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Sons & Daughters Of America, Your Sacrifice May Be Required


      As if the concerns of all those who look on in Syria weren't growing everyday already as with the change in season comes the reigniting of Battles that were largely parked up over the brutal winter months in Syria a video surfaced of the aftermath of a Bombing by Syrian Air Force jets on a Rebel convoy.

      The boy in the video screams for his father to pick him up, the boy who was there due to no fault of his own and adults around him shout ''God Is Great'' not in some celebratory way but by the sheer fact that they have survived, a 'Thank God' if you please....where no thanks is warranted nor merited.


      I'll be honest.

      I could have chosen a video that was more palatable, less visceral on the eyes. But that's too easy for those who comfort themselves in commentary and questionable facts....Particularly when it comes to war. It is becoming clear that the US with the Minority mindset of the Minority President that for him to look like the tough guy he wants to be.....War may be unavoidable in his thinking.

      I say thinking when what I actually mean is Trump has listened to those loaded minds around him. Loaded minds like Steve Bannon whose own apocalyptic mindset is directing the thinking of this president, a man who has access to parts of Government where Political Operatives should be seen and never heard. Bannon's views and the very fact that he has access to the President unfettered, is one of the most dangerous presences within Global Affairs......Honestly, he looks unhealthy and for humanity's sake I truly hope it is serious.

      Then comes those who he listens to intently. Those who often define what Trump tweets or says at any given time. It is no coincidence that Trump has adopted the thinking of those on Fox News who believe that setting up safe zones with US troops would be the answer to the question of the Refugee crisis. The Parrot of Paranoia and Propaganda that is Trump is a person who would rather listen to those who aren't there, those who use their own platform to spout the bravado and bravery they themselves have never shown.

      Trump not only wants large scale conflict abroad, dare I say he needs it in some sick way to give himself some kind of legitimacy as a war president. The US Military are considering a number of Troops, US troops on the ground in Syria. Whilst US Special Forces cast a rarely seen but no less courageous shadow in Syria, Trump and his administration are once again seemingly governing by cable news and what is said on cable news.


      “I’ll absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people,” the President said in an interview with ABC on Wednesday without providing further details.

      According to a leaked copy of what is believed to be the draft of an upcoming executive order by Mr Trump, the State and Defence departments will be ordered to produce a plan within the next three months on how to set up safe zones in the war-torn country.

      “The Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defence, is directed within 90 days of the date of this order to produce a plan to provide safe areas in Syria and in the surrounding region in which Syrian nationals displaced from their homeland can await firm settlement, such as repatriation or potential third-country resettlement,” the draft order said.

      Here's one such segment that the great Military Strategist and Expert on Being Black in America Bill O'Reilly on how the US could train and fund a 'Mercenary Army' to fight Daesh and other Extremists....

      You all get that?

      Of course the idea in itself is ridiculous and what O'Reilly and the rest of the Chickenhawk classes want is a full on war and this president will sleep walk the US into one whilst firing out tweets for cover to take away from the pending carnage.

      All the chatter about the need for more Military Spending needs to have a justification, it needs a worldwide bloodied narrative playing in the background.....The staging for this display of a newly acquired military hardware to show off.

      The spoilt boy and his urge to try out his new Toy. Whether that be on the continent of Europe in the escalation of fighting in Eastern Europe, a conflict only fuelled by the nefarious acts of Putin, given Bannon's hatred of the Unity of Europe it would be in line with Bannon's ideologies and of course Putin's continued threats to the freedoms of press and speech and equality rarely seen in Russia.

      From all accounts of Bannon it would be a fair statement that he would have preferred a Reich win rather than the freedom fought and bled for by people you know, family and friends and those long gone. Or that conflict comes in the form of Enemy Number One in the form of ''Radical Islamic Terrorism'', once again opening the very real danger of an all out war in the Middle East.....no one wins.

      Here is what every single American must ask themselves when the time comes and the conversation begins in earnest about the coming conflict. A conflict that will involve the current President ordering men and women of the US Military, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Atheist, Black and White and Hispanic and all those others who make up the US Military in its current form will have to answer the call to war.

      The choice will not be their, it never is. Their sacrifice will be that of those that went before them, those who gave without question and asked for nothing in return.

      This President above all other Presidents must be held to a scrutiny beyond that of his predecessors for he has truly given nothing to the country whose army he now commands. An institution that he ran away from when his country required, A military there to protect all from enemies foreign and domestic.

      An Army who Trump has not contributed to.

      An Army whose veterans are still cast aside.

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      Pundit Post

      Rating The Trump Cabinet. Thumbs Up. Thumbs Down. And TBD.


