Monday, September 16, 2019

Jason Miciak

Jason Miciak is an author and attorney who splits his time between the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the Pacific Northwest. He has a wife, daughter and the most self-centered and smug dog to ever walk the Earth. Miciak's novels use science fiction to explore themes of morality and our current political environment.
CNN / YouTube President Trump salutes US military...

Here We Go: Trump Administration Increases Tensions, Pointing at Iran

If we know anything, it is to expect a war in the Middle East by a Republican president. One of the few redeeming values we thought Trump possessed was an unwillingness for the U.S. to engage in foreign wars as the world’s policeman. But, we know who has been surrounding Trump, and we know what the Republican “community” wants. This is what they do. So, following up upon yesterday’s tweet, we have the expected “analysis” regarding Iran’s responsibility: The US government has produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact on Saturday at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials told US media the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south. Iraq denied that its territory was used for an attack on the kingdom. US officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. The US officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analysed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the weapons could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out. Now, all of that could be true. Absolutely. The problem is, how the hell would we know what is or is not true coming from this administration? Do we take this administration’s word over Iran’s at this point? Even though all the above might be true, I have absolutely no reason to trust them and assume its is a fair evaluation. He lies about the weather!! But even more worrisome is that even IF it is true, is there some reason that protection of Saudi Arabia – that country that has bought billions of defense armaments from the U.S. – and a nation that has near unlimited resources, needs the US to defend it? IF Iran had bombed or threatened a U.S. ship going up or down the Straight of Hormuz, or even some other innocent country’s ship, that does impact U.S. policy and interests. We need free passage throughout the world to move our goods/needs as we want. But that has not happened, and I seriously doubt it would happen unless or until the U.S. starts to shoot directly at Iran. So, it is highly disturbing to once again hear war drums beating from a Republican administration. It is especially true when Trump finds himself trailing every Democrat in the polls by double digits, and may think that his best shot at rising back up is to be our “leader” in a “fight for freedom” (as it will be called). We knew this would happen. We have no idea what is really happening, we just know what seems inevitable. Republican presidents start wars in the Middle East. American lives will be lost. Innocent Iranian lives – many innocent lives – will be lost, all in pursuit of oil interests, all in pursuit of keeping that defense interest pumping out new shit. I hope that I am wrong. Obviously. But who doesn’t think this sounds just so familiar, and […]

Absolute Proof Saudi Owns Trump? Got It, Without Doubt

I don’t know about y’all, but this just shook me to the core. For some reason, my computer is doing funky things with the ability to call up the actual tweet, so I simply copied the wording, and I cannot possibly make this up. Here is Trump, just two years prior to rising to office, five years ago: Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars, which they won’t, or pay us an absolute fortune to protect them and their great wealth-$ trillion! 4:56 PM · Aug 31, 2014 He had no doubts that the United State’s had no obligation to assist Saudi Arabia, enough to tweet to the world that he finds it egregious. Back then. NOW, he is “locked and loaded,” to help that same nation, of “great wealth, at least $1 trillion.” He only needs to see Saudis’ analysis, and hear what they want. He has no belief that Saudi Arabia should defend itself. Nothing about how the United States cannot take on the role of being Saudi Arabia’s bodyguard. Only an assumption that the United States must be involved if Saudi Arabia is threatened. I wonder what changed? **** Peace, y’all Jason, and @MiciakZoom on Twitter. And, if you really want to sit back and not think about “this guy” at ALL, take a fictional journey to this same United States, but with a normal president. Kind of like a donation to help keep me writing, only you get something, too! In THAT world, a regular college kid, alien abductee, finds himself tossed into being a major player in something about as big as it gets.  Our college kid had only agreed to do a few small things for some “new” alien friends. Things go bad, quickly. Within one single month, almost by accident, he is essential in helping some powerful folks, including Pope Francis, presidents and good aliens, to prevent a horrific takeover of earth 🙂 Plus, it is funny, and poignant. You’ll be really proud of that kid, who does some growing up, and comes through, in the biggest way. 4.8 stars ***** on Amazon. If you can’t do Kindle, email me and I will send you a pdf.
The White House / Flickr trump saudi...

