Tuesday, October 31, 2017

All Saints Day Sinners -- North Korea, China, Spain, AND the Podestas, Hillary, Comey, Mueller, and the Lies They Created and Used to Get FISA Warrants to Spy on the Trump Team

TODAY'S REAL NEWS IS THAT NOVEMBER 1st is All Saints Day in the Christian calendar. It's the day when we honor all those who have entered heaven because they led 'saintly' lives, especially all the saints -- and there are untold millions -- who don't have their own special feast day. All Saints' Day is celebrated every year on November 1 by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and some Protestant denominations, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Orthodox churches. November 2 is All Souls' Day -- a day of alms giving and prayers for the dead. And yesterday, October 31, was not only Halloween but also Reformation Day. In 2017, it was a very special celebration because it marked the 500th anniversary of the day -- October 31, 1517 -- when Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, the act that started the Reformation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank- Walter Steinmeier took part in a service Tuesday in the famous Castle Church. Thousands of visitors participated in different church services throughout the day in the eastern Germany town. In remembrance of the 500th anniversary, Reformation day is a public holiday in Germany this year. • There is other, less uplifting news to report today, so let's get at it. • • • NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR SITE DISASTER. The UK Express reported on Tuesday that hundreds of North Korea's nuclear workers "died after an accident at despot Kim Jong-un's main nuclear testing facility." North Korea’s Punggye-ri facility suffered a devastating collapse, leaving around 200 people dead -- 100 people were killed when an unfinished tunnel collapsed at the NK main nuclear testing site, and another 100 people then died while attempting to rescue the buried workers. • Foreign experts, including China, had warned a collapse was likely, highlighting the danger of a cloud of radioactive fallout escaping from the site. The warnings came as a result of the earthquake-like tremors during the latest nuclear tests at Punggye-ri, built into Mount Mantap and extending deep within the mountain, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, on September 3. North Korea said it had detonated its first ever H-bomb in September, but did not comment on reports that the test caused serious damage to the facility’s foundations. Subsequent small earthquakes have since indicated that the area is becoming increasingly unstable.The Punggye-ri test of a huge 100-kiloton explosive seven times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WW2, is believed to have badly destabalized the mountainside-based facility. While a test site could be operated safely at such a location, unsophisticated engineers are believed to have increased the risk of disaster with crude drilling techniques. China had already issued a dire warning to Kim regarding the state of the nuclear testing site, saying a cloud of nuclear fallout could spread across "an entire hemisphere" if the facility collapsed. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geology and Geophysics warned : “China cannot sit and wait until the site implodes. Our instruments can detect nuclear fallout when it arrives, but it will be too late by then. There will be public panic and anger at the government for not taking action.” • The disaster was first revealed by Japan’s TV Asahi, although they could not clarify when the accident and subsequent fatal rescue attempts took place. They said North Korean sources told them the collapse occurred as workers were working on the new tunnel. A second collapse took place as workers tried to rescue their colleagues. Paul Richards, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said : “What we are seeing from North Korea looks like some kind of stress in the ground. In that part of the world, there were stresses in the ground, but the explosions have shaken them up." And, on Monday, South Korea also warned another nuclear test at the site could lead to a total collapse of the mountain facility, causing a deadly leak of radioactive materials. Even if a radioactive leak does not occurr, the disaster is a huge blow to Kim Jong-un. The new tunnel was very likely necessary to help modernize the facility and its collapse will severely slow North Korea’s nuclear progress. Monitoring group 38 North said this month: “If North Korea were to attempt to continue testing under this mountain, such as in the area more to the eastern side, then we would expect to see new tunnelling in the future near the North Portal, still under Mount Mantap.” • • • CHINA SIMULATES ATTACKS ON GUAM. Meanwhile, the UK Express reported on Tuesday that China has "simulated attacking Guam." The Express quoted US officials, who said Chinese bombers have been simulating attacks on Guam as part of a series of aggressive daily operations. The officials spoke to reporters travelling with the Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff, General Joseph Dunford. • North Korea had previously threatened to attack the island territory of Guam itself. But while Kim Jong-un’s sabre-rattling threats appear to have died down, China is continuing to provoke America in the Pacific. The US officials said they are confident the conflict with North Korea is “a fight we can win,” but said with China they “worry about the way things are going.” One official said : “The People’s Republic of China is practicing attacks on Guam. China is very much the long-term challenge in the region. When we look at the capabilities China is developing, we’ve got to make sure we maintain the ability to meet our alliance commitments in the Pacific.” The officials said these sorties are attempts by China to re-enforce its claims to huge areas of the South China Sea, including a string of disputed islands, stating that China had even taken control of 150,000 fishing vessels in the region, instructing them to ram Vietnamese boats -- and occasionally sinking them. And bombers now frequently storm through the area, an attempt at a “win without fighting” control of the region. This has led to an increase in confrontation between Chinese aircraft with those of the US and Japan. One official said : “It’s very common for Chinese aircraft to intercept US aircraft.” He said “armed Chinese Flankers and Japanese aircraft” are now doing into close proximity “on a daily basis." General Dunford also acknowledged the threat posed by China in the region but sent a message of intent to Beijing : “If we find ourselves in conflict out there we will be under air attack. We view ourselves as a Pacific power. There are some who try to create a narrative that we are not in the Pacific to stay. Our message is that we are a Pacific power. We intend to stay in the Pacific. Our future economic prosperity is inextricably linked to our security and political relationships in the region." • It would be comforting to know that while special prosecutor Robert Mueller is raising indictments related to Ukraine ten years ago, somebody in Congress is paying attention to a real problem, China's aggressive acts today and their impact on the entire Pacific. • • • THE CATALAN CRISIS. Again, it was the UK Express on Tuesday that reported extensively on Carles Puigdemont's re-appearance -- in Brussels -- after the Madrid crackdown on his Catalonia government. Puigdemont said he is not in Brussels for asylum, but that he wants an "EU reaction" to the Catalan crisis. Speaking in Catalan and French, Puigdemont said he had travelled to Brussels to make the EU see the crisis as "a priority" and to show the aggressive behavior from Spain. Puigdemont declared that Catalonia will not accept Article 155, which would "destroy" the region. He added that ministers are working to make it impossible for Madrid to "dismantle Catalan institutions." In a Tuesday press conference, he attacked the "aggression and violence against millions of people who exercised their right to vote," scathingly attacking Spain. He said "we've seen a very aggressive offensive against the Catalans." He added the priority is not violence, saying: "You can't build a republic upon violence. Peace and dialogue are our priority." He said the charges against him, of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, are an example of the "extreme opression" from Madrid. • Puigdemont has hired a top human rights lawyer in Belgium, Paul Bekaert, who has helped several alleged ETA terrorists fight extradition to Spain. Spanish prosecutors want Puigdemont and his former government charged with rebellion or sedition as well as embezzlement over what Spain sees as an illegal October 1 referendum on independence and the Catalan Parliament’s subsequent unilateral declaration of independence. Some analysts think Puigdemont picked Belgium, which can grant EU nationals political asylum under certain conditions, so he can use it as a safe base to force Europe to mediate in the Catalonia crisis. Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras has also raised the possibility that Puigdemont could try to establish a quasi government-in-exile from Belgium, saying : “We see Brussels as a place where a lot of work can be done.” • Spanish prosecutors are expected to seek Puigdemont’s extradition if he tries to stay in Belgium -- and seek his immediate incarceration if he decides to return voluntarily but fails to appear in court for questioning. The Express says that this Friday -- and if not, next week -- is believed to be the likely date for the summons to the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s National Criminal Court that will lead the lengthy criminal investigation into Puigdemont and his deposed government colleagues following the lawsuit presented by state prosecutors. • Spanish news website OKDiario.com claimed Puigdemont could end up going on to a third country to frustrate attempts to force him back to Spain if any hopes he harbors of staying in Belgium are blocked : “Puigdemont’s flight to Brussels along with part of his deposed government has been a surprise. It’s also an inconvenience because if he ends up asking for asylum in Belgium the Spanish government would have to seek his extradition. There’s another possibility and that is that Puigdemont...decides to put more distance between himself and Spanish justice and ‘jumps’ from Brussels to another country that can shelter him and whose relationship with Spain is not an ideal one.” Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala said he was confident any attempt by Puigdemont to seek political asylum in Belgium would be over in “half an hour.” • In an indication of just how high-handed Spain is being with the duly elected Catalan government, Socialist Party (PSOE) veteran Alfonso Guerra, ex-vice president of the Spanish government, accused the Catalan president of having a “Dalai Lama” complex : “I don’t think he’ll ask for political asylum. He’s in Europe. He’s ignorant. He’s probably just having a few drinks in a bar in Brussels.” A journalist on state broadcaster TVE called Puigdemont “pathetic.” • Right-leaning Spanish newspaper La Razon reported that several other members of Puigdemont’s deposed government had travelled to Belgium to join the five ex-ministers who travelled with him by car to Marseille and on to Brussels by plane. • Puigdemont’s Spanish lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, when asked if Puigdemont would show up if he was summonsed for questioning, said : “I can’t say he will or that he won’t,” labeling the Spanish State Prosecution Service lawsuit, announced by Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza Monday, as absurd. He told Catalan radio station RAC1 : “I think it is a disproportionate response because it has the same level of gravity as terrorism. The accusation of rebellion requires the existence of violence as a core element and there hasn’t been any.” • And that sad note on the disconcerting Franco imitations of the Spanish government brings us to the last news of the day -- an over-reaching US federal indictment. • • • THE MANAFORT INDICTMENT. The Daily Caller, along with every media outlet in the world, covered on Monday the indictment of the person the media love to call the "former Trump campaign chairman." Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were indicted in a federal court on 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the United States, and making false and misleading statements. • The indictment has NOTHING to do with Trump or the Trump campaign...NOTHING !!! • But, as for the accusations against Manafort, Mueller says that between 2006 and 2014, Manafort and Gates failed to disclose lobbying and public relations work they conducted at the direction of Russia-supported Ukraine president Yanukovych and his political party, that Manafort and Gates were in direct contact with Yanukovych as part of the consulting contract; that Manafort and Gates laundered tens of millions of dollars from offshore shell companies, and that Manafort laundered $18 million from overseas companies by wiring funds to businesses in the US [Wow, is that dumb!!!], including a men’s clothing store in New York, an antique rug store in Virginia, and a home improvement company in the Hamptons. And -- most likely to be the element that convicts Manafort -- tax evasion. • The Daily Caller says the indictment appears only loosely related to the core of Mueller’s Russia investigation that began in May when the former FBI director was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate Russian interference in the US election, as well as any related issues, including possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Trump has always vehemently denied that it did and in a year of digging with bulldozers, nothing has been uncovered. But, Manafort has links to pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine. Manafort has also done business with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who became the Russian aluminum magnate and who has close ties to Putin. