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Day 71.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 67.

We are looking at having the most corrupt administration in our nation’s history.  I don’t make that accusation lightly.  However, the facts are beginning to show that is a real possibility.

First we have a president-elect that doesn’t think any conflicts of interests are a bad thing as long as he is the one in conflict and personally benefitting from them.  For example, after his infomercial where he announced he would do no more foreign deals, he just announced he in fact is expanding his golf course activity in Scotland.  Sounds like a foreign deal to me.

But, he isn’t the only one in the administration that will have conflicts of interest or will be willing to take “political donations” just to look the other way when his donors break the law.  As a matter of fact, his EPA pick is already leading the pack in that category.

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head up the EPA was more than willing to take over $40,000 in donations from chicken industry executives and then not force them to clean up the pollution they caused in the Illinois River which is the drinking water for millions of people in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The problem is that he was the Attorney General for Oklahoma, but was unwilling to continue a lawsuit against several chicken companies for the pollution.

When he took office, there was a six-year ongoing lawsuit against several chicken companies trying to force them to pay for the clean up of tons of chicken manure that had fouled the water of Northeastern Oklahoma.  Most of the pollution had come from companies in Arkansas.

After taking office, Pruitt decided to drop the law suite which could have resulted in tens of millions of dollars to clean up the mess, and instead negotiated a deal with the companies to “study the problem further.”

This was only one in a series of instances where Pruitt supported and cooperated with industry before confrontation as he sought to blunt the impact of federal environmental policies in his state — against oil, gas, agriculture and other interests. He has also sued the EPA at least 14 times since he took office.

Now he has been chosen by Trump to head up the organization that is supposed to enforce laws on pollution and climate change.  Mark Derichsweiler, led the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality division responsible for overseeing the poultry-related cleanup.  Mr. Derichsweiler retired in 2015 after 40 years with the state, frustrated with Mr. Pruitt’s approach.  He said:

He has advocated and stood up for the profits of business, be it the poultry companies or the energy industry and other polluters, at the expense of people who have to drink the water or breathe the air.

Pruitt has the idea that only states should worry about pollution and that the federal government shouldn’t be involved.  Yet, this case shows clearly that is a really stupid position to take.  Pollution does not abide by state lines.  In this one case most of the pollution came from Arkansas yet Oklahoma’s water was affected.

The same is true for air pollution and other forms of pollution.  Without federal oversight, one state could literally poison another state’s population without any consequences.

“Pollution doesn’t respect state boundaries,” said Patrick A. Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School. “States have limited ability to regulate pollution from outside the state, and almost every state is downstream or downwind from other pollution.”

After Pruitt got his donations from about a dozen poultry companies, he decided not to go ahead with the suit that was started by his predecessor.  Instead of pushing the federal judge for a ruling that, seven years later, still hasn’t been issued, he negotiated an agreement with Arkansas and the poultry companies to conduct a study of the appropriate level of phosphorus in the Illinois River.

His argument?  “Regulation through litigation is wrong in my view.  That was not a decision my office made. It was a case we inherited.”  The one thing that is missing in this story is that the cleanup has never been paid for by the polluters, which I believe everyone thinks is the right thing.

So, there is nothing to keep them from doing it again, and again, and again.  J. D. Strong, director of Oklahoma’s Wildlife Department and the state’s former Secretary of Environment, praised Mr. Pruitt for negotiating the settlement.

“You can’t force a judge to rule,” Mr. Strong said. “Pruitt didn’t sit back and wait or badger the judge for a ruling. He worked to get the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas around the table.”

Yeah, they got around the table and did nothing of any consequence except give the poultry industry license to continue their polluting ways.  That is not what I expect from my Attorney General.  I expect him to punish the companies that dare to pollute my drinking water.

In 2003, Mr. Edmondson, Pruitt’s predecessor, negotiated an agreement with Arkansas to reduce poultry waste pollution, and to monitor the progress.  Pruitt let that agreement lapse without seeking another formal extension of the deal.

And, Mr. Pruitt also shut down the specialized unit of four attorneys and a criminal investigator that helped initiate the lawsuit against the 14 poultry companies.

That environmental unit had broad jurisdiction, forcing pork-producing farmers to spend millions of dollars on their own cleanups and collecting tens of millions of dollars to clean up toxic sites in the state, including poisonous waste left at an abandoned lead and zinc mine known as Tar Creek.

