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Archive for the ‘NSA’ Category

Day 141. 

If anyone is looking to get into politics, the election of 2016 should really teach you one thing.  Be careful of what you say because if you are not careful, it just might come back to bite you in the ass.

This week has been a doozy.  The last 24 hours have really turned up the heat on trump and his administration.  First, it came out that the people that Rep. Nunes used to get his “information” to prove that trump was at least partially right about his “wires tapped” tweet, was none other than administration officials.

The other day, Sean Spicer made a comment from the podium during one of his press briefings.  He said:

If Nunes got his information at the White House and then came back the next day to brief the president, it wouldn’t pass the smell test.

For once Spicer actually told the truth.  Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t smell too good right now in the West Wing.  Turns out from a New York Times report, and not denied by the White House, the people who helped Nunes get his “information” are White House officials.

One is Ezra Cohen-Watnick.  He is the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council.  The other is Michael Ellis, who is a lawyer working at the White House Counsel’s Office on national security issues and who worked as general counsel on Nunes’ House Intelligence Committee.

You may remember Ezra Cohen-Watnick.  He was brought into the National Security Council by Flynn.  McMasters who is now the National Security Advisor tried to reassign him away from the council.  Cohen-Watnick cried to Kushner and Bannon.  They went to trump who promptly overruled McMasters and kept him in the position.

From what we can glean right now, it kind of went like this.  On Monday, Comey said there was an open counter intelligence investigation into the trump campaign for possible cooperation with Russia in hacking our elections.  Then on Wednesday Nunes disappeared from one cab without telling anyone where he was going.  This came immediately after he received a message on his phone.

On Thursday Nunes held an impromptu presser to announced he had new information about the investigation about trump tower being wire tapped.  He then hopped in a car and drove down to the White House to “brief” the president.  He held another presser at the White House to confirm that he had this information and felt the President should know about it.  He did say that the information was not “involved in the Russia investigation” and it was all legal behavior.

It turns out, that these two White House employees has scoured classified information looking for “back up” info about trump’s tweet.  When they found whatever they found, they immediately informed Nunes and they were the ones who let him in the White House and signed him into the SCIF to see the information.

Then yesterday, Spicer said that the administration had previously sent a letter to the committees in Congress telling them of this “information” and asked them to “come down to the White House” to view it.  The ranking Democrat on the House committee said that he did not receive the letter until just before the press briefing.  The letter wasn’t even written until the New York Times story broke.

No one other than Nunes has seen this “information”.  I give the Senate Committee credit.  They told the White House to send the information to them at Capital Hill.  They don’t believe it is proper to go to the White House to investigate the White House.  Too bad Nunes doesn’t have the same integrity.  As Spicer said, this “doesn’t pass the smell test”.

To show his support for Nunes, rep Yoho, yes that is his name, said it was proper for Nunes to do what he did because he “works for the president’.  May Rep. Yoho should change his name to Yoyo.  Since when does a member of Congress “work for the president”?

Then late yesterday, it was reported that Mike Flynn “has a story to tell and he wants to tell it”.  But, he will only “tell his story” if he gets immunity from possible criminal prosecution.  Which us back to his quote in the banner.

That quote was a snippet from a quote he gave to Meet the Press back in September.  He was complaining that “five people who worked for Clinton received immunity for their cooperation.”  He then followed it up with the  quote about “you probably committed a crime”.

His lawyer admitted that they are seeking immunity.  They are trying to make it sound different from the Clinton investigations though.  They claim he needs immunity to “escape possible wrongful prosecution in the politically charged witch hunt environment”.  Like the Clinton investigations had no smell of being a politically charged witch hunt.

From what we can tell, Flynn is seeking immunity from both committees in Congress, and from the FBI.  If you look at Flynn all by himself, he probably needs immunity.  It turns out that while he was working on the trump campaign and while he was sitting in with trump for his daily intelligence briefings, he was being paid by the Turkish government as an agent to help them in the U.S.  He did not disclose that information until just this month.

So, in essence we had what can only be called a “secret agent” for a foreign country sitting in on highly classified intelligence briefings.  Many people could easily call that behavior treason.

Then we have his security clearance while National Security Advisor.  If he had put his lobbying (agent) activities for Turkey on his form, he probably would never have been granted his clearance to fill the position as National Security Advisor.  Which tells me he lied on his form.  That is a felony.

Then what few people talk about is his possible problems with the Pentagon.  Few people understand that once you retire from the military, you are not necessarily free from military justice.  Nor do must people understand that there are time frames when you must still seek approval if you plan to visit a country that is considered an adversary, which Russia is.  The time period depends on your rank and security clearances when you retire.

