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Day 155. 

All of a sudden, our beloved leader has fallen love with our depleted military and our stupid generals.  That is what he has said about our military for almost 2 years now.  Suddenly, the military isn’t so depleted that he can’t use it as a toy, and our generals are all really smart and “outstanding”.

But, that also leads us to potential “big time” trouble as trump would say.  Now that he has fallen love with our military, the next possible target would be North Korea.  And, that is where the big time trouble would be.

North Korea is not Syria.  North Korea is not Iraq.  North Korea already has nuclear weapons.  And, they have a child version of trump as their beloved leader who has killed his own family members because he thought they were a threat to his power.

That means that all of the talk about “taking care of North Korea” that trump has been uttering is even more dangerous.  We have a carrier group near the peninsula.  What if their child killer decides to make a preemptive strike against that group with nuclear weapons?  We have thousands of our sailors in harm’s way like we haven’t since the cold war ended.

And a preemptive strike if North Korea should test nuclear bomb places the entire peninsula in danger.  Ever since the Korean war ended with its cease-fire, we have treaded carefully there.  The leaders of that country have been belligerent for years.  They continuously bluster about how great their military is and how wonderful they are.  They tell their people that means they would win any war against the south and the U.S.

North Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world.  They are willing and many of the hard-liners are eager to fight.  Yes, it is most likely that a war in Korea would result in a win for us and our allies, but at what cost?

Is it worth starting a war because of the behavior of North Korea?  You must remember, Seoul is just 35 miles from the North Korean border.  There are about 20 million people who live in and around Seoul.  That means the city is in range of North Korea’s massive artillery. That means even using conventional weapons, the North could kill millions of South Koreans.

Don’t forget our forces stationed in South Korea either or the American business people who live and work in Seoul.  On top of that, South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world.  If there is a war, the country would be devastated and need to rebuild again costing billions of dollars.

Every year the U.S. and South Korea holds exercises in the country.  One of the objectives is to determine what would happen if a war did break out on the peninsula.  All of the exercises so far has shown there is no good option for a war.

Something does need to be done about getting North Korea to get rid of their nuclear weapons.  But, is war the answer?  It may come to that point.  But are we there yet?  For the first time, China is starting to put pressure on North Korea where it hurts.  North Korea gets most of their money from selling coal to China.  China just sent back all of their coal shipments and told North Korea to keep them.

China is not looking forward to a war in Korea either.  Assuming that the U.S. and its allies would eventually win such a war, do you really think that China wants a border with a unified Korea that is backed by the U.S. with possibly U.S. troops on its border?  Which means, would China decide to send troops in if North Korea is on the brink of defeat as they did in the 1950s?

Then we have the agreement with South Korea.  In that agreement we are not supposed to use any military force against North Korea without consulting South Korea first.  The people in South Korea are getting very nervous as tensions on the peninsula rise.

Even if we do consult with South Korea, what if they say they don’t want the U.S. to use a preemptive attack on the North?  Do we ignore our ally and do it anyway?  Will our beloved leader play chicken with the lives of millions of our ally’s people?

And, what about Japan?  Japan is already in reach of North Korea’s missiles.  What happens if the North decides to attack Japan as well?  There is no doubt that Japan will retaliate, and we will have no choice but support our ally there as well.

Finally, what about our own Congress?  Any attack against North Korea would be considered an act of war against a foreign country.  Only Congress has the authority to declare such action.  So, an unannounced preemptive attack by the administration against North Korea would be unConstitutional.

So I hope beloved leader is consulting with the leaders of Congress right now and letting them know what he is planning on doing.  Otherwise, he will break the law if he goes ahead with a preemptive strike.

But, more than that, we need to look at and understand what other enemies might do if we attack North Korea.  What might Russia do?  What might Iran do?  Will Russia take a preemptive strike against North Korea as a sign they can go ahead and invade Ukraine?  Maybe Iran will decide it is a good time to invade Iraq to take over that country?

Maybe Iran would think it is a good time to actually attack Israel.  What then?  That could totally destabilize the mid-east.  Then we would be looking at war across the board.

Handling North Korea is not the same as bullying your political opponents.  It is not the same as sending missiles into Syria after telling the Russians and Syrians to leave the area.  It isn’t the same as dropping a huge bomb on ISIS.

We are talking about striking a country that has a large and competent army.  We are talking about striking a country with a leader even more unstable than our leader.  We are talking about a real war with potentially tens of millions of people being killed.

