Friday, June 30, 2017

Casing the Colors © Week 16

Casing the Colors © Week 16 • • • CHAPTER 30 • • During the night of February 21-22, effort and enthusiasm propelled the small group that had taken responsibility for deciding the fate of the United States. For the first time in a decade the political apparatus worked smoothly, even if it was in a desperate non-constitutional attempt to change the direction of America. At 10 a.m. on February 22nd, introduced by an obviously ailing but earnest President Harper, the Chief Justice began his short speech, turning over the protection of the Constitution and the defense of the United States to the unelected representative of American Agenda, a coalition patched together out of necessity and hope. "Today's events," he began, sitting black-robed beneath portraits of Washington and Lincoln, "are the result of many years of denial. Denial of our basic values as a nation. Denial of the hope that has inspired generations of immigrants to join us in expanding opportunity for all. We have come to believe that it is too late to undo our mistakes, that we must struggle, black against white, Asian against Hispanic, in a vicious battle to take from others all those things we demand for ourselves. "Today we see in dramatic silhouette the results of our national selfishness and fear. But when the very future of our country rests in our hands, we have the duty not simply to try to survive, but to strive heroically to regain our national promise by returning America to all its people. To be sure, there will be more violence. There will be death and displacement as we fight the forces trying to defeat us. But I will be watching, and the Court with me, as this great work goes on. "We have confidence in Stuart Wellford. He is a man of principle, of peace, and of compassion. If we come through the fire victorious, we will owe Stuart Wellford our undying gratitude for his courage and vision in this unequaled crisis. In a few minutes he will outline his plan for conquering our national malaise. The program may seem difficult but it is necessary. Stand with us, America, in this mighty work." Then, the Chief Justice solemnly led Stu Wellford to the Supreme Court Rotunda, where he administered the oath of office and Stuart Wellford became the non-elected US President. As the new President began his acceptance speech, a stunned America inhaled collectively and awaited the message of the man it trusted but had not tested in the tumult an election campaign. Stuart Wellford stood quietly, looking into the camera, searching the heart of every American. "We have been chosen for a great and difficult task," he intoned, his rich voice vibrating through the Rotunda. "It will require immense courage and faith and perseverance." In broadbrush terms, Stuart Wellford outlined General Gordon's plan for eliminating Miguel and Raqqa. He called for expat Americans to return from overseas. He announced the closing of the Mexican border and the redeployment of the worldwide US military presence to accommodate a renewed focus on eastern Europe and Russia. He outlined the coming campaign to rid American cities of islamic fundamentalist terrorists and their sympathizers. A palpable silence fell over the invited audience of families, political leaders and media representatives hastily called to the swearing-in ceremony. Their astonishment reverberated in the living rooms across America, where people watched, scarcely breathing, as the new President spoke. Stuart Wellford finished the factual part of his address and then paused, looking out beyond the Rotunda and past the TV cameras toward the Americans he wanted desperately to reach. Abandoning the final paragraph of the speech flickering on the prompter in front of him, he took a breath to calm his quivering stomach before launching into an extemporaneous personal appeal. "I ask you this morning to search your hearts and souls," he said. "Do not doubt that we are embarked on a crusade worthy of our heritage. Every human being deserves a better world and the opportunity to enjoy it. We can and we must undo our mistakes. On the road home we will suffer through a dark night of death. Death of the innocent as well as the evil, in a purgatory demanded by the betrayal of our heritage. Most human beings are not called upon to be martyrs or heroes, but we are being asked to be both in a battle for the right to survive and succeed as a nation." Then, Stuart Wellford reached out over the podium, his open hands extending above the Great Seal of the United States. "My hands are black, but they are American, through eight generations of slavery and freedom. Take my hands, America." Kate Gordon turned her face away from Pete Lowell. She felt Pete take her hand. She glanced at him and saw that tears also glistened in his eyes. The military, carefully absent during the swearing-in, formed a color guard of every service, lining the steps of the Supreme Court Building as President Stuart Wellford strode out into the late-morning sunlight. The street was crowded with Washingtonians, who had begun congregating around the Court as soon as they realized what was happening inside. Their silence became a tumultuous roar of applause and joyful cheers as the new President emerged. Secretary of State Stevens attended the ceremony, his stature attesting to its legitimacy, while at the State Department his aides were sending the message of America's new President around the world. The Joint Chiefs simultaneously delivered the same message to the western world's military organizations. Pete Lowell, concentrating on the impact the morning's events would have on the consciousness of America, arranged for General Bennett to be interviewed by a major TV network immediately after the swearing-in. The General's skillful explanation of events gave comfort to the millions of Americans who were not only frightened by the terrorist activities, rioting and racial unrest, but now also by the prospect of an unelected black President. "President Wellford has my absolute support," Scott Bennett said to the interviewer. "He understands the severe problems facing the nation and he knows they demand immediate and efficient action. The Joint Chiefs and I are committed to finishing our work quickly. Today, with a strong, healthy President and the support of the American people, we have every opportunity to succeed." There were no parties or parades to celebrate Stu Wellford's inauguration, only messages pouring into the White House from Americans hoping that he could save the country from anarchy and pledging their help. As the phone calls and emails rolled in, the American Agenda team was hard at work, using the governmental power they finally could control openly. But they fully realized that without the support of the military and its control of the transition, the orderly and rapid takeover could not have occurred. • • Miguel and Raqqa didn't miss the opportunity to send an inaugural message. In the first hours of the new administration, they began a systematic shelling along the Rio Grande, noticeably avoiding the long lines of Mexican refugees as they shattered the fitful quiet of small towns in southern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, destroying water towers and roads and occasionally killing residents unlucky enough to be in the path of the unpredictable scud missiles. The effects of the attack were felt in Tucson and Houston where many frightened Americans packed their families into cars and pickups to head north away from the invading chaos. Other Americans gathered in more remote locations, arming themselves and securing their families for what they viewed as an imminent holocaust in the age-old battle for individual freedom. • • • CHAPTER 31 • • The world was as stunned by the quiet and efficient swiftness of America's new governing coalition as it was by the fact of it. President Wellford's inaugural address caused the West, which in the years since World War Two had become accustomed to relying on the United States as its protector of last resort, to consider the possibility of an America so preoccupied with its own domestic problems that it would be reluctant to deploy its military resources as lavishly as before. Even France, ever determined to be, notwithstanding NATO and America, the leader of a united Europe, expressed concern. Germany, clinging to France for validation of its acceptability as a legitimate European state and to the United States for support in its precarious position between East and West, gave cautious recognition to the coalition. Great Britain, accustomed to and generally preferring regal isolation, thought it understood the decision and quickly supported it. Americans living abroad, straining to comprehend the message the new US government had sent to them, were faced with the agonizing decision whether to return to the United States immediately or confront the prospect of a tenuous future beyond the active concern of their government, whose attention was riveted on its own survival. As lines of repatriates formed at airport counters all over Europe and Africa, frayed nerves often snapped with the realization that the standard baggage allowance was not sufficient. The ugly scenes that often followed were captured by TV cameras recording the trauma. One outraged American, gray-haired and in his late fifties, waved his passport at a reporter and shouted plaintively, "Christ, I'm a citizen. I've got rights. They can't do this to me." But like all the others choosing out of fear of the unknown to return to the United States, he finally abandoned his personal treasures to the mounting piles of silverware, oriental carpets and clothes being left behind for lucky scavengers. General Gordon had chosen Scott Bennett to represent him in Europe for the difficult task of evacuating needy Americans and coordinating Western defenses in preparation for the expected onslaught from the islamic terrorists. Scott and Kate Gordon flew together as far as Paris, leaving Washington late in the evening of the momentous inaugural day. He was buoyant with the euphoria of the power rushing into the new administration. As the State Department plane took off from Andrews Air Field, Scott loosened his tie and offered Kate a scotch. Relaxing in the dim emptiness of the plane, he said, "We've finally got the reason we need to muscle Europe into agreeing to a new US military presence there. We have the opportunity to replace the installations we dismantled during the last quarter century, but in a network suited to the West's new profile. With Russia's cooperation, we can plan for the 21st century without worrying about its former obstructionist reactions." "What'll it cost us?" Kate asked. "Neither Russia nor France will agree to anything without extracting something big," she said, thinking of Alexei Katerinov's plans for a renewed Russian presence in eastern Europe and France's traditional resistance to any interference in its military apparatus. "Angel," Scott answered, "we simply hold our fleet in the Med, re-open our southern European installations and force France to agree to US troops along its southern borders. They can't afford to gamble that they'll be strong enough alone to prevent another catastrophic wave of unwanted refugees from flooding in if the terrorists really target Italy and drive people northward. Don't worry about France. As for Russia, its military can handle the job we assign to it." "Where are you going to get the troops to cover Europe?" Kate asked. "We've dismantled many units that used to be assigned to NATO." "We'll accelerate Japan's takeover of eastern Pacific defenses. It fits together. We trade away some of our military presence in Asia for greater stability in Europe. Both France and Japan will agree because they're boxed in. Of course, we keep sufficient naval presence in the Pacific to deter Chinese aggression." Kate settled back in the semi- darkness to think about Scott's vision of the future, wondering what Alexei would say. It made her uneasy to realize that the two men might have the same evaluation of the opportunity presenting itself. She needed to see and talk to Alexei again, and not just about their political goals. While she was thinking about the afternoon in Alexei's dacha, she felt Scott moving toward her. "Angel," he said, easing onto the arm of her chair, "this is the first chance we've had to be alone in God knows how long." His lips moved over her face as his hand found the edge of her dress, slid under it and caressed his way up toward her thighs. She started to move away but suddenly felt aroused by Scott's renewed passion. His fingers slipped under her bikini and began to stroke her. She felt herself being concentrated into a core of physical desire. In an effortless movement, Scott reached around her with his free arm and pulled her with him onto the floor of the 747. They pressed themselves together in a burst of physical need that they hadn't felt for each other in a long time. "My dear General," she said, "I'll