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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Day 105. 

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

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

Yesterday, after months of saying he supports LGBT rights, he rescinded this rule.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disgusting!

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 104. 

The one thing we learned about trump’s presidency in the first 32 days or so is that we definitely need hip waders just to be able to wade through the bullshit that constantly comes out of his mouth.  If people worried about the swamp flooding out Washington, D.C., they forgot that you can drown in bullshit just a well as water.

After at least three attempts to get trump to say anything about anti-Semitism, yesterday he said he was against it.  Most people think that since he didn’t stutter as much as usual, he meant what he said,.  Only he really didn’t mean much of what he said.

Besides saying he denounces anti-Semitism, he also talked about a culture of hate.  He even said that the “country will come together”.  He talked about how hate seems to run in cycles, and at least that part was true.  Even still, I will give him some credit, he did sound genuine in his comments.

But it is still words.  Just words, and trump uses more words than anyone I have ever listened to before.  As a matter of fact, he uses so many words, at the end of his statement never know what the hell he said.  Does he hate anti-Semitism or does he just hate that is was brought to light?

A lot of people are saying he caved to the press on this matter.  I don’t believe that.  I think he caved to his daughter.  Ivanka tweeted the day before his comments to say that we should all be tolerant of other religions.  That tweet was met with a lot of responses that were less than praising her.

The main theme of the responses was “tell that to your daddy”.  There were also many questions about if that “tolerance” includes Muslims.  The very next day, trump made his announcement about the issue.

But, since you cannot trust the words that come out of trump’s mouth, you need to watch his actions.  His actions do not show any attempt of “bringing the country together” or helping to eliminate “hate”.

Yesterday, the same day, DHS released two memos about deporting undocumented immigrants.  In essence, these memos mean that anyone who can be picked up and deported if they are here undocumented.  Of course there are fears of a “mass deportation” on the horizon.

There is also nothing in the memos that talk about how to handle undocumented immigrants who have children who are U.S. Citizens.  Are we really going to break up families just to get “rid of those damn illegals” as the right-wing wants?

If we do deport parents of these children, what happens to them?  Are we also going to deport U.S. Citizens with their parents?  Or, are we going to place them in an orphanage or the mostly broken foster care program?  What happens to these children?  Of course the memos also talk about our upcoming Berlin Wall being built.

I also find it amazing that these memos were released the day before the Sec of State and Sec of DHS are to go to Mexico to try to mend the gulf growing between our two countries.  What the hell were they thinking?

I am not going to argue about this being illegal, because as the laws are written, they are not illegal.  However, what I am questioning is the rush to deport as many people as possible in a short period of time without regard to any circumstances that may change things.

What makes breaking up families moral?  What makes breaking up families even nice?  These attempts to deport 11 million people is simply stunning.  Rather than working with Congress and fixing our immigration problem, this administration is more interested in showing “power” than humanity.

The next thing is the so-called revised travel ban.  The administration is saying that this will pass muster in the courts.  Yet, one of his top advisors says that it is basically the same order that caused all of the chaos when it was first released.

We don’t know much about this revised order, but we are pretty sure that green card holders won’t be affected.  Other than that, we know nothing.  Are they going to make it effective immediately so people already on their way here with valid visas are turned away when they get here, like they were under the original order?  That is not how civilized people treat other people.  But, I must admit that I never accused trump of being civilized.

These are the contradictions that trump has unleashed on us.  On one hand, trump talks about anti-Semitism all the while he is issuing orders on deportation of mass amounts of people with no compassion in the orders.

On one hand he says we should not be anti-Semitic, and on the other hand he orders the deportation of massive amounts of people who are mostly Latino.  On one hand he says we should be more inclusive and on the other hand he says Muslims aren’t welcome here.

As a country, even an immigrant country that we are, we do need borders and have a proper system to allow immigration.  However, we cannot be a country that just rounds up people based on their race, religion or immigration status and either lock them up or deport them.  Instead of placing so much vigor in deportations, we should be putting that much vigor in fixing our immigration rules and make it more humane to the people of the world.

This is a country of immigrants.  Unless you are a Native American, you are either an immigrant or a descendent of an immigrant.  This is a country that claims to be a nation of immigrants.  Yet, we seem to want to slam the door on “certain” people from being immigrants to add to our diversity.

