Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Day 160. 

As usual, there are a lot of things to talk about this morning.  We have beloved leader calling Erdogan to “congratulate” him on his referendum victory.  Only, his referendum victory is going to demolish their parliamentary democracy and establish Erdogan as a dictator.  Even trump’s own State Department said the vote was not fair and the victory should be overturned, but trump loves seeing democracy disappear, apparently.

Then we have the issue of just where in the world the aircraft carrier group that is supposed to be off Korea really is.  It turns out that while trump was declaring this “powerful armada” was heading to Korea, it was off the coast of Australia participating in exercises with the Australian Navy.  It was nowhere near the Korean Peninsula.  Which means the administration lied, or they had no idea what they were talking about.  Neither is very good if you are the leader of a country.

But, while all this stupidity is on full display, there are a lot of things that are not only stupid, but actually dangerous to the American public.  Americans are being made more unsafe by trump and his administration, but no one in the media is talking about them.

Remember when trump said he launched his attack on Syria because he saw those pictures “of those beautiful babies” and decided he had to act?  Sounds very commendable.  Only, American babies all across the nation are at threat of being victims of chemical deaths, and trump is willing to allow it to happen.

This threat comes from hazardous chemical facilities ― from oil refineries to water treatment plants. An accident, natural disaster, or deliberate attack could trigger an explosion or chemical release that could kill thousands of people. Millions of our citizens live and work near these dangerous facilities.

This problem has been with us for generations.  The EPA is supposed to protect us from these dangers, but trump has pulled back.  First after three years of intensive discussions with chemical companies, plant workers, affected communities, first responders and others, the Environmental Protection Agency on January 13 issued a rule to help protect the American people from these dangers. The rule strengthens the federal Risk Management Program (RMP), which addresses some 12,500 facilities that use or store large quantities of highly toxic or highly flammable chemicals.

So to prove that you do not matter more than the bottom liner of companies, Scott Pruitt, the EPA director acted on a petition from the chemical industry and placed a stay on the rule until June.  Now that has happened, the chemical lobbyists are busy trying to kill the rule altogether.  And, to give them more time, Pruitt is proposing to keep the rule on hold until 2019.

In 2006, then Senator Barak Obama said that chemical plants are basically stationary chemical weapons.  And time and time again, we have seen this observation to be true.

It was just in 2013 that a plant in West, TX had an ammonia nitrate explosion.  It was even suspected that the explosion was caused by sabotage.  15 people were killed and 160 were injured.  But you probably don’t know this part because it is never reported as it should be.  From 2004 to 2013 there were some 1,500 chemical releases or explosions in this country causing 17,000 injuries and 58 deaths. There have been hundreds more incidents since then, with more casualties.

In 1984 a United Carbide company in Bhopal India suffered an accident that caused the deaths of 20,000 people.  Don’t think that type of accident cannot happen here.  What would happen if a terrorist attacked a large chemical plant?  How many people in the surrounding area be killed by release of these toxic chemicals?  Our beloved leader says he wants to keep Americans safe, but from what?  Obviously he isn’t trying to keep us safe from chemical companies.

The EPA has identified 466 chemical facilities that each put 100,000 or more people at risk of a poison gas disaster. In 2004, the Homeland Security Council projected that a major attack would kill 17,500 people and injure tens of thousands.

The Risk Management Program (RMP) that this rule would have strengthened was not perfect.  Chemical industry lobbying already has kept important protections out of the RMP rule. In particular, community, labor and environmental groups had strongly urged that plants be required to move to safer technologies where feasible, as some responsible companies, such as Clorox, have already done voluntarily.

But the final RMP rule does provide for some critical, common-sense reforms: enhancing emergency preparedness; improving investigations of near-miss incidents; increasing public access to chemical hazard information; and, for three industries with the most serious accident records ― refineries, chemical manufacturers, and pulp and paper mills ― requiring safer technology analyses.

I worked for a long time in disaster preparedness planning.  One of the biggest concerns I always had was about chemical accidents.  This country has had way too many accidents that have led to deaths and injuries.  And, not very much has been done to stop or even reduce such accidents.  This rule was definitely a step in the right direction.  It was intended to protect the American public from suffering more deaths from accidents in refineries, chemical plants, and a lot more.

But, like other rules that protect people, this rule would cost the manufacturers money to implement them properly.  And, that would affect their bottom line.  And, that is something totally unacceptable to the trump administration.  The health and safety of the American people comes in second to company profits.  The stay on this rule is a perfect example of that philosophy.

It is no accident that people like the Koch brothers are such strong supporters of the Republican party.  It is no accident that Republicans are very willing to save profits and not save lives.  The only thing that matters to Republicans is money and power.  They believe that money leads to power, and they will do nothing that will affect the donations from people like the Koch brothers even at the expense of the lives of their own constituents.

There are refineries, chemical plants, and other hazardous sites all across the country.  Millions of people live in the shadow of these facilities and Republicans say their lives are “expendable” because doing something to protect them would cost the facility owners “too much money”.

The idea of a terrorist attack against one of these facilities is not out of the question either.  In 2003, the government’s National Infrastructure Protection Center warned that U.S. chemical plants could be terrorist targets. Security experts have warned of the relative ease with which determined attackers could thwart plant security. The potential for cyber attacks makes the challenge even more serious.