reserve a plane for us more often." He laughed at the joke she had made of the moment, but she wasn't pleased by his action and was even less pleased by her own reaction. Why in the hell did he pick tonight, after so long, she wondered, as he poured himself another scotch. Alexei's face formed in her mind and she closed her eyes to try to collect her thoughts, her loyalties and her emotions. From somewhere in her head, she heard Stu Wellford's voice, the elegant voice of the man she would always love, saying, 'yes, Sweetie, enjoy every second and don't let anything get away. It makes me feel good to know you're enjoying yourself.' She cursed the love for Stu that gnawed at her constantly and she swore to get away from Scott while she could still feel anger at being alternately used and neglected by him. • • Arriving in Paris in early morning, they were scheduled to call on former French President LeNoir to brief him personally, in the hope it would hasten his agreement to the military program. As they waited in the American Embassy for their appointment with LeNoir, Kate walked aimlessly around the great public room, leaving Scott and the Ambassador to their endless analysis. She looked south from a set of windows along one wall, toward the Egyptian obelisk in the Place de la Concorde and then north toward the Madeleine, the landmark Greek-style temple started by Napoleon and later set apart as a church by Louis XVIII. Between the two reminders of French world power, luxury shops sat in elegant opulence in the Faubourg St. Honoré. It was a microcosm of the world that was being squeezed by ancient cultures pushing against the West. President LeNoir, a French politician of extraordinary intellect and political savvy, would have understood the melange in Kate Gordon's head. His world was French to its outermost wisp of airspun logic. His sense of history and extraordinary political skill had combined to hold together the Fifth Republic and its allies in Germany and Britain through the wrenching economic and political changes of the 1990s, changes in which Europe was nearly engulfed by a massively popular will to eliminate all that was foreign or exotic. During the campaign for the French presidency in 2007, President LeNoir had decided not to run for re-election, a decision based on his judging correctly that he could not succeed in harmonizing his liberal pragmatism with the demands of the current French conservative political will. But during the campaign it became clear that, despite his announced retirement, Jacques LeNoir's skills were still badly needed. In the fumbling attempts of rightist candidates to move France back toward a Gaullist ideal, they could not keep the reasonable distance from the extreme right that General de Gaulle had always managed to manipulate to his and France's advantage. After a predictable win by a Gaullist, and a very rocky start to a Socialist presidency, in one of those rare moments of French pragmatic self-understanding and with the usual French aplomb, the Socialist simply suggested publicly that former President LeNoir would be one of his advisors. LeNoir was in a sense re-elected by the men who should have been his political pallbearers, men who were afraid of wrecking on the treacherous shoals of fragmented French special interests, massive immigration problems, and the French people's exquisitely honed love of personal liberty. The French realized that the potential excesses of the left could be blunted by Jacques LeNoir's balancing presence and so they accepted him as the elder statesman who represented France before the world. He was not the day-to-day leader of the French government, which continued to search for tactical answers to the myriad and often violently expressed demands of the French electorate. He was the symbol of France's never-abandoned belief in its destiny as the leader of Europe. He was, Kate Gordon thought, the one person who might be able to act as the coalescing moral force needed to save Europe and the rest of the world from its present antagonists. • • Kate arrived with General Bennett at the Elysée Palace late in the morning and were shown into a small but elegant salon close to the spot where Napoleon signed his second abdication after Waterloo. The former president, almost ninety but with a commanding presence despite his physical fragility, appeared with the leftist president at his side. A servant followed with a tray holding Dom Perignon and Baccarat champagne flutes. "My dear Miss Gordon," the president said, responding to her brief explanation of the reasons for their visit, "we will agree to a program for a renewed European defense system, but only if it makes sense for France. We understand the gravity of America's internal crisis and we will do everything we can to assist you, but European defenses are a matter for Europe." "Monsieur le President," she said, turning slightly away from the new man in a motion sufficiently overt to infer her preference for President LeNoir, "the United States agrees, but it will become clear in the next few days that Europe is also threatened by Raqqa and Miguel and their fundamentalist forces." "Ah, these African terrorists," Jacques LeNoir said in his soft but punctilious French, "they come and they go. We handle them. France remains. We are accustomed to them. Do not be sidetracked by such matters," he added, moving his hand upward in his graceful signature flourish. He smiled enigmatically, watching her as he sipped his champagne. The conversation continued during lunch, as Kate and Scott mounted an intense effort to persuade the French government to join in the common defense. But Jacques LeNoir was unbending, observing that he hadn't come out of retirement to save France from the threats of dying consensus only to sell the Republic's independence. In a final effort to engage him in their plan, Kate Gordon asked if France would agree to a summit conference to hammer out a mutually acceptable plan. "I need two days in Russia," she said, "then I could return to Europe for the meeting." Much to General Bennett's surprise, Jacques LeNoir nodded his agreement, raising his glass in a toast to America's and France's mutual love of freedom and republican ideals. Scott Bennett believed that the door had been opened to a negotiation that France could not win, if winning meant an independent response to the terrorists. Kate understood that she had been given another opportunity to persuade the French to join the West in a common defense and that, whatever President LeNoir's motives in agreeing to the meeting might be, she and her political colleagues would use them to put the American plan into place. After lunch, they talked to the British prime minister by telephone. He agreed to host the meeting, to be convened in three days. Before she left for Moscow, Kate arranged for the American ambassador to the Court of St. James to work with the British prime minister on the details of the allied meeting. Scott, the untested American diplomatic card in the scheme, left Paris to follow his meeting schedule with the heads of government of the western Europe. Would he, Kate wondered, be wise enough to play to Europe's sense of its unique place in the world, or would he baldly impose the American solution of a re-commitment to a massive American presence in Europe?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Obama's Legacy Is Coming Unglued, Despite Schumer's Cynical Efforts, as President Trump and His Supreme Court Take Over

THE REAL NEWS IS THAT SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER IS NOT A SERIOUS PERSON. That's what President Trump says. • • • SCHUMER CALLED FOR OBAMACARE MEETING. President Trump questioned Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer's proposal that all 100 Senators meet to talk about Obamacare. While the President was preparing to take pictures with the World Champion Chicago Cubs on Wednesday at the White House, a reporter shouted a question about Schumer's offer. Trump paused, then he said he had to "find out if he's serious." The President added : "He's done a lot of bad talking. He hasn't been serious. Obamacare is such a disaster -- such a wreck. He wants to save something that's hurting a lot of people. He just doesn't seem like a serious person." Democrat Schumer recently sent a letter to his Republican counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, asking to meet to talk healthcare. Politico quoted the letter : "The US Senate has long been considered the world’s greatest deliberative body and, as members of that body, we should each support open and robust debate." Schumer has recently attacked the Republican bill as one that would hurt scores of Americans. • We know that the truth about Obamacare is that it's on life-support. Insurers are fleeing. Many Americans have only one or no provider to choose from. And when they can find a provider in their state, the out-of-pocket expenses are so high -- as much as $6,500 per person according to GOP Senator, and medical doctor, Barrasco -- that most Americans cannot afford to go to a doctor at all, for any problem, unless they are being subsidized by the government. • Obamacare is the worst of the poster children for Barack Obama's presidency, and there are many other disasters to add to the list. When will the Democrats accept that they produced a healthcare failure, with Nancy Pelosi's catastrophic leadership and infamous "You have to pass this bill to know what's in it" comment. Progressive Democrats and their mainstream media mouthpieces ought to stop defending Obama and start defending the American public by helping to find a way out of the train-wreck Obamacare plan that they created. • • • SCHUMER IS ALSO IN TROUBLE WITH GRASSLEY. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Wednesday slammed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for using a rare procedure to block a classified briefing on the Obama administration's steps to "unmask" members of the Trump campaign and transition teams. Committee members told the Washington Times they had planned to use the session with intelligence officials to find out how agencies identified Americans whose communications with foreigners outside the United States were monitored. Senator Grassley, the Judiciary Committtee Chairman, tweeted : "Today, the Judiciary Committee was set to hear from senior intelligence officials about highly sensitive intelligence gathering authorities that will soon require action from Congress....It's disturbing and reckless for the minority leader to block the briefing....We've seen too many recent reminders of how unsafe the world is today. This is no time to play politics with our national security." • Under Senate rules, Schumer can object to committees holding meetings beyond the first two hours after the Senate's day begins. No new date for the briefing had been scheduled. • Last week, Grassley chastised Schumer twice for using the same tactic to block two Judiciary Committee actions : a hearing on Russian involvement in last year's presidential election and a session concerning legislation to block human trafficking. Grassley said : "The federal government's primary responsibility is to protect the American people, so it's unbelievable that the minority leader would block Senators from both parties from holding a national security briefing to examine our nation's most critical tools to protect the homeland." • Schumer's cynical action speaks volumes about the real fears behind Congress's Democratic minority efforts to stonewall, sidetrack and prevent the Republican majority from actually finding out what Obama and his national security staff did to turn FISA surveillance of foreigners into a political witch hunt against the GOP presidential candidate, Donald Trump, and his team. When will the MSM speak up about this latest Democrat "abuse of power"? When will Americans of all political preferences demand that the Democrats give up on their fake news war on Trump and get on with helping to govern America, as they were supposedly elected to do? Is there a Democrat grassroots or are all Democrats simply obedient rubber stamps for CNN, Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama?? • • • A NEW OBAMA SIN CROPS UP. Legal Insurrection reported on June 10 : "Just when you thought Obama’s disastrous Iran deal couldn’t get any worse, we learn that in order to protect the bad deal, Obama systematically disbanded units investigating Iran’s terror-funding networks. Not only that, but he also disbanded units investigating the state funding of terrorists by Syria and Venezuela. • The internet news site was quoting the Washington Free Beacon : "The Obama administration 'systematically disbanded' law enforcement investigative units across the federal government focused on disrupting Iranian, Syrian, and Venezuelan terrorism financing networks out of concern the work could cause friction with Iranian officials and scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, according to David Asher, a former US official who spent decades dismantling terrorist financial networks." Asher, who previously served as an advisor to General John Allen at the Defense and State Departments, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June that top officials across several key law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the Obama administration “systematically disbanded” law enforcement activities targeting the terrorism financing operations of Iran, Hezbollah, and Venezuela in the lead-up to and during the nuclear negotiations with Teheran. Asher testified : “Senior leadership, presiding, directing, and overseeing various sections [of these agencies] and portions of the US intelligence community systematically disbanded any internal or external stakeholder action that threatened to derail the administration’s policy agenda focused on Iran." Under oath, Asher attributed the dismantling of terror investigations to the Iran deal that Obama was determined to any cost. The Washington Free Beacon article reported : "that [Asher] attributed the motivation for decisions to dismantle the investigative units to 'concerns about interfering with the Iran deal,' a reference to the nuclear deal forged between the US, five other world powers, and Iran during the final years of the Obama administration. As a result, 'several top cops' retired and the US government lost their years of expertise. The United States squandered the chance 'at a very low financial cost' to take apart Hezbollah’s finances, its global organization, and the Iran proxy’s ability to 'readily terrorize us, victimize us, and run a criminal network through our shores, inside our banking systems -- and in partnership with the world’s foremost drug cartels -- target our state and society,' [Asher] said. 