Flynn went to Russia shortly after he retired.  And, from what we know, he did not receive clearance from the Pentagon before his trip.  We also know that several officials in the Pentagon are not happy with Flynn’s trip.  It is also reported that he is facing an investigation there for his actions on his Russia trip.

If the Pentagon wants, they could still Court Martial him over failing to get clearance before going to Russia.  If that happens, he could have his separation changed to “dishonorable” and he could lose his pension and benefits.  So, as you can see it is very possible that Flynn does need immunity.

The real question is how man other of trump’s former cronies are going to seek the same thing.  Immunity for testimony.  The administration has worked feverishly over the past few weeks to distance themselves from people like Roger Stone, Page, and especially Manafort.  How long before we see people like these decide enough is enough.  They worked for the man and now he is throwing them under the bus to save his own skin.

You have heard the old saying of “honor among thieves”.  My experience dealing with thieves is that the saying is a myth.  Even Mafia insiders will turn on their families to save their own skin  Is Flynn the first to turn against trump to save himself?  Or, is this another ruse being put forth by trump and his crooks to cover up their activities and connections to Russia.  Are they placing Flynn out there to get “immunity” and then not really have a “story to tell” except how trump is the victim without any proof again?

Yes, that is a very dark theory to have, but this administration has proven to us that they will do anything to look good.  They will do anything to make sure that all fault for anything falls somewhere else.  In short, they cannot be trusted in anything.

Yes, this week has been a real doozy.  And it is only Friday.  Who knows what today will bring.  As we watch all of this play out, my cynical and ghoulish instincts makes me wonder one thing.

Is all of this being orchestrated by trump to help set up his authoritarian government?  Look at what happened in Venezuela yesterday.  Their top court decided that their legislature was too much against the dictator and said that the legislature no longer existed and they, the court, would decide which laws should be passed.

If trump gets to stack the Supreme Court, are we looking at the same type of ruling?  I told you I was cynical and ghoulish.  But, this horrible play trump has unloaded on us has all the earmarks of what happened there.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 137. 

About three weeks ago, trump went on one of his tweet rants.  In those rants he accused the prior President, President Obama, of “tapping my wires”.  There was no evidence offered, and the White House said it should be investigated.  Things simmered for quite a while.

The House Intelligence Committee started an investigation into the hacking of our election process by Russia, and decided to include this accusation as part of their inquiries.  The Chair of this Committee is Devin Nunes.

Last week, the committee held an open hearing with Director Comey and Adm. Rogers testifying.  Both men said they had “no evidence nor have I seen anything that shows that Trump Tower had been wiretapped or surveilled”.  They were both emphatic about that.

Then the bombshell came falling down out of the blue sky.  Comey said that the FBI had been investigating the trump campaign for possible colluding with Russia and their hacking into our election.   He said the investigation had been going on since last June, months before the election.  He called it a “counter intelligence” investigation.  That kind of investigation is usually reserved for espionage.

There was an almost deafening hush fall over the room with that announcement.  And from there, to coin the phrase, the shit really hit the fan.  The media went nuts, as you could imagine.  Nunes almost seemed stunned at the announcement.

But things got even crazier after that.  According to a report, and confirmed by Nunes spokesperson, Nunes was traveling in an Uber cab one night with staff and got a message.  He immediately left the cab without telling his staff what was going on or where he was going.  He basically disappeared.

The next morning, Nunes held a news conference and announced that he had been shown information that said that some of trump’s transition team had been incidentally been picked in recordings under FISA warrant.  He also said he would inform the president, and then got in a car and headed down to the White House.

After briefing the president, he held another press conference to discuss what he told the president.  The real problem is that he never shared this information with anyone on the committee.  He never informed Rep. Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee of the information or that he intended to tell the president.  He just hopped in his car and did his worst.

Then on Friday, he held another press conference to announce that he wanted to speak to Director Comey and Adm. Rogers again in a closed-door session.  As a result an open hearing scheduled for tomorrow would be postponed for another day.  Today we learned that the closed-door session has also been postponed.

The last bit dropped today.  It was discovered, and confirmed by Nunes himself, that the night he disappeared, he went to the White House to meet with his “source” to get this information.  He claims there is nothing special about this because he goes there all of the time.

But, I know something about how the White House works.  You do not get into the White House, or even on the grounds without prior approval from someone inside the White House.  It doesn’t matter if you are a member of Congress either.  This is especially true at night.