          Some of the Presidential Picks for High Office

          I have been keeping score. Have You?

          While there are still some nominees left to confirm, and a few high ranking appointments yet to make, the shape of the Trump Cabinet is now rather clear. There are literally thousands of empty slots that fall under the Executive Branch which sit either empty or with temporary Obama era hold overs BUT these are the ones who will be charged with filling many of those slots and, if the President allows them to, shape the vision of their departments and direct daily operations.

          What follows is my list of Likely Winners, Likely Losers, and the To Be Determined. Ratings are given in the Likely Winners and Likely Losers categories are from Best (10) to Worst (1). The jury is out on the third category: To Be Determined.

          My ratings are based on the their experience, knowledge, temperament, record, philosophy and vision as they relate to the position they will hold. Those in the two "Likely" Categories have enough available information for me to make a considered evaluation in which I have confidence.

          As those in the To Be Determined Category perform they will be moved into either the Likely Winner or Likely Loser Category and be rated.


          What are Yours?

          Likely Winners

          National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster 10

          Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin 10

          Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao 9

          Secretary of Defense James Mattis 9

          Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly 8

          Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats 8

          Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo 8

          Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross 7

          Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley 7

          Likely Losers

          Attorney General Jeff Sessions 3

          Secretary of Health and Human Services Jeff Price 3

          Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson 2

          Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos 1

          White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus 4

          Administrator of the Environment Protection Agency Scott Pruitt 1

          Senior White House Advisor To the President Steve Bannon 1

          To Be Determined

          Vice President Mike Pence

          Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

          Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin

          Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

          Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta

          Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

          Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

          Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney

          Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon

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          Pundit Post

          Is Trump's Arrogance Going To Get People Killed? Chaos At The NSC


              ‘Our Readiness for a Terrorist Attack Is Dangerously Low’

              Not the best message from a former member of the National Security Council.

              “I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” said Clarke, who spent 30 years in government, of the current turbulence at the National Security Council. George H.W. Bush replaced much of the staff from Ronald Reagan’s council, Clarke noted, but the new people were in place within the first few days of Bush’s administration - Uri Friedman, The Atlantic 20 FEB 2017

              First General "Possibly Benedict" Flynn is forced to resign as head of the NSC and then Trump gets the brush-off from Vice-Admiral Robert Haward to replace the disgraced three-star as head of the NSC. Yes, Admiral, we salute you right back.

              Then Craig Deare, a Trump Appointee, gets the boot after a month on the job after having the courage to speak at the Wilson Center, a Think Tank in DC.

              According to an ABC News report on 20 FEB 2017,

              White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that Deare "was sent back to his original position." Asked if government employees should be concerned that they could be fired for criticizing the president, she said: "I don't think any person that is there in order to carry out the president's agenda should be against the president's agenda."

              Current and former administration officials say Deare's termination was linked to remarks he made Thursday at a private talk at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

              According to one person who attended the discussion, Deare slammed the Trump administration for its policies on Latin America, specifically its rocky start to relations with Mexico.

              Donald does not need competence, he needs smart people to act like idiots in forwarding his incompetently developed plans for world domination.

              By him.

              In other words, if you are not willing to be buck-naked insane, you better find a job in the private sector.

              Overseas. In a safer place than the Trump Administration run USA.

              Like say, Mogadishu.

              Meanwhile, Trump finds a couple of old Generals who are either ready to take his crap, or have decided to attempt to prevent the madman in the Oval Office from killing us all. If they cannot stop Shadow President Bannon, at least maybe they can fool his second in command Trump to not play with any red buttons that happen to be laying around the White House.

              General McMaster is a highly regarded military tactician and strategic thinker, but his selection surprised some observers who wondered how the General, who is known for questioning authority, would deal with a White House that has not welcomed criticism.

              I hope he lasts till the end of March.

              Now Gen McMaster ended up in the position quite possibly because another guy too sane to take on the job told Despot Donnie "Thanks, but no thanks". Gen Petraeus is a man with too much honor to say yes to forwarding Trump's American Security threatening policies.

              In fact, General Clarke thinks that the NSC has no idea what they are supposed to be doing.

              Trump officials appear to “begin with an assumption that they know what the problems are, and very often it doesn’t seem like the problems that they’re trying to address on a priority basis actually exist. They just think they do. They think there are Mexicans pouring across the border when, in fact, the traffic is in the opposite direction. They think there’s a problem with refugees from [the banned] seven countries coming into the United States and staging terrorist attacks when that’s never happened."

              In fact, according to Uri Friedman, Clarke's observations that the brain trust "of the Trump administration over the last month is rather different than open-minded: a “blind stumbling into things” is how he described it.