Trump Awaiting Saudi Direction on How “We” Proceed With Iran

Over the last 24 hours, the hours after the attack on Saudi refineries, Trump has been on a radical tweet storm. Most, by far, whine about how Democrats are now his worst enemy (see the column I published previously), defending Kavanaugh, plus – of course – congratulating himself in an embarrassing way. All this, with a few tweets “sprinkled in” about a possible pending war, with Iran. Truly, unbelievable, in any other context. This one is the most concerning: Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019 Now, our friends at Dkos are screaming for immediate impeachment on that tweet alone, which is rather absurd, given all the previous actions justifying removal. Some outrage hyperbole slips in at Dkos from time to time. This tweet “alone” doesn’t rise to impeachment status. But, if he were to actually “act” on the Saudi direction or desire, and without consulting Congress, THAT would be something requiring immediate impeachment proceedings. The tweet itself can’t really stand for much of anything, because his tweets are so ridiculous on so many things that no one tweet – in isolation –  should be taken as indicative of actionable policy. But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a response from Democrats AND Republicans in Congress. Every single person holding a seat in Congress should be telling Trump that he needs to go to Congress for authorization. Democrats in the House ought to be saying that under no circumstances will they fund a damn thing until Trump awaits Congress’s response. It is horrifying to contemplate that this man, given his obvious instability, sits with the trigger in his hands. It is not hyperbole to say that literally anything could happen, given his temperament and lack of interest in any expert’s opinion. As we have said MANY times, all the “adults in the room” are gone, every single one. There is no limit on what could happen. At this point, the only comforting factor is that Trump seems terrified of actually firing a shot in any situation. That is, of course, not a wholly bad thing. But, the basis is his fear, knowing that he might get in a situation where he is on the losing end politically and on the battle field. We have seen this play out before with respect to Iran. Again, I’m quite grateful he hasn’t actually started a big military commitment. It is his lack of analysis and fear that concerns me. The response to the tweet shouldn’t be “impeachment,” it should  get a massive blowback from Congress, today. For all we know, he could order hundreds of missiles from limitless platforms, drones, air craft carries, subs, bases in Qatar, or even from Afghanistan, all raining down on Iran, initiating a war that we do not want. Iran is not Iraq. Iran has a real military, it is a far larger country than Iraq, and we’ve had enough problems in much weaker countries in the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of people, many Americans, would die, all […]
Jessyca Frederick / Flickr American Flags...

Everything Wrong with this Country in One Tweet

This: It’s time to stand up and fight back. The democrat party is no longer a friendly opponent with minor differences of opinion, but an enemy that’s trying to destroy our culture, freedom and country. #MAGA — Texas Country Boy (@SMACBALL728) September 16, 2019 I am not even talking about Trump’s tweet. That’s what he does. It is the second one, that is the one killing us, and the pace is quickening. There is NO question we see tons of shit thrown by liberals, too. We can be “elitists” and we can be snobs, we can be hateful towards Trump, and lump-in all his followers in to an equal degree. Me, too. Guilty of that. What I haven’t seen once is a straight declaration of Conservatives as our “enemy” or an enemy of the United States. Not once. I have tried to make a point of infuriating conservatives on Twitter, by noting “I disagree, but don’t hate you. I don’t have time to hate, and I don’t hate fellow Americans.” If you want to shut down a tweet storm fast, throw that at them. They never reply. Never. The tweet above is simply random, I’ve seen dozens, hundreds perhaps, just over the last week. The word “enemy” is the one that ought to send fear up and down your spine. Yes, Trump used it first, and that, too, is telling. “Enemies” imply a duty to ignore the law – temporarily, since all dictatorships are “temporary” until a problem passes over, which it never does – an “enemy” is someone you have duty to “fight” violently, if needed. I saw it used today in a tweet, praising Trump for fighting all his enemies, “foreign and domestic.” That’s funny, because I haven’t seen Trump fight a foreign enemy, have you? Oh, he’s imposed “tariffs” on China, and he takes money from Iran. But fight? That seems to be reserved for his enemies here. Has he once called out a foreign leader with the same palpable, dripping, hatred he has for certain Democrats, or the press, or ANYONE who dares to call him something unflattering? I don’t think so. I think he – and the hard Republican right – now hate us more than any foreign entity, with the possible exception of violent Islamic extremists, and even they got invited to Camp David, until they weren’t. Which is probably more telling. This will destroy the country. I call it the “Cold Civil War.” There will not be some modern-day “Gettysburg.” General Mattis isn’t going to call upon his “loyal Marines” to take back “the military” from a criminal president. No one is going to make real war against a government owning hundreds of satellites, guiding thousands of drones, the type that can send a missile through the window of your garage. “Real War” is becoming something that rich nations do to countries that – for all intents and purposes – can’t fight back. Real war is too dangerous in rich countries. It’s the MADEWON doctrine now, “Mutual Assured Destruction Even Without Nukes.” So “war” of the shooting kind isn’t going to happen. No Hot Civil War. But the Cold Civil War will look like war in every other way. We’ll cease to function like a first world nation. Nothing will get built, kept up, […]

