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Day 98. 

“I love WikiLeaks.  Here is another email about Hillary Clinton.  I can’t wait for more information from WikiLeaks.  I love WikiLeaks.”

That was our beloved leader on the campaign trail.  He couldn’t wait for the next “illegal” leak from an organization that breaks the law all over the world.  It is illegal to hack into emails and/or any other cyber systems and WikiLeaks is an organization who does exactly that.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum.  Our beloved leader discovered that leaks can hurt you.  He discovered that leaks can actually make a leader act reasonably.  And, that is beyond the pale for trump.

Our beloved leader has attacked our intelligence agencies because they said they have proof that Russia was behind the hacks during the campaign.  The thing he really hates is that they say Russia hacked our election process in an attempt to sway the election to him.

FALSE – LIES – FAKE NEWS!  That was our beloved leader’s response to this announcement.  He even went so far as to blame some unnamed “400 lb. guy sitting on a bed in his mother’s basement”.  He attacked the intelligence community comparing it to Nazi Germany.

Then, within days of the inauguration, the acting head of the Justice Department told the White House Counsel that the new National Security Advisor had made an improper telephone call to the Russian Ambassador, lied about the call to the Vice President, and was “subject to blackmail from Russia” as a result of his actions.

Three weeks later, Flynn was still on the job.  Only, one night, the press reported on this “story”.  Then the shit hit the fan.  On Monday night Flynn resigned.  Then, the next day, trump’s White House went into spin mode.

The Minister of Propaganda, Sean Spicer said that there was an internal investigation at the White House and the White House Counsel did not find anything illegal about the call.  However Spicer said that the “president asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation because of an erosion of trust over this matter and other issues.”

Of course the media let that “other issues” fly by without swatting it and asking what other issues.  So, as usual, trump’s team got away with another one.  Since then, there have been lots of calls for an independent special investigation into Flynn’s actions and the other part of the report that trump campaign aides had “constant contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign”.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is going to look into the matter.  They don’t seem to be worried about the consequences and are only interested in the truth, “wherever it leads”.  Good for the them.  Only, I hope they don’t keep the whole thing secret so we don’t know what actually happened.  Which is why it is so important to have an independent investigation.

However on the House side we keep hearing nothing but silence.  They seem very willing to just roll over and let trump do whatever he wants.  They don’t think this has anything to do with protecting our national security or our country.

Then yesterday, during a press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu standing next to him he said:

Michael Flynn ― General Flynn ― is a wonderful man. I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases. And I think it’s really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.  I think in addition to that from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked, it’s criminal action. It’s a criminal act and it’s been going on for a long time before me but now it’s really going on. People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton. I think it’s very, very unfair what’s happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated and the documents and papers that were illegally ― I stress that, illegally leaked. Very, very unfair.

So, as you can see, the real problem isn’t that Flynn did something wrong enough for trump to personally ask for his resignation, it is all the fault of the intelligence community and the press.

Hell, Rush Limbaugh the other day even tried to blame President Barak Obama.  It is always the Democrats fault when Republicans break the law and get themselves in trouble.

As a result of this horrible treatment of Flynn, trump is determined to “get to the bottom of all of these leaks”.  He started tweeting, not about the Russia scandal, but against the people who brought it to light.

In one tweet he said:  “Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!”

In another he tweeted:  “The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!”

Falling right in line with their beloved leader, Jason Chaffetz and Bob Goldblatte sent a letter to the Inspector General at the Justice Department demanding an investigation into the – leaks.

It seems probable that the fact that an intelligence agency monitored the call, if it did, as well as any recording of the call, would be classified.  We have serious concerns about the potential inadequate protection of classified information here.

Finally, trump seems ready, according to reports, to investigate and “review” the intelligence community.  And, just to show just how serious he is about getting to the bottom of these leaks, he is willing to appoint a “real professional” to do this investigation and review of the intelligence services.