              If that is how you wish to describe it, General, Sir.

              I prefer the much more technical term.

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              Pundit Post

              PTSD: Key Trump Appointments Falling Far Behind; Empty Positions Galore


                  The administration of President Donald Trump remains largely unfilled four weeks into his presidency, with just 34 of nearly 700 key Senate-confirmed positions even having a candidate announced.

                  According to data from the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service hosted by The Washington Post, Trump has 14 officials confirmed by the Senate and 20 others are awaiting a vote, out of 696 top leadership positions in the administration.

                  Now those numbers are actually not that bad...lagging behind the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations by only a bit in the nomination and confirmation of the leading, high profile personnel (at the cabinet level for example)

                  However, the goal of a presidential transition team is to fill roughly 4,000 politically appointed positions, including more than 700 jobs requiring Senate confirmation.

                  In this all three of his predecessors have done far better. Trump has nominated very few to fill these positions whereas the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations had, by this time, put up nominees for the great majority of positions with half or so already confirmed. Why?

                  Each of these transition teams was very well led, high organized, hard working, and right at it the day after the election. Christie's efforts for Trump flagged considerably but even those were tossed aside when Christie was dismissed from the Trump inner circle.

                  Why did the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations move on lower level jobs so quickly? Because those are the folks in the trenches who do most of the work that keeps the engines of government turning and because the Senate tends to move quickly through these nominations reviewing them in committee in groups and voting on them in bulk on the Senate floor.

                  Right now many of those positions remain empty but many others are being filled by Obama era appointees who agreed to stay on "temporarily." Trump's people best get to this as an exodus from those jobs who further hollow out his administration.



                  * Until Mr. Trump has earned the title, I will refrain from referring to his as President Trump, or The President, or Mr. President. While I respect the office, my complete lack of respect for him overshadows that historic sentiment. I am open to being surprised. I am also going to bring the same level of energy and purpose to my critique of him that opponents of President Barack H. Obama did during his 8 years as our President.

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                  Pundit Post

                  NYT: Are Liberals Helping Trump?


                      My answer: yes.

                      A lot of people whose support of Trump is reluctant and who question many aspects of his behavior while supporting some of his policies are being dissed by the Puritanical, morally censorious, mob-shaming left who insist on "all or nothing" 100 percent opposition to everything Trump does.

                      The problem with "all or nothing" is that it leaves those who disagree with you only two options. And guess what the Dems wound up with? Nothing. No White House, no Senate, no House, and few governorships.

                      But they did get to feel superior about it!

                      So far they have not yet found a way to peel these "reluctant supporters" away from Trump, which they will have to do sooner or later.

                      They would rather preen and posture, and use virtue signaling to "self-herd," as Glenn Reynolds puts it.

                      But hey, it's a good sign that the Grey Lady is asking the right question.

                      The big question is whether anyone in the Democratic Party is listening to the answers.


                      Are Liberals Helping Trump?

                      Feb. 18, 2017

                      Jeffrey Medford, a small-business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump. As a conservative, he felt the need to choose the Republican. But some things are making him feel uncomfortable — parts of Mr. Trump’s travel ban, for example, and the recurring theme of his apparent affinity for Russia.

                      Mr. Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Mr. Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority.

                      “We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ”

                      He added: “I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”

                      Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed.

                      Protests and righteous indignation on social media and in Hollywood may seem to liberals to be about policy and persuasion. But moderate conservatives say they are having the opposite effect, chipping away at their middle ground and pushing them closer to Mr. Trump.

                      “The name calling from the left is crazy,” said Bryce Youngquist, 34, who works in sales for a tech start-up in Mountain View, Calif., a liberal enclave where admitting you voted for Mr. Trump is a little like saying in the 1950s that you were gay. “They are complaining that Trump calls people names, but they turned into some mean people.”

                      Mr. Youngquist stayed in the closet for months about his support for Mr. Trump. He did not put a bumper sticker on his car, for fear it would be keyed. The only place he felt comfortable wearing his Make America Great Again hat was on a vacation in China. Even dating became difficult. Many people on Tinder have a warning on their profile: “Trump supporters swipe left” — meaning, get lost.

                      He came out a few days before the election. On election night, a friend posted on Facebook, “You are a disgusting human being.”

                      “They were making me want to support him more with how irrational they were being,” Mr. Youngquist said.

                      Conservatives have gotten vicious, too, sometimes with Mr. Trump’s encouragement. But if political action is meant to persuade people that Mr. Trump is bad for the country, then people on the fence would seem a logical place to start. Yet many seemingly persuadable conservatives say that liberals are burning bridges rather than building them.