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that just after joining the Trump campaign, Manafort sent emails to a Ukrainian business associate in which he appeared to offer to brief Deripaska on the campaign : “If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote to his associate on July 7, 2016. • Mueller is focusing on several suspicious wire-transfers Manafort made four years before the presidential election, according to a Sunday report from Buzzfeed. Manafort allegedly made 13 wire transfers from 2011 to 2012 that drew the attention of federal law enforcement officials who were examining whether he was helping the Ukrainian regime launder millions it plundered through corrupt dealings. Much of the money was filtered through the US before landing in various areas around the world, according to Buzzfeed. American financial institutions, which are required by law to tell the Treasury Department about any transactions they deem suspicious, began flagging Manafort’s transactions, Buzzfeed notes. Suspicious activity reports do not prove wrongdoing, but they are sufficient to begin probes. Federal law requires financial institutions to file reports on cash transactions exceeding $10,000 in a single day. Manafort’s suspicious financial transactions were flagged as far back as 2012 and forwarded to the FBI’s International Corruption Unit and the Department of Justice, a former Treasury official told reporters. Law enforcement officials said they found red flags in his banking records going back to 2004. Four of the transfers originated with Manafort’s political consulting firm Global Endeavour, hired by Yanukovych to consult and lobby on his behalf. Manafort was working with the former Ukrainian president to lobby the US and other Western countries to support for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union. • • • MANAFORT AND TONY PODESTA. Mueller expanded the investigation to focus on Tony Podesta and his Democrat-leaning lobbying firm with connections to Hillary Clinton, sources told NBC in an October 24 report. The details of the Podesta connection are that Manafort organized a public relations campaign for a group called European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which lobbied the US to support Ukraine’s EU push. Podesta’s company worked on the campaign. The sources said Mueller’s investigation into Podesta, the brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, began as a fact-finding mission about Manafort’s role in the campaign but quickly morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the Podesta firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act -- people and firms who lobby on behalf of foreign governments must file detailed disclosures about their spending with the Department of Justice. Willful failure to file is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison. Podesta and Manafort filed the required forms only after the media began reporting on their dealings with ECMU, according to NBC’s report. • If Paul Manafort is guilty of failing to register as an agent of a foreign government -- well before Manafort was on the Trump campaign team -- then so is Tony Podesta, who is also up to his waist in alligators regarding collusion between the Democrats and Hillary and Russia and Ukraine. Tom Podesta, the head of one of Washington's most powerful lobbying firms, did not disclose the wide extent of its lucrative political work representing a Ukrainian nonprofit, the ECMU, as it sought to counter the Obama administration's critical stance toward Ukraine's pro-Russia government and Congress' growing annoyance with Ukraine's leaders. The ECMU was tied to both Manafort and pro-Russian politicians, new filing records show. The Podesta Group said nothing in a 2012 lobbying report to Congress about at least 32 meetings, emails and other communications it had with the State Department, at a time when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scrutinizing Ukraine's upcoming election, according to records. The new disclosures in April 2017 filings to correct lobbying reports from 2012 to 2014 that had given little detail shed light on the web of contacts between Russian-leaning Ukrainians, Washington lobbyists and US policymakers during the Obama administration. Tony Podesta's brother, John, a longtime advisor to Clinton and chairman of her 2016 presidential campaign, had been a senior counselor to President Barack Obama in 2014 and had previously been head of a Soros think tank located close to the White House. John was also in the lobbying business with his brother, but is not currently affiliated with his brother's firm. • • • TRUMP AND MUELLER. The Daily Caller also reported on Monday a series of tweets posted Sunday from Trump, suggesting he would be in favor of an investigation into Uranium One : “Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?),” Trump wrote regarding Democrat funding of the Steele Russia Dossier that alleged ties between his campaign and Russia. He added, “the Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more…DO SOMETHING!” • • • McCARTHY CALLS INDICTMENT SHAKY. Former US Attorney Andrew McCarthy wrote in the National Review Online that Mueller’s indictments are about getting Manafort and Gates to cooperate, and, for now, have nothing to do with allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election : “From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a boon from which he can claim that the special counsel has no actionable collusion case. It appears to reaffirm former FBI director James Comey’s multiple assurances that Trump is not a suspect. And, to the extent it looks like an attempt to play prosecutorial hardball with Manafort, the President can continue to portray himself as the victim of a witch hunt.” • McCarthy said “Mueller’s case, at least in part, seems shaky and overcharged” based on what’s been unsealed, adding : “Obviously, one purpose of the conspiracy count (Count One) is to enable prosecutors, under the guise of establishing the full scope of the scheme, to prove law violations that would otherwise be time-barred [beyond the statute of limitations]. It may well be that Manafort and Gates made false statements when they belatedly registered as foreign agents, but it appears that Mueller’s office has turned one offense into two, which is an abusive prosecutorial tactic that flouts congressional intent. Finally, the money-laundering conspiracy allegation (Count Two) seems far from slam-dunk -- for someone to be guilty of laundering, the money involved has to be the proceeds of criminal activity before the accused starts concealing it by (a) moving it through accounts or changing its form by buying assets, etc., or (b) dodging a reporting requirement under federal law.” • • • MUELLER VS. NUNES AND GOWDY. American Thinker's Thomas Lifson wrote on Tuesday : "Special counsels, with their unlimited budgets and access to grand juries, can be fearsomely arbitrary. But in the case of Robert Mueller and his staff of Democrat donors, there is competition that threatens to show up any bias toward hunting only Republicans. Given the fact that this is primarily a political, not a legal tussle, Mueller should be worried about his reputation. William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal explains : 'Like the special prosecutor, Mr. Nunes and his committee have been investigating the 2016 presidential campaign. Unlike the special prosecutor, Mr. Nunes has unearthed hard evidence about both Russian influence on the election and domestic spying on Trump campaign officials. And if the committee gets the documents it has been demanding for months about the FBI’s handling of the salacious Christopher Steele dossier, this week may end even more explosively than it’s begun.' " • Despite the MSM hype, Mueller’s first indictments have nothing to do with Russia or the election, and suggest Mueller is desperate to find any crime among Trump staffers. In plain Emglish -- a witch hunt. An indictment of Tony Podesta might camouflage the partisan nature of the witch hunt, but would be just as far-removed from the mandate Mueller received. • What has Nunes’s committee found? Here's what Lifson says : "Turns out that in the Obama years, especially in 2016, officials made many requests to unmask the identities of Americans, including Trump campaign officials, who were caught up in foreign surveillance. When asked about it by PBS’s Judy Woodruff back in March, Obama national security advisor Susan Rice claimed she was 'surprised' and told Ms. Woodruff 'I know nothing about this.' Under oath before Mr. Nunes’s committee, Ms. Rice’s memory returned, and she admitted of unmasking senior figures in the Trump campaign. Meanwhile the committee learned that Ms. Rice’s colleague at the United Nations, Ambassador Samantha Power, had made hundreds of unmasking requests. During Ms. Power’s appearance before the committee, she oddly claimed others were doing much of the asking -- even though her name was on these requests. Did anyone outside the House committee think to ask why a Democrat White House was so free with such sensitive info in an election year? The unmasking of Trump aides could amount to use of the NSA’s universal telecom surveillance capability to spy on the rival party’s campaign, a scandal unprecedented in the history of the Republic." • Representative Trey Gowdy told Fox News last weekend that it appears the Clinton campaign attempted to “launder all of this through a law firm” to avoid transparency laws. Gowdy said : “I’m not an election law expert, but the good news is you don’t have to be to understand the absurdity of believing you can just launder all of your campaign money by just hiring a law firm. Imagine if you and I were running for Congress, and we just hired a law firm and said ‘Hey, you go do all the opposition, you go buy all the television, you go buy all the bumper stickers, you go hire all the experts, and we will launder all of this through the law firm. I can’t think of anything that defeats the purpose of transparency laws more than that. I am interested in that, and I am also interested in sharing some memory tricks with folks at the DNC because no one can remember who paid 10 million dollars to a law firm to do oppo research. I find that stunning. $10 million and no one can remember who authorized it, who approved it. So you’ve got two issues, a memory issue and then the lack of transparency by laundering money through a law firm.” • Even New York Times senior White House correspondent Maggie Haberman and reporter Kenneth Vogel agree, slamming Hillary's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, saying they lied about funding for the so-called Trump Steele Dossier. Vogel tweeted : "When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying 'You (or your sources) are wrong,' " referring to Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias. Haberman tweeted : "Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year." • And, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board cited the Dossier development in calling for Mueller’s resignation last Thursday, saying the “troubling question is whether the FBI played a role” in aiding a “Russian disinformation campaign,” saying there are two pertinent questions : "Did the dossier trigger the FBI probe of the Trump campaign, and did Mr. Comey or his agents use it as evidence to seek wiretapping approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Trump campaign aides?" The Editorial Board, turning to Mueller's role, wrote : "The Fusion news means the FBI’s role in Russia’s election interference must now be investigated -- even as the FBI and Justice insist that Mr. Mueller’s probe prevents them from cooperating with Congressional investigators. Mr. Mueller is a former FBI director, and for years he worked closely with Mr. Comey. It is no slur against Mr. Mueller’s integrity to say that he lacks the critical distance to conduct a credible probe of the bureau he ran for a dozen years. He could best serve the country by resigning to prevent further political turmoil over that conflict of interest." • • • DEAR READERS, as Business Insider wrote last week : "Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a tough job. After all, how can you prove allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials to influence our 2016 presidential election when, from all evidence after a year and a half of investigation, it didn't happen? Naming Mueller to head the investigation was a huge error. His investigation should be shut down and Mueller sent home." • If we put aside for another day the pay-for-play of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her husband former President Bill Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation charity that took in millions of dollars from Russian entities and the grateful executives of Uranium One, who were taken over by the deep-pocketed Russians -- a classic example of illegal pay-for-play, and yet neither President Obama's Justice Department nor his FBI found anything wrong with it," we can instead, says Business Insider : "Fast forward to 2016, and Hillary and the DNC retaining Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. Fusion then hired former British spy Christopher Steele, a man who, as former head of the Moscow desk for Britain's MI6 intelligence agency, has deep espionage ties in Russia, to do 'research' on Trump." What they got instead, says Business Insider, was "innuendo, half-truths, distortions, exaggerations and just plain gossip -- much of it from Russian "sources." And yet, this "phantasmagorical bit of research became the basis for a full-blown investigation of the Trump campaign's supposed ties to Russian officials and their interference in the 2016 presidential election." The collusion in 2016 wasn't on the part of Trump, but Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, who have been playing a double-game with the Russians since at least Obama's first term. That's the real collusion. And, in typical Progressive fashion, they have accused their opponent of the very thing they are guilty of -- colluding with a possible enemy. Yet,says Business Iinsider : "It is now clear that the real Russian collusion was among Hillary and Bill Clinton, their Clinton Foundation, the DNC, Democratic operatives and bagmen John and Tony Podesta, Fusion GPS and James Comey. Not Trump and his campaign. When a legal mistake of this magnitude is made, it must be undone. That's just what Congress is doing right now. In recent days, both houses of Congress have unveiled investigations into the Uranium One deal and possible pay-for-play deals at Hillary Clinton's State Department and her family Clinton Foundation." • In addition, the very premise of the Russian investigation has been proven false, based almost entirely on a politically motivated opposition-research operation run by the Democrats against Trump, and later picked up by the FBI's Comey and used to get FISA approval for "wiretap" surveillance of the Trump team. • Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo insists that he has been told by intelligence sources that hundreds of Trump campaign figures were unmasked in this espionage effort. The Steele Russia Dossier is by all accounts at the heart of the reason the FISA Court reversed itself to permit the unmasking, a request it had earlier denied prior to the production of the Steele Dossier. So, if the special counsel appointment of Mueller and his Democrat activist employees was a result of the phony Steele Dossier, Thomas Lifson concludes : "Messrs. Manafort and Gates may well be guilty of everything they’ve been charged with. But this week, thanks to a congressional committee’s persistence, we may find out the answer to what surely is a much more combustible question : whether a presidential campaign was able to leverage opposition research based on Russian disinformation to bring about an FBI investigation into its rival’s campaign." • Would it not, dear readers, be the ultimate justice if the Supreme Court throws out all "evidence" collected under the FISA surveillance warrants because the factual premises presented, by using the Steele Russia Dossier, to convince FISA to grant the surveillance was, and was probably known by the Obama petitioners to be, false. Remember that I told you this on All Saints Day, 2017.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Frights -- Hillary, Perez on the Constitution, Obama's DOJ, and Losing West Africa to ISIS

