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Archive for the ‘Torture’ Category

Day 192. 

Yesterday we heard from our beloved leader as he gave a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia.  He called on all Muslim states to “weed out this evil” of terrorism.  He said they should force all of the terrorists out.

Then we heard Mike Pence, his empty suite vice president talk about “tolerance” towards opposing views on college campuses.  Pence decried the intolerance towards speakers on college campuses around the country.

I find both of these comments to be very disturbing.  I find both of these comments to be extremely prejudiced.  Not because they were given by so-called “conservatives” but because of the lies they were telling and because neither of these “leaders” of our country actually practice what they preach.

We all know that terrorism and intolerance are both evil.  We all know that terrorism is also an outgrowth of intolerance.  Especially when you talk about religious terrorism.  In the Middle East and other parts of the world, there are Muslim Extremists who are totally intolerant towards other religions and as a result they engage in serious terrorism.

That is evil in anyone’s definition of the word.  They are not interested in anything except their own fanaticism and thus are willing to kill others simply because they don’t believe the same thing as these fanatics.  They need to be rooted out.

However, they are not alone in their religious terrorism practices.  We have plenty of religious terrorists right here at home.  The problem is that no one in the political world wants to talk about it and no one wants to do anything about it.  Especially our president and vice president.  Rather, they are encouraging the practice of religious terrorism in our country because this terrorism isn’t the result of Islam, it its the result of Radical Christianity.  It is also the result of “conservative” intolerance.

As it turns out, the State of Texas has become our own version of a Caliphate of hate towards anyone who does not follow the Radical Christian Terrorist beliefs.  They are not alone either.  They are joined by states like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and others.

The real danger is that these Radical Christian Terrorists are not all private citizens.  The real problem is they are actually in control of these state’s legislatures.  And, they are not afraid of their Radical Christian Terrorism being found out.  They are quite open about it and are very proud of it.

In the Caliphate of Texas, they are in the final days of their legislative session and are working very hard to pass their terrorist agenda into law.  And, their head terrorist is the governor and he is very willing to sign any terrorist bill into law.

At first they tried to pass an anti-LGBTQ law.  But that got stymied in their own legislature.  So, they have decided to tear the bill into parts and “add amendments” to necessary legislation so they can get their terrorist agenda into the law books.

Of course, they are masquerading these laws in the agenda of “Religious Freedom”.  Which tells you immediately that it is nothing more than a terrorist agenda.  The first big bill was HB 3859, that will allow state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away applicants on religious grounds, denying parents who are LGBT, or even those who are Jewish, Muslim or atheist. It passed the Texas House and is now moving through the Senate, causing a great deal of concern because similar bills have been passed in other states, including in South Dakota this year.

This bill is nothing more that an open attempt to refuse the adoption of needy children to anyone who is not considered by these terrorists as “straight, homosexual, Christian” parents.  Then there is the insidious attempts to write discrimination into must-pass bills that have already been debated. An amendment added at the last-minute to a nursing care bill, HB 2950, for example, would bar the Texas Board of Nursing from punishing discriminatory actions if they are committed in the service of a nurse’s “religious beliefs.”

Under this amendment a nurse could cite his religious beliefs as a reason to refuse to care for a gay patient on the grounds that he believes homosexuality is a sin or is against his faith.  Likewise, a nurse who believes that men are the head of the household could breach client confidentiality to disclose a woman’s medical condition to her husband against her wishes.

Another amendment added to HB 2561, a pharmacy services regulatory bill, pharmacists could opt-out of the practices that are standard among pharmacists across the country, based on personal religious convictions. For example, a pharmacist could decide not to fill a prescription for hormone therapy for a transgender customer, claiming doing so goes against his or her religious beliefs about gender. Or, a pharmacist could use religion as justification to refuse to serve African-American customers because she believes the Bible mandates the segregation of the races.

There are two other bills that would regulate legal services, SB 302 and SB 303, that now have amendments which allow for religious refusal by state-licensed attorneys. If these bills become law with these amendments an attorney could deny his or her duty to inform a client about his or her rights in a divorce proceeding, for example, even trying to talk the client out of getting a divorce, all based on the attorney’s religious objection to divorce.

It is not hard to determine the true intent of these pieces of legislation.  They are intended to discriminate against and to scare all people in Texas who are not white conservative Christians.  These amendments and laws are intended to hurt people that the terrorists in the Texas State Legislature don’t like.  They are written and proudly put on display for all to see their intolerance against everyone not a white Christian.  In short, they are open displays of intolerant terrorism.  There is no other reason for them.

If you are going to write me that if you don’t like your lawyer, pharmacist, or nurse, get a different one forget about it.  If you are that intolerant of others, then you should not have chosen such a career in the first place.  There is no room in professions like these for intolerance.  Additionally, actions like these are in violation of the Ethics Oaths these professions are governed by.

Then we have another perfect example of intolerance on full display which is nothing more than a terrorist act.  This one comes due to the idea that the City of New Orleans is removing Confederate statues from the city.  This action is being taken after a vote of the city council.  Naturally, the white supremacists are up in arms and complaining the city is removing “our heritage” from city property.

In an attempt to stop other cities from taking such an action, the Louisiana Legislature is trying to pass a law that would make it ‘illegal” to remove such statues unless there was a “ballot” issue where the majority of the people vote to remove them.  Another attempt of a state legislature telling local governments what they can and cannot pass in their own jurisdictions.  Meaning, only the state can control a city’s monuments with the city paying for them, of course.

But the worst example of intolerant terrorism came not from anyone in Louisiana, but rather than a Missouri legislator.  On Saturday, Karl Oliver, a Republican member of the state’s House of Representatives described the “destruction” of Confederate monuments in Louisiana as “heinous and horrific” and compared leaders in that state to Nazis.

He said in his tweet:

The destruction of these monuments, erected in loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific.  If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historic monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED!  Let it be known that I will do all I can to prevent this from happening in our state!