Once you are signed in, you are normally escorted to where you are going.  That is standard operating policy.  So, his other claim that “I could have sneaked in and no one would have even known” is a lie.  If he had sneaked in, he just might have been shot.  Especially considering the fence jumper the past weekend.

As a result of all of this, it is clear that Nunes is hiding something.  I don’t buy his story about his belief that the president deserved to know the details he saw in the information he got at the White House.  Nor, do I believe his statement that it does not involve the Russia investigation.  If it didn’t have anything to do with the investigation, why was it so important to brief the president?

Additionally, this is a man who is supposed to be conducting an investigation into this White House and their ties to Russia.  His briefing the president on anything he discovers is like the FBI briefing a Mafia Head about an investigation into their family’s criminal activities.  You just don’t do that if you are seriously trying to get to the bottom of a real investigation, regardless of where the evidence leads you.

This all brings me to the one question that not one of our marvelous journalists have asked.  Nunes claims he is “concerned” about U.S. citizen names being unmasked.  So, I would ask him if his name was on that list of people who were legally incidentally surveilled in FISA warrants of foreigners.

That question is not unreasonable.  Nunes himself said this was done during the transition.  Nunes was a Senior Advisor to the trump transition team.  As a result, it would not be impossible for him to call someone maybe he shouldn’t.  Is that what he is afraid of coming out?  Why else would he not share the information with anyone else on the committee?

Maybe, just maybe, Nunes isn’t just a shill for trump.  Maybe, just maybe, Nunes is complicit in what is being investigated.  So, the question should be asked.  Obviously, he will either outright deny his name is on the list, or he will obfuscate and just not answer the question.

Democrats are calling on Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation.  He says he will not step down.  But, as things keep dripping out in this case, Nunes’ integrity will be questioned as things move along.  And, if it turns out he lied about his “briefing of the president” and what was covered, and/or his name is on the list, he could be in much more serious trouble.

This whole thing is getting crazier and crazier.  Nunes seems to be way over his head in this investigation.  He is acting more like an informant for the president than the one who is supposed to oversee the president’s actions.  He has no one to blame for his hell hole but himself.

I dare someone in the journalistic world to ask the question if he, Nunes, was one of those picked up.  Nunes always appears to me as looking like a deer in the headlights.  It would be interesting to see how he reacts to this one reasonable question.  So, someone with guts, please ask it!

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Day 96. 

The only question to ask today is “is this the end of the beginning, or is it the beginning of the end?”  I don’t ask that question lightly either.  The problem is that even with Flynn’s resignation, there are still way too many questions about the situation, and how trump handles classified information as well.

Let’s start here.  The Yemen raid was supposedly discussed over dinner.  That in itself isn’t a problem, but who was at the dinner and where it was held is a question.  As I have written before, I do not see any reason why Kushner was present.  Nor do I understand how the president could discuss and then make his decision without a full briefing from the entire security staff in a non-secure space.  Having dinner outside a SCIF to discuss such a raid is very troubling, at least to me.

Then we have what happened over the weekend.  As you probably heard, the Prime Minister of Japan was visiting.  Our beloved leader took him to Mar-a-Lago for a weekend of golf.  While they were having dinner on an outside patio, North Korea launched their missile test.

In another breach of security, the president and the Prime Minister started talking about the launch and their reaction to it at the dinner table.  According to reports, the president’s staff began bringing documents about the launch to the table and other guests were milling around and taking pictures.  There are even pictures of staff holding cell phones to light up the documents so they could read them.

We don’t know what was in the documents, and we probably never will.  I don’t even want to claim that the information was classified, but the optics of just how lackadaisical the president seems to hold such discussions is very troubling.

Then late list night, Mike Flynn resigned his position over the Russia scandal that he started.  I am sure that trump and his team will consider the matter closed.  But it is not closed and we the people cannot let it end with Flynn’s resignation.

There was something very odd about his letter of resignation.  It wasn’t what he said in the letter, it was what he did not say.  In his letter he wrote:

Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.

He admits that he misled the Vice President Elect.  However, he does not admit that he misled the president-elect.  That is a glaring omission to me.  If you are resigning because you lied to your boss, why didn’t you mention his name in your letter?  If I were Pence, today I would be demanding and explanation from trump about that omission!

This all means that there are way too many questions about this whole mess that still need to be answered.  As we discussed, “What did the President know and when did he know it?”  Additionally, why did the president take so long to do something about this?  We never heard anything from trump about this matter right up to Flynn’s resignation, except a lie when he sad “I didn’t see that report”.