So, as you can see, you are more at risk than you think.  But, trump and his administration just doesn’t care if you are hurt or die if such an attack should happen.  The rule was too “costly” for the company owners, so it must be killed.  And, since it might cause blowback from voters, it must be killed very quietly and very secretly.

I dare any conservative out there to defend this stay of the rule without using money as an excuse.  I cannot think of a single reason other than money why this rule should not be in effect right now.  I seriously warn America to wake up and see what trump is doing to you.  It isn’t getting you new jobs.  It isn’t making your life better.  It isn’t making you safer.

This administration only has one real goal.  To make the rich richer and everyone else poorer.  If making the rich richer means you need to be placed at risk, then that is perfect for them.  If you happen to live near one of these facilities, you better be prepared to run like hell if an accident happens.  Because trump and his administration really don’t care about you.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Day 153. 

We are at the end of month three of our beloved leaders presidency.  I am not one of those who think the first 100 days tells us anything, normally, but at this stage, I think it is time to reflect on just what our beloved leader means when he says “great”.

In the first three months, our beloved leader has accomplished absolutely nothing.  He failed in his attempt to “repeal and replace” the ACA with the House’s rotten Americans Without Health Care Act.  He twice tried to enact a Muslim Ban using Executive Orders and was blocked by the courts both times.

We keep hearing about all of the wonderful things he has done, so let’s look at what he has actually accomplished.  He has managed to raise the mortgage insurance rates for first time home buyers by $500 per year.

He has allowed coal companies to use rivers and streams for the dumping grounds for their toxic waste.  He has given the greenlight to a foreign company to build a pipeline across the middle of our country using foreign steel.  And, he is also allowing that foreign company to use U.S. Eminent Domain to steal land from the people who own it to build their pipeline.

He has ignored the environment case and the treaties with the Standing Rock Sioux to allow that pipeline to cross under a lake that provides drinking water to the reservations, and dumps into the Missouri River that provides drinking water to about 17 million other residents in three states.

He has started mass deportations of people who are undocumented immigrants.  He stayed quiet when his Secretary of Homeland Security announced they “might separate children from their families” when they are caught at the border.  He has allowed people under the protection of DACA to be rounded up with other undocumented immigrants.

He has refused to allow Syrian children and their families to seek asylum in our country, but then turned around and made a worthless attack on Syria because he saw those videos of “beautiful babies” being killed by the Syrian Regime.  He loves those “beautiful babies” so much he is willing to attack a sovereign country, but he hates them so much he won’t let them get away from the war and gain entry to our country.

His head of the EPA has given the greenlight to Dow Chemical to continue to sell and farmers to use a pesticide that has been proven to affect the brain development of children and the unborn that Republicans love so much.  The original ban was for “food crops” but his administration thinks that is too much to ask to protect our children.

His proposed budget will cut the State Department by over 30 percent.  It will cut the EPA by over 30 percent and he has placed a gag order on anyone at EPA from even talking about climate change science.  It will cut NOAA by at least 25 percent.  That isn’t too important, except that is the agency that provides the National Weather Service with information that helps get out weather warnings to the people.

He is cutting satellite time for the National Weather Service.  He wants to eliminate all of the Coast Guard’s funding for new equipment.  The Coast Guard only saves lives, protects our ports, helps with drug interdiction, helps with people trafficking, helps enforce and clean up after oil spills in our oceans, rivers, and lakes, and a lot more.  So, they aren’t that important.

It is going to cut out the National Broadcasting Corporation so you won’t find Sesame Street. They say you can now watch it on HBO, but they fail to tell you that you have to “subscribe” to HBO and poor people can’t afford that just to get children’s educational programming.  But what the hell, education is overrated according to beloved leader.

He has allowed ISP companies to sell your personal data to anyone without your permission or giving you any compensation.  He is about to eliminate net neutrality so those same ISP companies can charge you more for using their “fast lane” on your computer.  If you fail to pay the higher rates, you will be placed in the slow lane and have to wait longer to download your information.

His administration is embroiled in a counter espionage investigation being conducted by the FBI because it appears that at least some of his advisors were cooperating with Russia in their hack of our elections.  It was revealed that Carter Page was the target of a FISA warrant because the FBI believed that he was acting as an unregistered foreign agent.  The warrant was issued back in June or July while he was working for the trump campaign.

Paul Manafort has made the headlines again because at least $1.2 million form the so-called black ledger of the former Putin ally who was president did go to his consulting firm after he denied anything like has happened.

Both Republicans and Democrats who have viewed those classified documents that had Nunes all a tizzy said there is nothing in them that say anyone in the Obama administration, including Susan Rice did anything unusual or wrong.

The Immigration Advisor, Sebastian Gorka, has ties to an ultra-right wing party in Hungary that the State Department still labels as a collaborator with the Nazis during World War II.  He claims not to be a racist or belong to the organization, but he proudly wore the medal of the Order of Vitez to the presidential inaugural ball!  He claims he has not sworn allegiance to the Order of Vitez, but the Order say he has.  Yet, he still has his job with a president who has a daughter who is Jewish.

Our beloved leader has not created a single job since he took office.  He has done nothing to improve the lot of the working class.  He reuses to raise the minimum wage.  He has repealed worker protection orders on equal pay and sexual abuse for women working for companies under government contract.

