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Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Day 163. 

We are quickly approaching the 100 day mark in beloved leader’s presidency.  All through the campaign and at the very beginning of his presidency, he has said over and over that he will accomplish so much in the first 100 days.  He even had something called his contract with America on what will be accomplished during his first 100 days.  I believe there were something like 10 legislative bills he said would be passed.

Well, so far, nothing has been passed.  He made a very feeble attempt at passing a replacement for the ACA, and it crashed and burned even before it could get to the floor of the House and have a vote.  He hasn’t released any information on his tax reforms which he claimed would be passed by now.

He ordered a 90 day review on cybersecurity and promised we would all be very pleased with the results.  No results have come forward, and no one seems to know who is even supposed to conduct this review.  So, one hasn’t even started yet.

Beloved leader claims to have “done more in my first 100 days than anyone in history”.  Which is a blatant lie.  Now he claims that the “first 100 days” thing is a bunch of bullshit.  Maybe because he hasn’t done anything yet.

About the only thing he has accomplished so far is to destroy the EPA and our environmental protections.  He has made it much easier for coal companies to pollute rivers and streams but not at producing more coal.  He has tried to implement his Muslim Ban but has failed at that as well since it was blocked in the courts more than once.

Yes, he did get his terrible nomination to the Supreme Court.  But, as usual, the Republicans had to change and break the rules to get it done.  They proved once again that “they don’t need no stinking rules”.  Something trump loves to hear.

Oh, he launched some missiles at Syria after saying that the dictator could stay as far as trump was concerned.  The damage was so minimal that the Syrian Air Force was carrying out air strikes against the rebels the very next day from that airfield.  Maybe that is because he warned the Russians and therefore the Syrians we were coming.

And, of course, we cannot forget that his administration is under FBI investigation for possibly colluding with the Russians hacking during our elections last year.  I guess that is something he is real proud of as well.

So, as we approach his first 100 day mark, we need to ask what will be his first major “victory” of his administration.  Here are my choices.

First, will he start a war with North Korea?  All of the signs are leaning in that direction.  Only, he doesn’t seem to understand that a war with North Korea would probably include nuclear weapons.  That could cause a global catastrophe.  I really doubt if he fully understands that threat.  I am more inclined to believe that he thinks that would be okay since the nuclear weapons would only be used on Asians anyway.

Second, will he manage to start a war with Iran.  Republicans and trump have been itching for a war with Iran for a very long time.  He want’s to “review” the nuclear deal with Iran even though his own State Department put in writing that Iran is complying with the accord.  Since when does this country pull out of an agreement that is being followed?  Does our word mean nothing anymore?

He claims that Iran isn’t complying with the “spirit” of the accord.  What he really means is they aren’t complying with his “spirit” of the accord.  So, he can just pull out and let Iran get the nuclear weapons this accord has prevented them from getting.  Does that mean that if we pull out of the accord, are we then going to invade Iran on the premise of them wanting nuclear weapons and we are just trying to stop them?  Doesn’t that sound a lot like the second Iraq War that W. got us into and trump blasted during the campaign?

Third, will he finally manage to toss 24 million people from their health care coverage.  He and Republicans are going to try again to pass the Americans Without Health Care Act.  Only this time, because the have allowed the so-called Freedom Caucus to name the conditions, more than 24 million people will lose their coverage.

The Freedom Caucus wants a provision that allows states to opt out of the coverage part for people with pre-existing conditions.  The provision says they must have a “High-Risk Pool” for these people.  But, it doesn’t say how it is to be funded.  Meaning, when a state opts out, insurance companies will have license to price pre-existing conditions out of the market.  So instead of just 24 million people losing their coverage, the number will most likely double.

But don’t worry, trump calls this a “wonderful bill” that will make coverage cheaper for everyone.  People with pre-existing conditions, and those who will lose Medicaid coverage are not considered as part of the “everyone” trump keeps talking about.  Or he believes that having no insurance is “cheaper” since you don’t have to pay premiums.  So what if you get sick.

Fourth, will the administration allow those retired miners to lose their coverage and pensions as we talked about the other day?  Is he going to step up to the plate and ensure they keep their retirement benefits or just throw them to the side of the road like everyone else who isn’t rich?  Can we consider that a “major victory” for trump because it will save a whopping 200 million dollars per year?

Fifth, will he cause a government shutdown at the end of next week.  As of midnight next Friday night, the government money will run out.  If there isn’t a continuing resolution, the government will shutdown again.  And, if it does shutdown it will be trump and the Republicans fault full stop.

The only thing that needs to be done is a continuing resolution that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year.  That is all.  But, Republicans and now trump love to throw in “poison pills” that hurt people just to say they are “standing on principle”.  They simply cannot allow a continuing resolution to pass cleanly and try to get their pet projects through normal channels.

This time, trump seems to be the trigger.  He wants his money to build his damn Berlin Wall.  He is even threatening to stop paying the subsidies in the ACA if he doesn’t get the money.  That would mean that millions of poor people, working poor people, and middle-class people would immediately lose their health care coverage because they wouldn’t be able to afford their premiums.

I mean really?  Beloved leader hates Latinos so much that he is willing to let you lose your health care coverage?  There are ways to fund projects, but holding hostage half of America is not the way it is supposed to be done.  You simply put together a plan and a bill, take it down to Congress, and fight like hell to get what you want.