I find it ludicrous when any so-called conservative calls someone else a Nazi when they are trying to rid their community of white supremacist symbols.  After all, it was the Nazis who epitomized white supremacy.  Which tells me that erecting white supremacy symbols is more Nazi-ish than removing them.  Especially when the City Council votes to remove them.  They are the representatives of the city residents.

Plus, everyone who has followed my writing knows I consider these “white heritage” nuts to be traitors to our country.  They are more interested in pledging loyalty to a failed, losing party of a war, than to the country of which they claim to be patriots.

But, their view is the only view that matters to them, therefore, it is supposed to be the only view that matters to us.  That is the full definition of intolerance.  And, it is terrorism if you tell people if they disagree or remove a confederate statue, they should by lynched.

Far more Americans have been killed by Radical Christian Terrorists in this country than any other group, including Islamic Terrorists.  The difference is that when a Muslim commits a horrible act, it is automatically called terrorism.  When a Radical Christian Terrorist commits a horrible act, it is called a “one-off” or that person has “mental problems”.

And, both our beloved leader and our vice president are mum on all of this Radical Christian Terrorist activity.  See, you don’t have to “kill” someone to be considered a terrorist.  You merely need to make them afraid of going out on the streets, or in their own home, or know that they can be discriminated against simply because they are different.

The laws being passed in the Caliphate of Texas and other Republican controlled states are forms of terrorism because they formally make discrimination “legal”.  You won’t hear beloved leader or our vice president voice any condemnation of these acts either.  Beloved leader got elected because he ran a hate campaign.  Our vice president signed such terrorism laws while he was Governor of Indiana.

If beloved leader is really interested in “weeding out terrorism” he needs to begin at home.  If he really wants to make terrorism something to be afraid of carrying out, he needs to crack down on the Radical Christian Terrorists in our country.

If pence is really interested in ending intolerance, then he needs his own “come to Jesus moment” and start condemning the very laws that Texas is passing and the ones he signed into law in Indiana.

I am not holding my breath about either of these cowards doing anything different.  They are part of the radical Christian terrorists and they are very proud of that fact.  All of this is proof of the conservative Republican agenda to remove all non-white, non-Christian people from the country.  They want a white only, Christian only country.

Only once they get it, they will work to eliminate the Christian sects they don’t like either.  So, you are in the crosshairs too.  Unless you are part of the Radical Christian Terrorist organization.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 189. 

Later today our beloved leader is heading overseas on his first foreign trip.  He plans to visits places like Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Belgium and Italy.  What could possible go wrong?

Just look at the wonderful week he has just completed.  He fired his FBI Director and had his surrogates lie about the reason.  He then told us why he fired him.  It was because of that “Russian thing”.

The next day he gave away highly classified information to the Russians.  Then he had McMasters go out and lie about that by saying it never happened.  Only the next day admitting that he did give them the information and McMasters then trying to say it was okay to do so.

He met with the Turkish strongman at the White House, then watched as the strongman’s body guards attacked protesters in front of the Turkish Ambassadors residence.  The action he took after this incident was his usual nothing.  Oh, he called the Ambassador to the State Department, but no one was thrown out of the country for the attack.

There is video showing the strongman talking to his body guards before the attack, and then him standing there watching with approval as they attacked the protesters.  Beloved leader must have approved of the attack since he didn’t do anything of consequence in response.

Now he is off on his first foreign trip.  He claims that he is going to try to bridge the differences between the “three great religions”.  Yeah, like that will happen.  He is even going to give a speech about Islam in Saudi Arabia.  And, that speech is being written by one of his advisors who said the Muslim Ban was the best accomplishment of trump’s administration.  He has also said that Islam is not a religion, but rather a disease.  And, he is the one writing the speech on Islam beloved leader is going to give in Saudi Arabia.  What could go wrong?

He is going to visit Israel right after he gave the Russians that highly classified information which NBC News is reporting came from, you guessed it, Israel.  Then, one of his top advisors claimed that the West Wall was not “in Israel it was in the West Bank”.  How’s that for greasing the skids before you visit the country that claims the West Wall as their holiest place on earth.

We also learned that beloved leader wanted to visit Masada.  However, he had to cancel the trip because it turns out that you cannot land his helicopter at the “historical heritage site”.  Why would anyone who knows anything about historical sites and religious sites even contemplate using a helicopter to get there?

While in Italy, beloved leader is going to meet with Pope Francis.  The very Pope that trump doesn’t like and the very Pope that has said some real unflattering things about trump.  What could possibly go wrong?

He is also going to meet with our NATO allies.  Yes, the very alliance that he claims is antiquated and thinks owes us lots and lots of money because he doesn’t understand the alliance agreement.  Additionally, they are going to hammer him on the Paris Accord that is set up to fight climate change.

Our European allies are not thrilled with trump’s plan to “pull out” of the agreement.  As a matter of fact, they are really pissed off at the suggestion of our pulling out.

I also wonder just how he tends to explain that little faux pas about giving the Russians that highly classified information.  How does he explain his willingness to share with the Russians information that we didn’t even share with all of our allies?  That one little thing could spell doom for beloved leader and his attempt to tell NATO how great America is at “leading” the free world.

Since he took office, beloved leader has pissed off our German allies.  He backed the Fascist candidate in the French election.  And, he even managed to piss off our Australian allies.  So, what could possibly go wrong?

It seems funny to me that about the only time I see trump really smiling and having a great time is when he is meeting with dictators.  He smiled broadly when he met with the Turkish strongman.  He really had a great time when he met with the Russians.

But, when he met with the Australians he didn’t smile.  When he met with Angela Merkel, he wouldn’t even shake her hand for the pictures.  And, he never smiled when he was with her.

So, we have a president about to leave on a nine-day, five country trip overseas whose campaign is under criminal and counter espionage investigation for possible collusion with the Russian Hacking.  He is damaged at home over these investigations and his poor handling of the Comey firing.  His lack of care with highly classified information.  And, a legislative record of absolutely no accomplishments.

