Archive for the ‘Privacy’ Category

Day 132. 

There is a lot of talk about Neil Gorsuch’s performance at the hearing about is nomination.  A few of the Democrats have tried to hold his feet to the fire over some of his rulings, but the rest seem to be rolling over.  Even those who try to hold him accountable, don’t always ask the correct questions.

For me, there is one huge red flag flying over the Gorsuch camp.  This red flag is typical retorts from conservatives, especially when it comes to the Supreme Court.  That one retort is simply that judges, even Supreme Court Justices, are merely rubber stamps for whatever a law says.

As an example, Sen. Durbin brought up a case about a truck driver whose case came before Gorsuch.  Here is a brief explanation of the case.  This truck driver was forced to pull his truck over because his breaks froze.  As a result, he could not drive the truck because it was considered an unsafe vehicle.

The driver’s dispatcher told him to move the truck, but he said he couldn’t because the brakes would not work properly because the brakes were frozen and couldn’t stop the tuck with the trailer properly.  The dispatcher told him to stay put until help arrived.  The truck, for reasons I don’t know, did not have any heat in the cab.  The temperature was about minus 14 degrees.

After waiting for sever hours without help arriving, the driver was near freezing to death.  He then got out, unhitched his trailer and drove the truck to a place to get it fixed and warm up.  The company fired the truck driver for “operating an unsafe vehicle”.

Seven different courts sided with the truck driver citing his safety and desire to stay alive.  Then the case got to Judge Gorsuch’s court.  He ruled in favor of the truck company and the driver lost his job.  According to Durbin, he is still without a job and seems to be blackballed from driving again.

During the hearing, Gorsuch said he “felt for the driver” but the law was the law.  The driver drove what was considered “an unsafe vehicle” and therefore he should have lost his job.  He even went so far as to tell Congress that if they don’t like the results they should change the law.  “I was merely adjudicating the law as it was written”.  However, judges do have the right, and the responsibility to say when a law is unjust and not adjudicate is as it is written.

In this case, the driver had two choices.  Take a chance and get the cab somewhere he could get it fixed and save his life, or simply sit still and freeze to death.  Gorsuch says that he should have sat still and froze to death.  This a very real case that proves that extenuating circumstances should have ruled the day and not just the letter of the law.  Gorsuch, once again placed the company’s interests in front of the person involved.

Gorsuch also said that the same-sex marriage situation is “settled law”.  But, he would not say the same thing about Roe v. Wade.  If you are wondering why, just look at his stance on the so-called “Freedom of Religion” laws he favors.  The ones that allow companies to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on “religious beliefs”.

If anyone would ask me, I would have suggested a few questions for Mr. Gorsuch that would not involve any cases of the past giving him an out.  But, they would let everyone know exactly where he would stand if these kinds of cases came before him at any level.

These questions would be something like this:  Do you believe that there are two different types of laws, one type being secular which rules civil society and one type being religious law that rules religious beliefs?  Do you believe that religious law should be considered when making secular law?  If, yes which religion’s or religious sect’s religious laws should be considered?  Do you believe that religious law should take precedence over secular law in civil matters?

Those questions would unmask anyone’s beliefs on issues like Roe v. Wade.  Let me explain.  I believe that civil society is ruled by secular law.  In a country like ours that offers freedom of religion, secular law must be the law of the land.

Religious law should never be considered when making secular law.  If you really believe in freedom of religion, then it would be impossible to say one religion’s laws should be considered and another’s religious laws should not.

Religious laws should never take precedence over secular law in a civil society that claims to be open and free.  If someone believes their religious laws take precedence over secular laws in civil society, you know where they stand on a myriad of issues.

The case of Roe v. Wade is a case of secular law v. religious law.  The entire case hinges on the definition of life and when it begins.  Religious law, especially with Catholics and Evangelicals, says that life begins at conception.  However, there are differences between religious life and secular life.

One could easily argue that life does not begin until the fetus is capable of surviving outside of the womb.  The arguments are purely based on different beliefs of secular law or religious law.  The pro-life group is based on the idea of life begins at conception.  The pro-choice group says otherwise.

If someone asked Gorsuch if religious law takes precedence over secular law, and he said yes, it would be a clear indication that he would override Roe v. Wade if it came before him.  I believe I already know that he does believe that religious law supersedes secular law with his stance in the Hobby Lobby case and his support of these “freedom of religion” laws that allow discrimination against groups based on religious beliefs.

That is not someone I would want on the Supreme Court.  But, since Democrats are not interested in getting to a person’s true feelings and beliefs, these types of questions are never asked.

Additionally, if you simply look at our own history, you will discover that conservatives always believe that religious law supersedes secular law.  You can see that in laws that banned intra-racial marriage, same-sex marriage, separate but equal laws, and many more.  All of those laws were justified by “religious beliefs”.  If a judge cannot interpret the law and declare it unconstitutional, we would still have those laws on the books.

That is why conservatives argument about “minimal justices” is totally wrong.  It is the responsibility of judges, especially on the Supreme Court to interpret laws for their constitutionality.  The Constitution is secular law, and NOT religious law.  The Constitution protects all minorities from bad laws passed by the majority.  If judges are simply rubber stamps for Congress, then we would still have slavery in this country.

I do not believe that Judge Gorsuch belongs on the Supreme Court.  His rubber stamp mentality, his willingness to let someone die just because he is too lazy to include extenuating circumstances in applying a law, and his apparent belief that religious law supersedes secular law, makes him unqualified to sit on the highest court of the land.

However, I don’t think that the Democrats are willing to go full-bore on rejecting him.  I am not convinced that they are willing to dig in too much on this nominee.  There are a lot of old people on the Supreme Court.  And, I don’t think they are willing to fight one nominee that might make it easier to get a more conservative wacko on the court with the next opening, which could be any day.

But, in my mind he doesn’t belong there.  He appears to me to be just another sleazy snake oil salesman in a fancy suite with a fancy haircut masquerading to be “mainstream”.  He isn’t mainstream.  He is a far right social conservative activist and his rulings have proven that to be the case.

