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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Day 30

I don’t usually write about the death of politicians or any other famous people for that matter.  However, John Glenn was someone very special and deserves to be remembered by all of us.

John Glenn left us for the stars at the age of 95.  When I was a kid, I watched him being named as one of the original seven astronauts for our country.  He was the first American to orbit the earth.  It was a three round orbit and lasted four hours and 55 minutes.

When he returned to earth he was called a true American Hero.  During the fight there were a couple of problems.  It was even possible that these problems could have resulted in him burning up in re-entry.  The odd part, and one that really shows just what kind of person he was happened on the launch pad.

While awaiting liftoff, his heartbeat monitor was registering his heart rate between 60 and 80 beats per minute.  Not something you would expect from someone being nervous, but someone being bored.

John Glenn fought in World War II and in the Korean War.  He left college after the Pearl Harbor to join the Navy’s aviation program.  He flew 59 combat missions during World War II and 90 during the Korean War.

John Glenn is best known for his time at NASA.  He is called a hero because he was the first American to orbit the earth.  But, what is being lost is all of this is it was John Glenn that was a key member that saved the Apollo Mission.

When we lost the three astronauts in the Apollo I fire, many people in congress wanted to scrap the mission as being too dangerous. Many people forget that it was John Glenn who testified before congress to explain the dangers involved and the fact that these brave men understood and were willing to face those dangers.

You may not remember, but it was John Glenn who saved our moon mission.  The bad part was that he never got a chance to go to the moon himself.  And, he deserved to go there himself.

When I was stationed in Washington, D.C. I had a chance to meet John Glenn.  Although the meeting was for only about 2 minutes and more of a greeting, I was struck by how he conducted himself.  He was a true gentleman and statesman.

The only regret I have is that I didn’t get an opportunity to talk with him for any length of time.  There were so many questions I wanted to ask him.  I never had a lot of heroes in my life except my dad, but John Glenn was a hero to me.

He and the rest of the Mercury 7 astronauts were heroes to many of us.  They opened our eyes to the real possibilities of the world.  They got us to look up and dream of the possibilities that mankind could reach.  They taught us to look to the stars and explore the universe.

Those of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s were captivated by the space program.  We watched every single launch we could.  Schools would actually bring in television sets during class to watch the lift-offs.  It was something every American was proud of.

When we finally landed on the moon, the entire world stopped everything they were doing and watched.  It was the men like John Glenn who made all of that possible.  To show the real courage of these people, you must also remember the pocket calculator you use every day has more computing power than the computers used to take us to the moon and back.

Glenn never stopped supporting NASA and has worked to keep it on mission to go to Mars.  John Glenn was a remarkable man.  Yet, he never seemed to take on the aura of someone “famous”.  He was a humble man who simply believed in what he was doing and in his country.

Don’t forget, Glenn was recently in Antarctica.  When he got sick, they airlifted him out.  He was 95 years old and willing to do some work in Antarctica.  That is about all you need to know to figure the kind of man he was.

Glenn was the last of the original Mercury seven astronauts.  Governor Kasich said:

As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation.

The White House said in a statement:

John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond ― not just to visit, but to stay.  The last of America’s first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens.

NASA called him “A True American Hero”.  They also wrote:  “God speed John Glenn – Ad Astra.”  Ad Astra is Latin for “to the stars”.

Somehow, I get the feeling that if we look at the moon tonight, we will be able to see John Glenn finally getting to walk around there.  His spirit is what led our nation to the stars and will continue to lead us there if we remember him.

I plan to look up tonight.  I am sure I will see him walking around and waving back.  I am not religious, but I want to echo NASA in saying “God speed John Glenn – to the stars”.

 

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Day 26

CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 04: Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a months-long standoff. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Yesterday the Corps of Engineers denied Energy Transfer Partners their permit to place a pipeline beneath Lake Oahe.  That is a nice temporary victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  I say temporary because after January 20, 2017 it will be up to President Trump to uphold this decision.  Which is doubtful at best.

