Tuesday, July 31, 2018

President Trump's Foreign Policy Initiatives Are Working Very Nicely -- Take Time to Savor Them

TODAY'S NEWS IS ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FOREIGN POLICY INITIATIVES. The Mainstream media and ProgDem talking heads pound away every day about President Trump's domestic policies -- we might ask why, because the US economy, job market and business expansion are going gangbusters under him. Even Mad Maxine Waters had to admit that over the weekend, while looking for a way to paint "the other mess " she accuses Preisdent Trump of making, although she can't really explain just what the "other mess" is. But, that's Mad Maxine, isn't it? And, except when something negative hits the news, the media tends to steer clear of President Trump's foreign policy program. But, our President is doing really well on the foreign side. So, today, we're taking a look at some of his strategies. • • • ITALY CAME TO WASHINGTON ON MONDAY. It wasn't the old, socialist-leaning Italy we all recognize. It was the brand new Italy that has been notably friendly toward the President since the G-7 summit in Canada in June. • The Epoch Times reported on the joint press conference held by President Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the East Room of the White House after their bilateral talks in the Oval Office. Both leaders announced a new strategic dialogue on a number of issues including immigration, commerce, and combating terrorism. Trump told the press conference : "“We had a very good G-7 meeting, where Giuseppe and I became friends. I think we were probably more closely aligned than anybody else in the room,” he said referring to the summit where trade tensions took center stage between Trump and other European leaders. Conte responded by endorsing Trump’s stances on trade, NATO, and Russia : “You have a President who is a strong supporter and advocate of the interests of the American people and the American country. He’s a great negotiator.” • During their meeting at the White House, Trump and Conte expressed alignment on immigration issues, as Trump supported Conte’s Italy-first immigration stance. Illegal immigration was a key issue in the Italian election in March because Italy, as a first-entry country for those arriving in Europe by boat, has become a focal point of the EU’s wider immigration issue. And the new Italian government’s decision to bar the boat immigrants underlined the deep divisions in Europe over how to handle an influx of people mostly from the Middle East and Africa. Trump said at the press conference : “Like the United States, Italy is currently under enormous strain as a result of illegal immigration. They have fought it hard. The Prime Minister frankly is with us today because of illegal immigration. Italy got tired of it.” Conte said : “My government and the Trump administration represent change. They were elected in order to change the status quo and to improve their citizens’ living conditions.” • Conte applauded the recent trade agreement between Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The US and the EU agreed on July 25 to work together to eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers on all industrial goods other than cars. The Trump administration agreed to put on hold any new tariffs, while the EU pledged to increase imports of American soybeans and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Following on the July 25 US-EU trade agreement, Trump told the rpess conference : “Now is also the perfect time to expand commerce between the United States and Italy.” • The US and Italy will also cooperate against unfair Chinese trade practices and work on reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO). Conte said : “It’s a years-old system...not well-functioning...not rational." Trump said Italy and the United States also agreed to combat “unfair foreign trade practices from non-market economies,” referring mainly to China. • Conte said the US and Italian position regarding Russia has not changed and they are still open to dialogue : “We do believe that Russia plays a fundamental role in all international geopolitical crises.” In June,when Trump called on the G-7 leaders to reinstate Russia as a member, Conte was the only G-7 leader who quickly backed him, responding to Trump’s proposal with a tweet : “I agree with President @realDonaldTrump : Russia should re-enter the G8. It’s in everyone’s interests.” At the Monday press conference, Conte again talked about Russia : “Italy is favorable to a dialogue with Russia. Italy also considers that the dialogue between the United States and Russia is fundamental so that we can have positive results in a more global perspective for stability and security purposes.” • Prime Minister Conte also supports Trump’s stance on Iran and NATO. Both leaders agreed on dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapons and encouraging other countries to press Iran to end its “malign activities,” said Trump. With respect to NATO, Trump said the alliance was “essentially going out of business” before he demanded change. Trump has repeatedly asked NATO allies to increase their contributions and meet their commitment to spend 2% of their gross domestic product for the defense alliance. Although Rome is struggling with its own finances, Conte said he backed Trump’s efforts, saying allies “need to rebalance the expenditure, which is borne traditionally by the United States, which is very disproportionate.” As a result of the pressure, Trump said, NATO members paid $44 billion more last year, adding : “And this year, I said it in a little bit stronger tone, and they’re