Director of National Intelligence Thinks Trump is Higher Authority than the...

Yesterday, we covered the snowballing and serious scandal to suppress a whistleblower complaint originating within the intelligence community. Whistleblower complaints go directly to the inspector general of the agency in question, in this case, the office of the Director of National Intelligence. If the inspector general’s office finds the complaint to be credible, it is referred directly to congress. In this case, the inspector general determined that the complaint was both “credible” and “urgent.” The law could not possibly be clearer. The Director of National Intelligence must pass the complaint to congress. The law may be silent upon what else might be done with it, but the law mandates one thing only. It must be passed to congress. Today on Face the Nation, Rep. Adam Schiff said that Acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire told Rep. Schiff that he had been told by a “higher authority” to not turn the complaint over. This is almost hard to believe, except with this administration. The fact that someone sitting in such a position, the acting Director of National Intelligence, believes there exists a “higher authority” than the clear law, is an issue with national security ramifications. The entire reason we have “whistleblower” statutes is precisely because higher authorities may damn well want the complaint suppressed! The law specifically contemplates situations where even a president orders someone within the executive branch to do something that helps the president, but hurts the nation. Situations like this, where we protected the person from the president, allowed us to believe we were a “nation of laws, not men.” Have absolutely no doubt that this man, Joseph Maguire, has attorneys working for his office that would tell him; “The law says you must pass this along. If you pass it along, and it angers the president, the president may fire you, rightly or wrongly. If you do not pass it along, and it comes out that you wrongly suppressed it, you could be imprisoned. Those are your choices.” Something caused this director, Joseph Maguire to choose option “A.” At this point in time in our nation, someone at this level of government, believes it is best for him to take his chances on breaking the law, rather than simply passing on a complaint to Congress. He is doing this, even though it certainly is not his problem (presumably) if someone “higher-up” broke the law. Something has made it “his problem” if he turns over documents implicating some “higher authority.” We know that Trump demands total loyalty from anyone who works “for him.” (The people in government do not work for Trump, but for the American people, but you know what Trump believes. They all work “for him.”) Unless you are fairly steeped in government and law, it is truly difficult to relate the seriousness of this suppression, and that’s before we even know what’s in the complaint! For all we know, the complaint contains proof that “President” Trump sold U.S. secrets for cold cash, costing American lives. It probably isn’t that blatant, but the point is, we don’t even know what might be within the “urgent” complaint. Here is someone “fairly steeped” in government and law, professor Lawrence Tribe, perhaps the most respect constitutional law scholar, ever. A “higher authority” than the Supreme Law of the Land?! The Acting DNI must think he has divine permission to defy […]
The Daily Signal / YouTube Kellyanne Conway on Opioid Crisis Her...

