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First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller, a Nazi dissident

Now they are coming for the immigrants, but I am speaking out, because I am an immigrant.

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duncan-hunter-1

Check out this article that describes Hunter accusing constituents protesting at his offices as trespassers.

Here is a post about Hunter misusing campaign funds for private consumption of his family.

Here is post I wrote in December 2013 about Hunter making moronic statements about Iran.

You might have guessed it by now, I am not much of a Hunter supporter, and I can’t believe this man actually got elected to Congress.

Maybe I need to run for Congress. There does not seem like much competition.

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Paul Ryan Knows

paul_ryan_official_speaker_portraitPaul Ryan can’t lose, and he knows it.

I don’t know Ryan personally, I have never met him, but I can see by the look in his eyes that he knows what’s going on in the White House right now is a travesty. But he’s holding tight, he’s walking with the party, because he has a plan.

If the Trump administration goes down in flames, for instance by impeachment due to a constitutional transgression the Congress can’t continue to cover for, we have a Pence administration, provided that Pence does not go down with Trump along the way.

If both Trump and Pence were to go down in flames, Ryan is next in line as the Speaker of the house, and we’d have a Ryan administration.

For 2020, Pence, by himself, is not electable. Since Trump would run again, he’d likely ask Pence to stay on. Pence is too uninspiring a personality to win the presidency on his own.

Ryan will run against Trump in 2020 and he will beat him in the primaries by a landslide. The country will have had three years of a Trump presidency, it will have dozens of scandals to point to, and incompetence to point out. Trump will be toast.

Ryan has already gained national campaign experience with Romney, so he knows the ropes. He also knows he can beat Trump easily. Ryan is only 47 years old now, approximately the age Obama was when he took office. That’s young.

Whether it’s 2020, or 2024, or 2028, we will see a president Ryan in the United States.

The only question I have is: Who are the Democrats going to put forward to oppose this formidable challenger?

 

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diabolical

[click for photo credit on Reddit]

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Well, Speaker Ryan, the problem as I see it is this: The Republican-controlled Congress, from 2000 through 2008, and then again from 2010 through 2016, has not done one thing to deal with this problem of healthcare in our nation. The Affordable Care Act may not be perfect, but it’s one hell of a lot more and therefore better than the big NOTHING the Republicans provided in all those years in control.

Now, if you get to work and produce a healthcare product that works, that’s less expensive, that covers preexisting conditions, and that does not kick millions of Americans off what they have now, GREAT. We will all welcome that.

So, please, refrain from upsetting the apple cart until you show us the orange cart – pun intended.

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Dear Senator McCain:

I write to you because I truly believe you are one of the most important senators we have in the country right now, and one of the few “grown-ups” in the United States Senate.

I have always been a supporter. I read your book Faith of My Fathers in 2008. Here is my review. I was ready to vote for you, until the day came when you selected Governor Palin as your running mate. That day you lost my vote. If you had chosen pretty much anyone else, you might have very well won that election, and we would have a very different country now. You might have handled the Iraq pullout differently, and there might not be an ISIS now. You might have had to run against this upstart named Barack Obama in 2012, and you might even have won reelection. Then Obama, still a young man at 55 would probably have taken the election of 2016 and we’d have the start of an Obama presidency now.

But my version of alternate history didn’t happen, I voted for Obama, and I enjoyed eight stable years of class and dignity in the White House, no scandals, and an impressive record of things getting done despite rampant obstructionism by the House and Senate, sometimes supported by yourself.

I have respected your actions and decisions over the years. You can find my comments on this blog by searching for your name.

I am writing to you now because I need to call on you to continue to be the voice of reason in the Senate. We have a president who is, in my opinion, off the rails. I am deeply worried about the damage he is doing not only to our country and our people directly, but also to our standing in the world and the general world order. We need a voice of reason, we need common sense, and we need reality in our government. If this administration is indeed tied to Russian influences, we need our elected representatives to hold Donald Trump accountable.

I know about your role in the Sergei Magnitsky case at the State Department as chronicled in Bill Browder’s book Red Notice:

After another fifteen minutes his secretary reappeared. Again, McCain politely waved her off. We repeated this sequence once more, and by the time I was finished, I’d been sitting in McCain’s office for nearly an hour. “Bill, Sergei’s story is shocking, truly terrible. I am so sorry for what happened to him, for you and for everybody else involved.”