All of the talking heads, especially on the right are talking about how trump is learning on job and getting better.  I wrote yesterday I don’t agree with that analysis.  I still don’t.  We will get a real understanding what trump has learned and whether or not he has any idea of what his job is when we see how he handles North Korea.

If he continues with his “gut” and makes a rash decision concerning this situation, it cold spell disaster for the Korean peninsula and for the world.  If it is true that trump only listens to and does what the last person he speaks to says, we better hope a sane person is that last one.

This weekend Christians are celebrating Easter. Jews are celebrating Passover.  North Korea is celebrating the 105th birthday of the country’s founder.  The first two celebrations are celebrations of peace.  The third is a celebration of dictatorship.  The third could be the only one worth watching.  Will North Korea simply hold their parade and go home, or will they do something like test another nuclear weapon, launch test missiles, or launch a preemptive attack on our carrier group or South Korea?

The first two scenarios would be bad, but not something to start a war over.  The last two would mean war.  And, how trump reacts to one of the first two scenarios could also mean war.  We can only hope that cooler saner heads prevail.  Unfortunately, the actions so far from these two leaders don’t give us too much confidence.

We can only watch and wait.  Despite all of the stupidity in the world over the last 70 years, this is the closest we have come to worldwide disaster since the Cuban Missile Crisis.  We averted that disaster because there were two leaders who understood the consequences.  Both leaders were able to overrule their hawkish military leaders.  Does trump have the guts to say no to his Generals like Kennedy did?  Will he even order them to get clearance from him before launching any attack against North Korea?

This issue is way beyond politics or trying to look and talk tough.  This is a situation that could lead to life and death for millions of people.  This is when real leaders stand up and resist primal instincts to simply attack.  Rational thought needs to be used.  That is where our problem is.  We haven’t seen a lot of rational thought from trump so far.  If he really is learning his job, now is the time to show that he has learned to rationally think.

 

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Day 154. 

I am very sorry, but I refuse to give our beloved leader any credit for seemingly acting like a president for two minutes.  This low bar acceptance for this clown is getting real old real fast.  In the last two days, our beloved leader has changed his position on six different campaign promises, and for two minutes during a press conference with the head of NATO, he sounded presidential.  Whoopee!

How is it that in the 21st century, we are willing to allow the so-called leader of the free world such a low bar to say he is doing his job.  That is ridiculous and I refuse to go along.  While the pundits are falling all over themselves praising the clown for his meaningless attack on Syria, for his now saying NATO is no longer obsolete, and for claiming that China is not a “currency manipulator” and looking presidential, he is on the verge of killing his own people.

Our beloved leader is so upset that he was unable to get his Americans Without Health Insurance Act passed, he is willing to make sure that Americans will lose their health Insurance anyway.  He says, “I don’t want to hurt anyone” but he is going to go ahead and not only hurt people, but possible kill people just to make a political point.  And, our wonderful pundits aren’t even talking about it.

According to the ACA, there is something called cost-sharing subsidies.  These are payments that are made to insurance carriers in order to help poorer people afford health insurance.  The Republicans sued to stop the payments, and that suit is in appeals, and even trump’s administration is defending the subsidies in court.

Yet, trump is now saying that if Democrats don’t help him repeal the ACA, he will probably cut off those subsidies.  You read that right.  In order to blackmail Democrats into helping him kill the bill they are proud of, he is willing to take health insurance away from millions of people.  Additionally, it will result in raising premiums for everyone else an average of 19 percent.

It is also expected that insurance companies will simply walk away from the exchanges altogether.  Which will mean even more people will lose their insurance.  But, trump doesn’t care.  He doesn’t care that a lot of his supporters and voters will lose their insurance either.

This whole plan of his is what we called a “protection racket” on the South Side of Chicago.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal that appeared on Wednesday, he said:

I don’t want people to get hurt.  What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.

Those are the exact types of words you would expect to hear from a mobster heavy when speaking to a business they are trying to extort.  But, I am not sure Democrats have the stomach to go along with this extortion.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said, “Our position remains unchanged: drop repeal, stop undermining our health care system, and we will certainly sit down and talk about ways to improve the Affordable Care Act.”

My advice to any trump supporter it you better take a good look at what your beloved leader is trying to do.  He isn’t happy taking away your health insurance in the long run, he wants to use your health care as extortion bait against the other party.

Yesterday I told you about a “bait and switch” game Republicans and trump are going to use to try to take away social security.  Their plan is to eliminate the Social Security tax from your payroll deductions.  They will claim they are saving you a lot of money.