With this kind of history, do you really think that Pruitt should be allowed anywhere near the EPA?  I don’t.  He is the perfect example of what happens when someone who is willing to benefit businesses instead of his constituents.

He is willing to let the poultry industry pollute water used as drinking water by his own constituents.  They don’t have as much worth to Pruitt than the paltry $40,000 dollars in political donations from the very industry poisoning his constituents.

To put a finer point on this, Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund said:

The president’s choices deserve a lot of deference from Congress and even environmental groups.  But at some point when the nominee has spent his entire career attempting to dismantle environmental protections, it becomes unacceptable. That’s why Mr. Pruitt is the first E.P.A. nominee from either party that the Environmental Defense Fund has opposed in our 50-year history.

The entire concept of letting industries police their own pollution is ridiculous.  They will not worry about who they are poisoning or even killing as long as they keep their profits high.  And, as shown by this shameful example, in Red State America all they need to do is give a paltry donation to a politician and they will get away with that pollution.

The vast majority of people Trump has nominated to be in his cabinet are being shown to be anything less than stellar in protecting the American People.  They are only interested in protecting their own profits and those of their companies or donors.

From Rex Tillerson to Jeff Sessions to Betsy DeVos to Scott Pruitt, we are looking at the worst administration in history.  We are also probably looking at the most corrupt administration in history.

You better get used to being used as pawns by this administration.  Because you won’t gain any benefit from this gang of thieves.  You will only wind up paying the price for their power grab.

Every amount of progress made since the end of World War II is on the line from civil rights to public education to clean air and water.  But, business will do quite nicely during this time.  Only, they won’t “trickle-down” any of that benefit to you.

Since these autocrats with help from the Republican Party are hell-bent on establishing a new country, should we name it the “United Businesses of America”?  I am sure our new president would prefer the “United States of Trump”.

Maybe we should change our money to read “In Money We Trust”.  Or, change the pledge of allegiance to say “One nation under business”.  We can change the Declaration of Independence to read “all non-business executives are created as serfs”.

If this goes as it appears to be heading, we will all be singing that old folk song.  The one that says: “St. Peter don’t call me because I can’t go.  I owe my soul to the company store”.

Welcome to Trump’s bold backwards future.  Lackeys like Pruitt will help him achieve it.  And we all lose while the “shirts keep marching along.”

 

 

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Day 64.

You have probably read a lot of articles about how to establish an authoritarian government since Trump was elected.  I haven’t read any of them, because I already know history.  One thing I can tell you is that the best way to establish an authoritarian government is to threaten reprisals against anyone who dares to comment negatively on the “leader”.   Especially against political rivals or presumed political rivals.

In the last few weeks, we have seen Trump go after the news media with vigor.  He has attacked our Intelligence Agencies, which he will head up in seven days.  He has attacked Democrats who oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act, reducing Medicare and Social Security.

However, Trump is not alone in his reprisal bluster.  Republican Congressmen are also getting into the act.  The other day, an Alabama Representative in the U.S. Congress said that the questions Democrats asked Jeff Sessions proved there was a “war on whites”.  Which is totally ridiculous and only adds fuel to the argument that Sessions is an open racist.

While all of this was going on, Trump was hit with that unverified dossier about Russia having some dirt on him. Mostly, he has still not said he would continue the sanctions placed on Russia over the interference in our elections.

He keeps deflecting that it “could have been others like China”.  All seventeen Intelligence Agencies have said Russia was involved, and tried to swing the election against Hillary Clinton.  They never said if it resulted in changing the outcome, but Trump keeps saying they said it did not.

Yet, despite calls from people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell refuses to set up a special committee to investigate these hacks and their intentions.

There are also reports about Trump team contacting Russia.  The last claims that Mike Flynn called the Russian Ambassador the day Obama ordered several Russian spies out of the country.  I don’t know if it is true, but if it is that is disturbing.

There are all kinds of conflicts of interest facing Trump and his Presidency.  That came to light “big time” as Trump would say during Carson’s confirmation hearing.  Carson was asked if he could assure the people that none of the HUD money for public housing would end up in Trump company properties enriching the president and his family.  He said he could not.

The day Trump takes office he will have more potential conflicts of interest screaming for investigations into his practices than anyone in our history.  So, what does Jason Chaffetz plan on doing about all of this?  He has threatened to hold an investigation.

