Tag Archives: Politics

I Want to Believe the Press But…


cropped-yellow-journalism

I have watched and read everything I could find on the Washington Post’s story about the President revealing highly classified intelligence to the Russians that would compromise national security. I do believe that national security was compromised, by the news media. Based on everything that was reported it is most likely that the Presidents discussions with the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador was wholly appropriate and disclosed nothing that would harm the US, but help in assuring Russian assistance on the war against ISIS. The leaks that seemed to come from unnamed sources and the information that was released pertaining to sources and methods were more harmful than what those inside the meeting said was discussed. The only people that were in the meeting and in the know say that the premise of the story was false. There are those that are taking the denials and parsing the words to try and make it seem like a cover-up, but in the end the answer is nothing was revealed that shouldn’t have been.
The press in its reporting continues to use inflammatory wording and statements designed to cause alarm and worry. The initial stories, with no attribution, said that the president had given the Russians Highly Classified Code Word intelligence and further that the way in which he did it exposed methods and sources as well as a foreign partner. What has come out is that the president may have given the Russians some sensitive information but did not expose any partners, sources or methods. Next, we need to discuss the difference between sensitive information and Highly Classified Code Word intelligence. We don’t actually, just let it be known that there is a huge gap between the two with a lot of different intelligence classifications between the highest and lowest. Even after it is established, or at least strongly suggested, that the information passed was not that sensitive. Even then all the news outlets continue to lead their stories with, “Sources say Trump gave Russia highly classified intelligence.” As this progresses we need to keep in mind that the stories are all highly suspect and attributed to unnamed sources while the people we know were in the room are denying anything wrong occurred.
Now in another Washington Post story we are told that the president continued to try and obstruct the Russian investigation by asking two intelligence chiefs, DNI Daniel Coats and NSA Director Adm. Michael Rodgers, to help push back on the FBI investigation. Once again, the sources are unnamed current and former government officials and once again the principals have said nothing or declined to speak.
Lets not forget the infamous Comey memo that pointed to a possible attempt by the President to exert influence over any investigation into the just (then) recently fired NSA Mike Flynn. A memo read over the phone, in sections, to a reporter at the New York Times. Again, no attribution and to date no one has seen the memo. To add to the story the memo was about a meeting in February and during testimony before Congress in March Comey said there had not been any pressure from the White House.
PLEASE THINK of what is being said and use common sense and a large amount of skepticism for any story coming out of the main stream media regarding Trump. They have a great bias against the president and are showing an inability to report fairly.

Has President Trump Committed Impeachable Acts?


Trump

 

Since the early morning hours of November 9, 2016, there have been declarations that Donald Trump has committed heinous acts that demand he be impeached. It did not seem to matter that this movement began before he took office, he had to be impeached. It appears that there were some among the crowd who believed that if they could do this then Hillary would become president. So lets look at the probability that Donald J. Trump has committed impeachable acts.

To start the discussion it must first be pointed out that impeachment does not mean removal from office. It is the formal process of leveling charges, to decide if crimes have been committed and if so do they rise to the level required for trial. To date only two presidents have been impeached by the House, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, neither was convicted in the Senate.  Richard Nixon was under investigation but resigned before the House took action. The attempt to remove a sitting president from office was intended to be difficult and requiring very specific reasons. This is were the problem with declaring, preemptively, that president Trump has committed impeachable offences.

The drama began during the debates last summer when Trump called out Hillary for mishandling classified emails and for leaked emails showing she had colluded with the DNC to manipulate the Democratic party primaries. Hillary’s response was defensive and said the real question was that Russia had hacked the DNC and that was the major issue. In all fairness it was and is an issue but I am not sure it was a bigger issue then her breaking the law and suborning the DNC’s manipulation, but there it started.

Once started the Russian bogyman morphed from an attack on the DNC to Russia attempting to influence the election toward Trump, to Trump and his campaign colluding with the Russian government to ensure a Trump victory.  All of this in an attempt to rescue the Clinton campaign that only a few knew was in trouble.  The major problem was that this campaign maneuver did not die with the election but was perpetuated by the so called resistance to  Trump and became not only an article of faith but the presumed first article of impeachment.