THE REAL NEWS TODAY? IT'S HALLOWEEN AND WHAT COULD BE SCARIER THAN HILARY & CO. Even without their masks, Hillary and her ProgDem followers are downright frightening -- For example... • • • PEREZ AND THE CONSITUTION. The Daily Caller and Reuters reported last week that Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez falsely claimed that the Electoral College is not “a creation of the Constitution.” During a lecture at Indiana University Law School, Perez said the Electoral College “doesn’t have to be there,” asserting that the national popular vote should be the principal standard : “The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution. It doesn’t have to be there,” he said. “There’s a national popular vote compact in which a number of states have passed a bill that says we will allocate our vote, our electoral votes, to the person who wins the national popular vote once other states totaling 270 electoral votes do the same.” Perez’s claim that the Electoral College is not part of the US Constitution is COMPLETELY FALSE. Article II clearly outlines the electoral process, dictating that states must appoint electors who meet and vote for the President : “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” • Beware of this sinister "popular vote compact" -- it is the brainchild of the Soros Open Society and is meant to eliminate the Electioral College provision from the US Constitution without the required constitutional amendment process that is also in the Constitution. Soros' goal is to prevent any Republican conservative from ever again being elected President because of the fact that the East and West Coasts where his Progressives live have in total more popular votes than the heartland where Republican conservatives live. So, eliminating the Electoral College would give the popular vote -- and the presidency -- to the Progessives every time. It is the Electoral College that makes constitutional rule in the Republic possible, giving states the obligation to cast votes for President according to the vote in each state, in a process that gives equal weight to popular votes and the reasoned judgment of elected officials sworn to uphold the Constitution, in case a demagogue takes control of the United States -- a lot like right now. • Perez has made statements in the past that President Donald Trump “didn’t win” the 2016 presidential election because former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. No wonder Hillary picked Perez to be her chairman of the DNC. • • • OBAMA DOJ GAVE MONEY TO LEFTIST CAUSES. Daily Caller reported last week that the Obama Department of Justice funneled 'Big Bank' settlement money To liberal groups. The Daily Caller News Foundation says emails written by Obama administration DOJ officials confirm reports the agency engaged in a systemic effort to funnel money to liberal advocacy organizations from settlements reached with big banks, while taking steps to prevent conservative causes from receiving any such money. The documents, obtained by the House Judiciary Committee as part of an ongoing investigation, reveal the Obama Justice Department effectively skirted Congress’s budgetary authority by requiring that major financial institutions donate to a group of affordable housing nonprofits and legal advocacy organizations as part of settlement agreements resulting from predatory mortgage lending practices. The internal DOJ documents represent the latest revelation in a two-year investigation spearheaded by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. The congressional investigation has thus far produced evidence implicating the Obama DOJ in using mandatory donations to funnel roughly $1 billion in settlement money to activist groups, including The National Council of La Raza that wants to annex part of California as a home for Mexicans, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the National Urban League. The list of third party organizations were unrelated to the legal settlements, except through general claims that they would use the funds to aid the low income Americans most severely harmed by predatory lending practices. Goodlatte says the Obama DOJ practices amounted to the creation of a “slush fund” used to channel money to “left-wing” groups on the House floor before a vote on legislation that would stem the practice. The bill, introduced by Goodlatte in January, prohibits the government from entering into any settlement agreement that benefits any party other than the government, with few exceptions. The vote passed mostly along party lines after hours of debate. • Obama DOJ officials implicated in the effort have defended the settlements on the grounds that the banks made the donations willingly -- right!!! -- before signing the agreements. Critics allege, and documents suggest, that the donations were prearranged and stipulated as requirement under the settlement deals. The internal documents, turned over to the House Judiciary Committee and obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, include email exchanges in which DOJ officials discuss how to most effectively funnel settlement funds to liberal advocacy groups, to the explicit exclusion of conservative organizations. An internal email exchange reveals that DOJ officials made a concerted effort to prevent the allocation of settlement funds to a conservative legal group : “Concerns include: a) not allowing Citi to pick a statewide intermediary like the Pacific Legal Foundation (does conservative property rights free legal services).” A senior Obama DOJ official confirmed the extensive coordination required to prevent conservative groups from benefiting from the financial settlements in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. • These documents appearing to show a coordinated effort to hand pick the beneficiaries of the settlement money contradict Obama Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Graber’s February 2015 testimony. Graber told the House Judiciary Committee under oath that “the Department did not want to be in the business of picking and choosing which organization may or may not receive any funding under the agreement.” Graber’s testimony is further refuted by the contents of an email, sent by another DOJ official, in which she points out that the settlement provisions require the banks to “make donations to categories of entities we have specified (as opposed to what the bank might normally choose to donate to).” • The DOJ announced large settlement packages that included mandatory donations to various liberal community groups also included an “enhanced credit” provision, which effectively credited the bank $2 toward their settlement for every $1 donated to a community organization. This settlement structure incentivized the banks to donate to third party nonprofits such as housing and legal advocacy orgnaizations unconnected to the actual legal wrongdoing, because donations to the plaintiffs in the case were given dollar-for-dollar credit. • • • THE MILITARY AUTHORIZATION ISSUE RAISES ITS HEAD -- AGAIN. In what has got to be the most important news today, TheHill reported last weekend that the Niger ambush that killed four US soldiers has ramped up the pressure on Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who testifed Monday before the Senate on war authorizations. Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee are expected to hit them with questions about the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria expanding into Africa, with some insisting the new battlefield should require an update to the 16-year-old authorization for the use of military force (AUMF). • Of course, it is ProgDems and #Never Trumps who are leading the charge. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary's bland VP running mate choice, said after a classified hearing last week : “I am very disturbed at the authorities question...just the extent of the operations. I don’t think Congress has necessarily been kept completely kept up to date, and the American public I think certainly has not.” Besides Kaine, who for years has been one of Congress’s most vocal proponents of a new AUMF, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who has warned in his recent fits of hysteria that the President’s rhetoric could set off "World War III," thinks there are a number of issues to address in the AUMF debate : “I think that what’s happened in Niger and what’s happening around the world and then some of the things that are happening in the North Korea issue and the conflict there, the conflict that could occur there -- I think it’s going to end up being much more expansive than originally thought, so we’re probably going to take our time, not just walking through the AUMF for ISIS, but also to walk through other things that a White House can do without congressional authority.” Corker's Democratic counterpart on the committee, ranking member Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, agreed that the Niger attack has underscored the need for a new AUMF : “Having said that, the challenge of getting one done is not going to be easier. There are those who believe the President should have broad powers. There’s those of us who are worried about having our troops called in when they shouldn’t. So it’s hard to get that balance.” Cardin says it’s time to find out if there can be common ground on time limits, geographic limits and ground troops : “I think what we’re going to try to find out is what authorization do they need. And to try to see whether we can’t agree on limitations on authorizations that could get us significant -- enough support in Congress to pass an AUMF.” Though the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has jurisdiction over the AUMF, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain -- who else? -- has said he is also working on a new authorization in the wake of the Niger attack with Armed Service ranking Democrat Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. McCain said last Thursday : “Jack Reed and I are talking about an AUMF. Obviously this conflict, with Raqqa and Mosul, is moving now into Africa.” Should we be so unkind as to remind McCain and Reed that Raqqa, Syria, ISIS’s de facto capital, and the Iraqi city of Mosul, the largest city ever held by ISIS, have been retaken by US-backed forces since Trump became President. • The hurdles that keep Congress from passing a new AUMF, including deep divisions over sunset dates, ground troops and geographic constraints, still exist, making chances of success for this latest push very iffy. Mattis and Tillerson have briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the AUMF behind closed doors and have been asked about it at public hearings. • The Trump administration relies on the 2001 AUMF for legal authority in the war against ISIS, as did the Obama administration. The AUMF authorized military actions against al-Qaida, the Taliban and other perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Proponents of using it against ISIS argue that the terrorist group grew out of al-Qaida, while opponents highlight the two groups’ public falling-out as well as the fact that ISIS did not exist in 2001. The administration told Congress in a letter earlier this year that it believes the 2001 AUMF provides sufficient legal cover for the ISIS war, and so it is not seeking a new one. But after Mattis and Tillerson briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the issue in closed session in August, Senators said they were under the impression that the administration would not actively oppose Congress passing a new AUMF. In fact, Mattis has said publicly he thinks a new AUMF is important to signal support for the mission : “As far as the AUMF goes, my point is that we need the unity of the American government, and with the Congress involved that brings the unity of the American people to this fight." • NOTE TO THE US SENATE -- THE US MILITARY HAS BEEN IN MALI SINCE 2013. No, Senator McCain, as you well know, the US military war on ISIS is not just now "moving now into Africa.” • On January 26, 2013 -- just a week after Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term -- the Washington Post no less published a report about the US military helping France in Mali. The WP said : "The United States is significantly expanding its assistance to a French assault on islamist militants in Mali by offering aerial refueling and planes to transport soldiers from other African nations, the Pentagon announced Saturday night. The gesture comes amid a debate within the Obama administration about how deeply it should engage in the French effort to prevent islamists from wresting control of the West African nation. French requests for more robust support from Washington raised a legal dilemma because US law forbids foreign assistance funds to leaders that came to power through a coup. Mali’s military leaders, including some trained by US troops, seized power last year by force." -- Do we REALLY believe that Obama was worried about the legal nicety of Mali being run by a government that took power through a coup??? -- In the WP January 2013 article, a US defense official was quoted : “The French requested this support, and we