The problem with this simple legislative way the government is supposed to work is that Republicans abandoned that principle 40 years ago.  Now, they simply want to hold America hostage and hold their breath until they get what they want.  They think it is much easier that way.  And, the only people who will be hurt by their tactics are the “little people”, not themselves.

Those are my five favorites of what would be trump’s “major victory” during his first 100 days in office.  He hasn’t proposed any meaningful legislation.  He hasn’t issued any Executive Orders that does anything except help pollute the planet and make the rich richer.

He has made sure that the “swamp” he promised to drain is overflowing its banks right now.  Corruption and unethical behavior are running rampant in his administration.  So, maybe he is right when he says that he has done more than anyone else in history.  I haven’t seen so much corruption and unethical behavior surface so fast in an administration in my lifetime.

I have said before that the first 100 days thing doesn’t mean much to me.  I am more interested in being shown that the person in the White House has some kind of plan and is ready with some real legislation to push the plan forward.  Beloved leader doesn’t seem to have a plan, and he has no legislation to put forward.

His backers say he is “learning on the job”.  I say it shows his incompetence.  He has shown me only that he is interested in making the rich, like himself, richer.  He is interested in destroying our planet by tearing down environmental protections that have taken decades to implement.  He is interested in allowing a foreign oil company take land away from private farmers in America to build a pipeline that will produce not one drop of gasoline for our country.  It is all going to be exported.

He has shown disdain for the Average American by trying to take away their Health Care Coverage and polluting their drinking water and poison the air they breath all in the name of profits for the insurance companies and the polluters.

I seriously doubt that trump will manage to accomplish even one of these five options.  He doesn’t have the competence to accomplish anything and he is proving that day-by-day.  Which could be a good thing for us.  Because any one of the five options above would be disastrous for the American People.  Especially to most of the very people who voted for him.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 155. 

All of a sudden, our beloved leader has fallen love with our depleted military and our stupid generals.  That is what he has said about our military for almost 2 years now.  Suddenly, the military isn’t so depleted that he can’t use it as a toy, and our generals are all really smart and “outstanding”.

But, that also leads us to potential “big time” trouble as trump would say.  Now that he has fallen love with our military, the next possible target would be North Korea.  And, that is where the big time trouble would be.

North Korea is not Syria.  North Korea is not Iraq.  North Korea already has nuclear weapons.  And, they have a child version of trump as their beloved leader who has killed his own family members because he thought they were a threat to his power.

That means that all of the talk about “taking care of North Korea” that trump has been uttering is even more dangerous.  We have a carrier group near the peninsula.  What if their child killer decides to make a preemptive strike against that group with nuclear weapons?  We have thousands of our sailors in harm’s way like we haven’t since the cold war ended.

And a preemptive strike if North Korea should test nuclear bomb places the entire peninsula in danger.  Ever since the Korean war ended with its cease-fire, we have treaded carefully there.  The leaders of that country have been belligerent for years.  They continuously bluster about how great their military is and how wonderful they are.  They tell their people that means they would win any war against the south and the U.S.

North Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world.  They are willing and many of the hard-liners are eager to fight.  Yes, it is most likely that a war in Korea would result in a win for us and our allies, but at what cost?

Is it worth starting a war because of the behavior of North Korea?  You must remember, Seoul is just 35 miles from the North Korean border.  There are about 20 million people who live in and around Seoul.  That means the city is in range of North Korea’s massive artillery. That means even using conventional weapons, the North could kill millions of South Koreans.

Don’t forget our forces stationed in South Korea either or the American business people who live and work in Seoul.  On top of that, South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world.  If there is a war, the country would be devastated and need to rebuild again costing billions of dollars.

Every year the U.S. and South Korea holds exercises in the country.  One of the objectives is to determine what would happen if a war did break out on the peninsula.  All of the exercises so far has shown there is no good option for a war.

Something does need to be done about getting North Korea to get rid of their nuclear weapons.  But, is war the answer?  It may come to that point.  But are we there yet?  For the first time, China is starting to put pressure on North Korea where it hurts.  North Korea gets most of their money from selling coal to China.  China just sent back all of their coal shipments and told North Korea to keep them.

China is not looking forward to a war in Korea either.  Assuming that the U.S. and its allies would eventually win such a war, do you really think that China wants a border with a unified Korea that is backed by the U.S. with possibly U.S. troops on its border?  Which means, would China decide to send troops in if North Korea is on the brink of defeat as they did in the 1950s?

Then we have the agreement with South Korea.  In that agreement we are not supposed to use any military force against North Korea without consulting South Korea first.  The people in South Korea are getting very nervous as tensions on the peninsula rise.

Even if we do consult with South Korea, what if they say they don’t want the U.S. to use a preemptive attack on the North?  Do we ignore our ally and do it anyway?  Will our beloved leader play chicken with the lives of millions of our ally’s people?

And, what about Japan?  Japan is already in reach of North Korea’s missiles.  What happens if the North decides to attack Japan as well?  There is no doubt that Japan will retaliate, and we will have no choice but support our ally there as well.

Finally, what about our own Congress?  Any attack against North Korea would be considered an act of war against a foreign country.  Only Congress has the authority to declare such action.  So, an unannounced preemptive attack by the administration against North Korea would be unConstitutional.