According to our intelligence communities, Flynn also had contact with the Russians during the campaign.  That is extremely troubling.  Especially when you consider the fact that our intelligence agencies say Russia was behind the hacks during the campaign and that Russia was trying to influence the election in trump’s favor.

So, was Flynn and/or trump actually coordinating the campaign with Putin and the Russians?  Was there any illegal activity between the two parties during the election?  If there was any coordination, then there were a whole bunch of laws broken.

Then we have the fact that Flynn talked to the Russian Ambassador about the sanctions that the Obama Administration was going to impose on Russia over the election interference.  I am sorry, but I do not believe that trump did not know about the phone calls.  I can’t even say I believe that trump did not order the phone calls.

Furthermore, it was also reported last night that Sally Yates, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Justice warned the White House about Flynn.  According to the report, she said that Flynn was “compromised and could be subject to blackmail from Russia.”  She gave the warning last month.  With that information in hand, the White House did nothing!

Then, Yates said she believed the travel ban that trump ordered was not constitutional and would not defend it.  Right after that, trump fired her.  Question – Was she fired due to her not defending a law she considered unconstitutional or because she ratted out Flynn?

And, who are the ones crying the most about Flynn’s resignation?  The Russians!  There have been some very interesting tweets from Russian lawmakers about what they are calling “Flynn’s Retirement”.  One even said he was forced out because of “Russophobia”.

This mess has become so bad, I have to wonder if we can trust trump or anyone in his administration on anything?  What makes them think that the American People are so stupid as to not see through the veil they are trying to place over everything.

Our beloved leader is a disaster when it comes to national security.  He keeps saying that his travel ban and his round up of undocumented immigrants are all designed to “keep America safe”.  Yet, when you look at the overall picture, you will discover that the biggest threat to our country’s safety and security is our beloved leader.

We now have a president who really believes that he is above the law.  He believes that we, the American People will just fold up our tents and follow him wherever he decides to lead us.  That became very apparent when one of his top advisers, Miller, said on national TV that the president’s orders are “unquestionable”.

The media and other pundits keep saying that the administration just doesn’t know what they are saying.  They try to give us the impression that they are just getting their feet under themselves.  That they are learning a real tough job on the job.

Do not believe this bullshit!  THE ADMINISTRATION KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT IT IS DOING!  Their campaign against the media and the judicial system has only one goal.  Make people distrust those institutions so they can ignore the media and the courts and just do what they want.

The whole process behind their methods is to establish an authoritarian government.  Our beloved leader does not want to have to deal with a court system that challenges his unconstitutional actions.  He does not want a media that tells the people what lies are being forced down their throats.  He does not want a Congress who will stop his agenda.

He explained everything very well during the campaign.  He said:  “ONLY I CAN FIX OUR PROBLEMS”.  Once the election was over, he started taking steps to do just that.  He began taking steps to make it possible for him to make all decisions and do whatever he wants because he wants to be dictator.

Congress needs to act on the mess.  They need to investigate just what the hell happened and who knew what and when.  This is way too big for normal committee to investigate.  We need a Special Committee with a Special Prosecutor to get to the bottom of this sink hole.

Yesterday was only the fourth Monday of the trump presidency.  And, in that short four weeks, we already have a potential constitutional crisis like we haven’t had in about 50 years.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat or Republican.  I don’t care if you are a conservative or a liberal.  You can not close your eyes to this potential explosive mess that was created by trump and his administration.

We cannot accept any more excuses.  We cannot keep explaining away these breaches in protocol or security.  Our president is a disaster and he needs to start explaining himself.

If you are willing to accept Flynn’s resignation and let the matter go, then you cannot call yourself a patriot!  Patriots don’t sit around and let a president establish his authoritarian government without screaming back, NO YOU DON’T!

Are you listening Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell?  Our president ran his campaign on fear and hate.  He is running his presidency on fear and hate.  He keeps talking about “security” as something behind all of his actions.  But, his actions have either been unlawful or inhumane.  Is that the kind of president you really want in the Oval Office?

This is not being limited to just “national security” matters either.  Our entire government is under threat.  The Justice Department has already cancelled a case involving LGBT rights.  They have put on hold other cases about voting rights and abortion rights.

If you are concerned about anything special, it will be under attack in the near future by this administration.  Even “conservative” ideas since trump is not really conservative.

I warn you.  Be very concerned with any administration that claims that everything they do is in the name of “national security”.  That is just a cover to sidestep the constitution and the laws.

Remember the warning from Benjamin Franklin.  “If you are willing to give up some freedoms for security, you will soon discover that you have neither”.  We are being forced by our president to make that choice today.