Instead of fixing a broken system, trump wants to punish people by breaking up families to show how “tough” he is.  That is insane.  Yes, we need to fix our broken immigration system.  Yet, we do not need to punish people just because they came here without visas.  Especially those who have been here for years and have actually contributed to our economy which most have.

I agree that criminals need to go if they are not here legally.  However, we need a very certain definition of what constitutes “criminal”.  Driving with a broken tail light is not “criminal”.

We have lost our moral compass.  We have a president who is the descendent of an immigrant claiming nativism as his excuse.  And, at the time his grandfather immigrated to this country, visas weren’t always necessary.  So technically, trump could be called a descendent of an “undocumented immigrant”.  His grandfather even went back until he found out he could be prosecuted for evading mandatory military service.  Which means he came here as a “criminal” back home.

All of the major groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are against these mass deportations.  They understand the havoc that deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants would cause on our economy.  Yet our beloved leader is deaf to their concerns.

We were once told by the liar Kellyanne Conway to judge trump by what is “in his heart not his words”.  If you look at just this one issue, you can see what is in trump’s heart.  Hate and contempt for people of color.  There is not other explanation for his actions.

Our beloved leader can use all the words he wants to claim he is not a bigoted person.  He can use all the words he wants to claim he is “trying to bring the country together”.  But, his actions say just the opposite.  His actions show his contempt for anyone who is “different’ from him.

He claims to not be anti-Semitic and not to be bigoted.  Yet, when his propaganda minister was asked about the tripling of hate groups against Muslims since 2015 at his press meeting yesterday, he avoided the question like the plague.

We know what trump believes ever since he rode that escalator down from his big office in Trump Tower and announced how Mexico is sending us “drug dealers and rapists”.  We know what trump believes ever since he declared that there should be a ban on all Muslims immigrating to our country.  We know what trump believes ever since he said there should be a “Muslim registry”.

Conway told us to look into trump’s heart to see what he really means when he speaks.   I agree to a point.  But, if you do, you will find a hate-filled heart.  Is that what she really wants us to see?

As we know, justice is not absolute.  There is far more than a story of if a person came here “legally or illegally”.  We are not just a country of laws.  We are a country of compassion.  Just look at what happened after that Jewish cemetery was vandalized.  Who were the people who started a fund-raising program to help repair the damage?  Muslims!

When the Mosque in Texas was burned down a couple of weeks ago, who was the first group to hand over keys to their place of worship to help them?  Jews.

We need the president to be more interested in working with Congress to fix our immigration laws instead of acting like a heavy-handed dictator who will solely determine who is allowed in and who isn’t.

If you support this mass deportation on the horizon and the banning of Muslims, don’t dare speak to me about your Christian Values.  You don’t have any and you are a liar.  You have no Christian Values.

It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, this matter isn’t just about law, it is about humanity.  It is about treating other people like we want to be treated.  It is time for this bullshit to stop.  It is time to look at the problem with a humane lens and figure out the best ways to make things better for everyone.

These issues will not be stopped with laws that restrict immigration.  They will not be stopped with a Berlin Wall on our southern border.  They will not be stopped with a Muslim ban.  They will not be stopped with mass deportation.

We have seen this story before.  We have seen groups being made scapegoats before.  We have seen it in places like Russia.  We have seen it in places like Mussolini’s Italy.  We have seen it in Nazi Germany.  We have seen it in Hussein’s Iraq.

Our Constitution was designed to protect minorities from the excesses of the majority.  These actions are making a mockery of that premise.  It is time for it to end and real solutions to this problem found.  That is how democracy is supposed to work.  To me, these actions are more fascist than democratic.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

 

 

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Day 103. 

In all my years watching and participating in politics, I have never seen a president act so irresponsibly or incompetent as our current beloved leader.  And, I have seen the likes of JFK, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, etc.  This side-show we call our presidency has gotten completely out of control, and it is the fault of one person – donald trump.

Rather than taking expensive vacations that we pay for at his private club in Florida, maybe he should actually start filling the government positions that would help him govern.  Leadership is actually leading and making sure the proper people are in place to ensure things work.

This came to light yesterday at JFK airport.  At about 6 am, the TSA checkpoint was not fully manned.  They still opened the “prescreened” area.  However, no one was there to check the passengers as they went through the checkpoint.  Eleven passengers passed through without proper screening.  Three men were reported to have set off the metal detector.  No one stopped them.

To make matters worse, it took TSA 2 hours before they told the police about.  The police checked the terminals, but the passengers all had already boarded their fights.  The three men who activated the metal detector were identified from video.  They were eventually screened – after they landed at their destination in California.

