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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Yesterday, after months of saying he supports LGBT rights, he rescinded this rule.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”.

Disgusting!

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 90. 

Another day, another mess.  Yesterday we saw some things that were expected and some things that were not expected.  We expected the most unqualified person ever to be nominated to a cabinet position get confirmed.  We saw VP Pence do his beloved leader’s bidding by casting the deciding vote for DeVos as Secretary of Education.

We saw Sen. Elizabeth Warren censored in the Senate for a debate over Sessions nomination for Attorney General.  Her crime was that she read a letter from Loretta Scott King about Sessions that she wrote in 1996 when Sessions was denied confirmation to a Judge position.

According to McConnell, that letter apparently was impugning Sessions by Warren and he asked that she be shut up.  The “impugning” words were not even Warren’s.  They were the words of Loretta Scott King.  McConnell must believe that a letter that is part of the congressional record already from a dead person has no merit.  So, he shut up Sen. Warren.

We saw trump’s bogus list of terrorist attacks that were “under-covered” by the media.  The list came straight from InfoWars.  When Kellyanne Conway was asked why trump hasn’t said anything about the murders by a white supremacist at a Mosque in Ottawa, she answered:  “he doesn’t tweet about everything”.  Especially when it is a white person attacking Muslims.

Additionally, Sean Spicer has been hawking the Atlanta Terrorist Attack to help justify the ban.  Only problem is that there has never been an Atlanta Terrorist Attack, just like there was never a Bowling Green massacre.

Then we have our beloved leader lying to a group of Sheriffs about the murder rate.  He called it the highest in 47 years, which is a bare-faced lie.  The murder rate in our country is really very low.  As a matter of fact, it is lower than when Saint Ronald Reagan was President in the 1980s.

But, as I said these were pretty much expected incidents.  Republicans will do anything to make sure the most racist Attorney General we have had in a very long time is approved.  We knew that the imbecile but very generous donor to Republican Senators got confirmed.  And we knew that trump would open his mouth which means a lie is inevitable.

Here is the unexpected part that no one is talking about.  Yesterday and over the weekend, our beloved leader told his newly appointed Secretary of State and newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security they are both incompetent.

It began with his tweets and ended with his words.  He said that because of the stay on his ban “some really bad people are going to rush to this country so they can kill Americans”.  That means one of two things.  Either trump does not understand the visa program of our country, or he believes that his two newly appointed Secretaries and their entire staffs are incompetent.

If someone wants to come to our country, with some exceptions, they need a visa.  The exceptions are for people from certain countries like members of the EU and Canada, Mexico and some others.  If you live in one of those countries and want to visit us for vacation, you don’t need a visa.

However, the rest of the world does need a visa.  Including every single country listed on trump’s Muslim travel ban.  That means if a person in say Iran who wants to visit the U.S. who has not already been vetted and holds a visa must go through the vetting process before getting a visa for the visit.  Even if it is for just a few days.

And, since that person is coming from an area of the world that already requires “extreme vetting”, that will take a very long time to get the visa.  So, I ask how can a terrorist suddenly decide to “rush” to our country before the ban is put back in place, if it ever is?

Is our beloved leader saying that you don’t need a visa to visit our country?  Is our beloved leader saying that neither the State Department nor Homeland Security nor the host of other agencies involved in vetting are competent?  Just what is our beloved leader saying?

We keep hearing from him that we need “extreme vetting” for immigrants and refugees.  He has never defined exactly what “extreme vetting” is.  He has never said what we are already doing is bad and what is good.  He has never said what parts of our current vetting process needs fixing.

It takes at least 18 months and up to 36 months for a refugee to get vetted to the point where access to our country is granted.  From what I have heard from people outside the country, it can take at least a year to get a temporary visa just to come here on vacation.  I don’t know, it sounds pretty extreme to me.

Since trump is a world traveler, I am sure he understands visa requirements.  That means his complaint about all those “bad people” rushing to our shores is because his department heads are incompetent.  Why else would he say such things?

This whole mess amounts to one thing.  I do not believe that the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security are incompetent.  Nor do I believe for one minute that the staffs at those two departments are incompetent.  What I do believe is that trump is using his rhetoric as another scare tactic in order to ban Muslims from coming her at all.