If you read this and think I am pissed off, you are right.  This is not the America I served, and not the America I want my grandchildren to grow up in.  All things begin at the top.  I do not believe Flynn acted alone.  I believe trump knew what he was doing.  I don’t know for sure, which is why we need the investigations.  We need to find out the truth.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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Day 73.

I  know you all remember the hoopla about Hillary Clinton’s private email server.  And, I am sure you all remember how Donald Trump said she should be “locked up” for deleting some of her emails.  There have been what seems like hundreds of Congressional investigations into this matter, and Mr. Unethical Chaffetz says he plans on more.

Only, there is something that needs to be looked at too.  Only this time it isn’t about Hillary Clinton it is about Donald Trump.  I know that as usual he made an ass of himself yesterday with all of his lies about the attendance at his inauguration and his despicable performance at the CIA.  But, did president trump break the law yesterday?

At 1157 yesterday, our president tweeted:  “I am honered to serve you, the great American people, as your 45th President of the United States!”   You may notice that he misspelled “honored”.  That isn’t the problem.  The problem and possible breaking of the law came when he deleted the tweet and reposted it with the correct spelling.

You are saying, what does that have to do with breaking the law?   In 1978, Congress passed a law called the Presidential Record Act which requires all communications from or received by the president to be preserved.

Hmmm.  Since the original tweet was “from the president” it is required to be preserved.  Yet, the president deleted that tweet.  On the face of things in a literal manner, he broke the law and illegally deleted a tweet that was supposed to be preserved.  Sound familiar?

Of course this also brings up a whole lot of questions.  What happens if trump in his early tweet rantings says something stupid about one of our allies or enemies?  Can he then delete the tweet and pretend it didn’t happen?  According to the law, no he cannot.

It is bad enough we have a 5 year-old with a twitter account that is not managed very well.  Now that same 5 year-old is going to be the president of our country and his loose lips, or rather fingers, can lead to many problems around the world.

But, if he realizes that he made a mistake and tries to hide that mistake by deleting the tweet, he is violating the Presidential Records Act.  Which means his supporters should start chanting “lock him up”.

The whole point here is that we live in a world that is totally different than the age trump wants us to move backwards to.  In the era before World War II there wasn’t such social media.

Since Watergate we have seen a lot of laws that tend to make the presidency and other elected officials more transparent.  Even though there was no social media and twitter in 1978, the language in the law appeared to predict changes.  That is why it reads all communications sent by or received by the president is to be preserved.

Since our current president doesn’t like to read, maybe he should have someone else read the law for him and tell him he cannot delete tweets anymore.  Maybe, that will make him actually think before his fingers go to work.

This little incident is a prelude of things to come and further exemplifies just how unqualified he is for the office he was elected to.  Mr. Chaffetz has shown his disdain for “deleted emails” and he should show his disdain for deleted tweets, too.

As Republicans have said about Hillary Clinton, the law is the law.  They better hold trump to the same standards and investigate his private twitter account and how many tweets he deletes now that he is president.

Fair is fair.

 

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Day 60

As usual, the Republicans are thumbing their nose at the American People and the rule of law.  They don’t care what laws they avoid or even break as long as they get their way.  We have seen it before, but not to this level.

Starting tomorrow, Trump’s nominees for his cabinet will begin having their hearings in the Senate to be approved.  The Republicans are going to ramrod through these nominations because according to Mitch McConnell “we won” so suck it up.

I don’t have any real problem with quickly holding hearings, but I do have a problem with the way McConnell is doing business.  First he is going to hold hearings at the same time.  There are actually members of the Senate who serve on more than one committee.  Meaning that they will have to pick which hearing they sit in on.  We will actually have confirmation hearings without having full committee membership attending due to conflict of hearing times.

But, that is the small, what some might say insignificant, part of the problem.  The biggest part of the problem is that not all of the nominees have even completed and submitted their paperwork to the Office of Government Ethics.

The way this process usually works is that nominees fill out a questionnaire and submit it to the OGE and the OGE begins processing the applications to ensure there are no conflicts of interests.

Every President before this president-elect followed the usual practice of submitting the “paperwork” to the OGE even before they made the announcement of their picks.  This gave the OGE and the FBI time to properly conduct their investigations so when the confirmation hearings took place the committee members had a full report they needed to make a reasonable judgement.

However, this year that isn’t the case.  The OGE sent a letter to Democratic Senators complaining about the quick process and worried that their work will not be completed before the hearings are even over much less begin.

OGE Director Walter Shaub wrote in his letter:

The announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews.  More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings.