At first glance it would appear that the screeners at JFK are to blame for this incident.  And they were.  But, it goes a little deeper than that.  The head of the TSA left the agency on the day trump took office.  He has yet to be replaced.  As a matter of fact, no one has even been named to replace him.

This is not an isolated problem either.  The government has a total of 549 positions that need Senate approval to be filled.  As of yesterday, 515 of those positions have not even had a nominee named.  That means a whopping 34 positions have had nominees named.  So far only about 14 of them are still waiting for approval.

As you can see, it is not the Democrats who are holding up trump from filling the government, trump is holding up trump from filling the government.  You also have to remember, those are just the positions that require Senate approval.  There are still hundreds of staff positions that haven’t been filled at the White House.

I am still hearing reports that the West Wing feels like a ghost town rather than a functioning government.  There are not enough people to do the job of actually governing.  Again, who is to blame?  Donald Trump!

Instead of filling vital positions for the government, trump is instead trying to figure out how to keep Muslims out of the country.  He is trying to figure out how to deport 11 million people.  He is spreading fake reports about terrorist attacks in Sweden.  And, he is sucking up to Putin.

This incompetence is showing in the nervousness of our allies.  Over the weekend, Mike Pence assured our NATO Allies that America was steadfast in its support of NATO.  Then on Saturday, trump said again that NATO was obsolete.

Yesterday, Pence tried again to reassure our allies about our “strong support for NATO.”  Is it any wonder that one of the questions he received from a foreign reporter “are we supposed to believe you?  What keeps trump from tweeting something in the next few hours that contradict with these comments or at a new conference in a day or two?   Who are we to believe, you or trump?”

He was even asked if our country was going to maintain our freedom of the press.  Why would our allies even think that?  Maybe because of trump’s attacks on the media including calling it “the enemy of the American People.” Maybe it is because European countries know that losing freedom of the press is the first steps in creating a dictatorship like happened in Germany, Italy, and Russia.

Secretary of Defense, Mattis, had to tell the world yesterday that the U.S. “was not in Iraq to take the oil”.  This was necessitated as Mattis was on his way to Iraq and he needed to calm Iraqi government fears about our intentions.  Especially in light of trump saying over and over that “we should take the oil”.

We were told that Rex Tillerson was going to be a “great Secretary of State”.  Yet, he and his under-secretary have been locked out of meetings with foreign leaders, especially Netanyahu.  How can he be a “great Secretary of State” if he is not included in meetings with the same foreign leaders he is supposed to represent us to?

We have seen a tremendous rise in hate crimes since trump’s inauguration.  Bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers have risen off the charts.  Vandalism of Mosques have risen dramatically as well.  Yet, the administration has said nothing about any of that.

Even when a Jewish reporter said he had no doubts that trump was not anti-Semitic but asked what he would do to stop these attacks, trump told him to sit down and accused him of asking a “bad question”.  Then he went on a rant about how he was not anti-Semitic.  We still have not heard him denounce these attacks.  I guess he doesn’t want to upset his most ardent white supremacist supporters.

We have what we in the service would call a “skeleton crew” trying to run a government and a leader who doesn’t seem too interested in filling the crew out.  We have a leader who has tried to consolidate all power inside a very small clique of power brokers inside the White House.

Our dear beloved leader has done nothing to “bring us together” since he took office.  Rather, he has done everything he can to divide us even more.  That is also a strategy of dictatorship.  If you can divide the country, you will know who your opponents are and can then better target them.

I’m sorry, but this president, at least in his first month in office, has been a total disaster.  He has no vision for America.  He has no foreign policy, except 20 second sound bites that vary depending on who he is talking to.  He has no plans to help the American People except huge tax cuts for the rich.  So far, he has only shown a desire to “take over” and become our first king of dictator.

We have a White House that leaks like a sieve.  Why?  Is it because they don’t trust trump either?  Is it possible that they understand the damage trump is doing to our country especially with our most ardent allies?  Are they leaking because they see how incompetent trump really is and want to avoid more damage by letting the American People know what bad is coming?

Then we have trump saying the “leaks are true but the stories are fake news”.  What?  Only trump can claim that the information a story is based on is true but the story itself is false.

Leaks are inevitable in a free government.  But, there have been more leaks in the first month of trump’s presidency than most Presidents have seen in their entire term.  What does that say about trump?