I believe that these seven countries were just trial balloons to determine the public’s stomach for discrimination.  I also believe that more countries will be added as time goes by.  I further believe that if trump does not have any business dealings in your Muslim country, you will end up on the ban list as well.

But, the outcry from the general public was way too unexpected by trump and his team of haters.  They suddenly realized that the American People as a whole are not racist or anti-Muslim.  The found out that the American People are fair and honest and charitable people.  They found out that Americans are open to helping the oppressed.

That means the fear meter needs to be ratcheted up.  That means more lies and more scare tactics must be used even if it throws members of your own administration under the bus for the sake of raising fear.

Raising that fear even means making up terrorist attacks that never happened like the Bowling Green massacre and then complain that they were never covered.  Or, using a made up terrorist attack asking “what do we say to the families affected by the terrorist attack in Atlanta?”  Hey, fear is fear and that is all that counts in trump’s world.

I don’t know how the courts will rule on the ban.  I don’t know if the appeals court will keep the stay in place, cancel it, or modify it in some way.  All I know is that trump will not stop his hate and fear campaign.  He intends to follow Bannon’s advice and ban all Muslims from the country.  It is just a matter of time and a matter of how.

The one thing we can take from this incident is that trump is willing to blame everyone and anyone for his mistakes and his wrong-doings.  Even his newly appointed Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security.

Why would anyone want to work for this maniac?  Our beloved leader’s definition of “loyalty” is to keep you mouth shut when you are in his crosshairs.  Both of these Secretaries seem to have learned that lesson very early in their terms.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 89. 

Today the Muslim ban executive order will get a hearing in an appeals court.  This hearing isn’t really about whether or not it is legal or unconstitutional, it is about whether or not it should remain on hold until the legality of it is determined.

Also, Betsy Devos will get her vote to head up the one Department she has absolutely no qualifications to head, the Education Department, other than giving over $200 million to Republican lawmakers in the past.  It looks like she will get her nomination approved because Mike Pence will have to cast the “tie breaker” vote and he won’t go against his beloved leader.

After his rambling incoherent speech yesterday at CentCom, the administration put out a list of terrorist attacks that were never covered by the media to prove they are “hiding” things.  The list includes many of the hugely covered attacks, and the best part is the list originated on that bastion of integrity and news reports InfoWars.

It also turns out that every attack that is listed on the list has been covered.  Maybe not a headline buster because of their location or number of people, but I read something about everyone of them.

Speaking of not being reported.  There is a story that none of the major media outlets are talking about.  This one story shows exactly just how unqualified trump’s intelligence advisors really are.  It shows them to be totally amateurish at best, and too interested in Russia News media at worst.

Since you have probably not heard about this one, let me give you a little background.  When the old Soviet Union broke up, a country known as Belarus became independent again.  They have a President named Alexander Lukashenko.  Actually, he is more of a dictator than a president, but anyway.

He has been in power since 1996 which is when Russia and Belarus settled on their border agreement.  That border was basically open between the two countries.  However, when the U.S. placed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine invasion, Putin announced that Russia would not accept any food from the U.S.

He even ran a media campaign showing how they were burning and running food over with tanks.  That included his outrage about Belarus accepting food from the U.S. so he went in and took it for his media campaign too.

A few years ago, Putin approached Lukashenko with the idea of establishing a Russian Military base inside Belarus.  Lukashenko refused and said he did not want Russian Troops inside his country.

That prompted Putin to use Sputnik, a state-run media outlet, to ramp up pressure on Lukashenko.  Sputnik ran a story that Belarus was “begging Russia for Arms and Men to ward off an upcoming invasion of Belarus from Poland”.  If you don’t know where Belarus is it is a landlocked country wedged in between Poland and Russia, with Lithuania and Latvia to the north and Ukraine to the south.

You also need to know that when the Leninist took over Russia, Belarus was also known as White Russia.  That is where the civil war between the Red Russians and White Russians basically began.  Belarus acts as a “buffer” between Poland and Russia.

As you probably know from history, Poland is very afraid of Russia.  The two countries have had very difficult times between them and it was also in Poland where the breakup of the old Soviet Union began.