I say doubtful because the next President happens to own stock in Energy Transfer Partners.  So, another of his conflicts of interests will rear its ugly head.  And since the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners has said that he is confident Trump will overrule this decision and allow the pipeline to proceed without being rerouted, it would appear the fix is already in.

In a statement on the decision, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said:

Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do.  The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternative routes for the pipeline crossing.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said of the news:

We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby said in an email statement:

My hands go up to all the water protectors who have stood up to protect tribal treaty rights and to protect Mother Earth  Thank you for Standing For Standing Rock.

Of course Trump and his fellow Republicans don’t like the ruling.  Trump even in another of his tweets after the ruling said “I look forward to ending this anti-energy presidency”.

Somebody should remind Trump that when President Obama took office we had gas prices at $4.00 per gallon.  Today it is around $2.00 per gallon.  Half of what it was in 2009.

Also, our oil reserves are higher than they have been in decades.  Plus, we have more home-grown oil production than we have in decades and we rely less and less on foreign oil.  I would like for someone to explain to me how this all explains this “anti-energy presidency” Trump is talking about.  It sounds more like an energy friendly presidency.

Trump, Republicans, and oil companies are calling the ruling illegal.  They claim the ruling is not following the rule of law.  There is a procedure to follow when deciding on these issues.  When all of the facts are not in when a ruling is given, the ruling can change according to new information.  The protests showed that the people most being affected by the pipeline was never heard.  As a result, a new hearing and ruling were both legal and necessary.

I fully expect Trump to do everything he can to make sure this ruling gets cancelled somehow.  Plus, he is already looking at how to privatize the reservations.  He isn’t going to try to privatize the reservations for the sake of the tribes who live on them, he wants to privatize them so oil and gas companies can get permission to drill for oil and gas on the land without having to go through the full permitting processes that are needed on government property.

The closer we get to inauguration day the more we see that Trump is going to set up a country where corporations have more voice in how things run day-to-day than the people.  Everything he is doing so far is in favor of corporations and against the will of the people.

Even his threat to impose a 35 percent tariff on goods shipped in by U.S. companies that make the products overseas is just bluster.  Do you really think that he will allow a 35 percent tariff on his own products?  All of his products and all of the products sold by his children and wife are all made overseas.  Which means they should be part of any 35 percent tariff.  Yeah right.

The Standing Rock Sioux received an early Christmas present by the Corps of Engineers to protect their drinking water.  Unfortunately, that Christmas present may be revoked in 45 days.  The problem with pipelines isn’t whether or not they are the safest way to ship oil.  Nor is it that they continuously leak.  The problem is that at some point they do leak.  The only question is when and how much?

When that leak contaminates drinking water, it will take years before it will be safe to drink again.  Water is life.  Water is sacred.  We need to stop projects that will pollute our water.

This ruling is a step in the right direction.  But we cannot trust Trump to do or maintain what is right.  He is known for doing and maintaining what is best for his profits over everything and everyone else.

Trump recently tweeted that America Is Open For Business.  He should have said America Is For Sale To The Highest Bidder.  The one redeeming fact is that if he does reverse this ruling, the Standing Rock Sioux will be back to fight him.  We all need to be ready to fight him.  Our country is not and never should be for sale.

 

 

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Day 25

Donald Trump named Betsy DeVos to head up the Department of Education.  About the only thing that would have been worse is if he had named one of the Koch brothers.  It is quite possible that DeVos could totally ruin or make public education disappear completely.

DeVos and her husband have been arguing for voucher systems all across the country.  They are using phrases like “we just want every child to get a good education regardless of socioeconomic status”.  But, that isn’t what this is all about.

What they are really trying to do is make tax payers pay for religious education by sending children to “Christian” schools.  They are interested in placing “religious teachings” in our classrooms.  They have pushed for “intelligent design” to be taught in public schools instead of evolution.

DeVos managed to get privatized public education in Michigan.  It has been terrible, especially in Detroit where children need better education not worse.  In addition, they are the types of people that believe “competition” is necessary for education to improve.  Since when does “market-type competition” belong in education?