He decided that the best candidate is none other than Stephen Feinberg.  His credentials to run such an investigation and review?  He is a private equity executive and close ally of our beloved leader.  Needless to say, this has all the earmarks of a political purge of the intelligence community.

Of course that would be step three in dismantling our democracy.  Get the intelligence community to only agree with your worldview and keep them in line so you can control information and make the citizens too dependent upon your propaganda.

Of course we have seen this kind of behavior before.  We saw it with Richard Nixon.  People forget that the people who got caught breaking into the Democratic offices in the Watergate were called the “plumbers”.  Their original goal was to “plug all of the leaks coming out of the White House and other agencies”.  Remember where that got us?

As our adversaries are testing us, like North Korea, Iran and of course Russia, our beloved leader is way too busy trying to consolidate his power over us than dealing with real threats.  He overlooks things of importance and instead fixates on trivial matters that are of his own making.

There have been leaks in our government for as long as we have had a government.  That is almost unavoidable.  The only thing I watch for is if any real “classified” information is released to the public.  That would be illegal and the leaker should be punished.

But, having someone in your administration break the law and be exposed for it is not the same.  If the trump administration wasn’t so secretive, and more transparent, leaks wouldn’t matter that much.  As a matter of fact, leaks wouldn’t even exist.  But when you wrap yourself in secrecy and expect no one to notice what you are doing, leaks are inevitable.

During the campaign, trump “loved” leaks.  As long as they only happened to Clinton.  Now that he is in charge and operating like a dictator, he hates leaks and calls them “illegal”.  Dictators always use double standards.  If something helps them, great.  If the same something hurts them “get the bastards”.

We don’t know just how deep the new “plumbers” will go.  We don’t know just how much they are going to politically purge our intelligence agencies.  We only know that trump had declared war on our intelligence communities and he seems surprised that they aren’t going down without a fight.

The New York Times and the Washington Post seem to be emerging as the “police” on trump’s actions.  That is what an independent press is supposed to do.  They are supposed to investigate and report their findings to the American People.  I say – keep up the good work.

Let us be clear about one thing.  Flynn was apparently caught trying to undermine our government’s policies before he took office.  He was apparently caught trying to appease the Russians by telling them that things would get better and the sanctions would be removed after trump took office.  He apparently lied about the phone calls even to the Vice President Elect.  Then Pence took to the airways to tell the American the lies that Flynn told him.  Then the White House was informed just days after the inauguration about the lies.  It took trump three weeks to ask for Flynn’s resignation, all the while keeping the information from his Vice President.

The American People were told by the administration that Flynn was fired because of an “erosion of trust’ between him and the president.  Now, that very president who claimed he couldn’t “trust” Flynn is blaming the press and leaks for a “political assassination” of Flynn whom he called “a great guy”, the same person just a couple of days ago the president said was “untrustworthy”.

Either Flynn became so untrustworthy that he could no longer work in his position of trust, or he was a victim.  You cannot have it both ways.  Besides, please explain to me how if what he did was not “wrong” or “illegal” did he feel the need to lie about it.

The answer to this is real simple.  This isn’t about Flynn or anything else.  This is all about trump and his ego.  By hiring an untrustworthy person, it casts doubts about his “great leadership”.

We have heard over and over about how this was such a hard thing for trump to do.  Asking for Flynn’s resignation because of his loyalty to those who work or support him.  That is bullshit.  If someone around him casts a bad light on trump, they are gone.  It is that simple.  He will hold off if he thinks it will die down, but he is very willing to throw someone to the dogs to save himself and his ego.

Then, after the scapegoat has been sent out-of-town, he will launch into a tirade on those that exposed his incompetence and the incompetence of those around him.

We have a president who has lived his life based on causing severe distress on others.  He has been richly rewarded rather than being punished over his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy.  Those are not good traits to have when you are supposed to be the leader of the free world.

Only time will tell if “The Plumbers II” will be successful or if it will end in disaster like the prequel did for Nixon.  We can only hope that if it ends in disaster it will not bring down the American People, too.