Late last year the U.S. began sending troops into Eastern Poland complete with tanks because of the Russian incursions on NATO countries.  Eastern Europe are mostly NATO members now, and we were showing Russia that we would uphold our NATO alliance against them.

Now things have gotten even a bit worse.  Lukashenko decided that he wanted more western visitors to his country.  So, he announced that people from 80 countries including the EU and the U.S. will no longer be required to have a visa for any visit up to five days.

You read that right.  If you were wanting to visit Belarus and you are going to stay for no more than five days, you won’t need a visa to visit the country.  Needless to say, Putin’s head exploded.  The last thing he wants is to have any EU or U.S. citizens wandering around his border with Belarus.

Almost immediately after the visa order was announced, Putin announced that he was going to “militarize” the border with Belarus.  Barbed wiring went up, and Russian soldiers were questioning everyone at the border.

As a result, Belarus’ leader Lukashenko is upset by the Russian Moves.  As the Financial Times reported:

Russia and Belarus share a border under a 1996 deal that set up a commonwealth known as the Union State. But Russian border guards this week set-up checkpoints at crossings into Belarus in response to Mr Lukashenko’s decision to introduce five-day visa waivers for citizens of 79 countries, including the US and EU member states.

“These tensions are happening because people in Russia are concerned that Belarus will move towards the west,” Mr Lukashenko said at an annual press conference in Minsk, the capital.

“As president I’m not supposed to play games or show my hand, because there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t see or hear and don’t need to know,” he added.

The comments by Mr. Lukashenko, often described as Europe’s last dictator, highlighted growing tensions between Moscow and Minsk over Belarus’s balancing act between east and west.

So, that is the background.  And, I am sure you are wondering what this has to do with trump.  Well, it goes like this.  All the while this was going on, Russia has broken the ease-fire in Ukraine.  Their surrogates have attacked a Ukraine city in Eastern Ukraine.  You would think that trump and his advisors would be concerned about this and want more intelligence on the matter.

But, you would be wrong.  The Associated Press reported the other day that trump senior aides aren’t too interested in Ukraine.  Julie Pace the Associated Press’ correspondent to the White House tweeted on February 4:

Also eyebrow raising: senior aides requesting info on Polish incursions into Belarus, which don’t appear to exist

That is right ladies and gentlemen.  The trump White House is looking for information that relates to Polish incursions into Belarus which has never happened!  I wonder exactly where these aides got their information?  There has been no story or any reports from any media anywhere in the world talking about Polish incursions into Belarus except in Sputnik, Russia’s state-run media.

According to the Associate Press:

“According to one U.S. official, national security aides have sought information about Polish incursions in Belarus, an eyebrow-raising request because little evidence of such activities appears to exist. Poland is among the Eastern European nations worried about Trump’s friendlier tone on Russia.”

Here we go folks.  We have U.S. troops located inside Eastern Poland to help protect that ally from Putin and his aggression.  And, our current administration wants information on Russian made up information about Poland’s incursion into Belarus.

The odd thing is that Lukashenko has never said a thing about being worried about Poland invading his country.  He has never said a thing about any incursions from Poland into Belarus.  Lukashenko dos not want Russian bases inside his country, and is not “begging” Putin to save him from that military juggernaut Poland.

I mean, why would Poland or any other Eastern European NATO ally be afraid that trump won’t honor the alliance?  He only called it out of date and that he might only defend those members who have “paid their fair share”.  So, Poland is very nervous about Putin and Russia and I don’t blame them.

But instead of worrying about and talking about the Ukraine and the problems Putin has caused there, they are looking for non-existent information about a non-existent issue.

So, like me you might be asking “what the hell is going on in the White House?”  Just who ordered this inquiry about information concerning the non-existent Polish incursions into Belarus?

But, the other questions you should be asking is just who does the trump administration really represent?  Are they just stupid pawns of Putin, or are they actively cooperating with Putin so he can rebuild his “empire” like the old Soviet Union?

The first shows their incompetence and the second would show treasonous activity.  I don’t like either option.  One will get us into more wars and the second will destroy our country.

Serial liar Kellyanne Conway once said not to listen to trump’s words, but watch his actions and listen to what is in his heart.  She may be right.  This issue shows exactly where trump’s heart is.  And, it isn’t with the United States Of America, it is with Putin and his Russia.