He also wrote that this appears to be unprecedented.  He said:  “I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process”.

Of course Republicans and the transition team aren’t very worried about confirming potentially people with huge conflicts of interest.  Even that mind-numbing idiot Newt Gingrich said we don’t have to worry because all of these people “are hugely successful people”.

Senate Democrats are asking that these hearings be delayed until the OGE and the FBI complete their investigations and/or at least until they nominees complete all of the questionnaires they seem to think are not very important.

How can any Republican honestly state that these investigations are not important and a necessary part of the process?  It is true that as McConnell has said, seven of President Obama’s 2009 nominees were confirmed before the inauguration.  Yet, it was also true that they all filled out the proper paperwork and had their investigations completed before being confirmed.  Big difference.

Other experts agree this is unprecedented.  “This is unprecedented,” Trevor Potter, former chair of the Federal Election Commission, tells the Washington Post.  “This suggests that there has been a real breakdown between the transition and the Office of Government Ethics.”

There are not a lot of reasons for this quick ramrod of the nomination hearings unless the Republicans are afraid they will unveil ethics problems with any of the nominees.  What other sane reason could they give.  Sorry, but “we won” so we don’t have to follow normal rules is just not good enough of an argument for anyone.

If that isn’t the reason, then they must be looking at avoiding normal democratic processes in order to set up a Republican Authoritarian Government.  The one thing we have been able to count on during our history, is the peaceful and almost unheard of transition between the current President and the incoming President.

In all my years following politics, I have never seen so much coverage about the transition as I have this year.  The Republicans seem willing to avoid any common decency during this transition and that is simply unheard of in the past by either party.

This kind of behavior does not bode well for the future.  It seems like we are being told to shut up and do as we are told.  It doesn’t give us much belief that if one or more of these nominees are later found to be in serious conflict of interest, that we can count on the Republicans to do anything about it.

I am beginning to get the feeling that this will be the most unethical, most corrupt, and most radical government we have ever seen in our country.  I am also beginning to believe that our media or more importantly our so-called “independent press” isn’t going to do anything about it either.  They all seem to be eagerly willing to “normalize” Trump and his gang of extremists.  There are a few exceptions, but not enough.

If you have been wondering why Trump seems to love Putin so much, these actions are showing us that is exactly what Trump wants to be as our president.  Trump wants to become America’s Putin.  A person I believe to be a power-hungry corrupt businessman wants his presidency to be like a power-hungry corrupt politician like Putin.

If you look at everything piece by piece, you will miss the full picture.  You have to look at everything as it ties to everything else.  Kellyanne Conway said the other day we need to “look into Trump’s hears and not listen to what comes out of his mouth”.  Maybe she is right.  If we look into his heart, we will then the authoritarian wanna-be that he really is.  Does she really want us to see that?

Do McConnell and Ryan want a real Congress or a Politburo.  We have a Politburo in North Carolina and we are seeing our democracy here being depleted piece by piece.  We will continue fighting our Politburo here, we need to fight it in Washington before it gets to far along. We cannot let that happen to our country.

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Day 53

Everyone is still talking about Donald Trump and his xenophobic ways.  There have been protests about his being elected.  There is a woman’s march being planed for the day after his inauguration.

Everyone is missing the real disaster that is getting ready to hit us with the full force of a Category 5 Hurricane.  It is the Republican Congress.  In reality, they now have exactly what Grover Nordquist said they wanted in the White House.  That is someone with “enough digits to hold a pen and sign what we put in front of him.”

With Trump’s short attention span, they now have exactly what they want, and the disaster is within reach.  And, if you think that their top agenda items are things that will help the American people think again.  They plan to dismantle everything that protects the population and/or helps them.

The first item will be to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.  And, since they don’t have any replacement plan, chaos will invade the insurance business.  Without a firm plan to replace the ACA, many companies will abandon the exchanges.  Republicans already have a law suit against the President to stop the payment of subsidies to help poor people purchase insurance, and they plan to revoke those payments.  Without a replacement, they will throw millions of people off their insurance plans.

They plan to gut Medicare.  They want to give seniors a “voucher” to purchase insurance in the private sector.  Medicare is one government service that really works well.  Yet, that doesn’t matter to Republicans.  They don’t like Medicare and therefore it must go.

Forget the fact that most senior citizens have” pre-existing” conditions that would most likely keep from getting health insurance at a reasonable rate or not having to spend thousands out-of-pocket.  No, that doesn’t matter either.  Medicare must go.  If you are currently on Medicare and think you are safe, think again.  Your co-pays will go through the roof if this passes.