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 95. 

During the campaign, our beloved leader showed a complete disregard for just what a nuclear war could unleash.  He once asked about nukes “Why do we have them if we aren’t going to use them?”  He also said more than once that he believes that countries like Japan and Saudi Arabia should develop their own nukes.

Of course the trump apologists said that he was just be sarcastic, ironic, or comedic.  We are supposed to believe that trump is really afraid of nukes, even though he told Putin just last week that the New Start Treaty was a bad treaty even though he didn’t even know what it said.

Then we have Mr. Alt-Right Steve Bannon.  There have been reports from various sources that he believes that we live in apocalyptic times and that war with either Iran or China, or both, are inevitable.  Those are very serious comments if they are true, especially coming from the man who has the most influence on our beloved leader.

But, before you really begin to worry, you better understand that they are not alone.  They have members in their Republican Politburo in Congress who think the same things.  The two most vocal supporters of this fantasy are Sen.Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.

You may remember Cotton who last week introduced legislation to reduce “legal immigration” to half of what is now allowed.  And, his plan hits non-European countries the hardest.  Meaning, he only wants white people to be allowed into America.

So, Cotton, apparently not knowing a damn thing about nuclear war introduced another stupid bill, S332.  To help out his fellow moron, Wilson introduced a companion bill in the House.

These two bills effect an organization with the long name of Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.  If you don’t know, here is the story of the group.  Between 1994 and 1996 the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was hammered out.

The treaty was signed by 183 countries and subsequently 164 ratified it, including nuclear powers France, Russia, and the United Kingdom.  However, in 1999 the Republican controlled Senate refused to ratify the treaty along with other countries like Israel, India, Pakistan, China, and North Korea.

Since then India, Pakistan and North Korea have violated the test ban treaty.  The U.S. has held by its pledge to not test nuclear weapons.  Despite not being fully ratified, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization went ahead with their activities of monitoring nuclear tests.  They get the funding from almost every country including the U.S despite the fact we haven’t ratified the treaty.

This organization does nothing but monitor the world for nuclear tests.  They have a world-wide organization of 337 nuclear monitoring stations.  The commission explains on its website:

The ban makes it very difficult for countries to develop nuclear bombs for the first time, or for countries that already have them, to make more powerful bombs.  It also prevents the huge damage caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions to humans, animals and plants.

Here is something to consider about the program.  China’s warheads are heavy enough that they cannot put very many of them on their missiles according to experts.  China would need additional nuclear testing to develop a lighter warhead.  If it were free to test and thus develop lighter warheads, China would have the potential to field more, perhaps significantly more, warheads without expanding its current missile force.

As a result, a fully ratified Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is in the best interests of the U.S.  Even in the absence of full ratification, so is the norm against testing nuclear weapons.  I don’t think that anyone with a normal thinking brain would disagree with that idea.

This brings us back to Cotton, Wilson and Trump.  The bills introduced by Cotton and Wilson would defund America’s contribution to the commission.  Of course this prohibition of contributing to the fund will have a huge impact on balancing the budget.  See, our country contributes a whopping $30 million annually.  Geeze what a waste.

Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists in New York City, told The Daily Beast.

Any move by the United States toward reducing commitment to the CTBT or resuming nuclear testing would without doubt trigger similar actions in other nuclear weapon states.  Such a development would undermine U.S. national security and international efforts to restrain nuclear weapons development.

To show his utter ignorance on this matter, Wilson said:

Congress never ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, so it is only logical that we should no longer fund the preparatory commission for its implementation,  This bill will leave in place only the funding for the international monitoring system aspect of the preparatory commission—which improves our global nuclear detection capability.  Nuclear deterrence is a critical part of protecting American families, and this legislation protects that capability.

There you have it.  He is claiming that the commission obviously does other things than test monitoring, and that we are only cutting those additional funds.  Except the commission only conducts nuclear test monitoring.  Which means if you eliminate funding for this commission, you will be defunding the monitoring the commission does.  That is a great way Cotton and Wilson will be helping protect American families.