Kellyanne Embarrasses Herself and Trump, Again

Once again, Kellyanne Conway bravely set foot in a Fox News studio to face the blistering questions posed by Bill Hemmer. Hemmer threw the usual softball which Kellyanne promptly popped up into the stands behind her. Asked about possible impeachment proceedings, one of the few remaining Trump loyalists offered her in-depth analysis: “Complete nonsense,” she said when asked about the impeachment proceedings. “They need to get a messaging meeting and they need to read the constitution of the Democratic Party.” “Complete nonsense?” We’ll give her a pass. Her job is to do nothing but stand-up for Trump. We have bigger fish to deep-fry. “They need a messaging meeting?” Because “messaging” is what it is all about, to this administration. It is all a big reality show with “winners” and “losers” and “messaging” matters most. When has the truth ever ruined a good script? Her priority here is telling. “They need to read the constitution of the Democratic party?” Hey, she didn’t call it the “Democrat” party! Progress! Unfortunately, neither the Democratic nor Republican party has a “constitution,” only the states and the nation. So, reading the Democratic constitution isn’t necessarily going to inform anyone, other than a percentage of Trump voters who watch Fox News. (We hope it is a low percentage, but it is hard to tell.) “And they’re wasting your money and your time trying to impeach a president where there are no high crimes and misdemeanors.” Well, she is in pretty deep here. The entire reason for an impeachment proceeding is to determine the extent of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Declaring them non-existent is simply … never mind, I suppose that is her job, too. “Stop the nonsense of harassing and embarrassing this president and the people around him when you have no constitutional or legal basis to do so.” Alright, toss aside the grammar, it’s a live interview and it’s relatively … whatever. “Harassing and embarrassing this president …” Kellyanne, the constitution actually presumes a certain level of “harassment” – also known as checks and balances – from the other branches, especially by Congress. Moreover, compared to the ceaseless “scandals” investigated by the Republican congress in investigating Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama, Trump has been granted a gift by the Democrats in not doing more. “Embarrass” Trump? You could more easily embarrass a couch. My dog looks me side-eye when he knows he’s done something stupid. Trump has never made a mistake, ever. Ask him. Trump assured us he doesn’t need to ask God’s forgiveness on anything, remember? “Embarrass” infers he cares at all what anyone anywhere thinks. The only people Trump wants to please are those who have him compromised financially. Everyone else can go to hell, quite literally. “No constitutional or legal basis to do so.” At least we’re back in the right constitutional frame! Unfortunately, the House of Representatives happens to be the only group endowed with the power to impeach, and a significant number of people, perhaps half the country, believes it has a legitimate reason. Moreover, because Trump blocks any investigative attempt, claiming “executive privilege,” illegally blocks Congress’s right to examine his tax returns, and perhaps illegally suppresses a critical whistleblower complaint, it appears there is a whole lot that Trump et. al. do not want the country to know. The framers of […]