So I hope beloved leader is consulting with the leaders of Congress right now and letting them know what he is planning on doing.  Otherwise, he will break the law if he goes ahead with a preemptive strike.

But, more than that, we need to look at and understand what other enemies might do if we attack North Korea.  What might Russia do?  What might Iran do?  Will Russia take a preemptive strike against North Korea as a sign they can go ahead and invade Ukraine?  Maybe Iran will decide it is a good time to invade Iraq to take over that country?

Maybe Iran would think it is a good time to actually attack Israel.  What then?  That could totally destabilize the mid-east.  Then we would be looking at war across the board.

Handling North Korea is not the same as bullying your political opponents.  It is not the same as sending missiles into Syria after telling the Russians and Syrians to leave the area.  It isn’t the same as dropping a huge bomb on ISIS.

We are talking about striking a country that has a large and competent army.  We are talking about striking a country with a leader even more unstable than our leader.  We are talking about a real war with potentially tens of millions of people being killed.

All of the talking heads, especially on the right are talking about how trump is learning on job and getting better.  I wrote yesterday I don’t agree with that analysis.  I still don’t.  We will get a real understanding what trump has learned and whether or not he has any idea of what his job is when we see how he handles North Korea.

If he continues with his “gut” and makes a rash decision concerning this situation, it cold spell disaster for the Korean peninsula and for the world.  If it is true that trump only listens to and does what the last person he speaks to says, we better hope a sane person is that last one.

This weekend Christians are celebrating Easter. Jews are celebrating Passover.  North Korea is celebrating the 105th birthday of the country’s founder.  The first two celebrations are celebrations of peace.  The third is a celebration of dictatorship.  The third could be the only one worth watching.  Will North Korea simply hold their parade and go home, or will they do something like test another nuclear weapon, launch test missiles, or launch a preemptive attack on our carrier group or South Korea?

The first two scenarios would be bad, but not something to start a war over.  The last two would mean war.  And, how trump reacts to one of the first two scenarios could also mean war.  We can only hope that cooler saner heads prevail.  Unfortunately, the actions so far from these two leaders don’t give us too much confidence.

We can only watch and wait.  Despite all of the stupidity in the world over the last 70 years, this is the closest we have come to worldwide disaster since the Cuban Missile Crisis.  We averted that disaster because there were two leaders who understood the consequences.  Both leaders were able to overrule their hawkish military leaders.  Does trump have the guts to say no to his Generals like Kennedy did?  Will he even order them to get clearance from him before launching any attack against North Korea?

This issue is way beyond politics or trying to look and talk tough.  This is a situation that could lead to life and death for millions of people.  This is when real leaders stand up and resist primal instincts to simply attack.  Rational thought needs to be used.  That is where our problem is.  We haven’t seen a lot of rational thought from trump so far.  If he really is learning his job, now is the time to show that he has learned to rationally think.

 

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Day 151. 

Yesterday, the news media was still all agog about the strike on Syria.  Still too many of our media were trying to show that trump was being “presidential” when he ordered the attack.   However, there were four words that prove you cannot trust trump, and that his administration will spin anything to try to make him look good.

Those four words came from Nicky Haley who is the UN Ambassador for the U.S.  She was on Jake Tapper’s show when he asked:

He was worried about starting World War III over Syria. Why is that no longer a concern? And why was the 2013 chemical weapons attack, which, as you know, was deadlier, not a trigger for him in terms of the principle of inaction in Syria?

In typical Republican fashion she replied:  “He wasn’t president yet”.  She went on to say:

But I don’t know what his thought process was then.  I can tell you what his thought process was this week, which was, he is not going to condone chemical weapons use ever.

I can tell you that of the conversations I had this week, he knew what the risks were, he knew what the situation was, he looked at the history of the situation, and he decided.

But, it was the first four words that she uttered that are the most scary.  She admitted that trump cannot be trusted to follow through on his “promises” that he made on the campaign trail.  See, it wasn’t just in 2013 that trump said attacking Syria would be wrong, he kept that up through the entire campaign.

He kept up his anti-interventionalist attitude and even went so far as to say that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, would start World War III over Syria.  The 2013 comments were not one-offs.  They were expressed as his foreign policy.  Just a week before the chemical attacks, his administration made it clear that it was not our goal to oust Assad.

Then, when he does intervene in Syria, it is okay because when he made all of those comments “he wasn’t president yet”.  And, unfortunately for us, that leaves a whole lot of questions about other promises he has made.

For example, all during the campaign, he said that he would “repeal and replace Obamacare” with something great.  He said that his health care plan “would cover everyone”.   But, his backing of the Americans Without Health Care Act proved he didn’t mean that either.  Is that because he “wasn’t the president yet”?

Then we have his promise not to touch Medicare or Social Security.  Are we to believe that he will keep Ryan and Price from gutting those two programs?  Or, are we to believe that he can dial those promises back too because “he wasn’t president yet”?

That can go for just about everything he promised during the campaign.  We are already hearing from his Secretary of Homeland Security that his “beautiful wall” probably won’t be a full “physical wall”.  We are still waiting to see how his infamous “infrastructure bill” will look like.  He has not given specifics on that one either.  Are we to assume that he wasn’t telling truth because “he wasn’t president yet”?