We are about to be represented by a president who has accomplished nothing, knows nothing, and is totally incompetent.  He has heaped praise on our adversaries and pissed off our allies.

I ask again, what could possibly go wrong?  Maybe those huge cheering crowds when he leaves in the cartoon above are hoping he will never return.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 175. 

Beloved leader and his Republican Politburo have given their supporters exactly what they expected.  They are screwing them, as well as millions of other people.  These wonderful people have just held up their middle finger to the very people that put them in office.

The only question remaining is how long will these supporters of trump and the Republicans take it?  They seem to be oblivious to the very fact that they are the ones most in the cross-hairs of Republican and trump attacks.  Maybe it is because you don’t  hear about them very much on national media.  There are way too many things to cover and it is hard to keep track.

The three stage whammy includes the Americans Without Health Care Act which is supposed to be voted on today in the House.  The overtime rules in place to protect workers.  And the retirement rules intended to help people without retirement plans through work get one any way.

The retirement rules were overturned yesterday by the Senate and on its way to beloved leaders desk for signature.  Only two Republicans voted against the bill.  But, with Sen. Durbin out because of medical reasons, the vote came out to 50 to 49.

Here is what this rule was.  In October 2016, President Obama established the rule that would exempt the state-created plans from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, a law that outlines rules for workplace savings.  The full intent of the rule was to encourage states to create retirement plans for private-sector workers who do not have access to an employer-based retirement plan.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the Obama rule would give “government-run retirement plans with a competitive advantage over private sector workplace plans”.  Obviously, anything that helps people is something that cannot be accepted by Republicans.  Beloved leader has indicated he agrees and will sign the bill.

The AARP also sent a letter to senators this week urging them to keep the Obama-era rule, noting that tens of millions of Americans don’t have access to a work-place savings account.

“AARP urges the Senate to allow state flexibility to support more private retirement savings opportunities, and to vote no on H.J. Res. 66,” the group wrote.

Finance officials with roughly two dozen states also sent a letter earlier this week warning that without access to a savings account workers could retire in poverty.

“States are pursuing a multitude of solutions to address this growing retirement savings crisis,” they wrote. ” We insist that states be allowed to maintain their constitutional rights to implement such legislation.”

All of those letters fell on the usual Republican deaf ears.  They don’t care about the people.  It is just that simple.  So, if you were looking to get a retirement plan set up by your state so you don’t retire in poverty, the Republican Congress just told you to forget about it!

Then we have the case of the House passing a bill that would kill the overtime rules.  As it stands now, if you are eligible for overtime, you are paid time and a half for any hours worked over 40 hours per week.  But, Republicans think that is way too generous for those little bastards who actually work for a living.

They believe that if you work for a living and have to work overtime, you are simply ripping off your employer, who is making you work overtime.  So, instead of paying you time and a half for your labor, Republicans want to change the rules to make it possible for employers to offer you “comp time” instead.

If you are unfamiliar with “comp time” let me explain it.  Comp time is paid time off on a day you are normally scheduled to work.  The new rule that Republicans want to pass into law, will let companies say you don’t get overtime anymore, but we will give you time off with pay.

If you want or need a day off, you will be able to ask for your comp time and get paid for your day off.  But, there is a catch, as there always is when Republicans are involved.  Let us say you make $10 per hour.  You work 48 hours in one week.  If you received overtime pay, you would receive $15 per hour for those 8 hours.  Meaning you would earn and additional $120 for that week.

On the other hand, if you had comp time, you might get your day off with $80 in pay.  Meaning the company pockets $40 worth of your labor.  If a large company has 100 people working merely 8 hours of overtime per week each, you can see just how much a company could “save” by offering you comp time instead of overtime pay.

There is another catch to the “comp time” thing.  You might not get the actual day off you requested.  There is a little catch phrase called “if workload permits”.  Which means that if the company says they are in a critical stage and they cannot allow you to have a specific day off, there isn’t anything you can do about it.

Let us say that you intend to take your child to opening day of the baseball season.  You request the day off based on your comp time.  The company can say that you cannot have that day off for a variety of reasons.  You have no recourse and either miss the day with your child or call out sick and don’t get paid.

Don’t you think it would be better to get the money for overtime, save it up and just take a day off without pay?  If you did that, you would have saved much of the cost of taking your child to the game in the first place.  But, Republicans think that is too much of a burden on your employer.  And, trump agrees with full intentions to sign the bill if it gets past the Senate.

Finally, we have the Americans Without Health Care Act.  Republicans and trump are desperate to get this bill passed at least through the House.  They don’t care that at least 24 million people will lose their health care coverage.

They also claim that “there are protections for pre-existing conditions”.  They are lying through their dentally repaired fake smiles.  Here is why they are lying.  According to the bill, and no we don’t even know everything that is in it, states will be able to “opt out” of the mandate for pre-existing conditions.  They simply have to show Price that they have a “High Risk Pool” that will help cover those patients.

We have seen High Risk Pools in the past, and they failed miserably.  They cost people with pre-existing conditions thousands of dollars more than other people.  It is true that so-called moderate Republicans got an additional $8 billion to help defer costs for those patients.  But, that isn’t nearly enough and millions more people will be priced out of the market just because of pre-existing conditions.

The $8 billion lets Republicans say there are protections for pre-existing conditions, but in reality, they are lying and they know it.  The bill also includes the ability of states to “opt out” of the “essential coverage” portion of the ACA.  That means states can remove things like maternity health care coverage, or make being a woman a pre-existing condition again.

Nor are there any protections that keep insurance companies from placing “life-time caps” on their spending for your health care.  Meaning if you get something like cancer, you could lose your insurance before you get healthy just because you cost too much.