I know a lot of people are in favor of these voucher programs.  But what they don’t understand is that is blurring the line between separation of church and state.  They also don’t understand that private schools are not required as much as public schools to take in children with physical or learning disabilities.

Because they are “private” they are not required to adhere to integration rules either.  There a several “private religious” schools that have not children of color in attendance.

What this means is that if too many children are allowed to attend private schools using vouchers, there will be far less money left for the Public Schools.  That means that every child who cannot get into one of these private religious schools will get an even worse education than they are already getting.

The answer to our public schools is not vouchers and allowing millions to attend private schools on the taxpayer dime.  It is to use the money allocated to public education wisely.  It is to improve all sorts of areas like modernizing old crumbling buildings.  It is to provide a curriculum that will both challenge and help our children become successful in the future.

Look, I don’t have anything against private schools.  I am a product of private schools.  However, my parents paid for my tuition not the government.  If someone wants their children to attend private religious schools, that is fine.  But, the tax payers should not have to foot the bill.

You also need to look at the very fact that “Christian” schools are the largest benefactor of these voucher programs.  And, that is the purpose of the voucher programs.  Instead of building new Christian schools and setting up scholarship awards for poor children, the DeVos’ want to use taxpayer money to educate everyone in Christian doctrine.

They have decided that “to impact our culture in ways that are not the traditional funding-the-Christian-organization route, but that really may have greater Kingdom gain in the long run by changing the way we approach things, in this case the system of education in the country.”

Meaning, they want to do away with public education altogether and replace it with their version of “Christian schools” that every child will have to attend.  Can you spell indoctrination?

Public education has been the backbone of our education system.  It is necessary to ensure that all children get a good education.  Replacing it with “for-profit” schools or vouchers is not the answer to improving it.  We need to have a very serious discussion about education, how to improve it, and work together for the sake of all children.

Betsy DeVos is not the person who will lead that discussion.  She is not the person to improve our public education.  She is intent on destroying it and making it go away.  Neither she nor her husband are interested in educating our children.  They are merely interested in indoctrinating them into their narrow view of Christianity.

How much do you want to bet she isn’t in favor of using vouchers to send your child to a Muslim School.  If she is approved and her plans are put n place, you can chalk up “religious freedom” as another right lost to the Trump authoritarian government.

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Day 24

The Republican Congress is so excited about repealing the Affordable Care Act as soon as President-elect Trump takes off, they are preparing how to take care of the insurers not the insured.  That is par for the course for the do-nothing Congress we have had to deal with for six years.

So, here is basically their plan.  They will repeal the Affordable Care Act, delay the replacement by up to three years, and bailout any insurance company that suffers financial loss because of their recklessness.

Republicans in the House are already talking to insurance companies about this bailout plan.  As usual with Republicans, there is no plan in place so if they go ahead and repeal the Affordable Care Act, our health care insurance business will probably go into free-fall.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act is bad enough.  But, not having a replacement ready to go is even worse.  Once the Act is repealed what gives insurance companies incentive to stay with the program during the “delay” period?  Why should they take any risks if they don’t know what will replace it?

If the Act is repealed without a replacement plan ready to go, most experts say that the market will collapse because carriers will pull out of the plan.  Insurance companies could lose millions of dollars because of this collapse.  Millions of people would lose their insurance coverage.  It would be a mess.

Knowing this, Republicans want to pacify the insurance companies.  So they are looking at a plan that would allow the Trump administration to “pay the companies for their losses”.  Only, no one has set a “value” to those losses yet.

Imagine, the Republican Party, the “free market” party is already looking to bail out an industry because they don’t know how to do their own job.  On the other side of the coin, there is no “bailout” plan for any Americans who lose their insurance coverage because of the repeal and delay plan of theirs.

Despite the fact that premiums have gone up, the Affordable Care Act is actually a winner.  It has succeeded so much that only 25 percent of the American people are in favor of this “repeal”.

According to the American people polled, they would prefer that the Act be fixed where it needs to be fixed and left in place.  Besides, there are a lot of Trump supporters who only have insurance now because of the Act.