The problem isn’t that he is planning on investigating any of these potential conflicts of interest about Trump.  No, he is planning on investigating the Office on Government Ethics.  Why?  Because Mr. Shaub, who heads up the OGE didn’t say nice things about Trumps plan to “step back” from his businesses.

Shaub has said the whole thing announced at that infomercial the other day is “meaningless”.  In a speech at the Brookings Institute, Shaub said”

Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective.  The idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses adds nothing to the equation. This is not a blind trust — it’s not even close.

Later defending his comments he said”

The only thing this has in common with a blind trust is the label, ‘trust.’ His sons are still running the businesses, and, of course, he knows what he owns.  The idea of limiting direct communication about the business is wholly inadequate. That’s not how a blind trust works.

So, the head of the OGE gave his opinion about the trust Trump claims he is setting up to avoid conflicts of interest which won’t avoid anything.  Besides, you cannot tell what conflicts of interest exists because Trump refuses to release his tax returns.  That is the only way to see everything he has and where conflicts could arise.

That was enough for Mr. Reprisal.  Chaffetz blew his top so to speak.  He immediately sent a letter to Mr. Shaub including a veiled threat to hold investigations on the OGE.  In his letter, Mr. Reprisal accused Mr. Shaub of:  “blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance”.

Republicans are also upset because they don’t believe that the OGE needs to finish all of its investigations into the ethics paperwork for each of the cabinet nominees.  Because of this, several nominee’s confirmation hearing had to be put on hold until the OGE and the FBI finish their background checks.

Chaffetz also noted in the letter how his committee has the authority to “reauthorize” the OGE and possibly even shut it down.  He wrote:

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee of the House of Representatives and may at ‘any time’ investigate ‘any matter’ as set forth in House Rule X.

There is no veiled threat here as far as I am concerned.  Chaffetz is openly telling Mr. Shaub that his agency, which ensures ethics in our government, must say nice things about Trump or face investigations.

Remember, when Republicans put their “rules” together, ethics was the one thing they wanted to erase from the government.  Only thousands upon thousands of people calling their Representatives kept them from putting that “rule” into their rules.

We are just seven days from this little boy gaining the power of the presidency.  Trump and his cronies have shown their disregard for the law and for ethics.  They have shown their willingness to threaten people who say things that are not favorable to them.  And, they are more than willing to conduct reprisals against any of their “enemies”.

I have never understood why Republicans are so anxious to kill our country and tear down our democracy.  Yet, that is exactly what they are trying to do.  You see it at the State level in places like the Soviet Socialist States of Kansas and North Carolina.  You are now seeing it at the Federal level.

The so-called party of “small government” wants that government so small that one man can run it and order you how to behave and live your lives.  Your voice and your opinions don’t count unless you agree with them.  That came to light during the “vote-a-rama” the Senate had the other night.

In order to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they held a bunch of votes.  Remember they said that when they repeal the ACA they would keep things like the protections for preexisting conditions and keeping your children on your plan until age 26.  Only, they voted those protections down during their vote-a-rama the other night.

Trump is going to become president with the least favorable rating of any president-elect in our history.  And, rather than those numbers increasing as we get closer to the inauguration, they are going down.  Congress, especially Republicans in the House, are showing their willingness to help him conduct reprisals against anyone who says something unflattering about him.

I don’t know what the future actually holds for us.  But, from where I am sitting, it doesn’t look bright or cheery.  On the other hand, it looks bleak and dreary.

As far as I am concerned, reprisals against political opponents is nothing short of government sanctioned terrorism against your own people.  Is that what we are heading towards?

 

 

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Day 63

Yesterday, Donald Trump faced the news agencies with his first press conference in six months.  However, I believed I was watching an infomercial instead of a press conference.  Trump laid the groundwork saying he was going to come clean about his “divestment” but he didn’t come close.

Off to his right there was a table which Trump claimed was all of the paperwork that he “signed to divest” himself from his businesses.  Only when you listened to what he said, he didn’t divest himself from his businesses.  He merely named his two sons, Don, Jr. and Eric to run it for him.

Furthermore, several reporters asked to view the documents, but were refused access to them.  That begs the question of were they real or just another stunt like the “Trump” stakes he once tried to use as a prop?

He claimed that it was a “trust” and that the two sons would never discuss business with him.  In other words, we are supposed to “believe me” again, without any proof.  He did promise that the company would not do any more new business overseas.  But, that is just as much a promise as his other promises that we are supposed to “believe” like Mexico paying for his Berlin Wall.