The bill allows companies to offer “hospitalization” coverage and call it health care coverage.  Then they will tout how cheap it is.  But, the only time you will use such coverage is when you are so sick you have to go to the hospital.  Then, after you recover and want better coverage, you will be placed in the High Risk Pool because you now have a pre-existing condition.

Insurance companies will be able to charge older people as much as five times the amount they charge younger patients.  That means people between 50 and 64 will see their premiums explode.  The estimates from the last go-round said that someone who retires at age 62 would pay all of their Social Security check just to get health coverage until they reach 65 and go on Medicare.

Republicans also kept in the $880 billion cuts to Medicaid.  Remember, this cut does not affect the Medicaid expansion, it affects the Medicaid plan overall.  As a result, millions of low-income people will lose their Medicaid coverage and be thrown to the wolves.  This will also include some middle-class income earners as well.  But, that is okay, Republicans say if you can’t afford health insurance you don’t deserve it.

Then there is the elimination of the income-based subsidies intended to help people afford health insurance.  Instead of these subsidies, Republicans have included age-based tax credits instead.  These tax credits are far less than the current subsides, so more people will lose their health care coverage.

There is another part of this that Republicans don’t want you to know and are hiding it.  There are a few states that mandate that abortion be included in health care coverages.  If you live in one of those states, by law, you cannot claim the tax credits to help you get your health care coverage.  That is because there is a law that says federal money cannot be used to cover or perform abortions.

As a result, even more people will lose their health care because they won’t be able to use the tax credits and therefore not be able to afford health insurance.

But there is good news in the bill as well.  Rich people and health care companies will get a $1 trillion tax break.  How much better can you expect from a piece of legislation?  They are the only ones who count anyway.

You know that the Americans Without Health Care Act is a terrible bill for the people of this country.  You know that because legislation that is good for the country isn’t rushed through for a vote without anyone even knowing for sure what is in it.  Which is the case for this horrible bill.  Plus, a good piece of legislation will wait for the OMB to assess the costs of the bill.

Republicans won’t wait for that because of one of two reasons.  Either they are afraid that the people will rise up in protest again and kill their precious bill, or they are too much in a hurry to go on another recess on Friday.

Republicans have held no hearings on the bill.  They have had no testimony from the health care professionals on their take on the bill.  They received no input form health care professionals and haven’t sought any.  They have put this bill together in some dark closet on Capital Hill in secret and now want to ram it down our throats.

When the ACA was passed, Republicans said that the bill was “rushed through” and was too quick to pass.  Yet, it took 14 months to write the bill.  There were lots of open hearings on the content of the bill.  Health Care professionals were included and testified on what they liked and didn’t like.

That, said Republicans, was a “rush job”.  What the hell do you call the handling of this bill?  Pathetic is one word that comes to my mind.  Then again, why should we expect Republicans to do things according to the rules?  Hell, they only had seven years to come up with their “replacement” plan.  And this is the best they could do?

People in rural areas are gong to be hurt the most by this piece of shit bill.  Rural hospitals will have to shut down because they won’t be able to afford to stay open if this crap becomes law.  You know, the very areas that helped trump win the presidency.

In just 72 hours, our beloved leader and his Republican Politburo will tell their own constituents to go to hell with these three pieces of so-called legislation.  They will tell their own constituents that they don’t matter any more than the rest of us.  They are saying, just shut up and keep voting for us so we can keep screwing you.

What a wonderful way to govern.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 125. 

We are now seeing the fourth step in dismantling our democracy.  That is a simple process of sowing seeds of distrust and just lie your ass off.  The object is to take your enemies and your friends and have them fight between each other.  But, more importantly, have your friends fight between each other.

You may think that sounds crazy, but getting your so-called friends to fight each other allows you to come in and end the fights with some form of crackdown.  That way the people think you are a savior because you tamped down opposition on both sides.

I say we are starting to see this step because of the Americans Without Health Care Act.  This one bill is showing that trump is trying to divide and conquer his own side in order to rule properly.

Here is how things work under step four.  First, you make unproven allegations that make someone else seem like a devil.  Then you make comments about how great a bill may be and then turn your back on it by claiming it isn’t your bill when it runs into trouble.

You make sure your own staff is fighting each other so you can claim some “devious deep state” exists from your predecessor who is out to get you.  You hire people to fill important positions by telling them they have the right to hire and fire people and then tell them no, “I will only make those decisions”.

The object is to keep everyone in the permanent state of confusion.  If you can achieve that, then you have a leg up on everyone else.  By keeping the populace confused about what is going on, you can pretend that you did not start it, but you are the only one who can fix it.

Let’s look at just how trump has put his plan in place:

First, he has the entire White House staff afraid.  It has been reported over and over that the knives are out and everyone is looking to either survive or assassinate the career of their rivals in the office.

There are staffers who are using encryption to talk to each other via email or twitter.  They are afraid to speak up in meetings because they are afraid to be labeled “traitors” to the president or his agenda.  It has been reported that once they get home they turn off their government cell phones because they are afraid they are being monitored or tracked.

Normally I would take all of that with a grain of salt.  But, these reports keep coming out, and they can only be coming from employees who are in this situation.  Then, you have that nice instance when Sean Spicer called in his staff and inspected their cell phones looking for leakers.

I don’t know about you, but that seems like a very toxic environment to work in.  How can anyone expect people to actually do their jobs if they are afraid of being monitored and/or tracked by their cell phones.  With this kind of toxic environment, power is coalesced into a few hands and everyone else is just puppets that are basically expendable if things go bad.

Second, if you hire someone, you need to tell him or her that they can hire their people.  Then, you put the kabosh on that promise once they try to exercise that role.  It was reported that McMaster was hired by trump to be National Security Advisor with the promise he can bring in his own people.  Wrong.

McMaster informed Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs, that he’d be moving to another position on Friday, according to reports.  He made that decision after several career veterans complained that the 30-year-old wasn’t measuring up.