To put it better Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey said:

The international monitoring system that’s part of the [test-ban organization] feeds back into an international data center.  So they’re not going to fund the people who read the computer screens when the data comes in?

Lewis believes that Cotton and Wilson’s bill is, in part, a thinly veiled attack on the pro-ban United Nations, another institution trump has attacked. He said:

Can you imagine hating the U.N. so much that you’re willing to kick yourself in your own nuts?  This is madness.

If Lewis understood the current Republican Party, he would understand that is exactly what the party is about.  Madness!

Ever since the end of World War II, the world has lived on the edge of a possible nuclear war.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis we came extremely close to fulfilling that fear.  Since the 1970s we have worked with Russia and other countries to limit the number of nuclear weapons on the planet.  We understood that unleashing a nuclear war would be the end of our planet.

Now, we have a beloved leader and a Republican Congress that seems hell-bent on unleashing the very thing we have all wanted to avoid.  It begins with little steps.  Like defunding the global organization whose only function is to monitor nuclear testing to keep other countries from getting the weapons.

Once that happens, and other countries begin testing nuclear weapons, we can pound our chest and say we need to start testing again to get better weapons ourselves.  In essence we would get what trump told Morning Joe once “let it be an arms race”.

But, remember, it isn’t just trump and his regime that wants this.  They are getting help from Republicans in Congress.   As I have said more than once, trump is not the only problem we have in this country.  The Republican Controlled Congress is just as dangerous as trump.  That is really frightening.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 93.

The Washington Post has a story that claims there is evidence that Michael Flynn, trump’s National Intelligence Advisor had several phone calls and text messages with the Russian Ambassador and they “did talk about the sanctions on Russia based on the Russian interference with our elections.  I put the emphasis because of what will follow.

As you remember, Flynn denied that when he called the Russian Ambassador in December, he did not talk about the sanctions.  Vice President Pence said in January that Flynn did not talk to the Ambassador about the sanctions.  Sean Spicer also said, more than once, that Flynn did not talk about the sanctions.

Countries, including ours, have a tendency to monitor calls made to the Ambassador to a country they consider an opponent.  That is common.  According to the report, they have recordings that Flynn did in fact talk about the sanctions in December.

A brief recap of the report goes something like this.  According to Intelligence officials, a total of nine from different agencies, this came about because when the sanctions and order for several Russian Officials to leave the country was announced, there was no push back from Russia.  Everyone expected Russia to retaliate against the U.S. by expelling our Officials from Russia.  As a matter of fact, Putin announced two days later that he would not retaliate.

That caused red flags to be raised in our intelligence community and the White House.  So, intelligence officials began searching the records of the monitored calls and discovered that Flynn made the comments to the Russian Ambassador that basically said “don’t worry about the sanctions, once we take office we will take another look at it”.

It was also discovered that there were several text message and phone calls between Flynn and the Ambassador at the time the announcement was being made about the new sanctions.  It was further reported that Flynn had continuous conversations with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign as well.  That raises other questions which we will talk about in a little bit.

Democrats are calling for Flynn to be fired.  That would be the easy way out.  I don’t want him just fired, I want a Special Congressional Investigation into the whole mess.  And here is why that is necessary.

If these reports are true, and there is no reason to believe they aren’t, especially since Flynn now says he can’t remember if the sanctions were discussed or not after a full month of denying they were discussed.

Let us begin at the beginning.  During the campaign the DNC and Podesta had their systems hacked.  Shortly after that, WikiLeaks started leaking emails from the DNC and Podesta that were unflattering to Hillary Clinton.

We also have to remember that trump publicly suggested that Russia hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails as well.  That shortly after the intelligence agencies started laying the blame for the hack at the door step of Russia and Putin.

Trump kept denying that Russia was the culprit.  He kept saying no one knows who did the hacking.  He claimed it could be Russia or China or some 400 lb. guy sitting on a bed in his mother’s basement.