This also shows that if you just listen to trump’s bombastic outbursts you will miss the real goal behind the curtain.  We have a fake person sitting in the Oval Office.  He needs to be watched very closely or else we all lose.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 72.

Today we saw just what a mass demonstration can look like.  In all 50 states and over 600 cities and towns, literally millions of people marched in protest.  The great thing about this protest was that it was started by a retired lawyer in Hawaii.  She tweeted the night of the election that there should be a “woman’s march on Washington” the day after the inauguration.

When she woke up the next morning, she discovered over 10,000 retweets and responses.  It all took off from there.  In Washington, D.C. there were hundreds of thousands people marching.  In Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and many other cities hundreds of thousands of people joined the Washington March in Sister marches.

The protesters were from all backgrounds.  They were from all races.  They were from all religions.  They were from all sexes and sexual orientations.  They were there to voice their opposition to the policies of the new president and what they mean for people in this country.

There were of course some detractors. One I heard talked about there were “too many issues” and no one could be sure what the purpose of the marches was all about.  But, that is the point.  These people were not there for a single issue, they were there for several issues that they all are willing to support.

They were there for sisterhood, brotherhood, and humanity.  They understand that if you can take away the rights from one segment of who was there, you can take rights away from other groups.  They were there to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and with the crowds that was about all they could do, to support each other.

As one speaker said, she is always asked about what is “women’s issues”.  She answers by saying you want to talk about women’s issues?  Okay let’s talk about the economy.  Let’s talk about national security.  Let’s talk about health care.  Let’s talk about voter rights.   Let’s talk about equal pay for equal work.

Women’s issues are the same issues that should be all of our issues.  They want the same thing that we all want.  They want a country that is free.  They want a country that treats all of its citizens equally.

They were voicing their opinions and telling the new administration that they were not prepared to sit back and give them carte blanch to strip our rights out of the Constitution.  They were also telling their representatives that they better listen to them as well.

The great thing about this march was that it was a true grass-roots movement.  Politicians did not organize this.  Groups did not organize this.  A retired lady in Hawaii actually organized it.  Yes, they looked to organizations for help in putting it together, but they organized it at the grass-roots level.

Women went to the various marches with their daughters.  They went with their husbands.  They went with their friends.  They went and joined together with one voice of warning that they are here and they do not plan to go away.

This was the first time I have seen such protests since the Civil Rights and the anti-Vietnam protests of the fifties and sixties.  And, to make matters even better, there was no violence at any of these marches.  They were peaceful and purposeful.

These marches took place on all seven continents.  That is right, there was even supposed to be a march, or protest, on Antarctica.  I know that there are no electoral votes on any continent but ours and in no other country but ours.  But, these people were also showing their support for our people and our rights.

The other amazing fact was that thousands upon thousands of people who participated were in their first protest.  For the first time these people felt concerned enough to get off the couch and join the protest.

There were a lot of signs at these marches.  Some were nice and some were vulgar.  However, there was one sign that I saw at the Washington March that made me laugh and think about a lot of women I know.  It simply read “DJT Don’t Make Us Come Back Here”.

When I read that sign,  I could imagine that woman wagging her finger in Trump’s face at the same time.  It was classic.  Another thing I saw was a pair of glasses with writing on each lens.  On one lens, it read “A Woman’s Place” and the other said “Is In Your Face”.  I loved it.

This was a march that was organized by women.  They put it together and they managed it, and they pulled it off beautifully.  It had magic.  It had grace.  It had meaning.  It was what we needed exactly at the time we needed it.

Since the election too many people have been moping around.  They seem to have lost their will to do what is right.  These women woke everyone up again.  They are not willing to mope around and let Trump and the Republicans do whatever they want.  They intend to make their voices heard and fight back whenever and wherever needed.

It is the kind of activism that can cause change.  It is the kind of activism that can make politicians take notice.  It is the kind of activism that mobilizes the common people to rise up and take back our country from the greedy and the wanna-be kings.

In my lifetime, no president survived when their administration or policies were the subject of massive protests.  Lyndon Johnson dropped out of the 1968 race because of the anti-Vietnam protests.