Our veterans will be treated the same way.  Instead of the Veteran’s Administration taking care of our veterans, they will also be given a voucher.  Again, since they have a “pre-existing condition” it will be difficult to get insurance.  The VA hospital system is one of the very best in terms of treatment for our veterans according to user surveys.  But for Republicans it costs too much so veterans must suffer the consequences.

Don’t tell them that veterans don’t want vouchers but care at VA hospitals.  That doesn’t matter either.  In order to provide better and quicker care for our veterans, the government would have to build more clinics and hospitals around the country so veterans could actually go to one.  They won’t even consider that possibility.  Republicans in Congress simply want to throw veterans on the trash heap when their usefulness is over.

They are looking at ways to eliminate the Consumer Protection Bureau.  They don’t like the idea that the Government should make sure that private businesses like banks aren’t ripping off the citizens of the country.  They believe that if you get ripped off by your bank, that is your fault and you don’t deserve any protection.

They want to strip away every environmental protection rule that was ever made.  These rules according to them make it more difficult for companies to make money.  If they pollute the environment while making more money, that is okay with Republicans.   They are still trying to tell us that climate change is a hoax, so why “hand-cuff” polluters from polluting?

They want to totally defund Planned Parenthood.  Forget the idea that millions of women rely on the services of Planned Parenthood for things like cancer screening, STD treatment or many other services.  In many areas, Planned Parenthood clinics are the only option for poor women.  The fact that Planned Parenthood, in some clinics not all, they legal abortions without using federal money which would be illegal is enough for the theists to remove their funding.

They want to pass the First Amendment Defense Act which would legalize discrimination in the name of “religious liberty”.  They don’t care if civil rights are based on secular law.  They only care that they hate certain segments of our country and therefore are supposed to be allowed to discriminate against them simply because they want to.

They want to repeal the Executive Order that raised the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors.  They don’t believe that just because you are doing work for the government, you should be paid a livable wage.  You should be at the mercy of your employer so that employer can make higher profits.

The Republican controlled Congress is planning to execute the most conservative agenda since the 1920s.  And what happened at the end of the 1920s?  The Great Depression happened and over 25 percent of the American people were without a job.

That is what we can expect from our next congress and the immature buffoon that will be President.  They are looking for the 5 year-old to sign whatever they put in front of him.  And, since Trump has no interest in actually governing, he will be happy to do what he is told.  It would be nice to see him resist this agenda, but I am not holding my breath.

We are going to see a lot of “laws” passed and none of them are going to benefit the people.  They will all be intended to benefit corporations and the very rich.  They are going to remove civil rights from segments of our population.  They are going to make life in America miserable for many people.

After they get through passing laws to benefit the rich, they will move to their extreme right-wing theist agenda.  I anticipate that they will “monitor” Muslims because we all know that all Muslims are terrorists.  We will tee other religions under attack.  We will see that their narrow view of Evangelical religion will be the only truly accepted version of religion.

And, don’t think that little bothersome thing called the Constitution will prevent them from passing their theist agenda, either.  They will simply ignore it like the Jim Crow era did.  According to conservatives, that Constitution is only a suggestion if you are talking about minorities anyway.

After their theist agenda is passed they will go after the American people as well.  They will allow NSA to spy on us through hacking our emails and monitoring our cell phones.  They will do this in the name of stopping terrorism.

Public education will be at least curtailed if not outright eliminated.  The voucher happy Republicans will ensure their “Christian” schools get the vast majority of our tax dollars for education.

Workplace safety rules will be eliminated or watered down.  Your safety at work is not as important as profits.  Safety rules make it much too hard for companies to make higher profits and ensure you don’t get hurt on the job.  So it must go, too.

If you notice there are no “jobs” creating bills that they are looking to pass in the first year or two.  They don’t care about you or your jobs.  They only care about profits for their big donors.  Trump will never get his “infrastructure” bill through the Congress.  Not because of the Democrats, but rather because of his own party and the so-called “Freedom Caucus” of conservative wackos.

The last “Constitutional Crisis” we faced as a nation was under Richard Nixon.  But, at that time we actually had reasonable adult leadership in the Congress and were able to avert the crisis.  This time, we don’t have reasonable adult leadership in the congress.  Which means anything goes.

To everyone who voted for Donald Trump for “change” I am afraid you are going to be seriously disappointed.  The “change” we are going to get is more dangerous than anything we have faced in almost 100 years.  Because while you were all distracted by the Donald Trump mania, you also voted for a very dangerous ideological Congress that does not have your interests at heart.

