Friday, March 31, 2017
Dear readers, I'm posting the Saturday Week 3 of the book early today. I won't be available this weekend, but I'll be posting again on Monday evening. Have a great weekend, and watch out for April Fool's Day jokes -- this isn't one. • • • • • CASING THE COLORS : THE NEW AMERICAN REPUBLIC © by Casey Pops • • • CHAPTER 5 • American Agenda quickly attracted supporters from most of the power elites and special interest groups in the United States. They recognized the value of a Black American as President, especially one with Stuart Wellford's credentials and Supreme Court tested principles. He became the personification of America's compulsion to find a remedy for its failed racial policies and crumbling social order. But the job of molding a formal coalition was difficult, time-consuming work for an inner circle already scrambling to keep pace with national events. Kate Gordon labored almost exclusively for American Agenda, letting the associates in her New York law office take over client files while she stayed in Washington to meet with key target group leaders. Her goal was to bring in a half dozen Americans of such stature that the rest of America would begin to see Stuart Wellford not only as a presidential candidate but also as the leader of a serious new political party to be reckoned with. She made the rounds, meeting with corporate boards and national leaders of churches, charitable groups and civic organizations who, frustrated and afraid, were actually relieved to find a candidate with as much potential as Stuart Wellford. The phone calls and emails rolled in, slowly at first and then in an avalanche, as the social media took up the story of the power flow from President Harper to Stuart Wellford and his American Agenda. Americans of every persuasion joined the coalition, from business and civic leaders fed up with federal government economic and social bungling, to union members trying to survive the never-ending pressures from the third world, and small town churchgoers looking for something to believe in politically. Senior citizens responded enthusiastically. They were eager to man the phones and recruit for American Agenda, whose leaders were too young to remember the determination and patriotism of their parents, the generation that had fought wars in Europe and Asia while paying the bills for the Cold War that finally wrenched victory from the Soviets. The children of World War Two and Korea were proud Americans and they believed that they had found in Stuart Wellford and American Agenda a reason to show it. By the end of summer 2022, a working coalition was in place, ready to elect Stuart Wellford. The President squirmed in the media glare of the inevitable confrontation with the Republican Party that had elected him, but the thought of escaping the White House held him firmly in the American Agenda camp. Inside the coalition, a working team managed political affairs and coordinated citizen group activities. Generals Gordon and Bennett served as liaison between the White House and the military. Other insiders, along with Kate Gordon, were Attorney General George Morrison and Secretary of State William Stevens. Bill Stevens gave enormous credibility to the coalition. His tanned face and wavy gray hair were recognized worldwide. Tall, with an elegant bearing, his calm, reassuring presence made him a natural television-age diplomat, and his political skills, honed by forty years of service, often as a cabinet member in Republican administrations, were respected by his allies and feared by his adversaries. Dave Browning, a conservative mega-businessman who was one of Kate's best clients, was the insider who helped with financing and linked American Agenda to the powerful but poorly organized conservative elite in America. In fact, the only groups left behind seemed to be the Democratic and Republican Parties, clinging stubbornly to their failed rhetoric. The Republican Party National Chairman, in an effort to humiliate the President, demanded publicly that Kate Gordon resign as National Committeewoman for Pennsylvania. She called a press conference to denounce the action, calling it a shabby attempt to suppress the voice of a democratic people. Her vehement refusal to withdraw from the inner circle of the GOP forced the National Committee to summarily remove her. It was the stuff of CNN special reports and major newspaper headlines as the media got its teeth into the first hot news item to emerge from below the smooth surface of American Agenda. Meanwhile, Vice President Jack Wilson, ostracized by the new power block in the White House, ranged over America's heartland, preaching that domestic peace needed only superpower status and military superiority. Wilson had the Stars and Stripes always firmly wrapped around him. His campaign rhetoric dealt with rebellion and terrorism by invoking God and Country. It was a Madison Avenue campaign based on a 1960s vision of America. Jack Wilson wasn't an evil man. He was simply a product of his time and profession. American politics had become a dangerous melange of rightist bravado and moderate disengagement. It forced Jack Wilson, like every other GOP politician eager to hold elected office at the national level, to take the same litmus tests in order to receive the lifeline of party financing and support. So, Jack Wilson stood up on network TV to announce his position as an anti-abortionist and a believer in lower taxes and less welfare, even when he knew it would result in the social dislocation of Americans too poor or undereducated to fend for themselves. But he wanted to be elected, to win, to feel the exhilarating jolt of national recognition and all the perks it provided. Like most, he supported any proffered support by sacrificing almost any personal value. Finally, he was flimsy, his soul not strong enough to allow him to say what he thought, even if it meant a one-way ticket back to Kansas and the end of his Washington career. The Democrats responded predictably, dusting off a media favorite, a liberal congressman whose entire career consisted of unfailing support for organized labor and the Democratic Party. He counter-attacked Vice President Wilson's slick conservative jingoism with his own liberal version, where all good guys wore hard hats and drove pickup trucks, but without gun racks. His background explained his position. His father and all his family on both sides back through three generations were Union members with a capital U. He made up his mind to use politics as a way out of the blue collar ghetto and fought his way through the usual precinct battles, raising funds and driving voters to the polls for enough elections to finally be sponsored by a heavyweight mentor. That was twenty years ago and he never looked back. Like many of his Democratic congressional colleagues from big cities in the northeast, he had paid his party dues, kept his mouth shut and towed the party line, so much so that today he was one of the creators of the line and had his own trail of gophers eager to please him as their stepping stone to political success. It never occurred to him or his insider friends that they might use their good fortune to help America unite and heal its deepening social wounds. All he knew was that Blacks voted for Democratic candidates if the special programs and welfare money kept flowing, so he complied. While the two major party presidential hopefuls raced across the country, trying to beat each other to the TV cameras, many Americans turned to Stuart Wellford as the antidote for a predictably venomous campaign aimed at the 2024 presidential election. Stu Wellford painted both party's campaigns as puny-souled efforts to convince Americans to meet not on main street but in a dark alley where they could huddle together, impotent and frightened by the growing violence and loss of human dignity in a world where neither education nor hard work nor pride meant much. Stu Wellford hammered home the message that the parties were running scared, foisting on equally frightened voters the promise of a world that might last just long enough so that they and their constituents could retire and enjoy a few quiet years of golf and afternoon baseball before the lid blew off. Kate knew that in 2022 America was running on empty, fueling itself with hollow promises of a better future once the calendar rolled over to 2024. She also knew that the date on the final check would make no difference. The piper would be paid in the bitter currency of a violent rending of the national psyche. No one she knew seemed to care, except for the silent American public that had abandoned its franchise to Washington insiders and would ultimately get just what such an action deserved. So, Kate placed her hopes in the American Agenda, but even there she fully expected that Stu and Scott would finally collide over their personal political principles. She tried to mediate between them to prevent their different views from jeopardizing what she believed to be America's last opportunity. Kate was sure that Scott could take care of himself, just as her father had always done, by putting aside the niceties of theory to deal with reality, but Stu, beneath his sophisticated tastes and intellect, was a dreamer, whose world was driven by deeply felt ideals about equality and fairness and justice, and where practicality had little place. Could he, Kate wondered, deal with the national trauma that seemed to be the only means of saving those ideals for America. Could he find a way through the contradictions between his idealism and the practical need to forcefully rescue Black Americans living too close to inner city violence to walk their neighborhood streets or sleep peacefully. Finally, could American Agenda win against the odds and beat the politicians at their own game without becoming simply the next chapter of Insider Washington. Whatever the answers to these questions, Kate was certain that someone like Scott would have to rescue middle class America, watching it all on television, angry and helpless. All her experience told her that Stuart Wellford might provide the selfless and highminded backdrop, but Scott Bennett, the hardened soldier, the tactical expert and Special Ops commander would have to bolt their plan together and take it to the people. • • • CHAPTER 6 • American Agenda's inner circle braced for the November 2022 congressional elections. Stuart Wellford resigned from the Supreme Court during its summer recess to free himself to make the political speeches needed to deliver votes for American Agenda. His speeches were direct and simple, appealing to the sense of decency he knew was still alive in the hearts of most Americans. He called on them to join him in refusing to accept the inevitability of an America where a drug-ridden, armed underclass led by terrorists would fight an endless guerrilla war against the rest of the country. He described an America where all citizens would join together to heal the country. He reminded them of the great strengths of the nation, its enormous resources, its tradition of religious and political tolerance, its faith in a better future. He promised an America that would once again be strong and secure, but only if everyone joined in the effort. As Kate Gordon had predicted, Stu Wellford started late to have a chance to fundamentally change the election outcome, although some victorious candidates had inserted the words American Agenda into their speeches, more in the hope of capitalizing on Stu Wellford's popularity than as a sign of support for him. But, opinion polls suggested that something important was happening. They indicated that America was buying Stu Wellford's message. His personal popularity exceeded all expectations. The public felt safe with Wellford because he was mildly conservative, with the liberal edge of brotherhood and equal opportunity that matched their ideal view of themselves. America was re-creating Stuart Wellford in its own image because it was comfortable with him. The public had found an old-fashioned champion. His message gave Americans confidence in themselves and hope for the beloved country that they blamed politicians for destroying. That he was black and preached peace and brotherhood into the teeth of a broken and violent society didn't seem to matter. It didn't even matter that despite his huge personal popularity, nothing happened to eliminate fundamentalist terrorism, which continued, punctuated by occasional random bombs tossed into crowded shopping malls or restaurants. But, during a White House strategy meeting just