Then we have to consider the simple fact that he said he conducted the attack because he was so moved by those “beautiful babies” being killed in the chemical attack.  Yet, he still says that he won’t allow those same “beautiful babies” to immigrate to the U.S. in order to keep from dying in the next chemical attack.  That is because all of those “beautiful babies” are a real threat to America.

The unfortunate part in all of this is that our wonderful media did not press the issue.  No one asked Haley if the fact that he changed his mind so easily was simply because when he said he was against such actions “he wasn’t president yet”.  No one asked if that included his promises on everything else he said during the campaign.

We are only three months into the trump presidency, and we already see that he cannot be trusted with anything he says.  When he breaks his promises to his majority of supporters and guts Social Security and Medicare, he can always fall back on this absurdity of “he wasn’t president yet” when he made those promises.

I know that everyone thinks that politicians all lie to get into office.  However, we have not had a president who so blatantly has lied to the people and then use the lame excuse of “he wasn’t president yet”.

As we speak, he has sent a naval fleet off the coast of North Korea to “show our strength”.   Russia and Iran are rattling their swords saying the attack on Syria “crossed many red lines” in their opinion.

Are we going see his “America First” policy really meant “America First In War” policy?   Will he then use the excuse that “he wasn’t president yet” when he said he wouldn’t drag us into another war?

Since Republicans are having a hard time to really defend the “moron in chief”, they are grasping at straws to defend him.  However, every time they open their mouths, they give us another reason not to believe or trust our beloved leader.

Yesterday it was Nicky Haley who blurted out that we cannot trust trump with those four little words.   All kinds of pundits have been claiming that she is the “rising star” in the Republican party today.  If those words are any indication of her qualities, we still don’t have any “stars” in the Republican party.

The party is filled with political hacks who are not interested in governing.  They are only interested in the power of being in office gives them.  And, as usual under Republican rule over the last 40 years, we all lose.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 149. 

In the last twenty-four hours we have heard lots of people talking about how “presidential” the attack on Syria was.  Pundits are falling all over themselves congratulating trump for his “presidential stand” against the dictator in Syria.  You are even hearing how the bromance between trump and putin has ended because of the attack.

I don’t agree with either of those assessments.  I know that just because you use the most powerful military in the world to blow some shit up does not make you presidential if that is all you have.  And, so far, trump has shown us that is all he has.

What everyone is missing is that we have bombed and blown shit up in Syria for a while now.  President Obama sent in bombs more than once in Syria, but he was attacking ISIS not the Syrian government.  When he requested authorization from congress, something he should have done, to attack Syria after the chemical attack in 2013 with basically the same target and plan as this one, he was rejected by the same Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell who claim that now it is being “presidential” because their lackey bombed Syria without asking them to stick their necks out on the issue like Obama did.

And, for all of you “pure constitutionalists” out there, Obama followed the Constitution in getting approval from Congress to launch an attack on a sovereign nation.  Beloved leader did not seek approval which means he did not follow the Constitution.  Which also means he used “executive overreach” to launch his attack.

Yesterday I asked, what next?  We still don’t know what is being planned next, if anything.  We hear that if Assad uses chemical weapons again, he will be attacked again.  But that is all.

Additionally, we don’t know how much damage was actually done.  It was reported yesterday that Syrian planes were taking off from the airfield that was attacked less than 24 hours later.  They were flying attack missions against the same area of Syria that they chemically attacked earlier in the week.  So, it would appear the attack, in Mitch McConnell’s own words, was a “pinprick”.

But, even more importantly, we need to know, and we have a right to know, just what beloved leader plans to do next.  He has officially dragged us into the civil war in Syria.  Bombing ISIS as Obama did was one thing, bombing Syrian forces is another.  Since we have now more or less picked sides for the whole world to see, what will he do next?

Just a couple of weeks ago we were told by the empty suit, Rex Tillerson, that who runs Syria is up to the Syrian people.  Things changed Thursday night when trump attacked that leader directly.  So, are we now fighting on the side of the rebels and are we going to try to oust Assad?  Are we going to increase air strikes against not only ISIS but the Syrian military as well?

If we manage to oust Assad, what then?  Who will run Syria?  Will Russia have a say in who is the new leader?  What happens if Syria becomes another Iraq?  Will we continue the western policy of putting together countries without regard to what the population is and what they want?  Or, will we consider splitting up the country so each ethic or religious sect gets their own country?

If we are going to expand our presence in Syria, does that mean ground troops?  If there are ground troops, how will that affect things with Russia and Iran who already have troops in the country?  Will we decide to split up the country under American, Russian and Iranian zones like we did Berlin after World War II?

That would mean that each of the three countries would be forced to keep their troops in Syria for a very long time.  Are we willing to do that?  If we do, what does that mean to the rest of the middle-east?  What if Iran demands the zone bordering on Israel?  More importantly, what will Turkey say about that?  Would we need to include a zone for them?

Syria is a mess.  The civil war has been raging for six years.  A lot of the country is in total ruins.  Even if we find a peaceful solution to this mess, how does Syria recover economically?  How does Syria recover from this horrible situation?  Who will be responsible to help rebuild the country?  Will we even consider helping them, or hide back in trump’s “America First” slogan?