The problem is that currently there is not one shred of evidence to back up the claims. It is all rumor, innuendo and talking heads drawing unbelievable connections from just about anywhere they can. Such connections include, Mike Flynn was fired because he was a connection to the Russians. Mike Flynn was fired because he lied to the vice-president. Sally Yates was fired to stop the Russian investigation. Yates was fired for failing to follow the directions of the President, her boss and client. As an attorney she has an obligation to advocate for her side regardless of personal feelings.  Comey was fired to stop the Russia investigation. Comey was fired for incompetence and violations of long standard practices. In both of these cases the investigation continued. More recently Trump committed treason by giving the Russians classified information. Two points here you can only commit treason in time of war and as President he has the authority to declassify intelligence as he see fit. The last point is the now infamous Comey memo that says Trump asked him if he could see fit to not go after Flynn, obvious obstruction of justice, but its not. First Trump made it a request not an order and put no conditions on it. Second if it was obstruction of justice Comey was bound by law to report it and he did not. Lastly the White House denies it so it becomes hearsay evidence.

In the end we are left with the fact that to date Trump has not committed any impeachable acts, at least none that can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Many are trying however to compare this to Watergate and the eventual resignation of Richard Nixon, history however has a different, more appropriate lesson, Andrew Johnson. Nixon was guilty without a doubt and would have been convicted in the Senate. Johnson on the other hand was a victim of political intrigue and hated by the elites of Washington for standing up for what he believed to be in the best interest of the country. Johnson was vilified in the press and was a very unpopular president, but in fact had done nothing wrong or illegal. In the end the Senate failed to convict by one vote.

PLEASE THINK of the consequences of impeachment actions or the removal of the president, especially for what appears to be political grandstanding. The country can survive a Trump presidency but may not survive a coup d’état. Oh and for those who think Russia got what it wanted in a Trump win, they did not. They will get what they were actually looking for if the country continues down this road, a wracked political system and a powerless country.

 

 

What Did Trump Say


 

T&L

I have watched and read everything I could find on the Washington Post’s breaking story yesterday about the President revealing highly classified intelligence to the Russians that would compromise national security. I do now believe that national security was compromised, by the news media. Based on everything that was reported it is most likely that the Presidents discussions with the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador was wholly appropriate and disclosed nothing that would harm the US, but help in assuring Russian assistance on the war against ISIS. The leaks that seemed to come from unnamed sources and the information that was released pertaining to sources and methods were more harmful than what those inside the meeting said was discussed. The only people that were in the meeting and in the know say that the premise of the story was false. There are those that are taking the denials and parsing the words to try and make it seem like a coverup, but in the end the answer is nothing was revealed that shouldn’t have been.

 

Two things of note to bring up. One is why is the press willing to subject themselves to the danger of proving they are not reporting the news but attempting to take down a government and two is there a connection to the timing of another story that indicates the young DNC staffer, Seth Rich, who was murdered shortly after a devastating email release. His computer shows major contacts with a British journalist and to WikiLeaks.

 

The press in its reporting continues to use inflammatory wording and statements designed to cause alarm and worry. The initial stories, with no attribution, said that the president had given the Russians Highly Classified Code Word intelligence and further that the way in which he did it exposed methods and sources as well as a foreign partner. What has come out is that the president may have given the Russians some sensitive information but did not expose any partners, sources or methods. Next, we need to discuss the difference between sensitive information and Highly Classified Code Word intelligence. We don’t actually, just let it be known that there is a huge gap between the two with a lot of different intelligence classifications between the highest and lowest. Even after it is established, or at least strongly suggested, that the information passed was not that sensitive. Even then all the news outlets continue to lead their stories with, “Sources say Trump gave Russia highly classified intelligence.” As this progresses we need to keep in mind that the stories are all highly suspect and attributed to unnamed sources while the people we know were in the room are denying anything wrong occurred.