The storm clouds are gathering on the horizon.  The Category 5 Hurricane that is called Ryan-McConnell is gaining strength and is getting ready to come ashore and destroy our entire country.  There are very few people left who lived through the Great Depression.  Unfortunately, we are looking down the barrel of another Great Depression and the unfortunate side is it can be avoided.  But, Republicans won’t avoid it, they seem to want it.

Donald Trump is the puppet they have been waiting to have in the White House.  Now that they have him, it will be a great show of leadership if he resists their orders.  But, no one ever accused Donald Trump of being a “great leader”.

Shutter the windows, batten down the hatches and get ready for the big blow.  The Hurricane Ryan-McConnell is coming and it won’t be pretty.  The recovery next time will take at least a decade.

 

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Day 51

The hacking during our election by Russia has shown just how people look at being hacked.  If the other side is hacked, that is okay, but if your side is hacked it is not okay.  That is what really has come out of this whole episode, and it is really sickening.

Additionally, it goes well beyond that.  When is hacking actually helpful, if at all?  If a foreign country can hack into emails and the party not hacked says that it is okay, we wonder if that party thinks it is okay to hack private citizens as well?

We have had issues with the NSA and other intelligence agencies claiming the need to hack into emails or cellphones to “discover” terrorists.  That may even sound like a good thing, but where does it end?

I am asking these questions because of a statement made by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) about the election hacks.  On MSNBC yesterday he said:

There’s no suggestion that Russia hacked into our voting systems or anything like that.  If Russia succeeded in giving the American people information that was accurate, then they merely did what the media should’ve done.

Is this guy actually suggesting that the media should have hacked emails and cyber systems of the Democrats?  Is he suggesting that it is okay to hack emails in general?

Let us be clear.  Hacking is a crime both at home at abroad.  Plus, there is that little annoying thing called the fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that protects our privacy by denying unreasonable search and seizure.

Is Franks suggesting that the Fourth Amendment does not include emails?  Is he actually saying that the media, foreign countries, or even our own government has a right to hack into your emails?

For years now, hundreds of thousands of people have their identity stolen over the internet.  They have their entire finances stolen from them.  If that were to happen to you it will take years to fix the problem.

The other day Trump said the hacking is no big deal and said “we should just move on.”  So, let’s ask another question.  If Russia had hacked the GOP in an attempt to sway the election to Clinton, would he have the same view?  I seriously doubt it.

Hacking cyber systems is a very serious problem.  We cannot have an incoming government and its officials blow off this problem simply because the other side was the one targeted.  We must do more to protect our cyber systems from hacking.

The problem is that you cannot come up with a defense for a virus or other form of hacking before it actually happens.  Hackers change their programming all of the time, and new viruses come up all of the time.  Until the defenders see it, they cannot defend against it.

It is possible to build firewalls that will delay a hack long enough to attempt to stop it, but they aren’t foolproof either.  Besides, normal people with their laptops, tablets, and cell phones are not capable of building such intensive firewalls.

This issue is one thing that has upset both sides of the aisle.  When President Obama announced sanctions yesterday, even Paul Ryan backed them.  Sens McCain and Graham said the sanctions were not tough enough.

And then, we have the Trump camp not saying much about it at all.  Trump said we should “move on” but then said he would meet with the intelligence community to see their evidence.

Both the CIA and the FBI have said more than once that the evidence points to Russia and that the intent was to influence the election towards Trump.  Trump has yet to accept this simple fact.

Then, his spokesperson Kellyanne Conway suggested that the sanctions were only put in place because Obama wants to “hurt” Trump.  The President doesn’t need to do anything to “hurt” Trump on this issue.  His bromance with Putin has shown out way too much in the past year and a half.

His bromance is so strong he refuses to accept information from what will be his own intelligence organizations that says Russia was involved.  But, it is comments like the ones from Franks that should make you nervous.

When someone like Franks makes comments suggesting that hacking the other side is perfectly fine, then we all should raise our eyebrows.  That is an open invitation for our own government to hack into our emails just because they want to.

You really need to look at this objectively.  Your own privacy is at stake.  If the country refuses to make a foreign country pay for interfering or hacking into our cyber systems, then what is possibly going to slow them down?  If foreign countries are allowed to hack into our systems, what will keep your government from hacking into your system?

In case you are wondering, I would be saying the same thing if the other side had been the one hacked.  This is a very serious problem and it is not a partisan problem.  Hacking is a threat to our democracy, our businesses and our privacy.

If you are treating this issue in the same lackadaisical manner as Trump, don’t cry when you are hacked.

 

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