'We lost much of the altitude we had gained in our global effort, and many aspects including key personnel, who were reassigned, budgets that were slashed -- many key elements of the investigations that were underway were undermined.' " • We can add this to the basketful of disasters foisted on America and the world by Obama, the US President whose only concern was the cosmetics of his persona and legacy. • • • ANOTHER OBAMA DISASTER IS THE RUSSIAN ASCENDANCY IN SYRIA. TheHill's Max Greenwood reported that the Pentagon said on Tuesday : "the US has observed chemical weapons activity at a Syrian air base used to launch the April chemical attack that left dozens of civilians dead." Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said that the US has seen “active preparations for chemical weapons use,” according to the Associated Press. • It is not clear if another chemical strike by the Syrian government is imminent, but the last prompted President Trump to launch a missile strike. The White House said in a statement Monday night that the US had identified potential preparations for a chemical strike by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and warned the Syrian government against conducting another attack. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said : "As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price." • Syria's government as well as Russia, which backs al-Assad, rejected the White House's allegations on Tuesday. A chemical strike allegedly carried out by the al-Assad regime in April left dozens of civilians dead, many of them children. That attack prompted President Trump to launch a strike on the Syrian government's Shayrat airfield, from which the chemical attack was believed to originate. • CNBC published an article on Wednesday stating that Russia has doubled down on its rhetoric against the US for the allegations that its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was planning a new chemical weapons attack. In the latest round, a Russian Foreign Ministry official on Wednesday slammed the US for not accepting assurances from the Syrian government that there are no preparations for a chemical attack. When the White House warnings were issued Monday and threats made about a response, a Kremlin spokesman the next day termed it "unacceptable." • The new criticism was published on the Facebook page of the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Maria Zakharova but also picked up Wednesday by Tass and other state media. Zakharova said : "We know from the past that the (George W.) Bush regime has already used the falsification of facts on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq against its own people to carry out a military aggression against that country. We are seriously concerned over this." • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke to his Russian counterpart on Monday, the State Department confirmed Tuesday. A State Department spokesperson told reporters : "The Secretary has made his concerns clear in the past and continues to do so with regard to Russia." • The al-Assad regime continues to deny that it was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on April 4 in Khan Sheikhoun, a rebel-held town in northern Syria, that claimed at least 70 lives, including children. The US blamed that chemical attack on the al-Assad regime, and President Trump responded by launching Tomahawk missiles against the Shayrat air base operated by the Syrian government. • CNBC says there are indications that the Syrians may have gotten the message on chemical weapons. US Defense Secretary James Mattis told the Stars and Stripes newspaper and other media traveling with him to a NATO event : "It appears they took the warnings seriously." According to the paper, Mattis wouldn't divulge what the US saw that made them concerned about another chemical attack. He also wouldn't confirm that it involved anything to do with the Shayrat base, which the US linked to the April chemical attack. • But, instead of drawing and erasing lines in the sand, President Trump acted decisively in April to warn al-Assad and his military that chemical weapons attacks will not be tolerated. President Obama could have done the same thing, but instead, he vacillated and did nothing, and the chemical attacks continued. • • • NORTH KOREA AND CHINA, ANOTHER HOTSPOT. Reuters reported last week that President Trump "is growing increasingly frustrated with China over its inaction on North Korea and bilateral trade issues and is now considering possible trade actions against Beijing." Reuters was quoting three senior administration officials, who told Reuters that Trump is impatient with China and looking at a range of options, including tariffs on steel imports, which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross already has said he is considering as part of a national security study of the US steel industry. The officials told Reusters there is no consensus yet on the way forward with China and they did not say what other options were being studied. • Reuters also reported that the United States "has also pressed China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to help rein in its nuclear and missile programs. Beijing has repeatedly said its influence on North Korea is limited and that it is doing all it can." The death of American university student Otto Warmbier last week, after his release from 17 months of imprisonment in Pyongyang, has further complicated Trump’s approach to North Korea, his top national security challenge. • Trump signaled his disappointment with China's efforts in a tweet last week : “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” North Korea's tests of long-range missiles continue unabated and there have been reports Pyongyang is preparing for another underground nuclear test. Trump has said that the US naval presence and carriers will remain near the Korean peninsula. Trump met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday at the White House and made a point of noting that the United States, India and Japan would be joining together in naval exercises soon in the Indian Ocean, a point that seemed aimed at India rival China. Trump also thanked India for joining the United States in imposing new sanctions against North Korea. • The North Korea nuclear issue has festered since the Bush administration, but it was President Obama who stopped the meetings that were ongoing under President Bush. It is another ticking bomb left by Obama on President Trump's desk. • • • DEAR READERS, while we think about the many problems President Obama botched and then left for President Trump to deal with, we can also think about several areas where President Trump has quickly picked up the dropped ball and is making real progress -- immigration, military preparedness and control of its functions, VA revamping, regulations eased for the energy sector, the Keystone Pipeline, and much more. • And, President Trump is having an immense impact on the rest of the world. To add details to several of yesterday's topics, here are updates. • Concerning the "Trade Disagreement" between President Trump and Chancellor Merkel, CNBC reported that US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has at the last minute pulled out of a trip to Germany on Tuesday, according to the German economy ministry, which did not give a reason for the cancellation that comes at a sensitive time with Washington over trade policy. Ross had been due to meet German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries and to address an event hosted by the economic council of Chancellor Merkel's conservative party. Trade has become a source of friction between Merkel and Trump, who advocates "America First" policies, while Merkel has made free and fair trade one of her priorities in the German Group of 20 presidency. Merkel will host a G-20 summit in Hamburg on July 7-8, and said earlier this week that she does not see common interests between the United States and Europe on climate and trade policy at the moment. But, Merkel said the United States can be relied on when it comes to security, and Germany is looking to see where there were other areas of agreement. Last week, Merkel used an appearance alongside veteran German-born US diplomat Henry Kissinger to stress that the transatlantic relationship was rooted in "joint convictions, values, and understandings." Merkel said a strong European economy is good for the United States, reminding her audience that a month ago, Trump called Germany's trade and spending policies "very bad." This spat will work itself out, because finally, Europe needs to be on friendly terms with President Trump and the United States, and the US needs a committed Germany in the NATO alliance that protects both Europe and America. But, Trump is making his point -- that America will not continue to be the cash cow for all of Europe. • And, as the Supreme Court handed down its first set of decisions with newly sworn-in Justice Neil Gorsuch on the Court, analysts are already talking about an emerging pattern in the Chief Justice Roberts Court -- it's about defending the First Amendment right to religious freedom. While Gorsuch did not participate in the bulk of these First Amendment decisions, he was invloved in the Missouri decision handed down on Monday that gave a religious school the right to participate in public programs that have nothing to do with religion. The Supreme Court under Roberts is well on its way to becoming an historic champion of religious freedom. The trend began in 2012, when the Court blocked federal authorities from trying to apply equal-employment law to the hiring of church ministers in a unanimous decision. Then, the Court ruled that the upstate town of Greece, New York, was within its rights to permit volunteer chaplains to open town meetings with a prayer, to the great consternation of the New York Times. Then came the Hobby Lobby case, in which the Court in a 5-4 decision exempted the religious owners of a closely held retail chain of craft stores from the contraceptive mandate that was put into effect by the Department of Health and Human Services after Obamacare’s passage. Later, even the Court's most Progressive members had to agree that the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who care for the elderly poor, had the right not to be entangled in the birth-control mandate -- in a 9-0 decision. • And, that brings us back to the trunk full of Obama errors as President. What was Obama thinking when he gratuitously attempted to bully a charity named Little Sisters of the Poor. Not about the Constitution, evidently. And, now the Court has agreed to hear the case of the wedding-cake baker, Jack Phillips, under fire from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage. The case will be heard in the October term. • As Obama's executive orders and administrative regulations come unglued one-by-one, we will see the return of religious freedom and, once again, we will be able to publicly thank God for the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Trump vs Merkel Equals the Constitution's Freedoms vs the EU's Unelected Globalism