Beloved leader has put himself in a real mess as far as I am concerned.  The problem is he has no clue how to get out of it.  We are facing lots of problems and we don’t have the people in place to handle all of these problems and offer proper solutions to them.

As we have talked, the State Department and the Department of Defense are horribly undermanned because trump hasn’t even named anyone to fill the empty desks that smart people who could analyze and help solve these problems usually fill.  Thursday night trump officially became a war president.  And, he is ill prepared to be a war president.

Finally, trump claimed he launched the attack because of the heart wrenching videos of the victims of that horrible chemical attack.  The very same people who have been hoping to come to the U.S. to get away from the war and be saved from becoming victims of future attacks.  If he was so moved, why is he still banning refugees from coming here?  That just shows me he really isn’t “moved” by those videos, he just used them as an excuse to blow up some shit for some good press for a change.

As you can see, just blowing shit up does not make one presidential.  Having a plan, knowing what you will do next, and be able to explain those two things to the American People make you presidential.  I am afraid we will be waiting for hell to freeze over before trump becomes presidential in any meaningful way.

Remember his “secret plan” to defeat ISIS?  We still haven’t seen that plan either on paper or in action.  That tells me he has no plan to follow-up his attack on Syria with.

The major reason Iraq is such a mess goes back to George W. Bush and his neo-con VP Dick Cheney.  They launched an attack on Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein without a plan to follow once that happened.  As a result, there has been 14 years of civil war in that country, too.

If trump thinks that blowing shit up is being presidential, what can we expect when he looks at North Korea?  Will he decide to blow shit up there too without a real plan for follow-up action?

Sorry folks, but without thinking things through beforehand and having a real plan for what to do, blowing shit up is political not presidential.  We need a president not a continuous political candidate at this critical time in the world.  Problem is trump only wants to be a continuous political candidate.  He has shown no real interest in becoming a real president.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 148.

Thursday night, our president ordered a missile attack on Syria.  The target was a single airfield that was supposedly used to launch the chemical attack by Assad on his own people.

It should be noted that this attack was probably a good thing.  However, there are a lot of questions about the attack and how it was coordinated with our allies, and if Russia was notified just prior to the attack.

Notifying Russia would have been a good thing because Russia has advisors all over the country as well as thousands of troops in the country.  By warning them, even if giving a very short time period, it would have given them time to get out of the way and save their people in the attack zone if any of their people were there.

Our beloved leader just made his first decision on the international stage, and we can only hope he took the necessary steps necessary to keep personnel from countries like Russia and Iran out of harms way.

I am not going to criticize the president for the attack.  I do believe that we cannot just sit back and watch a country break international law by using chemical weapons.  However, I also cannot help but worry about how it was handled, and what he plans to do next.

I urge you not to be too overly excited or overly damning about the attack.  This dictator has been brutal in the civil war, and killing innocent civilians is bad enough.  Using chemical weapons against women and children is inexcusable and should be punished.  But, we also must consider many things that could result from this attack.

First, we have to wonder what Assad will do in retaliation, if anything.  For example, it would not surprise me if he launched another chemical attack on the rebels in retaliation.  Dictators have a tendency to retaliate against their own people if they are harmed in anyway.

Secondly, we have to wonder if he might target our ground troops that are in Syria.  Will he decide to attack them, maybe even using chemical weapons?  As I mentioned the other day, we have approximately 1500 troops in Syria fighting ISIS.

Third, we need to wonder what Russia and/or Iran will do in retaliation, if anything.  Especially if we didn’t warn them and their people were killed in the attack.  It was reported they notified Russia, but what about Iran?  There wasn’t anything said about them yet.  We have to be honest, if our people were killed by another country, we would be extremely pissed off about it, and there would be lots of calls for retaliation.

Fourth, what are the cowards in the Republican Controlled Congress going to do?  One of the biggest reasons President Obama didn’t do anything in Syria was due to law.  He did not have an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) from Congress.  There were bills introduced by Democrats to get an AUMF at the time, but our cowardly Republicans refused to even vote on them.

If it becomes necessary for us to do more in Syria, especially if they use chemical weapons again, the president will need an AUMF to legally take additional action.  Yes, the biggest “hawks” in Congress are all in the Republican Party.  However, when they are asked to put their necks on the line with a vote on any AUMF, they run and hide.  So, what are they going to do after this attack.

Fifth, what about Hezbollah?  What will they decide to do, especially against Israel.  The biggest ally and arms supplier to Hezbollah in their fight against Israel is Syria and Iran.  For that matter, will Assad decide to attack Israel itself in order to attempt to drag Iran and other Arab nations into the fight to save his skin by trying to escalate his civil war into a war on Israel?

The real concern is that if Assad were to attack Israel can bet you last dollar that Israel will retaliate.  And, I don’t believe they will be too worried if they kill any Russians and/or Iranians in the process.  That could be a real problem.  Can our president keep Israel out of the conflict or not?    Would he even try.

Sixth, we have to wonder if this attack was also a signal to North Korea.  We need to wonder how the baby dictator in North Korea will react to this attack.  Will he think this is just a first strike and he is next?  If he believes that, will he launch a preemptive attack on South Korea?