And, the shirts keep marching along.


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Day 126. 

As a nation we need to ask one question.  What type of country are we willing to become?  Ever since trump won the election, that question has been at the top of everything he has proposed.  And, in my opinion, he is looking for something that has not been America.

He has pitted race against race, religion against religion, and rich against poor.  We have always had problems in these areas, but he has ramped them up to a point where your race, your religion, and your wealth is the determining factor of whether you are a winner or a loser in his America.

He has tried to place a limited Muslim Ban on travel to the U.S. twice now, and he was rejected by the courts twice.  He claims that is all in the name of “keeping Americans safe” but he always runs his mouth and shows that it is really based on religion, which is unconstitutional.  His administration doesn’t help either with their rants about how Muslims are the root of all of our problems.

Then we have the so-called “Obamacare Repeal and Replace” legislation trying to get out of the house.  The CBO scored it and there are some good things and some bad thing for both sides.  The good for Republicans is it says that it will reduce the budget by $337 billion over ten years.  The bad for everybody is that 24 million people will lose their health care over the same 10 years.  The White House memo says that 26 million people will lose their health care over that 10 year period.

It is also becoming apparent even to Paul Ryan that the bill as written cannot get out of the House.  His problem is that in order to get out of the house he needs to take it even further right.  But, in order to get it through the Senate it needs to go further left.  It would seem that he has painted himself into a corner, and trump seems willing to let him blow in the wind over it as well.

Now we are seeing trump’s first budget.  This budget shows us just what kind of country trump wants us to have.  A country with no culture, no heritage, no sympathy, no decency, just more military and more bullets.

Naturally, there is the huge increase in defense spending and a huge increase in DHS budget for mass deportations and his Berlin Wall.  But there are still huge cuts for the Coast Guard, the TSA, and FEMA.

The Coast Guard is really our front line defense for our borders in terms of drug trafficking and people trafficking, as well as our port security.  The TSA is supposed to make us safe while flying  FEMA is the agency that responds to natural disasters, and in case you didn’t know, they are responsible to coordinate relief work in case of a wide-scale terrorist attack.  Who needs these agencies?  Apparently not trump.

But it gets even worse.  HUD will lose $3 Billion in its budget.  Number one on the hit parade from HUD will be a small program called “Meals on Wheels”.  All funding will go away to help old and disabled people get food delivered to them.  There will also be the elimination of the heating help funding for poor and older Americans.

The State Department will lose 28 percent of its budget.  The EPA will be hit hardest with a 31.4 percent cut to its budget.  What will be taken away is 3200 jobs and eliminate a new plan for tighter regulations on power plants, and “zero out” programs to clean up the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay.

Health and Human Services is facing a 16.2 percent cut.  These include cuts of $5.8 billion from the nearly $32 billion National Institutes of Health, the nation’s premier medical research agency.  The NIH’s budget has not kept up with inflation as it is, and now trump wants to cut it even more.  This is the agency the does research on diseases to help us defeat things like cancer or stop pandemics before they get going too bad.  But then, since fewer people will have health insurance, who needs research?

The Department of Labor is facing a 20 percent cut.  These cuts include eliminating a federal program designed to help people 55 and older get new jobs.  The Labor Department is also supposed to protect your safety at work.  OSHA will see a huge cut in its budge meaning fewer inspections of workplace safety.

The Commerce Department is facing a 12 percent cut.  One of the biggest will be at NOAA.  These cuts would eliminate more than $250 million in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants, including a program that helps coastal communities adapt to climate change, deal with invasive species and maintain healthy water and fisheries. Also on the chopping block: the Economic Development Administration, which provides federal dollars to foster job creation and attract private investment; and the Minority Business Development Agency, which is dedicated to helping minority-owned business get off the ground and grow.

Other independent agencies will be cut off completely and be forced to shut down.  These include the Public Broadcasting Corporation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Chemical Safety Board, the United States Institute of Peace, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for National Community Service and the African Development Foundation. That foundation was established by Congress and provides seed money and other support to enterprises in some 20 countries on that continent.

I guess Big Bird is on the chopping block, again.  We really need to do away with things like education for young children and eliminating the arts for everyone else.  What kind of country needs those things?  And, chemical safety is definitely not needed since we can trust the Koch Brothers to protect us from harmful chemicals.

These are just some of the cuts that trump wants to make to the budget.  Of course, Republicans will tell you how much this budget will save money, but they will leave out their upcoming massive cut taxes, especially on the rich.  That means, even with these cuts, the deficit will grow even more than it is.

However, this also brings us back to the question I asked at the beginning.  What type of country are we willing to become?  All of these cuts affect the average person.  All of these cuts will have a negative impact on just about every American who is not in the top 2 percent of income brackets.

The Department of Education is also facing cuts and the biggest target is support for before and after school programs.  How is that helping the middle-class and the working poor?  It doesn’t and it will affect you directly.

There has always been a kind of pride in Americans and their willingness to help those in need.  Are we going to let that one trait of ours go away?  Are we going to stand by and let the unfortunate become poorer while the rich get richer?

Just how are the poor, the working poor, and the middle-class going to get ahead if they need to spend more income on things like expensive child care that will only keep them back?  As silly as some of you think, the Public Broadcasting Corporation helps educate children before they start school.  Are we going to handicap poor people’s children just to save a few dollars?

Before and after school programs allow parents to keep working to support their families and help keep kids off of the streets thus getting into trouble.  Should we really eliminate that funding as well?

The same people who want these cuts to take effect are the same people who claim that America was founded on “Christian Principles”.  Really?  These cuts to the social fabric of our nation are examples of “Christian Principles”?  If it is I am glad I am not Christian.

The health insurance argument really sums it up best.  The real question isn’t about liberalism v. conservatism.  It isn’t about right v. left.  It is about one simple question.  Is health care a right or a privilege?  If you believe it is a right that everyone deserves health care, then you must support universal health care because that is the only way people will actually have affordable health care coverage.