You must also remember that for the last six years we have heard Republicans falsely tell us they are ” only doing what the American People want.”  If that were really true, they would fix the Act and not repeal it since 75 percent of Americans want it that way.  The poll indicates that the vast majority of Republicans are in favor of fixing not repealing the Act.

Besides, if the insurance industry does collapse under this weird plan, what will happen to Medicare?  Ryan says that once they privatize it, only people under 50 years-of-age will be affected.  Will Ryan decide to privatize it now and make current Medicare patients go on the open market to help out his biggest donors, the insurance companies?

This “plan” of the Republicans is nothing short of governing by petty peeves and not governing according to the will or the needs of the people.  Something the Republican Party has been doing for decades.

We are on the precipice of a government run totally by Republicans.  They have ignored the “will of the American people” for so long, what makes you think they will change courses now?  They won’t and this ridiculous repeal, delay, and bailout plan is proof.

So, if you are one of those who voted for “change” you failed and your vote doesn’t count.  The change you voted for is not the change you will get.  The new administration will be full of Wall Street People and Lobbyists.  They have proven they don’t care about you, only how much money they make.

Cronyism, Corruption, Lies, Deceit, and Conflicts of interest will be the real agenda of the new administration and Republican controlled Congress.  Doesn’t that sound like the government we want?  NOT!

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Day 22

 

CANNON BALL, ND - NOVEMBER 24: Water protectors join hands in prayer at the end of the day's protest as police line the hill at Standing Rock on Nov. 24, 2016, during an ongoing dispute over the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The protesters, or rather Water Protectors, are getting threatened by several areas.  The Corps of Engineers has said they want the camp where they are staying evacuated because of the harsh winter weather.  However, they said they would not “forcibly” force the protesters off the land.

The governor of North Dakota has also ordered an evacuation of the land, also citing harsh weather.  But, he also said it was for the “safety of the people who live nearby”.  Then he said he would block all food and supplies from entering the area of the camp.  Finally, he said anyone who does not leave will be faced with a $1000 fine.

As you know, the Water Protectors are protesting the pipeline from going under Lake Oahe.  The lake is a reservoir created by a dam on the Missouri River.  The lake is also the main source of drinking water for the Standing Rock reservation and an additional 71 million people.

The tribe claims that the pipeline under this lake would potentially cause the pollution of that drinking water.  Furthermore, the tribe says that the work would destroy sacred lands.  According to reports from the Guardian, some of these lands and sites have already been destroyed by the company.

The pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners LP.  President Obama asked the Corps of Engineers to explore an alternate route for the pipeline.  The company’s CEO said he would not reroute the pipeline even if the Corps says it should be done.

The help coming is from 2000 veterans.  They announced that they would act as “human shields” for the protesters in the event of a forceful evacuation.  There has already been plenty of violence during the protests.  Most of that violence was initiated by the police and not the protesters.  Yes, some protesters have caused sporadic violence, but the vast majority has been initiated by the police.

The veterans plan to be there from December 4 through December 7.  The Corps ordered the evacuation by December 5.  To add more fuel to this fire, the GOP has finally taken notice.  And, as usual, they are blaming the President.

“The ongoing protest activities ― which at times have turned violent ― are being prolonged and intensified by the Obama administration’s refusal to approve the final remaining easement at Lake Oahe,” Sen. John Hoeven said on the Senate floor.

What he is saying is that since the President hasn’t rolled over in favor of the energy company, he is to blame for the violence not the company, state, police, or anyone else.  He is basically saying in usual GOP fashion that people don’t have a right to protest if they believe a company is threatening their drinking water.

We are supposed to take the company’s word that “everything will be just fine, believe me.”  He along with the governor and the state’s congressman, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R), have previously called on Obama to deploy federal law enforcement personnel to subdue the protest activity.

In a letter to the president on November 23 they wrote:

We recommend you provide federal law enforcement resources immediately to state and local agencies in order to maintain public safety, which has been threatened by ongoing ― and oftentimes violent ― protest activity.  These resources are essential to prevent further destruction on and surrounding federal lands.

