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Archive for the ‘Things That Suck’ Category

Day 99.

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Yesterday we discovered that the trump administration is “running like a finely tuned machine”.  If trump really believes that to be true, might I suggest he find another machine to replace the one he has?

I don’t even know how to discuss or talk about his “thing” that took place yesterday.  He and his staff are calling it a “press conference” but I admit I haven’t seen any press conference like it.  What I saw was the old “blame game” from trump for his miserable failures so far in his term as president.

Everything that has gone wrong is not his fault.  The Muslim Ban didn’t get blown to pieces because it was poorly writer and violated several clauses in the Constitution,.  No, it was because the Judiciary is incompetent.

Michael Flynn wasn’t let go because he was a liar whom even the president decided he couldn’t trust.  No, it was all the media’s fault for printing those leaks about him.  He is a “wonderful guy”.  Despite the fact that trump can’t trust him enough to keep him on the job.

Nor did he mention anything about the report that Flynn lied to the FBI about his sanction talks with Russia, which is a felony.  Not that Sessions would let him go to trial for his crime.  Come on trump supporters say it:  “Lock him Up!”

He claims to have “accomplished so much in his first month”.  But, he really hasn’t accomplished anything that will help anyone but his buddies.  Let’s take a look at his “wonderful accomplishments”.

His first “wonderful accomplishment” was raising the mortgage insurance rates on millions of first-time home buyers by $500 per year.  That will really help the insurance companies, but do nothing to help average people who want to own their own home.

Another “wonderful accomplishment” was stripping away protections of people with retirement accounts.  He is now allowing brokers not to have to get approval and explain any switches in their portfolio so the brokers can make changes not based on the benefit of the owner of the portfolio, but rather on their commission.  Great for brokers, lousy for portfolio owners.

The next “wonderful accomplishment” was the elimination of the regulation that required energy companies to disclose their overseas investments, profits, and even bribes to governments to get the contract.  Again, wonderful for the energy companies.  Lousy for the American people and will produce absolutely ZERO jobs.

Then we have the “wonderful accomplishment” that takes away the requirement that Social Security report to the national background check database anyone who is so severely mentally impaired they cannot take care of their own personal business like cashing their Social Security Check.  That way, these people will be able to purchase any firearm they want.  Great for gun manufacturers and the NRA.  Lousy for public safety.

Yesterday, he signed another “wonderful accomplishment” with a bunch of coal miners behind him.  This “wonderful accomplishment” will make it much easier, for that matter perfectly legal, for the coal companies to dump their waste in streams and rivers.  Again, something wonderful for the coal companies, but lousy for those same miners behind the president who will see their drinking water polluted by the company they work for without anything stopping it from happening.  Did trump tell those miners that part of what he was signing?

Then there was that “wonderful accomplishment” called a “Travel Ban”.   This thinly disguised Muslim Ban was struck down in the courts.  Not one court as trump wants you to believe, but several courts all around the country.  This ban caused chaos at airports all across the nation because Customs had never been told it was coming and how they were supposed to handle the people affected.  Many of those affected were actually mid-air when it went into effect and didn’t even know they weren’t going to be allowed in.

Yet, yesterday trump claimed that the roll out of the ban went “so smoothly”.  I would hate to see what trump calls chaotic.  And, during the press conference, trump repeatedly said they would beat the stay in court.  All the while his own Justice Department was telling the ninth circuit of appeals to hold off on more hearings.  They said trump would rescind the order and write a new one in the near future.  Showing that in the trump White House the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.  As trump would say, Sad!

Yesterday, trump was asked a couple of times about the rise in anti-Semitic activities in the country since his election.  He went on to say how he won the election by such a huge margin and that he was not anti-Semitic.  He never said anything about what he would do to stop this rise in anti-Semitic actions.

One of the questioners even premised his question by stating” Our community does not believe you are anti-Semitic” but what are you going to do about the rise in anti-Semitic activity?  Again trump went off on a tantrum about how he is not anti-Semitic.  When the questioner tried to bring him back to the point, he told him to be quiet and kept ranting about how wonderful he was.

This is the second day in a row that trump ducked this issue.  Anti-Semitism actions have risen dramatically since he was elected.  Just in the last two weeks there have been over 48 bomb threats to synagogues and Jewish centers.  That number doubles to over 90 since he was inaugurated.