If you believe that it is a privilege then you fully support the Republican plan.  You are saying openly and defiantly that health care only belongs to those who can pay for it out-of-pocket.  If you cannot afford it out-of-pocket, you don’t deserve it.

If you believe that health care is a privilege, then you are surely in favor of all of these social cuts to the budget as well.  If health care is a privilege then so is clean air and water.  So is workplace safety.  So is being warned about weather events that may hurt or kill us.  So is medical research.

Those are some areas where these cuts are most felt.  The disadvantaged are being targeted so trump can have a massive military buildup.  They are being targeted so the rich can get more massive tax cuts.  Trump is telling his supporters who will be hardest hit, “screw you, I won”.

Of course it still needs to get through Congress.  We know that Democrats will be against most of these cuts, if not all of them.  We can only hope they are able to kill this budget before it kills too many of us.

If you believe that the disadvantaged should be abandoned and left to die, then trump is your president and the Republicans are your party.  But, I would suggest you stop your “Christian Principles” argument because you are not only lying to us, you are lying to yourself.  “What you do unto the least of you, you also do unto me”.

So far, I believe that this administration and Republican Controlled Congress want to abandon the disadvantaged.  They are only interested in the wealthy.  To me, that lacks all decency.  This budget is a snap shot of that lack of decency and moral fiber.  It is a perfect example of greed and a “me first” attitude.

So much for Christian Principles.

And, the shirts keep marching along.


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Day 116. 

We are seeing an escalation of the attacks on our democracy.  However, you cannot place all of the blame on trump himself.  His administration is just as dangerous, maybe even more so, than he is.  I am really beginning to wonder if there is a single brain cell collectively in the entire group put together.

The media isn’t helping very much either.  With a few exceptions, our media is trying too hard to “legitimize” this idiot that happens to sit in the West Wing.  This became very apparent during the last week.

First, after his so-called speech on Tuesday night, most of the media raved about how “presidential” he looked and how much lower the tone was.  They obviously didn’t listen to the words he said.  They were the same vitriolic hate filled words he has used over and over since he started running for the office.

Besides, I do not consider a moron like trump standing in front of Congress reading a speech he obviously did not write acting like a six year-old reading in front of the class for the first time.  Every time he reads from his teleprompter I see a six year old reading “See     Dick    run.  See   Jane   run.”

That is not being presidential.  That is being a moron.  How is it that we consider that he gave a “great speech” just because he was able to read a speech someone else wrote.  Hell, he was video-taped practicing it in the car on the way to Congress.  And, in my opinion he still did a shitty job.  And before you ask, yes I have given many speeches to various sized crowds in my life.  I know a bad speech when I see one.

Right after his speech, his administration announced that the Travel Ban, which was supposed to be signed the very next day, would be delayed for a few days to let “the speech breathe”.  Say what?  They were so shocked that it went kind of well that they needed it to “breathe”?

Remember, this is the same travel ban that was so necessary in order to keep all of those “bad dudes’ from getting in the country.  Our beloved leader even said after it was stopped by the courts that “they were pouring in”!  Yet apparently it isn’t so necessary or vital after all.  Otherwise, they would not have waited so his speech could “breathe”.

But, on the day he was supposed to sign his new Muslim Ban, it was reported that his Attorney General did in fact have contact with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign and transition period.  This, after he said at his hearing that “I had no contact with any Russian official.”  Oooopps!

Then on Thursday, Sessions announced that he would recuse himself from anything to do with any investigation about Russia and their involvement with our elections and/or the campaign of trump.  He said it was the “right thing to do”.

Then we were told that Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn met with the Ambassador in Trump tower!  Only, no one saw him enter the building which is under constant watch for such people coming.  He obviously came in the back door.  Why?  What was trump hiding?

On Friday, trump supposedly went ballistic.  Reports say that people said “I have never seen him so angry”.  There was even video shot through the window of the West Wing showing a very heated argument going on inside.  That was supposedly over Sessions recusing himself, which trump did not want him to do.

So, trump set off for another vacation weekend to Florida mad at the entire world.  Then, before dawn, his thumbs took over his brain again.  He claimed that he just found out the President Obama “tapped my wires” in Trump Tower.

That set off a shitstorm like none other so far.  Naturally, he offered no proof of this abuse of power other than his tweets.  But, there is proof.  Only the proof lies with Mark Levin and Breitbart.  Mark Levin is a right-wing conspiracy wacko that makes up more shit that a cow on laxatives.  And, we already know what Breitbart’s motives are.

Throughout the weekend, and even this morning, the White House and their talking minions have not backed down.  Nor, have they shown any reason for anyone to believe them.  On top of that, they are showing their total ignorance of how things work in the real world.

First off, Clapper and Comey both have said the wires were not tapped in Trump Tower.  Clapper was the head of DNI at the time and clearly said he would have known if any FISA wiretap was authorized.  Comey wanted the Justice Department to state clearly that the accusation was wrong.  He was rebuffed.

Secondly, the President cannot “order” wire taps without a court order.  And, there are only two ways to get a court order.  The first is for a criminal investigation which requires that the government show that there is probable cause that laws are being broken.  The second, and most importantly in this case, is under a FISA order.  Only, to get a FISA order against an American Citizen, the requirements are even stricter.

What all this means is that if anyone in the government got a court order to wiretap Trump Tower, there was something that showed probable cause or even more that something was seriously wrong in Denmark.  Which also means that trump and/or members of his campaign were seriously suspected of committing a crime up to espionage.

Does anyone in this administration understand that simple fact?  Why are they trying to put light on a possible fact that trump and/or his associates were committing crimes?

They are also saying that trump must have classified information that we don’t have.  That is possible, but there is also one fact they are ignoring.  If trump was a suspect in these investigations that led to a wiretap, he would not be given that information even though he is the president.  No law enforcement agency or intelligence agency would “read into” the investigation the suspect in that investigation.