He declared this as Women’s Abuse month, then went on to praise Bill O’Reilly for “being such a nice guy” even after the new blow up about his sexual abuse of women on his show and at Fox News.  Someone ought to tell our beloved leader that Women’s Abuse month is not a period of time to praise those who abuse women.  But, what do you expect from a man who brags how he can sexually abuse women and get away with it because he is famous.

A few days ago a teacher and one 8-year-old child were shot and killed in the school by the teacher’s estranged husband.  Not a peep out of the administration about this incident.  Why?  Because it did not involve a Muslim.  And, because it was committed by a man who apparently “abused” his wife when married.

Yesterday our lovely and stupid Attorney General announced a crackdown on every single person trying to cross the border “illegally”.  It even includes prosecuting people for “harboring” illegal immigrants.  It further appears that if a man comes across the border with his wife and children, he will face “harboring” charges for bringing his family with him.

Finally, beloved leader’s propaganda minister tripped all over himself with a horrible comparison between the chemical attack in Syria and Hitler.  Saying “even Hitler didn’t use chemicals against his own people”.  Then he called the concentration camps “holocaust centers”, like they were a nice place to go to be relocated.

Now, to be fair to Spicer, he actually did apologize.  He didn’t use the standard trump line of “if I offended anybody” he actually said he made a stupid mistake.  But, that doesn’t take away from the stupidity to begin with.  If you are going to be the Press Secretary, don’t you think you should know at least basic history?

It is also understandable that there has been no comment from the White House either.  Stephen Bannon, Gorka, and a lot of other “key” employees of trump are known to be white supremacists.  So the culture of such comments is not all that unusual for this administration.

What we have discussed here is just the tip of the iceberg.  There has been a host of other outrageous things that the administration has either done or is going to try to do.  For example, the proposed tax reform plan includes eliminating the Social Security Tax from your pay checks.  Sounds nice, but without that tax, how will Social Security be funded?  It will be at the mercy of Paul Ryan the Republicans who want to kill Social Security completely.

So, we must ask beloved leader one question.  What exactly do you mean by “Make America Great Again?  So far, you haven’t done anything that could remotely be any indication of making America great.  All you have done is lie to the American people and take just about every weekend off to go play golf at Mar A Lago on our dime.  At the rate you are going, you will have played more rounds of golf in one year than President Obama did in eight years.

It is very clear that when beloved leader says he is going to Make America Great Again” he isn’t talking about making it great for you and me.  He is talking about making it great for himself and the 1 percenters.

I guess it is possible that things will change.  But with trump, I find that possibility very unlikely.  And, we are only at the end of three months.  Seems like thirty years.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Day 151. 

Yesterday, the news media was still all agog about the strike on Syria.  Still too many of our media were trying to show that trump was being “presidential” when he ordered the attack.   However, there were four words that prove you cannot trust trump, and that his administration will spin anything to try to make him look good.

Those four words came from Nicky Haley who is the UN Ambassador for the U.S.  She was on Jake Tapper’s show when he asked:

He was worried about starting World War III over Syria. Why is that no longer a concern? And why was the 2013 chemical weapons attack, which, as you know, was deadlier, not a trigger for him in terms of the principle of inaction in Syria?

In typical Republican fashion she replied:  “He wasn’t president yet”.  She went on to say:

But I don’t know what his thought process was then.  I can tell you what his thought process was this week, which was, he is not going to condone chemical weapons use ever.

I can tell you that of the conversations I had this week, he knew what the risks were, he knew what the situation was, he looked at the history of the situation, and he decided.

But, it was the first four words that she uttered that are the most scary.  She admitted that trump cannot be trusted to follow through on his “promises” that he made on the campaign trail.  See, it wasn’t just in 2013 that trump said attacking Syria would be wrong, he kept that up through the entire campaign.

He kept up his anti-interventionalist attitude and even went so far as to say that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, would start World War III over Syria.  The 2013 comments were not one-offs.  They were expressed as his foreign policy.  Just a week before the chemical attacks, his administration made it clear that it was not our goal to oust Assad.

Then, when he does intervene in Syria, it is okay because when he made all of those comments “he wasn’t president yet”.  And, unfortunately for us, that leaves a whole lot of questions about other promises he has made.

For example, all during the campaign, he said that he would “repeal and replace Obamacare” with something great.  He said that his health care plan “would cover everyone”.   But, his backing of the Americans Without Health Care Act proved he didn’t mean that either.  Is that because he “wasn’t the president yet”?

Then we have his promise not to touch Medicare or Social Security.  Are we to believe that he will keep Ryan and Price from gutting those two programs?  Or, are we to believe that he can dial those promises back too because “he wasn’t president yet”?

That can go for just about everything he promised during the campaign.  We are already hearing from his Secretary of Homeland Security that his “beautiful wall” probably won’t be a full “physical wall”.  We are still waiting to see how his infamous “infrastructure bill” will look like.  He has not given specifics on that one either.  Are we to assume that he wasn’t telling truth because “he wasn’t president yet”?

Then we have to consider the simple fact that he said he conducted the attack because he was so moved by those “beautiful babies” being killed in the chemical attack.  Yet, he still says that he won’t allow those same “beautiful babies” to immigrate to the U.S. in order to keep from dying in the next chemical attack.  That is because all of those “beautiful babies” are a real threat to America.