Is trump ducking the question and issue because he knows it is his supporters who are guilty of these activities?  Is he that afraid that he would lose about half of his “base supporters” if he tells them to “knock it off”.  Since he has a Jewish son-in-law, a Jewish daughter, and Jewish grandchildren, that can be the only answer.  But what does that say to his Jewish family members and why aren’t they saying anything?

Yesterday, several career State Department workers were fired.  They were told that their services were no longer needed.  The people laid off were the department that coordinates between the Sec of State and the various departments.  And, when Netanyahu was visiting, no one from the State Department sat in on the meeting between him and trump.  As a matter of fact, the Under-secretary was scheduled to sit in but the White House staff shut him out.

The Hispanic Congressional Caucus had requested a meeting with ICE officials to discuss the “round ups” taking place.  When the meeting was granted, the Caucus that requested the meeting was shut out.  As usual, the Republicans changed the rules and said it had to be “bipartisan” and the only member of the Caucus let in was their chair person.

But, remember all of these “failures” of diplomacy, ethics, and decorum are not trump’s or the Republicans fault.  It is the fault of the “leakers” and the “media”.  If we didn’t have leakers trump could do whatever he wanted and no one would know.  If it wasn’t for the media, he wouldn’t get caught trying to set up his little dictatorship.

What we saw yesterday was the president of the United States of America stand in front of the American people and whine, complain, and bitch about being “treated unfairly” because he is incompetent.  If he wants praise, why doesn’t he DO SOMETHING for the American people instead of his donor class.  Maybe then someone will say nice things about him.

Yesterday’s press conference was nothing more than a rallying cry to his base to get them fired up to reelect him in 2020.  That is what the “rally” in Florida tomorrow is all about.  Instead of concentrating on doing his job and making life better for ALL Americans, he is starting his 2020 campaign.

I hate to say this, but trump is making Richard Nixon look like an honest upstanding fellow.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

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Day 98. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 96. 

If you are wondering, the truth is dead.  According to the trump administration, there is only “alternative facts” that matter.  That became very clear today at the propaganda minister’s press briefing.  According to the administration, Flynn was cut loose because of “an erosion of trust”.

That sounds like a nice 20 second sound bite, but it is also a lie.  Flynn was cut loose simply because the whole mess came out in the press, and trump could not just let it die away and keep Flynn in his administration.  The so-called “erosion of trust” came out because the press proved that Flynn had lied and trump knew he had lied.

The other piece of evidence is that the propaganda minister said that the White House Counsel found nothing improper in Flynn calling the Russian Ambassador and talking about not taking the new sanctions the Obama administration was placing on them seriously.

Okay, even if we like to think that might be true then the huge question is “Why did Flynn lie about it?”  Did he lie about because he believed there was something wrong with undermining the administration still in office?  Or, did he lie about it because trump ordered him to make the call?

If the National Intelligence Advisor lied about a phone call, then it is safe to believe that there was a legal issue with the call or its contents.  What was so secret about the call that made Flynn lie about it?

Then there is the fact that trump knew about this “lie” for 3 weeks before doing something about it.  He did nothing at all.  Why, if there is such “an erosion of trust” would the president allow this liar keep reading very sensitive classified information for 3 weeks after he discovered that person was so dishonest?

As a side note, it turns out the Vice President, Mike Pence was not told he was lied to until last Thursday.  That was over two weeks after trump knew it.  That means Pence was sticking to the story that was false to begin with, and trump was letting him continue lying to the American People.

When the White House Counsel found out about the lie from the Acting Justice Department head, he told trump, but no one bothered to tell Pence.  And, from what transpired during the propaganda briefing today, Pence was the only person of importance who was not told.

The Republican Politburo on the hill isn’t helping things either.  While most people with a brain are calling for in independent investigation, the leaders of the Grand Oppression Party is claiming that isn’t necessary.   In the House, Jason Chaffetz, the staunch leader of the oversight committee who wanted so bad to take down Hillary Clinton, said he doesn’t see any reason to investigate Flynn and we should “just move on.”

Then, today, our beloved leader signed a law passed by his Politburo that repeals an order connected with Dodd-Frank.  Our beloved leader said that signing the bill will bring back oil jobs to America.