Dear Readers, I'm posting early today because we are in the midst of a recurring wave of disruptive storms. You can spool down to read yesterday's blog, if you haven't read it yet. Sorry. Things should be back to normal tomorrow. • • THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THE CONTINUING SPARRING BETWEEN TRUMP AND MERKEL. • And they are set to meet soon. • • • A TRADE DISAGREEMENT. The Express UK reported on Wednesday that President Trump has been attacked again by Angela Merkel in their trade war of words just days before they meet again in Hamburg at the G20 meeting. The Express says the relationship between the Chancellor and the President "is already rocky after Trump claimed Germany was damaging America’s economy by flooding the country with foreign goods." But Merkel is now claiming that Germany creates more American jobs than it disrupts. Speaking at The Economic Council of her party, the CDU, Merkel said : “The fact that we have 10 times as much direct investment from Germany in the United States than there’s American investment in Germany has, of course,...a strong effect on the many jobs we create. [The US] should also take into account that BMW has its largest production site not in Germany but in the United States...and exports more cars from there into third countries than Ford and General Motors combined.” The Chancellor’s retaliation was met with raucous applause in her home crowd as she began to defend German industry. • Merkel was responding to Trump's claims at an earlier G7 meeting that her country is “very bad” on trade. Trump’s team said that Germany is exporting significantly more than it imports -- and that the new President wants more US products to be purchased. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the US expects a “larger share” of the German market. The US has also repeatedly criticised Germany’s record current account surplus and called for rapid change. Earlier this year, Trump expressed concern over the trade deficit with Germany and the trade gaps which stands at about $67.8 billion per year, between the two nations. In May, he tweeted a warning to Europe that it “will change”. The White House claims Germany is unfair with trading policy -- yet it cannot meet the 2% payment for NATO membership. • Merkel's comments are part of the growing EU frustration towards the Trump administration as EU member states are infuriated by the policies of the President, especially Trump's refusal to continue with the Paris Accord on climate change. • • • MERKEL IS STRONG IN GERMAN POLLS. But, the German business newspaper Handelsblatt calls it "Merkel's House of Cards" as Germany prepares to vote in September national elections. Germany's conservatives are dominating the opinion polls, but a dearth of concrete policy proposals could give the Social Democrats another opening, according to Handelsblatt : "With just three months to go until Germany votes in federal elections, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have presented little in the way of concrete policy proposals. The party still hasn’t adopted a campaign platform and doesn’t plan to do so until July, leaving a tight window to get the word out before voters head to the polls in September." Yet Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, a powerful figure in the party and close confidante of Merkel, shows no sense of urgency : “The people trust the CDU and above all the chancellor to a high degree -- and for good reason. As a governing party, we are carrying great responsibility in turbulent times. That’s why our work, the responsibility taken for the country and Europe, currently stands in the foreground. The SPD chief only offers the illusion of a solution.” • The polls seem to agree -- Merkel's Christian Democrats have little reason to worry as conservatives are riding high with 39% support, a commanding lead in Germany’s multi-party system, compared to just 24% for the Social Democrats (SPD). Merkel’s personal approval rating stands at 64%. • But, Handelsblatt says : "When it comes to taxes, however, the Christian Democrats are potentially vulnerable. Many voters expect relief from one of the highest tax burdens in the world, especially given that Germany has generated massive budget surpluses in recent years. The Social Democrats, for their part, want to slash taxes for the middle and working classes, while increasing the top rate and taxing large inheritances more heavily. There’s a conflict brewing among the conservatives about how to react to their opponent’s tax proposal. The Social Democrats surprised many with their aggressive plans to scale back the solidarity tax, which was implemented in the wake of German reunification to help finance the reconstruction of former East Germany. Under the SPD proposal, the middle and working classes would be exempt. Only big earners would pay the tax until it is phased out altogether." But, Finance Minister Schäuble is proposing income tax relief of €15 billion and supports gradually phasing out the solidarity tax by 2030. "It is possible to get rid of the solidarity tax earlier," he said, "but that would leave less financial space for other priorities -- such as refugee, environment, housing and education policy." • • • THE EU TAKES ON BREXIT AND MRS. MAY. Both Donald Tusk, head of the EU Parliamant, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, suggest the offer made by Prime Minister May -- that would permit all Europeans who have lived in the UK for at least five years to remain after Brexit -- was not good enough. Mrs. May told EU member states at an EU summit in Brussels last week that all Europeans who have lived in Britain for five years will be offered 'settled status.' At least one EU nation disagrees with Juncker and Tusk -- Spaniard Antonio López-Istúriz White, Secretary-General of the European People's Party, said the offer by the Prime Minister was appreciated but he was “confused” at the lack of clarity. He said: “We are a little bit confused because we heard, let’s say, that the music was good during the council last week but the details, the letter, we are still yet to have a look into it." • This is just the beginning of the Brexit negotiations, but expect lots of disagreement from various EU states over how to respond to the UK Brexit package of proposals. And, as long as a year ago, five European countries made noises about following Britain’s lead in leaving the EU in their own Brexit -- France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Hungary. France seems out of the picture now that the French have elected EU-megasupporter Emmanuel Macron as president. • Merkel's Germany faces having to pay an extra $3 billion a year to the annual EU budget once Britain has left. Fears for the future of the EU prompted German government officials to propose in 2016 that Britain be offered “constructive exit negotiations.” Making the UK an “associated partner country” of the EU was also on the table, according to the German newspaper Die Welt. • But, as Brexit negotiations get underway in June 2017, there remains little of that conciliatory talk from Germany, as some feel Merkel is giving PM May the cold shoulder at every opportunity after the quasi-disastrous snap election called by May, in which she lost her outright majority and is governing now in a coalition with the Ulster Unionist Party. • • • MERKEL's NEW FRENCH PARTNER IS IN TROUBLE ALREADY. More than a third of French voters already disapprove of the job Emmanuel Macron is doing as president, according to a snap Ifop poll. The poll for the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche found that 35% of French voters were “unhappy” with their new head of state, compared to 31% in May. Macron, 39, won the presidential election last month with more than 60% of the vote. In addition, his center-left party, La République en Marche (LREM), clinched an absolute majority in parliament less than two weeks ago, giving him free rein to push through his ambitious reform agenda. A massive 64% of French voters told pollsters they “approved” of the job Mr Macron was doing as president, but Macron is facing a power struggle in both the center and left of the political groups that he represents. The number of voters unhappy with Edouard Philippe, Macron’s conservative prime minister, has also risen this month, the poll showed -- 32% of voters said that they “disapproved” of the job Philippe was doing as prime minister, compared to 24% in May. Philippe's approval rating, however, is also rising : 64% of voters said he is doing a good job, compared to 55% in May. • The dissatisfaction is undoubtedly related to the fact that Macron was forced to partially reshuffle his cabinet last week after three of his ministers quit when their party, the Modem – which is allied to the president’s LREM party -- was accused of using EU funds to pay party workers. The fraud claims came as a blow to Macron -- who promised during his campaign to restore confidence in French politicians and fight political sleaze -- and have shaken confidence in his leadership. A separate opinion poll by Odoxa also published on Monday also reflected the sharp drop in confidence with the new government. The poll for L'Express, la presse régionale and France Inter found that only 37% of voters think that France will be in a “better state” by the end of Mr Macron’s five-year term than it is now, 21% of those polled said that France would be “worse off” under Macron and 42% said that “nothing would change” and that France would not be better off in five years’ time. • So, Chancellor Merkel's cozying up to Macron may not be the best strategy over the longer term. • • • GERMANY IS FOR GERMANY. Added to Merkel's problem with Macron is his promise to make France the center of his policies. Nikolaas de Jong wrote in American Thinker last weekend that : "In the mainstream media, the policies of the German prime minister, Angela Merkel, are often portrayed as a form of atonement for Germany’s past sins of imperialism and genocide. Letting in a million refugees is supposedly the absolute negation of the Holocaust, and pressing for further European cooperation is seen as the opposite of Germany’s old attempts to violently bring the rest of Europe under its control. And for these very reasons, progressive politicians and intellectuals around the world are now looking up to Merkel as the defender of pluralistic Western values." But, asks de Jong : "Are the Germans really such idealistic supporters of the European project? It is more probable that in reality they see the European Union as an ideal instrument to control the rest of Europe. Indeed, in 1997 the British author John Laughland wrote a book about this subject, The Tainted Source: the Undemocratic Origins of the European Idea, which is still worth reading for anyone who wants understand what kind of organization the EU actually is. According to Laughland, the Germans are such big supporters of the European ideal because they know that all important decisions in a confederation of states can ultimately only be taken by or with the approval of the most important state -- in this case, Germany." De Jong concludes : "Far from being the defender of Western values like individual liberty and individual rights, the modern Germany is acting in a very German way indeed. After an adjustment period of some decades following the Second World War, during which the country had to atone for its past misdeeds and keep quiet, Germany is once again trying to impose its rule and a new form of its vicious ideology on Europe and the West. It is of crucial importance that we all recognize Merkel’s policies for what they are, and take decisive action to stop her. • • • TRUMP IS THE ONLY LEADER WHO CAN RESTRAIN GERMANY. First, President Trump is holding the UN's feet to the fire. Amerian Thinker's Jeffrey Ludwig wrote on Monday : "For many of those who participated in its founding, [the UN] was conceived as an alternative to national sovereignty. This push by Democrats for a United Nations was a continuation of the work of Woodrow Wilson. In his push for a League of Nations at the end of World War I, he was defeated in the Senate by Henry Cabot Lodge and the Republicans who clearly saw the League as a threat to US sovereignty. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt picked up the cudgel and, with the help of Winston Churchill, pushed the supranational UN onto center stage." Ludwig raises key points : "Who in their right mind would be willing to sacrifice the beautiful mores and legal/cultural independence of the US on the altar of a remote and bureaucratic 'globalism?' " • The answer to that question is Barack Obama, who acquiesced in the UN's overtaking of US sovereignty in matters as farflung as Iran and global warming. But, Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that the will not sacrifice any part of American independence and sovereignty on the altar of UN globalism. Progressive Democrats support the UN because they support globalism and a Global Village, but Ludwig warns : "they imagine themselves as being in charge of the US which in turn will captain the ship of this 'global paradise.' Of course this will necessitate changes. We will export some of our better ideas, but we shall also have to 'import' cultural norms of other countries. Thus, what was considered 'uniquely American' up to 82 years ago will have to be 'modified.' The deplorables do not understand that all progress involves change....deplorables do not understand that ideas like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have to be differently conceived to apply to all the nations of the world. Likewise, faith, freedom, and family. Likewise 'private property.' To promote peace and security for all, under our wise guidance of course, we have to evolve. We evolve to place greater and greater trust in those who have evolved most in terms of consciousness. The evolved consciousness of our elite global leaders has been learned largely at the uniquely evolved institutions of higher learning. It is no accident that so many presidential candidates and aspirants have graduated from Ivy League institutions." • When the Progressive Democrats accuse Trump and the Deplorables of racism, xenophobia, and economic exploitation, as Ludwig puts it : " can see how the America First nationalism -- the patriotic nationalism -- of President Trump is anathema to the left. Since the US is a rotten racist country, then Trump’s nationalism makes him a racist to their benighted understanding. His desire to reduce the debt is not a prudent philosophy of governance, but an attempt to serve the interests of an exploitative capitalist class, the top 1%. His desire to protect our borders is part and parcel of the so-called imperialist impulse of Manifest Destiny that led us, illegitimately, to take control of the Southwest and crush Mexico in the Mexican War of 1848. In short, his patriotic nationalism connotes for these uninformed and brainwashed illiterates everything the left finds wrong with the US. • • • But, DEAR READERS, we know that President Trump has none of this mean-spiritedness in him. His calls for all Americans to have jobs, be safe in their homes, communities and country, and have reasonably-priced and excellent quality healthcare are the words of a President who is trying to bring America together and re-establish her freedoms and liberties as the standard for the world. By rejecting what President Trump stands for, violent Progressive Democrats show their true colors -- support for "a global alternative where left-wing leaders, bureaucrats in Brussels and Geneva, and islamists bring the out-of-control exploitative US to heel. The global control will put some brakes on the US imperialism, racism, and exploitation. To them, the idea of the US as the land of opportunity, of freedom and of hope is hogwash, and must be suppressed," says Ludwig • These Progressive Democrat goals and ideas are a threat to the very national identity of America and that of all the rest of the world's freedom-loving people. President Trump was elected against huge odds because of his insistence that America stands for her ideals and is worth saving and regenerating. He is trying to correct the deep inroads made by anti-nationalistic anti-American ProgDems when they controlled of all of the federal government. He is making progress. And the ProgDems -- imprisoned by their own false values -- are enraged. Trump, when he announced we were pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, revealed in unmistakable terms that US sovereignty is still a valid principle, and that America's interests should and do come first. In his speech, he said, “...our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of American sovereignty.” • So, while Chancellor Merkel and all of Europe are bearing down on Prime Minister Theresa May and the effort of the British people to be once again free to puruse their own uniquely British values and ideals, NEVER FORGET that they are eyeing AMerica, that they fundamentally disagree with the Constitution's view of individual liberty and responsibility, and that they will turn on America and bring her to heel if and when they can. But, the many American Deplorables, led by their determined and resilient President, Donald Trump, will not yield. Chancellor Merkel and the EU elites can take that to the bank !!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

As the Supreme Court Bolsters President Trump's Agenda, the Democrat Party Collapses

THE SUPREME COURT IS RELEASING KEY DECISIONS. • • • THE TRAVEL BAN. The Trump administration received good news from the Supreme Court on Monday qs the Court lifted key components of an injunction against President Trump's proposed ban on travel from six majority-Moslem nations, reinstating much of the policy and promising to hear full arguments as early as October. The Court's decision means the justices will now take on the biggest legal controversy of the Trump administration -- the President's order temporarily restricting US entry by people from certain countriesl, which even Trump has termed a "travel ban." President Trump issued a statement : "Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security," Trump said in a statement. "...As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive....My number one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation's homeland." • The Court decided that a limited version of the policy can be enforced immediately with a full hearing to come in the Fall : "An American individual or entity that has a bona fide relationship with a particular person seeking to enter the country as a refugee can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded. As to these individuals and entities, we do not disturb the injunction. But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.” Justice Thomas wrote : “The Government has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits -- that is, that the judgments below will be reversed....The Government has also established that failure to stay the injunctions will cause irreparable harm by interfering with its ‘compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.’” Justice Thomas was joined by Alito and Gorsuch. • In the Fall, oral arguments will focus on whether the temporary ban violates the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and 14th Amendments, and the ban on nationality discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas contained in a 65-year-old federal law. Federal appeals courts in Virginia and California in recent weeks have ruled against the administration. A majority of the 4th Circuit appeals court cited then-candidate Trump's campaign statements proposing a ban "preventing Moslem immigration." However, the White House frames the issue as a temporary move involving national security. A coalition of opposing groups call the order blatant religious discrimination, since the six countries involved have mostly-Moslem populations : Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A major issue for the justices may be to decide how much discretion the President really has over immigration, if that question annot be avoided. Courts have historically been deferential in this area, and recent Presidents dating back to Jimmy Carter have used their discretion to deny entry to certain refugees and diplomats -- including those from nations such as Iran, Cuba and North Korea. • The 1952 federal law -- the Immigration and Nationality Act -- passed during the Cold War's fear over Communist influence -- gives the President broad authority. Section 212(f) states : "Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may, may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate." • In his opinion, Thomas criticized the majority for the compromise nature of Monday's ruling, stating he would have allowed the order to be enforced in full. Thomas said he feared "the Court's remedy" would inspire a flood of new litigation : "Today’s compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding -- on peril of contempt -- whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country," Thomas wrote. "The compromise also will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a 'bona fide relationship,' who precisely has a 'credible claim' to that relationship, and whether the claimed relationship was formed 'simply to avoid §2(c) of Executive Order No. 13780.” • • • THE COURT SPEAKS ABOUT RELIGIOUS RIGHTS. On Monday, the Supreme Court also published its ruling in favor of a Missouri church that sued the state after being denied taxpayer funds for a playground project because of a provision that prohibits state funding for religious entities. The decision was 7-2. The case, one of the most closely watched of the term, required balancing two parts of the First Amendment -- freedom of religion and separation of church and state. In 2012, Missouri launched an initiative to encourage schools to use recycled tires to produce softer playground surfaces. Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri, which runs a preschool, was denied a state grant to participate in the program -- and lawyers for Trinity argued the state discriminated against the school based on religion. Chief Justice John Roberts agreed, wtiting for the Majority : “The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand,” Roberts wrote. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a strong dissent -- and said Monday’s decision “profoundly changes” the relationship between church and state, writing that the ruling “slights both our precedents and our history, and its reasoning weakens this country’s longstanding commitment to a separation of church and state beneficial to both.” • Missouri's law at the time was similar to those in three dozen other states that prohibited direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation. Since then, Republican Governor Eric Greitens has changed Missouri's policy to allow religious institutions to participate in the program but Monday’s opinion could have an impact on other cases. • Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association, called the ruling “a significant victory for fairness and government neutrality towards religious institutions. The Supreme Court is sharply signaling in this decision that the government must stop its growing hostility towards religion and religious institutions, and that antiquated and anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments should not be used as a weapon to discriminate against people of faith.” • • • THE COURT AVOIDS A GUN CONTROL ISSUE. The Supreme Court refused to consider loosening restrictions on carrying firearms in public, rejecting an appeal by California gun-rights advocates and continuing to steer clear of one of the nation’s most polarizing issues. The justices left intact a San Diego County policy that requires people to show a special need in order to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home. A divided federal appeals court had upheld the policy. The Court has turned away gun-rights appeals ever since its last Second Amendment case in 2010, declining to carve out new constitutional protections for firearm owners outside the home. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said the Court should have heard the case. • California is one of about 8 states that bar most people from carrying weapons in public. California makes an exception for residents who can show “good cause” to carry a concealed handgun, while leaving it to local authorities to decide what meets that standard. San Diego residents challenged the county standard when the San Diego County sheriff said “good cause” must be more than a desire to carry a weapon for general self-defense purposes. The county requires a person to show a “set of circumstances that distinguishes the applicant from other members of the general public and causes him or her to be placed in harm’s way.” The 7-4 appeals court decision said the San Diego residents’ lawsuit focused solely on the right to carry a concealed weapon, not broader issues about Second Amendment rights outside the home : “Based on the overwhelming consensus of historical sources, we conclude that the protection of the Second Amendment -- whatever the scope of that protection may be -- simply does not extend to the carrying of concealed firearms in public by members of the general public." The challengers at the Supreme Court said the lower courts should have looked at California’s laws as a whole, including its prohibition on open carrying of weapons in most cases because, according to the group's leader : “The result is that the typical law-abiding resident cannot bear a handgun for self-defense outside the home at all.