The oddest thing was when his lawyer declared herself a Supreme Court Justice to state categorically that “a foreign government paying a hotel bill is just business and not an emolument”.  Of course the conflict of interest still exists in tww manners.

First, how do we know that the “foreign government” wasn’t pressured or decided to stay in his hotel just to impress him and get more favors?  Secondly, since he is not divesting himself from the hotel, it will be in violation of its lease the moment he takes office since the lease states that no elected official can be an owner in the hotel.

He once again mentioned that he would place “huge border taxes” on American companies who make their products overseas.  But, he never mentioned his own products or his daughter’s products or his wife’s products.  Nor did he mention when he was going to open factories in America to make those products rather than in the twelve or so countries they are now made in.

The head of the Office on Government Ethics called his plan “meaningless”.
Apparently, Mr. Shaub doesn’t agree with the idea that if Trump would divest himself, he “would take a huge financial loss” as his lawyer said.  Rather, he said that he should divest himself since he is going to be President.

This problem is about conflicts of interests.  It isn’t necessarily all about laws.  How can anyone in this country be sure that when Trump makes a decision on something overseas, he isn’t doing it to line his own pockets and those of his kids?  We can’t.   That is why divestment is the best way for him to go.  At the very least, a true blind trust would be far better than what he announced.

Then of course there was the usual rancor towards the press.  Especially in light of that claim and “dossier” that Russia has something on him.  I am not going to comment about all of that because it is unverified, and I hate to be like so many on the right and claim unverified stories are true if they happen to hurt the other side.

However, it is right to point out that no one in the Intelligence Community in this country wrote that dossier or “leaked” it.  His reference yesterday to our intelligence community and asking if “this is Nazi Germany” is really rich considering all of the unverified stories that were floated by Republicans against Hillary Clinton for the last 30 years and Trump’s own lies passed as facts about President Obama’s birth certificate..

Seems that if the so-called “fake news” hurts Democrats that is just fine with the right-wing.  If it hurts their hero, then the world is coming to an end.  If you watched the confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions the other day, you heard Ted Cruz making all kinds of accusations without facts against Democrats who were asking tough questions.

Last night, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, called Trump to talk to him about this story.  Clapper said:

I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC. The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.

Clapper further said he was “dismayed” by the leaks and agreed they are “extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.  He further went on to say that the DNI included this information because it existed, true or not, and that they felt he should be aware of it because it affected him.

So early this morning, Trump took that as a signal to lie again.  He tweeted about his conversation with Clapper:

James Clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated. Made up, phony facts.  Too bad!

The tweet suggests that Clapper called the information made up and phony facts.  Maybe Trump is simply calling them that.  But, which is it?

The one thing that was missed by all of the pundits at the infomercial and those who “analyzed” it was a simple statement that should send shivers down everyone’s back if you believe in the “freedom of the press”.

He said:  “I used to hold a press conference all of the time.  I haven’t held one in a long time because there have been too many bad stories about me.”  SAY WHAT?

That was a very subtle and obvious threat that if the press doesn’t treat our Slanderer in Chief with kid gloves, he won’t talk to them at press conferences.  He admitted he hasn’t held a press conference in six months because he was “hurt” by all the bad things the media has said about him.  Poor baby.

For some reason, Trump has declared war on both the media and our Intelligence Agencies.  Is that because of his love affair with Putin or because he fears that they could actually stop his authoritarian take over of the government?

I don’t care if you like the Intelligence Community or not.  They are necessary for the defense and security of our country.  If you plan to lead those agencies, you should not declare war on them.  While he was doing his infomercial, his nominee for Secretary of State was on Capitol Hill telling his confirmation hearing that if China continues their activities in the South China Sea, they would be prevented from going to their an-made islands.

He didn’t say how they would be “stopped” and that has a lot of people worried.  Which means that if things get worse in the South China Sea, Trump will need his Intelligence Community to help him figure out the best way to act.  Or, for that matter, what is exactly going on.

Fortunately, I do not believe that our Intelligence Community would jeopardize our country.  But, it would only take one or two rogue agents to throw a monkey wrench into the works.  Trump should think about that.

As every human generation in the history of the planet, we live in a world with very dangerous players.  The Intelligence Community is our eyes and ears as to what those dangerous players are up to.  You cannot afford to piss them off too much.  You cannot publicly say that you don’t trust them.  They are necessary and very important to help you make the right decisions.