I am sure that this will upset trump supporters.  But, as the new dictionaries start rolling off the presses, if you look up the definition of incompetence, you will see the picture of donald trump.

Our great leader, who claims to be very successful, still has 515 vacancies in his administration and hasn’t even bothered to nominate anyone to fill any of them.  Although he is very quick to fire anyone who says anything not loving about him, like he did over the weekend to a senior NSC member who criticized him in a speech.  All signs of incompetence.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

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Day 102. 

There are always two sides to any question and answer.  When it comes to immigration, those sides are always presented as opposing and even hostile to each other.  On one hand there are those who say that we should stop people from coming into the country illegally.  On the other hand we have those who claim we are a nation of immigrants.  On their face value, both sides are correct.

However, as with any issue that can be rolled up in politics the issue of immigration is a lot more complex than that.  The fact of the matter is our immigration policies are archaic and broken.  There was an attempt to fix the problem with the so-called “Gang Of Eight” bi-partisan Immigration Reform Act.  That bill passed the Senate, but the House Republicans shoved it into a drawer and did nothing with it.

As a result, we are facing a real moral conundrum.  On the right we are told, especially by trump supporters, that all 11 million undocumented immigrants should be deported.  On the left, we are told that is inhuman and there has to be a better way.

As a country, we have to figure this out.  But, we should not figure it out in a way that only spreads fear. It doesn’t help that the administration is so confused over the issue either.  There have been more leaks about how “deportations” will be handled, and we have already seen how this confusion is affecting people’s lives.

There are already two incidents that show just how inhumane these policies can become.  One woman was allowed to stay in the country even after using false Social Security number to get a job.  As part of her agreement, she needed to report to ICE twice a year for interviews to ensure she broke no other laws.

Last week, she showed up and was taken into custody and deported.  The bad part is that she has two children who are American Citizens.  Another woman faced the same problem.  Only, instead of showing up for her ICE interview, she turned to a church and took sanctuary there.  She also has children who are American Citizens.

We also saw the havoc that trump’s Muslim Ban caused families when that was first rolled out.  There were reports where people who were legal immigrants complete with a Green Card were turned away.  There was also one report where Customs forced to brothers to sign away their Green Cards after being threatened that they wouldn’t be allowed in the “country for years” if they did not sign the papers.

That is where the Immigration Reform Act would have come in handy.  If that law had been passed, there would have been lots of money given to secure our borders.  The E-VERIFY system would have been placed in effect nationwide so undocumented immigrants could not get jobs.  And, there would have been humane ways to deal with the many undocumented immigrants already in the country to allow them to stay.

Immigration bans are nothing new to our country.  There were several attempts to close our borders to immigrants of all stripes.  There were bans on Asians, especially Chinese.  There were attempted bans on the Irish, Poles, Germans, Italians, Mexicans, Jews and Catholics.

The biggest stain on our handling of immigrants was in World War II when we rounded up all Japanese Americans and put them in camps for the duration of the war.  They didn’t do anything wrong, they were American Citizens, but they were Japanese and that was all that mattered.

The odd fact of this scandal was that the military took Japanese American Citizens into their ranks to fight in Europe.  So, as their parents suffered in internment camps, Japanese Americans were risking their lives to defend the country that imprisoned their parents and family members.

Both the administration and private citizens have used fear to justify these draconian methods.  The administration constantly rages about “terrorism” and how they are making our country safe.  Even Saturday, our beloved leader announced the “Terrorist Attack In Sweden Last Night”.  Only there wasn’t a terrorist attack in Sweden Friday night.

This is just another example of made-up attacks that his administration has put forth.  Like the bowling Green Massacre and the Atlanta Attack.  Neither of which happened.  Then we have a case in Texas where four hunters claimed they were attacked by illegal immigrants while on a hunting trip.

They claimed that illegal immigrants, probably drug cartels, attacked them in their RV one night.  That story went viral on social media.  The right-wing latched onto the story as the reason why we need a wall on the border.

Only, there is a problem.  According to police, the four were not attacked by illegal immigrants.  The two that were wounded were actually wounded by members of their own hunting party.

“There were no bullet casings or projectiles from weapons other than those belonging to the individuals hunting on the ranch nor in the RV belonging to the hunting party,” the sheriff’s department told Big Bend Now last month.

The incident took place near Candelaria, about 250 miles southeast of El Paso.