Even when the evidence kept mounting and every intelligence agency said they were certain that Russia was behind the hacks, trump kept deflecting the hack away from Russia.

He kept talking about starting over with Russia and claimed that Putin was a “far stronger leader than President Obama”.  When the agencies claimed that Russia was definitely behind the hacks, and that they were trying to influence the election in favor of trump, he went ballistic.  He called our intelligence agencies awful clowns and were acting like they would in Nazi Germany.

A war broke out between trump and our intelligence agencies.  All because they said Russia was trying to help trump get elected.  That was a slap in the face of trump.  At no time did anyone say that Russia succeeded or had actually influenced the election, nor did anyone claim that made the election invalid.  But trump claimed that was what they were saying. Even Mike Pence joined trump in his admonishment about the hacking being Russia and saying there was no proof.

There were some other very curious coincidences.  The trump campaign seemed to have talking points for the campaign that were almost word for word from leaked emails before the emails were leaked.  Where did they get that information?  One has to ask the question if the campaign was somehow working with or getting information from Russia during the campaign?

All the while, Republicans leadership in the Congress remained silent.  Even when some members like McCain suggested we needed an investigation into the hacking, they balked at that idea.  A couple of committees have said they plan to hold an investigation, but there has been no timeline announced yet as to when they will start.

As a retired military man, I was appalled when I saw Flynn in Russia to give a speech to RT, the government-owned television station, and sitting next to Putin, shortly after he was fired from the DIA.  Yes, he was a private citizen when he was there, but as they say, “come on man”.  A retired general who just left the DIA sitting next to Putin at a dinner the general was going to give a speech to in Russia?”  In my opinion, that should never have happened.  Shortly after that, Flynn joined the trump team to help get him elected.  Coincidence?

Now we see this report from the Washington Post hat while in transition, Flynn basically tried to undermine the sitting President by calling the Russian Ambassador telling him to ignore the sanctions because trump will probably change them after he gets in office.

This mess is turning out to be too much like Watergate.  What did the President know and when did he know it?  Did Flynn lie to Pence, or did Pence lie to the press to cover up Flynn’s actions?  Did trump know that Flynn made the calls?  It is hard to believe that he didn’t know since he micromanages everything going on around him.

You also have to wonder about a very puzzling response from trump to a question about this.  Today, on Air Force One, he was asked for a response to the report about Flynn.  He said “what report”?  When told again, he said “I haven’t seen it.  I will look into it”.

Say What?  This story had been out for 24 hours before he was asked about it.  This cable news junkie and tweeter about what he considers bad stories in the press “didn’t see it”?  I find that extremely hard to believe.

This whole mess needs to be investigated.  The Republicans in Congress need to establish a Special Committee complete with a Special Prosecutor to oversee it, to investigate the whole thing.  There are way too many questions that need answers.  They need to try to figure out if the trump campaign was working with Russia during the election.  If they were, did trump actually know and/or order the cooperation?

Once the election was over did trump order or was he informed about Flynn’s continuous contacts with the Russian Ambassador?  Did he know or order Flynn to bring up the sanctions and tell Russia not to worry about them?

Who else in the campaign knew about all of this?  Did Bannon, Pence, and/or Conway know about any of this?  How deep did it go?  Here is a big question to ask our officials, and I don’t know the answer, if trump and his campaign did cooperate with Russia to influence the election, what then?  These are the questions that need to be asked, and need to be answered.

I do not know and I am not saying these stories are true.  But, I do believe that there is enough circumstantial evidence to investigate the situation.  This cannot be a partisan issue either.  Both sides of the aisle and every citizen of this country deserves nothing less.

If these reports are true, we can only hope that Flynn was a rogue agent acting on his own.  If not and others in the campaign were involved, it would create a constitutional crisis we haven’t seen since Watergate.  I don’t even know how many laws they broke.  If the report is false or inaccurate, we need to know that too.