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra urged the Supreme Court not to hear the case, arguing that states could allow concealed carry if they chose. The appeals court ruling “holds only that a state cannot be forced to make that particular choice,” Becerra argued. The Supreme Court let the lower court decision stand. • • • AND A FEDERAL COURT TAKES ON COMEY'S CASE. A federal judge in Washington DC acted quickly in a case alleging that fired FBI Director James Comey obstructed justice by burying an investigation into the mass surveillance of Americans by their government. WND reported that whistleblower Dennis Montgomery -- who worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency, the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence -- and his lawyer, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, filed a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction late Monday. And, by late Tuesday, US District Judge Richard Leon scheduled a status conference for Friday afternoon in his Washington courtroom. The lawsuit seeks to stop the nation’s “intelligence agencies” from continuing their “illegal and unconstitutional surveillance.” Those actions, according to Klayman, were confirmed again recently in a report by Circa News. The complaint also alleges Comey obstructed justice by : “suppressing if not burying an FBI investigation into this illegal mass surveillance, which involved the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, President Trump and his associates before he became president, and other prominent persons.” Klayman said : "the speed with which Judge Leon set this hearing is commendable, as each day that the government continues to conduct unconstitutional spying on Americans without probable cause creates grave harm to not just the victims, but our republic. Judge Leon previously preliminarily enjoined the NSA on two previous occasions from what he ruled was an ‘almost Orwellian’ invasion of privacy, and the defendants ignored his rulings. I cannot believe he will be pleased about their brazen disregard for the law and the Constitution yet again. As for Comey, he was encharged with investigating this illegal conduct, when Montgomery came forward with proof years ago, and he allegedly buried the investigation because, as the FISA court revealed, the FBI was also conducting illegal surveillance under his direction. Plaintiffs are also asking the court to preserve this evidence, which Montgomery provided, with his testimony under oath, to the FBI and Comey.” • Montgomery and Klayman are seeking from the court a protection order preventing the destruction of evidence. They are asking the court to prevent the defendants, including Comey, the FBI and other federal officials mostly under the Obama administration, from continuing “illegally and unconstitutionally spying on and surveilling millions of Americans, including plaintiffs, without probable cause or a warrant.” They are also asking the court to prevent the defendants from “destroying evidence of illegal and unconstitutional spying” that Montgomery turned over Comey based on the promise it was going to be investigated. These objectives can be reached with a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, they state in their filings. • Defendants in the case include Comey, the FBI, Michael Rogers, the NSA, John Brennan, Mike Pompeo, the CIA, James Clapper, Dan Coats and Barack Obama. They were accused in the original lawsuit, filed a few weeks ago, of “illegally and unconstitutionally spying on and surveilling millions of Americans, including plaintiffs, without probable cause or a warrant, and...destroying evidence of illegal and unconstitutional spying turned over to defendant Comey and the FBI by plaintiff Montgomery.” The motion alleges the illegal spying continues. • The lawsuit alleges misbehavior by Comey and others when Montgomery “was induced by Defendants Comey and the FBI and made to turn over 47 hard drives of evidence of the aforementioned illegal, unconstitutional activity, stating : “Indeed, counsel for Montgomery, plaintiff Klayman, was told and assured by the former general counsel of the FBI, James Baker, that defendant Comey was taking ‘hands on’ supervision and conducting the FBI’s Montgomery investigation, given its importance.” • • • STATE DEPARTMENT OPENS A HILLARY INQUIRY. Fox News reported last Tuesday that "the State Department has opened a formal inquiry into whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides mishandled classified information while she was the nation’s top diplomat. Despite being under investigation, Clinton and her staffers still have security clearances to access sensitive government information." The State Department inquiry will seek to determine whether Clinton and her closest aides violated government protocols by using her private server to receive, hold and transmit classified and top-secret government documents. The Department did not tell Fox News when its inquiry began, but it follows the conclusion of the 2016 FBI probe into the matter, which did not result in any actions being taken against Clinton or any of her aides. Depending on the outcome of the current State Department inquiry, Clinton and her aides could have their access to sensitive government documents terminated. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley confirmed to Fox News the State Department’s formal inquiry. • Meanwhile, Grassley’s committee launched its own inquiry into Clinton’s handling of emails, an inquiry that began in March. Grassley cited among his concerns the statement of former FBI Director James Comey that the agency found Clinton and her staff members were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Grassley also contended there is “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information...” • During the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of top-secret and classified information on her private server, Comey said there were seven email chains on Clinton’s computer classified at the “Top Secret/Special Access Program level.” Another 2,000 emails on her private server were found to have contained information deemed classified now, though not marked classified when sent. In addition, the server also contained 22 top-secret emails deemed too damaging to national security to be released. • Clinton’s spokesperson, Nick Merrill, told Fox News that the investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified information is done : “Nothing's been more thoroughly dissected. It's over. Case closed. Literally." -- Maybe not. • • • TRUMP ASKS FOR LIMITS ON IMMIGRANT PUBLIC ASSISTANCE. Just days before the Supreme Court gave President Trump a partial clearance ot begin his temporary ban on immigration from certain terror-ridden countries, Trump announced that he will soon ask Congress to pass legislation banning immigrants from accessing public assistance within five years of entering the US. Trump told a Cedar Rapids rally last week : “The time has come for new immigration rules that say...those seeking immigration into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years." • Trump's proposal would build on the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which allows federal authorities to deport immigrants who become public dependents within five years of their arrival. Many of that law’s provisions were suppressed during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, but Trump's proposal would make more categories of federal benefits unavailable to immigrants. • Currently, states have the authority to determine eligibility for local public assistance programs. Foreigners with non-immigrant visas and those who don't have legal status are generally prohibited from those benefits altogether. • Trump's proposal would also prevent the admission of people who are likely to become so-called "public charges" within five years of their arrival. The concept of "public charge" has been part of US immigration law for over a century, permitting the government to bar entry to individuals who are likely to seek public assistance. Trump is expected to propose toughening up the rules regarding “public charge” and ensuring that they are enforced. • In requesting the amendments to the current law, the White House will cite a 2015 report from the Center for Immigration Studies that found 51% of households headed by an immigrant are using some form of public assistance, compared to 30% among non-immigrant families. • • • DEAR READERS, the Spureme Court has stepped up to the plate and is telling America that President Trump is right about a lot of things. But, sadly, many of the good things President Trump is doing are being buried under the mainstream media's attacks on his presidency. • For example, under President Obama, military morale was disastrously low, with the military rating the legacy of Commander-in-Chief Obama in acerbic terms across every service. Morale reached rock bottom in 2015 with 52% of the troops across all branches "pessimistic about their future," and 70% expecting it to get even worse. This was a 30-point plunge during the Obama presidency, according to a Military Times poll. That was after the Pentagon spent $287 million during six of the Obama years on an "optimism program." The various analysts of the Military Times survey cited bad pay, troop drawdowns, lack of support from Washington in the deployments to hellholes like Afghanistan and Iraq, and micro-managing of field decisions from the lawyers and White House civilian officials with no military experience. But most of all, there was a Commander-in-Chief who didn't believe in their mission or in victory, preferring to let the wars slog on and the soldiers pay the price. • In his first six months in office, President Donald Trump has made a steady transfer of power from the White House to the Pentagon, handing off several warfighting authorities that previously rested in his hands -- as President -- to the Pentagon and the commanders overseeing US military campaigns. The Progressive MSM think this is another Trump mismanagement of his presidency, and CNN sharply criticized it, but the CNN online article contained a paragraph that tells us everything we need to know about Trump's wisdom : "The moves are intended to empower the military at a tactical level, bolstering the US' intensifying fight against ISIS and al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups to praise from several current and former military officials." So, there will be no more micromanagement by White House officials with creative writing degrees and absolutely no knowledge of conditions in the field -- remember Ben Rhodes? The military appreciates its capacity to win victories -- one photo of a howitzer barrel decorated with the Trump COVFEFE tweet has gone viral and says it all. It's a sign that the soldiers on the line have a Commander-in-Chief they respect and want to win for, and they know he will allow them to win. • A string of House special election GOP wins ending in Democrat Jon Ossoff’s defeat to Republican Karen Handel in Georgia last week has only intensified the scrutiny and second-guessing of Democrat Party strategy, to say nothing of the hand-wringing by party activists longing for a victory. Democratic strategist and former advisor to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, says of the Democrat Party's collapse : “I’m not convinced we know what the best thing is for the party right now. I’m not convinced we have the answers. I don’t have the faintest idea in this point in time. I’m still trying to digest what happened.” • What happened is Donald Trump, a serious, America-first President who is a brilliant leader working full-speed to put the ship of America back on course and put Americans back in charge of their country. The Democrat Party doesn't have a clue about what Trump is doing because putting Americans in charge of America is not part of their DNA.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Will the Real DNC Hacker Please Stand Up -- Because the Washington Elites Cannot Figure It Out