The President of China is with the president right now.  Will he call North Korea and tell them it doesn’t affect them and don’t do anything stupid?  Has our president even asked him to make such a call?  Since trump has gone on record and said “If China won’t do anything to stop North Korea, we will” we need to wonder what North Korea is thinking right now.  If we don’t, we can be caught with our pants down in South Korea.  I am not going to be just watching Syria, Russia and Iran.  I am going to be watching North Korea as well.

Seventh, did trump tell the Chinese what he was going to do?  The Chinese President is with him, and I believe it would be very poor diplomacy not to inform him before the missiles started flying.  I am hoping that since as of this writing China has been quiet about the attack, he did.

Please be clear.  I am not denouncing the attack.  I am not denouncing trump for the attack.  Nor am I cheering it either.  I am merely wondering what he did before launching the missiles, and who he notified before the attack.  The answers to those questions will help determine what will happen next.  A real leader would have taken such steps and considered everything I discussed above before acting.

People like General Mattis should know this too.  I am hoping that for once trump actually listened to him before he fired off the first missile.  All we can do now it to wait, watch, and wonder what is next.

 

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Day 146. 

The investigation into Russia’s hacking of our election last year and the possible coordination with trump’s campaign is important and Syria shows just how much it matters.  Yesterday, it appears that Assad used chemical weapons against his own people again.  Our beloved leader naturally blames President Obama’s administration.  But, there are some real questions that need to be asked first before blame is put anywhere.

The civil war in Syria has been raging for about six years now.  When he was in office, President Obama wanted to get rid of Assad, but he wasn’t too eager to send in troops to help in the war.  For that matter, the American People didn’t want to send in troops either.  Including trump who tweeted about a hundred times over that period saying “Syria isn’t our problem”.

In 2012, President Obama said after another chemical attack that it could not be tolerated, and put that proverbial “red line” down.  However, he decided not to do anything warlike.  Almost every Republican on the planet railed against the decision, except donald trump.  He tweeted to show restraint.

In 2013, the administration along with Russia announced a deal on chemical weapons in Syria.  The plan called for Russia to remove all of the chemical weapons from Syria and the UN to inspect to ensure they were in fact removed.  We were assured by Russia and the UN that the weapons had in fact been removed.

Over the following next few years, we did not hear about a chemical attack in Syria.  So, it appeared that the weapons had been removed by Russia.  All through the election we heard trump say many wonderful things about Russia and Putin.  He has never said a negative word about Putin, but he has said over and over that Syria was not our problem.  Rather he said that Syria was Russia’s and Iran’s problem.

Our beloved leader has never called for the removal of the butcher in Syria.  As a matter of fact, his empty suit of a Secretary of State said in Turkey the other week said “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”   That has been a euphemism used by Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran to indicate that he isn’t going anywhere.

At the UN, Ambassador Nicky Haley said that she doesn’t like Assad, but she could probably learn to work with him.  Even Sean Spicer sad this about Syria:

Well, I think with respect to Assad, there is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are right now.

There is no other way to look at these statements other than trump and his administration is winking at Assad and basically assuring him we won’t do anything to remove him from power.

Now we get back to the investigation and trump’s attempt to distract us from the importance of that investigation by blaming everyone except himself or his team.  You must remember that all 17 intelligence agencies said that Russia was in fact the hacker of our elections.  They all have said that Russia was trying to influence the outcome of our elections with the hacks and spreading of false news.  Beloved leader called all of that fake news.

All through the election trump heaped praise on Putin.  He called him a “great leader” and that everyone in his country loved him.  He refused to accept the intelligence community calling them liars.  He blamed the hacks on some 400 lb. guy sitting on his bed in his mother’s basement.

He said Russia’s involvement in Syria was a good thing because Russia wanted to get rid of ISIS as fast as we did.  Only, Russia wasn’t bombing ISIS locations, they were bombing strongholds of the rebels fighting against Assad.  Both Russia and Assad were bombing hospitals and civilian areas without regard to how many people were killed.

Russia and Iran have sent troops into Syria to prop up Assad.  Recently, America started bombing ISIS in Syria and whether or not you know this, there are about 1500 American troops in Syria right now sent there by trump.  They claim it is preparation of an attack on Raqqa which is ISIS’s main city.

So, we have a president who doesn’t want to say anything bad about a Putin.  We have a president who is seemingly winking at Assad and basically saying we won’t try to oust him.  Then yesterday, it appears that Assad dropped what appears to be sarin gas on a rebel city killing 50 to 100 people.  Sarin gas is a nerve gas.

Which brings us back to those questions we need to look at?  Did Russia really take out all of the chemical weapons like they said?  When the UN inspected, did Russia and Syria hide some of the weapons?  Did Russia return the chemical weapons to Assad after Obama left office?  If so, why did Putin believe it was okay once trump became president?

Of course the big question is why isn’t trump asking these same questions?  Why is he ignoring the fact that Russia is probably complicit in this chemical attack?  And don’t tell me that Putin wouldn’t do such a thing either.  Putin is a butcher himself.  He is accused of murdering all of his political opponents and opposition news reporters.  Since this attack was made on a rebel stronghold, I have no doubt that Putin has no problems with the attack.

As a matter of fact, Putin was very quick to say that Assad was not responsible for the attack, even though outside observers said that the attack came from helicopters.  The rebels don’t have helicopters.

Beloved leader can try to point the finger at anyone he wants.  But, this attack took place on his watch.  There may not have been anything he could have done to stop it, but his response is anything but responsible.