                      “We are in a trust spiral,” said Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University. “My fear is that we have reached escape velocity where the actions of each side can produce such strong reactions on the other that things will continue to escalate.”

                      It is tempting to blame Mr. Trump for America’s toxic political state of mind. He has wreaked havoc on political civility and is putting American democratic institutions through the most robust stress test in decades. But many experts argue that he is a symptom, not a cause, and that the roots go deeper.

                      Many experts compare today with the 1960s and the Vietnam War protests. That period was far more violent but culminated in a landslide victory for Richard Nixon in 1972, after he famously appealed to the “silent majority,” who he believed resented what they saw as disrespect for American institutions. Others say that democracy was far healthier then and that you have to go farther back to find a historical parallel.

                      “There is really only one period that was analogous, and that is the Civil War and its immediate aftermath,” said Doug McAdam, a Stanford sociology professor. “I’m not suggesting we are there, but we are straining our institutions more than we really ever have before.”

                      One facet of recent political life has been large-scale protests against Mr. Trump. They have been largely peaceful, but when there is violence, even on the fringes, it tends to reduce popular support for them, Professor Haidt said, citing recent research. And for many Trump voters, even peaceful protests are unsettling.

                      “I don’t have a problem with protesting as long as it’s peaceful, but this is destroying the country,” said Ann O’Connell, 72, a retired administrative assistant in Syracuse who voted for Mr. Trump. “I feel like we are in some kind of civil war right now. I know people don’t like to use those terms. But I think it’s scary.”

                      Mrs. O’Connell is a registered Democrat. She voted for Bill Clinton twice. But she has drifted away from the party over what she said was a move from its middle-class economic roots toward identity politics. She remembers Mr. Clinton giving a speech about the dangers of illegal immigration. Mr. Trump was lambasted for offering some of the same ideas, she said.

                      “The Democratic Party has changed so much that I don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said. “These people are destroying our democracy. They are scarier to me than these Islamic terrorists. I feel absolutely disgusted with them and their antics. It strengthens people’s resolve in wanting to support President Trump. It really does.”

                      Polling data suggest many center-right voters feel the same way. The first poll by the Pew Research Center on presidential job performance since Mr. Trump took office showed last week that while he has almost no support from Democrats, he has high marks among moderates who lean Republican: 70 percent approve, while 20 percent disapprove.

                      Mr. Medford compares Mr. Trump to a jalopy.

                      “It’s like I need to get from Charleston to Atlanta, and suddenly the most beat-up car on earth shows up and says, ‘Do you need a ride?’ I think, wow, if I had any other way to get there, I’d choose it. But there’s only this terrible car. And it might not even make it.”

                      But he doesn’t want to get out, at least not yet, and the resignation of Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, hasn’t changed that. Late last year, he hit it off with a woman in New York he met online. They spent hours on the phone. They made plans for him to visit. But when he mentioned he had voted for Mr. Trump, she said she was embarrassed and didn’t know if she wanted him to come. (He eventually did, but she lied to her friends about his visiting.)

                      “It invalidated anything that’s good about me, just because of how I voted. Poof, it’s gone.”

                      Mrs. O’Connell feels hopeless. She has deleted all her news feeds on Facebook and she tries to watch less TV. But politics keeps seeping in.

                      “I love Meryl Streep, but you know, she robbed me of that wonderful feeling when I go to the movies to be entertained,” she said. “I told my husband, I said, ‘Ed, we have to be a little more flexible, or we’re going to run out of movies!’ ”

                      As for the country, she is worried.

                      “Change doesn’t occur until you hit rock bottom, like an alcoholic, on his knees, begging for help,” she said. “I think we still have farther to go.”

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                      Pundit Post

                      PTSD: Another BIG LIE- The "Terrorist Attack In Sweden"; What It Means


                          Donald Trump’s comments during a rally in Florida on Saturday night that seemed to suggest a non-existent terrorist attack had taken place in Sweden have pitted the Scandinavian nation against some fervent supporters of the US president. Trump told a crowd of fervent reporters that there had been a terrorist attack in Sweden on Friday night. He paused dramatically. Held out his hands and said: "Sweden! Who would believe this?" And then he linked the attack to Sweden's having taken in large numbers of refugees from the worn torn Middle Eastern nations. The claim was made in a speech defending his plans to ban refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, Trump told a crowd in Melbourne: “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.”

                          There was no terrorist attack or major crime took place in Sweden on Friday night.

                          WHO WOULD BELIEVE IT? The answer? No one with a bit of sense. No one who knows how to do just a bit of research. No one who is not so deeply embedded in their faithful devotion to Trumpism that reality is easily ignored.