Bryant and Daugherty, both hunting guides with Redwing Outfitters, were indicted last Wednesday on charges of deadly conduct by discharging firearms in the direction of others, local radio station KTSA reported.

But, there was probably a reason for this lie.  It turns out that Daugherty does not have medical insurance.  After the lie went viral, Daugherty was able to raise a total of $26,300 on GoFundMe to pay for his medical care.

Even Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller cited the shooting as “proof” that the border wall is needed.  When confronted about the discrepancy, he simply said his tweets should not be held to the same standards as the press.  Nice copout dip-head!

That, unfortunately is the environment that this “fear” caused by our beloved leader has created.  We are living in a time when it is “fashionable” for people to blame others for their problems.  It is “fashionable” for people to blame immigrants for unemployment, not the billionaires who hire them instead of Americans.  Like trump’s own son who just asked for more visas for foreign workers to work at his vineyard instead of Americans.

We are constantly told how immigrants, especially “illegal immigrants” are trying to destroy our country.  We are constantly told to be afraid of anyone and everyone who looks different from us.

Of course all of the people who are very willing to break-up families in the name of “law and order” all claim to be “god fearing good Christians”.  Well, by their actions, they better be “god fearing” since they are going against everything they claim to believe in.

We have come to a point when our beloved leader can lie to us with impunity.  We are at a point where our beloved leader’s administration can lie to us with impunity.  We have come to a point where fear has been imbedded into our very social fabric.

Yes, we need to do something about our immigration problems.  We need to fix our broken system.  However, mass deportations are not the answer.  Mass bans against a specific religion is not the answer.  We have always claimed to be reasonable people who are willing to figure out the answers to our problems.  These actions are not reasonable.  They are not answers to our problems.  They are simply another attempt to divide us among ourselves.

The Republican Party has been on a mission of “divide and conquer” our country for their lust for power for the last 40 years.  Our beloved leader has taken that lust to new highs and instead of using “code words” he has openly declared war on everyone who thinks differently than him.

Under the so-called leadership of our beloved leader, we have lost our moral compass.  We have lost our humanity.  We have lost who we are as a nation and as a people.  Instead of being the “land of the free” we are quickly becoming the “land of fear”.  It may suit trump’s plan to establish his authoritarian government, but it is not who we are.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

 

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Day 96. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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Day 91. 

This evening the ninth circuit court of appeals said no to our beloved leader.  They said that the government did not show any imminent harm if the stay on his Muslim Ban were not lifted.  But, it went way beyond just that.  It went into civics 101 lessons to our beloved leader.  Though I doubt that he will read the lesson plan or act on it.

The first argument that the government tried top use was that the court had no right to review an order that was based on national security.  The court answered that by saying:

There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.

he court also said that the Trump administration pointed to “no evidence” showing a need for the executive order.  During the argument segment the other day, the court was almost pleading with the government to give any evidence that there was a good reason for this ban on these seven countries.  The government did not give any evidence.

Even if the evidence was classified, there is no reason that the court should not have been given that evidence because there are rules for the court to seal the evidence and not allow it to become public.  This kind of action has happened more times than I can count.

That argument came up when the government asserted that the courts do not have any classified information that could affect the case.  As the court pointed out, rightly, in their ruling that was not a good reason because there was nothing that prevented the government to show the court any such evidence.  A government lawyer should have know that simple fact.

So the court said that the government could not show a reason for this particular travel ban based on evidence.  In essence they were questioning the government why these seven countries and not others were in this ban.  I read that as saying there has to be a “need” to place a ban like this in place, and the government couldn’t show one.

The one argument that the government tried to use was so stupid, even I as a non-lawyer would never try to use it.  They argued that the portion of the ban that kept out “legal residents with green cards” should not be considered because the counsel to the President said in a memo that would not be enforced.

The reason I said it was “like really stupid” is that portion of the order is still in the executive order.  Even the court said basically the same thing.  They told the government that the order had not been changed, and with the changing interpretations of the order since it was signed, the court could not be sure that it would not be enforced once the government got its way.

These are only a few lessons the court tried to give our beloved leader and his administration.  Of course trump wasn’t pleased.  He tweeted almost immediately after the ruling:  “See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake.”  Of course to show his displeasure he tweeted in all caps to show he was yelling at the court.