paying hundreds of billions of dollars more over the years. If you speak to [NATO] Secretary-General Stoltenberg, I think he’s the biggest fan of Trump.” • So, the White House meeting with the leader of the new Eurosceptic, anti-establishment Italy-first government went very well. That should be no surprise because President Trump is very good with people generally and a consummate expert at finding the points in common that build relationships. • • • NORTH KOREA IS STILL STRUGGLING WITH ITS NEW ROLE. The good news is that in a goodwill gesture, North Korea has turned over the potential remains of US soldiers who have been missing since the Korean war -- part of a commitment made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to President Trump. A US Air Force plane carrying 55 cases of remains landed at Osan Air Base in South Korea where a formal ceremony will be held on August 1, the White House said in a statement last Thursday night. UN honor guards in South Korea carried the boxes containing the remains after they arrived from North Korea. Also on the plane were technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. The White House statement said : “It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner." The agreement to return the remains were made during a historic summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore in June. The White House said the move was the first step in achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. • And, more good news came when Fox News reported that North Korea has begun dismantling its main missile-engine test site. Satellite images by an American research group on Monday claimed that North Korea has begun dismantling its main missile-engine test site, a possible sign that Pyongyang is fulfilling the promises North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made to President Trump at the summit in Singapore. According to an analysis of satellite imagery of the location by the North Korea-focused "38 North" website -- between July 20 and 22 -- the North Korean government appeared to be dismantling the Sohae launch site. Some facilities on the site were either razed or taken apart. The facilities included a rocket engine test stand, which is used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles. Another facility was identified as a space-launch vehicles and a rail-mounted processing building. Analyst Joseph Bermudez wrote in the 38 North report : “Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea.” Bermudez said the satellite images indicate that Pyongyang took “an important first step toward fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong-un.” South Korean officials have also reported detecting dismantlement activities at the site, although SK didn’t specify the exact nature of the activities. President Trump said after the summit that the North has already started “destroying a major missile engine testing site.” The President didn’t identify the exact site, sparking speculation that North Korea may not be transparent about its activities. Media reports in recent days also claimed that Trump was frustrated by the lack of progress made by North Korea in its denuclearization efforts, according to the New York Times. The President fired back, saying he’s “very happy” with how the North has been honoring the commitments made at the summit, tweeting : "A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months. Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy. But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough. Wrong, very happy!" Fox News said that while many believe the latest presumed efforts to dismantle the site may have a positive effect on denuclearizing the communist state, experts urge caution until the North completely abandons the area, quoting Lee Choon Geun, a missile expert at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute : “If North Korea goes further and dismantle the entire Sohae site, that would meaningfully reduce the country’s long-range missile capability by eliminating a facility where it could fire multiple ICBMs in succession." Lee added that while the first steps in dismantling the site are important, in reality, Pyongyang is giving up little as it appears the country is content with the current long-range weapons in its possession. • But, on the iffy side, the BBC reported on Tuesday that North Korea is working on new missiles. The BBC quoted US officials who told the Washington Post that spy satellites had spotted continuing activity at a site that has produced ballistic missiles. Reuters quoted an official as saying it is unclear how far the work has gone. BBC says the factory is known to have produced the Hwasong-15, the first North Korean ICBM capable of reaching the US. However, a US official told Reuters that a liquid-fuelled ICBM didn't "pose nearly the threat that a solid-fuelled one would because they take so long to fuel." Reuters also added that satellite imaging showed vehicles moving in and out of the facility, but not the extent of any missile construction. Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) told the Washington Post that satellite imagery of the Sanumdong facility shows that the site is "active...not dead, by any stretch of the imagination. We see shipping containers and vehicles coming and going. This is a facility where they build ICBMs and space-launch vehicles." Another MIIS North Korean expert, Melissa Hanham, told the BBC that the facility had "regular traffic in and out of the building," adding that this "traffic pattern" on the site stayed "about the same through the Panmunjom and Singapore meetings." This indicated that there had not been a complete stop in activity during the summit talks. She also noted that large "brightly coloured containers" also showed up in satellite imagery, saying that "containers similar to these have appeared during previous ICBM inspections by Mr Kim." Hanham added that while that experts at MIIS could not "find a way to confirm the [intelligence] leak," the information has matched evidence from satellite imagery. The BBC also reported that last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said North Korea was continuing to produce nuclear fissile material, though he insisted that "progress is happening." • If President Trump and Secretary Pompeo are right, what we are seeing is a jittery Kim Jong-un, trying to please the US by doing what he promised at the Singapore summit, while at the same time, needing to appease his own military and probably China as well. President Trump is not likely to be working so gently with Kim unless he sees signs of cooperation and efforts to denuclearize. Patience all around is the order of the day. • • • CHINA IS A DIFFERENT MATTER WHEN IT'S ABOUT US TECHNOLOGY. Zero Hedge reported last week that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was "confirming the President's concerns" when he issued a warning to China over the recent weakness of its yuan currency, telling Reuters that the Treasury is closely monitoring the yuan for signs of manipulation. In an interview while he was in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mnuchin said : “There’s no question that the weakening of the currency creates an unfair advantage for them...we’re going to very carefully review whether they have manipulated the currency." The importance of any China currency manipulation would be that it would offset Trump 25% tariff on Chinese imports if China then devalues its currency 25% -- thus, the net effect would be zero and the US would be back where it started. On October 15, the US Treasury will issue its semiannual report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. The report is the formal mechanism for labeling a trading partner such as China a “currency manipulator” with severe consequences. And, October 15 is just three weeks before the midterm elections, so it could be a highly popular political move in addition to being economically important. • In another China matter, the Washington Free Beacon reported on July 24 that : "China is waging war against the United States through a far-reaching foreign influence operations campaign that has raised concerns of spying and technology theft, according to regional experts. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last week, James Phillips, chairman and CEO of NanoMench Inc., warned the Chinese government is subtly exploiting America's open innovation model to steal business secrets and academic research, posing a greater national security threat than the much-publicized actions by Russia. 'We need to quit talking about Russia,' Phillips said. 'There's a real war going on -- it's a cyber war like never before, where they're invading the United States every day trying to take over the United States in terms of our science and technology. If they're not stealing it they're imitating it, or they're trying to get it through other means.' " The Free Beacon said : "US intelligence officials have warned for years about China's emergence as a major strategic competitor that is seeking to supplant the United States as an economic and military powerhouse. During a security conference in Aspen, Colorado, last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray called China the 'most significant' long-term threat to the country, noting the bureau is pursuing Chinese-linked economic espionage investigations in all 50 states. The CIA has raised similar concerns, issuing a classified report detailing China's efforts to impart financial incentives as leverage to permeate American institutions. Partnerships between Chinese companies and US universities have been of particular concern, especially on campuses that have ties with Beijing-based firms and host sensitive Pentagon research." According to Elsa Kania, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who also testified at the House Intelligence Committee hearing, "China has staged several intrusions over the past few years targeting universities that engage in military research, including Penn State and the University of Virginia." The Defense Department is now investigating these partnerships, and the Pentagon's undersecretary for research and engineering has said the Department is "not yet as vigilant" as it needs to be to ensure military research is withheld from campuses that have these ties. The Free Beacon says that Congress has also targeted these partnerships in recent months, hosting several congressional panels that "have examined attempts by foreign actors to infiltrate American institutions of higher education to conduct espionage and steal federally funded research. A bipartisan group of 26 lawmakers last month sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos urging her to require American universities working with Chinese technology titan Huawei to hand over all documents and information related to the partnership." Phillips of NanoMench added that the US is giving away valuable proprietary technology to China through faulty technology transfer commercialization programs : "We're publishing our very best science out of our universities, national labs onto the internet, giving it free to countries like China. It just doesn't make any sense to the extent that that could be moved from ideation to invention to