                          There was major pushback from....well, almost everybody. There was no attack. Fox News, his major source of video news, and Breitbart News, his on-line fav, are the likely sources of the story or rather three stories which Trump appears to have merged into one FAKE NEWS MOMENT.

                          • A report of a power outage at Melfest (Melodifestivalen 2017), a winter music festival and competition in Sweden held at five venues and televised, which temporarily halted performances and was quickly repaired. Right wing sites in Sweden "wondered" in their tweets if this was sabotage by terrorists.
                          • Trump may have confused this event in Sweden with a terrorist bombin in Sehwan, Pakistan, where more than 85 people were killed in a suicide bombing at the Sufi shrine on Thursday.
                          • Fox News also aired an interview with film-maker Ami Horowitz, whose latest documentary examines whether high crime rates in areas of Sweden is linked to its previous open-door policy on people fleeing war and persecution. Horowitz makes a case that is, in fact, full of holes.According to the 2016 Swedish Crime Survey, crime rates in Sweden have stayed relatively stable over the last decade, with some fluctuations. In 2015, there were 112 cases of lethal violence in Sweden, an increase of 25 cases compared with 2014, but assaults, threats, sexual offences, car theft, burglary and harassment all reduced compared to the previous year – as did anxiety about crime in society.

                          The White House (and Trump) continue to back pedal, to cover their tracks, and to turn to their supporters who have taken to the internet to declare that "there was an attack and now it is being covered up." More nonsense.

                          A week ago Kellyanne Conway told the world about the non-existent "Bowling Green Massacre". She repeated the claim in several interviews as a prelude to pointing out that Obama had a ban on U.S. entry just like Trump's in response to this. The Massacre never happened. The ban never happened.

                          What does this say about Trump? There are no new lessons here. He just keeps giving us more and more examples to reinforce them.

                          • He gets his news from questionable sources, does no fact checking, and then embellishes them to fit his narrative.
                          • He passes these little gems by virtually no one on his staff. Nearly all of them hear these claims for the first time when he spouts them on a stage, or in an interview etc
                          • He has no real world, real time connection with those charged with providing him with iron-clad facts and interpretations of what they mean such as the Department of State, the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and the National Security Council.
                          • He then stands by his lies (which, rather scarily, he seems to believe) until he is worn down and then the back pedaling begins accompanied by the damning of the mainstream media for misreporting or, even making it up.
                          • And then he pretends he never said it.

                          The Man Needs to be Driven from Office. That is clearer and clearer everyday. Our NATO allies know this. Our own professionals in government know this. An increasing number of our own citizens know this. It is a matter of time (unless a disaster pushes the clock forward.)







                          PS. The following is FAKE NEWS (and is intended to be taken as an act of mockery.

                          BREAKING NEWS!

                          This morning the survivors of the Bowling Green massacre announced they will be journeying to Sweden to show support for what is happening in that country. The trip came together quickly, soon after the president highlighted the terror that is occurring in Sweden because of their immigration policies. It was for the Bowling Green group nothing less than a call to arms to help and support their Swedish brothers and sisters in their hours of need.

                          “The parallels between the Bowling Green massacre and the terror in Sweden are extraordinary,” said one member of the Bowling Green group. The has asked Americans across the country to honor those who suffered in Sweden to eat Swedish Fish, Go to Ikea, and Eat A Jelly Donut washed down with a toast of Elderberry Flower Nectar.


                          * Until Mr. Trump has earned the title, I will refrain from referring to his as President Trump, or The President, or Mr. President. While I respect the office, my complete lack of respect for him overshadows that historic sentiment. I am open to being surprised. I am also going to bring the same level of energy and purpose to my critique of him that opponents of President Barack H. Obama did during his 8 years as our President.

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                          Pundit Post

                          PTSD: Putin, Trump & The Suppression Of "Enemy" Media



                              We know that Mr. Trump admires, respects, and seems to want to emulate Vladmir Putin who he calls a strong leader with a powerful vision for his country. Let's be clear about who Putin is. He came to power in 1999 and has not been out of power since moving back and forth between the offices of Prime Minister and President. In Russia the Prime Minister is chosen by the Duma, a parliament, which has been controlled by the party founded by Putin, Russia United. The President is chosen by the popular vote which is sorted into a form of electoral college which is structured to favor the Duma's dominant party (since they make the rules!)

                              Putin, like Trump, did not respect the concept of the freedom of expression by media. Until Mikhail Gorbachev opened up the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s and started to allow TV and newspapers to report critically, Russian media was completely state-controlled. Russians celebrated the new liberties that came with the fall of the USSR but the decade that followed was one of political, territorial, social, economic, and cultural loss. Putin blamed much of the media for promoting "Anti-Russian Sentiments" proclaiming them as an obstacle to the restoration of "Russian Glory and Power."