This ruling does not kill the ban.  It merely keeps the stay holding it in limbo in place.  The administration now has to decide who to handle the next step.  They could run to the Supreme Court to try to get the stay overruled, but there is no guaranty they will get what they want.  They could ask the full Ninth Circuit of Appeals to rehear the case.  Or, it go just go ahead and go back to the District Court and try the case on its merits.

Some are saying that trump could swallow his pride, fat chance, and pull the executive order and rewrite it to pass constitutional muster.  The problem with that is there is already too much out there in print and on tape that basically says it was intended to be a Muslim ban which is unconstitutional.

One final step he can take is to sit down with members of congress from both sides of the aisle and come up with a bi-partisan plan to really make our country safe.  But, don’t hold your breath on that either.  He is more interested in “winning” and getting his way instead of doing what is best for the country.  He is acting more like a stupid “super jock” and this is just kind of sick game.

In another effort to put down the judicial system he called the ruling “political”.  The only thing political about this ban was the simple fact that he blew it because he was more interested in feeding his base more red meat against Muslims than in actually doing something reasonable.

The order did not go through the normal channels to make sure it was constitutional.  They did not use any legal expertise to write the order.  They allowed political strategists to overrule legal experts in the wording.

It was a total disaster from the beginning and it should never have been signed or implemented.  This is what you get when a power hungry moron tries to put his name in the headlines.

Then again, what do you expect when the White House staff is only about 10 percent full.  The staff usually has about 400 people working to help the president.  Today there are about 40.  There are reports of nothing but empty desks in the West Wing.  He has no one to ask for advice that knows anything because he hasn’t hired them yet.

All of this chaos is starting to show just how bad things really are.  There is a new PPP Poll coming out that gives very low favorability rating to our beloved leader. If I remember it correctly over 50 percent believe this ban was intended to be a ban on Muslims.  Over 60 percent said they do not want a Muslim Ban.

We have had presidents who were very very good.  We have had presidents who were very good.  We have had presidents who have been average.  We have had presidents who were very bad.  And we had some presidents who were very very bad.

The problem we are facing with this president is that he is exceeding the very very bad presidents with such poor performance and we are only three weeks into his presidency.  Some might argue that it can only get better.  But, the evidence of his past performances is that it is more likely to get even worse.  That puts our country in a very bad place.

My personal opinion is that trump does not respect the law.  He does not respect the other branches of government.  He does not respect the constitution.  He does not respect our democracy.  He does not respect the American People.  He only is interested in donald trump and no one else.  He wants total power, and he will keep doing what he has been doing in order to try to get that power.

It just shows that the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 90. 

Today the Senate approved Jefferson Sessions as the next Attorney General.  I was against his nomination, and I am definitely against his approval.  In my opinion, Jeff Sessions is a bigoted man who does not care about any minorities.  He is even considered the most anti-immigrant Senator by his peers.  He was refused an appointment as a Federal Judge because of his racist past, and while in the Senate he has done nothing to change that record.

Just in the past few years he voted against the ending of torture.  He was one of about 5 Senators that voted against the bill that said the U.S. would never engage in torture.  When the Voting Rights Bill was gutted by the Scalia led Supreme Court, he said it was “a great day for the south”.

Lastly, he voted against the renewal of the Violence Against Women’s Act.  He gave a very scary reason for his denial of the bill.  The renewal bill included a section that allowed Native American Tribal Courts to conduct trials of violence against Native American women even if they were victims of non Native Americans.  In other word Sessions does not believe that Native American Tribal Courts have any right to prosecute white people.

Now, if you think none of this matters, let me tell you about two terrorist crimes that have not found the headlines, but Jeff Sessions might be required to prosecute in the future.  They are also appropriate since trump wants to ban Muslims from seven countries from coming to our country but is ignoring white supremacist and Radical Christian Terrorists in our country..

The first took place in 2012.  And, as it happens it took place in Bowling Green, OH.  But, it wasn’t a massacre because the FBI who Sessions will be responsible for stopped it before it happened.

In that case, a federal raid had uncovered what the authorities feared were the makings of a massacre. There were 18 firearms, among them two AR–15 assault rifles, an AR–10 assault rifle and a Remington Model 700 sniper rifle. There was body armor, too, and the authorities counted some 40,000 rounds of ammunition. An extremist had been arrested, and prosecutors suspected that he had been aiming to carry out a wide assortment of killings.