Richard Nixon struggled with protests during his time in office.  Some will even argue that these protests had a very negative effect on his mental stability which led to his eventual resignation over Watergate.

We don’t know what will happen from here.  But, I am hoping that the activism shown today by these wonderful women will continue as time goes by.  I am also hoping that these marvelous women drag the rest of us along with them.

We are at a time in our history where our very democracy hangs in the balance.  Trump has shown his willingness to scrap the Constitution in order to become our authoritarian ruler.  These women have thrown the gauntlet.  We all need to throw down our own gauntlet and tell Trump don’t mess with our country.

Thank you ladies.  You provided us with the medicine we need.  Please keep the doses coming so we can continue to be the immune system our country needs to stop the viruses of divisiveness and hatred that is infecting our country.

To all the women out there, congratulations on a marvelous day.  You are our heroes.

 

 

 

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Day 71.

Today Donald John Trump will place his hand on a bible and take the oath of office to become our next president.  And, for the first time, I am beginning to lose my optimism for the future of our country.

To be totally honest, if I were a Christian, I would wonder if he is going to burst into flames once his hand touches the bible.  He has shown that he is anything but a Christian in his actions before, during and after the election.

He will be taking that oath knowing that he is the least favorable president-elect to be sworn in in our history.  Usually, after an election, the favorability numbers of the president-elect go up.  This time, they have gone down.  Maybe that is because of his caustic behavior, or his overflowing the swamp with his cabinet picks, or maybe just because even his supporters are realizing what a virtual pig he really is.

The other thing that has gone virtually unnoticed during the transition is his absolute horrible leadership.  When a new president takes office, they are required to fill about 4,000 positions in various departments of the government.  The most important positions include the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security.

When he takes office, almost all of those positions will have empty desks this afternoon and the unforeseeable future.  So far, not counting his cabinet nominees, they have hired about 30 of the 4000 people needed to fill those positions.

He had announced at first that every political position would end today when he takes office.  Then, when he realized that he isn’t even close to fill any of those critical positions, he started asking people to hang around for a “few months”.  Some have agreed and some have not.

Now remember, this is supposed to be a “great businessman who organizes tremendously”.  Well, this situation shows that statement is true in his own imagination.  As someone who worked in business for over 20 years and in the Coast Guard for 20 years, I find this a total disaster caused by someone who loves himself but has no clue about leadership.  In simple words, he has totally botched the transition.  If he can’t handle that, how can we expect him to handle the country?

We can only be thankful that there are thousands of professional public servants who will take up the responsibility of these critical positions until Mr. Incompetent finally gets around to filling them.

Then we have his conflicts of interest hanging over us and him.  At the moment he becomes president, he will be in violation of his lease for the hotel in the Old Post Office building.  Only, nothing will probably be done because the lease if owned by the General Services Administration and he will be in charge of it.

And, since he and his team always rave about the hotel and suggest that everyone including foreign governments use it, he is in possible violation of the emoluments clause.  That is just the beginning of his possible conflicts of interest.  This is something that will need to be watched very closely.  Only, it will be difficult because Mr. Secret won’t divulge his holdings or where he is actually getting his money.

If you love the Constitution, and all Republicans claim to do so, then the first piece of legislation needed to be passed is one that requires all public officials in the federal government, including the president, must release their tax returns.  That is the only way to ensure the emoluments clause will be honored and openly enforceable.

We are looking a very uncertain next four years.  Trump made so many promises to so many people he doesn’t even remember which ones he made or to which group of people he made them to.

He keeps talking about bringing jobs back, but he still refuses to ensure his own family brings their manufacturing to the U.S. and leaves those 12 countries they currently use.  If he doesn’t add his family’s products to the 35 percent “border tax” he keeps threatening, we will know he doesn’t mean a damn thing he says.

There is talk about cutting the budget, again.  But, the only items on the cut list are things that support the rights of every citizen.  Things talked about being cut are grants to help prevent violence against women.  Closing down several agency departments that protect civil rights of minorities of all kinds.  And of course closing down PBS or at least privatizing it.