So, if his tower was the subject of a “wiretap” he would not be given that information.  Unless his Attorney General is breaking the law and all protocols in properly handling an investigation.

Then we have the so-called travel ban that he just signed.  The only real difference is that Iraq was removed from the list of countries.  But, that doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Right now at LAX, there is an Afghan family being held by Customs.  This family came to the U.S. the other day on a “special visa”.  The man worked for the U.S. in Afghanistan and was properly vetted to get this “special visa”.

Yet, when they landed in Los Angeles, they were taken into custody and have been held for at least five days without being given access to an immigration lawyer.  Remember, Afghanistan wasn’t even on the original list of countries.  So, why are they being held at LAX?  And, the man worked for our government!

Ever since trump was elected to be our president, he has gone off on rampages trying to destroy the very fabric of our democracy.  He has claimed that 3-5 million “illegals” voted in the last elections.  Remember that?  Still no proof that ever happened and no “investigation” into it either.  He attacked our intelligence community even comparing them to Nazi Germany.  Then he attacked our media calling everyone but conservative organizations Fake News.  Then he attacked the FBI.  Then he attacked Congress.  Now he is attacking President Obama.

He has done nothing else except relax environmental laws and banking laws designed to protect our air and water and our finances and economy.  If you are part of the upper 1 percent of the wealthy, you are in for great times.  If you are one of the rest of society, you are screwed.

We have seen our public education placed under attack.  We have seen  science placed under attack.  We have seen LGBT rights under attack.  We have seen immigrants under attack.  About the only thing we haven’t seen under attack are the white supremacist domestic terrorists.  They are loving all of this.

But, this is all part of the fascist playbook.  The only way a fascist can take power is to make things so chaotic and bad for everyone, they can come in and say “I alone can fix it”.  Sound familiar?

Then they hope that everyone is so afraid that they won’t resist when the real power grab takes place.  Our president has sown the seeds to start his power grab.  The only question is when will he move to seize power?

Stop kidding yourself.  There will be no “pivot”.  There will be no trump being presidential.  There will be no easing of the innuendoes or accusations without proof.  That is what he is banking on.  He is banking on the idea that we will get tired of it.  He is banking on us falling asleep because of all the chaos he is spreading.

The mouthpieces he has put in place are all helping make him our first dictator for life.  They are spreading all of the falsehoods and treating them like facts to confuse the general public.

They have all their code words in place like “Make America Safe Again” in order to keep non-whites out.  They always talk about “double standards but only when their leader gets caught in another lie or his hand in the cookie jar.  The only “double standard” is the fact that trump sprouts his filth to the public and needs to prove nothing while his opponents are called “professional protesters” getting paid to take to the streets.

We need to start wondering when the purges will begin.  When will we see the Muslim Ban take full effect?  When will we see the Muslim registry take effect?  When will we see the “need” for national papers?  When will we see “travel papers” to visit another state than the one we live in?

When will we see the detention centers sprouting all around us for “illegal immigrants” become internment camps for anyone opposed to trump?  If you think all of this sounds ridiculous, you haven’t been paying attention.

Everything that has taken place are NOT distractions.  The accusations and innuendos are part of the game plan.  Travel bans are just the start of all kinds of bans.  Detention centers, or more precisely the “private prisons” trump is opening are just the beginning.

All of this chaos is planned.  All of this unnecessary “constitutional crises” are being plotted in the White House.  Steve Bannon is a self-proclaimed Leninist who wants to tear down completely our government and replace it with something else.  He has said so in public.

All of this has been choreographed.  And, the choreographer is none other than Steve Bannon.  Why else would he be so crucial as to be placed on the NSC Policy board with a permanent seat while the Joint Chief of Staff lost his?

All we can do is fight back as hard as we can.  We cannot let our Representatives and Senators fall in line with this dangerous attack on our values.  And, our wishy-washy media must wake up and smell the roses.  They are the one institution that can be our voice of opposition.  But, they have to grow a backbone and report the facts and stop giving trump excuses.

Do not give up, we can and we will win in the end.  Americans are too good, too smart, and too strong to allow this to go on until we lose our country.

It is time to call a fascist a fascist.  Trump, Bannon and their puppets are fascists or at least fascist wannabes.  We can beat them by peaceful protests in the streets. We can beat them by having our voices heard in the halls of Congress.  And, most importantly, we beat them it by voting out the fascist abettors.

It is time to stop the shirts from marching along!

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Day 111. 

Well, what do you think?  Republicans are raving about the “marvelous” speech trump gave last night.  Democrats are somewhat less than enthusiastic about the speech.

Republicans say that the speech was a “uniting speech”.  But I am not sure they were listening to the same speech I was.  Especially when you look at the very few policy details that he brought up.

For one thing, he started his speech talking about how terrible anti-Semitism crimes are.  He talked about the two Indian-Americans murdered in Kansas by a racist, but only vaguely.  What he did not say a word about is the huge increase in anti-Muslim crimes in the country.

He did not mention Mosques being burned to the ground by arsonists.  He did not talk about Muslims being attacked in the street just because they are Muslims.  He did not talk about the racist who was recently convicted of planning to murder all Muslims and burn down the Mosque and Community Center in an upstate New York town.

How can you talk about a “unifying” speech if he leaves out all of these incidents?  How can you be a “unifying” figure if you pretend that none of these things ever happened?

Before the speech, he supposedly told news anchors that he would be “open to legal status for undocumented immigrants who are already here.”  Yet, in his speech, he said nothing about that.  He did talk about the deportations that are ongoing.  Of course, he says they are only “criminals” who are a threat to our country being deported.

Only, can you please explain to me how someone caught up in a “sweep” intended to get some of those “bad dudes” as he likes to call them, whose only crime is being pulled over for a broken tail light and getting deported.  Or the mother of two U.S. citizens who was deported after self-reporting to ICE as per an agreement to allow her to stay who was deported.

