MIchael Cohen’s Statement

Diane Ravitch's blog

TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL D. COHEN COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FEBRUARY 27, 2019

Chairman Cummings, Ranking Member Jordan, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today.

I have asked this Committee to ensure that my family be protected from Presidential threats, and that the Committee be sensitive to the questions pertaining to ongoing investigations. Thank you for your help and for your understanding.

I am here under oath to correct the record, to answer the Committee’s questions truthfully, and to offer the American people what I know about President Trump.

I recognize that some of you may doubt and attack me on my credibility. It is for this reason that I have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are irrefutable, and demonstrate that the information you will hear is accurate and truthful.

Never in a million years did I imagine, when…

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The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance or The Oath of Office

Would you believe me if I told you the Oath of Office came first and is more important than the Pledge of Allegiance?

No one should be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school, before a football game, or anywhere else. Instead, we should be reciting the Oath instead of the Pledge that says we must be loyal to a piece of rectangular cloth colored red, white, and blue that hangs from a pole.

The Oath of Office is the same oath every incoming president of the United States recites as they rest a hand on a Bible and are sworn in.

In fact, all officers of the seven uniformed services of the United States swear or affirm an oath of office upon commissioning. It differs slightly from that of the oath of enlistment that enlisted members recite when they enter the service. It is required by statute, the oath being prescribed by Section 3331, Title 5, United States Code. It is traditional for officers to recite the oath upon promotion but as long as the officer’s service is continuous this is not required.

The U.S. Constitution, Article VI, clause 3 says, “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first Oath of Office was given to those serving in the Continental Army, beginning in 1775. A candidate had to not only name the 13 states, but also swear to keep them “free, independent and sovereign states and declare no allegiance to George the third, king of Great Britain” as well as “defend the United States against King George, his heirs and successors, and his and their abettors, assistants and adherents.”

Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist minister, and author wrote the original version of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 — 117 years after George Washington recited the first Oath of Office to become the first president of the United States.

In its original form the Pledge of Allegiance said:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration.

I prefer the Oath of Office instead of the Pledge of Allegiance.  When I recite the Oath, I think of it as a patriot’s true oath.

The president’s oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

History House.gov says, “The founders decided to require an oath for federal and state officials—absent a religious test—in the Constitution, but the specifics—such as the wording of the oath—were left to the First Congress (1789–1791). In its first act, Congress specified the wording: “I, A.B. do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” This oath was used for all federal officials except the President, whose oath was prescribed specifically in the Constitution (Article II, section 1, clause 8). …

“The oath used today has not changed since 1966 and is prescribed in Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code. It reads: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The Patriot’s Oath should read: I, ­­­[first and last name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

Not once does the Oath or the Pledge say we must be loyal to the President of the United States, and I know without a doubt that I will not be loyal to President Donald Trump under any circumstances, because I think Trump is a domestic enemy of the U.S. Constitution.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Who Controls Your Life — the Big 5 Tech Giants or You?

This morning I read, I Cut the ‘Big Five’ Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell by Kashmir Hill, and I left this comment:

I dumped my smartphone for a dumbphone several years ago. I don’t text. When I leave home, I leave the Internet behind and spend less than 5 minutes a month on my dumbphone.

When I get up in the morning, I leave my multiple screens (yes, I have more than one screen and I am tempted to add another one … or two) and desktop computer off until I finish the exercise routine of the day, and that exercise can take anywhere from an hour to two hours.

When I bought a new Kia Niro plug-in hybrid, it came with a radio that didn’t have a CD drive but it did offer SiriusXM free for several months.

What did I do? I had the original radio replaced ASAP, and a few months later got a “phone” call from SiriusXM asking me what happened to my car, that they couldn’t find/track it. I told the caller what I had done, and added if I had control of enough missiles I’d blow SiriusXM’s satellite network out of the sky. SiriusXM has been and keeps sending me ads through snail mail. I tear them up and drop them in the recycle bin. SiriusXM never gives up, but they aren’t alone. Most corporations constantly “harass” us with their unwanted ads.

I gave up my Kindle e-readers before I dumped my pest of a smartphone and only read books printed on paper or listen to them on CDs in the car with my new unconnected radio that came with a CD player, and it doesn’t even have GPS.

Although I still use Facebook, Amazon, and Google with my desktop and its two monitors, I have a lot of free time even if the kleptocracy’s autocratic technocrats are still harvesting information from me and making a profit off it.