He claims it is a great start in repealing “restrictive orders that cost companies billions of dollars”.  He called it a “big deal” several times while getting ready to sign the bill.  It was HJ Resolution 41.  Here is what this “big deal” that will save the oil companies billions of dollars and bring back oil jobs is all about.

The bill rolls-back an order from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that required oil and mining companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments. Holy Shit!  That order must have really cost these companies a lot of money to comply.  That really is a “big deal”.

Tonight the New York Times has an article that claims that members of the trump campaign were in contact with Russian Intelligence during the election.  If that is true, then the sink hole just got a whole lot deeper.

“The truth shall set you free” as the saying goes.  Maybe that is the reason that trump and his administration isn’t interested in telling the truth.  Maybe that goes against their plan to take over the country.  Maybe that is the one thing that scares them to death.  Why else would they say that the Flynn mess isn’t the big deal, the leaks are the big deal.

The Republicans in Congress are showing no spine to stand up and do what is right.  No one in the administration is showing any spine over this either.  If I were Mike Pence, I would tell trump to take his job and shove it.  I quit a job because of integrity issues, and I turned down others when I suspected integrity issues.

If Pence cannot rely on the president to be honest with him, why should he continue in the job?  Unless he thinks trump will get impeached and he will become president.  Which tells me Pence does not have any integrity himself.

It is totally obvious that the truth is dead on arrival in the White House.  That is why an independent investigation into all of this is so important for our democracy.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 96. 

The only question to ask today is “is this the end of the beginning, or is it the beginning of the end?”  I don’t ask that question lightly either.  The problem is that even with Flynn’s resignation, there are still way too many questions about the situation, and how trump handles classified information as well.

Let’s start here.  The Yemen raid was supposedly discussed over dinner.  That in itself isn’t a problem, but who was at the dinner and where it was held is a question.  As I have written before, I do not see any reason why Kushner was present.  Nor do I understand how the president could discuss and then make his decision without a full briefing from the entire security staff in a non-secure space.  Having dinner outside a SCIF to discuss such a raid is very troubling, at least to me.

Then we have what happened over the weekend.  As you probably heard, the Prime Minister of Japan was visiting.  Our beloved leader took him to Mar-a-Lago for a weekend of golf.  While they were having dinner on an outside patio, North Korea launched their missile test.

In another breach of security, the president and the Prime Minister started talking about the launch and their reaction to it at the dinner table.  According to reports, the president’s staff began bringing documents about the launch to the table and other guests were milling around and taking pictures.  There are even pictures of staff holding cell phones to light up the documents so they could read them.

We don’t know what was in the documents, and we probably never will.  I don’t even want to claim that the information was classified, but the optics of just how lackadaisical the president seems to hold such discussions is very troubling.

Then late list night, Mike Flynn resigned his position over the Russia scandal that he started.  I am sure that trump and his team will consider the matter closed.  But it is not closed and we the people cannot let it end with Flynn’s resignation.

There was something very odd about his letter of resignation.  It wasn’t what he said in the letter, it was what he did not say.  In his letter he wrote:

Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.

He admits that he misled the Vice President Elect.  However, he does not admit that he misled the president-elect.  That is a glaring omission to me.  If you are resigning because you lied to your boss, why didn’t you mention his name in your letter?  If I were Pence, today I would be demanding and explanation from trump about that omission!

This all means that there are way too many questions about this whole mess that still need to be answered.  As we discussed, “What did the President know and when did he know it?”  Additionally, why did the president take so long to do something about this?  We never heard anything from trump about this matter right up to Flynn’s resignation, except a lie when he sad “I didn’t see that report”.

According to our intelligence communities, Flynn also had contact with the Russians during the campaign.  That is extremely troubling.  Especially when you consider the fact that our intelligence agencies say Russia was behind the hacks during the campaign and that Russia was trying to influence the election in trump’s favor.

So, was Flynn and/or trump actually coordinating the campaign with Putin and the Russians?  Was there any illegal activity between the two parties during the election?  If there was any coordination, then there were a whole bunch of laws broken.

Then we have the fact that Flynn talked to the Russian Ambassador about the sanctions that the Obama Administration was going to impose on Russia over the election interference.  I am sorry, but I do not believe that trump did not know about the phone calls.  I can’t even say I believe that trump did not order the phone calls.

Furthermore, it was also reported last night that Sally Yates, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Justice warned the White House about Flynn.  According to the report, she said that Flynn was “compromised and could be subject to blackmail from Russia.”  She gave the warning last month.  With that information in hand, the White House did nothing!