believe it was important to move ahead. The US has the most advanced refueling technology in the world, and we wanted to provide this support.” Finally, the WP said that the US "has concluded that the expanded assistance is legally sound because of France’s notification to the United Nations Security Council that its mission in Mali is being offered at the request of the African country’s government, which is fighting 'terrorist elements.' ” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel James Gregory said in a statement : “Under these circumstances, the US can lawfully provide support to France’s efforts in the armed conflict in Mali. The coup bars 'foreign assistance funds,' not military support. We remain mindful of, and are carefully taking into account, the coup restrictions as our plans for assistance develop." The WP said the Pentagon made the announcement after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke to his French counterpart about the conflict in Mali, and a call a day earlier between President Obama and French President Francois Hollande. The Washington Post reported that : "During the Saturday call, Panetta commended France’s offensive and 'noted recent operational successes that have helped turn back terrorist advances.' " The WP described the US military intervention as "offering aerial refueling, which will enhance France’s ability to bomb suspected islamist cells, making US military aircraft available to ferry allied soldiers from African nations including Chad and Togo to 'support the international effort in Mali.' ” • France deployed troops to Mali on January 11, 2013, fearing that rebel militants could be close to seizing control of the capital, Bamako. The landlocked country, home to 14.5 million people, is a former French colony and remains an important trade partner for Paris. US officials have watched Mali’s turmoil with great concern, fearing that large, strategically important regions of the African country could become havens for hard-line islamist militants with global terrorist aspirations. As French troops descended on the Malian capital, some French officials held out hope that the United States and Britain would provide significant support. London and Washington have endorsed the offensive, but the two allies have only pledged non-lethal support, mainly transport planes. Mali is the home of the tombs of Islamic saints, which were destroyed by islamist group Ansar Dine, in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012, following which sharia law was imposed in Timbuktu. In December 2012, leaders of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agree to deploy a force of up to 3,300 troops for a year. On January 10, 2013, the UN Security Council approved sending an African-led force to take back northern Mali from the islamists. A day later , on January 11, 2013, French President Francois Hollande announced military intervention to halt advances by the rebels. French air strikes help drove islamist rebels from Konna, which the islamists had entered, and French warplanes bombed central Mali after islamist guerrillas captured the town of Diabaly. • NOTE that the American military, on January 21, 2013, deployed 100 trainers to assist in the training mission in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana -- the six nations that contributed troops to the pan-African force deployed in Mali. • In an addendum to the US military deployment in Africa's Mali, the Atlantic Council on November 14, 2013, published an article titled "The Role of the US Air Force in the French Mission in Mali." The article was written by Gabe Starosta, managing editor of the defense newsletter “Inside the Air Force,” and was originally published in the AIR FORCE MAGAZINE. In it Starosta said : "France’s intervention in Mali earlier this year -- helping its former colony defend against Islamic extremists -- didn’t get the media attention lavished on the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi or the crisis in Syria. But the Mali mission has so far proved successful , and likely because of the substantial help France got from the US -- largely through the Air Force. France sent fighter aircraft and troops to Mali, along with various ground vehicles and all the related gear. Although France has cargo aircraft -- and even KC-135 strategic air refueling aircraft to move its equipment long distances -- mobility support is exactly what France received from the US, along with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assistance." A French EMbassy spokesman told Starosta : "We can emphasize the very substantial and helpful support the USAF is providing to the French in Mali in terms of ISR, air-to-air refueling, and logistic transport assets. The French air force possesses its own assets in those three strategic areas, but not as widely as the USAF does,” calling the US assistance "nothing less than essential in allowing the operation to proceed." Starosta reported that the C-17 was the main aircraft used by American forces early in the conflict to transport French troops and cargo into Mali, and that US C-130s were used to move people and equipment around the country throughout the last 10 months. Starosta said : "The intervention has been effective at restoring civilian government and limiting the political power of potential terrorists in North Africa. In May, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian visited Washington DC and expressed how satisfied his department had been with the Pentagon’s -- and mainly the Air Force’s -- cooperation in the critical opening months of the campaign. In the early, most dangerous days of Operation Serval, the name given by France to the military intervention against terrorists in Mali, French fighter aircraft relied heavily on American KC-135 refueling tankers to extend their missions." Justine Leger, a spokeswoman for the French government in Paris, explained to Starosta that French fighters staged their missions from N’Djamena, the capital city of Chad, separated from Mali by Niger. Mali’s large size (about twice the size of Texas) made aerial tanking a necessity. Leger said : “The commitment of US tankers [contributed to] French combat aircraft capacity to perform the two hours of flight from N’Djamena to Mali, achieve their missions, and fly back to N’Djamena. Many of those missions needed not less than three or four in-flight refuelings in order to get a significant time over the engagement area. In that sense, the US assistance has been very helpful.” Leger said the French engaged around half their own refueling fleet in the operation and that in the first six weeks of Serval, American C-17s flew 120 sorties transporting troops and equipment into North Africa in addition to the Air Force’s tanking mission. Starosta gave the following breakdown : "By the end of the 818th’s 30-day deployment, US aircraft had flown 190 sorties, transported 1,480 French troops, and moved 2,400 tons -- almost five million pounds -- of cargo and equipment into Mali....As of September 11, 2013, Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers off-loaded more than 14 million pounds of fuel for French operations in Mali, while airlift aircraft (C-130s and C-17s) moved or delivered more than 121 tons of cargo within the theater. The service had also moved 334 passengers around Mali through early August. The third major mission area where France needed assistance was in ISR, but Air Force officials at the Pentagon declined to discuss how the service met that request." NOTE : ISR refers to "Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance" functions that are principal elements of US defense capabilities, and include a wide variety of systems for acquiring and processing information needed by national security decisionmakers and military commanders. • • • DEAR READERS, a trusted friend and advisor and I were recently talking about the media splash over the re-taking of Raqqa in Syria, with the MSM calling it the end of ISIS. I doubted that, but since I don't have a military background, I wondered if the fall of Raqqa really was the end for ISIS. My friend sent me a bit of advice : "Our military history is ladened with the art of declaring victory from battles that were never pivotal in the war. Politicians' knee jerk reaction to declare victory is foolhardy and nearly always detrimental to the overall objective. War is a living and breathing thing that has a life span that is adjusted not by single victories, but rather a series of enemy defeats that staggers and disrupts their ability and will to win. That is when defeat starts. War is also a living and spontaneously dying thing. So, military victory is a series of events that come into play at the same time. And the pre-victory and post-victory period of the chess game is critical in timing and recognition. Sometimes it comes and goes and is never recognized as what was available at hand by the 'non-field' commanders." • Non-field commanders -- "There's the rub." What if the US military had been prevented from providing essential support to France in the short period in January 2013 when it was the make-or-break time in saving Mali from being overrun by islamic terrorists? What if the US military had been stalled while Senate committees debated and angled for media opportunities while "Mali burned," so to speak? What if US military field commanders had been overruled by "non-field commanders" and the US help to save Mali had never arrived? What if???...that is the point of the silliness now heating up again in the Senate. The AUMF debate has appeared several times before in the Trump administration, notably after President Trump ordered a US strike on a Syrian airbase and the several times when Trump has appeared to threaten military action against North Korea. Some ProgDems have even called for legislation that would prevent Commander-in-Chief Trump from making decisions about North Korea military strikes without congressional approval. • But, just for clarity, the French military presence in Mali goes on and is keeping the entire area of West Africa from being overrun by ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups. And, without the initial US military assistance, the French would have been hard-pressed to do what was required to get the head start on islamic terrorists in Mali. And, the US military continues to have a presence in Mali for this very reason -- to keep West Africa from falling to ISIS and other islamic terrorist groups. • The scariest thought for Halloween is this -- If we thought that running the US military from the Obama Oval Office was bad, just imagine running it from congressional committees.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Catalonia, Austria, America -- Citizens Taking Back Governments from Elites and Opposing Illegal Immigration

THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THE SEA CHANGE TAKING PLACE IN EUROPE AND AMERICA. Americans tend to look at their current political upheavals as one-of-a-kind turmoil. It isn't so. Spain and Austria -- as well as Great Britain -- are undergoing the same political upheaval. It's all about citizens taking back control of their governments and their destiny. • • • CATALONIA VOTES FOR INDEPENDENCE. On Friday, Catalonia’s regional parliament declared its independence from Spain in a disputed vote, triggering the central Spanish government to activate its direct rule over the region. Fox News called it "an acrimonious vote," as separatist lawmakers approved a motion saying they are establishing an independent Catalan Republic with 70 votes in favor to 10 against; with two blank ballots. After the vote, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said : "Today our legitimate parliament....fulfilled the long-desired and fought-for step...in the days ahead we must keep to our values of pacifism and dignity. It's in our, in your hands, to build the republic.” But, in Madrid, a Senate majority gave Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy the go-ahead to apply unprecedented constitutional measures, including firing Puigdemont and his Cabinet and curtailing Catalan parliamentary powers. Rajoy said what happened in Catalonia was “proof” that invoking Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution that gives the central government the power to rule the affairs of Spain's semi-autonomous regions was “necessary.” Rajoy called the parliament’s independence vote “illegal” and a “delinquent act.” The Catalan motion calls for beginning an independence process that includes drafting Catalonia's new top laws and opening negotiations "on equal footing" with Spanish authorities to establish cooperation. It was boycotted by opposition lawmakers who left the Catalonia parliament in protest. Outside, an estimated hundred thousand pro-independence Catalans cheered as the results were announced. Rajoy called for “tranquility” in the Catalan region and promised “the rule of law will restore legality.” • As we might expect, no country has expressed support for the secession bid. The US State Department said Friday it stands in support of Spain's government in its efforts to stop Catalonia's independence bid : "Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government's constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united." European Council President Donald Tusk said it would continue to only deal with Spain : “For the EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favors force of argument, not argument of force.” • Spain's prosecutor's office said the prosecutor would seek rebellion charges for those responsible for the Catalan independence vote, after determining if only the Catalan cabinet, including Puigdemont and Junqueras, will be charged, or if the target that would also include members of the parliament's governing board and lawmakers. He said the charges could be brought as early as Monday. Under Spanish criminal law, rebellion can be punished by up to 25 years in prison, with shorter penalties if the rebellion doesn't lead to violence. Late on Friday, the Catalan police chief was "dismissed' by Madrid. It will be the first time in 40 years of democratic rule that the Madrid-based national government will directly run the affairs of one of Spain's 17 semi-autonomous regions, a move that will likely fan the flames of the Catalan revolt. Polls show its 7.5 million inhabitants are roughly evenly divided over independence. • • • BRIEF HISTORY OF CATALONIA. The region has been in existence since pre-Roman times as an independent entity often attacked and occupied by other Iberian regions, and later by the Castilian Spanish