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Archive for the ‘Torture’ Category

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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Day 80. 

In the last two days trump has proven that one word describes him better than anything else.  His actions have shown a total lack of competence in anything except feeding his own ego.

The sudden ban on Muslims from seven Muslim countries and making it retroactive shows his incompetence.  He never thought about what his actions were going to do.  The ban even included people with Green Cards, meaning they are legally living in the U.S. and not on any visas.  Green Cards are the first step towards citizenship.

There were cases of women who are green card holders being detained and threatened with deportation while traveling with their children who are U.S. citizens because they were born here to U.S. Legal Residents.  And, of course we have to look at that 80-year-old woman who wanted to visit her grandchildren in the U.S. and was detained.  Clearly she is a horrible terrorist looking to kill us all in our beds.

This ban is unconscionable to begin with, but it is very obvious that no one even considered thinking about what it would mean.  Many of the people who were detained at the Airports were actually in the air before trump signed his obnoxious executive order.  They were traveling on visas that were approved by the State Department before the order was given.

Finally last night, several judges put a temporary stay on the deportation of these people.  They even ordered that people with Green Cards had a right to speak with their attorney.  Yet, the Department of Homeland Security through the Customs and Border Patrol refused to allow lawyers to see their clients for at least four hours.  They defied the court orders.  Which in itself is illegal.

We also have to take into consideration that none of the seven countries that are on this ban list have had any of its citizens create a terrorist attack on our shores.  NONE.  However, some other countries that have had their citizens commit terrorist attacks in our country are not on the list.  Especially Saudi Arabia which was where 15 of the 9/11 terrorists came from, not to mention most of Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.

Why would this be?  Maybe it is because trump does business in those countries.  Although the project was cancelled in December, trump tried to get buildings built in Saudi Arabia.  Maybe their not being on the list has to do with wanting to leave the door open for business in the future.

Here is a question for our moronic president.  What are we supposed to tell the thousands of Muslims who are bravely serving our country in uniform in places like Iraq and Afghanistan?  How can you expect them to keep serving when you are blocking their relatives from entering our country?

Then yesterday trump signed another executive order to prove his incompetence.  He ordered a change in the make-up of the National Security Council which is supposed to bring all intelligence heads together to share information and set policy for security of our country.

That was something that was determined to be needed after 9/11 and we have tried desperately to share information between agencies ever since.  Yet, trump decided that people like the head of the Department of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff don’t need to be in the policy meetings, “unless it involves their expertise”.

But, guess who gets a permanent seat on the National Security Council?  Stephen Bannon.  That’s right, the white supremacist and democracy hating Chief Policy Advisor of donald trump gets a permanent seat at the table.  The expertise of the Director of National Intelligence isn’t necessary, but this pig is apparently vital.

And, if you read the executive order issuing the ban on Muslims coming into the country, you will find two sets of fingerprints on it.  One is Jeff Sessions who trump wants to make our Attorney General and the other is Stephen Bannon.

Sessions has railed for decades about the “dangers of allowing immigration” into the U.S.  He especially hates the idea that Muslims can actually get in.  He has been waging a war on Islam for as long as I can remember.  Then we have Bannon who believes in white supremacy and gave it a voice on his Breitbart Blog.  They call it Breitbart News, but you won’t find any real news on the site.

Don’t forget, it is also Bannon who thinks that Putin is just they type of leader we need in the U.S.  Why bother with all those pesky elections when the “leader” can claim victory regardless of what the vote count actually is.  He has admitted that his goal is to totally tear down our government.  The only thing that can replace our democracy is a dictatorship.

And, what does our Republican Party have to say about all of this?  Nothing!  They have been remarkably silent, except Paul Ryan who seems to think it is perfectly fine to discriminate against immigrants just because they are Muslim.

Every day trump is in office, he manages to display his incompetence with another tweet, executive order or sentence out of his mouth.  He has surrounded himself with people who could easily be called anti-American and anti-democracy and he doesn’t care what damage he does to the country.

The positive side is that the people are fighting back.  When the ban went into effect and it was announced that people were being detained, thousands of people showed up at the airports to protest this idiocy.

At the various airports, hundreds of lawyers showed up to volunteer to represent those being detained pro bono.  As I said earlier, the only way we will be able to save our country from this tyrant is to take to the streets and let our feelings known.

We have to keep fighting.  We have to keep yelling.  We have to keep telling trump he is an idiot and we don’t want him as our president.  We have no other choice.  We cannot allow trump to destroy our country.

We are seeing trump commit government terrorism on his own people.  And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 71.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 67.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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