The unfortunate part in all of this is that our wonderful media did not press the issue.  No one asked Haley if the fact that he changed his mind so easily was simply because when he said he was against such actions “he wasn’t president yet”.  No one asked if that included his promises on everything else he said during the campaign.

We are only three months into the trump presidency, and we already see that he cannot be trusted with anything he says.  When he breaks his promises to his majority of supporters and guts Social Security and Medicare, he can always fall back on this absurdity of “he wasn’t president yet” when he made those promises.

I know that everyone thinks that politicians all lie to get into office.  However, we have not had a president who so blatantly has lied to the people and then use the lame excuse of “he wasn’t president yet”.

As we speak, he has sent a naval fleet off the coast of North Korea to “show our strength”.   Russia and Iran are rattling their swords saying the attack on Syria “crossed many red lines” in their opinion.

Are we going see his “America First” policy really meant “America First In War” policy?   Will he then use the excuse that “he wasn’t president yet” when he said he wouldn’t drag us into another war?

Since Republicans are having a hard time to really defend the “moron in chief”, they are grasping at straws to defend him.  However, every time they open their mouths, they give us another reason not to believe or trust our beloved leader.

Yesterday it was Nicky Haley who blurted out that we cannot trust trump with those four little words.   All kinds of pundits have been claiming that she is the “rising star” in the Republican party today.  If those words are any indication of her qualities, we still don’t have any “stars” in the Republican party.

The party is filled with political hacks who are not interested in governing.  They are only interested in the power of being in office gives them.  And, as usual under Republican rule over the last 40 years, we all lose.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

Read Full Post »

Day 149. 

In the last twenty-four hours we have heard lots of people talking about how “presidential” the attack on Syria was.  Pundits are falling all over themselves congratulating trump for his “presidential stand” against the dictator in Syria.  You are even hearing how the bromance between trump and putin has ended because of the attack.

I don’t agree with either of those assessments.  I know that just because you use the most powerful military in the world to blow some shit up does not make you presidential if that is all you have.  And, so far, trump has shown us that is all he has.

What everyone is missing is that we have bombed and blown shit up in Syria for a while now.  President Obama sent in bombs more than once in Syria, but he was attacking ISIS not the Syrian government.  When he requested authorization from congress, something he should have done, to attack Syria after the chemical attack in 2013 with basically the same target and plan as this one, he was rejected by the same Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell who claim that now it is being “presidential” because their lackey bombed Syria without asking them to stick their necks out on the issue like Obama did.

And, for all of you “pure constitutionalists” out there, Obama followed the Constitution in getting approval from Congress to launch an attack on a sovereign nation.  Beloved leader did not seek approval which means he did not follow the Constitution.  Which also means he used “executive overreach” to launch his attack.

Yesterday I asked, what next?  We still don’t know what is being planned next, if anything.  We hear that if Assad uses chemical weapons again, he will be attacked again.  But that is all.

Additionally, we don’t know how much damage was actually done.  It was reported yesterday that Syrian planes were taking off from the airfield that was attacked less than 24 hours later.  They were flying attack missions against the same area of Syria that they chemically attacked earlier in the week.  So, it would appear the attack, in Mitch McConnell’s own words, was a “pinprick”.

But, even more importantly, we need to know, and we have a right to know, just what beloved leader plans to do next.  He has officially dragged us into the civil war in Syria.  Bombing ISIS as Obama did was one thing, bombing Syrian forces is another.  Since we have now more or less picked sides for the whole world to see, what will he do next?

Just a couple of weeks ago we were told by the empty suit, Rex Tillerson, that who runs Syria is up to the Syrian people.  Things changed Thursday night when trump attacked that leader directly.  So, are we now fighting on the side of the rebels and are we going to try to oust Assad?  Are we going to increase air strikes against not only ISIS but the Syrian military as well?

If we manage to oust Assad, what then?  Who will run Syria?  Will Russia have a say in who is the new leader?  What happens if Syria becomes another Iraq?  Will we continue the western policy of putting together countries without regard to what the population is and what they want?  Or, will we consider splitting up the country so each ethic or religious sect gets their own country?

If we are going to expand our presence in Syria, does that mean ground troops?  If there are ground troops, how will that affect things with Russia and Iran who already have troops in the country?  Will we decide to split up the country under American, Russian and Iranian zones like we did Berlin after World War II?

That would mean that each of the three countries would be forced to keep their troops in Syria for a very long time.  Are we willing to do that?  If we do, what does that mean to the rest of the middle-east?  What if Iran demands the zone bordering on Israel?  More importantly, what will Turkey say about that?  Would we need to include a zone for them?

Syria is a mess.  The civil war has been raging for six years.  A lot of the country is in total ruins.  Even if we find a peaceful solution to this mess, how does Syria recover economically?  How does Syria recover from this horrible situation?  Who will be responsible to help rebuild the country?  Will we even consider helping them, or hide back in trump’s “America First” slogan?

Beloved leader has put himself in a real mess as far as I am concerned.  The problem is he has no clue how to get out of it.  We are facing lots of problems and we don’t have the people in place to handle all of these problems and offer proper solutions to them.