So, Cohen-Watnick went to Bannon and Kushner to complain.  Cohen-Watnick apparently formed the alliance with Bannon and Kushner during the transition.  When Bannon and Kushner told trump on Sunday about the move, trump vetoed it and told Cohen-Watnick he was staying put.

To show just where things stand, it was Mike Flynn who brought Cohen-Watnick into the transition team to begin with.  So, McMaster who is supposed to be head of the National Security Team apparently has to clear his employee decisions with Bannon and Kushner.

This tells me that there is no chain-of-command in trump’s white house, except trump, Bannon, and Kushner.  That is a problem, especially for all of the generals he has hired into key positions.  Chain-of-command is very important to military people.  It allows them to do their job.  Meddling in that prohibits them from doing their job and politicizes the entire Intelligence Apparatus.

Third, throw out unsubstantiated accusations against anyone and expect someone else to “prove” you are correct.  Only, when those “others” actually try to show you are right or wrong, use delaying tactics and don’t cooperate with them.

This is playing out in front of us right now.  Our beloved leader claimed that President Obama “tapped my wires” and called for an investigation.  There were already a few investigations into the Russian interference into our elections, and they said they would check it out.

The House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to the DOJ to get any information they have on any wire taps.  The DOJ has not given them any information, but said they need more time.  Sen. Graham sent a letter to the FBI requesting any paperwork on wire taps and/or wire tap requests.  The FBI has yet to give them any information.

Finding the paperwork for any wire taps is very easy.  All you do is go to the computer, pull it up, and print it out.  There isn’t investigative techniques needed to produce the paperwork.  But, if you don’t have such paperwork, then you make it look like something nefarious by delaying or refusing to produce the non-evidence.  That allows the false story to continue circulating and keeping attention away from the real investigation of the Russian hacking.

Or, you make false claims about 3 to 5 million “illegal aliens” voting in the last election, calling for an investigation, and then doing nothing.  That is just to stir up your base and let more false stories float around.  It is even better when you ignore even your own party’s election officials who say openly you are lying.  Truth doesn’t matter, just confusion.

Fourth, you run on a promise to “repeal and replace” the health care law.  You change your story several times about what you want the “replacement” to be.  You first say it needs to be repealed and make premiums cheaper for everyone.  Then you say that you won’t touch Medicaid.  Then you say you want health care for everyone.  Then you say you only want premiums to go down.

The House leadership believes you intend to sign a bill that repeals the ACA.  So, they put together a bill that does that, and even gives tax cuts to people like you.  You immediately come out and call it a “great piece of legislation”.  Then when it starts to go bad, you start to blame someone else.

When people start calling it trumpcare, you complain that it isn’t trumpcare, but rather Ryancare.  You still optically say you want it passed, even put on a phony charm show to prove you want it passed.  Only, you keep stepping further away from it.  You even say, “I am open to negotiation” on the bill when your House leader says this “is the bill”.

Sow more distrust between your leaders in Congress and the ultra-conservatives to make it seem like it has nothing to do with you.  All you are trying to do is repeal what you call a bad bill and replace it with something better.  If it turns out to be worse and it still passes, you simply blame the Republicans for putting a bad bill on your desk.  If it doesn’t pass you simply blame the Democrats for not supporting such a wonderful bill.

Sow the seed of confusion.  Don’t let anyone know where you really stand on the bill.  Just let everyone else fight it out, and then blame everyone else for its failure.  That way you can “prove” to your followers that only you can fix the problems and we don’t need that stupid group of people called the U.S. Congress.  So, let’s just shut it down.

Fifth, of course you need to divide the people even more.  You look at things going on around the country and pick and choose the items that work best for you.  Only, you don’t really denounce anything, just call it bad.

You complain that we shouldn’t be making bomb threats to Jewish Centers or defacing Jewish cemeteries, but ignore the Mosques being burned to the ground.  Nor, do you denounce firmly anyone who is involved in any of these activities.  You simple say something opaque like you “should knock it off”.

When full-throated supporters like Steve King of Iowa make overtly racist comments, you simply stay quiet.  You allow your racist surrogates to try to tell us that King didn’t really mean what he said and we are taking things out of context.  Even when King doubles and triples down on his comments.

You pit people against each other.  That way, when violence does erupt, you can crack down on the side you don’t like and say you are just enforcing “law and order”.  To sow distrust, simply prop up those who think like you and put down those who oppose you.  It doesn’t even have to be open.  You can do it quietly with subtle hints to those who are looking for a fight.

Sixth, unleash law enforcement on immigrants and citizens alike.  You see this with the massive “crackdowns” on undocumented immigrants being rounded up and deported.  What you really haven’t seen is the crackdown on the borders.

Only, this crackdown isn’t against just immigrants.  It is against U.S. civilians.  A very little know fact is that current law says that your rights under the 4th Amendment are not valid at the borders.  As a result, the government is doing everything it can to gather information on its citizens.

As an example, if you live near the Canadian border and decide to drive across and have dinner at your favorite Canadian restaurant, you could be in for a rude awakening when you return.  Customs can demand that you hand over your cell phone along with your passwords so they can check the information in your emails and/or contact lists.

If you refuse to hand over the information, you will be taken into custody until you do.  This began after 9/11 in order to try to find terrorists before they entered the country.  But, citizens were more or less left alone.  Not anymore.

In the month of February alone, more people, mostly U.S. Citizens were ordered to hand over their cell phones or laptops than during the entire year of 2015.  The devices are taken into a separate room from you and the officers do not return for about a half hour.  It is obvious to most people, your information is being downloaded from your device.

The argument by the administration is that they are just trying to “keep us safe”.  Sorry, but I don’t believe it.  If they are just looking to “keep us safe” why do they have to go into a separate room?  It is obvious they are downloading your personal information for their use.

Since the majority of people being ordered to hand over their phones are of the “non-white” population, more seeds of distrust are being sown.  People seeing these activities are seeing the profiling of others to make everyone else distrust them.  Obviously they have “something to hide” or are obviously “suspicious” and are suspected of being terrorists.