With all that time to myself away from their digital claws, I still think for myself and easily avoid all the techno crap, cookies, traps and pitfalls when I am online. Every time I log off, I log onto the control panel and delete browsing history, cookies and saved website data, catched data and files and tabs I’ve set aside or recently closed.

Well, most of them anyway. Because once a month I also use the free editions offered by Malwarebyts, SuperAntiSpyware, and CCleaner, that just told me it can’t run on Windows … but it always worked before. Now I wonder why Windows must have blocked CCleaner. Maybe because it actually worked.

After all, I did click on the link to Kashmir Hill’s post and enjoyed reading it. We all know why it was recommended to me because some spy-app called a cookie from Amazon and/or Google that tracks what I’m interested in, sent it to me based on my internet history use.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Cory Booker: What Educators and Parents Need to Know

The reasons why no one should want Corey Booker to run for president in 2020. Booker is a corporate owned Democrat, a minion, a slave to the greedy money making machine that’s destroying the United States.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mitchell Robinson of Michigan State University explains why he could not support for Cory Booker for the Democratic nomination in 2020.

He writes:

I really don’t want to be a single-issue voter, but education will almost always be the most important issue for me–and Booker is catastrophically wrong and bad on education. His corporate leanings and pro-pharma stance are just the gravy for me on Booker.

So, if you like for-profit charters, then Cory Booker is your guy.

If you want to privatize public education, then Cory Booker is your guy.

If you think that state tax dollars should go toward vouchers to pay for private and religious school tuition, then Cory Booker is your guy.

If you think that Betsy DeVos’ education policies are making schools work better for kids, families, and communities, then Cory Booker is your guy.

And if you think that scapegoating the “failing public schools” takes…

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SPLC: Debtors’ Prison in the United States

Even though Debtor Prisons are illegal in the United States, poor people are spending time in prison, behind bars for their debts.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that people in some states areimprisoned because they can’t afford to pay fees and fines. The U.S. Supreme Court already ruled that this practice is unconstitutional. It continues.

SPLC writes:

The people incarcerated in Corinth, Mississippi, have a phrase for it: “sitting it out.” We have another name for it: “debtors’ prison.”

Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has been clear that it’s unconstitutional to jail people simply because they can’t afford to pay fines and fees.

But in states across the South — and across the country — that’s exactly what cash-strapped municipalities are doing.

Take Glenn Chastain. He owed $1,200 to the city of Corinth for expired vehicle tags. Because he missed a hearing, he was denied the chance to pay a partial fine. He spent 48 days in jail.

Jamie Tillman, without a lawyer, admitted to a public intoxication charge punishable by a…

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Thomas Friedman: Time for the GOP to Threaten to Fire Trump

Why Trump must leave the White House as told by Thomas Friedman.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Lots of readers of this blog don’t like to hear what conservatives, Republicans, or pundits like Thomas Friedman have to say. I disagree. The only way that Trump will ever be reined in is by the leaders of the GOP. No matter how many progressives are elected to Congress, the fact remains that Trump has two years left in his term, and Republicans control the Senate. He won’t be impeached unless 19 Republican Senators join with the Senate Democrats and tell him the country can’t afford to keep him in the presidency as Tweeter-in-Chief, listening to no one but him gut, destroying the western alliance and the economy. Are there 19 Republican Senators willing to face the wrath of Trump and his angry base?

Thomas Friedman wrote that the time has come for the leaders of the GOP to step in and stop the damage to our country and the…

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Sherrilyn Ifill: Racism is a National Security Concern

America is not and never has been the land of freedom and equality. That is a myth, a lie that many people think is true. Putin in Russia knows this truth and he took advantage of it to get malignant narcissist and psychopath Donald Trump, a fraud, a con-man and a serial liar, elected President of the United States.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Racism and segregation are our nation’s greatest sin, written into our founding and our history. We live with their consequences every day in the misery and blighted lives that stand in sharp contrast to the ideals of our founding documents. We think of ourselves as a just people, but we tolerate injustice. We think of our nation as one that is dedicated to equality, yet we live with inequality and ignore it. Now, as Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, writes in the Washington Post.


Two newly released reports from the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian interference in the 2016 election have been nothing short of revelatory. Both studies — one produced by researchers at Oxford University, the other by the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge — describe in granular detail how the Russian government tried to sow discord and confusion among American voters…

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