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Day 158. 

All through the campaign and ever since he took office, our beloved leader has promised to create millions of new jobs.  If you were watching very closely, you will have noticed that his promise is not just a pipe dream.  He really will create those jobs.  Well, it may seem like that at first glance.

What he is really going to do is cull the workforce from those lazy bastards that already fill up employment rolls and replace them with new workers who will be overjoyed to finally have a “good paying” job.  And, he has already taken the first steps to make all of that happen.

While you were watching him stumble and bumble his way through these first three months, our beloved leader was quietly signing bills placed in front of him by his politburo Republican Congress and his Department of Labor was quietly changing rules.  These bills and rule changes only affected simple things like workplace safety.

See, if you do away with all of those expensive workplace safety rules, then people will get injured to the point of permanent disability and maybe even die.  That will open up millions of jobs over the next four years for anyone who wants them.  New job creation accomplished.

The first thing he did was to sign two bills from Republicans that make it harder to track workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths.  The first one undoes a rule requiring federal contractors to fully report all labor violations.    The second one undoes a rule to strengthen employer’s workplace illness and injury record-keeping requirements.  The Republicans call these regulations – job killers.

In case you may be wondering why these are important rules, it is simply because they allow OSHA to monitor what is going on in the workplace, find out what is really behind workplace safety, and help to fix the problem to protect workers.  So, you can see how much the industries would hate such bills and/or rules.  They just might be required to protect their employees while at work.

Then we have the Department of Labor delaying two very important rules.  The first one deals with silica dust.  Silica dust is a very hazardous carcinogen that causes lung cancer and death.  There has been an outcry about Silica since the 1930s.  A rule was passed in the 70s, but it was called inefficient.  Then last year the Obama Administration placed more restrictive rules on the amount of Silica dust that could be present.

The industry howled about the administration being intrusive in their businesses.  The new rule would force employers to install new ventilation systems and provide better respiratory protection devices for their employees who work in that environment.  And, in fairness, it would cost a lot of money.

So, hearing his buddies cry about the new rule, the DOL placed a three-month hold on the rule.  The industry is gearing up for a lobbying attack to make sure they kill the rule completely.  But, even if it were put in place after the three-month delay, it is estimated by health experts that up to 600 people will be affected to the point of getting lung cancer and even dying from breathing in the Silica Dust in that three-month period.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has also twice postponed implementation of its rule updating standards for workers’ protection from carcinogenic beryllium dust.  Like silica, exposure to beryllium, used in construction, shipyards, foundries and industries that use the metal to make electronics, aerospace, defense and other components, causes incurable lung disease and lung cancer.

“OSHA estimates that when fully implemented it [the rule] will save 94 lives a year. Every four days of delay in the implementation dates costs the life of one American worker,” wrote Michael Wright, director of health, safety and environment at United Steelworkers, in comments submitted to the DOL.

Of course Republicans hate the rule and want it killed as well.  They call this rule a “midnight rule”.  They claim that it was rushed through at the last-minute.  However, in fact, the rule results from actions that go back to 2002.

Also delayed are Environmental Protection Agency rules to prevent emissions of formaldehyde, a carcinogen and serious respiratory hazard, from manufactured wood products, to increase safety at industrial plants that use and store highly hazardous chemicals and to increase protections for pesticide applicators.

Then we have beloved leader’s proposed budget which will all but eliminate OSHA.  One of the things being eliminated under his budget is something called the Susan B. Harwood training grants. “The Harwood grants include very important training programs to reduce occupational illnesses, like grants that go out to train workers in nail salons and beauty parlors,” on exposure to hazardous chemicals, explained David Michaels, George Washington University professor of environmental and occupational health and Obama administration Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

The budget to OSHA to enforce workplace safety laws will be slashed dramatically as well.  OSHA is really an enforcement agency.  It is tasked to investigate injuries at the workplace, make recommendations to see it doesn’t happen again, and even levy fines to the company if warranted.

Not only that, but the cuts will hamper the agency from updating things like their outdated chemical safety standards.  This may all seem obscure, but these standards do not just affect those working at chemical plants, but the surrounding area as well.  It puts everyone’s life in jeopardy.

So, as you see can beloved leader really does have plan to create millions of jobs.  What he isn’t telling you is that won’t be “new” jobs, you will simply be filling jobs of people who were made disabled or killed due to poor workplace safety.  But, what the hell, a job is a job according to beloved leader.

This administration wants to take us back in time when corporations controlled our entire lives.  They want to see “company towns” where you were forced to live and purchase everything from the “company store”.  The administration believes just like the employers that “workers are a dime a dozen so if someone is hurt, disabled, or killed no big deal.  We can replace him easy enough.”

Remember, if you don’t pay attention to the little things that go under the trump stupidity meter in the media, you will find yourself on the outside looking in just like your grandfathers.  If you think trump cares about the average person, just look at what he is doing to your safety in the workplace.  If that is caring for me, please start to hate me instead.  At least I would know your true intentions were to get rid of me.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

Day 155. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 154. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

Day 153. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

Day 152. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

Day 151. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.

Day 149. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, the shirts keep marching along.