One of the biggest lies of the night came when he said:

According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.

The fact of the matter is that more American Citizens have been killed in terrorist attacks since 9/11 by “domestic white terrorists” than by foreign-born terrorists.  But, if you don’t consider white domestic terrorists as being terrorists, I guess you have a claim for truth in the statement.

Trump appears to be citing a 2016 report from Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, who was then an Alabama senator, claiming that “at least 380 of the 580 individuals convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2014, were born abroad.” But, as Alex Nowrasteh of the Libertarian Cato Institute pointed out, only 40 of those convictions were in fact for terrorist attacks planned on U.S. soil, and 241 were not even for terrorism offenses.

To emphasize this abandonment of reality, he told us about a great new piece of the Department of Human Services.  This agency is supposed to support victims of violent crimes.  The name?  Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement!

What this does is say that only immigrants commit crimes and we need a group to help those victims.  The KKK, Aryan Nation, and other White Supremacist groups that commit several acts of terrorism in our country are not mentioned.  This VOICE group would do nothing to “support” the victims of the South Carolina church shooting.  Or, the Planned Parenthood shooting victims in Denver.  Now that is “unifying”.

Then he went on and on about tax reform.  Yes, we need tax reform.  But, the type of tax reform that trump is planning will not help the average American very much if at all.  From what we have seen so far, the major tax breaks will go to corporations, the very rich, and the upper end of the middle-class.

That “massive tax break” for the middle-class he talked about isn’t all that massive.  On average, you might save $1,000 in taxes under his plan.  Of course the upper 1 percent will average over $200,000 savings on their taxes.

Of course, your $1,000 will also depend on which tax loop-holes that most Americans take advantage of and he wants to cut.  Like the interest on your home mortgage or your charitable contributions.  If those deductions are removed, you will not save $1,000, but rather according to the tax experts, your taxes will go up on average of $2,000.

In trump’s and Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and trump mentioned it last night, if you currently get subsides to help to pay for your insurance, you won’t get them anymore.  Instead, you will get “tax credits”.  That means you will be able to deduct some of your health care coverage costs on your taxes.  But, as I asked yesterday, if you don’t make enough money to pay federal taxes, how is that going to help you get insurance?  It won’t.

There was one point where I was absolutely stunned.  That came when our beloved leader informed us that a full one-third of the adult population in our country have dropped out of the job market.  WOW!  That was headline making information.  Only, it won’t hit the headlines because it was another lie.

Our beloved leader says that 94 million people are out of the workforce.  Partly correct is the best description of that lie.  See, he failed to mention that those numbers include high school students, retired senior citizens, the disabled, and people who choose to stay home as primary caregivers. Many of these people have no intention of actually being part of the job market.

Another shocker was when he said:

My administration wants to work with members in both parties … to promote clean air and clean water.

Really?  If that is true why did he roll back the rule that keeps mining companies from polluting rivers and streams?  Why, yesterday, did he rollback another rule that prevents rivers from being polluted by oil companies?  Why is he planning to rollback the rule cutting back green house gases?  Why does his budget call for a 25 percent spending cut in the EPA budget and a 20 percent cut in jobs?

To me, one of his most divisive talking points is his call for “merit based” immigration.  What, exactly, does that mean?  What is merit based immigration?  Is merit based immigration based on things like his son Donald, Jr., needing immigrants to work at his vineyard instead of Americans?  Does it mean that mean that immigrants are needed to work at trump’s spas instead of Americans?

He keeps using the words, “Buy American, Make American”.  Apparently, he doesn’t believe that includes his own family’s businesses.  All of their products are made overseas, and he and his son would rather apply for visas for immigrants to work at their facilities in America instead of hiring Americans.  Here’s one for you.  Boycott everything sold under the name of Trump.  That way you won’t be buying something not made in America.

He brought up his “infrastructure” plan again.  Only, he didn’t say what that would entail.  He mentioned “public/private” partnership.  The only way to get private money to invest in our infrastructure is for the private sector to make money off of the project.  Meaning, if you need new roads, private money might be invested if they can make those new roads “toll roads” so the private corporation can make money.

Is that what we really want for our infrastructure?  Do you want to have to fork over lots of money to pay for using the roads that your per gallon tax dollars are already supposed to pay for?  If that is the case, we shouldn’t have to pay any taxes on our gasoline at the pump.

Another untruth was when he said:

We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials — and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.

Yes, he did “change” the rules that President Obama put in place.  Instead of two-year ban on lobbying the agency you left, trump cut that back to one year.  But, you can still lobby any other part of the government.  Plus, Obama was far more strict on allowing lobbyists to enter the administration.  Now, lobbyists can enter the administration without any questions asked.  So, the “swamp” isn’t being drained.  When you couple this with all of the Wall Street bankers in his administration, the swamp is getting deeper not being drained.

Finally, let’s look at the manufacturing jobs that trump says he will bring back to our country.  Here is a very little known statistic about manufacturing jobs.  Since 1987, we have lost approximately 5.8 million manufacturing jobs.  That is a big number.

However, the flip side is that since 1987 our manufacturing production has increased over 87 percent.  We have fewer manufacturing jobs, but we are making more products.  How can that be if China and Mexico are stealing our jobs?  The answer is simple – automation!

We have lost more jobs to automation than to other governments.  That is a very simple fact.  But, instead of creating job training to help assembly line workers get better skills that will allow them to continue to work in automated factories, we ignore them and let them wallow in despair and give them false hope by saying “we will bring your jobs back”.

We must be honest with our people.  The days of the 1950s where thousands upon thousands of people work on the assembly line are over.  Those jobs will NEVER come back.  We need to be honest and convince these workers that they can be retrained to other careers so they can get good paying jobs and support their families.

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the Blue Collar area of the city.  I saw these jobs start disappearing back in the 1906s.  It wasn’t because of unions or anything else that trump blames.  It was because the factories were old and the owners refused to update them and make them more modern and efficient.  It was all about the bottom line.