We are well into the fourth step of dismantling our democracy.  Distrust and hate is on the rise.  People are pointing fingers at each other, even in the White House.  The chain-of-command in government agencies are being taken away from the heads of those departments.  Lies are becoming the new “truths”.  Confusion reigns supreme.

We are seeing friends fighting against each other.  We are seeing friends fighting against enemies.  We are seeing people being pit against each other.  We are seeing races being pit against each other.  We are seeing religions being pit against each other.  We are seeing the deliberate attempt to create chaos.

Unless there is chaos, you cannot “crackdown” on your opposition.  You need chaos and violence in the streets in order to fully take control.  With chaos and violence you can claim to be the “savior” that will restore “law and order”.  Only it won’t be the “law and order” of a democracy, it will be the “law and order” of a totalitarian dictatorship.

All of this chaos and we are just two months into this administration.   It is obviously going to get worse as time goes by.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 121. 

The trump administration has put all of us in a conundrum.  That is basically this.  Can we trust anything they say anymore?  I am not asking this rhetorically either.  They have shown over and over that they will lie to the American people with so much ease that it is frightening.

How can we believe the president if he tells us that some other country, say North Korea, is beginning to cross over the border with South Korea?  Will we ask for proof first, or just go to war as he wants?

This lying goes throughout the administration.  We have all accused Kellyanne Conway of lying.  We have accused the president, Sean Spicer, and Mike Flynn of all lying.  Now we also know that Mike Pence is a liar as well.  The latest proof of their willingness to openly lie is the Mike Flynn being a “foreign agent” during the campaign, the transition, and while he was National Security Advisor.

The administration is trying to claim that they “did know that Flynn was lobbying for Turkey” something that the facts prove is a lie.  Mike Pence said yesterday on Fox New of Flynn registering as a foreign agent retroactively that was the first time he heard of it.

Spicer during the press briefing yesterday said that Flynn had kept his lobbying secret and that no one in the administration knew about it.  He said:

We trust that employees are filling out forms in the legal manner, we advise them to do the proper and legal thing, and we expect every employee to follow the law.

He lied when he said those words.  We know that all of this is a lie from Mike Pence and Sean Spicer because on Nov. 18, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to Mike Pence, then the vice president-elect, detailing concerns about Flynn’s lobbying on behalf of a foreign government’s interests. Flynn even consulted a lawyer, who called a member of Trump’s transition team to disclose Flynn’s work for his Turkish client.

So, how can Pence claim that the other day was the first time he heard about Flynn’s activities on behalf of a foreign country?  The letter was addressed to him. Is he expecting us to believe that he doesn’t read the letters he receives from member of Congress?

They just won’t give up on lying, even when they know they will get caught in their lies.  They will go to any lengths to distance themselves from their self-made conflicts.

At one point yesterday Spicer, when asked about Flynn again, accused the reporter of trying to “impugn” the reputation of Flynn.  His response was:

What dealings are you referring to, the fact that he had a client?  He was also head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, unbelievably qualified impeccable credentials. What is exactly are you getting at?

Flynn was also fired from his position as head of the DIA because of his horrible leadership abilities.  The entire DIA staff was almost in open rebellion because of a lack of his management skills.

What this all boils down to is that the administration knew that Flynn was lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.  While he was doing so, he sat in on Intelligence Briefings during the campaign and the transition, and while in office.  If that sounds like something that should never happen, you are correct.  It should never have happened!

Spicer seemed to end his comments on the matter by saying:

At the end of the day, when [Trump] found out that Gen. Flynn betrayed the trust of the vice president, he let him go.  The president has high standards for everyone that works in the administration.

Then he added:  “I can’t tell you that every single person has done everything.”

This also shows just how frighteningly incompetent this administration is.  When you are looking to hire someone for a serious position in our government, you are supposed to do something called “vetting”.  If you properly “vet” someone, you will discover just what they have been up to.

I hate WalMart.  But, even WalMart does a better job of screening their future employees than this administration does.  This administration is absolutely pathetic.  If they cannot properly vet those they wish to serve in the government, how can we trust them to safely analyze the intelligence they are receiving to keep us safe?  We can’t.

When you couple their incompetence with their constant lying, we cannot believe a single thing they say.  And, that is the really frightening thing about this administration.

We are now faced with a government that we cannot trust.  Think about that for a minute.  We cannot trust the president, vice-president, or any other member of the administration to tell us the truth about anything.

Then, to make matters worse, Republican leaders in Congress let them get away with all of their lies without batting an eye or opening their mouths.  These are not good signs for our country.

It has been said that “the truth shall set you free”.  I guess trump and his administration don’t believe in that old adage.  They believe that the best way to totalitarian government is to lie like hell every time they open their mouths.

The supporters of trump are about to find out just how much he lied to them, too.  When the Americans Without Health Insurance Act passes, and they lose their health coverage, they may finally understand.  When the retired coal miners in West Virginia lose their pensions and health care because Republicans won’t extend their coverage, maybe they will finally understand.

Our beloved leader and his gang of thieves have lied to the very people who got him elected, and they are openly defying them.  They are showing with each passing day that they lied to these people.  Let’s hope these people wake up and see that they were lied to.

I never thought that we would ever have a government controlled by one party that we cannot trust.  Unfortunately, that is what we have.  Talk about torture!

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 85. 

We are facing a lot of problems with our new president.  We are also facing a new president who believes that he was elected to be our dictator.  He has bullied our closest allies and sent loving kisses to our biggest adversary.

The main problem is that too much of our media is letting him get away with his “alternative facts” and seem to be afraid to challenge him and his supporters when they openly lie to the American people.

We have had several judges put stays on the executive order enforcing the Muslim Ban.  Yet, there are reports coming out of airports that Customs officials are secretly defying these lawful orders.  There are reports that people are continuing to be detained in violation of court orders.