before the 2022 midterms, Stu exploded in frustration. "What in God's name are we going to do?" he demanded. "When I talk about rebuilding America, everyone thinks I mean running off all the illegals. And, if I tell them it won't be that way, they'll find another hero to lead them where they want to go. We all know where that is - vigilante action in the name of patriotism." Secretary of State Stevens tried to calm Stu. "It will be different when American Agenda has its own candidates and the presidential race really gets underway," he assured Stu. "Do all of you think I'm an idiot?" Stu hissed. "I know what's happening and so do you. Let me tell you, if we don't get our agenda back to the center, we'll be remembered as the fools who let America fall to the hate purveyors and their pandering political allies." He sank into his chair, his anger lost in a wave of doubt. Kate had had similar conversations with Stu in private several times recently and it always ended with his angry frustration. She understood his dilemma. He wanted a clean break with the hypocritical past and wouldn't accept the idea that American Agenda, dedicated to national renewal and the eradication of class hatred and racism, could actually be helping to perpetuate an America divided by class and race. She was struggling as much as Stu to find the right answer...the right political mix. • The inner circle gathered in the White House to watch the 2022 congressional election results witnessed the expected conservative landslide. But, the advance warning given by their private exit polls had not prepared them for the size of the urban explosion that followed. South Philadelphia was the first urban area to go up in flames. Italian neighborhoods stood firm, with armed Ranger units to hold back rampaging black youths. The bodies of young black men, pipe bombs and Saturday night specials still in hand, began to pile up along tightly sealed neighborhood barricades. TV cameras thought they took it all in, but they didn't see General Scott Bennett give them the slip as he looked for wounded youngsters fallen along the barricades, kneeling to reassure them while he called in medics to attend to them and move them to hospitals. A horrified President Harper watched as Philadelphia resolved its race problems with armed Rangers and National Guard troops. "Get me General Bennett on the phone," he ordered an aide. "The General is in Philadelphia and the Pentagon can't reach him right now, Sir," the aide reported. "Can't reach him? I'm still the Commander-in-Chief. Tell the bastards to get me General Bennett. Now." Within seconds, a member of the Joint Chiefs was on the line to speak to General Gordon. "Jim, we can't produce General Bennett because, well, because frankly, he won't answer our calls. Tell the President the General is in a rapidly changing situation and is unable to handle any but the most immediate calls from his officers. I'll try to get through to him." As President Harper listened to General Gordon's military jargon, his fingers drummed nervously on his desk. He looked up contemptuously and muttered, "Shit." "General Bennett is planning to come to the White House as soon as he's satisfied with the troop situation, within the next twelve hours," General Gordon replied. Gordon ignored the President's anger, but his own head resonated with a special fury at the whole miserable clan of politicians represented by Carl Harper. Hardly the blood of patriots, he smirked inwardly. "Let's give General Bennett a chance," Stu said, trying to calm President Harper. "It's a goddamned shame when the Commander-in-Chief has to watch TV to find out what's going on in his own Army," Harper fumed, his six-foot frame slumping onto a sofa to stare at the TV coverage. The TV showed inner city ghettos all over the country exploding at the election message. Every conservative elected to Congress was baptized with the blood of innocent Americans randomly felled and left to bleed as Ranger units leapt past them in pursuit of the rioters. The White House group watching on television might have believed that America's problems could be solved without civil war. General Scott Bennett knew better. He has always known better. He called the riots by another name, rebellion against the authority of the United States government. He knew the cure would be painful and difficult to survive, but he also knew by instinct, training and experience that there was no choice. General Bennett's preparations had been well underway before election night. He had positioned Army troop and Ranger units near every major city with an active terrorist unit. He left Washington for Philadelphia by helicopter as the polls closed, and at the first report of gun fire, ge was waiting, wanting to be identified with the first Ranger success story. President Harper leaned toward the TV as a reporter looked out from the screen and shouted his enthusiasm for General Bennett. "General Scott Bennett is a master soldier," the excited newsman shouted. "He doesn't order his troops into danger, he leads them, patrolling the barricades, encouraging National Guard troops and Rangers, appealing to residents to go home and call him directly on his hot line." "Hot line," the President shouted. "Where the hell did a hot line come from? Did anyone know about this?" The others were as stunned as the President. TV cameras showed General Bennett standing beside the reporter, brandishing a portable phone. "Don't do anything to make our job harder," he pleaded. "Trust me. Call me. I promise to talk to you personally and to help you and your neighborhoods." • It was a Scott Bennett that some in the military would have recognized. He visited neighborhoods, gave interviews and encouraged the instant formation of community vigilante groups to support the Rangers and federal troops. In a matter of hours, General Bennett became the most familiar and popular figure in America. He repeated the pattern until early morning, hopping from city to city as the terrorists and their ghetto squads rioted through the night. "Bennett's Rangers," as they were quickly dubbed, were the symbol of American courage, fighting to save the country from its worst nightmare. The media followed him everywhere. The entire country watched transfixed as Army units and private vigilante groups fired on ghettos during what reporters could only describe as the worst moment in American history since April 12, 1861, when the shelling of Fort Sumter sounded the call to arms of the first American Civil War. Young Americans raised with the hyperbole of instant live coverage and social media expected to find things moving back to normal in a few hours, but their parents and grandparents had a queasy feeling, a collective knot in their stomachs, telling them that this was different, that the hour had come to pay the long-overdue bill. Most of them shared one conviction, that General Bennett had been created in that terrible night to lead America's definitive response to two generations of increasingly intolerable breaches of civil obedience. Gathering momentum as the night wore on, General Bennett appealed to wealthier suburban communities to join their middle class neighbors in organizing to protect themselves and their way of life. They responded to his challenge by forming ad hoc committees to help Bennett's Rangers. They wanted to believe. They wanted to be as tough as the General who walked the bloody streets without fear, pursuing terrorists and rebels with his crack troops. Scott Bennett always used the term rebel for the TV cameras. Anyone who rioted was a rebel to be hunted down and eliminated. His words sometimes fueled the racial fires already burning out of control in many American cities, but his real quarry was elsewhere. He firmly believed that it was terrorists, not young American blacks, who were the real and dangerous prey. As the night wore on, the America inside the ghettos gradually slid beyond the rule of law except when General Bennett won a skirmish. The other America, outside, was armed, with Rangers in place, waiting to shoot anyone who broke through the dividing wall. General Bennett stood, larger than life, between the two warring factions. • On election night 2022, General Gordon was fixed on the TV, watching Scott. As the unnerving night wore on, he paced alone at the back of the White House communications center, sometimes making phone calls, seeming to ignore events. But, Jim Gordon never ignored anything, especially when it concerned the military or the safety of the United States. As the stunned White House group silently contemplated the breakfast that had been brought in for them, Jim took the President's arm. "We need to talk about what's going on. I don't like it." The President rubbed his eyes and stretched wearily, his normally impeccable appearance had become a rumpled blue pinstripe suit and carelessly loosened silk tie at the collar of a wrinkled white shirt. "That makes two of us. General Bennett seems to be on a one-man train that's moving too fast for me." The President turned to an aide and motioned toward the buffet set up in the communications center. "Move us to a private room," he ordered. When they were settled at a table in one of the White House working rooms, General Gordon ran through his list of concerns about the events of the long, bloody night. "I've talked to the other members of the Joint Chiefs and the Attorney General. They're satisfied that General Bennett is acting within the broad scope of his orders to deal with the urban rioting. The Rangers are doing a good job in support of the Army. We haven't retaken any riot areas but we have been able to stabilize perimeters and keep the rebels inside them. However, it's not the military job I'm concerned about," General Gordon continued. "We simply cannot allow one of our senior officers to become a media star. That's not the military's role. Politicians deal with the media, thank God." "We need to make Scott understand that what he's doing is dangerous for the country," Kate said. "He probably doesn't realize how powerful his military image is on television." "Kate," Bill Stevens asked cynically, "do you really believe that General Bennett doesn't know what he's doing?" She played with the scrambled eggs on her plate and tried to answer honestly, glancing at her father. She felt uneasy with the TV image of Scott but she couldn't honestly say that she was dissatisfied with his night's work. "I think Scott is trying to get America through this with as little bloodshed as possible," she finally said. "He certainly knows better than most of us that if the terrorists and rebels gain momentum, we'll pay an enormous price in American lives when we finally have to stop them." General Gordon saw the perplexed expression in his daughter's eyes and interrupted to keep her from having to criticize Scott. "I trust that Kate is right," he said. "I've known General Bennett longer than any of you, long enough to know that he is a damn fine, a superior soldier. I've been in similar situations, always in some other part of the world. It's exhilarating to be the hero, to have people look at you as if you were God. It's even more exciting to be able to feed the popular adulation and build loyalty for a tough job. But, Scott knows he's walking a tightrope. We need his ability to marshal popular support for what's ahead. But, we need that support for a President and a political agenda, not for a military hero." "I agree with you, General Gordon," Stu Wellford said, missing the General's warning, "but this is an exceptional situation. The only thing America can see is that General Bennett is doing and saying the right things to keep their world from collapsing. If we try to restrain Scott, it will just make him more powerful. Let's play on his strengths. Let him be the lightning rod for an America so frightened that doesn't trust any politician. As we earn popular support for our political program, General Bennett will become less powerful. Americans trust the military to do the right thing and then disappear." "Stu, you've got something there," President Harper said, grateful for anyone's advice. "General Bennett has touched something important in the heart of America and we'd be fools to trample on it, just yet. I have every confidence, Stu, that you will replace him as the political leader we need. I say we get the presidential campaign rolling full steam right now. Let the country judge for itself." General Gordon looked from Stu to the President. He brusquely pushed back his chair and stood up. "Gentlemen," he began, facing the insipid man who was his Commander-in-Chief, "tonight you watched a military leader with a popular position and a flair for using it. We're damned lucky it's Scott Bennett. Some other hotshot general could be real trouble. I've watched them all over the world. They win a battle, become an instant hero and the country has a new president for life before anyone knows what the hell happened. Be advised. The military supports political parties. It doesn't make them, not here in America. Get yourselves in gear and find a way to pull the country together without depending on Scott Bennett. The United States is not immune to a military takeover." Everyone sat motionless, stung by the rebuke. "Jim," Stu Wellford finally said, trying to mollify him, "I understand what you're saying, but we need the military and we need General Bennett, even if we can't lean on either of them for too long." Stu's eyes worked the table for support. "We have to figure out how to use him for the American Agenda, before he learns how to use us." Everyone nodded in agreement and left the table quickly, to avoid another confrontation. Stu whispered to Kate. "Talk to Scott, will you? Try to make him understand how difficult he's making it for the rest of us." When they were once again assembled in the White House communications center, the President's chief of staff gave them an early morning briefing to summarize the election disaster. "The black areas of Philadelphia are reporting some buildings burning and random rifle and pistol shots," he said, "but Ranger units are in place between South Philadelphia and the center city to secure the ghetto perimeters. Hospitals are coping with the casualties. Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Atlanta report comparable situations." "We'd better get you out to inspect the damage," Stu said to the President, "a trip for later today, to show the flag and send the message that we're not afraid to confront the violence." "Will it be safe?" Harper asked fearfully. "No, it won't be absolutely safe," Stu replied, annoyed by the question, "but it's a hell of a lot safer than doing nothing." He turned back to the chief of staff, dismissing the President's indirect request to remain ensconced in the White House. "Find us one or two cities where it will be easy to protect the President, where we can arrange quick in and out visits between the airport and city hall. We'll use a television speech tonight to cover the rest of the country. Call the networks and set it up." The chief of staff nodded and started out, but he stopped at the door and turned to the group. "Oh yes," he remarked, "there is some looting and car smashing south of the Capitol but it's pretty tame stuff here in Washington. Local police have been able to handle it. And, for what it's worth, we have a Republican Congress with 250 seats and a Senate that's 75% Republican. Let's hear it for the guys who gave us tonight's show." Everyone laughed mirthlessly, acknowledging the irony of the GOP victory. "Stu," General Gordon ordered, "write the President's speech yourself. We'll set up a TV spot for you, too, in the next day or two. Something to counterbalance General Bennett, one of your 'trust me' speeches to put you into place alongside Scott with the media. While you're working here," he added, "I'll be at the Pentagon. I'm taking Kate with me. We'll be back by late morning."
Thursday, March 30, 2017
International Man, a website that's part of Bob Casey" financial/political group, asked an interesting question on Wednesday : "Is George Soros behind this plot to topple Trump?" • • • CAN THE DEEP STATE TOPPLE TRUMP? Nick Giambruno wrote the article that was published on International Man, concluding that "the establishment is setting up Donald Trump." Giambruno says that every part of the establishment hates Trump -- the mainstream media, Hollywood, the “ 'Intellectual Yet Idiot' academia class, and most critically, the CIA hates him. So does the rest of the Deep State -- the permanently entrenched 'national security' bureaucracy. They did everything possible to stop Trump from taking office. None of it worked." According to Giambruno, the CIA hates Trump "for a very simple reason: he’s threatening to take away their livelihood. Trump wants to make nice with Putin and the Russians. But countering the so-called 'Russian threat' is how many thousands of Deep State bureaucrats make a living. These people feed off the trough of the $1 trillion-plus military/security budget. Playing nice with the Russians would kill their jobs -- and end their way of life." Trump has said he will stop the US policy of toppling regimes, and writes Giambruno : "Toppling regimes is the CIA’s bread and butter. No wonder they hate him....The CIA is the undisputed all-time world champion of orchestrating coups. And right now, Trump is squarely on its radar." Giambruno cites several ways in which the CIA and the Deep State could topple Trump : (1) The Delegitimization Card -- through CIA officers based out of US embassies, various coups d’état have taken place over the past 17 years (Serbia, 2000; Georgia, 2003; Ukraine, 2004 and 2014; Kyrgyzstan, 2005; Lebanon, 2005; Belarus, 2006; Myanmar, 2007; Iran, 2009, though that one didn't work; Moldova, 2009; Macedonia, 2016). • We cannot confirm that the CIA fostered all these govenrment coups, but Giambruno says each one has a common thread : "In each case, George Soros’ NGOs helped delegitimize the targeted government. Here’s how it worked : Soros’ NGOs would help fund and organize 'professional protestors.' Then they’d use color-specific branding to help rally others to their cause. Soros has turned revolutions into a science. The pattern is predictable. Now it’s playing out in the US....the CIA and George Soros’ NGOs are trying to start a revolution in the US, just like they’ve done in numerous foreign countries." (2) Giambruno doesn't think the Deep State can get rid of Trump with the Delegitimization Card alone. So they will have to escalate to the next option, The Herbert Hoover Card. Here's how Giambruno describes this coup : "When people think of President Hoover, they mostly think of the Great Depression.Throughout the 1920s, the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies helped create an enormous stock market bubble. In August 1929, the Fed raised interest rates and effectively ended the easy credit. Only a few months later, the bubble burst on Black Tuesday, in October 1929 -- barely seven months after Hoover took office. The Dow lost over 12% that day. It was the most devastating stock market crash in the US up to that point. It also signaled the beginning of the Great Depression. This happened on Hoover’s watch. And because of that, people pinned the blame squarely on him, regardless of where the fault lied. Hoover inherited a stock market bubble near its peak -- fueled by the Fed’s easy money policies. I think Trump has, too. And he knows it. In recent months he’s called the stock market a 'big, fat, ugly bubble.' There’s an excellent chance this bubble will burst on Trump’s watch. And Democrats will pin the blame on him, just as they did with Hoover. (3) But if that fails as well, then there remains The John F. Kennedy Card. Giambruno cites Chuck Schumer, a powerful Democratic senator and quintessential Deep State swamp creature, who recently said : “ 'Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.' It doesn’t take much imagination to understand what he’s alluding to. Trump taken the unusual step of supplementing his Secret Service protection with loyal private security. • There are only three possible outcomes to the Deep State’s war on Trump, says Giambruno : "Trump will defeat the Deep State; The Deep State will co-opt Trump; or, The Deep State will overthrow Trump. As things stand, I think it’s unlikely Trump will defeat the Deep State. It’s been entrenched for decades. And it’s far more powerful than the President. It’s also unlikely the Deep State will co-opt Trump. It’s just not in his personality to submit and roll over. He didn’t overcome all the odds to become President just to be another empty suit. The Deep State will play the Herbert Hoover Card next. But if that doesn’t work -- or if the Deep State starts to get antsy -- they’ll move forward to overthrow him by any means possible." • • • WHAT IS SOROS UP TO? In a March 20 article, USA TODAY revealed that multiple groups working to oppose President Donald Trump's agenda were getting ready to meet with Democracy Alliance, a collection of Progressive donors that includes George Soros. USA TODAY reported : "A network of some of the nation’s wealthiest Democratic donors is weighing providing money and support to several of the new activist groups that have cropped up since Election Day to challenge President Trump and his agenda." January’s Women’s March on Washington organizers and Indivisible leaders will make presentations this week to the Democracy Alliance as the influential donor coalition holds its private spring meeting in Washington, the group’s president Gara LaMarche said. LaMarche said he already has sought to connect Alliance contributors to Indivisible, one of the groups at the forefront of anti-Trump efforts. Its organizers, led by former Democratic congressional aides, have created a how-to manual “for resisting the Trump agenda” that is modeled on conservative Tea Party tactics [WRONG -- it is modeled on Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals almost verbatim] and has encouraged shows of opposition at congressional town hall meetings. More than 5,500 local groups are using the guide to fight administration policies, organizers say." LaMarche told USA TODAY : “Everybody is impressed by what’s come up in a grassroots sense and doing what we can to support that and connect that up to a larger infrastructure." According to USA TODAY, the Alliance, aligned with billionaire financier George Soros, is weighing building a pool of money that can be deployed for “rapid response” work by other liberal groups on an array of issues, such as challenging the Trump administration on the deportation of undocumented immigrants. • Soros financial backing for anti-Trump groups will anger conservatives. In a recent Fox News interview, White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the liberal activism at sometimes rowdy congressional town halls a “very paid, Astroturf-type movement.” Trump himself tweeted that many of the “so-called angry crowds” confronting Republicans were “planned out by liberal activists.” • USA TODAY states that Ezra Levin, a former congressional aide who helped start Indivisible with his wife, Leah Greenberg, and other ex-Capitol Hill staffers, said the group is “is very much led on the ground” by activists who are determined to take action against Trump and is not under the sway of any one donor or group. Levin told USA TODAY that the group has received more than 10,000 donations totaling more than $500,000 since last January through ActBlue, a fundraising engine for liberal candidates and causes. Levin said the group wants to continue to have a broad fundraising base, even as it looks to groups such as the Democracy Alliance for additional help : “We’re certainly not looking for anybody to own it by providing like some kind of enormous amount. That’s not our model.” But, both Levin and Greenberg are Soros protégés. • And, in recent years, the Democracy Alliance has focused on supporting a network of liberal groups working on long-term issues, such as boosting voting rights and increasing the minimum wage. It also has made a big investment in building liberal power in the states ahead of the 2020 Census, which will shape the next round of legislative redistricting. The GOP redistricting successes after the last Census in 2010 helped cement Republican power in Congress and the states. The Democracy Alliance, formed in 2005, has close ties to some of the biggest names in liberal politics. Soros helped found the group along with Taco Bell heir Rob McKay and other wealthy Democrats. The network does not release the names of its donors, but other contributors identified with the group have included Tom Steyer, a billionaire environmentalist from California who contributed more than $90 million to politically active super PACs in the 2016 election cycle. USA TODAY explained that "the Democracy Alliance does not donate directly to groups. Instead, its 120 or so donors -- officially termed “partners” -- pay annual dues to the Alliance. They also are required to contribute at least $200,000 a year to organizations the Alliance recommends. Those