Today, as new manufacturing starts up in America, it isn’t assembly workers that go to work in these factories.  It is robots and other automation that makes our products.  If you don’t believe me, just watch the television show “How It’s Made” on the science channel.  You will see far more machines making products than people.

I’m sorry folks, but last night’s speech was not “unifying”.  It offered no solutions to the real problems that face our people.  It only offered tax cuts to the rich, more deportations, more limitations on immigrants, and nothing else.

It may have sounded better in tone than his inauguration speech, but the fact is it was still a doom-and-gloom prognosis of our country.  If you think you heard something positive last night, I suggest you watch his actions in the coming weeks.

I believe you will see the same old shit we have seen since inauguration day.  As we used to say in the Coast Guard “Same shit different day”.  That is what I heard last night.  Nothing positive.  Nothing creative.  Nothing about solutions.  Only more of the same hate-filled blame game.

And, the shirts keep marching along.


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Day 110. 

Tonight, we will hear our beloved leader address a joint session of Congress for the first time.  The biggest question is are we going to hear anything about real policies, or are we going to be subjected to another campaign speech?

Yesterday we heard him ramble on and on about things that matter, but don’t matter.  He told us to his great surprise “no one knew how complex health care was”.  Well, it seems that everyone except him knew how complex health care is.  Why does he think the Republicans cannot come up with a replacement?  Because they can’t think of anything better.

Then he told us that his budget will increase defense spending by $54 billion.  He claims that he will cut other budgets like the State Department and the EPA to get the money.  Only, there is a small problem with his budget.  Before he can increase defense spending, he has to have Congress repeal the sequester bill.

The sequester bill is the law.  And, you cannot get around it without repealing it first.  There are no plans from what I have heard that anyone in Congress wants to repeal the sequester bill.  Especially the deficit hawk Republicans in the House.

The other problem is simple arithmetic.  Besides increasing the defense budget, he still wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure.  Plus, he wants to cut taxes, especially on the rich and corporations.  So, he wants to increase spending by $1 trillion and $54 billion, cut revenue, and still not increase the deficit.

As you can probably figure out without using a calculator, that is simply not possible.  But then, the only time Republicans are really interested in reducing the deficit is when Democrats control the White House.  They doubled the deficit under Ronald Reagan.  They raised the debt under George H. W. Bush.  And, they doubled it again under George W. Bush.

Bill Clinton left office with a balanced budget that George W. Bush blew away.  Even with the horrible economic mess that President Obama was left with, he was able to cut the annual deficit by over 50 percent by the time he left office.  Now, we are looking at the deficit doubling again under another Republican president.

In six weeks in office we have seen nothing from this president or this Republican controlled Congress.  All of the so-called “actions” this president has accomplished has done nothing for the people.  They have only done something for the rich corporation buddies he has and hurt everyone else.

He has made it more difficult for first-time home buyers to get a home.  He has been blocked with his first “Muslim ban” in the courts.  He has made the health care industry so nervous, we don’t know if it will survive until he comes up with his “great plan”.

As a matter of fact, every single “plan” that Republicans have talked about will mean that up to 20 million people will lose their health care.  Some “great plan”.  The ACA helped millions of people actually get health care.  Republicans don’t care if you “get” health care as long as they can say it is available which is not the same thing.

He has not created a single “new” job, nor did he save those 77,000 miner jobs he claims to have saved.  But, he did make it much easier for coal mine owners to pollute the drinking water of the very miners he claims to loves so much and wants to help.

He has waged a war on our free press.  According to him, if you write anything that is not flattering to him, you are involved in fake news.  He refuses to talk about the scandal he created with the Russians.  He has tried to get Intelligence Officials and the two chairmen of the committees who are supposed to be investigating the matter to say “there isn’t anything there”.

He had his propaganda minister check the cell phones of his staff to discover if anyone of them were part of the “leaks” from his administration.  Imagine being called into the bosses office and told to hand over your phone so he can check who you were calling?

He and his administration have railed against non-existent terrorist attacks like the Bowling Green Massacre and the Sweden Terrorist attack, but ignores the anti-Muslim terrorist attacks going on right here at home.

Whenever he gives a speech to agencies, like the CIA, he brags about his “great victory in November” and calling it the “biggest landslide in history”.  This is a man who seems to have a very hard time accepting victory.  What is wrong with him?

So, tonight we will be forced to sit through another rambling speech from our beloved leader.  I cannot believe that he is going to be very positive as his team says he will.  He wasn’t very positive in his inauguration speech.

I have very serious doubts that he can actually give a serious policy driven speech.  I also have very serious doubts that he even knows what a serious policy speech is.  I cannot imagine him speaking for more than 10 minutes without telling us how wonderful he is.  That is not policy, that is campaign.

This administration and Republican Congress have been too busy setting up fall-guys for when their plan fails rather than actually doing anything.  They are trying to blame the media.  They are trying to blame the Democrats.  They are trying to blame the American people who are protesting against them.

They are trying everything they can to fix blame, but they aren’t doing anything of substance.  Hell, yesterday trump accused President Obama for organizing the protests against his administration.

Even if we get a policy speech tonight, I am willing to bet that it will be rambling and will not have very many specifics, if any.  He will ramble on and on in his usual terrible speaking manner, and in the end Republicans will call it the best speech ever given on the House Floor.  The rest of America will be left scratching their heads wondering what the hell he said.

The U.S. military is the best and the most powerful fighting force on the face of the planet.  We spend about $600 billion on defense ever year.  Yet, trump wants you to believe it is depleted.  And, he is willing to blow up the budget to prove it.

He says that this budget will be a Security and Public Safety budget.  Yet, from what I see, the environment and clean water and air are part of Public Safety.  Yet, he is willing to cut the budget to safeguard them.