kingdom. The Catalan language is not a dialect of Spanish, but a language that developed independently out of the vulgate Latin spoken by the Romans who colonized the Tarragona area. It is spoken by 9 million people in Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Isles, Andorra and the town of Alghero in Sardinia. In the 12th century, the region was brought under the neighbouring kingdom of Aragon, going on to become a major medieval sea power. • Catalonia has been part of "Spain" since its beginning in the 15th century, when King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile married and united their realms. Catalonia has played an important role in the history of the Iberian Peninsula. The Principality of Catalonia saw a prosperous period at the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th. The population increased and Catalan culture expanded into the islands of the Western Mediterranean, including the conquest of Sicily and Menorca, the successful defense against a French crusade and the conquest of Sardinia. Catalonia was the center of the flourishing Aragonese empire. The Principality of Catalonia developed a complex institutional and political system based in the concept of a pact between the three estates of the realm and the king, creating one of the first parliamentary bodies of Europe that banned the royal power to create legislation unilaterally, since 1283, and created a tist of rights for citizens of the Principality. In order to collect general taxes, the Courts of 1359 established a permanent representation of deputies, later known as Generalitat -- the government -- which gained important political power in the next centuries. The fate of Catalonia was tied to the struggles of the 16th to 18th centuries among the French, British and Habsburgs, with Catalan independence being recognized and refused depending on the current occupants of the region. From the 17th century, it was the center of a separatist movement that sometimes dominated Spanish affairs. Catalans have never abandoned their ancient sense of being a cohesive cultural and political entity demanding its rights as an independent people. • It was the Catalans under the Generalitat who fought fiercely against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. The Aragon front resisted firmly until 1938, when Franco's troops fnally isolated Catalonia from the rest of republican Spain. The defeat of the Republican armies in the Battle of the Ebro led in 1938 and 1939 to the occupation of Catalonia by Franco's forces. As in the rest of Spain, the Franco era (1939–1975) in Catalonia saw the annulment of democratic liberties, the prohibition and persecution of parties, the rise of thoroughgoing censorship, and the banning of all leftist, i.e., populist, institutions. In Catalonia it also meant, yet again, the annulment of the Statute of Autonomy, that is, the banning of all specifically Catalan institutions. During the first Franco years, all resistance was suppressed, prisons filled up with political prisoners, and thousands of Catalans went into exile. In addition, 4,000 Catalans were executed between 1938 and 1953, among them the former president of the Generalitat Lluís Companys. It was only 40 years later, after Franco's death (1975) and the adoption of a democratic constitution in Spain (1978), that Catalonia recovered its autonomy and reconstituted the Generalitat (1977). • George Orwell served in Catalonia from December 1936 until June 1937. His memoir of that time, Homage to Catalonia, was first published in 1938 and remains one of the most widely read books on the Spanish Civil War. • The dictator Franco banned the Catalan language from public spaces and made Spanish the sole language of public life. For 40 years under the dictatorship, Spain tried to present itself as an ethnically and politically homogeneous state. After an initial period in which Franco tried to build an isolated economic independence without exterior contact, Franco's regime changed its economic policies and in the 1960s and early 1970s the economy rapidly expanded in what became known as the Spanish Miracle -- with agricultural modernization, a massive expansion of industry and the start of mass tourism. Workers migrated from rural areas across Spain to work in Barcelona and its surrounding area, turning it into one of Europe's largest industrial metropolitan areas. • In the 1970s, democratic forces united under the banner of the Assemblea de Catalunya. Democracy was again restored by the Generalitat. This was aided by the fact that Franco's death in 1075 initiated a period known as the "democratic transition," during which democratic liberties were restored, culminating in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 that recognized the existence of multiple national communities within the Spanish State, which proposed the division of the country into autonomous communities. The first general elections in 1977 restored a provisional Generalitat. • In 1979, the new Statute of Autonomy was finally approved delegating more autonomy in matters of education and culture than the republican 1932 Statute, but less in terms of the systems of justice and public order. In it, Catalonia is defined as a "nationality," Catalan is recognized as Catalonia's own language, and became co-official with Spanish. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the institutions of Catalan autonomy continued to develop, among them an autonomous police force (called Mossos d'Esquadra), the creation of the comarcal administrations (roughly equivalent to United States "counties" or United Kingdom "shires" or "counties", but distinct from the historical Catalan counties) and a High Court in the form of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia. Catalonia's Law of Linguistic Normalization promoted Catalan-language media. The Catalan government provides subsidies to various means of promoting Catalan culture, including the making of Catalan-language films or the subtitling of foreign-language films in Catalan. • • • TODAY'S CATALAN FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE. Beginning in the 1990s, the absence of absolute majorities in the Spanish parliament made the government rely on support from various nationalist parties, such as the Catalans, Basques, and the Canary Islands. In 2003 and 2006, elections to the Catalan Generalitat finally produced a stable coalition that enacted the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, approved after a referendum. It was contested, sending the law to the Constitutional Court of Spain which, in 2010, decided to declare invalid some of the articles that established an autonomous Catalan system of Justice, aspects of financing, the status of the Catalan language or the references of Catalonia as a nation. On 10 July 2010, a successful demonstration started a process of organization to win the right of self-determination. During the National Day of Catalonia, on 11 September 2012, a massive demonstration in the streets of Barcelona organized by the group called the Catalan National Assembly demanded independence and a referendum. On 23 January 2013, parliament approved a Declaration on the Sovereignty and right to decide of the people of Catalonia asserting that Catalonia is a sovereign entity and called for a referendum on independence. On 9 November 2014 the Government of Catalonia organized the independence referendum, in which 1.6 million out of potential 5.4 million voters or 70.8% of the 2.25 million cast votes supported independence. On 9 November 2015, parliament approved a Declaration to start the independence process of Catalonia, asserting the start of the process to create an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic. • • • CATALONIA DECLARES INDEPENDENCE. The independence motion was passed on October 27, 2017 -- last Friday. Spain is worried not just for reasones of political unity -- 16% of Spain's population live in Catalonia, and these people produce 25.6% of Spain's exports, 19% of Spain's GDP, and 20.7% of foreign investment. The Spanish central government doesn't want to lose Catalonia. • Hours after the Catalan declaration of independence, the Spanish Senate invoked Art 155 of the Spanish constitution and authorized Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government to impose direct rule over Catalonia. Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament and dismissed Catalonia's regional government, including its leader, Carles Puigdemont, and called a snap election in the region for December 21, 2017. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria was chosen to take the position of President of Catalonia after the activation of Article 155. Santamaria was ginen total control over the Catalan administration in addition to being appointed president. Josep Lluis Trapero was also relieved of his duty as chief of the Catalan police force. But Catalans are fiercely protective of the region's high degree of autonomy, such as direct control over education, healthcare and the police. Inside Mossos 'Esquadra, a group of Catalonia's police force favoring independence has already said its members will not follow instructions from the Spanish central government and will not use force to remove ministers and legislators from power. On Sunday, up to a half million Catalans, representing the 50% of Catalonia that rejects the idea of independence, marched in Barcelona in favor of remaining part of Spain, but nothing is resolved as yet about the Catalan declaration of independence. • When we see reports of huge marches for independence for Catalonia in the streets of Barcelona, we should not automatically think of this as just another group dissatisfied with the European Union or the Spanish government. It is the voice of the more-than-thousand-year-old political will of a culture and society determined to remain free and independent. What makes 2017's Catalan independence movement different is that it the most obvious reflection of the growing determination of peoples bound by culture and language and governmental systems all over Europe to be free to pursue their destiny without outside interference. • • • AUSTRIA IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF CULTURE. American Thinker published an article Last Thursday about the current political situation in Austria. In it, Michael Curtis wrote : "Public opinion surveys suggest a decline in the participation of young citizens in democratic countries, and the young are generally less active in politics. Nevertheless, the young at heart...have emerged in a number of countries : Emmanuel Macron is President of France at 39, and Justine Trudeau is prime minister of Canada at 45. Similarly, in Europe, Matteo Renzi ("the scrapper") became prime minister of Italy in 2014 at age 39, Taavi Roivas prime minister of Estonia in 2014 at age 35, and now Sebastian Kurz is likely to become chancellor (prime minister) of Austria at 31....they are symbolic figures in two ways : one is that they exemplify dissatisfaction with the older political status quo; secondly, they also probably are more familiar than are older generations in their grasp of modern instrumentalities, digital and social media and ability to connect these abilities with voters." • • • A SHORT HISTORY OF AUSTRIA. Like much of Europe, including Catalonia, there has been continuous habitation in Vienna since 500 BC, when the site of Vienna on the Danube River was settled by the Celts. In 15 BC, the Romans fortified the frontier city they called Vindobona to guard the empire against Germanic tribes to the north. When the Babenbergs, a Bavarian noble family, received the administration of the region in 976, Austria was still sparsely populated. The Babenbergs expanded their power, and with skillful marriages they became one of the empire’s leading families. In 1156, Austria was elevated to the status of a duchy and was granted important privileges. The Babenberg died out in the mid-13th century, after acquiring significantly expanded territory, and the Habsburgs, whose origins lay in Swabia -- the region of Germany around Stuttgart -- were enfeoffed with the Duchy of Austria in 1282. They expanded, acquiring the duchies of Styria, Carinthia and Tyrol through contracts of succession and adding Gorizia and Istria (with Trieste) to the areas under their control. Duke Albert V married the daughter of Emperor Sigismund, becoming the first Habsburg to wear the imperial Holy Roman crown, following the death of his father-in-law in 1437. The House of Habsburg also used skilful marriages to expand its territory, adding Burgundy and the Netherlands, ruling Spain, and acquiring Bohemia and Hungary in 1526. • The 16th and 17th centuries were marked by conflict with the Moslem Ottoman Empire, whose vast armies advanced through Austria and were beaten off at the gates of Vienna twice. Having successfully pushed back the Ottoman expansion, Austria acquired additional territories, emerging as a great European power. In the second half of the 18th century, Empress Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II introduced sweeping reforms that provided the basis for a modern administrative government. The changes brought about in Europe by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and in 1806, the Austiran Emperor renounced the Roman imperial crown. • Austria, historically considered Germans because it had been part of the Holy Roman Empire dating back to Charlemagne, was expelled from the German confederation by the Prussians after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. In 1867, Emperor Francis Joseph approved the creation of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary (1867-1918), which collapsed after World War I because of the drive for independence among its numerous nationalities. As the surviving state of the Dual Monarchy, Austria was proclaimed a republic in 1918, but the small nation fell prey to the aggression of Hitler’s Germany. Until the signing of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955, the independent Republic of Austria, which had been set up in 1945 with the help of the Allied Forces, remained occupied by the four great powers -- France, Great Britain, the USSR and the US. In 1955, the Austrian Parliament passed a constitutional law to guarantee permanent Austrian neutrality, and in the same year the country became a member of the United Nations. Austria has become a valued and important member of the EU, which it joined on January 1, 1995. • • • THE RISE OF SEBASTIAN KURZ. In the American Thinker article, Michael Curtis says the rapid rise of Sebastian Kurz is