As we have talked, the State Department and the Department of Defense are horribly undermanned because trump hasn’t even named anyone to fill the empty desks that smart people who could analyze and help solve these problems usually fill.  Thursday night trump officially became a war president.  And, he is ill prepared to be a war president.

Finally, trump claimed he launched the attack because of the heart wrenching videos of the victims of that horrible chemical attack.  The very same people who have been hoping to come to the U.S. to get away from the war and be saved from becoming victims of future attacks.  If he was so moved, why is he still banning refugees from coming here?  That just shows me he really isn’t “moved” by those videos, he just used them as an excuse to blow up some shit for some good press for a change.

As you can see, just blowing shit up does not make one presidential.  Having a plan, knowing what you will do next, and be able to explain those two things to the American People make you presidential.  I am afraid we will be waiting for hell to freeze over before trump becomes presidential in any meaningful way.

Remember his “secret plan” to defeat ISIS?  We still haven’t seen that plan either on paper or in action.  That tells me he has no plan to follow-up his attack on Syria with.

The major reason Iraq is such a mess goes back to George W. Bush and his neo-con VP Dick Cheney.  They launched an attack on Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein without a plan to follow once that happened.  As a result, there has been 14 years of civil war in that country, too.

If trump thinks that blowing shit up is being presidential, what can we expect when he looks at North Korea?  Will he decide to blow shit up there too without a real plan for follow-up action?

Sorry folks, but without thinking things through beforehand and having a real plan for what to do, blowing shit up is political not presidential.  We need a president not a continuous political candidate at this critical time in the world.  Problem is trump only wants to be a continuous political candidate.  He has shown no real interest in becoming a real president.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Day 148.

Thursday night, our president ordered a missile attack on Syria.  The target was a single airfield that was supposedly used to launch the chemical attack by Assad on his own people.

It should be noted that this attack was probably a good thing.  However, there are a lot of questions about the attack and how it was coordinated with our allies, and if Russia was notified just prior to the attack.

Notifying Russia would have been a good thing because Russia has advisors all over the country as well as thousands of troops in the country.  By warning them, even if giving a very short time period, it would have given them time to get out of the way and save their people in the attack zone if any of their people were there.

Our beloved leader just made his first decision on the international stage, and we can only hope he took the necessary steps necessary to keep personnel from countries like Russia and Iran out of harms way.

I am not going to criticize the president for the attack.  I do believe that we cannot just sit back and watch a country break international law by using chemical weapons.  However, I also cannot help but worry about how it was handled, and what he plans to do next.

I urge you not to be too overly excited or overly damning about the attack.  This dictator has been brutal in the civil war, and killing innocent civilians is bad enough.  Using chemical weapons against women and children is inexcusable and should be punished.  But, we also must consider many things that could result from this attack.

First, we have to wonder what Assad will do in retaliation, if anything.  For example, it would not surprise me if he launched another chemical attack on the rebels in retaliation.  Dictators have a tendency to retaliate against their own people if they are harmed in anyway.

Secondly, we have to wonder if he might target our ground troops that are in Syria.  Will he decide to attack them, maybe even using chemical weapons?  As I mentioned the other day, we have approximately 1500 troops in Syria fighting ISIS.

Third, we need to wonder what Russia and/or Iran will do in retaliation, if anything.  Especially if we didn’t warn them and their people were killed in the attack.  It was reported they notified Russia, but what about Iran?  There wasn’t anything said about them yet.  We have to be honest, if our people were killed by another country, we would be extremely pissed off about it, and there would be lots of calls for retaliation.

Fourth, what are the cowards in the Republican Controlled Congress going to do?  One of the biggest reasons President Obama didn’t do anything in Syria was due to law.  He did not have an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) from Congress.  There were bills introduced by Democrats to get an AUMF at the time, but our cowardly Republicans refused to even vote on them.

If it becomes necessary for us to do more in Syria, especially if they use chemical weapons again, the president will need an AUMF to legally take additional action.  Yes, the biggest “hawks” in Congress are all in the Republican Party.  However, when they are asked to put their necks on the line with a vote on any AUMF, they run and hide.  So, what are they going to do after this attack.

Fifth, what about Hezbollah?  What will they decide to do, especially against Israel.  The biggest ally and arms supplier to Hezbollah in their fight against Israel is Syria and Iran.  For that matter, will Assad decide to attack Israel itself in order to attempt to drag Iran and other Arab nations into the fight to save his skin by trying to escalate his civil war into a war on Israel?

The real concern is that if Assad were to attack Israel can bet you last dollar that Israel will retaliate.  And, I don’t believe they will be too worried if they kill any Russians and/or Iranians in the process.  That could be a real problem.  Can our president keep Israel out of the conflict or not?    Would he even try.

Sixth, we have to wonder if this attack was also a signal to North Korea.  We need to wonder how the baby dictator in North Korea will react to this attack.  Will he think this is just a first strike and he is next?  If he believes that, will he launch a preemptive attack on South Korea?

The President of China is with the president right now.  Will he call North Korea and tell them it doesn’t affect them and don’t do anything stupid?  Has our president even asked him to make such a call?  Since trump has gone on record and said “If China won’t do anything to stop North Korea, we will” we need to wonder what North Korea is thinking right now.  If we don’t, we can be caught with our pants down in South Korea.  I am not going to be just watching Syria, Russia and Iran.  I am going to be watching North Korea as well.