innovation to full execution commercialization and we could have the lead on innovation, not only now, but on a permanent basis and all that translates to GDP. The winner is not going to be through wars anymore, it's going to be through GDP -- the country with the best jobs and the most jobs." Phillips was adamant about Russia, later telling Breitbart : “We’ve got to wake up to the fact that we’re in a war [with China]. It’s one of the biggest wars that have ever been fought, and it’s cyber warfare....It’s not dropping bombs, that’s why people haven’t noticed it. Instead, people are fixated on Russia....If you measure countries by their GDP, they’re not even in the top ten -- they’re a trillion and a halft. It’s Mexico with nukes. Otherwise, it’s not even a player. And we need to stop all this stuff. Russia is not a threat. They really aren’t." When Phillips testified before the House Intelligence Committee, the Free Beacon says that Democrats unsuccessfully tried to motion to subpoena a US interpreter that translated for President Donald Trump during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Phillips said : “Russia means nothing....Meanwhile, China has openly stated its goal to become the world’s superpower and surpass the US and is using technology theft and cyber crimes against the US and American companies to achieve it....America invents. China manufactures, steals, monetizes, and that’s why they’re outgrowing us. When they pass us in GDP in a big way, the world is going to change like never before. And when this happens, America loses like never before.” Phillips told Congress that China has a "a cyber outfit that has 25,000 soldiers. They are doing more cyber warfare, to the tune of somewhere between stealing $400 to 600 billion.” Phillips said he learned firsthand what the Chinese were doing when the FBI showed up “en force” to NanoMech and told him : “Your firewall is the most hit firewall in the southern U.S. -- millions of hits a day from China.” The Free Beacon says Phillips was told that the Chinese were so good at stealing secrets he should keep his best science “off the grid” -- in logbooks like in the 1900s. Phillips said that Americans cannot be complacent. During the hearing, he laid out what the US could do, including revamping its tech transfer programs, growing and retaining top talent, and investing more in scientific research and development : “Our future’s going to be made great or not great by our GDP -- do we have good jobs, are we producing great jobs?. We’re in a moon race right now.” • • • THE US AND CHINA TO GO BACK TO THE TABLE ON TRADE AND TARIFFS. When CNBC reported this on Tuesday morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 100 points, with 3M and Boeing as the best-performing stocks in the index. The S&P 500 gained 0.4% as industrials rose 1%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.7%. Bloomberg News reported that the world's largest economies are trying to restart talks in order to avoid a full -blown trade war. The report, which cites two people familiar with the situation, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are talking privately about the matter. Mnuchin told CNBC last week "there continue to be some quiet conversations" regarding China. • • • AND THE PRESIDENT TAKES A GAMBLE ON IRAN. President Trump noted at his Monday joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Conte that he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with “no preconditions. I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don’t know if they’re ready yet,” Trump said, when asked at a White House press conference about a possible meeting with Rouhani. Trump said he would set “no preconditions,” and, “If they want to meet, I’ll meet, anytime they want.” The President already has held summits with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. While Trump drew bipartisan criticism for his Putin summit...the President maintained Monday that they had a “great meeting” and stressed that he’s willing to meet with “anybody.” • President Trump was asked about Iran after he and Iranian President Rouhani traded threats in July. Fox News suggested that : "Any such meeting, if ever scheduled, would surely tackle Trump’s decision earlier this year to pull out of the Obama-era pact calling on Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for reduced sanctions. Trump has suggested he could be laying the groundwork for a new nuclear deal. In contrast with his tweet, Trump assumed a more measured tone during the joint press conference Monday, alongside visiting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. He said such a meeting would be the 'appropriate thing to do,' and would come neither from a position of strength nor weakness. • PRESS TV commented on Trump's offer. PRESS TV is the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English and French, is affiliated with the State-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, whose head is appointed directly by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is considered to be close to the country's conservative political faction. Press TV is headquartered in Teheran and has offices and bureaus around the world, including London, Beirut, Damascus, Kabul and the Gaza Strip. So, PRESS TV reported that Iran President Hassan Rouhani has once again denounced the US withdrawal from the 2015 international nuclear deal, saying the ball is now in Europe’s court to make up for Washington’s absence and work to keep the landmark agreement alive. Rouhani made the remarks on Tuesday during a meeting with Britain's new Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire, who