 

PLEASE THINK of what is being said and use common sense and a large amount of skepticism for any story coming out of the main stream media regarding Trump. They have a great bias against the president and are showing an inability to report fairly.     

 

Great Expectations, Clinton and Russia


HRC

I had a thought while watching the news this weekend. The reports of collusion between President Trump and the Russian government have the underlying assumption that it is a fact. This is the same type of reporting that had declared Hillary Clinton to be the presumptive winner of the presidential election. This assumption lasted up until election night, with no major network showing any chance for the Trump campaign. By 3:00 AM the following morning the networks had to declare Trump the winner. None, save for FOX, did it willingly, in some cases very unprofessional, such as Rachel Maddow, but it was done. Almost immediately the resistance was born. Many Clinton supporters could not believe what had happened, there had to be a mistake or some occurrence. All the polls could not have been that wrong. There must be a villain.

It was then that the conspiracy was born. To be honest there were previous hints of what was to come. When the DNC was hacked President Obama immediately blamed the Russians. When candidate Trumps asked candidate Clinton to explain her mishandling of classified e-mails she immediately responded with a charge against Russian interference.  This was seen at the time to be a diversion away from the question. Trump, unfortunately for him, responded with a snarky comment about if Putin had her e-mails then he should release the missing 33000. This last gave the Clinton campaign an opening to falsely claim Trump was calling on Putin to spy on Clinton, and the media followed on.

We now have three ongoing investigations, the FBI, the Senate and the House are all looking into the claim that Russia attempted to interfere with the US elections. To-date nothing of substance has been reported and the former Director of National Intelligence has stated more than once that there currently is no evidence to indicate collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. There is no indication of Russian interference having an impact on the outcome of the election, the states that swung the election to Trump were blue states that voted economic issues. There is little indication of any contact between Trump campaign officials and Russia, what they have shown is of little consequence.

Now comes the big question, what happens if all the investigations come up empty? In the end it is declared that there is no collusion and no connection between the Trump administration and the Russian government. Will the country be able to move forward and get back to business. If as I suspect there is no collusion and Trump won fair and square I doubt the resistance will end. There must be a reason Clinton lost. No DNC post-mortem has been done that has reached the conclusion that they put up a bad candidate and ran a bad campaign. The fact remains the people no longer had faith in the Obama administrations direction or the government in general and were looking for a change, any change. To that end they looked for an outsider, any outsider.

Unfortunately for the country the so-called resistance, led by the senior democrats in congress, will never accept any outcome that does not lead to Trump being removed from office.  All I can ask is that the people PLEASE THINK about what is best for our country and call for an end to this division and ask our leaders to get back to governing the country

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Please Think about how chasing a Russian Bogyman is hurting the country


Russian Bogyman

While I do not know what, the outcome will be on the Presidents claim that his campaign was wire tapped, initial indications are that something was done. Per articles in the New York Times a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant was requested in June but denied and another with a more limited scope was requested and issued in October. There have been other reports about this activity by the HEAT.com and The Guardian as well as good analysis by National Review online, as well as a report by Bretbart. I mention Bretbart only because most of the media attention is on that one report being the impetuous for President Trumps twitter rants. The Russian boogeyman has been in play now since the Democrats began to use it to divert attention away from questions about Hilary Clintons use of an unsecured server in her home to store classified material. The problem is that this diversion has now taken on a life of its own and is overriding any attempt by either side to govern the nation.

What we know, not a lot. Director Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, had stated after revelations came out about hacking of the DNC computers, that it was not known who in fact had done the hacking at the time. The DNC, the Clinton Campaign and the White House all came out and said it was the Russians. This was not accepted by the Trump campaign and that led to the accusations that the Trump campaign was in collusion with the Russian government. Now the short line to today, the Intelligence Community came out with the conclusions after the elections that Russia had indeed hacked the DNC and its intent was to swing the election to Trump. Director Clapper also came out this weekend to say there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Whether Russia intended for the leaked DNC emails to have an impact on the elections it is generally accepted today that the emails released had little or nothing to do with the outcome. That should have been the end but as we know it is not.