Then, Yates said she believed the travel ban that trump ordered was not constitutional and would not defend it.  Right after that, trump fired her.  Question – Was she fired due to her not defending a law she considered unconstitutional or because she ratted out Flynn?

And, who are the ones crying the most about Flynn’s resignation?  The Russians!  There have been some very interesting tweets from Russian lawmakers about what they are calling “Flynn’s Retirement”.  One even said he was forced out because of “Russophobia”.

This mess has become so bad, I have to wonder if we can trust trump or anyone in his administration on anything?  What makes them think that the American People are so stupid as to not see through the veil they are trying to place over everything.

Our beloved leader is a disaster when it comes to national security.  He keeps saying that his travel ban and his round up of undocumented immigrants are all designed to “keep America safe”.  Yet, when you look at the overall picture, you will discover that the biggest threat to our country’s safety and security is our beloved leader.

We now have a president who really believes that he is above the law.  He believes that we, the American People will just fold up our tents and follow him wherever he decides to lead us.  That became very apparent when one of his top advisers, Miller, said on national TV that the president’s orders are “unquestionable”.

The media and other pundits keep saying that the administration just doesn’t know what they are saying.  They try to give us the impression that they are just getting their feet under themselves.  That they are learning a real tough job on the job.

Do not believe this bullshit!  THE ADMINISTRATION KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT IT IS DOING!  Their campaign against the media and the judicial system has only one goal.  Make people distrust those institutions so they can ignore the media and the courts and just do what they want.

The whole process behind their methods is to establish an authoritarian government.  Our beloved leader does not want to have to deal with a court system that challenges his unconstitutional actions.  He does not want a media that tells the people what lies are being forced down their throats.  He does not want a Congress who will stop his agenda.

He explained everything very well during the campaign.  He said:  “ONLY I CAN FIX OUR PROBLEMS”.  Once the election was over, he started taking steps to do just that.  He began taking steps to make it possible for him to make all decisions and do whatever he wants because he wants to be dictator.

Congress needs to act on the mess.  They need to investigate just what the hell happened and who knew what and when.  This is way too big for normal committee to investigate.  We need a Special Committee with a Special Prosecutor to get to the bottom of this sink hole.

Yesterday was only the fourth Monday of the trump presidency.  And, in that short four weeks, we already have a potential constitutional crisis like we haven’t had in about 50 years.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat or Republican.  I don’t care if you are a conservative or a liberal.  You can not close your eyes to this potential explosive mess that was created by trump and his administration.

We cannot accept any more excuses.  We cannot keep explaining away these breaches in protocol or security.  Our president is a disaster and he needs to start explaining himself.

If you are willing to accept Flynn’s resignation and let the matter go, then you cannot call yourself a patriot!  Patriots don’t sit around and let a president establish his authoritarian government without screaming back, NO YOU DON’T!

Are you listening Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell?  Our president ran his campaign on fear and hate.  He is running his presidency on fear and hate.  He keeps talking about “security” as something behind all of his actions.  But, his actions have either been unlawful or inhumane.  Is that the kind of president you really want in the Oval Office?

This is not being limited to just “national security” matters either.  Our entire government is under threat.  The Justice Department has already cancelled a case involving LGBT rights.  They have put on hold other cases about voting rights and abortion rights.

If you are concerned about anything special, it will be under attack in the near future by this administration.  Even “conservative” ideas since trump is not really conservative.

I warn you.  Be very concerned with any administration that claims that everything they do is in the name of “national security”.  That is just a cover to sidestep the constitution and the laws.

Remember the warning from Benjamin Franklin.  “If you are willing to give up some freedoms for security, you will soon discover that you have neither”.  We are being forced by our president to make that choice today.

If you read this and think I am pissed off, you are right.  This is not the America I served, and not the America I want my grandchildren to grow up in.  All things begin at the top.  I do not believe Flynn acted alone.  I believe trump knew what he was doing.  I don’t know for sure, which is why we need the investigations.  We need to find out the truth.

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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Day 95. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 93.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along!

 

 

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Day 92. 

The beginning to the end of our daunting national problem is at hand.  Republicans approved Tom Price to be the next head of the Health and Human Services Department.  This proves their determination to correct something very wrong in the country.  They have known for the last seven years what the real problem facing our country really is.  And, it is way out of control.  Too many people in our country have health care insurance.