submitted his credentials to the Iranian president. Rouhani said : “Today, we are at a very important historic moment regarding the JCPOA,” Rouhani said, referring to the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The president said the European parties need to transparently declare what measures they intend to adopt in order to make up for Washington’s “illegal” pullout from the Iran deal. The US withdrawal entails the re-imposition of not only sanctions on Iran but also the so-called secondary sanctions on third countries. However, the European parties have expressed their determination to maintain their business links with Iran and have presented Tehran with a package of incentives to help save the JCPOA. But, PRESS TV also reported that France says Europe is unlikely to put together an economic package for Iran before November as Teheran urges "verifiable and actionable commitments." Recently, the Trump White House announced that it seeks to bring Iran’s oil sales down to “zero.” In response, Iran said that if it is rendered incapable of selling its oil, other countries in the region will face the same -- a relatively implicit statement that was taken to mean that Iran may block its waters in the Strait of Hormuz, through which international oil cargoes pass. Rouhani also complained that some of the parties to the JCPOA are not fully implementing the terms of the deal in business and banking sectors : “The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been ready to develop good relations with European countries, and now, following the US illegal exit from the JCPOA, the ball is in Europe’s court in the limited time remaining,” he added. In turn, according to PRESS TV, the UK ambassador, whose country -- along with France and Germany -- is a party to the Iran deal, expressed London’s support for the JCPOA, saying the European states are making efforts to preserve the accord. He also said the UK attaches great importance to Iran’s policy of reducing tensions in the region, and wants to develop its ties with the Islamic Republic. The British ambassador further noted that problems could be resolved through dialog and diplomacy. • The US and Italy vs the EU and Iran...anyone taking bets??? • • • TRUMP'S CENTRAL AMERICA STRATEGY. While it may not be so foreign as Iran or North Korea, Central America plays a key role in US foreign policy these days. Epoch Times reported on Monday that : "To help solve the illegal immigration crisis, the United States is working south of the border to curtail the drivers in Central America -- namely poverty, high crime, and weak governance. About half of Central America’s population -- located in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras -- lives in poverty, according to State Department estimates. In 2015, El Salvador and Honduras had the highest global rates of intentional homicides, respectively, according to data from the United Nations. And although the homicide rates in both countries dramatically declined in 2017, according to State Department data, they still exceed those of most countries in the region. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership hopes to work closely with the president-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to align immigration policies -- especially in regard to asylum-seekers -- and to crack down on transnational violence. Kevin McAleenan, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner, at an event in Washington last Friday, said : “I think if we can come up with an approach to protect asylum-seekers in a shared vision with Mexico, with Canada, with other regional partners, that’s something we could do near-term. If you look at El Salvador, the migration from El Salvador has reduced 65% this year. What they’re doing is working -- both on the security front and on the economic opportunity front. We want to achieve those same successes in Honduras and Guatemala, as well.” McAleenan said that from the 1930s through to 2009, more than 90% of illegal immigrants were single male Mexican nationals who were crossing for seasonal work. The first year that the proportion of Mexican nationals crossing illegally dropped below 90% was 2009, and “3 of the last 5 years have been more than 50% non-Mexican nationals. The change has been driven by Central American. Now we see, this year, a full 40% of those crossing our border are either children unaccompanied, that’s 15%, or families, that’s 25%....Most family units consist of an adult female and one child." McAleenan says that another change is in the number of illegal immigrants claiming asylum, which has skyrocketed to about 20% of all illegal border crossers, from fewer than 1% in 2013. About 20% of all asylum claims are approved by immigration judges. In 2009, DHS conducted more than 5,000 credible-fear reviews for asylum claims, according to Department of Justice numbers. By 2016, that number had increased to 94,000. McAleenan said the multibillion-dollar industry of human and drug smuggling by transnational criminal organizations has caused significant issues for Mexican nationals who live along smuggling routes and near the southwest border : “This process of smugglers controlling the access is really a phenomenon of only the last five to 10 years. Previously, if you wanted to migrate to the United States, you could kind of chart your own path, get transportation up to the Mexican border, see where other people were gathering, and try to cross together with a group. Now, it’s impossible to get across without paying a smuggler -- usually around $500 just to cross the actual border line. That’s why that violence is so intense