is downright scary and dangerous.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 178. 

This administration is very good at exercising conflict of interest in order to line their own pockets.  We have seen instances of one advisor advertising Ivanka’s products on air.  And, we have seen a U.S. department advertising for Mar A Lago on its website.

However, Jared Kushner and his family have gone even further.  They are actively “selling visas” in China in order to get more money for their projects and line their own pockets.  There is something called the EB-5 visa program.  This program awards foreign investors the right to live in the United States for two years and a path to permanent residency, in exchange for investments of at least $500,000 in American development projects.

This program was instituted in order to finance projects in economically troubled neighborhoods.  It has instead turned into a form of cheap financing for luxury real estate developers.  Applicants are primarily seeking the visa, so they do not seek a significant return on their investment.

The United States Government Accountability Office, the investigative branch of Congress, has criticized the visa program for its lax safeguards against illicit sources of money.  It is informally known as the “Visas For Sale Program”.

The Kushner family has used this program in the past as well.  They raised about $50 million from Chinese investors in EB-5 funding for another project in Jersey City, a Trump-branded luxury apartment tower that opened in late 2016.

Now the company is at it again in China.  They held one “investor program” in Beijing, and one in Shanghai.  In both instances, there was a very clear mention of the EB-5 Visa program to lure in more investors.  The Kushner company claimed is was just an investor program and not political.

But, to Bi Ting, who attended the event, part of the appeal was political: Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of — and a powerful adviser to — President Trump. Virtually unheard-of in China just months ago, he is now known here as a deeply influential figure in American politics.

When they held the event in Beijing, reporters for the Washington Post and the New York Times were escorted out of the gathering.  In Shanghai, the press was kept out of the event and kept in an elevator lobby.  I guess the Kushners didn’t want the press to know what they were up to.

Still, leaks come out anyway.  Some who attended described an investor pitch similar to the one in Beijing, and Mr. Trump’s political power was palpable at the Shanghai event even if his name went unsaid. As on Saturday in Beijing, one slide presented to the Shanghai audience on Sunday showed a photograph of Mr. Trump when describing who will decide the future of the visa program for foreign investors, according to a snapshot taken by an audience member.

As you can see, this is not something that is totally unusual.  And, you will also note that Jared Kushner claims to have stepped away from the day-to-day control of the family’s businesses.  But, it still gives off a very dark optic at the very least.

While Kushner’s star keeps rising in the administration, his family is trying to sell visas to rich Chinese who want to come to the U.S. anyway.  This is also at a time when Kushner’s father-in-law is supposedly trying to close our borders to immigrants.

With all of the screaming about Latino immigration, what you are not hearing is that about three-quarters of the 10,000 investor visas were issued to Chinese.  So, it shows that if you have money to invest in this country, you can purchase your visa along with your investment.

If you are a family like the trumps or the Kushners, you simply need to go to China and sell U.S. visas in order to get money to build your projects.  If you are president, or a very powerful advisor to the president, it is much easier to get your money by selling visas.  And, then you claim that you aren’t personally involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.

That way you can claim, falsely in my opinion, that you are not involved in a conflict of interest.  Even though you are still receiving huge profits from the company into your personal pockets.  How convenient.

Of course Jared is not the only Kushner doing business with China from the White House.  His wife Ivanka has also done deals with China from the White House.  She was miraculously granted a shit-load of branding trade marks in China the very day she sat next to the Chinese President at dinner at Mar A Lago.

Jared’s power in the West Wing is growing each day.  One of the things that he is supposedly responsible for is matters dealing with China.  How convenient.  I wonder, if the fact that his daddy-in-law refused to name China a “currency manipulator” as he promised relentlessly on the campaign trail was really the result of Jared’s instance.  Especially in light of these “investor events” selling visas to Chinese for money to finance Kushner projects.

If anyone is wondering why there is a big hoopla over the conflicts of interest this administration has, this is a good example of why that hoopla is necessary.  How is it possible for us to believe that any decisions on China is in the best interest of the nation and not in the best interest of Kushner businesses?  Or, trump’s businesses for that matter.

These types of actions are becoming all too common for the president’s family and other members of his administration.  The head of the HHS has been shown to be guilty of insider trading when he was a Congressman.  No, he wasn’t convicted in court, but he was convicted in the court of public opinion.  Buying stock and then passing laws to benefit the company you just bought stock in is considered insider trading by any definition.

We are not even at the four-month mark of this administration.  And, yet, we seem to be saddled with the most corrupt administration in my living memory.  Yet, no one really seems to care and that is the real problem.

Beloved leader will tell you that he cannot be accused of conflict of interest because he is president.  The Republicans will tell you that people like the Kushners are just using they system and “doing nothing illegal”.  The Kushners will tell you that they are not doing anything that other businesses aren’t doing.

In technical terms they are all correct.  But, in the reality of politics and proper ethics, they are all wrong.  When I was teaching at a Community College in Security Management, I told my students that “integrity is all we have to ensure we do our jobs properly.  If we lose our integrity, we lose our ability to do our jobs correctly”.

The same can be said for politicians, especially the president.  If the president has no integrity, how can the American People trust him to make any decisions that are in their best interests.  How can we believe him if he says we need to attack another country because they have nuclear weapons?  How can we believe him when he says “believe me”?

The answer to all of those questions is that we cannot believe him.  We cannot believe that decisions are made in our interests and not his own financial interests.  We cannot believe him when he says he “cares about us” and wants to make our lives better.  Especially when his actions, and those of his administration, have been to use the office of the president to line their own pockets at our loss.

Beloved leader proved one of his statements correct.  He said “I am probably the only person who can run for president and make money off of the campaign”.  His companies raked in money from his own campaign, so he was right in that aspect.  Now, he is proving that he can also make lots of money off of being president.  And, he doesn’t care if you know it or not.  All that matter to this maniac is his bottom line, not your bottom line.

That is why we see things like the Americans Without Health Care Act pass the House with his blessings.  That is why we see agencies like the EPA being gutted both financially and personal matters so polluters can pollute our water, air and land even more than they already do.  That is why we see his draconian budget that tears apart every program that is intended to make your lives better.

As you can see, conflict of interest comes in many forms.  This administration is openly and blatantly using the office of the president to line their own pockets.  And, like all of the Goldman Sachs former employees who head up our all of finance agencies after causing the economic meltdown 11 years ago, no one will be held accountable.

Ethics and Integrity.  Two essential items necessary to properly govern a country are sorely lacking in this administration.  As a result, they keep getting richer and we keep getting poorer.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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