Whether or not you were looking for his divestment from his business, or how he will react to Russia’s intervention in our election process, or what health insurance, if any, you can expect from his “replacement’ plan for the Affordable Care Act, or his willing to be honest with the American People, you came away from his infomercial very disappointed.

All we got was another “look at how wonderful I am and how terrible all you little people are” infomercial.  I am amazed how much Donald Trump tells American People just how stupid they are, and they won’t fight back.

Every time he speaks, he tell us that we are the most stupid, ignorant people on the face of the planet.  He tells us that we aren’t smart enough to deal with foreign countries when it comes to trade or defense.  There is no doubt that when he said during one of the debates “I alone can fix it” he really believed it.

If we are so stupid, why did he name the most anti-public education nut to run our Education Department?  You would think that if we are so stupid, he would want the education of our children be his primary agenda item.  I guess he wants us to remain stupid, even after our savior Donald Trump is dead and buried.

I can’t speak for you, but I came away from his infomercial with far more doubts about him.  If he was trying to make me feel better about his upcoming administration, he failed miserably.  He actually made me more nervous about him and his choices.

Many pundits seem confused by the fact that Trump supporters are not fazed by all of these problems about him.  Remember, even Richard Nixon had his supporters who failed to believe that he was the crook he claimed not to be after all the facts proved it to be true.  So, I am not surprised by Trump supporters.

They are the minority.  At some stage, Trump will do something so obviously wrong he will get caught just like Nixon did.  The one major difference between Trump and Nixon is that Nixon at least tried to keep his mouth shut about everything.  Trump isn’t that smart.  He loves to brag about himself, especially when he thinks he has pulled a fast one.

One last point for my evangelical friends.  Maybe you should be asking yourself if Trump is your anti-Christ?  His actions and greed proves he is no “savior”.

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Day 62

In nine days the Presidency of Barak Obama will come to and end.  During his eight years in office we have seen the least productive three Congresses in our history.  In his last six years, the House was under Republican control due to gerrymandered districts.  In the last two years he faced a total House and Senate in Republican control.  What came from these Congresses?  Nothing.

President Obama was not perfect.  There were some things that I disagreed with him on, but overall, he did more than most other Presidents to help the country.

When he took office, the country was at the beginning of the worst recession since the Great Depression.  The day he took office, we were losing over 850,000 jobs per month.  Before he even had time to even consider the damage taking place, the unemployment rate rose to over 10%.

The President, with a friendly Congress took actions and got Congress to pass the Republican hated stimulus packages.  He worked to help save the auto industry which over 3 million jobs relied.  Slowly, the brakes started to be placed on the economic free-fall.

In the last quarter of his first two years, unemployment rates stopped gaining and new jobs began to be created.  Since then, we have seen 75 consecutive months of new job growth.  That is an unheard of accomplishment.  During those 75 months over 15 million jobs were created.  That is over 2 million jobs per year.  We have never seen jobs grow for so many consecutive months in our history before.

As a result, when the President leaves office, that over 10% unemployment rate sits at 4.7%.  It was cut by nearly 60%.  The auto industry is on firm economic footing again.  In the last two years, income increased at record levels as well.

You know that the workers are beginning to see gains when you look at a state like Kentucky who just passed that “right to work for less” law that Republicans love so much.  It was another attack on unions and an attempt to keep wages low so employers can make more money in profits.  That is the only reason to even consider “right to work” laws.  When workers start making more money, companies turn to Republican controlled state legislatures to put the brakes on those gains.

On top of all of this, our economy has come back without all of the “austerity” measures that European countries tried during the same time period.  Their economies are still lagging behind ours.  That proves that “austerity” does not work the way conservatives say it does.

At the time he took office, the Stock Market was just over 6,000.  Today it is nearly at 20,000.  So, if you own stocks they have tripled in value under President Obama.

I argued about income inequality, and I was hoping that the President could do something about it.  However, I also realize that he cannot do everything by himself.  With an obstructive Congress, there was no way the workers would gain the same attention as the top 1% of the economic ladder do.

Our economy is on strong footing again.  Our companies are healthy again.  People up and down the economic ladder are seeing greater income for their families.  Rather than sinking into a second Great Depression, we were pulled from the brink and put back on the road to a healthy economy.