We have lawyers at the airports saying openly that Customs is still not allowing them to speak to the detainees until after they have been released.  That is also a violation of several of these court orders.  Yet, the American people isn’t hearing about these contempt of court incidents because they at not getting the press they deserve.

Virginia has asked a court to force Customs to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for disobeying the court orders.  Customs has not upheld the LA court order stating that people in foreign airports cannot be kept from boarding planes.  The airport security at those airports are still blocking them from getting on planes to the U.S. claiming they are “following CBP orders”.  Meaning CBP is again disregarding the court order.

It is extremely difficult to find out just how many detainees there are because CPB won’t provide anyone that information.  It has gotten so bad, that even someone with a diplomatic passport, and was the former Prime Minister of Norway, was rounded up at the airport the other day because some Customs official saw a stamp from Iran 3 years ago.

Kjell Magne Bondevik the former Prime Minister of Norway said that when he landed at Dulles Airport, he was put in a room with Muslims from the Middle-east and told to wait.  After 40 minutes, he was questioned about his stamp that said he visited Iran in 2014.

His passport clearly states that he is a “former Prime Minister of Norway” and it is clearly marked as a diplomatic passport.  Take note that this happened on Tuesday.  Days after all of the court orders placing a stay on the executive order were issued.  In case you are wondering, he came to this country to attend yesterday’s “Prayer Breakfast” that trump attended.  How diplomatic of the trump administration.

The most egregious act of spreading “alternative facts” came last night on Hardball with Chris Matthews.  I don’t understand why, but Chris Matthews seems to fall all over himself trying not to upset Kellyanne Conway.  That was very apparent last night.

Conway appeared on Matthews show about the Presidency and Power which was part of his college tour.  When discussing the Muslim Ban, Conway offered this up as an excuse why t was so necessary.

I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.  Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.

She is right.  The American People would have learned about it for the first time last night, and this massacre was never covered simply because IT NEVER HAPPENED!  With that huge lie just sitting there screaming to be hit out of the park, Matthews let it slide and did not confront Ms. Liar with any facts.  Mr. Hardball wilted again.

The facts about this are simple.  Two Iraqi refugees were living in Bowling Green, KY when ABC News heard rumors about their activities in Iraq.  They wrote about those rumors.  That prompted the FBI to look into the matter.

They found the two’s fingerprints on IEDs that were used in attacks against our troops in Iraq.  They were also found to be sending money to Al Qaeda in Iraq to help them get more IEDs to attack troops in Iraq.

The two were indicted and convicted of crimes and are now in jail.  There was never a massacre in Bowling Green that wasn’t covered by the media.  This morning Conway tweeted that she meant to say “two terrorists living in Bowling Green” which is another lie.  She clearly stated that we didn’t know about this horrible massacre because it wasn’t covered by that awful press.

Secondly, there was no six month ban on Iraqis after that incident in 2011.  President Obama ordered a review of the vetting process of Iraqi citizens before they were allowed to immigrate here.  He DID NOT PLACE A BAN on Iraqi immigration like Conway and trump want you to believe.

They are also saying that the seven countries were named as terrorist sponsors by the Obama administration so even they knew the dangers.  What the Obama administration said was that with terrorism in those countries and the civil wars raging in most of those countries, they considered them dangerous.  As a result, they issued travel warnings to Americans traveling to those countries.

Conway used this argument last night too, and Matthews let it drop without any pushback.  The sharpest question last night came from a student.  She asked that if Christians from the seven counties were being allowed exemptions to the ban, doesn’t that place a religious test on people, and isn’t religious tests unconstitutional?  The trump supporter on the panel hid his head and would not speak up in defense.

Again, Matthews did not bring that up as a major point and try to get an explanation about it.  Nor, during his interview with Conway did he bring up a similar question.  He simply allowed her to put out her “alternative facts”.

Chris Matthews tries to act like he is a tough customer who won’t let people get away with not answering his questions.  Sometimes he does a good job at it.  However, recently he seems to be reluctant to keep that same “Hardball” technique he claims to use all of the time.  That is a problem.

If people like Matthews who calls his show “Hardball” won’t use hardball questions and challenge lies when they come up, how can we expect other reporters to do it.

As a result, the media has wilted under the pressure of the trump administration.  We have a president who spreads lies as if they were facts.  He insults our friends and allies all the while blowing kisses to Vladimir Putin.  He makes awkward and veiled threats against countries which is extremely dangerous.  He even has former Prime Ministers from allied countries held and questioned even when traveling on Diplomatic Passports.

And, the press lets him get away with it more and more.  Instead of headlining these dangers to our democracy, they headline his feud with Schwarzenegger about ratings on the Apprentice.  I guess that isn’t too controversial for our “investigative reporters”.

I hate to paint the press with broad strokes like this.  There are a handful of real reporters out there, but they are too few and too far apart, and they don’t the coverage they deserve.

Our beloved leader and his surrogates are leading us down the primrose path towards authoritarian government and our illustrious media is letting him get away with it.

To steal and change the words of a Simon and Garfunkel song “Where have you gone Edward R. Murrow?  Our lonely nations turns its lonely eyes to you.”  Will anyone in the national press with the high visibility show the guts and integrity of Edward R. Murrow or will they continue to bow down to our new dictator?

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 82. 

Another day of ignorance has ended in the usual ignorant manner we are getting used to.  That is a real unfortunate reality in our country today.  Chaos reigns and stupidity is rampant.  The only question is what is next?

Yesterday, the Acting Attorney General for the United States of America said that she would not defend the executive order on immigration by our beloved leader.  Within hours she was fired.

Later last night, the acting Director of Immigration was demoted back to deputy director and another person was named as the acting Director of Immigration.  There was no reason given for this move, but the statement made it clear why it happened.

The man named as Acting Director had held the position in ICE that enforced the law and was the one responsible to tracking down and deporting undocumented immigrants.  Since trump has promised to deport 11 million people, you can bet it will start pretty soon now.