“Thank you, Senator.”

“Tell me— what can I do to help?”

I told him about Cardin and McGovern and the early drafts of the Magnitsky Act. Then I said, “Since Senator Cardin is a Democrat, it would be hugely helpful to have an important Republican cosponsor on this bill. I was hoping that this could be you, sir.”

McCain leaned back in his chair, his face thoughtful and serene. “Of course I will do that. It’s the least I can do.” He turned to his aide Chris Brose, who’d been sitting there throughout.

“Chris, please coordinate with Senator Cardin right away to make sure you get me on that bill.”

McCain then turned back to me. “You’ve been a real friend to Sergei. Not many people would do what you’re doing, and I deeply respect that. I will do everything in my power to help you get justice for Sergei. God bless you.”

— Browder, Bill. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice (p. 308 – 309)

This story illustrated to me that, of all the politicians in Washington, you are one that understands the political reality of Russia and its objectives. You are also the one, perhaps the only one, who understands what it means to be tortured.

Today I heard you voice your concerns in Munich about President Trump and his continued populist campaign of suppression of the media and general free speech of individuals, and obfuscation of the truth.

We need your voice in Washington and in the United States Senate to keep this administration in check, and to remind your Republican colleagues that it is their responsibility too not to bow to the powers that be and stand up for the integrity of our democracy, the health of our country’s political system and the continued celebration of free speech in defense of science, religion, education and economic health or our people.

You, Senator McCain, are now more important in our government today than you ever were, even in 2008. And I am here to support you.

Sincerely,

Norbert Haupt.

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mattis-and-tillerson

James Mattis and Rex Tillerson

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are the adults in the room of Trump.

I don’t necessarily agree with the political orientation of the two men, and their agendas, but I sense that they are men of principle and character. They are the adults in the current administration and it gives me some degree of comfort to know these two men are in the positions they are in, Defense and State.

They will not do anything stupid just because “the boss said so.” They will stand up to Trump when necessary. They will not be the lackeys of Trump or anyone else.

They are now working for a petulant, puerile, self-obsessed and basically ignorant president.

The only question I have is: How long will they last?

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Sorry, Mr. President. I am not a hater, but if there were deals with Russia, it would have been highly illegal. We deserve to know the truth. You are on record for lying all the time. How can we ever trust you? How can we tell the truth from stuff you made up?

You say you don’t know Putin, but then there are statements from you that you’ve met Putin. Which is it?

And bringing in Obama here is petty. Obama’s deal with Iran had plenty of critics. Presidents get criticized, you need to get used to that. Iran is not #1 in terror. There have been no attacks on the United States from Iranians that I could name. However, compare that the Saudi Arabia, your friends that are not on your list of countries of terrorism.

The above tweet makes you look like a whiner.

 

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Trump Lies

Here is a tweet by Trump on Feb 7th. This statement just states plain wrong facts. The “fake news” is provable.

  • Clinton’s cabinet was full by March 11,
  • G.H.W Bush’s by March 17,
  • Obama’s by April 28.

What is Trump saying here? He either doesn’t know, make stuff up, just to look like he knows what he is talking about, or he is deliberately misleading the people. All these possibilities are frightening, and not acceptable to me.

Up to this point in history I have been confident that our president does not overtly lie to the people.  There have been exceptions, famous ones. Reagan apparently lied during the Iran Contra affair. Nixon lied. Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman” is famous. But for the most part, we expected integrity and congruity when the president spoke, and we believed him.

Trump, in comparison, lies about the dumbest things, like the statement above. Why in the world would he do that? He is teaching us that nothing he says can be taken as truth, and therefore taken seriously. How are we supposed to believe him next time – when it’s something much more important?

He didn’t have to tweet this at all. If he had simply not issued that statement, nobody would have complained, and nobody would have missed it. It’s an irrelevant fact. But by making the statement, people like me start picking it up and blogging about it, creating negative attention, publicity, re-blogs, and the effect, overall is negative. Does he not understand it works that way? Or is he too petty to care?

Worse yet, how are foreign diplomats and leaders supposed to trust him when he “makes deals” with them? They know he pretty much always lies.

Of course, I didn’t know Trump. I had thumbed through his Art of the Deal decades ago. I never watched The Apprentice, but caught occasional vignettes flipping through channels. I never cared for the man, but I really didn’t know him.

