Time and place… Time. And. Place.

Donald Trump will never win an award for being a silver-tongued orator.  It’s his willingness to say what he thinks, however, that endears him to many of his supporters.  In Monday’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump disappointed many when he declined to press Putin publicly on the accusation of cyberspace meddling in the 2016 election.  This resulted in shrieks of “treason” from his detractors in the U.S. (note to these: take a tranquilizer and calm down; your constant Chicken Little hysterics are embarrassing).  Being civil with Putin, however, doesn’t mean being in his pocket:

[Trump] is, as Greg Gutfeld noted on The Five, his own good cop and bad cop all rolled into one.  The good cop part is what we saw with Kim Jong-un and now with Putin — complimenting tyrants to an almost uncomfortable degree.  It’s oddly a Christian love-the-sinner-but-hate-the-sin kind of thing.

The bad cop part is what Trump actually does concretely — and, as Putin certainly knows, this is far more important than photo ops and press conferences with all the attendant words.  Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Russia have been considerably more stringent than his predecessor’s — opening the energy spigots, increasing sanctions, arming the Ukrainians, ejecting 60 Russian agents, etc.  As Walter Russell Mead pointed out, if Trump is in Putin’s pocket, he’s doing a terrible job of it.

Barack Obama — although the New York Times would burn down its own building rather than admit it — did an abysmal job with Putin and was indeed the one who was truly “owned” by the Russian.  And it wasn’t just the silly reset button and the embarrassing video of Barack whispering into Medvedev’s ear to tell Vlad he — Barack — would be more flexible on missiles after the election.  (What a toady!)  Even worse, in his Chamberlainesque ardor to make a deal with Iran’s mullahs, Obama let Putin play him in Syria, agreeing not to honor his redline against Assad’s use of chemical weapons in order not to endanger the  deal.  Trump never did anything nearly that pathetic.

Too many in our government find purpose only in confronting adversaries, whether it’s Russia, Iran, Syria or North Korea (or for warmonger John McCain — who still hasn’t resigned his Senate seat despite terminal cancer that allegedly prevents his being in D.C. — all of the above).  If things are too calm they’ll create the next Hitler of convenience (see: Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Ghaddafi).  Keeping these pots on a low boil is useful to the ruling class; when people start catching on to Uncle Sam’s misdeeds, they simply turn up the heat on one of the burners as a “rally ’round the flag” distraction.

If the various “Q”-related rumors are true, the administration is about to unmask considerable — possibly unprecedented — malfeasance within our own country’s leadership.  In such a case it would be prudent to wall off any potential foreign distractions, which may underpin Trump’s focused efforts with North Korea and Russia these days.  Putin’s revelation that Hillary Clinton received $400 million in questionable campaign funds from Russian sources, and Trump’s comments at the press conference about the missing DNC computer server and other unresolved scandals serve to underscore what fights our president has chosen to pursue at this time.  Regardless what success he has on that front, Trump is absolutely right in responding to those who urged him to cross swords with Putin or refuse to meet him at all:

“I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics.”

Trump’s foes have consistently underestimated both him and his base of support.  This tends to downplay in my mind all the pundits who claim Trump is either coopted or naïve about Putin.  They may find he was simply ensuring a fight on only one front at a time, fully aware that he still needs to keep Putin under a watchful eye.  “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” as the saying goes.

Such wisdom is to be desired in a chief executive.

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Hating Trump > loving America

The $1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate last night is a gigantic middle finger to middle America and to President Trump’s stated agenda (upon which he was elected).  It is proof positive once again the establishment Republican party is utterly useless in the fight to regain control of our government and our country by “we the people.”  Consider:

  • A supposedly “fiscally conservative” GOP passed the largest spending bill in U.S. history, after removing the debt ceiling and spending caps earlier this year
  • Despite complaints over procedure in the passage of Obamacare and other legislation in recent years, Congressmen were given just 1,000 minutes to review a 2,232-page abomination.  This comes after the GOP previously pledged to post legislation online for public review at least 72 hours before any vote.
  • The record spending level included $2.7 billion for international disaster relief and $1.37 billion for “contributions to international organizations.”  It even provides the Defense Department authority to “spend what funds it determines” to enhance the border security of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia.  But in response to President Trump’s $25 billion in long-term funding for U.S. border security, the omnibus provides a mere $1.6 billion, with specific restrictions against building a solid wall, and only targeting 33 out of 1,954 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border.
  • No funding was cut to self-proclaimed “sanctuary cities” and states such as California that are flaunting Federal immigration authority on a daily basis.
  • The bill continues the practice of forcing taxpayers to subsidize the murder of babies by Planned Parenthood to the tune of more than $500 million annually.

Voting on the bill began Thursday, with current budget authority set to expire at 12:01 Saturday morning.  The “Republicans” in the House supported it 145-90, and 23 of 51 GOP Senators also voted “yes.” Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell no doubt delighted in sticking a finger in Trump’s eye, presenting him with an attempted fait accompli — a choice between accepting a bill no different from what Pelosi and Schumer would have produced, or taking public blame for “shutting down the government” (which, really, doesn’t sound like a bad thing anymore).