groups currently include the Obama-aligned Organizing for Action, the liberal Center for American Progress think tank and Color of Change, whose political action arm last year successfully pressured several big corporations to boycott the Republican National Convention over Trump’s rhetoric about women, Moslems and Latinos." The Democracy Alliance’s spring gathering is preceded by a two-day, invitation-only Summit, which opened Wednesday. The Summit will focus exclusively on liberal efforts to win back political power in the states, where Republicans currently control 33 governors’ mansions. About 420 people are expected to attend the Summit, dubbed “A Time for Action,” marking the largest gathering in the Alliance’s 12-year-history. LaMarche said about 200 Alliance "partners" and others will attend the main conference, following the Summit. Topics will include strategies for regaining ground with the working-class voters who backed Trump. The Democracy Alliance’s spring gathering this week is closed to the public. • • • SOROS MEDDLES IN MACEDONIA. Fox News reported in mid-February that George Soros' alleged meddling in European politics has caught the attention of Congress. Concerns about Soros' involvement most recently were raised by the Hungarian prime minister, who last week lashed out at the Soros "empire" and accused it of deploying "tons of money and international heavy artillery." Fox says : "A few days earlier, Republican lawmakers in Washington started asking questions about whether US tax dollars also were being used to fund Soros projects in the small, conservative-led country of Macedonia. GOP Representative Christopher Smith led a group of House lawmakers in writing to Ambassador Jess Baily -- an Obama appointee -- demanding answers. Senator Mike Lee, another Republican, also expressed concerns about USAID money going to Soros' Open Society foundations as part of a broader concern that the US Embassy has been taking sides in party politics : “I have received credible reports that, over the past few years, the US Mission to Macedonia has actively intervened in the party politics of Macedonia, as well as the shaping of its media environment and civil society, often favoring groups of one political persuasion over another." Together, the concerns reflect growing conservative pushback against Soros operations in Europe. The Soros Open Society political funding came during the Obama presidency and was implemented through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. • Senator Lee and Representative Smith were first alerted to the Soros foreign policy meddling through events in Macedonia. Former Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski says Soros has a "decisive influence" on his country’s politics. “If it were not for George Soros behind it with all the millions he pours into Macedonia, the entire network of NGOs, media, politicians, inside and out...the economy would be stronger, we would have had more new jobs,” Gruevski said in a recent interview with Macedonia’s Republika newspaper. Macedonia, a small country, is broadly conservative. It has a flat rate tax of 10%, a small-government philosophy and a ruling conservative party (VMRO-DPMNE) that has greeted the election of President Trump warmly and pledged to work with him. • Senator Lee’s staff recently met with Macedonia lawmakers, who also passed on a white paper from a citizen’s initiative called “Stop Operation Soros” which alleges US money has been funding hard-left causes in the country -- including violent riots in the streets, as well as a Macedonian version of Saul Alinsky’s far-left handbook “Rules for Radicals.” In an extensive 40-page report, the group alleges USAID money is being used to fund activists and exclusively left-wing media groups as a way to sway the country’s politics. The Open Society Foundations did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News. • On the Soros connection, Lee’s letter asked if the US Mission has “selected the Open Society Foundations as the major implementer of USAID projects in Macedonia” and if the group has been perceived to have political bias in Macedonia. In a reply dated February 9, the State Department told Lee that the Mission in Macedonia has worked to advance US interests “in a non-biased, non-partisan, objective and transparent manner.” The reply claimed US government assistance has not funded partisan political activities in Macedonia, but noted that from 2002 to the present, USAID had provided three grants to 'Foundation Open Society -- Macedonia' (FOSM). Fox News says one of these grants is outlined on the USAID website. Between 2012 and 2016, USAID gave almost $5 million in taxpayer cash to FOSM for “The Civil Society Project,” which “aims to empower Macedonian citizens to hold government accountable.” USAID’s website gives a link to www.soros.org.mk, and says the project trained hundreds of young Macedonians “in youth activism and the use of new media instruments.” The letter from the State Department to Lee also said USAID recently funded a new Civic Engagement Project which partners with four organizations, including FOSM. It was not clear how much this project would cost, but Representative Smith put the figure at $9.5 million, telling Family Research Council's Tony Perkins : “The money is very significant, in fact there is still money in the pipeline, from 2017 to 2021, $9.5 million. It’s one thing to do election monitoring, which is a very noble cause to make sure there’s free and fair elections, but it’s quite another thing to be backing parties that Soros and his gang want to see in control of that country.” • • • SOROS IN ALBANIA. It isn’t the only time Soros has worked with the State Department. Among the emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta released by Wikileaks was one from 2011 in which Soros urged Hillary Clinton to take action in Albania over recent demonstrations in the capital of Tirana. Soros asked Clinton to “bring the full weight of the international community to bear on Prime Minister Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama to forestall further public demonstrations and to tone down public pronouncements” and appoint a senior European official as mediator. Within a few days, an envoy was dutifully dispatched. • Former Macedonian PM Gruevski cited the WikiLeaks emails as proof “[Soros] can go visit top leading American officials whenever he wants to, arranges meetings day in day out and has significant influence.” While Soros has often been a bogeyman for the American right, the liberal businessman has kept a steady pressure and funding of left-wing causes within America as well. • • • SOROS IN HUNGARY. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban last week ripped into the "trans-border empire" of Hungary-born billionaire George Soros. Orban has been one of the central European voices speaking out against the push by EU leaders to absorb Syrian refugees and has been criticized for his hardline stance. Soros' Open Society Foundations -- one of the billionaire's biggest groups operating across the globe -- fired back, saying Orban was trying to deflect attention from other issues. Laura Silber, the Open Society Foundation's chief communications officer, said in a statement to The Associated Press : “The Open Society Foundations for over 30 years have supported civil society groups in Hungary who are addressing profound problems in education, health care, media freedom and corruption. Any attacks on this work and those groups are solely an attempt to deflect attention from government inability to address these issues." The group's stated goal is “to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens” but critics claim it's a front for Soros’ hard-left political maneuverings. Soros has been denounced both by Orbán and by US President Donald Trump for using his wealth to attack their policies. • • • DEAR READERS, George Soros is a spider with many webs. GOP strategist Brad Blakeman told Fox News' Strategy Room : “He controls numerous third-party groups, where he uses his influence. We’ve seen it internally with Black Lives Matter, the demonstrations taken place after the inaugural -- this is what he does.” After violent left-wing activists rioted at Berkeley in protest of a lecture by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, The Daily Caller reported that the main group behind the protests -- Refuse Facism -- was backed by The Alliance for Global Justice -- which in turn is backed by The Tides Foundation, a Soros-funded group. Soros also has donated to Media Matters and has been a major financial contributor to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank founded by John Podesta, a Clinton and Obama insider and Hillary's campaign chairman. • On Thursday, President Donald Trump criticized conservatives in his own Republican Party who helped block the healthcare bill last week, saying he would oppose House Freedom Caucus members in 2018 elections if they did not get on board. Trump tweeted : "The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!" Trump has accused Freedom Caucus lawmakers of snatching "defeat from the jaws of victory" with their rejection of the White House-backed healthcare bill to replace President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare reform bill. Trump went farther on Thursday, equating members of his own party with Democrats, reflectinghis sense of betrayal by the conservative lawmakers after the collapse of his first legislative initiative. The mistrust between the White House and hardline conservatives in Congress has cast a pall over the next big item on the GOP agenda, tax reform. US House Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview broadcast on Thursday he feared the Republican Party is pushing the President to the other side of the aisle so he can make good on campaign promises to redo Obamacare. • Trump needs to come down hard on Republicans who are sacrificing the long-term success of GOP and conservative values for their short-sighted demands in the first healthcare reform bill to hit the House floor. But, while GOP order is critical to the success of the Trump agenda, President Trump and Attorney Genral Sessions should not forget Geroge Soros -- they need to pursue Soros for his financial support of often-violent Progressive protests and riots organized by paid professionals that are clearly designed to bring down the Trump presidency.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
La Rochefoucauld said “hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.” Today we might say that "Hypocrisy is the tribute Neo-Conservatives pay to Trump. • • • MAKE NO MISTAKE : TRUMP IS IN TROUBLE. The failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, which President Trump had so often promised to do, was a major defeat for his administration and for him personally. But, that is not the real news in the fiasco that occurred under Speaker Ryan's watch last Friday. The real disaster is that it is now clear that the Republican Party insiders in Congress do not support President Trump and do not have his back on anything that does not help them stay in power. We have elected a President to drain the swamp but he is being chewed to pieces by the GOP Neo-Con alligators lurking in its waters. The Neo-Con RINOs have forgotten, if they ever cared, who the real enemy of America is. Their return to Congress year after year suggests that their districts are filled with Republicans who do not pay attention to their elected officials' actions, or who agree with them. That makes Trump a double outsider, supported by the majority of the GOP base but rejected by his own party leadership. • What can Trump do??? That is the Big Question. Trump has to take control. Obama did it. He cleaned house. So should Trump. After the Obamacare non-vote, Trump should act decisively to salvage the situation now. He should call every GOP congressman into the Oval Office and let them know firmly that he is in charge, not the Freedom Caucus or John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and that they will be challenged by the GOP base in 2018 unless they get onboard with his agenda. • Breitbart News reminded us recently that House Speaker Paul Ryan “was caught on an audio file from October -- obtained by Breitbart News and published a couple weeks ago -- saying he is ‘not going to defend Donald Trump -- not now, not in the future.’ ” Did Trump know that?? Did Trump's staff tell him to be wary of Ryan?? Whatever the answers to those questions, Trump relied on Ryan to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is not Trump the Campaigner. That is not Trump the Business Dealmaker. That is Trump the fumbling junior politician being 'had' by practiced Washington RINO pro's • • • WHY ARE TRUMP'S ENEMIES STILL IN KEY POSITIONS? James Comey, for example. And the Justice Department’s civil rights division. American Thinker asks what Eric Treene is "still doing there? According to American Thinker, Eric Treene, Special Counsel for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, was treated in 2012 with condescension by Moslem Brotherhood operatives, making of Treene and Co. an errand boy, "asking them for email addresses of other contacts and setting them to perform the most menial 'gofer' duties. The DOJ even took lunch orders and picked up the tab, and in some cases asked them how much money they need for a little soiree they’re holding. It is astonishing." Yet Treene is still there, and doubtless still kowtowing. And he is not the only one, says American Thinker. A senior Trump administration official said last week : “We have members of the former administration at the highest levels who through their actions after January 20 have demonstrated their refusal to recognize the results of the general election. They have pursued, organized, and managed a comprehensive subversion of the new administration.” • The Washington Free Beacon reports that “in one instance, Trump administration officials found evidence that the administration’s executive order banning travel from certain Moslem-majority nations had been selectively altered to bring it more in line with Obama-era talking points. Several hours before the orders were set to be signed by Trump, officials noticed that language concerning ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ had been stripped from the order and replaced with Obama-era language about countering violent extremism. West Wing staffers quickly scrambled to rewrite the order to bring it back in line with Trump’s rhetoric.” • Things like this have to stop. Whoever did that should have been immediately identified and fired. Trump would have done it back in his Trump Tower days. What has happened to his feisty instinct for self-preservation?? It’s not too late for Trump. But it will be soon, if he doesn’t remember what and who got him elected in the first place, and get on with draining the swamp. • • • REPEAL AND REPLACE PAUL RYAN. I wish I had said that, but it was Eli Verschleiser, who quoted Ryan saying : “Doing big things is hard," in a press conference after the defeat of his bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Verschleiser hammers Ryan : "Really? Then maybe the Speaker of the House -- and 2012 candidate for the second-highest job in the land -- should have picked an easier career. As Speaker, it was his job to round up the necessary votes to keep the commitments made by his majority for the past seven years since the Affordable Care Act became law. Perhaps the highest priority of the Republicans has been to repeal what many see as a disaster that creates more problems than it solves, hurts small businesses and is the embodiment of government meddling in private medicine. Premiums this year, for example, are set to rise 22 percent and insurers are opting out of the exchanges in droves. Crafting a bill that fixes those problems without creating worse ones isn’t easy, but the Republican Congress had plenty of time to work on it and build support among conservative policymakers and think tanks. Instead....they staked their own credibility and that of a President inexperienced in the legislative process on a risky, shortsighted gambit. With a President happy to sign the bill, the Speaker spent weeks negotiating, but in the end couldn’t deliver the 216 votes necessary. It’s like the old metaphor of a dog chasing a truck, left to wonder what happens once he catches it." • How can a Speaker so inept that he fumbled the first ball passed to him on the one-yard line be expected to handle tax reform, an issue so much more controversial and laden with 'pork barrel' gimmees from congressional godfathers? The answer is simple. Trump needs an adult in the Speaker's chair. He better find one quick -- and before he has another disastrous failure in the House, because a second legislative collapse would doom Trump to one term and torpedo real federal government reform to the depths of the swamp that Ryan and his Neo-Con cronies cannot seem, or do not want, to wade out of. • While there is no overt sign of a movement to replace Ryan, allies of the president are blaming Ryan, some privately and some openly. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend, told Bloomberg News : “I think Paul Ryan did a major disservice to President Trump, I think the President was extremely courageous in taking on health care and trusted others to come through with a program he could sign off on.” There are lots of excuses floating around. Appearing on Meet the Press, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget said this was a lesson that : “Washington is a lot more broken than President Trump thought it was...This place is a lot more rotten than we thought it was.” Get serious, Mulvaney. Trump had a pretty good idea what he was getting into. His campaign rhetoric was battleground tough. Maybe he had delusions that logic and reason would prevail. If that’s true, then where was Reince Priebus and the other GOP pro's to explain it to him?? Trump and his allies in Congress need to wake up and put in place leaders with the ability to skillfully expend precious presidential political capital for maximum impact, horse-trading with members to get legislation passed expeditiously, and before talking aobut bringing in Democrats. The time for talking about "Make America Great Again" is over. The rubber has hit the road. • • • THE PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS ARE ALIVE AND WELL. And, that brings me to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He took on a very difficult task and so far, except for laying down the law to Sanctuary cities and states, his visible accomplishments are zero. Sessions does not have the leisure to spin out his Department of Justice agenda over four years. There is a 2018 mid-term election that could tilt the House into Democrat hands if the GOP does not do better than it is doing now. And that would lead to two things -- Hillary would be back in a flash as the 2020 presidential candidate and her campaign cry would be "Impeach Trump." • And, unless Sessions cleans house and starts to use the evidence that is piled knee-deep in his office to indict Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, America will see another eight years of Obama II. • Newsmax published an interview last Sunday with former assistant FBI director James Kallstrom, who served during President Bill Clinton's administration. Kallstrom lashed out at "the felonious intelligence community leaks, saying it is 'disgusting' and 'disgraceful,' a 'fifth column' is embedded working against President Donald Trump." Kallstrom told The Cats Roundtable that : "From time to time there've been leaks, but nothing like today. We have a fifth column that's marching strong against our President, marching strong against our culture and the American way. And it is just disgusting." Kallstrom said "political appointments at high levels" have worked to discredit President Trump's election, adding : "I hope there is an investigation, and I hope we get to the bottom of it. How many people had that information? Where was it disseminated? Who made the decision to release the names of American citizens? We need to get to the bottom of it and get to the bottom of it quickly. And that's not a political thing. It doesn't matter what party you're from. This is about America and the rule of law." • Did AG Sessions hear that?? Is he "getting to the bottom" of the illegal 'unmasking' of Americans "incidentally intercepted" and then used as political pawns by the Obama cult and corrupt career embedded bureaucrats -- Kallstrom said the political embeds extend back to the Bill Clinton administration. Kallstrom said : "The Clinton people don't leave -- they don't leave until they're actually physically forced out of the building. For this group here, that's part of this fifth column, [you] have to blast them out with dynamite. They're going to do everything humanly possible to make the Donald Trump administration very difficult. Obama handed Trump a basketful of hand grenades with the pins pulled." • • • TRUMP IN BED WITH THE RUSSIANS? The continuing campaign to discredit President Trump is based on allegations that the Russians interfered in the US election. It is suggested that Hillary Clinton would have won the election if the Russians had not interfered. The ProgDems' mainstream media echoes accounts by Obama administration leftovers -- quoting anonymous sources, but without saying their information is "alleged." • On October 7, 2016, the director of national intelligence James Clapper issued a joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on election security. In it, they claimed that the hacked e-mails, "are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts." They added, "[W]e are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government." This was enough for Representative Elijah Cummings to claim : "Experts agree that there is overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered with the 2016 Presidential election." California Representative Eric Swalwell claimed that Trump's denials are ridiculous : "He [Trump] is denying that the sun sets in the West." Senator John McCain called Russia's hacking "an unprecedented attack on our democracy" and suggested that it would be an act of war had Moscow's action's affected the results of the election. • The Washington insider narrative is that Trump is a tool of Putin. There is No Evidence for this. Instead, the evidence is that Obama illegally surveilled Trump and his team. But, the ProgDems are using the Russians as a tool to attack Trump and to oppose him on every issue. And, sadly, some of Trump's harshest critics are in his own party. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham -- if their words reflect their positions -- would have been more comfortable working with a President Hillary Clinton than with a President Donald Trump. • • • JOHN PODESTA AND HILLARY LOVE RUSSIA. The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has reported that Representative Louie Gohmert, a conservative House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rusnano is a special company formed by decree at the direction of Putin for a small group of Putin cronies called the “Kooperative Ozero,” that masterminded the takeover of big swaths of the Russian economy. The Ozero group are eight men, including Putin, who now run state-owned banks, the news media and oil and gas companies. • Podesta -- Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff -- first made contact with the Rusnano in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities, Boston-based Joule Unlimited, Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings, and Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises. Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano -- that is $35 million in US Dollars. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been called corrupt. Podesta has attempted to downplay his relationship with Joule and Rusnano, and with reason. One potential legal problem for him relates to the time he joined former President Barack Obama’s White House staff in 2014 as a senior counselor and failed to reveal his 2011 Joule stock vesting agreement in his government financial disclosure form. Then, he failed to disclose 75,000 common shares of Joule stock he received, as disclosed in a WikiLeaks email. After Podesta began working at the White House, his lawyer indicated in a January 6, 2014, email that he had not yet finished the legal work on the private transfer of the stock to a family-owned entity called Leonido Holdings, LLC. • American Thinker's John Deitrich laid out the story -- Gohmert’s call for an examination of Podesta’s Russian ties comes as Washington is in the grips of a set of allegations about Russian ties to President Donald Trump and his aides, as well as charges of Russian influence during the Presidential election. Gohmert is troubled about the Podesta-Russia connection, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation : “This certainly needs to be reviewed to see if there really is something nefarious going on with these activities.” Gohmert sits on the House Judiciary Committee and is vice chair of its subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security. The Podesta-Russia connection also could rekindle a new round of questions about Clinton relationships with foreign figures -- in this case, Chubais. Anatoly Chubais, Russia’s deputy prime minister in the 1990s, in part owes his personal fortunes to Bill Clinton, who embraced him as a “reformer” in former President Boris Yeltsin’s government. Clinton’s ally instead created the new generation of oligarch tycoons who today rule Russia. Podesta’s role at Joule was largely unknown until last year when the nonprofit Government Accountability Institute (GAI) published a highly-detailed report on Russian ties to Podesta and the Clintons. An ongoing federal lawsuit -- Neas Ltd, v. Rusnano -- which is now before the US District Court for Northern California, suggests Podesta and others at Joule may have unwittingly assisted Rusnano in a scheme hatched to move billions of weak rubles into valuable US Dollars by parking them as “investments” in high-tech companies in Boston and in Silicon Valley. A deposition by Ilya Ponomarev, an architect of Russia’s innovation enterprises and the former chairman of the innovations subcommittee in the Russian Parliament, shed light on Rusnano’s plans in the United States. He says its primary objective “was the transformation of Rusnano from a state-owned corporation to an enterprise suitable for operations in the United States.” Ponomarev now lives in exile in the United States. Shortly after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her “reset” with Russia, state-owned Russian companies began targeting American companies in Boston and Silicon Valley as investment opportunities. In May 2010, under Hillary Clinton’s leadership, the Department of State facilitated a visit by 22 American hi-tech and venture capital firms to Skolkovo, Russia’s version of Silicon Valley, according to GAI. Rusnano appears to have been a leader in the Russian investment move into the United States. Chubais created a Rusnano “investment fund” and set up a so-called “Russian Innovation Center” in Silicon Valley, according to the Neas lawsuit. The Russian company opened in Palo Alto a company called DJF Venture Fund, a venture capital fund that advised the Russian company. Rusnano targeted Boston where Joule’s US operations were centered. In 2010, Chubais joined a Rusnano “road show” and gave a presentation at MIT. A Rusnano managing director also addressed the Harvard Faculty Club. An October 5, 2011, Rusnano presentation by Dmitry Akhanov, Rusnano USA President, promised American businessmen “cheap money.” Rusnano alluded to $4.6 billion in government contributions and $5.7 billion in state guarantees. Lucia Ziobro, the special agent in charge at the FBI’s Boston field office, issued an “extraordinary warning” to Boston-area high-tech firms in 2014 about Russian investors in startups like Joule : “The FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive and emerging technology from the companies.” Podesta’s emails also show how in 2015 he continued to help Rusnano even though he had left Joule’s boards. • Are AG Sessions and FBI Director Comey paying attention to John Podesta's Russian ties? David Satter, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former Wall Street Journal reporter who covered Russia, called Chubais as “a very shady figure....Chubais was in charge of the whole privatization process during the 1990’s under Yeltsin which was notoriously corrupt. Billions of dollars in property changed hands under conditions that were unethical, illegal, criminal. He was in charge of that whole process,” according to Satter. • • • DEAR READERS, if the Clintons and Obama are not brought to account for their illegal acts, they will return and retake the US government from President Trump and the Americans who believe in constitutional rule of law. If Trump does not get rid of the Obama and Clinton embedded leftovers in the federal bureaucracy, there will be little chance of beating off the ProgDem attacks on President Trump and his program to drain the swamp. The resurgence of Barack and Hillary will quickly follow. Trump's cabinet secretaries are in place. Their housecleaning should be well underway. There is no time to lose becquse 2018 looms large. And, Attorney General Sessions must kick-start the ongoing investigations of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation -- that is the only way to rid America of its 21st century Crime Family for good. • President Trump, it is time to wake up, smell the stench, and drain the swamp.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Iraq and Syria Mission Creep : It Is Time for President Trump to Tell America about His Military Plan to Destroy ISIS
While Americans worry about healthcare, the war in Iraq and Syria rages on, and mainstream media is not reporting much about it, except for the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS. • • • US GROUND TROOP BUILD-UP IN IRAQ AND SYRIA. The Military Times reported on February 27 that a Pentagon spokesman announced that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was presenting the White House with a plan to "rapidly defeat" the Islamic State group. The strategy includes significant elements of the approach President Trump inherited, while potentially deepening US military involvement in Syria. Navy Captain Jeff Davis said Mattis provided the results of his 30-day strategy review ahead of a Cabinet-level meeting of the National Security Council. Davis said details of the report are classified secret, adding : "It is a plan to rapidly defeat ISIS." The Military Times said officials familiar with the review believe it will likely lead to decisions that mean more US military involvement in Syria, and possibly more ground troops, while the current US plan in Iraq appears to be working and will require fewer changes. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly about the document and demanded anonymity. Davis described the Mattis report as "a framework for a broader discussion" of a strategy to be developed over time, rather than a ready-to-execute military plan. • In a January 28 executive order, Trump said he wanted within 30 days a "preliminary draft" of a plan to "defeat ISIS." Davis said the report defines what it means to "defeat" the group, which he wouldn't reveal to reporters. It also includes some individual actions that will require decisions by the White House, Davis said, "but it's not a 'check-the-block, pick A or B or C' kind of a plan. This is a broad plan. It is global. It is not just military. It is not just Iraq/Syria." Beyond military options, the officials familiar with the review said Mattis conferred with elements across government, and the report increases emphasis on nonmilitary elements of the campaign already underway, including putting a squeeze on ISIS finances, as well as limiting recruiting and counter propaganda that is credited with inspiring violence in the US and Europe. • Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said before the report was presented that the emerging strategy will target not just ISIS militants but also al-Qaida and other extremist organizations in the Middle East and beyond, whose goal is to attack the United States. He emphasized that it would not rest mainly on military might. Dunford's comment suggested that Pentagon leaders may have a more nuanced view of ISIS than is reflected in Trump's promise to "obliterate" the group. Dunford said the US should be careful that in solving the ISIS problem, it does not create others. Among sensitive questions are how to deal with Turkey, a NATO ally with much at stake in neighboring Syria, and Russia, whose year-and-a-half military intervention has propped up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. The officials who talked to the Military Times said the recommended approaches will echo central elements of the Obama administration's strategy, which centered on the US military supporting local forces rather than doing the fighting for them. Mattis had already signaled publicly he sees no value in having US combat forces take over the ground war : "I would just tell you that by, with and through our allies is the way this coalition is going against Daesh." Asked if adding more US troops or better arming Syria's Kurds were options, Mattis said he will "accommodate any request" from his field commanders. He said a degree of "confidentiality" was required so plans aren't exposed to the enemy. • Army General Joseph Votel, the commander of US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Mideast, has said more American troops may be needed to speed up the fight in Syria. The US currently has a reported contingent of 500 special operations forces in Syria helping to organize, advise and assist local forces. • • • US, RUSSIA AND TURKEY COORDINATION IN SYRIA. One of the toughest problems the Trump administration faces concerns Russia's military role in Syria. Although Trump has expressed interest in working with Russia against ISIS, the Pentagon has been reluctant to go beyond military-to-military contacts that are aimed at avoiding accidents in the airspace over Syria. But, in early March, the top generals from Turkey, the United States and Russia met in Turkey to discuss mutual suspicions over northern Syria military operations, as Russia's military announced a two-week long cease-fire between rebels and the government in the suburbs of the Syrian capital, Damascus. The Russian military said a cease-fire has been in place since Tuesday, March 6, and will extend until March 20, for the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, but activists reported a number of airstrikes and artillery strikes by government forces, killing two civilians. The Military Times reported that al-Assad forces have intensified their siege against the civilians and rebels there since February in an effort to secure a surrender that would see part of the population sent to exile, but the UN has denounced other such arrangements as "forced displacement" and war crimes. The Siege Watch monitoring group says around 400,000 people are trapped under the constant bombardment. • The surprise meeting between Turkey's General Hulusi Akar, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, was called to address reciprocal mistrust between Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces, US-backed Kurdish forces, and Russian-allied Syrian al-Assad government forces, fighting their way toward the ISIS de facto capital, Raqqa. Turkey, a NATO ally, views the Kurdish group that dominates the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) as terrorists and has threatened to drive them from the northern town of Manbij, which the alliance captured from the militants last year with the aid of US-led coalition airstrikes. Turkey and Syria meanwhile support opposite sides in the Syrian civil war. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing a campaign rally in the Turkish capital Ankara, reiterated his readiness to confront the Kurdish forces : "We can clear Manbij together, then we can clear Raqqa together." • The US has a few hundred Special Operations forces embedded with the SDF and wants the alliance to lead the march on Raqqa. The Pentagon said prior to the meeting that US forces have also taken up positions on the outskirts of Manbij to try to keep a lid on tensions. According to the Military Times, the Pentagon calls its effort in Manbij "reassure and deter." It's focused on keeping peace between Syrian Kurdish militias and Turkish military units, both of whom are fighting the Islamic State group but remain deeply distrustful of one another. Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said : "It's a visible reminder, for anybody who's looking to start a fight, that the only fight that should be going on right now is with ISIS." The US has authorized a force of 500 troops, predominantly Special Forces, to operate in Syria. It's unclear if this deployment breaches that threshold. • Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim said : "There is a need for an effective coordination in the efforts to clear Syria of all terror groups because so many countries are involved there. If we cannot establish coordination, the risk of a conflict that we would not desire can emerge. That's the real aim of the meeting." Turkish President Erdogan has threatened to “liberate” the city from Kurdish fighters and give it back to local Arabs, according to reports. Manbij is controlled by a coalition of Arab and Syrian Kurdish forces. Turkey considers the Kurds, a group known as the YPG, to be allied with extremists responsible for terror attacks in Turkish. However, the YPG has been a valuable ally to the US in its fight against ISIS, and the issue has created tension between Ankara and Washington. Operation Euphrates Shield, launched by Turkey in August, has the dual mandate of defeating ISIS and the YPG, according to Al Monitor. This is a challenge for the US as it seeks to protect one ally while not provoking another. Jennifer Cafarella, an expert on the Syrian conflict at the Institute for the Study of War, said sending US troops into Manbij is an attempt to make Turkey dial back, but the move highlights lingering questions about the Pentagon's long-term objectives there. Cafarella said : "The US still needs a strategy to reach a three-way deal with Erdogan and the YPG that sets mutually agreeable terms for a de-escalation in northern Syria. What that deal would require is unclear, because it hasn't been explored.” • The Russian Defense Ministry said in a brief statement that the military chiefs talked about "the current situation in the fight against terrorist organizations in Syria in the context of raising the efficiency of confronting all terrorist organizations in the future." It said they "underlined the importance of taking additional steps to prevent incidents during operations." • We might be forgiven for thinking that Manbij is still under ISIS control -- not at all. Manbij was liberated from ISIS late in 2016. The situation facing the 100 Army Rangers and their Russian counterparts in Manbij is the "allied" argument over who gets to take command in the northern Syrian city -- Kurds or Turkish-aligned fighters, according to the Military Times. Fewer than 100 elite Army Rangers are in Manbij to keep the peace between Syrian Kurdish forces and those loyal to Turkey, said Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis. Russian troops are there providing security for humanitarian convoys that have entered the war-torn city, a development Davis called unsurprising after the high-level talks between the senior-most military commanders from Russia, Turkey and the US. The Americans and Russians have had no close interaction on the ground, Davis said. Moscow, he added, has “kept us abreast of their operations” in Manbij, but the two militaries do not coordinate in Syria. Rather, the Pentagon prefers the term “deconflict.” Indeed, Davis told reporters in early March : “Why we’re there, and why we care, is we want to make sure the parties on the ground aren’t shooting at each other.” • • • US TROOPS NEAR RAQQA. While the tensions were being reduced in Manbij, the Army Times was reporting that a team from the 75th Ranger Regiment is operating in Syria as American forces ramp up the fight against ISIS in its capital city, Raqqa, which is southeast of Manbij. The special operators and a Marine artillery unit are positioned in Syria to provide support to the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve in the effort to liberate Raqqa, according to US Central Command spokesman Air Force Lieutenant Colonel John Dorrian : "The exact numbers and locations of these forces are sensitive in order to protect our forces, but there will be approximately an additional 400 enabling forces deployed for a temporary period to enable our Syrian partnered forces to defeat ISIS in Raqqa," Dorrian said in early March. According to the Marine Corps Times, a "couple hundred" Marines have arrived in Syria. They are a contingent from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that has deployed within artillery range from the ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa. The Marines are pre-positioning howitzers to provide artillery support to friendly ground forces, who are in the process of isolating Raqqa ahead of a planned offensive to retake the city, the US Marine Corps official said, adding that the deployment of Marines is temporary, so they will leave Syria as soon as their support is no longer needed, the official said. • • • MORE US TROOPS TO MOSUL IN IRAQ. The Military Times reported last Sunday that an unspecified number -- NBC reports the number at 275 -- of combat soldiers from the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division have been ordered to northern Iraq, "marking the Pentagon's latest escalation in what's been a slow-moving campaign to flush Islamic State fighters from their stronghold in the city of Mosul. Additional members of 2/82 BCT are deploying to Iraq on a non-enduring temporary mission to provide additional 'advise and assist' support to our Iraq partners as they liberate Mosul," US officials in Baghdad told the Military Times. The unit designation refers to the division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, a force of more than 4,000 based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The Military Times explained that a brigade combat team comprises infantry, artillery and cavalry troops, plus their supply pipeline. About 1,700 soldiers from the same unit are overseas now, spread between Iraq and Kuwait. It's unclear whether the full remainder -- approximately 2,500 paratroopers -- will receive deployment orders. Earlier this month, a top Army general told Congress there were plans to do precisely that, and distribute those personnel within Iraq and Syria. On Sunday, US officials would say only that this new surge in Mosul will not reunite the entire brigade. • This is a sensitive topic for several reasons, says the Military Times : "not the least of which centers around a deepening desire in Washington to limit the perception abroad that America's military footprint is growing in Iraq and Syria. The Trump administration also has expressed a desire to limit what information it telegraphs about military strategy." • There are 5,262 US troops authorized to be in Iraq, and another 503 in Syria, officials told the Military Times on Sunday. But the numbers have been considerably larger for quite some time as commanders leverage what they call temporary -- or "non-enduring" -- assignments like this one involving the 82nd Airborne in Mosul. US officials told the Military Times that none of the 82nd Airborne soldiers bound for Mosul is expected to be rerouted to Syria, where a major US-backed operation, launched last week, seeks to sever the Islamic State's last escape route from Raqqa. That effort involves an unspecified number of American military advisors, supported by Marine Corps artillery and US warplanes. Inside Mosul, US military advisors wear black to blend in with elite Iraqi units. Army Major General Joseph Martin, who oversees all coalition land forces in Iraq and Syria, told the Military Times last month that the block-by-block fight is the most complex he's witnessed due in large part to the city's size, which he equated to Philadelphia, and the amount of time ISIS had to establish its defenses. And even as the Iraqis make progress, he noted, ISIS continues to adapt. "It’s urban combat of the like, of a scope and scale I have not see in thirty-one years," the general said, "and I’ve served in combat a couple of times." • • • AND MORE US TROOPS ARE IN KUWAIT. The Army Times reported on March 9 that the US military is sending up to an additional 2,500 ground combat troops to a staging base in Kuwait from which they could be called upon to back up coalition forces battling ISIS in Iraq and Syria. According to the Army Times, the deployment will include elements of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. About 1,700 soldiers from the same unit are overseas now, spread between Iraq and Kuwait. They're focused on the US-led effort to train and assist the Iraqi troops doing much of the fighting against ISIS there. Army Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations, told House lawmakers that these new personnel will be "postured there to do all things, Mosul, Raqqa, all in between." Anderson was referring to ISIS' two main strongholds : Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, major urban centers where US-back allies are fighting a well entrenched enemy. "So the whole brigade will now be forward," Anderson said. The Army Times says it's unclear when this new wave of paratroopers will deploy. Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino, an 82nd Airborne Division spokesman, referred questions to the US military command in Baghdad. Officials there did not directly address Military Times' questions seeking additional details. Rather, they issued the following statement on Friday acknowledging Anderson's remarks on Capitol Hill : "There are a number of options under consideration as the coalition looks for ways to accelerate the defeat of ISIS. We continue to believe that the most effective way to achieve a lasting victory is to do it by, with and through our partner forces who have the greatest stake in the outcome. For operational security reasons, we will not discuss future deployments or contingency operational planning." All told, the 82nd Airborne's 2nd Brigade Combat Team includes about 4,400 soldiers who compose infantry, artillery and cavalry units, plus their supply pipeline. • • • MISSION CREEP: HOW MANY US TROOPS ARE IN IRAQ/SYRIA? Today, there are about 6,000 American troops deployed in Iraq and Syria. The Military Times says are 5,262 US troops authorized to be in Iraq, and another 503 in Syria. But the numbers have been considerably larger for quite some time as commanders leverage what they call temporary -- or "non-enduring" -- assignments like the one involving the 82nd Airborne in Mosul. The Pentagon is reportedly weighing plans to send upwards of another 1,000 troops to Raqqa. If those plans bear out, the US would have closer to 10,000 military personnel on the ground for a mission officials continue to say is advisory. And, US militray commanders face growing pressure from the Trump White House to intensify the fight against ISIS in both theaters, and step up efforts to dismantle terror groups elsewhere that threaten the US and its interests. • • • DEAR READERS, top-tier defense officials have signaled that the Middle East is likely to see more American deployments in the coming months. The Stars and Stripes reports that when speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee on possible new deployments to Syria, Army General Joseph Votel, the CENTCOM commander, said that “as we move more towards the latter part of these operations into more of the stability and other aspects of the operations, we will see more conventional forces requirements perhaps." The Kremlin-supported RT media outlet cited the presence of an Army Rangers unit spotted on March 6 near Manbij, driving Stryker vehicles and armored Humvees. A day earlier, a Marine artillery team set up a fire base outside the Syrian city of Raqqa, the last remaining ISIS bastion in the country, according to the Washington Post. And, as Washington increases its military presence in Syria, RT says the al-Assad regime continues to voice concern over the legitimacy of the US deployment. Speaking to China’s Phoenix TV, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted that “foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission...are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one.” Al-Assad told the Syrian state news agency SANA that the US “didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.” • While President Trump's desire for secrecy about troop movements and military planning is commendable, with up to 10,000 US troops now in what are very likely combat roles or near-combat positions, the time is fast approaching for President Trump to explain in broad terms to the American people his plans for the US military in Iraq and Syria -- and indeed, the entire Middle East. This is not to say that Americans would be opposed to a well-designed strategy to confront and eliminate ISIS and other islamic terrorist groups in the region. But, President Obama got into trouble with Americans because he practiced "mission creep" without either a strategy or a willingness to admit that he was committing increasingly large numbers of US soldiers to an undeclared war that he seemed unwilling to win. President Trump was elected while stating that he would commit sufficient US troops to "obliterate" ISIS. Now, America deserves to know how he will do that. It is, after all, American sons and daughters who will pay the price with their flesh and blood.