surprising : "That rise has led him to be nicknamed wunderwuzzi (whizkid), and his star rose partly because of his telegenic appearance with open collar and swept back mane of brown hair. He began in politics as a youngster aged 10, became member of parliament and immigration minister in 2013, and foreign minister in 2014 at age 27, surpassing the record of the renowned Metternich, who became foreign minister of the Austrian empire in 1809 at age 36. Now, Kurz is likely to be the youngest head of government in the world. Kurz took the leadership of his political party, the Austrian People's Party (OVP), in May 2017, and vowed to transform it into a broad movement." The OVP has attracted 200,000 new supporters -- Kurz has succeeded. In the parliamentary election on October 15, 2017, the Kuzr OVP, a conservative right of center party, came first with 31.4% of the vote, the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) got 26%, and the Social Democrats (SPO) got 26.9% -- a combined center-right vote of 58%. The decisive issue in the 2017 election was anti-immigration and anti-Islamization. • Austria, with a population of under 9 million, took in 100,000 Middle East asylum seekers, and has taken 17,000 in six months of 2017. Curtis says : "The argument is probably true that Kurz's party did well because he stole the program of the Freedom Party: anti-immigrant; tough on crime, border security, ban on Moslems....He held an open borders policy is wrong -- anyone who attempts to enter Europe illegally will not be granted asylum in Austria; Europe should only be taking people in through resettlement programs, and should boost assistance in the countries of origin of the migrants; boats should be prevented from leaving Libya to enter Europe through Italy....Kurz is equally critical of Islamic behavior. He has called for a ban on the full face veil, proposed paying salaries of imams, and regulating the version of the Koran that may be used in Austria." And, Kurz has expressed zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. Curtis says that : "Kurz is not Angela Merkel's lapdog. He claims he wants to be a bridge between east and west, to be pro-European, agreeing with some of EU policies, but not on a close social union or immigration. On the contrary, he believes that on some issues nation states can make better decisions than can the EU." • • • THE EUROPEAN UNION VS. CULTURAL INTEGRITY. There is a similarity between Austria and Catalonia. Both want to be part of Europe but not absorbed and erased by it. Both are rich -- Austria has the fourth highest GDP per capita in the EU, and Catalonia is a rich part of Spain. Both are seeking accommodation. Spain seems rigidly opposed to even talking to the Catalans, while Austria has the advantage of being a recognized nation with the undeniable right to elect its own govenrment. Kurz will form a center- right coalition government -- leading an Austrian moving toward more cultural and political independence of thought and action -- especially vis-à-vis the fundamental issues of minimizing or ending migration, deportation of asylum seekers whose request is denied, and opposition to radical Islam. • Austria, says Curtis, may now "join the Visegrad group of four countries -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia...all opposed to the refugee quotas that Brussels wants to introduce....In recent years, both moderates and extremists, whether in the Netherlands, France, or Germany, have had successes and failures. But all are aware of the problem of immigration whether it is a call for a ban on foreign funding of mosques, a ban on burkas and on the Moslem call to prayer, or preventing the entrance of Middle East Moslems. President Donald Trump will be interested in how the Austrian center right deals with the issue." • • • AMERICA HAS SIMILAR POLITICAL ISSUES. In the Trump vs. ProgDem poker game, Donald Trump has 'called' the Progressive hand -- Trump's 'poker hand' is strong and the ProgDems are in disarray. • A good example is Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, who is one of the most influential leaders in the American evangelical Christian community. Falwell is calling for evangelicals everywhere to stand with Steve Bannon against the “fake Republicans” in the Washington DC Swamp. Bannon is leading what he calls a “season of war” against the political class in Washington that has already seen at least three anti-Trump establishment Republicans fall. Appointed GOP incumbent Senator Luther Strange of Alabama lost his primary runoff to conservative Judge Roy Moore in Alabama in September, and on the same day Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee announced his retirement at the end of this term. Then, on Tuesday of last week, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona announced he would resign after it was clear he would not win the primary in Arizona. More establishment Republicans standing in the way of Trump’s agenda are expected to fall by the wayside the next year in the upcoming midterm elections. AND, Falwell, in an exclusive Breitbart interview last week, backed Bannon 100%. Falwell called on evangelical voters to band together nationwide -- just like they did behind Trump -- and stand for voting out the “Fake Republicans....Then in the last few years of Trump’s presidency we can turn this country around.” Falwell also said that while the vast majority of the media is destroying its credibility over the course of this administration, people across the country are waking up to the mass deception from Washington -- even in America’s strongly Democrat inner cities. When asked if the new message walking into 2018 is “Make the Republican Party Great Again,” just like the 2016 message was “Make America Great Again,” Falwell said : “Exactly.” • • • MITCH McCONNELL DOESN'T AGREE WITH FALWELL. Fox Halftime Report reported last week that the McConnell-tied Super PAC comes out swinging against Ward, quoting TheHill : “A Republican super PAC with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday took a shot at former Arizona state Senator Kelli Ward, arguing that she will not be the Republican nominee in the wake of Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to not run for reelection....‘Senator Jeff Flake will be remembered for a distinguished and impactful career in Congress, as well as his independent streak and genial manner,’ Senate Leadership Fund president Steven Law said in a statement. ‘The one political upshot of Senator Flake’s decision today is that Steve Bannon’s hand-picked candidate, conspiracy-theorist Kelli Ward, will not be the Republican nominee for this Senate seat in 2018.’ ” • McConnell’s allies will reportedly spend millions to attack Bannon in order to protect McConnell’s establishment Republicans, says Breitbart : "McConnell recently said that winners make policy and losers go home. And his allies are apparently panicking that McConnell’s allies are the ones who are actually going home." As Breitbart News pointed out, while he was promoting his book to the media elites, Senator Flake “blasted pro-Trump Republicans for being “xenophobic” and their “nativism.” He also “criticized Republicans for embracing the ‘unfamiliar banner’ of ‘populism’ and combating illegal mmigration.” He even maligned Trump’s voters as xenophobic. Senator Corker, who trashed Trump’s fitness to be President only after Trump did not pick him to be his vice president or secretary of state, has also announced that he will not seek re-election to avoid losing ignominiously his own primary. Breitbart said : "Corker saw the writing on the wall just before conservative grassroots candidate Judge Roy Moore thumped DC establishment Senator Luther Strange in the Alabama GOP Senate runoff even though the same group associated with McConnell that is budgeting millions to attack Bannon spent at least $10 million to trash Moore." Speaking at a rally for conservative Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward two weeks ago, Bannon said the permanent political class in DC that McConnell embodies hates working-class voters because the establishment has a “business model that works for them -- the consultant, lobbyist, donor, corporatist, and politician class. They’re afraid of you. You are an existential threat to their business model.” McConnell’s allies now apparently see Bannon as the “existential threat” to their business model, especially since there are only so many GOP useful idiots that networks like MSNBC and CNN can use. • • • NEVADA SET TO SWITCH TO TRUMP. Danny Tarkanian, the anti-establishment conservative challenging anti-Trump establishment Senator Dean Heller in Nevada’s primary, has solidified his lead over Heller in a new poll from JMC Analytics released last Friday. The poll of 500 likely Republican primary voters in Nevada conducted from October 24 to October 26 shows Tarkanian leading Heller by six percent, outside the survey’s margin of error. Tarkanian, at 44%, is towering over Heller, who is down to just 38%. For a sitting Senator to be polling under 40% in his own primary this far out from next summer’s primary "is a horrendous sign for Heller, and another cause for worry for the GOP establishment in Washington which has been dealt a series of stinging defeats in recent weeks," say Breitbart. Tarkanian’s six-point lead is outside the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error, and is the second survey in recent weeks showing Tarkanian leading Heller -- the other one from JMC Analytics shows the same thing, a Tarkanian lead. • Further, a full 86% of those surveyed are more likely to support a GOP candidate for the US Senate who backs President Trump’s agenda -- 70% are much more likely and 16% somewhat more likely. Only 11% are either somewhat or much less likely to back a GOP senate candidate who supports Trump’s agenda. With Heller underwater, conservative pro-Trump forces are moving in on Nevada and looking at states like Wyoming, Utah, and Mississippi. Heller’s 2013 vote for the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill makes him anathema to most Republicans, who despise those who voted for the bill that would have legalized every illegal alien in America. President Trump ran hard against the amnesty bill in 2015 and 2016, defeating many of its supporters including Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush -- establishment politicians who otherwise might would have had a better chance of winning in 2016. Now, support for amnesty for illegal aliens -- and opposition to President Trump’s America First agenda -- endangers politicians like Heller and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who also voted for the 2013 amnesty bill. • The McConnell-tied Senate Leadership Fund team is in the Nevada battle to try to protect Heller, and they sent out fake news about Bannon, falsely accusuing Bannon of being a white supremacist. But, the attacks are unlikely to be successful, as failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton learned the hard way when she ran the same losing playbook that McConnell is running now. However, McConnell is desperate to protect Heller because Tarkanian has promised to vote against McConnell remaining as Senate Majority Leader. Heller refuses to say whether he supports McConnell as Senate Majority Leader. It remains to be seen if Heller will also throw in the towel and give up before a risky, expensive, and likely-to-be-unsuccessful 2018 campaign. • As in Europe, the driving principles behind Trump's support by a majority of Americans is tied to his belief that immigration must be controlled and used for the benefit of the United States, and that the elites have ruined the country and must be tossed out. • • • DEAR READERS, the Republican Party now has a new leader -- President Donald Trump. Establishment Republicans in the Washington Swamp are clinging to their leadership roles, but 2018 must be the real turnaround -- when President Trump and his MAGA Republicans take over Congress in sufficient numbers to pass the entire Trump agenda -- from the Wall to repeal-and-replace of Obmacare to immigration reform based on merit to true tax reform instead of patchwork dabbling. • Catalonia -- Austria -- America. Three nations whose citizens are determined to put democracy back on track, giving voters the chance to turn around elitist government by establishment politicians who have little love for ordinary voters or or their concerns. And, the anti-establishment candidates able to lead the turnaround are in place and making progress. • The battle is on for the future of Europe and America.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Casing the Colors © Week 33