The Affordable Care Act helped over 20 million people who never had health insurance now have it.  The percentage of uninsured people is at the lowest rate in our country’s history.

Under President Obama our NATO allies were comfortable with us and our actions.  They worked with us and were happy to have a President who did not dictate what everyone should do.  The President worked to build coalitions rather that the rogue “go it alone” of his predecessor.

NATO did not get real nervous until Donald Trump won the election.  His rancorous rhetoric about NATO and his love fest with Putin have made them very nervous about our national interest and our commitment to NATO.  When you say that if a country of NATO is attacked, he would decide to defend them once he reviewed “if they have paid their fair share” makes our allies very nervous.

The other thing is that this President has not been accused of any scandals.  Yes, the conservative wackos will talk about Benghazi and the IRS thing, but there were no real scandals.  We did not see anything like Watergate, the Iran/Contra Affair, or the Monica Lewinsky matter.

The so-called scandals were all politically motivated.  You don’t have to take my word for it either.  Republicans were caught on tape bragging that all of the Benghazi investigations were intended to hurt Clinton during her run for President.

After dozens of investigations and millions of dollars being spent on them, nothing was found to be improper or illegal.  Every time Republicans said “we got her” they didn’t have her.  Every time they said “we have the proof” they had no proof.

You can argue that the President used too many Executive Orders.  But, he did not even come close to the number of Executive Orders issued by the Republican sainted Ronald Regan.  He issued almost 300 Executive Orders in his two terms in office.  And, he had to deal with the Iran/Contra scandal that resulted in some of his staff going to jail.  It was also under his watch that 250 Marines were killed in a terrorist attack on their barracks in Lebanon.

While we have had a few terrorist attacks in our country, they were all conducted by “homegrown” terrorists who were radicalized.  No coordinated attack by foreign terrorists took place on our soil.

What most don’t know is that thousands of potential terrorists were arrested and charged before they were able to act.  Additionally, all of the “terrorist” attacks were not launched by Muslims.  Dylan Roof used a terrorist attack against a black church in Charleston for example.

The rise of ISIS was the direct result of the Iraq war.  When you overthrow a government and do not have a plan on what to do when the war is over, vacuums take hold and terrorism gains a foothold.  That is what President Bush gave us.  But, you cannot end it by simply invading another country like the warmongers want us to do.

He took on climate change.  He took on immigration reform.  He took on education problems.  He took on fair taxes.  He was opposed by Congress on every issue, but he kept working on them.  That is what a President is supposed to do.

Michele Obama was a First Lady of grace.  She, like all First Lady’s before here, picked a topic that was dear to her and helped to teach our children.  She settled on nutrition.  Even though many Republicans and right-wing media gave her hell for her topic, she stuck to her guns.  As a result, we are seeing children trying to eat better.  Good nutrition is important for health and even productivity.

When criticized.  When called hateful names.  Mrs. Obama kept going.  She never hurled insults back at her attackers.  Her goal was to help children and she stuck to that goal regardless of what her detractors said.  That is grace no matter what you think of her.

It is my belief that the Obama’s understood their role.  They also understood that being the first African-American family to live in the White House was a huge challenge.  They seemed to understand that their behavior and actions would be placed under the microscope like no other family before them simply because they were the first African-American First Family.

They conducted themselves with measured temperament.  They conducted themselves in a manner that can be an example to everyone who desires to sit in the Oval Office.

President Obama took office at a very difficult time in our history.  We were fighting two wars.  We were collapsing economically.  He faced problems head-on.  You may agree with what he did, or you may disagree with what he did.  But, at least he did something in an effort to make things better for the American People.  If that is being a bad president, then we will never see a good president.

This President faced more obstructionism than any President in my lifetime.  He faced more death threats than any President in my lifetime.  Yet, as he leaves office, we have a strong economy.  We are safer than we were when he took office.  He ended torture as a way of “interrogation”.

My opinion is that President Obama was one of the best Presidents we have had.  He faced problems with rational thinking and plans to make those problems go away.  He wasn’t always successful.  He may not have made all the right choices.  But, he worked for us and not his own glory.

There has been a lot of talk about his legacy.  The incoming administration will do its best to erase it.  But, they won’t be able to do that.  Only history will give us a full review of his legacy.  I am convinced that history will say that he was one of our best Presidents.

So, I want to say to President Obama a thank you.  May you have a very happy life after office.  You were a great example of what an American President should be.  Farewell!