Why the Republican Primary Matters Enough to Scare Trump

A great article brought to you by the underappreciated political analysts at Vanity Fair will convince you that the Republican primaries, the primaries occurring in states not succumbing to Trump’s effort to suppress them, may impact the 2020 presidential election just as much as the Democratic primary. No one here ought to be surprised that Trump’s support remains soft in the overall Republican vote. We have noted the lesson of the “cult leader,” who will be followed beyond all reason, right up until he is not, and then nothing can rehab the initial hold. We have covered that aspect plenty. There is another element to the equation that I haven’t appreciated. Many of Trump’s voters (the people who don’t where MAGA hats and scream about “Q”) these “soft Republicans” have not have even heard or read about many of Trump’s most damaging controversies. Many may not know of Trump’s insatiable need to profit off his conflicts between business and government. They might not know that Trump insisted upon meeting Putin alone while also grabbing the interpreter’s notes, or the shocking number of lies, including the horrid poll numbers of late, the “real” Mueller findings, and on and on. Even if some of these people did hear references to each of the above, it would have come from a Democrat mentioning it on Fox, only to have some Trump loyalist dismiss it as fake news and move on, quickly. But, in a primary, some Republicans may end up hearing some of these god-awful truths; that we’re a trillion dollars poorer as a nation, we’re not respected – at all – on the international scene, that we Americans are paying for the Chinese tariffs, and the economy is slowing. They will hear it from fellow Republicans, even ones of dubious character, and no chance to actually “win.” The article hammers home another point that I hadn’t fully appreciated. The “soft Republican” voters in Iowa and New Hampshire (especially New Hampshire) might want a “Trump rejection-vote, a safe one, one that won’t put a Democrat in the oval office, but will send a message; “Not my guy.” Added up, and a Republican primary challenger could conceivably get 15%, even maybe 20%. The number seems like nothing, because it obviously isn’t close enough to “winning,” but one is invited to imagine the news slamming the nation had a Democratic challenger garnered double digits against Barack Obama. It would be huge news because it exposes the candidate’s own internal weaknesses. Moreover, look over the comments in Trump’s Twitter feed sometime, the single biggest “strength” Trump seems to bring to the MAGA heads isn’t any “policy” or official act, no it is that Trump “owns the libs,” constantly driving us insane. They love that, because they hate us liberals. But, if Trump shows some weakness within his own party, and the weakness stems from people learning the extent of Trump’s grease-hauling, train-wreck fire of an administration, maybe Trump isn’t “owning” anyone much anymore. And that failure, which we have noted many times – and so does the Vanity Fair article – could collapse Trump’s entire movement. A Republican analyst states that Trump is a guy walking around with a paper bag full of water as support. He is keeping it all in right now, but when it leaks, it all comes down. […]
@RepAdamSchiff / Twitter adam schiff...

Schiff Demands Copy of Withheld Whistleblower Complaint Involving Trump and Nat....

Adam Schiff wrote his strongest demand as select committee on intelligence majority leader, yesterday, in response to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) ODNI’s decision to withhold a whistleblower complaint already deemed “credible” and of “urgent concern,” according to the ODNI’s own Inspector General. Under the current operative statute, the “acting” Director of National Intelligence, Joseph McGuire, must forward to congress all complaints affirmed by the inspector general’s office as credible and urgent.. No exceptions. Not only has the DNI not passed the complaint to Congress, it has informed Schiff that it will not be forwarding the complaint, despite the clear law and clear past practices.  It is difficult to appreciate the DNI’s brazen attitude without reading Schiff’s words in the follow-up subpoena issued yesterday: “Even though the disclosure was made by an individual within the Intelligence Community through lawful channels, you have improperly withheld that disclosure on the basis that, in your view, the complaint concerns conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community and because the complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications. In a further departure from the statute, your office consulted the Department of Justice about the complaint, even though the statute does not provide you discretion to review, appeal, reverse, or countermand in any way the IC IG’s independent determination, let alone to involve another entity within the Executive Branch in the handling of a whistleblower complaint. Your office, moreover, has refused to affirm or deny that officials or lawyers at the White House have been involved in your decision to withhold the complaint from the Committee. You have also refused to rule out to me that the urgent concern, and underlying conduct, relates to an area of active investigation by the Committee. That high-pitched whistle you hear is the last bit of our democracy’s oxygen slipping out into the dictatorial vacuum. Under the law, the director has no role here. Once he receives the complaint from his Inspector General, he must pass the complaint to Congress. All other concerns, privileges, third parties, are dealt with by the Inspector General and Congress itself. Speaking of “third parties,” you did note that the director went to Barr’s Justice Department? It took an intelligence director in this administration to call the president’s lawyer, at the DOJ. Hint, the National Intelligence agencies have some of the best lawyers on the planet. They “consulted” the Attorney General’s office because they wanted this complaint suppressed, so they called the suppression professionals, the people who believe that every utterance made in the executive branch is privileged from congress. The Director also probably wanted to ensure that – should all this go bad – he had the federal prosecutors at his side when charges come about. Oh, the other “third-party” you surely noticed? The White House itself. One can bet that if the ODNI had not contacted the White House in the matter, it would have gladly told Schiff that it had not. Thus, the entire reason for having “whistleblower statutes,” to protect individuals who come forward, and to prevent releasing the matter to the most powerful, has been subverted. Not only does it place this “whistleblower” in danger of losing his or her job (or worse), it sends a message to anyone considering initiating a whistleblower complaint. Schiff knows exactly […]
CNN / YouTube Melania Trump moves into the White...