Then we need to watch out for cuts in several social safety nets.  Republicans want to privatize Social Security.  They want to voucherize Medicare.  They want to “block grant” Medicaid.  And, of course they want to throw about 18 million people off of their health care by eliminating the Affordable Care Act without even telling us what their replacement plan is.

These are just some of the issues and potential problems that America will face under a Trump presidency.  We will have a cabinet with more ethical questions than we have seen in over 100 years.  I will be quite surprised if any of the nominees are stopped.  The current Republican Party is not interested in ethics or integrity.

The anti-regulation crowd known as the Republican Party is itching to eliminate all of the same regulations they eliminated under George W. Bush which caused the Great Recession of 2008.  That is a very scary thing indeed.  Are they actually trying to cause another Great Recession?

Then again, all of this could be mute.  We will have a president who loves to attack people on twitter.  What is going to happen when his target is some unstable foreign leader?  How certain are we that he won’t start a war just because of his bitter, and immature use of twitter?  And, if he does start a war using twitter, will he launch nuclear weapons. After all, as he said “why do we have them if we aren’t going to use them?”

We are moving into a very uncertain future.  We are most likely going to see attacks on African-American rights.  Gay Rights.  Women Rights.  Religious Rights.  Our Health Care.  Our Environment.  Our Economy.  Our Farms.  Our Small Businesses.  Our Public Education.  And, Our Decency.  It is probably the most uncertain future in my lifetime and I lived through the “great red scare”.  I also lived through the so-called “hippie” movement and civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protests.

The future was far more certain during those times than it is today.  The only reason those times were more certain was because we had leaders who were reasonable and rational people leading our country.  Today we will get what I consider the least rational person in history in charge.

It is that instability that causes concern for everyone in the world, not just in our country.  As a result, I am very cautious about the future of our country.  I served my country and I hate the idea of someone so irrational being in charge of the nuclear codes.

I can only keep voicing my opposition to this madman.  I can only try to point out his conflicts as they arise.  I can only try to educate anyone who wishes to be educated about any damage he causes our liberties and freedoms.

We have heard for the last eight years that President Obama restricted our freedoms.  But, when asked to name just one, there is silence.  I am afraid that will not be the case under a Trump presidency.  I am afraid that we will see our Constitution be shredded by him and his Republican lackeys in Congress in the name of Power.

I find it extremely ironic and very frightening that a man is going to take the oath of office that swears to “protect the Constitution of the United States” when he doesn’t even know what is in it.

Furthermore, his actions during his entire life has shown a complete disregard for the law and decency.  He ran for president to line his pockets with more money.  That is all he is interested in and that is all he will work towards.

Hopefully, the near future will also be a time of activism.  It will be a time when people take to the streets again to hold our elected officials somewhat accountable.  It is all up to us now.  We can no longer pretend that the people in charge have our best interests at heart.  They don’t.

And the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 69.

Last night there was a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos to become the next Secretary of Education.  From what I heard, she is totally unqualified to fill the post.  And, I am not even talking about her conflicts that need to be cleared up first.

To begin with, she has absolutely no experience in teaching.  She has no experience in school administration.  She has no educational experience at all.  Now some people claim that is a good thing in order to “shake things up”.  And, there could be something to that argument if we were talking about someone with some experience at anything but being a lobbyist.

On top of all of that, she has no understanding of what it takes to administer one school much less an entire public education system.  How can she honestly believe that she has any qualifications for such a task?

Her biggest claim to fame in education is her carte blanch actions she got in Michigan to get more Charter Schools up and running.  Only, the law she got passed with help from conservative Republicans, doesn’t even have any supervision or accreditation involved.

For example, if you wish to open a for-profit Charter School in Michigan, you can do so without getting any accreditation before you start.  Then, you don’t have any supervision about your results.

Since this law was passed, the reading levels in Michigan have declined steadily.  The regular public schools in Detroit score higher on these tests as well as math and science than these for-profit Charter Schools.  Yet the Charter Schools are still allowed to take in students and get their money.  How is that making education for our children better?

DeVos, by her own admission, does not understand the student loan or Pell Grant programs.  Yet, she will be expected to administer them.  That is like asking someone who failed basic arithmetic to be your accountant.