As I write this, the President just publicly signed the bill, expressing his displeasure, but claiming it was necessary to secure defense funding.  This is ridiculous, and I’m highly disappointed in him for submitting to the blackmail of a jammed-up deadline.  Sure, he said he’d never sign such a hastily prepared bill again — but he shouldn’t have accepted this one, either.  The purpose of a presidential veto is to tell Congress “rethink your actions.”  There is no more appropriate situation to exercise that authority than this one, in which Congressional leadership used procedure to force through folly.  Trump will pay a political price for accepting this.

Make no mistake: there is a war waging in D.C right now.  It is not between Republicans and Democrats (which are simply two flavors of the same poison).  It’s between those who believe this is a nation of laws, run with accountability to the people, and those who believe they can talk a good talk during campaigns, then do whatever the hell they want in the intervening years.  The war is being fought on several fronts: the budget, the special counsel farce, in the courts over immigration authority, and behind the scenes with an attempt to expose and prosecute the corruption of federal agencies accelerated by the last administration.  There is also good reason to believe the GOP leadership is only happy to ensure they lose majority status in this year’s mid-term election, which would clear the way for the Democrats to redouble their baseless efforts to impeach and remove Trump, who, despite his flaws and mistakes, remains more attuned to the dreams of real Americans than just about anyone else in D.C. Mordor.

In short, the GOP hates Trump more than it loves America.  Think about that.

bi-factional ruling party
There is no meaningful difference in how these four set policy.  None of them give a damn what Americans really want.  They all need to go.

Laying out the timeline

UPDATE: (Feb 8, 2018) – It seems Forbes took down the timeline after a couple of days.  No explanation I’m aware of as to why.  Nevertheless, the Internet is forever, and a copy of it remains available here.

*************************

ORIGINAL POST:  One of the challenges for the American public right now is keeping up with the drip, drip, drip of scandalous information coming out of Washington.  The pieces of the puzzles are being slowly dribbled out, and thus it’s difficult for the average citizen to piece together a picture of just how bad the malfeasance of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation is.

So Forbes has done the nation a great service by assembling the known pieces at this point.  The Epoch Times produced a visual summary in January, but Forbes’ product brings the chronology up to date and provides disturbing clarity.  Keep in mind while reading it there is considerable information that remains redacted or unreleased, and the parties involved will clearly go to great lengths to keep it that way.  The magazine rightly concludes (emphasis added):

It is right to say that this episode is the worst abuse of political power in American history related to elections. Watergate is nothing by comparison. That involved people not employed by the government.  Later it involved a cover-up in which Nixon participated.

Watergate did not involve the DOJ and the FBI – two institutions which must be non-partisans for this Republic of ours.

This case does involve the FBI and DOJ.  It also is foolish not to assume that Loretta Lynch and President Obama were ignorant of the goings on – if not involved in them.

Finally, the dishonest investigation of Hillary who committed actual crimes should not be acceptable. Nor should FBI or DOJ officials be allowed to alter events and Court proceedings for political purposes.

If we let this go, and people are not brought to justice, we will have forever damaged our Republic and the World’s view of us as a nation of laws.

Not to mention that in the eyes of those of us paying close attention, the credibility of our government has taken a body blow from which it may never recover.  Only seeing the key figures in this melodrama in handcuffs and behind bars will suffice to start the process of restoration.  Nothing short of that will matter.

Lots of sound and fury…

…is building in Washington.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t ‘signify nothing.’  It would be nice if accountability is about to make a comeback:

The House Intelligence Committee on Monday evening voted to make public a GOP-crafted memo alleging what some Republicans say are “shocking” surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

That memo was reviewed Sunday by FBI Director Christopher Wray.  Interestingly, on Monday Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe suddenly sped up plans to retire:

Andrew G. McCabe abruptly stepped down on Monday as the F.B.I.’s deputy director after months of withering criticism from President Trump, telling friends he felt pressure from the head of the bureau to leave, according to two people close to Mr. McCabe.

In a recent conversation, Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, raised concerns about a forthcoming inspector general report. In that discussion, according to one former law enforcement official close to Mr. McCabe, Mr. Wray suggested moving Mr. McCabe into another job, which would have been a demotion.  Instead, the former official said, Mr. McCabe chose to leave.

Note: the inspector general report and the Congressional committee memo are two separate products.  The latest news would seem to indicate both contain seriously damning information about abuses at the FBI.  It’s much to be hoped for that the authors of both documents took the time (as appears to be the case) to lay out meticulously their findings.  McCabe is a player in the Hillary email (non)investigation, the beginnings of investigation into the Trump campaign, and likely referred to (as “Andy”) in the now infamous Strzok-Page flurry of texts showing hyper-partisanship at the Bureau.  Representative Trey Goudy rightly says that Strzok and Page should be called to testify about their missives, their actions, and whether they worked with others in the FBI and DOJ to protect one presidential candidate while illegally surveilling the other.

Having voted to make the Congressional memo public, Congress should now authorize release of the inspector general report as well.  The public deserves to know the full extent to which national law enforcement has been compromised.