right now in Tamaulipas. They’re fighting over every inch of access to that river.” Tamaulipas is the state directly south of Rio Grande Valley in southeast Texas, which is the busiest illegal crossing point along the southern border. The murder rate in Tamaulipas has more than doubled in the past 18 months alone, McAleenan said. In the last election cycle, 122 candidates for political office in Mexico were murdered at the federal, state, and local level. Several hundred candidates had to quit or drop out due to threats, he said. McAleenan blames the loopholes in the United States’ immigration system for fueling the violence across the border and “inviting people to take this dangerous journey. We’ve got to be cognizant of what our system is doing both to Central America and in Mexico." Partnering with those countries is essential to both addressing the economic push factor from Central America and dismantling the transnational criminal organizations that are victimizing the most vulnerable people en route to the United States : “We have talked with these leaders. They don’t want to lose their youth and energy to this migration flow. They don’t want to put their vulnerable families and children in the hands of smugglers." McAleenan says DHS is launching a messaging campaign in Central America this month, in Spanish and indigenous dialects, to explain the dangers of the journey and also to promote the future economic opportunity in their home country. He said that although most of the talk is about gang violence, the migration flow is driven by economic concerns and lack of economic opportunity : “That’s really fundamental to understand -- there’s a lot of discussion about gang violence, a lot of discussion about coercion, but economics is the fundamental core of this.” Therefore, McAleenan says, the Trump administration is expanding on the scope of the Alliance for Prosperity plan that was begun at the end of 2014. It was started by Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and has been supported each year since by a US congressional allocation of $460 million to $750 million. The plan copied a similar one in Colombia that helped to dismantle drug cartels, increase security, and foster economic activity. In Central America, US programs contributed to $92.2 million in exports and domestic sales and the creation of more than 29,000 jobs in 2017, according to the State Department. During a June 2017 conference to discuss prosperity and security in Central America, the Central American governments committed to enact reforms to improve their business climates, including eliminating red tape, improving transparency, and streamlining business formalization processes. • • • DEAR READERS, President Trump is juggling a lot of foreign policy balls and he has thus far not dropped any of them. It is the difference in having a President who sees helping America and the world as a personal duty, and not the usual Deep State and politician view of going through the motions in order to be re-elected and get a taxpayer-funded pension. • President Trump last week threatened on Twitter to unleash severe consequences on Iran if it tries to attack the US. He has already imposed sanctions that will cut Iranian oil out of the international market in November. The hand-wringing has been frenzied. But, on Tuesday oil prices closed at their lowest in 2018, causing Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, to say : "I think we went from getting ready to price in a total loss of Iranian exports to maybe, just maybe, we won't lose any exports, depending on whether or not the Iranians take Donald Trump up on his offer." A Reuters poll showed on Tuesday that oil prices are likely to hold fairly steady this year and next as increased output from OPEC and the US meets growing demand led by Asia and helps to offset supply disruptions from Iran and elsewhere. • And, instead of setting out to destroy the US position in the international export market, as so many predicted, China wants to talk in order to avoid a trade war. • In addition, Trump will bring the immigration problem to a halt if only Congress shuts up and lets him work his magic. • BlabberBuzz published an article today with the title "Trump Is Pulling Us Kicking and Screaming into Peace and Prosperity." We'll talk about it tomorrow -- but tonight, let's just relish the success President Trump is offering to us and the world. History will surely ask why so many supposedly bright people want to destroy President Trump and how they could have been so wrong. Trump's Peace and Prosperity. Savor it.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Deep State, Rosenstein, Facebook, and Twitter Are No Match for the Constitution, the Deplorables and President Trump

TODAY, THERE'S A LOT GOING ON -- ROSENSTEIN, COHEN, THE FBI, AND TWITTER. Do they fit into a pattern? • • • ROSENSTEIN AND THE DEEP STATE. A month ago, American Thinker's Patricia McCarthy asked, "How do you solve a problem like Rod Rosenstein?" McCarthy said : "Rosenstein is a caricature of a bloviating, pompous little pajama boy that SNL might satirize if he were a Republican. He claims to be a Republican but no one on the planet believes that, any more than they believe Comey or Wray are Republicans. This bunch has a plan, and to paraphrase from a great Fred Thompson line from The Hunt For Red October, the DC establishment does not do anything without a plan. The pretend political affiliations of the cabal that tried to frame Trump are irrelevant. They are all part of the same gang of swamp thugs." • McCarthy said Rosenstein and the American Left have to be tamped down : "They have to be