                              After Putin came into power in 1999, he set out to control the press. How?

                              1) He led the Duma in passing a number of laws that loosened the laws which allowed the media to be sued by citizens and groups; permitted the government to fine media outlets for "unprofessional conduct" and gave regulatory agencies wide power over the operation of media outlets.

                              2) Then he established control over the three main TV stations. In 2001 and 2002, he took control of the two biggest TV channels, ORT (now First Channel) and NTV. The state broadcaster, RTR (now Rossiya 1), was already under his control.

                              3) Putin moved more and more outlets under his influence until he controlled most of the major mainstream media by taking control of the boards that ran them. In that capacity he appointed editors and general directors, either officially or unofficially. The director of VGTRK, the biggest [state] media holding, which owns Rossiya 1, Rossiya 2 etc., is appointed by presidential decree, for example. When it comes to so-called independent media, which are much smaller and not owned by the state, there’s often an agreement between the Kremlin as to how they are to operate. The owner and the editor-in-chief Echo Moskvy (which is sometimes called the last remaining independent radio station in Russia), Aleksey Venediktov admits that in reality that Putin is the only person who can fire him.

                              The editors and directors have so-called weekly meetings with the presidential administration to talk about the upcoming events, what will be significant in the next week, what the administration wants to cover.

                              4) Additionally, Putin has made all media outlets more and more dependent on state funding by monopolizing the TV advertising market, print and on-line ads in addition to oversight of subscription procedures. As a result nearly all media outlets need government subsidies to operate.

                              How did Russian citizens react to all this? Basically with a collective "Meh."

                              Freedom of the Press has no history in Russia. From its foundations as the Duchy of Muscovy in the 13th century, Russians have been ruled by autocratic governments. Being granted privileges from above and then having them yanked away is what they know.

                              Because "freedom of expression" was given from above, the great majority of people did not value it, did not demand it and did not fight for it. It was something new that Putin sold as more loss than gain. If is was taken and things got better “so what”.

                              Journalists also really failed the people’s trust. In the beginning of the 1990s journalists were considered messiahs, praised for telling the truth. Many of them even became deputies in parliament. But they turned out to be either biased or corrupt. During the oligarchs’ information wars under the Yeltsin presidency, entire editorial staffs were taken and bought becoming transparent propaganda instruments in the hands of special interests.

                              How does this relate to Trump? In his campaign, and as president he has spoken endlessly of the corrupt media launching attack after attack on those who have challenged him. He has called for new libel laws that will suspend the protections the press has from actions that the Framers of the Constitution clearly understood would restrain the Fourth Estates in its coverage of the government as the Fourth Estate (a check on the other three estates: The Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary). He has spoken frequently of the justice in a series of suits that broke the back of the on line blog, Gawker.

                              Fortunately the roots of free expression are stronger here, much stronger. They are rooted deep within our founding and in our history since. For example, while Jefferson had his problems with the press as President (especially when it came down to its criticism of his "finding" of the authority to double the size of the country without Congressional involvement), he was clear in his writing both before and after his time in office (and even during much of that) that a Free Press was essential to liberty. In his own words: http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/jefferson-the-wo...

                              The key quote: "....Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them."

                              WE HAD ALL BETTER PAY ATTENTION TO THIS......









                              * Until Mr. Trump has earned the title, I will refrain from referring to his as President Trump, or The President, or Mr. President. While I respect the office, my complete lack of respect for him overshadows that historic sentiment. I am open to being surprised. I am also going to bring the same level of energy and purpose to my critique of him that opponents of President Barack H. Obama did during his 8 years as our President.

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                              Pundit Post

                              Stand With Sweden In Their Darkest Hour


                                  Once again the world is left wondering is there any end to the utter carnage and bloodshed that was once again an unwelcome presence in a once enlightened world......

                                  Today, we gather and remember the people of Sweden as they too know the pain of an attack that leaves more questions than answers...will this madness ever end...will there come a time when the most peaceful and prosperous and liberal of nations will rise once again and tell those who attacked their way of life.....will those Swedish victims allow their liberal ways to be curtailed by their recent tragic news......

                                  On the streets of Stockholm the reaction was universally one of puzzlement and confusion obviously from the shock of hearing they had been attacked....one bystander asked...''Are Abba ok, I don't give a swedish **** about buildings but if they touch Abba then it's on''...the bystander wandered off confused singing Abba's 'Waterloo'.

                                  When a call was made to the Swedish Prime Minister a statement was released stating...''Whilst we still search for victims of the attack and whilst we still remain vigilant we are happy to say that Abba were safe and sound....and not reforming any time soon''.