Seventh, did trump tell the Chinese what he was going to do?  The Chinese President is with him, and I believe it would be very poor diplomacy not to inform him before the missiles started flying.  I am hoping that since as of this writing China has been quiet about the attack, he did.

Please be clear.  I am not denouncing the attack.  I am not denouncing trump for the attack.  Nor am I cheering it either.  I am merely wondering what he did before launching the missiles, and who he notified before the attack.  The answers to those questions will help determine what will happen next.  A real leader would have taken such steps and considered everything I discussed above before acting.

People like General Mattis should know this too.  I am hoping that for once trump actually listened to him before he fired off the first missile.  All we can do now it to wait, watch, and wonder what is next.

 

Read Full Post »

Day 147. 

For once, that quote from our beloved leader may be right on the nail.  Only, I don’t think it will be what he thinks it will.  He made that comment talking about Susan Rice, but I think it will be more about his incompetence than anything else.

Let me start here by explaining why all of the hoopla he is trying to place on Rice is a false narrative.  He is trying to make you believe that if Susan Rice requested redacted names be released to her is the same as leaking the information.  He is telling you in reality that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

I will try to explain the process as best I can.  It works like this.  Several people who are cleared receive intelligence reports about FISA warrants,.  When they get the report any U.S. citizen caught up in the warrant has their name redacted in the report.  If that person reads something that is disturbing, they can request the name of that person to better analyze what took place.

Once that request is made, it goes through a thorough process to determine if giving the name is necessary.  The person making the request is not involved in the process.  The National Security Agency has the final say so if the name will be given to the person requesting it.  It must also go through the intelligence agency who collected the information in the first place.

If it is decided that the name can be released to the person requested, that person cannot share that information with anyone else.  Except, maybe the President if necessary.

Secondly, a recipient of these reports, cannot request the reports of all incidents of a U.S. citizen being incidentally surveilled.  The reports are filed under the name of the person on the FISA warrant, not the people they are talking to.  So, the idea that anyone could ‘request” all reports dealing with a certain U.S. citizen is bogus.

One of the people who receive these reports on a daily basis is the National Security Advisor.  It is simply a matter of that person doing their job if they feel they need the name of a redacted person.  So, this idiocy over Rice is nothing but a political game being played by conservatives.

But, let’s get back to the quote.  We are sitting on the edge of two major international crises.  One is in North Korea where their version of trump is planning to go nuclear in the real sense.  And, the other is in Syria where the dictator has heard trump say he is safe from us.

Beloved leader has made a lot of political statements about these two problems, but he has yet to say anything about what he might do about them.  He has blustered and threatened with his infamous quote of “all options are on the table”.

That is one of the most ridiculous statements that can be made by a leader of any country.  Syria has used gas in attacking the rebels about 5 – 9 times since trump has taken office.  This is the first time he has even recognized the attack.  And, since he loves Putin so much, it is doubtful he will do anything without Putin’s permission.

You must also take into consideration that trump has said over and over for at least four years now, that “Syria is not our problem.  We need to let Russia and Iran settle the problem there”.  Now he claims to have had “a change of heart”.

We also have to look at what he did yesterday with the National Security Council.  He relieved Steve Bannon from his permanent seat on the NSC Policy committee.  The thing that struck me most about this move is the feeble excuse for the move given by the White House.

The White House said that Bannon was on the council to “keep an eye on Michael Flynn”.  Now that Flynn is gone he isn’t needed there anymore.  That only shows the American People that trump’s judgement of people is absolutely horrible.  How in the hell can a president name someone his National Security Advisor and then have to put someone on the council in order to  “keep an eye” on him.  That fact would tell any sane person that the nominee isn’t qualified to be the National Security Advisor in the first place.

To put in in terms trump might understand, that would be like naming someone the CFO of a major corporation, and then having to hire someone else just to make sure the CFO doesn’t try any embezzlement against the company.  It would be stupid business practice, and it is dangerous when it comes to national security.

The executive branch has over 500 positions that need Senate approval.  So far, trump has not even named a nominee for 512 of those position.  At least 38 of those positions are in the State Department.  These positions lead departments that are supposed to feed information to the president on international issues that he needs to make informed decision.   Beloved leader, by his own incompetence of not filling these positions, is not getting the information he needs at this critical time.

This week he sent his son-in-law to meet with Kurdish leaders in Iraq.  He did not send anyone with any real experience in the area to help advise him.  Kushner’s main sidekick on this trip was “trump’s private body-guard”.  And, he wasn’t there as a body-guard, he was sitting at the table with the Kurdish leaders.

I can only imagine what the Kurds thought of their counterparts at the meeting.  In one picture, you can see one of the Kurds staring at the body-guard and it is clear to me that he isn’t impressed with him.

Today beloved leader is supposed to meet with the President of China Xi Jinping.  He says that he will have frank discussions with him about North Korea.  We have been told by trump that “if China doesn’t do something about North Korea, we will”.

That can only be taken by China as a warning that trump will start a war on the Korean Peninsula.  My question is who is going to attend this “meeting” with the Chinese and trump?  You can bet that Kushner will be there.  But, who else is going to be there?  Especially who will be there that actually has experience dealing with China and knows something about the whole situation there and in North Korea?  Are we gong to be led by an incompetent leader with inexperienced advisors?