In case you may be wondering why you haven’t heard a bunch about this it is because the suspect was a white supremacist named Richard Schmidt.  Schmidt came to the attention of the federal government almost by accident. He had been suspected of trading in counterfeit NFL jerseys and while searching his home and store for those fake goods, the FB discovered the vast arsenal.  There was a secret room attached to his shop that “contained nothing but rifles, ammunition, body armor, his writings and a cot” wrote prosecutors in a court document.

Schmidt had spent years in the Army as an active-duty soldier and a reservist. His military service ended in 1989 when he got into a fight and shot three people, killing one of them, a man named Anthony Torres. As a result, Schmidt spent 13 years in prison on a manslaughter conviction and was legally barred from owning firearms.

The FBI believed from his writings that he was associated with the National Alliance.  Which is a long-standing white supremacist organization that was founded by the writer of the Turner Diaries which Timothy McVeigh said was his inspiration for the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

The prosecution presented into evidence Schmidt’s planned targets, such as African-Americans and Jews. They’d found a list with the names and addresses of those to be assassinated, including the leaders of NAACP chapters in Michigan and Ohio.

Yet the judge said prosecutors had failed to adequately establish that he was a political terrorist and sentenced him to six years in prison.  He is due to be released sometime next year.

The second case is actually taking place right now.  In this case, a radical religious cleric who allegedly planned to kill Americans of another religion to “prove his commitment to god”.  Of course you haven’t heard about this one either because this radical religious cleric is a white Christian and not a Muslim.  He was planning to kill Muslims.  His name is Robert Doggart.

This case was brought because undercover FBI agents allege that Doggart was plotting to travel to upstate New York to kill Muslims there using explosives, an M-4 assault rifle and even a machete to cut the infidels to shreds. The FBI’s investigation also found that Doggart viewed himself as a religious “warrior” who wanted to kill Muslims to show to his commitment to his Christian God. Doggart even boasted that the attack on the Muslims “will be cruel. And we will burn down their buildings [Referring to their mosque and school.]… and if anybody attempts to harm us in any way… we will take them down.”

I did write about this some time ago when it first came to light.  I had hoped that it might make the media before or at least at the time of his trial, but that has not happened.

Of course there have been other cases you have never heard about.  In December white supremacist Glendon Scott Crawford was sentenced to 30 years to life for trying to build a radioactive weapon to kill Muslim Americans. Crawford served in the Navy and is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.  He was an electrical engineer and carried out extensive research on his radiation dispersal device designed to target a Muslim community.

And in September three men known as “The Crusaders”—as in the Christian crusaders—were arrested for plotting to kill Muslim refugees in Kansas.  According to the FBI, the three had been engaged in surveillance of the apartment complex where primarily Somalian Muslim refugees lived. The FBI also noted that the three spoke of dipping their bullets in pig’s blood before shooting the Muslims—which was reminiscent of a Trump’s campaign stump speech when he wrongly claimed that General Pershing had done the same when fighting in the Philippines.

These are all very real and recent episodes of domestic terrorism conducted by white supremacists and Radical Christian Terrorists.  Why hasn’t our beloved leader made mention of any of these horrific incidents?  Why isn’t he calling for wiping out Radical Christian Terrorists?  Is it because these people are all white?

Additionally why, if the report from Reuters is correct is the Department of Homeland Security planning to retool its Countering Violent Extremism Program to focus solely on Islamic radicals. Why are they planning to rename it “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” and according to government sources “would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States?”

Which brings back full circle to Jefferson Sessions, our new Attorney General.  If you look at his record, can you honestly say that any of these cases would even be brought to trial by the FBI?  Can you really believe that Sessions would even allow the FBI to even investigate these domestic white supremacist and radical Christian Terrorists?  I find it impossible to believe he would.

This is a man who supposedly joked “I thought the KKK was okay until I found out some of them smoked pot after their meetings”.  What we don’t know is what part of this so-called joke is the funny part?  The part he says the KKK was okay, or the part about smoking pot?  Due to his ardent opposition to pot, I would suggest it is the latter.

Our beloved leader wants us to be terrified of Muslims.  He wants to wage a cultural war against Islam all the while he is willing to turn his back on the white supremacists and Radical Christian Terrorists who live among us and have killed more Americans since 9/11 than any other groups including Extremist Muslims.

This is the reason he was willing to nominate Jefferson Sessions to be our Attorney General.  He needed someone who approves of his plan to go after Muslims and let the domestic terrorists have their run at our people.

This whole mess is just another step in the trail of trump to undo our democracy, our constitution and our country.  And it is just beginning.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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