There is also a law called IDEA which deals with special needs children.  When asked if she would continue to enforce that law, she said she thinks it is up to the states and local communities to enforce it.  She doesn’t even understand that this law is a Federal Law and therefore is enforced by the Federal Government since Federal dollars are used to fund it.  Her answer forced a gasp from the audience.

She has also been a huge advocate to use public education dollars to pay for “private” or “Christian” schools to take in public school children.  That would leave the public education without sufficient funds to educate the children that are stuck having to use public schools.

When asked if she would promise that no public education money would be used for these voucher programs, she refused to answer.  Even when pushed to give a simple yes or no answer, she refused.

When she was asked about the Gun Free Zone for public schools, she said that if the president-elect repealed that law she would back his decision.  Then she got really weird as to why.  She said that a school in Wyoming has a problem keeping bears away and therefore probably has a gun to keep the bears away.  What the hell does that have to do with Gun Free Zones for schools?

Then there were the questions about sexual assault on campuses.  Schools are not required at discipline hearings to follow the “preponderance of evidence” as used in criminal courts.  They use what is known as “it most likely occurred”.  Of course conservatives don’t like that because they want to treat all victims like they “asked for it” like they do in court.

When asked if she would uphold such reforms, she said it was “premature” for her to make a determination on that right now.  When pressed, again, she said:

If confirmed, I commit that I will be looking very closely at how this has been regulated and handled, with great sensitivity to those who are victims, and considering perpetrators as well.

There are a lot of different ideas about our public education and how best to improve it.  The one thing I do not agree with is the idea that privatizing our public education is the answer.  Whether you are talking about Charter Schools or Vouchers.  That is merely “running away” from the problems and not doing anything to fix them.

And, no the answer isn’t just more money.  The answer is to actually look at what the problems are, what is causing the problems, and then come up with solutions that will help all of our children.

You especially won’t improve education with the type of Charter Schools that DeVos helped create in Michigan where they are failing the children there.  Nor will you help public education by placing a totally unqualified person in charge of the Education Department.

As I have said before, it amazes me how Republican politicians love to talk about how public education made them what they are, yet they are so willing to destroy the very institution that made them what they are.  How can you brag about how great your public education was and then try to tear it down and make it go away?

I would think that you would prefer to make it possible for all of our children to get that “great” education that put you in office.  But, no, they would prefer to “run away” from the problem and tell you that you are the problem because you don’t believe in privatized public education.

I have gotten to the point where I feel like I am watching the movie “Search For The Holy Grail” every time I hear Republicans talking about public education.  Whenever the topic comes up, they use the same “retreat” slogan in the move.  “Run away, run away!”

I spent some time as an Adjunct Professor at a college.  I have more understanding about the learning environment that DeVos does.  I was also part of a group that tried to put together a curriculum for a degree program that could be taught at all colleges.  It is tough and difficult to say the least.

Even with those experiences, I do not believe I am qualified to be the next Secretary of Education.  But, I do know enough to know that DeVos definitely is not qualified for the post either.

Education of our children is far too important to be treated like amateur night at the Roxy.  We need serious professionals to look at our problems and come up with a solution to fix them.

We need to look at the schools themselves and determine if they are equipped properly.  We need to look at teachers to determine just what qualifications they really need.  We need to look at funding so teachers aren’t buying school supplies out of their own pockets.

Maybe we do need more funding for education.  Maybe many of the problems can be fixed in other ways.  We won’t know until we have serious discussions about the problems and work together to fix them.  DeVos has no solutions except to run away from them.

We also need politicians who understand that we are living in a global economy, and that “local control” is not necessarily the answer to our questions if we are willing to ensure our children get the education they will need to compete globally.

During her hearing DeVos said more than once that she would be “sensitive” to the issues brought up.  Sorry, I don’t want a Secretary of Education who is going to be “sensitive” to the issues.  I want someone with a serious plan to make our public education the best in the world.

Running away from the problems and lining the pockets of your friends to run schools that fail our children is not a serious solution.  As with most of Trump’s nominations for his cabinet, DeVos is not qualified for the position and should not be allowed any near the office she has been nominated to fill.

It is a simple equation.  An unqualified person cannot fix the problems they don’t even understand.  If you believe she is qualified, then the next time your plumbing backs up, call a telemarketer to fix it and see what happens.

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