                                  At a local sauna a large sweaty man who was sweating so much he looked like a Californian Dam claimed that one of his friends may have been taken in the attack to which a voice from the opposite end of the sauna shouted through the steam....''I'm right here Erik''...to which his friend put more water on the hot rocks and disappeared in the steam.

                                  Thankfully a support group set up in the wake of the still fresh Bowling Green Massacre have offered literally no support as they too are still trying to work out what actually happened.

                                  There are candlelit vigils planned nowhere in Sweden although it is widely agreed that Abba's Dancing Queen should become the new Swedish national anthem......a monumental F&%$ you to Daesh for their non attack.

                                  Remember them...............whoever they are.

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                                  Pundit Post

                                  Still Not A Real Businessman, Still Not A Leader, Still Playing TV Star


                                      Nine months is a long time and wow, how times have not changed. With a Cabinet that appears to include people he would have tossed out of his "The Apprentice" boardroom for gross incompetence or not included because they were less than an empty suit, let us take a look at the remarkable continuity of Trump incompetence. For this exercise, I have selected an older article in order to review the lack of progress that the Nation's Frequent Failure has exhibited. (The current comments are in unbolded italics)

                                      Whining is an art form for the Man Who Would Be Benevolent Dictator For Life, constantly bemoaning how unfair the press is to him.

                                      “I have to tell you, the press is so dishonest and so unfair,” Trump said.

                                      He was so angry he called the photographer a “f**king thief” and a “fraud.”

                                      "so after me on women."

                                      Well, it is a lot easier to report the truth, Donald.

                                      The same inexhaustive exposure of Russian involvement in the election process continues to be an avalanche of unfairness. We just seem to be unable to let potential traitorous behavior go. Sorry, our bad. Hard to blame us though, especially since we keep getting this steady diet of those pesky intelligence and law enforcement leaks that help us continue to write anti-false stuff.

                                      Perhaps they would not have so much to say if you would just come clean and admit that you really are just a poor little rich kid, whose Daddy rescued him after your early failed business attempts. That you did such good work jobbing bankers and friends into funding your New Jersey flops - and then convincing the entire system that they should pay you millions of dollars for the benefit of your failures, I mean heck, you tried...sort of.

                                      Now, just that you know, those court filings regarding the other Trump Pennsylvania Avenue address were published first by the justice system, so this time it is not our fault. Though it is only a small irritation as lawsuits against you go. What is a few million dollars to you? Chump change? Think of it as paying back to the people some of their hard earned green that you accidently picked up when they dropped it. Just like the over 25 million you have so kindly paid out so far at the American legal system's request.

                                      What they really did was pay you to get the heck out of the state. Just like NY. Only you live there, and nobody else wants you.

                                      Washington DC is not technically a state, so the remittance thing might not work so well them.

                                      As a general term remittance man means anyone living away from home supported mainly by their family in a different house, neighborhood, city, or country regardless of their reason for being there. In this case it was the state. Just do not come back to Atlantic City.

                                      Now who you really owe is Ivana and the kids, you know, the two sons that are the only reason the Trump stuff has not failed completely. You really should have had one of them run - at least they are real business men.

                                      Those two boys really know how to throw a party, though the Muslim-practicing Arabs who own DAMAC have to be a bit relieved that they did not have to acquire a visa in order to attend the extravaganza. Especially since they would have to explain why they have thousands of passports hidden away for a rainy day. Keeps those forced laborers from going back home and becoming a burden on their families. Just chalk up another one in the column of Trump looking out for the little people.

                                      Damac Properties chairman Hussain Sajwani said: “It is an honour to stand here today with Eric and Donald Trump Jr, as well as dignitaries and prominent members of the business community, to celebrate yet another outstanding milestone for our city Dubai."

                                      One of the benefits of being a personality is that you get to hang out with all sorts of cool people - like the Democrats you have supported for years. Or the Mafiosos that used to hang out in your office - Russian, Italian, whoever, your open arms accepted them all - regardless of their immigration status.

                                      Mr Trump signed off on paperwork which made clear that Felix Sater was one of the figures in “control” of Bayrock Group, the property firm building three developments using his name, an investigation has found.

                                      The findings appear to contradict statements by the would-be president and his lawyer, distancing him from Sater, who was convicted for helping to lead a $40 million mafia-linked stock fraud scheme.

                                      Well now we know how important those connections to the Russian mob might be, for without that now well known Troll support, Putin would not have a claim on the USA Presidency.

                                      And since you do not ever really want to hear the answers, you never asked about their "families". Well played. Now about your ability to negotiate...