 

 

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Day 57

Yesterday four people, one adult and three teenagers were arrested and charged with hate crimes for that sickening video showing them torture another teenage boy.  Racial slurs were heard being shouted.  The whole affair was sickening.

There are a lot of people trying to bring up the meme of Black on White hate crimes being rampant, which it is not.  The boy tortured was white and the attackers were black.  Furthermore, the boy went to school with one of his attackers.

This is incident is totally about hate.  It really has not a lot to do with anything else but hate.  I don’t care what color the victim is and I don’t care what color the attackers are.  The fact that something like this can actually happen is out of pure hate.

The absurdity of hate was on full display this past election.  The fact of the matter is that just about everyone could be the victim of hate.  The only problem is that it usually takes race or sexual orientation to make officials charge someone with hate crimes.

When charges are made in hate crimes, both sides all get in an uproar.  Rather than look at the incident it was, we need to “categorize” what type of hate is really is.  We have seen the “justification” of hate crimes by both sides of the issue rather than talking about the hate that caused the crime in the first place.

Don’t you think it is time we faced our hate problem?  Don’t you think it is time put an end to all of this nonsense?  Yes, I know we can never eliminate it completely, but our actions after such incidents tell me that we have no intention of ending the hate.

You have probably seen other posts that tell you that our problem is because we have “turned away from god”.  You have also seen posts that say “this is what happens when you don’t believe in god.”

Sorry, but that is a form of hate all by itself.  The very idea that only “god-fearing” people are good people is total bullshit.  Morality is based more on how humanity treats other members of the human race.  It has nothing to do with religion.

In fact, religion is one of the primary forces behind our hate.  We hate minorities because “god mad us superior”.  We hate women because “god made them subordinate to men”.  We hate gays because they are “sinners in the eyes of god”.

Then we have people who hate just because they love to hate others.  Hating someone else makes them feel good about themselves.  It makes them feel superior.  It categorizes people into bins that allow us to separate ourselves from them.

The world we live in is complex and can be very divisive.  You cannot have black without white.  You cannot have light without dark.  You cannot have love without hate.  And, you cannot have good without evil.

The thing that makes us get along is our basic humanity.  Love is not based on religion it is based on our common humanity.  Hate on the other hand is based on ego.  The idea that I am better than you so therefore I can hate you.

We also live in a country that is supposed to be based on the claim “that all men are created equal”.  Yet, too many of our politicians have led the charge against inclusiveness.  They “categorize” people into those handy bins to make them lesser people than the “chosen” category of people.

Legalized discrimination bills based on so-called religious beliefs makes hate much easier.  The so-called bathroom bills make hate much easier.  Voter restriction laws make hate much easier.  Any law that restricts or bars access to basic rights make hate easier.

You can make the argument that problems like these are taught in the homes.  You can make the argument that parents need to teach their children better.  You can make a lot of arguments about cases like this.  But, making arguments is fixing blame and not addressing the real problem of hate itself.

When someone says “I’m not a racist” but refuses to acknowledge the civil rights of minorities, you are lying to yourself.  If you say you “love gays, but hate the sin” you are lying to yourself.  Whenever you argue against your own beliefs you are lying to yourself.

You cannot say that you love our neighbor and then send disparaging emails against people or groups.  You cannot say you are compassionate and then call someone with a disability a “gimp” or someone with a mental disability “nuts” or “stupid”.  That is simply lying to yourself.

Lying to ourselves makes our hate covert, but it is still there.  Lying to ourselves allow us to make excuses when something like this happens.  Lying to ourselves does not help stem hate, it actually feeds it.

When you really look at it, hate is nothing more than an act of terrorism.  Letting people know your hate towards them should be classified as terrorism because we you are trying to make them fear you.

I hope with all my heart that these people who tortured this boy get exactly what they deserve according to the law.  Just like I do whenever any of the thousands of hate crimes that occur everyday in this country find justice.

But, if you want to see an end to these types of crimes, you cannot keep lying to yourself.  You need to look yourself in the mirror and confront your hate.  Then, you need to work to overcome and end your own hate.  Otherwise, hate will continue.  Hate crimes will continue.

I don’t care if you are religious or not.  I don’t care what color you are or nationality, or sex, or sexual orientation.  The fact is we are all part of the human race.  We are all brothers and sisters with a single common factor.  We deserve better from our neighbors.  We deserve better from ourselves.