We have a president who has no experience in governing.  He promised the American People that he would “hire the smartest and best people available” to help him.  Instead, he has hired incompetent people with no experience in governing or international affairs.

Let’s be honest, being the head of a major oil company and bribing country leaders to get contracts to take the oil out of their country does not give you “international experience” that is required to be Secretary of State.  But, that was trump’s best pick for the job.

Whenever we have a change in Presidents, we get tested by our adversaries.  We are being tested right now, and I am sorry, but I have very little confidence in our beloved leader to make the right moves.

These tests come now because our adversaries know just how incompetent our beloved leader is.  They know that he has bashed NATO and our closest allies.  They know that he refused to shake the hand of the German Leader, but glad handed the dictator of Egypt.  They know that trump has weakened our national security like no other president before him.

They figure that now is the time to strike.  North Korea is blustering like a real country.  Although they are an enigma, they are nonetheless dangerous.  The capital of South Korea is in range of North Korean artillery.  We have thousand of our own troops stationed in South Korea.  This area has always been a powder keg waiting to explode.  Making the wrong moves right now will touch off that powder keg.

If trump cannot get China to realize they are in the same boat as we are when it comes to North Korea, that could mean not only a war with North Korea, but also a war with China, North Korea’s only real ally.  We need someone in those meetings with Jinping who understands this simple fact, and keep beloved leader from leading us to a war that could be devastating.

Syria is testing us mainly because trump gave him the green light to behave as he wishes.  There is no accident in the timing of the chemical attack the other day when you consider the “hands off” policy trump has been following for several years.  And, especially when his Secretary of State and UN Ambassador said we would not do anything to overthrow Assad.

Once Assad heard those words, again, he figured now was the time to strike.  Republicans are showing confusion as to why Assad would choose now to use his chemical weapons that Russia assured us were removed.  They claim that using chemical weapons is the behavior of someone losing and Assad is not losing.

Using chemical weapons is also a tactic used by a dictator to eliminate his opposition.  Even if you are currently winning, you need to make sure you totally eliminate the opposition so they cannot regroup at a later date.  That is why he is using chemical weapons now.  That and the fact that trump has said we won’t overthrow him.

But, again like with North Korea, we need to understand the real dangers.  If trump shoots from the hip and attacks Assad, there are real dangers there too.  Both Russia and Iran have troops inside of Syria.  Only, contrary to what beloved leader is telling us, they are not fighting ISIS, they are fighting the rebels fighting against Assad.  So, if we start bombing and kill Russian or Iranian soldiers, what will they do?  If you think they will sit back and let it happen, you are very badly mistaken.

The next few days or weeks are going to be almost frightening to watch.  Our incompetent president is being placed on the world stage and everyone will be watching how he will respond to these incidents.

This is the time that we need a president who is willing to learn his job, listen to real advisors who know what they are talking about, and be able to talk to and negotiate with our adversaries.  Diplomacy at the end of a gun is not the answer.

Instead, we have a president who is too worried about tweeting unproven accusations against those he considers his political enemies.  Instead, we have a president who relies on the advise of people with absolutely no experience dealing with hostile countries.  Instead, we have a president wo gives a speech using political rhetoric instead of defined policies.

Every time trump speaks about international affairs, the entire world, friends and enemies alike, scratch their heads and wonder what the hell he is talking about.  That is not what we need right now.  We need sober, intelligent, clear thinkers who understand the full complexities of these situations.  Instead, we have a spoiled brat as our leader who thinks that giving a campaign speech is policy setting.

So, he was right when he said “I think this is going to be the biggest story”.  When facing real crises, incompetence is the biggest story.  If it wasn’t so serious, I would find it very humorous when Republicans say “he is going to lead us where he wants the country to go.”  Because, he has no clue where he wants the country to go, because he has never thought about the country, only himself.  Is it any wonder his approval rating has hit a whopping 35 percent?  But, at least his numbers are higher than Bannon’s and Spicer’s.  So, he still leads the pack of his incompetent administration.

Beloved leader has said that he believes in “enhanced interrogation” or torture.  He keeps proving that belief.  Every day under his administration has been pure torture for the American People.

 

Read Full Post »

Day 146. 

The investigation into Russia’s hacking of our election last year and the possible coordination with trump’s campaign is important and Syria shows just how much it matters.  Yesterday, it appears that Assad used chemical weapons against his own people again.  Our beloved leader naturally blames President Obama’s administration.  But, there are some real questions that need to be asked first before blame is put anywhere.

The civil war in Syria has been raging for about six years now.  When he was in office, President Obama wanted to get rid of Assad, but he wasn’t too eager to send in troops to help in the war.  For that matter, the American People didn’t want to send in troops either.  Including trump who tweeted about a hundred times over that period saying “Syria isn’t our problem”.

In 2012, President Obama said after another chemical attack that it could not be tolerated, and put that proverbial “red line” down.  However, he decided not to do anything warlike.  Almost every Republican on the planet railed against the decision, except donald trump.  He tweeted to show restraint.

In 2013, the administration along with Russia announced a deal on chemical weapons in Syria.  The plan called for Russia to remove all of the chemical weapons from Syria and the UN to inspect to ensure they were in fact removed.  We were assured by Russia and the UN that the weapons had in fact been removed.