This is something that can no longer be swept under the rug.  This MUST be investigated and we need to find out if the reports are true or not.  If they are true, then we need to know who was involved.  Our country and our democracy depends on the outcome of that investigation.

In my opinion, we have seen too many instances of this administration ignoring ethics, truth, and the law.  If these reports are true, then heads must roll regardless of who they belong to.

This is one time that we need to call our Representatives and Senators and demand they investigate this matter.  If they ignore us, they will be telling us they don’t care about the law or the constitution either.  Call or email your Representative and Senators and demand an impartial investigation now!

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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Day 76.

There have been a lot of words and terms used to describe donald trump.  I have come to the conclusion that all of them are probably correct, except things like honest, believable, and humane.  In the first week of his presidency, he has started a war with the press, he has decided that only he can decide what is “true” and what isn’t, what information from the government can be made public, how to screw first-time home buyers, how to take away health care coverage from the poor and how to line his own pockets.

Yesterday, he very openly did something you have never seen before.  He sat in the Oval Office and signed an executive order that was intended to make himself more money.  He signed an executive order that will help push forward the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipelines.  Problem is he owns stock in the company that owns the Dakota Access Pipeline and that company’s stock went up right after he signed the order.

Yes, his team had originally said that he had sold off his stock in June.  But, the statements from Spicer during a press briefing indicates he has not sold off the stocks.  Nor, has there been any paperwork filed to show he has sold the stock.  In the briefing Spicer said that a few thousand dollars is not at the top of the list of a man who has made billions.  So, the idea he sold the stock was a lie.  Gee, how about that?

There has always been the worry about conflict of interest, but this is living proof that it does exist and will continue to exist as long as he refuses to properly divest himself from his businesses.

He claims that these two projects will create tens of thousands of jobs.  The fact is that combining both projects, there will be about 20,000 jobs created for a period of one year.  Once the project is completed, there will be about 65 permanent jobs between the two pipelines.

And, the oil that is going to be piped down these two lines, especially the Keystone XL pipeline is not intended for the U.S. market.  It is intended to be shipped overseas.  That will not help our economy or help our energy independence, it will only help the profits from which trump will personally benefit.

Instead of these meaningless projects, if trump really wanted to create jobs and help our manufacturing and our citizens he would instead order a change over from fossil fuel to clean energy.  By doing that, he would create an estimated 15 million jobs that would last at least 20 years.

Plus the permanent jobs number would remain in the millions because these systems would have to be maintained.  Wind turbines need constant maintenance.  Solar panels need constant cleaning and periodic replacement.  Tidal generators require constant maintenance.

Additionally, since the source of this new electricity would be free, the cost of our energy bills would be drastically reduced.  Meaning without any “border taxes” our manufacturing would see a possible boom because their energy costs would plummet.  But, apparently trump doesn’t own any stock in clean energy companies, so he isn’t interested in making the change.

He has issued orders that federal workers cannot discuss any business in emails, twitter, phone calls, or any other form of communications, including to members of Congress.  In essence, he has placed a gag order on all federal workers.

He has frozen all contracts and grants with the EPA and told the agency to remove its climate change page from its website.  When the Parks Administration tweeted about carbon dioxide in the air, he made them take it down immediately.  He is doing everything to ensure that the only thing the people of America get from their government is only what he wants them to get.  In an email that did get out, one agency was told that these forms of communications “could find its way to the press” and therefore no one can use them in an official capacity.

He is continuing his rantings about “illegals” voting in the last election.  This moron is so obsessed with himself that he cannot graciously accept victory.  He continues to be hurt by the fact that he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.  His “alternative facts” on that it is because 3 – 5 million votes were cast by “illegals”.

Of course he offers no proof.  Now, he is calling for a massive investigation into this fantasy of his simply because Alex Jones of InfoWars told him it was true.  We have a real conspiracy theorist sitting in the White House.  Even Spicer screwed up during the press briefing about this issue.  He was asked several times about it and he offered his “proof” by citing a Pew Paper on the issue.