But, on the flip side there will be no dedicated funding for Social Security.  Meaning it will fall to Congress to ensure the system gets enough money to survive.  Naturally, they will claim it will be too expensive and therefore they will need to cut or eliminate the plan.

The biggest argument against their plans so far is that we pay into the system, so it isn’t really an “entitlement” it is a paid for benefit that we earned.  If the tax is eliminated, they will claim it is an “entitlement” and therefore you would be getting something you don’t deserve.  Another angle to the “taker” mantra they love to bandy about.

As you can see, our beloved leader is anything but presidential.  He is acting more like a mobster than a leader.  He is willing to lie to his supporters and then hurt them without any guilt at all.  He is a man who has no morals, no integrity, and no conscience.

Rather than working with both moderate Republicans and Democrats to fix the ACA and make it better, he wants to kill it and remove at least 24 million people from their health care insurance.  Even after saying “We will have a wonderful plan that will cover everyone”.

Rather than keeping his promise to “never touch Social Security and Medicare” he is planning a bait and switch game to take Social Security away from those who need it.  And, he doesn’t care who it hurts.  Even though it has been shown that his supporters are going to be hurt the most.

Of course none of this will matter much if he manages to bungle us into another war with Russia.  His tactics so far to “work wonderfully with Putin” as he claimed he would do, he admitted yesterday that our relations with Russia are probably at their lowest point in history.

The man has absolutely no clue what he is doing.  He doesn’t care about anything except that he is president and he won the election.  It is nonsense to saying that looking presidential for two minutes is a positive sign that he is learning his job.  I say bullshit.  Just look at what he is planning to do to us.  He is a buffoon who should have never even come close to the White House.

But, he is in the White House, so it is up to us to resist his madness.  The best way to resist is to throw his Republican Politburo out of office next year.  As my religious friends would say, “if we don’t god help us.”

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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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.

 

 

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Day 152. 

If you are one of those who believe that we are living in a police state, the incident on a United Flight from Chicago to Louisville the other day is more ammunition for you.  If you believe that we live in a country that is run by corporations, the same is true.  If you believe that we live in a free society, then maybe you should rethink that belief.

Here is a brief description of what happened, according to what I have read so far.  United Airlines is known for over booking their flights.  Over booking is an airline’s way to help ensure that they are flying with nearly full if not completely full airplanes.  When this happens, they usually ask for volunteers to give up their seats for “compensation”.  However, that compensation is often less than what the law says they must pay.

We will get back to that in a little bit.  So, on this particular flight, an air crew arrived at the gate and needed to get to their next airport to fly another plane.  Their airline asked people to voluntarily give up their seats.  Not enough people volunteered.  So, the airline invoked what is known as “involuntary deplaning”.

One of the passengers who was told to get off the plane refused.  So, the crew called the airport police to remove the person from the plane.  Here is where it gets a little fuzzy.  According to reports the passenger told police that he was a doctor and had to get back home.  They refused to listen.  Then, according to the video circulating, a police officer forcibly tried to remove the man from his seat, and he began screaming.

The man is a 69-year-old Asian man.  He was forcibly thrown out of his seat and he clearly hit his head of the arm rest of the seat across the aisle.  Then you see the police officer literally drag the person from the plane.  A later video shows the man running back on the plan saying “I have to get home”.  There is obvious blood on the man’s face, and he seems disoriented.

After the video went viral, the CEO of United Airlines apologized, but didn’t really apologize.  In an internal memo, he actually claimed that the Airline and the Airport Police acted properly and that he was standing by his staff.

This is what happens when we give up our rights and our money.  When you purchase an airline ticket you go to the airport with full anticipation that you will board your flight and arrive at your destination on time.  But, the law says otherwise.  Your “reservation” is not really a reservation.  It is just something that says you may get your seat on your scheduled flight.

However, there are some caveats that go with the law.  If you do not volunteer to get off the plane, the airline is required to pay you in cash for you inconvenience.  If you are rebooked on a plane that arrives at your destination between one and two hours after your scheduled flight, you are to be paid 200 times the cost of your ticket.  If you are scheduled to arrive more than two hours late, they are required to pay you 400 times the price of your ticket, up to $1350.

The funny thing is that they don’t tell yo that.  They try to buy you off with “flight ticket credits” or offer less money than they are required.  Which is why experts say never voluntarily give up your seat.  Make the airline pay you what they are supposed to pay you under the law.

However, this situation goes beyond this matter of law.  There are a lot of questions that go into their “involuntary deplaning” selection process.  As it turns out, this man was an Asian American.  Why was he singled out?  Was it because he was Asian?  I am not saying that was the case, but the question needs to be asked.  Additionally, he was a senior citizen.  Was that why he was singled out?