Refusing to let go politicians and news outlets continue to search for a Russian connection to the Trump camp. What they have so far is, nothing. LTG Flynn’s contact was not unlawful he was forced to resign because he lied to the Vice-President. AG Sessions was a Senator when he met with the Russian Ambassador once in an open meeting and once in his senate office on official senate business. The President is known for making statements that are not always technically correct and the left and the news media is quick to point out any mistake. The latest is that he claimed President Obama ordered the wire taps and it was rightly pointed out that a president cannot directly do that. We all know however if the president suggests to the AG that maybe the Trump organization has illegal contact with the Russian government I think the AG would get the point and see what could be done. Let’s stop parsing words and PLEASE THINK what is being said and meant.

Now to the heart of the matter, WOULD YOU ALL CUT IT OUT AND GET BACK TO DOING YOUR JOBS. There is not one shred of evidence that the Trump campaign had any improper contact with the Russian government so there is no reason for a special prosecutor to be named. There is nothing for a special prosecutor to investigate. Let us get off this Russian thing and work on the problems of the country. Let’s reestablish our foreign policy so that we are once again respected in the world. Let us look to help the victims of aggression like the Syrians in Aleppo and the citizens in Ukraine. Let us work to turn our economy to what it can be. Let’s work to fix real problems, there are a lot of them. Yes, racism still exists and we need to continue to march forward. Progressive policies are not in trouble just under review. If the people want them to stay they will stay.  PLEASE THINK about the real problems so we can all get back to the real world and our lives.

 

2016 Another Political Upheaval in America


My country, the greatest in the world with an unbelievable diversity in culture and citizens will soon be faced with an impossible choice for its next leader, or so it would seem

The Republican Party started out with 17 candidates running for the nomination. Five withdrew before the primaries even started while another 11 have since dropped out of the race. This leaves Donald Trump the presumptive nominee. On the Democratic Party side, we started with what could be called five viable candidates and are now down to two. Of the two, Hillary Clinton, is the choice of the party elite, and barring unforeseen problems or an indictment, likely the nominee.

Donald Trump was considered a side show and a joke. Coming with what many considered a ton of baggage and no political background, all he had was name recognition and a lot of money. The power elites and the political pundits saw no future in his candidacy and down played early victories. Hillary Clinton on the other hand was the anointed one.  In the beginning she had what was seen as a clear path to the nomination, since none of her announced opposition had the money, standing, name recognition or power base that she did.  

So what went wrong? Trump beat all of the political professionals while Clinton faced, and may still face, an unexpected challenge from an unlikely source, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Following the primary in Indiana Trump defeated Sen. Ted Cruz, his closest rival, by double digits, Sanders then beat Clinton. Up until the week before, the polls had Cruz winning and up until the day of the primary Clinton was in a tight race but still leading. Even with this victory Clinton is still on track to win the nomination based on her past wins and a large number of “Super Delegates” in her pocket. Still it was not the cake walk/ Coronation she was expecting.

Again, what went wrong? While the main stream media ignores the plight of the democrats there is no end to the death notice for the GOP. Within its own ranks there is talk of the end and the need to find the soul of the party. Maybe this is not the end of either party just a restructuring and/or an update.

From time to time there are upheavals in the body politic, such as the recent advent of the tea party on the right and the new progressive movement on the left. In the tumultuous ‘60s we saw Barry Goldwater on the right and George McGovern on the left rise, and then go down in flames.  The existence of political splits is not new in America. The Progressive Party of the US, better known as the Bull Moose party split from the republican party over policy difference between Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Then there was the Native American Party also known as the Know-Nothing-Party, which formed to oppose immigration. The immigrants where mostly German and Irish Catholics. Any quick study of these parties will show that many of the issues then are the same as now.