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Last Friday evening, the Republican anti-Trump Neo-Conservatives dealt a death blow to any meaningful healthcare reform. • • • THE FACTS. Republicans scrapped a vote on the healthcare bill at President Trump’s request Friday because a growing number of Republicans declared they opposed the latest version just a day after the President demanded a do-or-die vote on the longtime GOP priority. House Speaker Paul Ryan called off the vote after Trump asked him to in a phone conversation shortly before the vote was set to be held, according to a senior leadership aide. Trump and Ryan have repeatedly called Obamacare a "disaster" that is collapsing under its own weight. But in 2015, the proportion of the US population without insurance fell to a record low -- about 10.5% of Americans younger than 65, down from 18.2% in 2010. That is the classic example of an 'entitlement' that, once granted, cannot be removed except through the sternest of disciplined political will. What the GOP bill proposed was to pull hundreds of billions of dollars out of the health system by winding down Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid and limiting its subsidies, thereby threatening revenue for hospitals, doctors and insurance companies. But Neo-Conservatives were not satisfied with that and called for a more complete repeal, while moderates were taken aback when the Congressional Budget Office said the GOP plan would leave 24 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026. Neo-Conservatives and moderates said they would vote against the bill, including House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. • During Obama’s administration, the Republican-controlled House voted more than 50 times to repeal or curtail Obamacare. One repeal measure made it to Obama’s desk, and he vetoed it. Ryan boasted during last year’s campaign that the GOP had a clear consensus on how to finally repeal and replace the health law under a Republican President. But, finally, only Trump and his supporters, not the GOP House, had the stomach for removing the entitlement in its present collapsing form and replacing it with practical healthcare in a three-step process that Trump often said would leave nobody without healthcare. • • • THE AFTERMATH. President Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus told Fox News Sunday : “At the end of the day, it’s time for the party to start governing. I also think though, that Democrats can come to the table as well.” • Progressive Democrats and their mainstream media lapdogs called the outcome an embarrassment that casts doubt on Trump and Ryan’s ability to deliver on their ambitious agenda, including taxes and infrastructure, both of which are being closely watched by Wall Street. • The collapse of healthcare reform hung on 20 votes -- Ryan canceled the vote on the bill when he realized he was 20 votes shy of the minimum 216, and faced strong opposition from the roughly 35-member, conservative House Freedom Caucus. On Saturday, Trump hinted that overhauling Obamacare is still alive, perhaps through bringing Democrats into the process because of widespread bipartisan concern about the 2010 health care law’s increasing costs and fewer insurance policy options for Americans. Trump tweeted : “Obamacare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great health care plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” Representative Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democrat who challenged Nancy Pelosi for the House minority leadership earlier this year and got 63 votes, a record against Pelosi, seemed open to such discussions, acknowledging later on Saturday that Obamacare indeed has problems, including too few tax credits for poor Americans to help them pay for the insurance, stating on Fox News : “Obamacare is not perfect. We need to fix things. This is all fixable if we sit down as reasonable people.” • Priebus also told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump was “100 percent correct” in a tweet earlier in the morning in which the President blamed the Freedom Caucus along with Washington conservative groups Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation for nixing the overhaul bill, crafted by Ryan and his leadership team. Priebus said : “We can't be chasing the perfect all the time. Sometimes you have to take good and put it in your pocket and take the win....I think it's time for our folks to come together. And I also think it's [time] to potentially get a few moderate Democrats on board.” • • • PAUL RYAN'S FAILURE AS SPEAKER. Trump said afterward : "We have no Democratic support. We have no votes from them. They weren’t going to give us a single vote.” • We can forgive President Trump for expecting that the House healthcare debate and vote would be 'reasonable.' It was his first congressional effort. And, he is a businessman who lives by 'reasonable' negotiations. • But Speaker Paul Ryan is a creature of the House. He knows its cliques, whose bitter fights and animosity against those who disagree with them are the stuff of "Shootout at OK Corral." There was never, NEVER, going to be one Democrat vote for the Ryan-Trump healthcare bill. The rumors in Washington suggest that Trump knew this instinctively and wanted to go for tax reform before healthcare, but Ryan persuaded him to reverse the order and get healthcare done first. If that is true, and it probably is, we see one more piece of evidence that Trump's instincts are better than the best Washington insider advice he can get. • Ryan told reporters : “We came really close today, but we came up short. I will not sugarcoat this : This is a disappointing day for us. But it is not the end of the story.” Ryan said he believes the GOP will need some time to regroup. • Many in the House GOP caucus disagree with their "leader." Republican Greg Walden of Oregon, the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee said : “This bill is dead.” Representative Joe Barton, a senior member on the Energy and Commerce Committee; said : "I don’t think the bill in its current form will come up again." Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican, said : “I think that this is a learning lesson and we’ve made this shift from an opposition party to a governing party and I hope that we do learn from this experience and that we are able to not make the perfect the enemy of the good. Because this is not a game.” • But, it was Ryan who stated the obvious : “Obamacare is the law of the land. it’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s replaced. We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” • • • IS IT TIME TO REPLACE RYAN AS SPEAKER? Representative Steve Womack said Republicans need to get back to basics and have an "introspective conversation" about what it means to govern : "We have moderates and we have ultra conservative people in the conference. We have to reeducate ourselves in mathematics and basic arithmetic. We have to learn that we’re not just the party of no. We have to learn how to govern." He called it "a loss for leadership." • The leader who lost the day for Republican healthcare reform was Speaker Paul Ryan. And, it was not just the monumental misscall of Speaker Ryan, who should never have brought the healthcare bill to the floor until he had an ironclad majority of his GOP caucus behind it. Ryan allowed Trump to waste precious presidential "cards" by agreeing to his wading onto the legislative battlefield to fight for the bill. Trump met with scores of lawmakers and traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to address the full House Republican conference. The President "left everything on the field," according to spokesman Sean Spicer. • WHY did Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway -- all of whom are infinitely more seasoned in congressional infighting than Trump -- turn Trump loose to waste his cachet like that??? Where was the White House private vote count -- there certainly was one. Why did it not raise the red flag early on, telling Trump's senior staff it was time to fold. • But, at the end of the day, it is Speaker Ryan who is to blame for a leadership gaff that he alone could have prevented. Jeanine Pirro -- Judge Jeanine on Fox News -- got it absolutely right : "I never put my faith in you, [Speaker] Ryan. I questioned you all through the campaign when you distanced yourself from candidate Trump whenever you felt the prevailing winds blowing against Trump. To me, your loyalty was always in question. Yet what was never in question, to me, was your intelligence, your savvy, and your comprehension of the system. So why? Why would you let this happen? What was your agenda? The reason, Speaker Ryan, that you, and all your Washington colleagues, are held in such low esteem is because you have forgotten about us. In spite of the fact that you RINOS were all working against him though, the President joined with you and relied on you. Trusting you. Believing you had his back. You didn't. The American people won't forget this and neither should the President." • • • DEAR READERS, yes, it is time for Speaker Ryan to go. Either he is not tough enough for the job, or he 'jobbed' his President. In either case, Trump has too many vital items on his agenda to have to worry about a weak-kneed or, worse yet, a subversive Speaker who will choose when to support him and when to let him twist in the wind. • The Neo-Conservatives are the real Republicans in Name Only. Jim DeMint left the Senate to take over the Heritage Foundation, expecting it to be his launching pad to the presidency. He did not reckon with the rise and election of Donald Trump. • If Heritage, which used to be a truly great conservative foundation whose publications meant something, does not dump DeMint and get back to its original gameplan, it too will face the wrath of Republicans who support Trump and are now aware that they are paying for DeMint's treachery. • And, President Trump needs to take a long, hard look at his senior advisor group. Perhaps he needs them all -- but he also needs someone who will give him straight, tough advice about Washington and congressional politics. I thought VP Pence would fill that role, but where was Mike Pence last week when his advice could have saved Trump from the public embarassment caused by Speaker Ryan?? • Perhaps there is an answer to that question. Did Pence and Trump -- when they realized the healthcare bill was DOA -- decide to let Ryan fall by reason of his own weakness or trickery? • On Sunday, Representative Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, resigned from the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Poe intended to vote in favor of the bill and personally told President Trump last week that he would support the measure. Poe said : “To deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward. Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead." • In the days before the planned vote, Trump suggested those who wouldn’t support the overhaul bill could lose in their 2018 re-election primaries. And in a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting last week, the President reportedly made clear to Freedom Caucus leader Representative Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, that he would hold the congressman responsible if the bill failed. Trump and Ryan talked Saturday and Sunday. Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said they spoke Saturday for roughly an hour about “moving forward on (their) agenda” and that their relationship is “stronger than ever right now.” Strong also told Fox News that Trump made clear Sunday that his tweet earlier in the day had nothing to do with the Speaker : “They are both eager to get back to work on the agenda." And apparently, it was Freedom Caucus vice chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio who forced a hold-together decision on the Caucus members -- making them agree not to decide individually to vote for the healthcare bill until the entire Caucus decided as a group. • On the outside chance -- and it seems to be more than that -- that Speaker Ryan and other Neo-Cons "set up" President Trump to take a fall on the healthcare legislation that got pulled last Friday, it is time for Trump to pull the plug on Ryan's Speakership. The true conservative agenda led by President Trump cannot afford unreliable House leadership or a Freedom Caucus that has forgotten why it exists. The draining of the swamp is not finished by a long shot. It's time for that famous Trump line. Ryan, DeMint, Meadows, Jim Jordan -- "You're fired."