Casing the Colors © Week 33 • • • CHAPTER 51 • • Small crowds had been gathered near the White House for weeks demanding action against the terrorists and refugees along the Mexican border. But, this time it was different. The crowds that arrived almost instantaneously as the bombing in the southwest began in earnest were large and refused to leave. They encircled the White House grounds, carrying flags and posters and shouted General Bennett's name. America was frozen, absorbed by the TV images bombarding them, not sure what would happen to them and their families. Early the following morning, five months after Stuart Wellford had been sworn in as President of the United States, the marchers, chanting for General Bennett, moved inside the fences and onto the White House grounds. For Stuart Wellford, the unthinkable end was at hand. General Gordon exited the White House and met three Army attack helicopters as they landed on the South Lawn. Stu Wellford, along with his wife, Sheila, who had been forcefully recalled from Hollywood, hurried ahead of the General. Troops already stationed at the White House formed a line between the helicopters and the protesters, giving Jim Gordon enough time to load his passengers and lift off. As the marchers reached the White House portico, General Bennett dramatically emerged, waving his arms and smiling. An aide handed him a microphone as Pete Lowell stepped up behind him. The crowd became quiet. "My fellow Americans, we are fighting to hold together this great nation we have built with two hundred fifty years of courage, blood and determination. We will win because we must win, for our children and for the world. No terrorist threat will take away our precious liberty or destroy our way of life." General Bennett's voice was stirring and solemn. "There will be no truce. We will not accept compromise. We will never sell out. America, reborn to its values, to its heritage, that is our goal and we shall achieve it." The crowd roared its approval. Alexei Katerinov, watching it on TV, had the answer he needed. Kate got up to leave the room. "Find my father," she said quietly. General Gordon's helicopter had landed at Andrews Joint Air Base with Stu and Sheila Wellford. "We have arranged to send you to Paris," Jim Gordon told them. "The French will treat you as exiled political leaders. You should find life there pleasant. We will provide all the money you need, Stu, to live as our protected political associate. Sheila, please try to remember that the French do not, despite their image, like to see a political couple publicly at odds. Keep your sexual liaisons under control, if you can't eliminate them. And, for God's sake, Stu, leave Kate alone. She doesn't need any more of your guidance." The pair looked at him meekly. "We made a mess of it," Stu said. "Stu, for once in your life, say what you mean," Sheila snapped. "We didn't make a mess of it, America did. It is no more your fault than mine that we didn't make it work. But, at least I tried. At least I provided an outlet for the other side of the story. Hollywood may seem silly to both of you, but it could have helped us win. Ricardo even told me he was trying to find a way to help you out of your corner, Stu." "For Christ's sake, Sheila, shut up," Stu bellowed, forgetting Jim Gordon and everything else except his rage against a wife who couldn't even be discreet in selecting her lovers. "What in God's name could Ricardo Pelluci do for us? He's nothing more than a worm eating away at the soul of America, feeding it the violence and hate he knows will someday destroy it." "At least he tried to help me," she replied, spitting out her frustration. "Ricardo was the only person who really listened to me, who understood my point of view." General Gordon stopped her. "What do you mean, Sheila. What did you tell Pelluci?" She froze. Suddenly she knew that she had endangered all of them. It all tumbled out, her liaison, the evenings together, his need to hear everything and his offers to help, never carried through to action but always sincere. "Jesus Christ," Jim Gordon exploded, already racing for the hangar, "We don't need to look any further. We have the mole." Minutes later, as the US State Department 747 lifted off and headed to Paris with its cargo of a no-longer needed Supreme Court Justice and sometime President, and his wife, Jim Gordon was on a secure line with General Phil Carlson. "Phil, I need a favor. It has to be without official orders. Can I count on you?" "Just tell me what you want, Jim. You don't need to ask," Phil Carlson answered. • • Later that evening, a black car pulled up to the curb on a street several blocks away from the hilltop mansion of Ricardo Pelluci. Three men got out, quietly closing the car doors. A fourth man waited behind the wheel. The three were dressed in black slacks and turtlenecks and carried small black gym bags. Slithering through the gardens and pool areas of sleeping houses, they arrived at the marked house, disconnected the alarm system and entered its grounds. Ricardo Pelluci never knew who slit his throat, although the man who killed Pelluci carved a "G" on his cheek to let the rest of the terrorists know that it was Gabriel who had hit their invincible leader. Gabriel would find a way, if he lived, to tell the young woman he had protected in Veracruz that she was much more precious to him than Carlos had ever realized. One may even believe that Pelluci never knew that he had been killed, so quiet was the work. Two guards were expedited with him, mute testimony to the evening's efficiency. Back in the waiting car, Phil Carlson rang General Gordon. Target hit," he said prosaically. "Raqqa is dead."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Uranium One + the Russia Dossier = HillaryGate, and Trump, the Innocent Man, Facing Evil at High Noon

THE WEEK'S REAL NEWS IS ABOUT URANIUM ONE, THE RUSSIA Dossier AND THE DEMOCRAT COVER-UP. Let's call it what it is -- HILLARYGATE. The mainstream media is still running from this critically important story, but Fox News and online conservative, and even some pro-Democrat, sites are covering it. • • • THE BIG LIST AGAINST HILLARY JUST GOT BIGGER. Attorney Gregg Jarrett, Fox News legal expert, when asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity how many crimes Hillary could be charged with, responded : “13 potential crimes committed by Hillary Clinton, she’d be charged for six anti-corruption -- they were all felonies. She could also be charged with racketeering for using her charity as a criminal enterprise and then you’ve got all of the email crimes -- two of them under the espionage act and two additional.” Jarrett also said Clinton could be facing prison for her involvement in colluding with Russia to pay for what he called the infamous "peegate" Dossier on Trump : “You can’t pay a foreign national relative to a political campaign and it appears she also -- and the DNC -- hid it -- in their disclosure reports, which could also be criminally charged.” • AND, allegations surrounding Hillary’s culpability for both the Uranium One scandal and the Russia Dossier are mounting, despite the mainstream media’s best efforts to bury both issues. A Federal Elections Committee complaint asserts that the Clinton campaign violated campaign finance law when it hid payments to opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate ties between Trump and Russia. • And, as we will discuss later, the Department of Justice has also cleared an FBI informant to testify on the Uranium One bribery scandal, which was allegedly paid for by both Hillary Clinton's campaign and Robert Mueller’s FBI. Hillary’s former campaign spokesman Brian Fallon admitted during an appearance on CNN that Hillary “may have known” about the Dossier that was intended to smear Trump. • • • WHEN YOUR AIDES WAFFLE, YOU ARE IN TROUBLE. The American Mirror reported Wednesday about the strange turnaround of Brian Fallon, Hillary's former campaign spokesman, when given the opportunity to distance Hillary from the bombshell revelation that her campaign paid for the salacious Russia Dossier smearing Donald Trump. Brian Fallon punted, telling CNN : “I don’t know.” Obviously, CNN's Poppy Harlow didn't expect the answer. Her comeback was : “Just to be clear, Brian, you have said previously in the last 24 hours you don’t believe Hillary Clinton knew about this?” Harlow was referring to the Washington Post report that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded research intended to harm Trump. Fallon stuck to his original answer : “Oh, I don’t know, I haven’t asked, I haven’t spoken to her,” Fallon said. Harlow was befuddled : “You don’t know...okay, thank you for clarifying. Shouldn’t she know, shouldn’t you, someone so high up in the campaign be informed of this?” Fallon was also a little befuddled -- maybe he had visions of dead bodies floating in his head when he answered : “Well, I mean, she may have known, but the degree of exactly what she knew is, is, is beyond my knowledge.” Fallon went on to to say Hillary “may or may not have known” about the people and companies involved. • Fallon must feel the hot breath of the DOJ -- on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported : "The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous Dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said. Marc Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington DC firm, to conduct the research. Fusion GPS hired Dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the US intelligence community. Elias and his law firm, Seattle-based Perkins Coie, retained the firm in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’ research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary. The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’ research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day." That, coming from the Washington Post, is a "coming-out" of sorts. The bombshell dropped by the Washington Post encouraged President Trump, who on Wednesday lashed out at the “fake Dossier” and described it as the cornerstone of “the whole Russia hoax.” • • • AT LAST -- DOJ RELEASES INFORMANT FROM THE GAG ORDER. Fox News reports that the Justice Department said Wednesday night it had lifted a gag order on a former FBI informant involved in the high-profile Russia bribery case, clearing the individual to speak to Congress about Moscow’s Obama-era uranium deals in the US market and other schemes. In a statement, the DOJ said it had authorized the informant to speak to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight Committee, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in addition to select staffers. The Department said the informant could provide “any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market,” including Russian company Rosatom, subsidiary Tenex, Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation. • Uranium One is the Canada-based company with mines in the US that was bought by Rosatom, a company backed by the Russian state after the State Department, then led by Hillary Clinton, was one of nine US government agencies to approve the deal in 2010. Congressional committees launched investigations after TheHill reported that the FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear officials were involved in fraudulent dealings -- including extortion, bribery and kickbacks -- as far back as 2009 in a case involving Rosatom’s subsidiary, Tenex. Congressional Republicans have since questioned how [given the prior FBI investigation] the Uranium One deal was approved the following year by an inter-agency committee, and sought to gain access to the informant. Republicans also have raised concerns about efforts by interested parties to influence the Clintons -- citing $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation, as well as a $500,000 speaking fee received in Russia by former President Bill Clinton, who reportedly met with Vladimir Putin around the time of the deal. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley tweeted Tuesday that the Justice Department should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Uranium One deal : "Whoever in DOJ is capable w authority to appoint a special counsel shld do so to investigate Uranium One "whoever" means if u aren't recused." • The informant's attorney, Victoria Toensing, told Fox Business Network Monday that her client can "tell what all the Russians were talking about during the time that all these bribery payments were made." The informant earlier was prevented from testifying by former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, according to Toensing, after having signed a non-disclosure agreement. • • • "THE LADY DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH METHINKS." That was the wicked Queen Gertrude's answer to her son Hamlet as she was watching a play he presented that actually contained the facts of Claudius and Gertrude's murder of his father, the old king. • But, in our case, it is Hillary and her cronies who are protesting loudly that she and they are innocent of anything having to do with the Russia Dossier or Uranium One corruption. Former FBI Director James Comey has said none of the allegations in the memo have been verified, although Comey testified it was used by the FBI as the reason for its investigation into allegations that Trump campaign officials had improper contacts with Russian officials. • Not only is Hillary's former campaign spokesman Brian Fallon saying he was not in a position to know what Hillary knew about Uranim One, on Wednesday, TheHill reported that the DNC and then-DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz say they were unaware of Steele Russia Dossier payments. Current and past leaders of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) say they had no knowledge that the national party was helping to fund a Dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a British spy, that contained scandalous accusations about President Trump. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC paid millions to the law firm Perkins Coie, where Democratic lawyer Marc Elias worked with the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to construct the memo, which was compiled by British spy Christopher Steele. • SO, who authorized the payments to Fusion GPS??? DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said chairman Tom Perez, who only became the Democratic leader in April, had nothing to do with the arrangement. The law firm Perkins Coie handles a range of issues for the DNC. Hinojosa said : “Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization.” Representative Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Democrat who has been accused of consorting with the Moslem Brotherhood, and who is now DNC deputy chairman, emphasized that both he and Perez came to the DNC long after the contract with Fusion GPS had ended : “Tom and me, we weren’t even there at the time,” Ellison told The Hill. “I know as much about it as you guys who have reported it.” • OKAY -- if it wasn't Perez and Ellison, was it Wasserman Schultz??? NOPE. A spokesman for Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was forced out as DNC chairman at the party’s national convention in 2016, also denied knowing about the arrangement. Her spokesman David Damron said : “She was not aware of anything related to this research arrangement." Democrat officials said that the national party was not empowered to make campaign decisions, particularly at a time when it was racked by controversy over leaked emails and while its chairwoman was being forced out. So, we do not know who within the Democrat Party paid Fusion GPS and Steele • WELL, that leaves only the Clinton campaign. Former Clinton officials kicked back at the controversy oo Twitter and cable news on Wednesday, arguing that compiling opposition research is standard for all political campaigns. Republicans fired back, noting that the Clinton campaign paid a foreign spy for opposition research that got published online, while Donald Trump Jr. has been at the center of controversy for trying and failing to get opposition research from a Russian lawyer. BUT, we take note that nobody in the Clinton campaign has actually denied that Hillary knew about the Steele Russia Dossier or her campaign paying for it. • • • WHAT WE KNOW. Fox News said on Tuesday : "The controversial Dossier containing salacious allegations about President Donald Trump and his possible connections to Russia, including coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, resulted from funding