It also deserves a thorough house-cleaning in Washington.  We already know the IRS was politically weaponized under the previous administration.  May this FBI investigation be just the beginning of a multi-agency cascade of accountability.

The Empire strikes back

Many people will be distracted the next few days over the release of the latest Star Wars film.  But recent revelations seem to confirm the “dark side” is already hard at work, and not “in a galaxy far, far away.”  Instead of pouring over the backstory of Luke Skywalker and his compadres, Americans would do well to look at the timeline of the backstory to the 2016 election:

August 6, 2016:

In one exchange from August 2016, the FBI’s Lisa Page forwarded a Donald Trump-related article to Peter Strzok, writing: “And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.”

He responded: “Thanks. It’s absolutely true that we’re both very fortunate. And of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps.’”

This seems clear. Strzok was going to protect the country from Trump.

August 15, 2016

But an Aug. 15, 2016 message has come under more serious scrutiny.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok wrote to Page.

Andy is believed to be Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok added.

The dossier was the insurance policy

Strzok was at least part of the editing of the Comey statement:

The FBI agent who was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia — because he sent anti-Trump messages to a colleague — oversaw the bureau’s interviews with ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Fox News confirmed on Monday.

Peter Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, also was confirmed to have changed former FBI Director James Comey’s early draft language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her private email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”

Strzok interviewed Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson and Hillary Clinton

The FBI agent who was fired from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team for sending anti-Donald Trump text messages conducted the interviews with two Hillary Clinton aides accused of giving false statements about what they knew of the former secretary of state’s private email server.

Yet somehow they escaped prosecution for lying to the FBI because Strzok wasn’t going to jeopardize Clinton’s campaign.

The FBI agreed to destroy evidence on behalf of Clinton aides…

Read the entire timeline, with linked documentation, here.  The leniency of the “investigation” into Her Hillariness’ unauthorized email server and mishandling of classified information does not contrast well with the fishing expedition that is the Mueller probe.  At least at the higher levels, the FBI has been as politicized as the IRS before it, and appears engaged in an unprecedented effort to overturn the results of a presidential election.  Americans should be aghast at a federal agent talking about “insurance policies” prior to that election, especially when that agent was heavily involved in the two most prominent–and politically charged–investigations of the past two years.

Trump’s nationalist agenda does not go over well with the transnational ruling elite encamped in the five wealthiest counties in America.  That invisible empire will use every lever at its disposal to thwart his agenda.

If Americans allow it.

Doing the jobs Americans won’t do

Isn’t it funny how much clearer certain issues look when you bother to read about them in another nation’s media?

The extent to which Hillary Clinton’s key advisers are now the focus of major FBI investigations is becoming clear. The Clintons’ long-term inner-circle – some of whom stretch back in service to the very first days of Bill’s White House – are being examined in at least five separate investigations. The scale of the FBI’s interest in some of America’s most powerful political fixers – one of them a sitting governor – underlines just how difficult it will be for Clinton to shake off the taint of scandal if she enters the White House. There are, in fact, not one but five separate FBI investigations which involve members of Clinton’s inner circle or their closest relatives – the people at the center of what has come to be known as Clintonworld…

The FBI does not generally comment on investigations, so it is entirely possible there are more under way.

I firmly believe that if Her Hillariness is elected, there will be many more leaks by frustrated law enforcement officials who fully understand the depth of the rot, but have been stymied by a corrupt Department of Justice.  Should she be indicted after her inauguration, it poses serious and unprecedented Constitutional issues.

Best not to take the chance, America.  This woman and her cabal of cronies have no business wielding the levers of power, indictment or not.

Guilty as Hill

I’m still in furious disbelief that the FBI recommended no charges be filed against Hillary over her use of an unauthorized, personal email server as Secretary of State, through which highly sensitive and classified information passed (and likely passed to our nation’s enemies).  If anything proves there’s no equality before the law in our land these days, this does.  I say this as someone with personal experience during my military service with handling highly classified information.  There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been locked away for a long time had I been half as “careless” with the national trust I’d been given.

Regardless my misgivings about Trump or Gary Johnson (and they are many), it’s clear to me that Her Hillariness must not become the next President of the United States.  The “get out of jail free” card over the email server is just the latest in a long saga that includes zero accountability for her actions.  For that reason, I’ve agreed to work with a colleague on a collaborative site:  Guilty as Hill.

Guilty as Hill logo copy

Our vision for the site is simple: provide an easy reference source to debunk the vapid talking point that all of Hillary’s woes are part of some “vast right-wing conspiracy.”  Far from being unduly persecuted, what little heat she has felt she’s brought on herself through her actions.  The problem is that ‘heat’ has amounted to little more than mild inconvenience, rather than justice being served.

We’ve been building content since the FBI announcement on July 6th.  As the election approaches, RonKo and I will continue to comment on developments, as well as posting reminders of the Clintons’ “greatest hits” — a long track record of playing fast and loose  and getting away with it.  It’s about time that caught up with them.  Feel free to share the material, and to let me know if there are ways to make the site a more useful resource as you advocate protecting our nation from a President Hillary.