Think about it, our uninsured rate has fallen to about 10 percent.  What the hell is going on here?  How can the richest country in the world actually believe they should not lead the developed world in having the highest uninsured rate in the world?

But, you don’t have to worry anymore about this dismal problem that is dragging down our society.  Republicans are on a mission to fix this terrible problem.  They have approved an unethical, inside trading doctor to be our next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The first thing to help alleviate this problem will be to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Forget that the majority of the people don’t want it repealed, Price and his cronies know it cannot continue or we won’t be able to raise the uninsured rate and obviously the American People aren’t really paying attention to this dire problem.

If you have a preexisting condition, don’t worry, they are going to make sure you have “access” to “high risk pools” that will cover you and it will only cost you about 2 to 3 times as much as you pay now.  Price loves this idea and put it in his plan that he wrote in 2015.

Of course we will rescind the mandates so women’s health care is taken away.  Who cares if a woman has health care that only affects them?  Why should the rest of us care if they have the right coverage.  If they want things like birth control, they should pay through their nose for it.  Hello, everyone knows that just being a woman means you have a pre-existing condition.  They are only women and who cares what they thing?  They should just shut up and listen to their husbands.  If they don’t have a husband, they are obviously losers.

Then we will make sure insurance companies don’t waste money covering those abominable “gays”.  Unless they are willing to go through “conversion therapy”.  We all know they are an abomination, so why should we cover their health care?

Another thing that will be cut or eliminated to help the problem is Medicaid.  Too many people are taking advantage of Medicaid in order to have health care insurance.  There were some brave, bold, and wonderful states like Texas who fought against expanding this give away.  And, they are the shining city on the hill to show just how to keep your uninsured rate the highest in the country.

Needless to say Price and the rest of the Republicans believe that is the perfect model that all states should follow.  That way we can reduce the number of people insured without having to do very much.  But, that will be just the start.

In order to really make an impact, you have to give states “block grants” to spend on Medicaid as they see fit.  If they decide not to spend it on health care for the poor, even better.  That way the uninsured rate will really go up.

Then of course, we have to do something about those useless, mooching, takers – the old people.  How dare they expect that all of the taxes they paid for their Medicare coverage actually give them that coverage?  Who the hell do they think they are – Andrew By God Jackson?

These lazy old people who didn’t become rich in their lifetimes really hurt the uninsured rate.  They actually believe that they have a right to live longer and enjoy their retirement.  They actually believe the society should actually “take care” of their sorry asses.  Well, Price and Republicans have the fix.  After all, they don’t do anything useful anymore like working for minimum wage for 40 years so the CEOs can make billions off their labor.

They are going to tell the old farts that they will only get a voucher when they are eligible for Medicare.  Of course the voucher won’t cover the full cost of their insurance.  Of course their out-of-pocket costs will go up.  What do they expect?  They are old and have pre-existing conditions.  They really belong in the high risk pool with the highest premiums.

Just think of it.  If we can cut off as many old people from their insurance, they will die off faster and we won’t have as much of a problem with that other give away, Social Security.  If we can get rid of that useless give away, we can really save more money for bigger tax cuts to the rich.

Just think of the huge tax breaks for the rich we can give if we can do away with Medicaid and Medicare.  They are the only people who count.  Especially those rich ones who give Republicans insider trader information to further enrich themselves and huge secret donations to their campaigns so they can keep getting elected.

So, under Price we can expect our uninsured rate problem to be repaired.  First we will repeal the Affordable Care act and that will mean at least 18 million people will lose their health care insurance.  Then we will block grant Medicaid and ensure that even more millions lose their health care.  Then we will voucherize Medicare and that will mean all those old bastards will lose their insurance too.

If Price and Republicans do their job correctly, we should be able to take that measly 10 percent of uninsured Americans and raise it back up to 20 to 30 percent where it belongs.  Hell, if we do this right maybe we can break the magical 50 percent mark.  How great would that be?

So, you see, there is no reason to worry.  Republicans and Price will make sure we lead the world again.  They will make sure that only wealthy people have health insurance.  We don’t need “death panels” we only need to take away peoples’ health care and they will die naturally.

See, we are on the threshold of a brave new world that can only happen in America.  What a country!

 

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