Why then is the world coming to an end for the Republicans and what are the problems being faced by the Democrats. Historically these types of movements die out quickly. Neither of the parties above lasted long and neither of the reform movements of the left or right held power come the next election cycle. The difference today, if there is one, is 24/7 news coverage and social media. The political elites and the talking heads/pundits have not caught up with the change. The ascendance of Trump and the intransigence of Sanders campaign have caught those who should know better off guard. Rather than the party controlling the people the people are controlling the party.  I am very concerned about the reaction of the power elites. From the beginning the Democratic National committee has made no secret about their desire to see Clinton the nominee and has manipulated the process to ensure that outcome. Sanders has managed to challenge the status quo and has made a fight of it. The advantage the Sanders insurgency has over Trump is that he cannot be challenged over his position relative to the political spectrum, he is a liberal. The republican leadership however is having a hard time reconciling their definition of conservative and Trump. Sen. Ted Cruz continued to tout that he was the only “true” conservative in the race. Going so far as to call Trump a New York liberal.

Since Trump has apparently vanquished all others he is now facing a revolution of the republican leadership because he does not fit the ideal. Recently Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in an interview the reasons he is having trouble backing Trump is that he does not understand “conservative values.” Among these values and principles Ryan pointed out was limited government, the role of the executive, and adherence to the Constitution. These points and some others have been used to show Trumps lack of orthodoxy. I would point out to those conservatives gathering feathers and melting tar that the one overriding principle of the country is the voice of the people. I must tell the Republican elites that Trump won the primaries and the people may be changing the definition of conservatism. 

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor for the National Review in a past article quoted a conservative stalwart of the past, Russell Kirk, author of such books as “The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Elliot,” stating “Russell Kirk, who could not define conservatism in a paragraph, much less a sentence, would consider it folly to even try. Kirk wrote, “Conservatism is not a fixed and immutable body of dogma.” Rather it is a recognition that life often pits some values against others, and that men are not always brilliant at sorting out which value should trump which in any given situation. As Edmund Burke noted, “The nature of man is intricate; the objects of society are of the greatest possible complexity; and therefore no simple disposition or direction of power can be suitable either to man’s nature or to the quality of his affairs.”

In a similar vein William F. Buckley was asked in an interview if he agreed with the following:   Q. Book publisher Henry Regnery once said, “Conservatism is not a fixed and immutable body of dogma, and conservatives inherit from Burke a talent for re-expressing their convictions to fit the times.” Buckley agreed whole heartedly. So what’s up with today’s conservatives?

Nothing is the answer, it’s the so called conservative leadership that is the problem. While Clinton fights the “true” liberals of her party in her march toward the nomination we hear of many on the left bailing out and promising, at the least, not to vote. The well-known conservatives are doing the same and much worse, they are actively seeking an alternative candidate to run as a third party conservative. In other words, they are doing everything in their power to elect Hillary Clinton. The logic is that she will be so bad that they get to pick the candidate in 2020 after a disastrous four years of Clinton.

The irony of this is that major conservatives such as Bill Kristol are talking to Mitt Romney as a possible savior of the conservative cause and third party candidate. You remember Romney, he lost as the republican party candidate four years ago because 3 million conservatives sat out the election, as they are threatening to do this year. Romney is also the person who refused to run during the republican primaries. The Romney who held so much sway over the republican rank and file that after he came out and attacked Trump no one listened and Trump just continued to roll forward.

Many writers are asking what has happened to the party of Lincoln and saying things like Clinton is more conservative than Trump. I will remind those that the party of Lincoln was a third party that was considered the left wing progressive party of the time and stayed in power until FDR. The democrats did not begin there swing to the left until FDR and still were mostly conservative until JFK in the 1960’s.

What we are seeing today then may be nothing more than another swing and realignment of ideals. The stance conservatism of Goldwater day’s finally giving way to a more pragmatic branch of conservative. The beginning may well be traced back to Reagan and the Bush’s. The democrats on the other hand are holding to dogma at least 50 years out of date. What we are then actually seeing is what has always made America great, the people are taking charge and making changes. Power elites should not worry, they will adapt to the changes and once more be in charge as the people go back to their lives, with the warning that they can do this again, as they have done before.