The budget that trump will pass on to Congress will be full of giveaways to the rich.  Full of giveaways to corporations.  And will have nothing for the average American.  Many of us will lose our health care.  We will all suffer from dirty air and water to save profits for the oil and coal companies.  There will be no new jobs for those who need them.  And, there will be no higher minimum wage to help Americans get by.

Whenever someone tells you that they are going to grant “tax credits” to help you, they are lying.  The working poor will gain no benefit from “tax credits” only the upper class gains from “tax credits”.  Think about it, if you don’t make enough money today to pay income taxes, what the fuck will tax credits do for you?  Nothing!

Sorry folks, but don’t look for anything to help the average American in tonight’s speech.  You are not part of trump’s or the Republican’s agenda.  Rather, you are a hinderance to their agenda.

And, the shirts keep marching along.


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Day 108. 

We are seeing a time in our history that I don’t think will read very well in future text books.  It is a time of a rise and a fall.  What we have seen since trump was elected our president is a rise in hate and a fall in decency.  And of course, we have heard nothing from our beloved leader about this either.

Ever since trump started running for president we have seen hate grow in leaps and bounds.  We have seen anti-Muslim groups triple in number since 2015.  We have seen more Mosques being burned down to the ground.  We have seen attacks on Muslims on the rise.

We have also seen anti-Semitism grow and grow.  Just since inauguration day we have seen bomb threats to Jewish Centers  grow tremendously.  Vandals have destroyed a Jewish cemetery.  Places of worship have been vandalized with swastikas.

Immigrants of all kinds have seen various assaults and attacks.  We have seen the conviction of a white man who intended to burn down a Mosque in an upstate New York town and he said if anyone interfered, he would kill them.  We saw a man shoot and kill one man and wound two others in Kansas after shouting “get out of my country”.  The men were Indian-Americans.  Later he bragged at a bar in Missouri about killing two “mid eastern men”.

Mass deportations are beginning all across the country.  Even in Santa Cruz, CA. the police chief told the press that during the raids in his town ICE had lied to him.  He said they were supposed to be holding raids on a criminal gang, but ICE also detained 10 other people who were not involved in the gang but were undocumented immigrants.

A Mosque in Texas outside of Houston was the victim of arson.  A Mosque in Tampa was the victim of arson.  That Mosque was at least the sixth Mosque attacked in just the last six months.  Hell, even Mohammad Ali, Jr., was detained at a Florida airport when he and his mother returned from a trip to Jamaica.  He was asked questions like:  “Where did you get your name?” and  “Are you a Muslim?”

Our beloved leader has said nothing condemning any of these attacks.  He has kept complaining about non-existent attacks like the one he keeps talking about in Sweden.  He keeps talking about how Muslims are the root of all terrorism.  But, he refused to discuss the terrorism being placed on American Citizens by white people right here in America.

Are you aware of the simple fact that more people of color have been killed in America by white supremacists than the total number of Americans killed by Muslim terrorists since 9/11?  And, trump has said nothing about it.

Instead of doing anything to help quell the problem, trump ignores it and pretends that Muslims are the real problem.  He goes off on tantrums that mean nothing in the big picture.  He attacks our media and calls it “the enemy of the people” because they won’t print only glowing raves about him.

Rather, they print the truth of what is going on in his administration.  His cabinet members have had to sweep up all of the bullshit he spouts towards our allies.  They have to say, “no, he doesn’t mean that”.

The other day, his administration blocked admission of several major media groups to an off-camera news briefing.  Funny, all of the blocked media groups were the exact ones reporting on the Russia connection.

Our beloved leader keeps crying about how everyone is picking on him.  He complains that no one is reporting on his “great achievements”.  Only, he doesn’t have any great achievements to report about.  Unless you consider his blocked Muslim Ban something “great”.

His propaganda minister keeps spouting the trump line even though you can see in his eyes that he knows they are lies.  The administration has tried to interfere with the investigations into the Russia scandal, even going so far as to asking the chairmen of the two committees supposedly investigating it to call the press and “tamp down” the stories.  They even tried to get the FBI to do the same.

Unlike the FBI, the two chairmen went along with the administration and called the press.  They even admitted that fact that they called the press at the urging of the White House.  Sen. Burr and Rep. Nunes are disgraces to the American People.  They should both recuse themselves from the investigations, but they won’t.

As a matter of fact, Nunes seems to think that if there was an actual independent special investigation into the matter that would be bad.  He says it would be like “McCarthyism”.  There is a big difference between McCarthy hurling innuendos and accusations without proof and an investigation that gets to answers not predetermined.

More states are introducing or passing more and more hate bills against the LGBT community.  Our beloved leader already rolled-back one LGBT rule passed by the Obama Administration, and more are likely to follow.

Finally, I guess in order to “punish” the media, our beloved leader has said he will not attend the White House Correspondence Dinner.  Though we all know it is more of not being the brunt of too many jokes instead of any punishment.  He probably figures since he has named them “public enemy” he knows what would happen if he showed up.

Hate is definitely on the rise.  The lack of any response to or any attempt to halt this rise in hate shows that decency is on the fall.  No one ever accused trump of being a decent man.  No one ever accused trump of being an honest man.  And, I will never accuse him of being a moral man either.

This is the reality of our nation today.  We are not even finished with two months of his presidency, and we are looking at a very bleak, divided future under his administration.  Just about all of his cabinet picks have shown a total lack of ethics and integrity.  They are not in place to “govern” they are in place to destroy our government and our democracy.  Steve Bannon even said so at the tin-hat convention known as CPAC.

We have gotten to a point where no one is actually safe from the rise in hate.  With shootings of immigrants on the rise, you be caught in the cross-fire.  With arson on the rise, you could get caught up in the fire.  But, don’t expect anything from the White House about it.  This is the America trump wants.

And, don’t think you are immune.  Soon, they will turn their ire on anyone who speaks out against their savior.  They will turn their ire on average people who don’t think things are going well and are willing to protest.  Actually, several states are passing laws to basically make protesting illegal.  The divide will get far worse before it gets better.