Now, of course, I have been forced to “get to know him” as much as one can from a distance. And it’s all negative. I would not invite him to a backyard BBQ party in my house. If he wanted to come and visit my company I would tactfully decline. No thanks! If there were a business deal where Trump was involved, I would run the other way.

Trump is 180 degrees opposite to my entire value system. I can’t support him.

Trump lies, systematically, for political gain. He lies to make himself look better, or a victim, like in the above statement.

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Trump delivered a rambling, boring address to the association of major county sheriffs and major city police chiefs. He spoke like he was addressing a classroom of fifth-graders. Just start at 1:45 and listen to 5:45, where he reads one sentence for a full four minutes.

Unfortunately, there are no views of the audience, but I expect there was much internal eye-rolling and disbelief about who stood in front of them and what he was talking about. I certainly would have felt awkward sitting in a room of sheriffs listening to this rambling buffoon.

But then, scroll down the YouTube comments and find statements like this:

Trump will be the greatest President of our time…he is so clear and concise, this make big difference between him and all those liar politician, who never kept a single promise..woooo, what a beginning of great days in America…i start to feel safe already…shake them…all the rats will come out of their hole..😂😂😂😂😂😂

— Golden eagle

Or here is another one:

The vermin are united in their hatred of the White man. The mask had been slipping for a long time. With Donald Trump it’s come off completely.

— HerzWatIThink

What is this man even talking about?

I am baffled by this. Listen to Trump’s speech above, if you can without falling asleep about half-way through, and then tell me he is clear and concise!

Our president is an embarrassment.

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“I don’t like to talk about politics on Facebook– political history is my job, after all, and you are my friends– but there is an important non-partisan point to make today.

What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries– is creating what is known as a “shock event.”

Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.

When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

Last night’s Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one’s interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won’t like.

I don’t know what Bannon is up to– although I have some guesses– but because I know Bannon’s ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle– and my friends range pretty widely– who will benefit from whatever it is.

If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal.

But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.

A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union.

If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln’s strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power.
Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it.”

— Heather Richardson

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“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

— source: The Daily Beast

 

Another time, on video, he said this:

We must bind together in this bloody war and form a Christian Militia.

– Steve Bannon

 

Did you catch this:

I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.

Steve Bannon is a man who believes that everything should come crashing down, burn into oblivion, to make room for a new world order. Never mind that the lives of millions of Americans would be ruined, sometimes for generations. His crackpot ideology allows for this.

And we voted for the man who put this nutcake into one of the most powerful positions in our country.

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holocaust-museum

[source: U.S. Holocaust Museum – reddit post]

Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Disdain for Human Rights

Identification of Enemies as a Unifying Cause

Supremacy of the Military

Rampant Sexism

Controlled Mass Media

Obsession with National Security

Religion and Government Intertwined

Corporate Power Protected

Labor Power Suppressed

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Obsession with Crime & Punishment

Rampant Cronyism & Corruption

Fraudulent Elections

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Governor Jay Inslee of Washington just stated that the Trump administration couldn’t run a two-car funeral.

But doesn’t he know that this is the greatest government of all time, a terrific government. Nobody governs better than Trump, that I can tell you. Believe me.

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Subtle Start of Censorship

The National Park Service tweeted showing the difference between the 2009 Obama inauguration attendance and the 2017 Trump attendance. The administration didn’t like that, and was ordered to suspend all tweeting on government accounts. Here is the full article.

Here’s the email sent to National Park employees earlier today:

All:

We have received direction from the Department through [the Washington Support Office] that directs all [Department of Interior] bureaus to immediately cease use of government Twitter accounts until further notice.

PWR parks that use Twitter as part of their crisis communications plans need to alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement. Please ensure all scheduled posts are deleted and automated cross-platform social media connections to your twitter accounts are severed. The expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter.

In summary, this Twitter stand down means we will cease use of Twitter immediately. However, there is no need to suspend or delete government accounts until directed.

This does not affect use of other approved social media platforms. We expect further guidance to come next week and we will share accordingly.

Thanks for your help!

Authoritarian regimes tend to squelch information that is adversarial or critical of them. It starts small, like this. In addition to suppressing opposition, they start creating “facts” that are not based on reality, including what we now call fake news, and they repeat them over and over again until the people take them as real. It’s all designed to make the administration look good and worthy of followership.

We have a word for that: Propaganda.

It didn’t take long to start.

 

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