So far it has been the police escalating the violence.  They have been using tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bags, and percussion grenades often without any warning.  There have been injuries especially among the protesters because of this activity by police.  They have even used water cannons to spray the protesters with water in freezing temperatures.

The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners is confident that once Trump takes office his pipeline will be approved.  Maybe that is because it turns out that Trump owns stock in Energy Transfer Partners directly and stock in other companies that are partners of Energy Transfer Partners.

The land in question belongs to the Sioux Tribe by treaty.  Of course treaties have never meant anything to the government when it comes to Native Americans.

Before it gets tweeted or reported on Fox News the veterans are traveling on their own dime, so to speak.  They did raise money to help defray costs and food, but to put it in Trump’s language, they are not “paid protesters” trying to make trouble.

During the campaign Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp”.  The very fact that he has ignored this situation at Standing Rock shows me he has no intention of “draining the swamp” but rather using that swamp for his own financial gain.

But, standing in their way are going to be veterans.  On their Facebook event page, the group says its aim is to “support our country” and “stop this savage injustice being committed right here at home.” Though their protest will be nonviolent, they urge participants to bring body armor, gas masks, earplugs and shooting mufflers since protesters have been injured by police force.  No drugs, alcohol or weapons will be allowed.

If Trump pays attention to this situation, he may learn what integrity, honesty, and duty are really all about.  But, I doubt he will learn anything from these men and women.

We all need to support the Standing Rock protests.  Please write, call, or email the President asking him to stop the pipeline from going under Lake Oahe.  If he doesn’t stop it soon, Trump will give it the go ahead so his stock goes up in value.  Drinking water for Native Americans or anyone else doesn’t count as much as dividends.

 

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Day 21

As time has gone by, the laws concerning marijuana have changed around the country.  Some state have totally legalized pot.  Others have made it legal for medical purposes.

However, these law changes have placed a lot of people in serious limbo.  Even if you live in a state that allows medical marijuana your company may still be able to fire you for drug use if you actually use medical marijuana.

This is proven by the case of a football player for the Buffalo Bills.  Offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson has been suspended for the second time for his use of marijuana for helping him cope with the pain of Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s Disease is defined as “an inflammatory bowel disease … [that] causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract.” Crohn’s disease can cause “abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition,” by the Mayo clinic.

There is no cure for Crohn’s Disease.  One of the things that helps ease the pain according to medical studies is – weed.  “I’ve got doctors telling me this is the No. 1 medicine that would help your disease,” Henderson said in October, according to The Buffalo News. “You try to tell that to the league and it seems like they didn’t care too much.”

To deal with the pain, Henderson smoked marijuana.  Medical marijuana is legal in New York State.  As one source told NFL.com, “He needs cannabis. You can’t take pain killers with the way his intestines are.” The issue is, while the NFL allows medical exemptions for some banned substances, like Adderall, marijuana is not one of them.

“There is zero allowable medical exemption for this per the NFL; however, there clearly should be,” Brian Fettner, Henderson’s agent, said earlier this season.

Since this is Henderson’s second “offense” he is facing a ten game suspension without pay.  If he continues to seek pain relief from the one thing that works best without affecting his intestines, he faces a lifetime suspension.

Several years ago the NFL was being called The No Fun League for not allowing touchdown dances.  Since then we have discovered that the league knew about the links between its game and concussions and brain diseases and did nothing about protecting the players.  Now, we have a player with a serious disease being suspended for using the one thing, medical marijuana, to ease his pain being suspended.

I think the better description is the No Feelings League, especially when it comes to the health and safety of its players.  But this is what happens when a company decides that it is the sole authority to decide what is “medical” and what is not.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about governments or companies, the will of the people are always secondary to the rules of the elite.  The NFL should be ashamed of itself.  They should apologize to Henderson and reinstate him and even give him back his pay from the four games he lost in his first suspension.

I hope that Henderson sues the NFL and wins big.  There is talk about how the NFL is losing viewers this year.  There a lot of reasons as to why it is losing viewers.  Maybe, just maybe, the fans are tired of seeing their stars being treated like property with no feelings, no rights, and no pain.