It is because of things like this attack in Syria that the investigations into trump’s campaign and the Russia hack is so important.  As long as this cloud hangs over trump’s administration, we cannot believe anything that he says about Syria, Assad, or Putin.

What is trump planning to do about this?  Is he going to blast Russia for allowing Assad to either keep or rearming him with chemical weapons?  Is he even going to ask where the weapons came from?  Or, is he going to keep taking the Russia first tactic he has followed since beginning his campaign?

All of the shit that he has come up with to distract attention from the investigation is just that, shit.  The Nunes affair, the claim that President Obama “tapped my wires”, and the latest about Rice “unmasking” names from intelligence reports is all bluster and an attempt to hide the truth from us.

Just to be clear about one thing.  Unmasking names in reports is NOT leaking the information.  As a matter of fact, I would have more serious questions about a National Security Advisor who did not seek more information when he/she read a report that looked disturbing.  That is called “doing your job”.  We will have more on this in the near future.

The facts are very clear to me.  Our beloved leader gave hints to Assad that he is safe from us.  He has given Russia hints that we will not get involved in the civil war, including arming the rebels.  All the while he is under investigation for colluding with Russia during the election.  Then, Assad launches a chemical weapons attack knowing trump will do nothing about it.

There are way too many coincidences in this to look the other way.  This incident shows just how important it is for us to get to the bottom of this mess.  If trump and his team are innocent, fine.  If they are guilty, then something needs to be done.

However, until we get to the bottom of this mess, we will never be able to trust trump or anything he says, especially about Russia.  That is the real story here.  That is why this investigation is so important.

Beloved leader has always thrown out cheap shots from the cheap seats at various leaders over the years.  Well, he isn’t in the cheap seats anymore.  We need a leader.  We need someone who knows what the hell he is doing.  We haven’t seen anything from trump that indicates he is either.  All we have seen is a spoiled brat who blames everyone else for his failures.

To use trump’s own words, when you look at trump all you see is “a big loser”.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 136. 

You can point to a lot of reasons that the American Without Health Care Act failed.  For one it was a really bad bill.  Secondly, the president can’t figure out that dealing with over 400 people in the House is not like threatening some other contractor that he fails to pay.  Third, Ryan is a lousy leader.

But most importantly, you can look at the Republican Party as the major fault.  And, I am talking about something that began years ago.  Things started becoming really partisan under Ronald Reagan.  But, once Barak Obama was elected President, things really went from bad to worse.

That fact that a black man could actually win an election and become President was too much for the wacko fringe of the Republican Party.  They started organizing under different banners, but the one that stuck out was the Tea party.  With huge money backers like the Koch Brothers, this movement gained momentum.

In 2010 the ultra-conservative nut jobs known as the Tea Party started pealing off seats in the House.  In 2010, the Republicans took control of the House and things started to get worse and worse.  Obstruction became the normal political practice of the Republican Party.  No matter what President Obama wanted, it would be voted down or simply ignored in the House.

This became the entire policy of the Republican Party.  After the Sandy Hook shooting and 70 percent of the country wanted universal back ground checks on gun purchases, the House said no.  When the Senate passed a bi-partisan Immigration Reform Bill that was really good, the House put it in a drawer and it has remained there since.

These actions were not because any of the bills that reached them were bad, it was simply because the House made a concerted effort to declare that nothing that was supported by President Obama would see the light of day.  There would be no hearings, no discussions, and especially no votes.

The Republican Party simply rolled over and let the wackos take charge of their party.  They allowed the so-called Freedom Caucus run Boehner out of town.  They failed to fight back for the principles that the majority of Republicans in the country stood for.  Instead, they let the wacko fringe begin to dictate policy.

They could have stopped all of this simply by talking to the Democrats in the House in order to get things done that would move the country forward.  In the past, they were able to work with the Democrats and there were compromises in legislation that helped everyone.

However, the party stuck to a Reagan Era rule known as the Hastert Rule that said no bill could go to the floor of the House without the party ensuring passage without Democrat help.  That was a huge mistake.  As a result, the wacko Freedom Caucus found themselves with way too much power for their little number of members.  The Freedom Caucus has about 40 members in total.

Only, that number of people is just enough to kill any bill they don’t like.  If a bill is going to help anyone but rich people in the country, the Freedom Caucus simply says no, and the bill fails.  If the party reaches across the aisle, the Freedom Caucus starts complaining that they are RINOs and fires up the country’s fringe against the party.

This whole mess came to light this past week.  In their absolute hate for the Affordable Care Act, a bill one of their own wrote in the 1990s, they ran on the “promise to repeal and replace” the ACA.  They have had seven plus years to put together a plan that would replace the ACA.  Only, the Freedom Caucus wackos would not support anything but a repeal with no replacement.

Being too afraid of the caucus running to Fox News and complaining about how establishment Republicans are trying to pass a health care bill that helps poor people, they simply sat on their hands and did nothing.  They complained and complained about the ACA.  They did everything they could to undermine the bill.  They did everything they could, except write a decent replacement bill.

Then came the election surprise of 2016 and donald trump became our president.  Here they were with control of both Houses of Congress and a Republican, well sort of a Republican, sitting in the White House.  Repealing and replacing the ACA was going to be a slam dunk.