Why was it so important to select this man and not simply try to entice another passenger to get off by explaining he would get proper compensation under the law?  If it is true that he told them he was a doctor and really needed to get back to Louisville, then why go through all the bother.

United Airlines is guilty of being one of the most overbooked airlines in the country.  Their bump rate is about 21 times higher than the lowest among airlines.  Delta is even worse with a rate about 30 times higher.  And, if you are mad now, believe me you will get even madder when it happens to you.

As I mentioned above, there is no way to tell how an airline decides who should get bumped and who should not.  We know for example, that if you are a member of their “frequent flyer” program, you will not be involuntarily bumped.  So we know automatically that they do target the casual or “vacation” flyer.

That is a problem because I know people who were booked on cruises and missed the cruise because the airline bumped them off of flights they had paid tickets to be on.

On one hand I understand why airlines over book their flights.  However, as the economy picks up and more and more people are flying, they should adjust their over booking rates so this doesn’t happen as much as it does.  But they don’t.  They just keep over booking at the rates they used when the economy was worse and fewer people were actually flying.

However, part of this problem is also our fault.  We have ceded our rights to corporations in order to get to where we are going.  It has gotten so bad, that it is a federal crime to disobey a flight attendant.  We don’t want unruly passengers on our flight, so we allow a flight attendant to tell a passenger anything they want, if that passenger doesn’t immediately comply, they can be charged with a federal crime.

I can understand if that passenger is endangering everyone else.  But in this case, the man was not endangering anyone.  According to the video, the man did not become belligerent or start screaming until a police officer physically tried to grab him and forcibly remove him from the plane.

Our beloved leader says he is going to bring back “law and order”.  This is a perfect example of what happens when we allow our political leaders and our corporations to determine just what “law and order” is.

The laws governing over booking on airline flights need to be changed.  The definition of what really constitutes “disobeying a flight attendant” needs to be reexamined to determine if it has gone too far, which I believe it has.

We also need to know exactly how an airline determines who should get thrown off their flight and why they are being chosen.  Should we really be picking on elderly people?  Should we really be targeting minorities?  Just what determines why you should have to deplane and someone next to you doesn’t.

I used to do a lot of flying when I was in the business world.  Fortunately for me,  was a “frequent flyer” and was never forced to involuntarily deplane a flight.  But, I did often wonder just how passengers were selected for this dubious privilege.  I even saw couples split up because one was selected and the other was not.

When you purchase an airline ticket, you expect that your money is good enough and you won’t be inconvenienced by the airline just because. Only that is not the way of the airline world.   Instead, when you purchase your ticket to go on a cruise vacation, or to see your child get married, you are at the mercy of the airline.  If they over book and someone of “more importance” than you needs that seat, you lose.

Yes, there are laws about being compensated, but the airlines don’t tell you about them so they don’t have to pay you the money.  Why isn’t that a requirement laid out in the law?  Because airlines and their profits are more important to Congress than you are.

This situation is not something that is unusual.  It may be unusual because it was video taped and the world got to see the obnoxious behavior of the airport police.  But, getting bumped off flights is an ongoing thing you just don’t usually hear about.

It is also a simple snapshot of today’s country.  There have been many “advertisement” parodies popping up like “you carry them on, we carry you off”.  But, to me it says “do as you are told, or else”.  We have gotten to the point where everyone is treated like a child who misbehaves.  The difference is if we treated a child who is misbehaving like the police treated this elderly man, we would face child abuse charges.

Before you go off on this man for “not doing what he was told”, think about if that was you and you needed to get home.  What would you have done?  What if it meant that you would miss your cruise ship?  What if it meant that you would miss your child’s wedding?

Besides, what gives an airline the right to deny you a seat you paid for if you haven’t done anything wrong?  And before you use the old conservative argument that “flying is a privilege” save your breath.  When I purchase a ticket, it is no longer a privilege.  I paid the money, it is up to the company to honor the their end of the bargain.

More importantly, you need to ask just how far are we supposed to let companies treat us in this fashion?  Where will it all end?  This isn’t going to end with airlines.  What will you do the next time you plop down 35,000 hard-earned dollars to purchase a new care and then be told you have to wait an extra three weeks because someone more important needs that car more than you do and you already sold your old car?

The problem is that I don’t expect our Congress or even our beloved leader to saying anything about his or try to change the laws that allow it to happen.  And, that is the real tragic part of this whole sickening tragedy.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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