THE NEWS OF THE DAY IS THAT WHILE DEMOCRATS ARE COMING UNGLUED, TRUMP IS BEARING DOWN ON THE RUSSIAN ISSUE. • On Friday, President Trump raised three unanswered questions about the Democratic Party and the Obama administration’s role in claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Trump tweeted : "1 -- Why did the Democratic National Committee (DNC) turn down FBI requests to inspect its hacked servers?...Why did the DNC REFUSE to turn over its Server to the FBI, and still hasn't? It's all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!" Then, his second tweet : "2 -- Why was the DNC uninterested in assistance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure DNC servers?...Why did Democratic National Committee turn down the DHS offer to protect against hacks (long prior to election). It's all a big Dem HOAX!" And, his third tweet : "3 -- Why did the Obama administration wait until October before going public with claims that Russia was attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election?...By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn't they stop them?" • Breitbart News asked the DNC for some answers, but the DNC has not responded about why it refused FBI requests to inspect the Committee’s servers. In his January testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI made “multiple requests at different levels,” to review the DNC’s hacked servers. Finally, the DNC and FBI agreed that a “highly respected private company” would carry out forensics on the servers and share any information that it discovered with the FBI, Comey testified. But, a senior law enforcement official stressed the importance of the FBI gaining direct access to the servers, a request that was denied by the DNC. Not only did the DNC turn down FBI help, it also, according to the testimony of Obama's Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, it also turned down DHS help. Johnson recently told the House intelligence Committee that the Democratic National Committee “did not feel it needed” DHS assistance into hacks of the Committee’s systems. • • • CROWDSTRIKE INSPECTED THE DNC SERVERS. Who? Breitbart says it was CrowdStrike, "financed to the tune of $100 million from a funding drive last year led by Google Capital. Google Capital, which now named CapitalG, is an arm of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, has been an active supporter of Hillary Clinton and is a longtime donor to the Democratic Party." CrowdStrike is a California-based cybersecurity technology company co-founded by experts George Kurtz and Dmitri Alperovitch, born and raised as a child in Russia before his parents immigrated to the US. Alperovitch is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, a respected think tank, whose chairman now is Jon Huntsman. The Atlantic Council takes a hawkish approach toward Russia and has released reports and briefs about Russian aggression. It also opposes European populist groups, whom it has described as dangerously far-right. Alperovitch also allegedly has IT ties to Ukraine and to its nationalist anti-Russian factions that would like to start a war between the US and Russia because they want to bring down Russia and Putin -- interesting, because what better, although unlikely, way to destroy Putin and Russia than to get the US into a war with Russia over cyber-attacks on the US electoral system, a war that Russia cannot possibly win. The Atlantic Council is funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc, the US State Department, and NATO ACT. Another Council funder is the Ploughshares Fund, which in turn has received financing from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. • Atlantic Council interviewed Alperovitch in July 2016 about his work on the DNC server hacking. Here is a portion of that interview : "Alperovitch: The two [Russian] actors were working completely independently. There was no indication that they even knew about each other, which is not surprising because Russian intelligence services almost never cooperate with each other and it’s a very adversarial relationship between them. FancyBear actually came in in April -- we believe they are GRU, the Russian military intelligence -- and they went straight for the opposition research. They knew exactly who to go after and find the easiest way to get the data. The CozyBear actor actually came in last summer and they were sitting on the communications servers so they were monitoring e-mail traffic and chat traffic. Q: What evidence is there that these actors are connected to the FSB or GRU -- the two primary Russian intelligence agencies? Alperovitch: We actually have a lot of evidence. As you can imagine we can’t share everything, but we have a very high-level of confidence that these are Russian intelligence services -- both of them. We have a medium-level of confidence that FancyBear is GRU. A lot of the evidence is based on their previous targets. FancyBear has targeted ministries of defense all over Europe. They have targeted Georgian military assets extensively during the 2008 war as well as afterwards. So a lot of their collection is in the military space, which is the remit of the GRU. We have a low-level of confidence that CozyBear is FSB, again based primarily on previous activity. We have a high-level of confidence that they are Russian intelligence but we are not sure which specific agency they are." • So, we have an IT expert with alleged ties to Ukraine telling the DNC that it has "medium-level" and "low-level" confidence that it was Russian intel groups that hacked into the DNC servers and stole emails -- later released by WikiLeaks -- with the intention of winning the election for Trump. If these assurances were about the mission-readiness of a spacecraft, I doubt any of us would want to go to the Moon in it. • • • WHY DID THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WAIT SO LONG TO RAISE THE RUSSIA HACKING ISSUE? The Obama administration was reportedly confident that Russia was attempting to hack the election as early as August, but waited until October 7 to make an announcement, when the DHS released a statement claiming “the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” Newsweek raised questions three months ago when it cited “two sources with knowledge of the matter” reporting that Comey wanted to go public with the Russia story in the summer of 2016. Newsweek said : "Well before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) accused the Russian government of tampering with the US election in an October 7 statement, Comey pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about the Russian campaign during a meeting in the White House Situation Room in June or July. He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward. What do people think of this?’ says a source with knowledge of the meeting, which included Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and National Security Advisor Susan Rice....'The White House shut it down,' that source says. 'They did their usual -- nothing.' " Both sources spoke to Newsweek on the condition of anonymity. • Last December, NBC reported : "The Obama administration didn’t respond more forcefully to Russian hacking before the presidential election because they didn’t want to appear to be interfering in the election and they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win and a potential cyber war with Russia wasn’t worth it, multiple high-level government officials told NBC News. 'They thought she was going to win, so they were willing to kick the can down the road,' said one US official familiar with the level of Russian hacking" -- that is the usual NBC fake news joke since the Obama administration was up to its neck in trying to gut the Trump candidacy • In his recent testimony before the Senate, former DHS chief Johnson attempted to explain the Obama administration’s decision to wait until October before announcing the Russia charges : "First, as you know well, we have to carefully consider whether declassifying the information compromises sources and methods. Second, there was an ongoing election, and many would criticize us for perhaps taking sides in the election. So that had to be carefully considered. One of the candidates, as you'll recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged in some way. And so we were concerned that, by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the -- of the election process itself. This was -- this was a very difficult decision. But in my personal view, it’s something we had to do. It got careful consideration, a lot of discussion. My view is that we needed to do it, and we needed to do it well before the election, to inform the American voters of what we knew and what we saw, and that it would be unforgivable if we did not, pre-election. And I’m glad we did it." • • • OBAMA'S DELAY ON RUSSIA FRUSTRATED DEMOCRAT LEADERS. Last Friday, TheHill published an article by Katie Bo Williams that gives new insight into the Obama administration response to Russian meddling in the election, after new details merged this week about how the White House weighed its actions against the 2016 political environment. Then-President Obama, say frustrated Democrat lawmakers and political strategists, was too cautious in the months leading up to the election. Representative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and co-chairs the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, says : "It was inadequate. I think they could have done a better job informing the American people of the extent of the attack.” Even after the election, some say, the penalties Obama levied on Russia -- expelling 35 Russian 'diplomats' and closing two Russian compounds -- were too mild to punish what by all accounts was an unprecedented attack on a US election. Another Democrat, Representative Jim Himes, also a House Intelligence Committee member, called the penalties “barely a slap on the wrist.” Some Republicans argue the Obama administration only started to take the Russia threat seriously after President Trump had won the election. • Trump has called the influence operation a “hoax” and dismisses inquiries into Russian interference in the election -- including looking for possible collusion between his campaign and Moscow -- as a “witch hunt.” • • • IS THE WASHINGTON POST TELLING THE TRUTH NOW? The current re-evaluation of Obama's inaction started last Friday when the Washington Post published a detailed analysis of the administration’s decision-making process that showed former President Obama agonizing over how to prevent politicization of the threat -- and arguably failing, critics say. While Democrats appreciated Obama’s sensitivity to the potential appearance of partisanship, they say the Russian influence campaign should have been treated like any other national security threat, without respect to politics. • In a gross exaggeration, Representative Swalwell said : “I understand the analysis, but look where we are right now. This was the worst mess our democracy has been in since the Civil War.” -- Really?? • Others point to the then-ongoing and extremely delicate negotiations with Russia over a ceasefire in Syria. The Obama administration publicly blamed Russia for the DNC hack and the wider interference in the campaign just a few days after Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry officially suspended those talks. Democratic strategist Brad Bannon says : “I think the Obama administration figured, we have to deal with the Russians in the Middle East and they didn’t want the stuff with the hacking to interfere with that. But I think that was a mistake because if voters don’t trust the integrity of the electoral system, we’ve got nothing left.” Obama DHS Secretary Johnson defended the White House response, arguing the administration repeatedly beat the drum on election cybersecurity throughout the summer and fall but was appropriately leery of undermining trust in the integrity of the election. The October 7 statement, Johnson said, was one in a series of public statements -- but it was overshadowed in the media by the leak of the “Access Hollywood” tape. One unnamed official told the WP : “It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. I feel like we sort of choked.” • • • TRUMP SAYS OBAMA DID NOTHING. After the Washington Post published its article on Obama's timidity toward Russia, President Trump faulted Obama's handling of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. Trump told Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth in an interview that aired on Sunday he "just heard today for the first time" former President Barack Obama "knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it." He says Obama "should have done something about it. The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even -- before the election. And I hardly see it. It's an amazing thing. In other words, the question is, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don't read that. It's quite sad." • Trump echoed his comments later in a Friday night tweet : "Just out : The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?" And, last Saturday, Trump tweeted : "Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!" and also : "Obama Administration official said they "choked" when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election. They didn't want to hurt Hillary?" • • • THERE IS NO RUSSIA-TRUMP COLLUSION. American Thinker on Friday published an article by Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc., and a good friend of President Trump. Ruddy says : "When it comes to the Russian-Trump collusion "smoke" we keep hearing about, one thing has become crystal clear : there isn't any smoke, there isn't any fire, and this nothingburger isn't even worth lighting a match for. This 'scandal' has been the major topic of press attention since Election Day last year. Yet, no one has provided one scintilla of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in hacking or otherwise interfering in the US election. No evidence. Nothing. Nada. Zilch." Ruddy cites Obama's DNI James Clapper, two congressional inquiries and an FBI probe in the last 6 months, "not to mention dozens of voracious media organizations like The New York Times and Washington Post frequently reporting leaks of convenience -- nobody has unearthed any evidence that Russians at any level worked with the Trump campaign....The Obama administration took the unusual step of "unmasking" the identities of Americans, including people close to Trump, discovered in classified NSA and intelligence intercepts. Still, this highly questionable action found no evidence of collusion." Ruddy's conclusion? : "The President is right to be worried about an investigation that was created with no evidence of a crime. Apparently finding no evidence, it is careening into other areas as it seeks to justify its own existence." • • • SENATOR GRASSLEY COMES OUT SWINGING. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, has just called Minority Leader Chuck Schumer a liar for stating publicly that President Trump was under investigation by the FBI when he knew the opposite was true. Grassley described a meeting he had with former FBI Director James Comey in March where he told Grassley and Senator Diane Feinstein, ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, that President Trump was not under investigation. Grassley urged Comey to go public with that information because at the time, there was wild media speculation -- fed by Democrats and leaks -- that the President was the target of an investigation. Grassley says that Comey also briefed the "Gang of Eight" -- the top ranking Republicans and Democrats in Congress, including the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. But the knowledge that the President was not under investigation didn't stop Schumer and other Democrats from claiming otherwise. The Daily Caller reported Grassley's comments : “So the media was wrong. So the Democrats were wrong. So the wild speculation and conspiracy theories ended up harming our country. They played right into Russia’s hands. And how did we all learn about this truth? In President Trump’s letter removing Mr. Comey from office. At first, most didn’t believe it. The media scoffed when they wrote what the President said in that letter. They insisted that Mr. Comey would never tell the President that he was not under investigation. Well we learned earlier this month from Mr. Comey himself that he had done exactly that. It wasn’t a surprise to me because Mr. Comey had told me the same thing. I have to note something else here. Mr. Comey didn’t just tell the President, Senator Feinstein and me that the President was not under investigation. He had also told the Gang of Eight. Of course, the Gang of Eight includes Senate Minority Leader Senator Schumer. But even after Mr. Comey told the Gang of Eight that the President was not under investigation, the minority leader told the media that the President was under investigation and of course that further help feed media storm -- Hysteria.” Senator Grassley also recalled that when Schumer stated that the Senate should not confirm then Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch because Trump was under investigation, Schumer already knew Trump was not under investigation at the time. • Risk Moran of American Thinker sums it up : "The stunning truth is that the American political and media establishment allowed a phony story -- that they knew was phony -- to dominate our political discourse for months. When James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, he revealed that he had informed many important congressional leaders that there was no investigation of President Trump and the Russians underway, even as MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post daily carried stories alluding to an imaginary investigation. Desperate for power, unable to understand why they continue to lose at the ballot box, incapable of realizing the damage they are doing to American democracy, the Democratic-Media monolith has spun a narrative that even after the truth came out about the President's status, they refuse to amend or abandon it. Their continuing effort to destroy the Trump presidency will have currency as long as a compliant media sees truth and facts as something frangible and gives credence to the lies and hysterical exaggerations coming from the left." • • • In another American Thinker article by Clarice Feldman, published on June 25 -- "The DNC Scams the Suckers and Contradicts the Feds on 'Hacking' " -- which you can google and read because it is excellent but covers topics not in this blog -- Feldman writes : "...this week former DHS head Jeh Johnson testified that he was denied access to the reportedly hacked DNC servers. Former FBI head James Comey testified to the same effect earlier. Yet Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the DNC during the supposed hacking, said that neither the DHS nor any federal agency had informed her of any hacking or sought access to the DNC servers. Either the DNC is lying or the Obama-era FBI head (Comey) and DHS head Johnson are. And if she’s not the liar, were the DNC servers actually hacked by the Russians or anyone at all?" Feldman then raises the question that is off-limits to the maintream media : "Some believe that the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was the source for Wikileaks head Julian Assange, giving him access to the emails which, inter alia, revealed the DNC plot to deny Bernie Sanders the party’s nomination. There was an interesting report on that murder this week. The crime-profiling project at George Washington University, aided by forensic experts issued a little-publicized report on the Rich murder. After a three-month review and investigation into the death of Seth Rich, The Profiling Project notes the following : 1. Seth’s death does not appear to be a random homicide; 2. Seth’s death does not appear to be a robbery gone bad; 3. Seth death was more likely committed by a hired killer or serial murderer; 4. There may be additional video surveillance of the crime and crime scene; 5. The resolution of prosecuting the individual(s) responsible appears to be hindered both actively and passively; 6. Seth’s killer(s) most likely remains free within the community." In sum, the “Russian collusion” story was fabricated upon a foundation that the Russians “hacked” the DNC servers, the federal agencies involved in investigating such matters say the DNC denied them access to their servers to examine them, but the head of the DNC vehemently denies they ever contacted her about the suspected “hacking” or sought access to the servers. Someone, whom independent investigation indicates was a professional killer, murdered the chief insider suspect for the leaked emails on those servers and the search for the killer is being hindered “actively and passively.” • • • A COOKED UP DEMOCRAT STORY TO DAMAGE TRUMP. That brings us to the answer to the question about whether the Washington Post was telling the truth when it stated Friday that portrayed President Obama as "agonizing over how to prevent politicization of the threat" posed by Russian hacking into the DNC servers. • A recent TV series -- Twin Peaks - The Return -- is a strange mix of parallel worlds by David Lynch, and the message for me was that people will not believe what is spread before them IF what they see doesn't match their pre-conceived notions of reality. • The Washington Post article on Obama's "agonizing" reminds me of Twin Peaks -- the parallel world of the mainstream madia and their clients, the Progressive Democrat elites, is disconnected from reality. They wouldn't recognize real facts about anything political if those facts were pouring over them like a waterfall. • Consider that author Paul Sperry, formerly of the Hoover Institution, repored in the New York Post that the Senate is probing the partisan nature of a DC research firm which produced a “dossier” on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 alleging that he is a secret agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin -- recruited via blackmail with a videotape of Trump and urinating Russian prostitutes. Former FBI Director James Comey reportedly cited the discredited dossier as the basis for the current investigation of “Russian interference” in the 2016 election, which has been taken up by Robert Mueller, a friend of Comey’s who served as FBI Director under presidents Bush and Obama. Sperry says the Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party. The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month threatened to subpoena the firm, Fusion GPS, after it refused to answer questions and provide records to the committee trying to identify who financed the error-ridden dossier, which was circulated during the election and has sparked much of the Russia scandal now engulfing the White House. Fusion GPS, according to Sperry, describes itself as a “research and strategic intelligence firm” founded by “three former Wall Street Journal investigative reporters.” But, congressional sources told Sperry it’s actually an opposition-research group for Democrats, and the founders, who are more political activists than journalists, have a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda -- in September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated to Hillary’s campaign. Property records show that in June 2016, as Clinton allies bankrolled Fusion GPS, Fritsch bought a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Bethesda, Md., for $2.3 million -- as we know, 'follow the money' is a good rule. A congressional source close to the investigation told the media : “These weren’t mercenaries or hired guns. These guys had a vested personal and ideological interest in smearing Trump and boosting Hillary’s chances of winning the White House.” Fusion GPS, according to Sperry, was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump -- in 2012, Democrats had hired Fusion GPS to do the same on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Steele contracted with Fusion GPS to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia starting in June 2016, whereupon he outlandishly claimed that Hillary campaign hackers were “paid by both Trump’s team and the Kremlin” and that the operation was run out of Putin’s office. • • • THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE IS INVESTIGATING. The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating whether the FBI has wrongly relied on the anti-Trump dossier and its author, Christopher Steele -- the old spy who was hired by Fusion GPS to build a Russia file on Trump -- to aid its ongoing espionage investigation into the Trump campaign and its possible ties to Moscow. The FBI received a copy of the Democrat-funded dossier in August, during the heat of the campaign, and is said to have contracted in October to pay Steele $50,000 to help corroborate the dirt on Trump -- a relationship that “raises substantial questions about the independence” of the bureau in investigating Trump, warned Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley. Senate investigators are demanding to see records of communications between Fusion GPS and the FBI and the Justice Department, including any contacts with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, now under congressional investigation for possibly obstructing the Hillary Clinton email probe, and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, who is under investigation by the Senate and the Justice Department inspector general for failing to recuse himself despite financial and political connections to the Clinton campaign through his Democratic activist and candidate wife. Senate investigators have singled out McCabe as the FBI official who negotiated with Steele. • Like Fusion GPS, the FBI has failed to cooperate with congressional investigators seeking documents. • • • DEAR READERS, The DNC was hacked -- unless Debbie Wasserman Schultz is right, and that would be a first -- but all evidence points to the disgruntled, or disillusioned, DNC staffer Seth Rich as the hacker who gave the Hillary et. al. emails to WikiLeaks before he was murdered. Another possibility is that CrowdStrike, the company that inspected the DNC servers, was somehow connected to Ukraine, and perhaps indirectly to Russia, and created a report to blame Russia because of its interest in starting a war between Russia and the US. And, there is the additional story line that points to the Democrat supporters of Hillary Clinton creating a sordid fake dossier on Trump in order to ruin his candidacy. • But, there is No Evidence that President Trump or anyone on his team, either before or after the election, colluded with Russia or Russians or did anything else to interfere with a free and honest election. For questions about election interference, we need to hear sworn testimony from Comey, Lynch, the DNC, Hillary, Bill and the Democrat Party leadership. • As for the "agonizing" of President Obama -- he can forget trying to blame Mitch McConnell and GOP state officials -- he was undoubtedly "agonizing" about how to use the Russia fake news to collude with Comey, Lynch and his national security staff to ruin Trump and elect Hillary.