Trump Proves Himself World’s Worst Dad, Stunning

I cannot let this go, I saw it yesterday, and I had too much else going on. Fortunately, others saw it, too, and it is as ridiculous, and callous as one would come to expect. This is going to be quick, to keep our stomachs down. In a discussion involving the dangers of vaping, especially to young kids, middle and high school, Trump referenced why “the First Lady” cared so much about the issue. Trump said: ” She’s got a son together that is a—a beautiful young man. And she feels very, very strongly about it.” Yes, the word “together” is in there, in a disjointed way, but the words “we,” “our” and “mine” are most certainly NOT. I tried to imagine a situation in which I sat with my wife, discussing with others something concerning children and stating “She has a daughter …” I came up with nothing. Perhaps it is because “we” have a daughter, and “our” daughter is “our” greatest joy. As Trevor Noah pointed out, even Darth Vader claimed his son, and cared deeply about the father-son bond they made a movie about it. This president is our worst and most dangerous in many generations. But, even I have to admit, at times, the obliviousness and self-obsession prove to be entertaining. Not worth the price, but entertaining nonetheless. **** Peace, y’all Jason, and please follow on Twitter: @MiciakZoom
Los Angeles District / Flickr Ajo Border Patrol Station Groundbreaking...

Administration Considering “Camps” For L.A. Homeless Population!

Please, read, from the Washington Post: A team of Trump administration officials toured a California facility once used by the Federal Aviation Administration this week as they searched for a potential site to relocate homeless people, according to three government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private tour. Anytime one hears the term “relocate” within the same sentence discussing a marginalized group in society, it ought to send the shock of fear bolting within your body. This is the same administration, after all, interring migrants on the border, in “camps,” where people sleep sitting up for lack of space, cannot have access to a toothbrush, and drink toilet water. No one should trust this administration to provide “camps” for yet another group that “troubles” Trump. Notice the warning signs here: Trump has asked aides to figure out “how the hell we can get these people off the streets,” one senior administration official said. The FAA facility toured by administration officials is located in or near Los Angeles, but its precise name or whereabouts — or whether it is a current or former government facility — were not immediately known. Temporary housing for homeless people could be a good thing, perhaps a great thing. But good things start with a discussion like this: “Figure out how the hell we can help these people get off the streets and back into life.” Coming from Trump, the goal appears to be “cleaning up” these people’s presence in order to benefit the other citizens of Los Angeles. Moreover, why the cagey secrecy? If this were a well-thought out plan, one that truly could solve the problem in a well-intentioned manner, one would expect the administration to be revealing every detail possible, practically running ads in Los Angeles. They do have a specific facility in mind, there surely are other details that exist, yet they do not want the public informed. That ought to scare people, too. Of course, there is more, and you knew that: The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the administration is considering razing tent camps, creating new temporary facilities or refurbishing government facilities as part of Trump’s directive on homelessness. The changes would attempt to give the federal government a larger role in supervising housing and health care for residents. Policing, especially these types of problems, has always been entrusted to the states. Indeed, Republicans are the people that lead the charge to get the federal government out of “state business,” returning power to the states. Except maybe not so much here, with this administration. It appears that Trump’s people want to “impose” the solution. “Attempt to give … a larger role in … supervising housing for residents.” Perhaps in some other administrations this sentence wouldn’t be so terrifying. But the administration is not offering help to Los Angeles or the state of California, it is not “offering” money or a partnership. It seeks to “supervise.” If this attempt were well-intentioned, explain this: Los Angeles officials were blindsided by news of the sweeping plans being considered by the administration for the city’s homeless population. Some had thought White House officials were arriving this week to simply learn more about the issues. The administration’s delegation divulged little information to city officials about what they were doing in Los Angeles when they were not with […]

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