Only they didn’t have anything to replace the ACA with.  They never even bothered to write a plan.  They showed their total incompetence when it comes to actually governing.  As a result, Republican leadership locked themselves in a closet and wrote a bill in secret.  Then a couple of weeks ago they held a Press Conference to show off their work.

The bill had some things that most Republicans loved.  They did away with the mandates in the ACA.  They cut way back on the subsidies intended to allow poor people, poor working people, and the elderly get health insurance which would have either thrown people off their health care or make it so expensive they would pay half of their income to keep it.  And, of course, they eliminated the taxes on the rich and corporations that paid for the ACA.  And, finally they were going to gut Medicaid.  Everything was smelling like roses for Ryan and his leadership team.

But, as usual when Republicans are in charge, something happened on the way to the Forum.  First, people found out that they were going to be severely hurt by the plan, especially trump supporters.  They would either lose their insurance or see their premiums go through the roof.  Then it was figured out that up to 24 million people would lose their health coverage mostly due to the gutting of Medicaid.

That was bad enough.  People started showing up at town hall meetings and blasting their Representatives for taking away their health care.  They demanded they vote against the bill.  But, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Freedom Caucus showed just what freedom they were interested in.  Freedom from poor people.  They dug in their heels for one reason only.  The tax credits that were in the bill to help people actually purchase health care coverage.  Forget that these tax credits were miserly compared to the subsidies, it was still something that the “little people” could use.  Their whole philosophy on health care is that it is a privilege not a right and if you can’t purchase it on your own, simply get sick and die.

Republican Moderates went into a tizzy as well.  They started realizing that the bill would surely mean they wouldn’t get reelected.  They started to realize that the old white people they counted on to keep office would be the big losers and that would certainly mean a loss in their next election.

Ryan and company were in trouble.  They started negotiating with the two different groups one by one.  They even relied on trump and his “great deal making” abilities to help them out.  Ryan and his cronies talked to the moderates, and trump would bring along the Freedom Caucus wackos.

The problem was every time Ryan made a promise to the moderates, the right-wing wackos dug their heels in deeper.  When they made promises to move even further right to appease the wackos, the moderates said no even louder.  In order show how things are done, trump sent his hitman, Steve Bannon to speak with the right-wing wackos.  Rather than speaking with them, Bannon threatened them.

A presidential threat of support or taking away support in the upcoming elections would usually work.  But, with trump’s approval rating at just 36 percent, the wackos were not afraid of him.  In the end, the Republicans had to pull the bill without even a vote.  The wackos claimed victory.  The president blamed the democrats who were never even asked to participate in the process.  Ryan said that “governing is hard, but we were really close”.  No shit!

I don’t care if you like Nancy Pelosi or not, but she had some good advice for Ryan and the president.  She said” You don’t pick a date for a vote and then try to ramp up support.  You get the support you need and then hold a vote.”  The one thing about her is that when she was the Speaker of the House, she knew how to get legislation passed.  Something Republicans apparently forgot how to do.

After the calamity of this loss for the Republicans, trump said that Ryan did all he could and he doesn’t blame him.  Only on Saturday, trump told his followers on twitter to watch a Fox News show that night.  The show was Judge Jeanine.

During the show, she directly went after Ryan and said he should step down immediately.  She went after Reince Priebus for having just as much blame as Ryan.  She claimed that trump had no blame in this disaster.  So much for trump backing Ryan.  Obviously, Judge Jeanine is backing the wacko fringe.

This is what happens when a political party puts party over country.  It happens when a party decides to complain and not rule.  It happens when they allow the fringe groups of the party take control.  In the name of obstruction and hate the Republican Party made a pact with the devil and they are now seeing just what that pact has done to its soul.

Instead of looking for ways to work with Democrats for the last eight years, they sold their soul to the wacko fringe groups in order to gain numbers to they could get power.  Now that they have power, they are being defeated by those very people they thought would make life beautiful.

The problems Republicans are facing in the House and Senate are of their own making.  The very fact that our president is trump, is all because Republicans sat quietly back and let the wackos into the mainstream.  They made a pact with the devil, and now they are paying the price for that pact.

This is not going to end with the Americans Without Health Care Act either.  The whole mess over climate change, the environment, education, the economy, North Korea, Iran, Russia, and a whole host of issues will meet the same fate if Republicans keep to partisan politics instead of governing.  The wackos are driving the policy of the party in these matters as well.

If the Republicans are really interested in moving the country forward and governing in a way that will help the average person on the street, they need to cast off of their fringe wackos and start to talk to the Democrats.  They will need to understand that compromise is the best solutions for the country.  They need to get over their hate and start to act like reasonable people wanting to do the best they can for the American People.

Until Ryan and his cronies in the party understand this simple fact of life, we will continue to be held hostage by the wacko so-called Freedom Caucus.  True Republicans with real policies for the country need to grow a spine and fight back against their own fringe groups.  In normal times, I might think this would be possible.  However, since the Republican party is more interested in power than they are in governing, I don’t expect anything reasonable to come from them.

It is a very simple fact.  Republicans will not be able to govern until they wipe out their opposition.  That opposition is not the Democrats, it is the wacko fringe of their own party.  Unfortunately, they don’t have the will or the courage to take them on.

As a result of their cowardice, the shirts keep marching along!

 

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