I gave up watching football years ago.  They don’t even play football anymore.  The players are treated badly.  If you care to do a little research, you will discover that injuries in football rose dramatically when players stopped playing fundamental football.

Sorry, but you don’t tackle someone by simply running into them trying to knock them out of the game.  And, the league has done nothing to end this farce.  Why?  Because they treat their players like gladiators and love the idea that this increase in unnecessary violence increases viewership.

Stories like this one make me glad I stopped watching years ago.  Yes, players make millions of dollars.  But, they are employees and it is the responsibility of the league to help protect them as much as possible.  If the NFL can get away with this, what makes you feel safe at your workplace?

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Day 20

(Before we get to todays comments, let me explain the day 20 above.  One of the biggest memes of Trump’s campaign was he would “bring back American jobs”.  As you know, Donald Trump and his family have several products that they sell in the U.S.  These includes things like suits, shirts, ties, accessories, shoes, women’s clothes, and jewelry.

Since Donald Trump is now the President-elect, it is his responsibility to lead our nation.  Anyone who has been in a position of leadership knows the best form of leading is from example.

Since Trump and his family want to “bring back American jobs” and since the simple fact is that none of their products are made in America, I have been waiting for him to announce the change from the 12 countries where his products are made to bring them back to America.

It has now been 20 days since he woke up as the President-elect.  I will continue the count until he announces that his manufacturing jobs will be returned to the U.S.  Once he does that, I will restart the count until the jobs actually begin.  If you expect to make promises to the American worker, start at home with your own products.)

Since Donald Trump began announcing his cabinet and administration picks, he has shown beyond reasonable doubt that he intends to dismantle our democratic country.  I am not sure if he is trying to move quick so there won’t be a campaign in 2020 or if he is toying with that idea still.

I am not kidding about this either.  He is naming people who have been so un-American, in my opinion, that there can be no other reason for their appointments.  Plus, he is proving he is the liar that we all know he is.

During the campaign, he said Hillary Clinton should be in jail.  His reason was because of her private email server.  He, and conservatives in general, claimed it was illegal, which it was not.  They also claimed that she “compromised classified” information because it might have been on the server, and it might be subjected to a hack.

All investigations, including that by the FBI said there were no laws broken and therefore no criminal charges could be brought.  That did not quiet the critics who claimed that it was all a “cover up”.

Now, to prove just how much he meant his railings against Clinton, he has named on person to his intelligence team and is considering another person to be Secretary of State or head of the DIA or some other intelligence position who have compromised classified information.

The first, Mike Flynn was severely reprimanded for handing over classified information to NATO partners without permission from higher authority.  The matter was investigated by DOD and he was considered to have mishandled classified information, thus the reprimand.

The Second Gen. Petraeus who is currently on a two-year probation for mishandling classified information.  That was the result of a plea deal.  His crime was even worse than Flynn’s.  He actually gave some very sensitive information to his biographer, with whom he was also having an affair, then he lied about it.  The FBI discovered this highly classified information in a desk drawer in his house.

Now Trump wants these two men, who have actually been proven to not handle classified information properly to be put into positions that need to handle very sensitive classified information.

He named Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General.  Jeff Sessions is an open racist.  He said the KKK is okay, except he doesn’t like some of them smoking pot after their meetings.  He has voted against things like the Violence Against Women’s Act, every Civil Rights bill brought to the Senate floor, wants a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, fought against equality rights for disabled children to attend public schools, and a host of other things.

Trump now wants him to “enforce” the very things he hates.  There are effectively two ways to kill civil rights in this country.  First is to pass legislation that repeals those rights, and the second is to simply not enforce their provisions.  Trump appears to be using the second option.

It is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to enforce all of the laws of this country.  However, with Session’s record against human decency, we can be pretty sure he won’t enforce those laws he personally doesn’t like.  Do you really believe he will enforce what is left of the Voting Rights Bill?

Additionally, Sessions is very anti-immigration.  You can bet the first order will be to “round up” all of the so-called “illegals” in the country.  If you were wondering where Trump’s deportation force would come from, you now have your answer.