He claims that Pew wrote that 14 percent of votes cast in our elections were cast illegally.  That is a total and flat-out lie.  14 Percent of votes cast?  As a matter of fact, Pew wrote after this last election that there were no indications of voter fraud.  Not one Attorney General or head of the Election Board in any state reported any voter fraud like trump is claiming.

Besides, if there was this massive voter fraud, what makes everyone think it was intended to help Democrats?  In the early stages of the election I found 3 cases of voter fraud being investigated by states.  All were helping Republicans.  Two by filling out “incomplete” mail-in ballots and one case of a woman who admitted to voting for trump twice.

Maybe we should let him do his investigation.  But, if it is discovered that he was the recipient of that massive voter fraud, I bet he announces nothing was found.  No, this is all cover for his desire to issue National ID cards and “papers” to control us and our movements.

He has hinted that today will be “a great day for national security”.  He supposedly is going to sign two more of those Republican claimed unconstitutional executive orders.  The first is to stop immigration from mostly Muslim counties.  Especially Syria.  It is reported that six other nations will be added to the list.  Those countries include Iraq which has a lot of people who helped us during the war and was promised immigration here for their help.  If this ban goes in, they will be at risk of losing their lives because of this clown.  That will not make our troops happy.

Furthermore, any ban on Muslims will help our enemies recruit more people into their cause.  The leader of ISIS before the elections said, “I pray that Allah hand America to trump”.  He will be able to tell the Muslim world that trump has declared war on Islam, not on terrorism.  Which also means he is putting us in the crosshairs for another serious terrorist attack on our shores.

The second order is supposed to be about his Berlin Wall on the Mexican border.  He has hinted that he will order the wall to be built.  Of course, we will be paying for the wall, not Mexico.  I am still wondering how many gun towers will be placed along the wall to shoot anyone trying to get over it.  He hasn’t said anything about that yet.

We now have the beginning of our authoritarian government forming.  First, you lie, lie, lie.  Then you put a gag order on everyone who works for the government to control information coming out of it.  Then you line your pockets with executive orders that do nothing to help the economy.  Then you openly discriminate against Muslims simply because you don’t like them.  Then you build a Berlin Wall along one of our borders.

If all of this sounds vaguely familiar to you, you are right.  We saw this “big league” in Germany in the 1930s.  The only difference is that Muslims and Mexicans have replaced Jews as the enemy of our “pure race”.

I really wish I didn’t have to make comparisons to the Nazi’s, but it is difficult not to do so with trump’s actions.  In Germany there were gag orders on the entire government.  There was self-dealing by Hitler making him extremely wealthy.  There were lies after lies after lies.  Then there was the Jew who was blamed for everything wrong with Germany.  The parallels are just too close to ignore them.

I am sure that trump lovers will believe these actions are exactly what the country needs. However, I am also sure that the rest of the country is beginning to become somewhat fearful of our future.  And we need to be fearful with trump at the head of our government.

The simple fact is that trump cannot install his authoritarian government without Republican’s help.  But, as we have discussed before, they are laying the foundation in several states around the country.  So, I don’t foresee any help from the spineless Republican members of Congress.  Just look at McCain, Graham, and Rubio.  They all said they have “serious reservations” about Tillerson’s Russian ties to be named as Secretary of State, but they all voted for him anyway.  So, we obviously can’t trust them anymore than we can trump.

It is up to the people to stop this madman from putting in place his authoritarian government.  It begins now.  It begins by mobilizing and making sure Republicans suffer historic losses in the 2018 elections.  And no, it is not too early to start.

In the meantime, we need to flood our Senators and Representatives with negative calls, emails, tweets, and letters to tell them to stop these insane and mostly unconstitutional actions by their leader.  We need to keep score on which ones help us stop this lunatic and the ones who support him.  Then, we need to target the enablers in 2018.

If we are not prepared to fight back, we will lose our freedoms, our democracy and our country.  Do not let the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 73.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fair is fair.

 

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Day 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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