                                      The great thing was that you suddenly discovered that having "co-writers" goes a long way to proving that you are actually literate and that you did not graduate just because Daddy pulled a few strings. Tony Schwartz put it well: “I wrote the Art of the Deal,” Schwartz tweeted. “Donald Trump read it.”

                                      Funny thing is, now he has ghostwriters paid for by the Federal Goverment, so now he does not even have to read the documents before he signs them, for he has #Olifasicists who perform that odious task for the man who would be the POTUS if Bannon let him.

                                      Now your last book was a little harder, so it reportedly took two ghostwriters.

                                      “He (Donald) got this done on the road with a series of phone calls and snippets from campaign speeches,” explains our second source. “He had a ghostwriter from start to finish, and he (Donald) was annoying, tough and threw fits throughout.”

                                      Big surprise, coming from a man who claimed to author "Crippled America".

                                      Being perceived as literate does not come in handy while you were actively campaigning to the uneducated, but no matter. They could see your picture on TV. Except for that Trump Network vitamin thing. It was unfortunate that the print media exposed you again when the Boston Globe reported another Trump Flop.

                                      A STAT investigation found The Trump Network sold customized vitamins and scientific testing kits for about two years, claiming they would yield health benefits. But according to many outside experts, the network was selling bad science.

                                      So there was always Television, and since you have always acted, it was a natural pairing and true love was found - for a time.

                                      Now you can honestly say "I am not a real businessman, but I play one on TV".

                                      And you get to pretend to be a real President, too.

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                                      Pundit Post

                                      A Clash Of Civilisation


                                          It is the reference that many within the right will use.....the 'Clash of Civilisations' between Western Civilisation and practices and practicalities of Islam. A dark enemy from a foreign land with a religion that like all other religions has dark practices from its most devoted followers.

                                          When measured against the west it is difficult for many to see beyond the practices of the dark hearted few within the 'foreign' culture and the 'foreign' religion to cohabit the same lands as their western peoples....many opportunistic and darker hearted people use this false premise to stoke the fears that are everyday news.

                                          It would be too easy for everyone to agree with the sentiment that the clash of civilisation is one between those extremes in Islam and those who defend the facade of Democracy in the west along with its freedoms and more open and welcoming society.

                                          A welcoming society that in itself is now having its very own clash within for the soul and mindsets of all. Like most inner clashes of ideals and opinions the clashes that happen within are in this day and age mostly dictated by any civilisation's foreign endeavours. Hence we have the perception of a clash between western civilisation and our more easterly brothers and sisters sharing this planet.

                                          That's what those who sell fear and mistrust and hatred want the masses to think....that the true clash of civilisation is something far away.....when in fact it is a battle that is more fought within the borders of any western pseudo democracy.

                                          2016 wasn't the year that the west was won by those who sold and continue to peddle the fears of the huddled masses fleeing for life and limb. It was the year that the truly regressive nature of the most fearful sparked them to yearn for the simpler....the once was....the never to be again.

                                          Within the US this clash between two very differing mindsets has never been more in focus, never more apparent. It comes down the those who believe what they see read and hear by looking at the actual reasons and consequences of all that has gone and all that comes with it. Those who see the evidence and know that their decision can be easily backed by the facts.

                                          Then of course you have those who see these facts as attacks on everything they stand for. They do not accept facts particularly those facts that go against their deeply held beliefs rather than facts. The belief that all information is false information if that information goes against the truth held within......information that contradicts all the facts, all the evidence.

                                          For too long the US has had a counter narrative that is cancerous, that cancer grew into the nativism, domination and a reclaiming of something that was never in the ownership of those who claim it as their own. A whole section of a nation that refused to hear the awful truths and finding sanctuary with the noises of those who profit from their marketable brand of fear.

                                          Each and every factual piece of evidence, that which is proven and that which warrants the most attention of the authorities are now the opening salvos in this newest clash of civilisations, those who need to be lied to and those who need to believe everything they are told by the mainstream media is a Lie, Fake News, Liberal Lies....F***ing yaddy yaddy yaddy.

                                          The continual death spiral of reason and logic and fact and evidence within that part of the US is just more evidence of the nefarious and truly insidious nature of those who call the shots and those who believe that they decide what is true and what is not.

                                          The information age that we live in will either free our minds and evolve our mindsets to understand, to listen to learn and ultimately live. Or it will be destroyed by those who fear the truth, those who fear the facts and those who are left to defend the lies surrounding the facts with their latest Propaganda tool.........

                                          To both use fake news to defend their views.....then cry ''fake news'' when the truth reveals itself. How to sum up the power of actual knowledge.....how to define which side of civilisation you truly believe in.....

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                                          Pundit Post

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