Over the following next few years, we did not hear about a chemical attack in Syria.  So, it appeared that the weapons had been removed by Russia.  All through the election we heard trump say many wonderful things about Russia and Putin.  He has never said a negative word about Putin, but he has said over and over that Syria was not our problem.  Rather he said that Syria was Russia’s and Iran’s problem.

Our beloved leader has never called for the removal of the butcher in Syria.  As a matter of fact, his empty suit of a Secretary of State said in Turkey the other week said “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”   That has been a euphemism used by Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran to indicate that he isn’t going anywhere.

At the UN, Ambassador Nicky Haley said that she doesn’t like Assad, but she could probably learn to work with him.  Even Sean Spicer sad this about Syria:

Well, I think with respect to Assad, there is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are right now.

There is no other way to look at these statements other than trump and his administration is winking at Assad and basically assuring him we won’t do anything to remove him from power.

Now we get back to the investigation and trump’s attempt to distract us from the importance of that investigation by blaming everyone except himself or his team.  You must remember that all 17 intelligence agencies said that Russia was in fact the hacker of our elections.  They all have said that Russia was trying to influence the outcome of our elections with the hacks and spreading of false news.  Beloved leader called all of that fake news.

All through the election trump heaped praise on Putin.  He called him a “great leader” and that everyone in his country loved him.  He refused to accept the intelligence community calling them liars.  He blamed the hacks on some 400 lb. guy sitting on his bed in his mother’s basement.

He said Russia’s involvement in Syria was a good thing because Russia wanted to get rid of ISIS as fast as we did.  Only, Russia wasn’t bombing ISIS locations, they were bombing strongholds of the rebels fighting against Assad.  Both Russia and Assad were bombing hospitals and civilian areas without regard to how many people were killed.

Russia and Iran have sent troops into Syria to prop up Assad.  Recently, America started bombing ISIS in Syria and whether or not you know this, there are about 1500 American troops in Syria right now sent there by trump.  They claim it is preparation of an attack on Raqqa which is ISIS’s main city.

So, we have a president who doesn’t want to say anything bad about a Putin.  We have a president who is seemingly winking at Assad and basically saying we won’t try to oust him.  Then yesterday, it appears that Assad dropped what appears to be sarin gas on a rebel city killing 50 to 100 people.  Sarin gas is a nerve gas.

Which brings us back to those questions we need to look at?  Did Russia really take out all of the chemical weapons like they said?  When the UN inspected, did Russia and Syria hide some of the weapons?  Did Russia return the chemical weapons to Assad after Obama left office?  If so, why did Putin believe it was okay once trump became president?

Of course the big question is why isn’t trump asking these same questions?  Why is he ignoring the fact that Russia is probably complicit in this chemical attack?  And don’t tell me that Putin wouldn’t do such a thing either.  Putin is a butcher himself.  He is accused of murdering all of his political opponents and opposition news reporters.  Since this attack was made on a rebel stronghold, I have no doubt that Putin has no problems with the attack.

As a matter of fact, Putin was very quick to say that Assad was not responsible for the attack, even though outside observers said that the attack came from helicopters.  The rebels don’t have helicopters.

Beloved leader can try to point the finger at anyone he wants.  But, this attack took place on his watch.  There may not have been anything he could have done to stop it, but his response is anything but responsible.

It is because of things like this attack in Syria that the investigations into trump’s campaign and the Russia hack is so important.  As long as this cloud hangs over trump’s administration, we cannot believe anything that he says about Syria, Assad, or Putin.

What is trump planning to do about this?  Is he going to blast Russia for allowing Assad to either keep or rearming him with chemical weapons?  Is he even going to ask where the weapons came from?  Or, is he going to keep taking the Russia first tactic he has followed since beginning his campaign?

All of the shit that he has come up with to distract attention from the investigation is just that, shit.  The Nunes affair, the claim that President Obama “tapped my wires”, and the latest about Rice “unmasking” names from intelligence reports is all bluster and an attempt to hide the truth from us.

Just to be clear about one thing.  Unmasking names in reports is NOT leaking the information.  As a matter of fact, I would have more serious questions about a National Security Advisor who did not seek more information when he/she read a report that looked disturbing.  That is called “doing your job”.  We will have more on this in the near future.

The facts are very clear to me.  Our beloved leader gave hints to Assad that he is safe from us.  He has given Russia hints that we will not get involved in the civil war, including arming the rebels.  All the while he is under investigation for colluding with Russia during the election.  Then, Assad launches a chemical weapons attack knowing trump will do nothing about it.

There are way too many coincidences in this to look the other way.  This incident shows just how important it is for us to get to the bottom of this mess.  If trump and his team are innocent, fine.  If they are guilty, then something needs to be done.

However, until we get to the bottom of this mess, we will never be able to trust trump or anything he says, especially about Russia.  That is the real story here.  That is why this investigation is so important.

Beloved leader has always thrown out cheap shots from the cheap seats at various leaders over the years.  Well, he isn’t in the cheap seats anymore.  We need a leader.  We need someone who knows what the hell he is doing.  We haven’t seen anything from trump that indicates he is either.  All we have seen is a spoiled brat who blames everyone else for his failures.

To use trump’s own words, when you look at trump all you see is “a big loser”.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »