What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 23, 2017

My FOURTHEENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

This'll be quick.  I promise.

A few days ago the New York Times reported that Donald Trump, in his meeting in the Oval Office with the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador to the US, called the former head of the FBI James Comey (who he'd just fired) "crazy" and "a real nut job."

Here's my question: Are you OK with any of this?

Are you OK with the president of the United States in effect bragging to the Russian Ambassador that he'd just fired the guy in charge of the investigation into whatever connections there may have existed between his presidential campaign and Russian intelligence?

Are you OK with his characterization of Comey as "crazy" and "a real nutjob" during that brag?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

May 22, 2017

Good For Them - Notre Dame Students WALK OUT On Mike Pence

Sometimes very powerful protests can happen very very quietly.

Like this one:
Some graduating seniors at the University of Notre Dame walked out of their own graduation ceremony to protest Vice President Pence when he began to deliver the commencement speech on Sunday morning.

Pence was chosen to give the commencement address at the nation’s most prominent Catholic university — even though the school ordinarily invites newly inaugurated presidents to give the address in their first year of office. Thousands of students and faculty members signed a petition asking Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, not to invite President Trump, and the university chose instead to invite Pence, a former Indiana governor.

A coalition of student activist groups at Notre Dame called We StaND For planned a walkout to protest policies Pence pursued as governor that they say targeted the most vulnerable.
The reasons for the protest, organized by a group called WeStandforND, can be found here.

Specifically:
During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as a Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities. All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.
And for that, they walked. Take a look:


Good for them.

May 19, 2017

Birthdays - May 19

More proof, as if it's necessary, that astrology is BS.

Born today in 1945, Pete Townshend:


And then, only 6 years later, Joey Ramone:


Also born today:
  • Pol Pot - 1925
  • Andre The Giant - 1946
  • Peter Mayhew - 1944
  • Grace Jones - 1948
  • Malcolm X - 1925
So yea, astrology is BS.

Happy Friday!

May 18, 2017

ANOTHER Response From Senator Pat Toomey!

Like this one, it's email.

NOW, unfortunately, I have to make sure I scan my spam folder more.  The reason being that's where I found this most recent response from Senator Pat Toomey.  Had I not checked, it would have been lost to the ages.

So let's dive straight in.  What's this one about?

Senator Toomey's first sentence:
Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Syria. I appreciate hearing from you.
Ah, Syria.  If it's Syria, it has to be the ninth letter.  In it, I am asking about the Tomahawk missile attack on the Shayrat Airbase in Syria.  Specifically, this:
The Pentagon announced that, "Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield." Reportedly, the Russians were then able to inform the Syrians of the attack. The runways themselves were not damaged and within a day or so, the base was operational again.We're talking limited damage here.

All this was done before the American people were informed. Let me simplify: Syria's ally Russia (and supposedly, Syria) knew of the attack before the American people knew.

Doesn't this bother you at all?
That's what I asked.

And this is how Senator Toomey answered:
As you know, Syria is in the midst of a bloody civil war. The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, has massacred large numbers of Syrian people since the war began, including through the use of chemical weapons. During the fighting, over 400,000 Syrian citizens have died. The entire civilized world has denounced Assad's brutality. Since the civil war began, the U.S. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal and nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.

In early April, the Assad regime conducted another chemical weapons attack. This sarin gas attack in Idlib, Syria killed over 80 civilians, including children, and wounded over 500 more. In response to this atrocity, the Administration launched a cruise missile strike against the Assad regime on April 6, targeting the Shayrat air base. This action sends a message to the world that barbaric, nerve gas attacks on innocent Syrians will not go unpunished.

The current conflict in Syria is a complex challenge requiring American leadership and significant global engagement. I look forward to the President working with Congress on next steps, including development of a comprehensive plan that details for the American people our long-term strategic objectives, the possible risks for military personnel, and national security implications.

I understand your concerns regarding the situation in Syria and will keep them in mind as I continue to monitor the situation in Syria. Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
You'll notice that he didn't answer my question.  Not at all.  In fact, his first two paragraphs are simply throat-clearing filler.

It's apt that it all starts with "As you know..."

Yes, Senator I do know all that stuff.  That's why I asked you my question.  So I'll ask it again, doesn't it bother you that Trump told the Russians about the attack BEFORE he told us, The American People?

And considering the events of the last week or so, if it didn't bother you then, doesn't it bother you now?

May 17, 2017

More Trump Obstruction. Contact Your Member Of Congress.

A few hours ago, former NSA Analyst John Schindler tweeted:
The "this" is this from NBC:
Fired FBI Director James Comey wrote an internal memo saying President Donald Trump asked him to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of the memo told NBC News on Tuesday.

The memo was part of a paper trail Comey built documenting what he believed to be Trump's campaign to derail the FBI's investigation of alleged Russian ties to his presidential campaign, according to a source close to Comey and a former federal law enforcement official.

The source close to Comey said the memo included a line in which Comey quoted Trump as having said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go."
The White House denies the story but as Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post "the administration’s credibility is nil right now" so I'm thinking Comey's probably gonna be closer to the truth than the gang that tried to influence Trump with a fake Time magazine cover.

But Schindler is right.  Every GOP member of Congress needs to be asked directly if s/he is ok with what happened.

Let's start in SW PA:
And of course:
So if you live in one of those congressional districts, call or drop your member of Congress a line (or better yet, some snail mail).  And by all means, contact Pat Toomey and ask him if he's OK with Trump asking the head of the FBI to "letting Flynn go" when Flynn was under investigation for dancing too closely with Russian Intelligence.

May 16, 2017

My THIRTEENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Senator Toomey, the events of the last few days demand attention.

As you may already know, yesterday the Washington Post reported that:
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
And:
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
You'll remember, this was the meeting that US reporters were not allow to attend, though a Russian photographer was allowed to take photographs. This was the meeting also attended by Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the individual that former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn met with and then lied about meeting, later triggering Flynn's firing.

This meeting took place a few days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the individual ultimately in charge of the investigation into the Trump Campaign's dealings with Russian Intelligence.

While this is not a question of legalities as Trump has the authority to declassify anything at will, were it anyone else in government, this is a question of fitness - fitness to be President, fitness to lead as commander in chief.

This is my question: Given the events of the last few days (the Comey firing and the disclosure of highly classified information to the Russians) do you a still have confidence in Donald J Trump's ability to be president and commander in chief? If not, what are your plans to deal with him? If you still do have confidence in his leadership abilities, considering the events of the past few days, what would it take for you to lose that confidence?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

May 15, 2017

Projection


Lock him up!






Donald Trump
is a
terrorist.







Because No One Is Above The Law, Right?

From The Hill:
President Trump thinks he is above the law, Harvard professor Laurence Tribe said Sunday.

"He has shown no respect for the rule of law, regards himself as above the law," Tribe said on ABC's "This Week."

"He thinks it's appropriate to essentially have a job interview with the FBI director as we now know."
Elsewhere, at The Washington Post, he wrote:
Consider, too, how Trump embroiled Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite Sessions’s recusal from involvement in the Russia investigation, in preparing admittedly phony justifications for the firing on which Trump had already decided. Consider how Trump used the vice president and White House staff to propagate a set of blatant untruths — before giving an interview to NBC’s Lester Holt that exposed his true motivation.

Trump accompanied that confession with self-serving — and manifestly false — assertions about having been assured by Comey that Trump himself was not under investigation. By Trump’s own account, he asked Comey about his investigative status even as he was conducting the equivalent of a job interview in which Comey sought to retain his position as director.

Further reporting suggests that the encounter was even more sinister, with Trump insisting that Comey pledge “loyalty” to him in order to retain his job. Publicly saying he saw nothing wrong with demanding such loyalty, the president turned to Twitter with a none-too-subtle threat that Comey would regret any decision to disseminate his version of his conversations with Trump — something that Comey has every right, and indeed a civic duty, to do.

To say that this does not in itself rise to the level of “obstruction of justice” is to empty that concept of all meaning.
Obstruction is against the law.  No one is above the law, not even the president of the United States.

Here's our current Attorney General saying that exact thing:

And our junior Senator from Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, has said the same thing:
“The president unfortunately has a history or unilateral actions” that run afoul of the law, Mr. Toomey said. “No one is above the law, including this president. … We have a constitution, we are a democratic republic, and presidents are not kings or dictators.”
Of course, the last two gentlemen were discussing presidents who also happened to be Democrats.

I wonder when they'll feel the same way about an autocratic president from their own party.

We have a constitution.  We are a democratic republic.  Presidents are not kings or dictators.

It's time for the Republicans in the Congress to put country before party and investigate Donald J. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.