But it is with this increase in hate, that trump can put in place his plan to destroy the country and set up his authoritarian rule.  You need chaos and hate to prove you are the “savior”.

We are seeing a rise in hate and a fall in decency.  And, our beloved leader is behind all of it.

And, the shirts keep marching along.


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Day 105. 

I think it is time to discuss the Republican lie about “states rights”.  According to Republicans, especially conservatives, that whatever they want as law should be “up to the states to decide”.

This came up again yesterday when trump rolled-back the transgender rule for schools about which bathroom and shower they should be allowed to use.  The order said that children should be allowed to use the bathroom and shower based on their actual gender and not what is necessarily on the birth certificate.

Yesterday, after months of saying he supports LGBT rights, he rescinded this rule.  there is some confusion over the order in that of all people Betsy DeVos was originally against the order.  Sessions reportedly pressured her because he needed the Education Department to back it.  It was also reported that trump pressured her as well, and in the end she caved.

We knew this was coming because the day before, Sessions’ Justice Department told the courts they would no longer support the rule in the courts.  Then, in typical fashion, they all said “this is something better left to the states to decide”.

I have always found it dangerous the way Republicans use “states rights” so selectively.  This stupidity goes back a long way.  We had a Civil War over the issue of slavery.  Yet, today, the south still says that it was fought over “states rights”.  Only, the only “states rights” that they fought over was the right to keep slaves.

So, even if you buy their lie about it fought over “states rights” they still lost the war.  Yet, conservatives and especially today’s Republican Party keep trotting out the “states rights” claim for anything they don’t agree with.

However, the only things that seem to fall under “states rights” are laws that affect the civil rights of people across the country.  This same cry of “states rights” was the crux to the Jim Crow laws that discriminated against African-Americans for so many years.

Other topics that seem to fall under their “states rights” cry are things that affect all people, but may hurt profits of certain businesses.  Like clean air and water.

To name just a few, here are some of the things that Republicans want the states to decide.  Jim Crow Laws, Same-Sex Marriage, Abortion Rights, Bathroom Rights for Transgenders, Voting Rights, Clean Air Regulations, Clean Water Regulations.

These are just some of the issues covered by their lie.  If you look at all of these issues you will discover that the laws affect all parts of the country, not just a particular state.

The Jim Crow laws were so strict, that an African-Americans who were riding on a train from the north in was forced to leave the coach they were sitting in and go to sit in the “colored coach” when the train crossed into a southern state.  That even included service members during World War Two.

Same-sex marriage is another one that affects everyone.  If a gay couple in New York get married and need to move to another state that does not recognize same-sex marriages because of their job, they could lose their married status for taxes and health coverage.

Abortion rights is really convoluted.  Under Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court that women have a constitutional right to have a  “safe and legal abortion”.  Republican controlled states hate that idea.  They want to change the law in their states, claiming “states rights”.

The other oddity in this is that these same Republicans say that the ACA put the government between you and your doctor and that is the biggest reason it needs to be repealed.  Yet they are very willing to get between a woman and her doctor if comes to abortion or birth control.

They also cry about “religious beliefs” and say it is okay to discriminate against same-sex couples trying to get married based on the business’ “religious beliefs.  Yet they want to deny “religious beliefs” for women who want an abortion whose “religious beliefs” disagree with their viewpoint on the issue.

Many states have passed what they call Photo ID laws.  In order to vote, you need to show a Photo ID.  However, in order to make sure that only the right people have Photo IDs, they do some odd things.  They close all of the DMV offices in certain areas that are mostly populated by African-Americans and Latinos.  They reduce the number of early voting stations to one in heavily African-American and Latino areas while opening more polls in less populated areas but are mostly white.

Here in the Soviet State of North Carolina, they actually did research on the types of Photo IDs that minorities usually have.  Then they said those photo IDs were not acceptable.  The courts caught them on that issue and said they acted with “surgical precision” to restrict minority voting rights.

Our current Head of the EPA says that only states should have the right to pass clean air and water regulations.  He says that only states know what effect these regulations have on “business”.  He doesn’t seem to think that the dirty air from his state will drift over other states.  That isn’t his problem.

On the other hand, they won’t cry “states rights” if a law goes against what they want.  Just look at the gun rights issues.  When a state, like Maryland, passes a law banning assault weapons and large capacity ammo, these same “states rights” liars run to court calling the law “unconstitutional”.

Under the Constitution, the states do have rights.  However, the same Constitution says that the Federal Laws supersede state laws.  Meaning if the Federal government passes a civil rights law, the states cannot ignore it under the guise of “states rights”.

We are a nation.  Yes, it is made up of several states.  And, the states have a right to determine most of their laws.  However, since we are a “nation” we cannot have 50 different laws dealing with simple human and civil rights.  As a nation, we need to ensure that all citizens regardless of their zip code have the same human and civil rights.

We must protect our minorities from the excesses of the majority.  We must make sure that civil rights don’t end just because a couple or person is required or chooses to move from one state to another.  We cannot live in a country where one state can pollute the air of their neighbors.  We cannot live in a country where one state can pollute the drinking water of another state.

The unfortunate thing about this is that “states rights” has become code words for “legal discrimination”.  It has no other meaning the way Republicans try using it.  The only time you hear them cry “states rights” is when they pass a law that makes discrimination legal in their state.

Civil rights are protected under our Constitution.  Sates do not have the right to change those rights in their state.  They do not have the right to legally discriminate against any minority group.

Rescinding this order will allow more bullying in schools.  It will allow more attacks against LGBT students.  It will make our schools less safe.  And, it targets children the most.  And, it is all in the name of “states rights” not in the name of “civil rights”.  To use trump’s own words, the first time that a transgender student is attacked in a bathroom or locker room, you can place the blame and the blood at trump’s door.

It is the primary responsibility of the president to protect people and their rights.  It is especially his responsibility to protect our children.  He has just failed “bigly” under the false claim of “states rights”.


And, the shirts keep marching along.



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