The fact of the matter is only we can stop hate.  Then maybe we will see an end to these sickening crimes.  One can only hope.

 

 

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Day 55

The real problem with lying is that you have to keep track of your lies.  Otherwise they become a blur and you get confused about what lies you told, and which lies come together for a full story.

Our president-elect should know this better than anyone.  Yet, he has a problem.  He lies so much he can’t keep track of what lies he has told and how they mesh together.

Last week he said that we was going to meet with Intelligence Officials this week.  Then, he said that he “had information about Russia hacking our elections that no one else had.”  He then promised to let us know what that information was either Yesterday or Today.

I guess he got the two statements mixed up.  Because yesterday he tweeted that the Intelligence Briefing he said would be “this week” was “delayed” until Friday.  While he was tweeting this, the Director of Homeland Security and the FBI were getting ready to fly to New York on Friday to brief him on the intelligence that shows Russia was the guilty party.

His tweet actually read:

The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!

In the meantime, he has not yet released the “information I have no one else has” to the public like he promised.  I guess he got confused, again, and is looking to divert his promise to release his own information.

Besides, if he has information no one else has, where did he get it?  If he hasn’t seen the intelligence reports about the hacking, and hasn’t attended any briefings about the hack, how can he have any information?  Unless he got it from Putin.

I am sure that the entire world will believe what Putin has to say about the issue.  I am certain that Putin will look Trump in the eye and say “I don’t know anything about it” and Trump will believe him.  No one else in the world will believe him, but Trump will.

There are two things about this president-elect that I find interesting.  The first is his constant pounding of the very intelligence agencies he is going to head up.  Oh, yes, he keeps bringing up the “weapons of mass destruction” lie that got us into the Iraq war as his evidence, but you have to remember, it wasn’t the CIA saying that to the world, it was the Bush Administration, mostly Dick Cheney.

It is the job of the intelligence agencies to gather the information and present it to the President.  It is up to the President how to use that information, and whether or not to lie about it.  If you are itching for a war, you lie about it.

And, if Trump is such an expert in cyber security, why does he always tell us his 10 year-old son knows more about computers than he does?  That tells me that he doesn’t know anything about computers and probably uses his 10 year-old son to operate his remote control for his television because he can’t figure that out either.

The second thing that bothers me is his love affair with Putin and Russia.  In my 66 years of living, I have never seen an American president fall in love with a country that is considered as our “enemy” as Trump has with Russia.

Russia is run by the former head of the KGB.  In case Trump has forgotten, the KGB was the major spy agency for the former Soviet Union.  He made a living trying to destroy us.  What makes Trump think he has had a change of heart now?

If Putin and Russia were charged in a U.S. Court for the crime of hacking, they would not need hire an attorney.  Trump and his transition team are better “public defenders” for them than any attorney could be.

No matter how you slice it, Trump can’t keep his lies in order.  He tweets so much he forgets what he said before.  He was willing to lie his way into the White House, and he is apparently willing to keep lying no matter what.

I am a progressive person.  I am a 20 year veteran.  I don’t like war unless it is absolutely necessary.  But, I do know that we need our intelligence agencies.  They need to be watched so they don’t abuse their powers, but they are needed.  And, if the information they present is not what you want to hear, it doesn’t make it wrong.

There are rogues in every agency.  However, the vast majority of people who work in our intelligence agencies only look for the facts and tell like it is.  They do not sugar coat the message to appease an administration.  If Trump wants to hear only what he wants to hear, then he is interested in having a KGB instead of a CIA or NSA.

Somehow I cannot imagine what it is like to go through life lying every single day.  Maybe the lessons I learned about integrity are too deep for me to even try to lie so much. It seems very easy to Trump.

Whenever something good happens it is all because of Trump.  Whenever something bad happens it is always some else’s fault.  His inauguration is sixteen days away, and we still don’t know how he plans to divest all of his holdings so there is no conflict of interest.  That is if he even will attempt to divest himself.

We were supposed to learn that last month.  We still don’t know when he will tell us.  Yes, he announced a press conference for January 11, but he never said what it will entail.

My suggestion to Donald Trump is if you are going to continue to lie to the American people, have at least enough smarts to reread your tweets for the previous week so you can keep your lies together.

Imagine, this clown is going to lead our country and be given highly classified material in order to do his job.  Now that is scary.

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