by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to the firm Fusion GPS, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Fox News." Fusion GPS was retained by Marc E. Elias, an attorney representing the DNC and the Clinton campaign, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday. Fusion GPS then reportedly hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to write the now-infamous Dossier. Steele had ties both to the US intelligence community and the FBI. Prior to the firm being retained in April 2016 by Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS’s research had been subsidized by an unidentified Republican during the GOP primary -- it is important to note that there was no Republican paying for the "Dossier" because there was No Dossier and no Steele before the DNC-Hillary Campaign takeover of Fusion GPS's work; there was simply Fusion GPS doing opposition research on behalf of a Trump opponent, which stopped in April 2016. It was tthe Clinton campaign -- and the DNC -- that started the writing of the Dossier, after it took over Fusion GPS's and Fusion then hired Steele for research and preparation of a Dossier, which they funded through Fusion GPS to the end of October 2016, just days before Trump defeated Clinton in the general election, according to WP reporting. Following Trump’s victory, the WP reported, the FBI arranged to pay Steele to proceed with intelligence gathering about both Trump and Russia. That deal was later halted after Steele was identified in news reports. Perkins Coie was paid $5.6 million in legal fees by the Clinton campaign in a time period ranging from June 2015 to December 2016, the WP reported, citing campaign finance records. The DNC also paid the firm $3.6 million for “legal and compliance consulting” going back to November 2015. • According to Fox News : "Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch and top lieutenant Thomas Catan were subpoenaed to appear before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session recently but asserted their right not to testify, a source close to the matter told Fox News. Fritsch and Catan took the Fifth on every question posed by committee members. Another co-founder, Glenn Simpson, is under subpoena for a later date.The move was expected." A source close to the matter told Fox News that Democratic staffers in the hearing were aggressive and ran interference to protect Fusion GPS, often interrupting questions by Republican members of the committee. A Fusion GPS lawyer said in a letter to the panel that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes was acting “in bad faith.” A congressional official familiar with the matter responded in a statement to Fox News : "Democrats and Fusion GPS have tried to obstruct every effort to get the facts about the compilation of the Steele Dossier and who paid for it, so it’s no surprise that Fusion GPS is saying they’ll continue to obstruct these efforts. Fusion GPS is clearly paving the way to plead the Fifth, and Congress is trying to find out if they're trying to hide something." • • • WHAT THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION SHOULD KNOW BUT WASN'T TOLD BY HILLARY. American Thinker's Rick Moran reported on Thursday that : "A non-partisan campaign watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging illegal payments by the Clinton campaign the Democratic opposition research group Fusion GPS to fund a questionable Dossier on Donald Trump. The nonprofit Campaign Legal Center says that the Clinton campaign hid the purpose of the payments, thus violating campaign finance laws. The Washington Times wrote : “ 'By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,' said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at CLC and a former FEC official. 'Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.' ” Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at CLC said : “Questions about who paid for this Dossier are the subject of intense public interest, and this is precisely the information that FEC reports are supposed to provide. Payments by a campaign or party committee to an opposition research firm are legal, as long as those payments are accurately disclosed. But describing payments for opposition research as ‘legal services’ is entirely misleading and subverts the reporting requirements.” This breach is legal plain 'vanilla' -- there was a deliberate effort by the Clinton campaign to hide the purpose of these payments, knowing that if the reason was exposed, it would damage them politically, but the law requires that the reason for payments to be made public in filings. Moran says : "The fact that the campaign spent a billion dollars also makes one wonder what other similar violations of the law occurred over the course of the campaign." • • • THE REAL RUSSIA SCANDAL? In addition to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, close Clinton allies John and Tony Podesta have become central figures in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, a source told Fox News' Tucker Carlson....The source, a former employee of the Podesta Group who has been interviewed by Mueller's investigators, says Manafort worked extensively with the Podestas as far back as 2011 on behalf of Russian government and business interests. Russia sought influence in Capitol Hill and focused on the Podesta Group because of Tony and John's close ties to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Carlson reported. The source, Carlson said, alleged that Tony Podesta and a member of the Clinton Foundation had a meeting about how to assist Uranium One, the Russia-owned company that controls 20% of US uranium production capacity and whose board members gave more than $100 million to the Clinton Foundation. • Got that??? John Podesta was Hillary's campaign chairman, and his brother Tom Podesta and a member of the Clinton Foundation met to talk about how to assist Uranium One !!! • • • WHO WAS PAYING FUSION GPS FOR OPPOSITION RESEARCH ON TRUMP? Online news outlet TheConservativeTreeHouse wrote on Wednesday : "We likely know, with great confidence, exactly who that 2016 originating Trump opponent was. Thanks to: the timing, the originating entities, the associations and the player networks....What began as ordinary commissioned opposition research into candidate Donald Trump back in 2015, stopped in April 2016. This date is important because two key people, allies in the GOP roadmap for Jeb Bush, took action at the exact same time the oppo-research was discontinued. Candidate Jeb Bush dropped out of the race (Feb 20th, 2016); and not long after Rupert Murdoch dropped out of his influence campaign after losing his alternate (Rubio – March)." TheConservativeTreeHouse shows a picture from the 2014 US Chamber of Commerce Christmas Dinner celebration with Jeb Bush, Rupert Murdoch and Valerie Jarrett sitting together at a table. TheConservativeTreeHouse continued its analysis : "Christopher Steele was the retired British MI6 operative who authored the 'Russian Dossier.' Mr. Steele also formerly worked under Sir John Macleod Scarlett, a retired senior British Intelligence Officer in Moscow before Steele starting his own 'consulting' business, Orbis in 2009. Sir John Scarlett was behind the Tony Blair dossier claiming Saddam had deliverable weapons of mass destruction. He has experience trafficking fabricated charges and putting them in the hands of powerful people. However, more importantly, since 2011 Scarlett also sits on the board of Rupert Murdoch´s rebranded News UK, formerly News International. This network is the likely connection between Rupert Murdoch wanting to aid the Jeb Bush candidacy and connect opposition research via familiar intelligence gathering operatives in the UK. It is highly likely, though not certain, the originating finances for the GOP 'opposition research' on Trump, via Fusion GPS, came from Rupert Murdoch." ZING!!! • But, said TheConservativeTreeHouse : "Knowing that the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and Perkins Coie supported the Dossier is not the end of the story. The most important next step is the FBI. Sometime in October 2016 -- that is, at the height of the presidential campaign -- Christopher Steele, the foreign agent hired by Fusion GPS to compile the Trump Dossier, approached the FBI with information he had gleaned during the project. According to a February report in the Washington Post, Steele 'reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.' It was an astonishing turn : the nation’s top federal law enforcement agency agreeing to fund an ongoing opposition research project being conducted by one of the candidates in the midst of a presidential election. 'The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,' wrote Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. In the end, according to reports, the FBI did not pay Steele. But the Dossier did not go away. Indeed, in January 2017, Comey briefed President-elect Trump (and President Obama) on the Dossier’s contents." • Comey admitted to a House committee that the counter-intel investigation began in July 2016. Congress was not notified until March 2017. That’s an eight month period that obviously cuts against Comey's same-day testimony that the FBI notifies Congress every calendar quarter of its ongoing investigations. TheConservativeTreeHouse concludes : "There is only one reasonable explanation for FBI Director James Comey to be launching a counter-intel investigation in July 2016, notifying the White House and Clapper, and keeping it under wraps from Congress. Comey was a participant in the intelligence gathering for political purposes -- wittingly, or unwittingly....it is now clear...that Director Comey was using his office as a facilitating conduit for the political purposes of the Obama White House. • • • DEAR READERS, we now have the broad factual outline of the Steele Russia Dossier and the Uranium One scandal. We know who the players are. We will undoubtedly learn more, but there is really only one question for Congress and the Department of Justice to answer for America -- WILL JUSTICE BE DONE? The No Evidence Russia-Trump collusion ploy by Hillary and the DNC was, according to American Thinker, "an attempt to frame an innocent man, Donald Trump. The principal aim : Save the necks of the Uranium One culprits. Let that sink in. We can be sure the President has." • Name the "culprits" -- Hillary, Bill, the Clinton Foundation, the DNC, Fusion GPS, Holder, Lynch, Mueller, Comey, Obama, Clapper, Brennan, McCabe?, Rosenstein? It paints an ugly picture of an Obama presidency and its key players up to their throats in political corruption and treacherous activities with a foreign state, leading to the pay-for-play stealing of 20% of US uranium resources. On Tuesday, Newt Gingrich told Sean Hannity that Uranium One will be the biggest political scandal in US history. That’s not hyperbole, says American Thinker : "Watergate pales by comparison. The Teapot Dome scandal didn’t involve selling out a national security asset to a rival nation -- Russia. Putin’s Russia, which -- irony of ironies -- Democrats and establishment Republicans have been decrying as Enemy Number One. You have to marvel at the audacity. The massiveness of the corruption, the breaches of national security, the players involved, and the daring to misdirect and coverup should stun -- but for the names central to the plot : Bill and Hillary Clinton. They’re proof of reincarnation. They’re the Borgias sans miters. The Borgias weren’t just scoundrels, they were evil. So are the Clintons -- from sex scandals to dirty money to enemies’ lists and revenge...decades worth of sordidness and corruption. They’ve tainted about everything and everyone they’ve touched. Future generations will be intrigued and appalled. How on earth did these rogues get away with serial lawbreaking? How? They were excused and abetted by Democrats and the MSM. Political gain, power, and money -- which flowed from Clintons’ successes -- had Faustian seductiveness." • Will justice be done? Can the Republic survive an ending with no justice? Can the US justice system survive a no-justice ending? The FBI is probably already damaged beyond recovery in its present form. A no-justice ending will cement Americans’ belief that justice is for them, not for the rich, powerful, and connected -- not for the Swamp Creatures who ignore the Deplorables while over-taxing them to pay for things the Deplorables do not want or need. American Thinker reminds us : "Justice, mind you, means criminal punishment. That’s not to be confused with the punishments typically meted out by elites toward miscreant elites. You know, shunning, board directorships stripped, loss of book deals, and pricey speaking gigs evaporating. Justice is investigations, fairly and thoroughly conducted, that lead to the truth. It’s indictments, if warranted (and everything points that way). It’s prosecutions -- and not just of those down the chain. The risks to national security and the depth of venality that are part and parcel of Uranium One means getting at the truth and sparing no one. No chatter about sparing the nation the trauma of months of trials of people who once held -- or who now hold -- high stations and the public trust. Because it’s precisely the public trust that hangs in the balance." • And, it is the Innocent Man President Trump who will have to decide finally. It is always the Innocent Man, isn't it, who faces evil alone at High Noon? Again, American Thinker : "President Trump must catch his breath at times, as he weighs the impact of criminal investigations and indictments. Even a man as bold as Trump must be shaken by what needs to be done to remedy wrongdoings of historic magnitude....Whatever the passions and tumult are in the moment, justice done in Uranium One makes for a stronger nation in the long run. Americans must see that the system can be cleaned up and act on the side of the angels....the Uranium One scandal is a greatly disturbing -- and actually frightening -- affair. It sets a dangerous precedent -- if real justice isn’t sought and rendered. High officials -- elected and appointed, existing and former -- willingly compromising national security for bribes, and then covering up the affair. Getting away with it could only embolden unscrupulous characters to dare similar crimes in the future....Bad people with vaulting ambitions there always will be. But their bad deeds must be punished -- doubly so for acts of treachery...treachery by the very men and women sworn to uphold the law and protect the nation." • This is the time for all Americans to pray for President Trump and to pray for America.