There is also a report that during the transition period, this executive order was already being worked on.  The problem is that it is further reported that senior staff members of Congress supposedly secretly worked on the ban and then signed a non-disclosure agreement with trump.

I have heard that Mattis would be the adult in the room when it comes to policy from the White House.  Yet, there he was standing right behind trump and applauding the signing of this horrible executive order.  I don’t find that as being much of a grown up in the room.

To be fair, it has since been reported that he was unaware of exactly what was in the order and is now angry.  So, why has he kept quiet about the order and not show the spine that Sally Yates showed in defying the order?

I have lost a lot of respect for Mattis over this simple case.  He should be yelling at the top of his lungs.  His beloved leader has just made the lives of several hundred if not thousands of Iraqi citizens who have helped our troops in jeopardy, and trump doesn’t seem to give a shit about that fact.  The old general should know better.

Finally, there are about 100 diplomats in the State Department that disagree with trump’s order as well.  In the State Department, there is something called the Dissent Channel.  Under this policy, State Department workers can formally dissent about various issues.

Part of this policy is that no retaliation can be taken against those signing the dissent memo.  It works this way.  If people in the State Department are against any issue or policy, they can write a memo to the Secretary of State expressing their dissent.  They all sign the memo and the Secretary of State has 90 days to respond to them.

Mark Toner, a spokesman for the State Department said:

The Dissent Channel is a longstanding official vehicle for State Department employees to convey alternative views and perspectives on policy issues.  This is an important process that the Acting Secretary, and the Department as a whole, value and respect. It allows State employees to express divergent policy views candidly and privately to senior leadership.

Unfortunately, trump doesn’t seem to feel the same way.  In his press briefing Sean Spicer was asked about this dissent memo.  He said: “They should either get with the program, or they can go.”

I am not going to argue that trump didn’t have the authority to fire Sally Yates.  He has the authority.  However I am questioning why he fired her.  Was it because he is trying to “keep us safe” or because he considered her defiance and opinions about the order as a personal betrayal.  To me it is clear that it was the latter.

I will say this as clearly as possible.  When we take the oath of office we are swearing to defend the Constitution, not our beloved leader.  It was the responsibility of Yates to voice her concern when she felt something was not legal.  Even in the military we have an out from the oath if we know that an order given to us is illegal.  The oath says we will “follow all legal orders from those appointed over us.”  That means, if we believe that an order is illegal, we don’t have to obey it.

Sally Yates did what she believed was right.  She did not see the order as being legal, and therefore said she and her department would not defend it.  She was open and honest in her beliefs.  But, trump doesn’t want anyone who is open and honest.  He wants obedience.

The White House could have called her and tried to speak to her and “convince” her the order was legal.  They could have listened to her objections and come to some kind of compromise that would have served both sides.  But, no, they did not want to speak to her.  She had the spine to defy our beloved leader and she had to go immediately.

Spicer said that she had “betrayed” the Department of Justice.  If you disagree with the beloved leader, you are betraying your department not doing your job.  Their full statement says it all:

Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.

Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.

It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.

Tonight, President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as Acting Attorney General until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate, where he is being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons.

If you want to hear the real irony in all of this, when Ms. Yates went through her hearings when she took her office as Deputy, none other than Jeff Sessions asked if she understood that sometimes she will have to say “no” to the president if she disagrees.  The person who trump is relying on to help him ban all immigrants told the person he just fired that she was right in defying him because of her legal beliefs.

There is a lot of talk about whether this order is legal or not.  In my opinion it is illegal.  The fact that he banned “travel and refugees” from certain countries is not by itself illegal.  However, when he announced that “Syrian Christians would be given quick exemptions” things changed.

When Rudy Giuliano opened his mouth and admitted that he helped work out a plan to ban Muslims without making it look like they were banning Muslims, things changed.  This order contains a hidden “religious test” on who gets in and who does not.  Religious tests are unconstitutional.

Additionally this executive order does not make America safer.  It actually makes us less safe than we were last Friday morning.  In case you have forgotten, the main ally we have in our fight against ISIS is, wait for it, IRAQ.

So, it naturally makes perfect sense that we ban Iraqis from immigrating to our country.  After all, they are the ones losing lives in the fight against ISIS in Mosul.  We just told our main ally in our fight against ISIS that we are happy they are dying to help us, but don’t count on being able to come here and live in peace.  You are not welcome.

What is our beloved leader going to do if Iraq should tell our armed forced to get the hell out of their country?  Is he going to break international law and defy them and even send in more troops?  How is that all going to make us safer?  It will only help ISIS recruit more terrorists than this stupid order is already doing.

The other day I called trump an incompetent fascist.  His actions since that post has proven me right.  Personal loyalty to him is the only quality you need to work in his administration and government.  How long will it be before he demands everyone take an oath of loyalty to him?  He has already floated the idea of non-disclosure forms that everyone in the government should sign so he can keep everything secret from the public.

Ultimately the courts will decide if the ban is legal or not.  The problem is even if the court says it is illegal, will trump and his administration defy the court?  It has been reported that Customs Agents at Dulles Airport defied an already existing order to allow those detained to speak to lawyers.  There are even reports that Customs Agents forced immigrants to sign away their visas and even green cards before deporting them.

But don’t worry, this is just the second week of his administration.  I am sure we will see a whole lot more incompetence and stupidity in the coming days.  Don’t forget, the real internal battle hasn’t started yet.  It will begin in earnest when he announces his nominee for the Supreme Court.

If that nominee is a right-wing radical, which he probably will be, and Democrats fight it, they will be accused of obstructing the president for political reasons.  They will claim that Democrats should not be allowed to fight the nomination because after all, the president has a right to nominate whom he wants and the Senate should just go along.  Just like Republicans did when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland a year ago.

I could say the fun is just beginning.  However, the consequences of all of this is way too serious to call it fun.  The great businessman who now wants to be our beloved leader is showing his incompetence every day.

But, don’t worry, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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