Sessions is also in favor of banning Muslims from immigrating to our country.  He favors a registry for all Muslims already here.  He is in favor of “monitoring” Mosques to make sure they aren’t “radicalizing” anyone.

Yesterday, it was announced that Rep. Tom Price will head up the Department of Health and Human services.  Remember those 50 bills in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act? He wrote every single one of them.

His “replacement” plan known as the Empowering Patients First Act is nothing more than an Empowering Insurers First Act.  His “plan” would gut Obamacare’s regulation of insurance plans, reduce the total financial assistance going to people buying private coverage and rescind entirely the law’s expansion of Medicaid for the poorest Americans.

Insurers could resume some of the practices that Obamacare now prohibits ― like selling bare-bones plans and, in some cases, denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Price’s proposal would offer people tax credits, but there’d be no guarantee the credits could actually pay for comprehensive coverage.

He also believes that homosexuality is some kind of abnormality.  As such, they should bed shunned and not allowed into “polite” society.  He favors the amendment to ban same-sex marriage and considers homosexuals to have “pre-existing” conditions which could cut them off of insurance under his plan.

He also expressed his belief that same-sex partners should not be allowed to help make medical decisions on behalf of their sick partner.  Nor does he favor same-sex partners having the same visitation rights as any other partner might have.

Furthermore, Price believes that Medicare should be privatized and Medicaid should be abolished.  Under his replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, it is estimated that at least 20 million people will lose their health care coverage.  Of course, Trump promised not to change Medicare or Medicaid during the campaign.  So much for campaign promises.

Both Sessions and Price argue that children born to non-citizens should not have “citizenship birthright”.  Meaning if a non-citizen gives birth in this country, that child would not automatically become a citizen as the constitution says they would.

Then, yesterday, Trump announced that he believes that anyone who “burns the American flag” should go to jail and lose their citizenship.  I know that a lot of people don’t like the idea of burning the flag in protest.  But, it is a protected First Amendment right of Free Speech as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of course to conservatives, the right of Free Speech only applies if they agree with what is said or done.  The fact that a dissenter could have those same rights is unthinkable to them.  They consider shouting at two Asian women in a diner and calling them names and telling them they should “go back to Tokyo” is free speech, but burning the flag in dissent is not free speech.

I served 20 years to defend our freedoms and the constitution.  I may not like seeing the flag being burned, but I refuse to “criminalize” the act.  Are we also going to make burning the President in Effigy a crime too?  Or maybe all of those Obama stunts like showing up a football game wearing an Obama mask with a noose around your neck?  Maybe that should be a crime too.  Or, all of those “funny” emails about the President we have had to put up with for eight years.

Sorry conservatives, you don’t have the right to pick and choose what rights people are allowed to have and which ones they are not allowed to have.  That is not in our constitution which you claim to love so much.

We haven’t even gotten into all of the conflicts of interest that Trump will face as President.  For example, did you know that the lease for his new hotel in the old Post Office building in Washington has a clause that says no one associated with the hotel can serve in public office?  Once Trump takes the oath, he will be in violation of that lease.

We are going to lose our freedoms under a Trump presidency.  The only question is how quickly will it all happen.  Will it be a gradual chipping or a quick repeal of those rights.  In either case, we all lose.

Trump does not have the mandate he thinks he has.  Yes, he wont the Electoral College, but he lost the popular vote by over 2 million ballots.  So, he is basically a minority government, not one with a mandate.

Yet, we are going to see our civil liberties eroded and we will find ourselves back in the 1800s with basically no rights except the right to rent our homes from the company who hired us and to purchase our supplies at their stores.  We will have the right to become poorer and more at the mercy of the one percenters.

If he goes ahead with his plans to abolish OSHA and the EPA we will have no workplace safety rules and no protection for our water and air.  We will have no right to unionizing and fair bargaining rights.  No, we will all live in those good ole days when the company runs our lives and throws us out of our homes if we become less “productive” or too old for their bottom lines, even if it kills us.  There won’t even be any unemployment insurance for us to fall back on until we can find another job.

This is how you dismantle a democratic country.

 

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