defeated, completely. Such people have no business telling our elected officials what they can and cannot have access to. This is not the Soviet Union or East Germany before the fall of the wall. Their hollow claims of 'confidentiality' are bogus. They are covering up their own grievous crimes against the nation. It was our own FBI, DOJ, and CIA who colluded with one another and a host of nefarious, underworld informants in an attempt to bring down a legitimate Presidential candidate, and then a President-elect. Rosenstein lied throughout that hearing. Wray was incidental; he is no leader equipped to reform the FBI. It is as though they all are aware of how corrupt each agency is and they are all afraid for themselves and their cushy jobs. Not one of them cares about the country, the Constitution or what is right and honorable." • • • MEADOWS AND JORDAN CARE AND THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT ROSENSTEIN. A month after Patricia McCarthy asked what to do about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a group of 11 House Republicans introduced five articles of impeachment against him. The articles were introduced by Representatives Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, respectively the chairman and a prominent member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Jim Jordan has, in fact, announced that he's running for the position of House Speaker to replace the retiring Paul Ryan. • TheHill said last weekend that while they are not going to force a House vote on the articles for now, Jordan warns : IF the Department of Justice doesn’t hand over documents that Congress has requested, he and other lawmakers will force a vote on the impeachment of Rosenstein. Jordan said on Sunday that lawmakers “have caught the Department of Justice trying to hide information from us, redacting stuff in documents that they should not have redacted. The House has a constitutional duty to do oversight if the executive branch isn’t going to do that. People should be held in contempt, people should be impeached. That’s why if they don’t give us the information, Mr. Meadows and myself and others are going to force an impeachment vote at some point.” • In one article of impeachment, Rosenstein is accused of improperly signing off on the FISA surveillance warrant application against ex-Trump aide Carter Page. The application heavily relied on the Fake Steele Russia Dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and contained unverified, salacious allegations against President Trump. The articles of impeachment says : "Under Mr. Rosenstein’s supervision, the Department of Justice and FBI intentionally obfuscated the fact the Dossier was originally a political opposition research document before the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]....As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Rosenstein has failed in his responsibility for the proper authorization of searches under FISA, and his conduct related to the surveillance of American citizens working on the Trump campaign has permanently undermined both public and congressional confidence in significant counterintelligence program processes." • • • NUNES HAS TARGETED THE FISA APPLICATION. The Daily Caller reported on Sunday that House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes told Fox News's Maria Bartiromo : “We are quite confident that once the American people see these 20 pages, at least for those that will get real reporting on this issue, they will be shocked by what’s in that FISA application.” • The DOJ released portions of the four FISA applications on July 20 in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. A majority of the information remains redacted because it is classified. BUT, Nunes and his fellow Republicans on the Intelligence Committee asked President Donald Trump in a June 14 letter to declassify 21 pages from the final FISA application, which was SIGNED BY deputy Attorney General Rod ROSENSTEIN. Desipte the redactions, the Daily Caller says : "the released unredacted portions of the applications confirmed much of what has already been made public through two memos released earlier this year by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence panel. The applications show that the FBI relied heavily on the unverified Steele Dossier to make the case that Page was acting as a foreign agent of Russia during the presidential campaign. Page has vehemently denied the allegations. The release of the FISA applications reignited debate over whether the FBI abused the FISA process by relying on the Dossier to obtain the warrants." • Nunes says that Democrats -- who argue that the applications show that the FBI provided enough evidence to show FISA Court judges that there was probable cause to believe that Page was acting as a covert agent of Russia, and that the information hidden behind the remaining redactions likely provided other damning evidence against Page, including evidence that would bolster the Democrat-funded Dossier -- and the media do not want additional portions of the FISAs to be made public : “They don’t want that unredacted. They don’t want transparency for the American people.” • • • THE FISA APPLICATION SUPPORTS NUNES' ORIGINAL MEMO. Last weekend, the Soros Cener for American Progress again insisted : "The only thing the newly released FISA documents show is that Republicans have been lying for months." • So, the Washington Examiner compared the FISA application and the Nunes Memo. Here are the key findings of that comparison -- "Nunes made a case that the information left out of the application, like the specific source of funding for the Steele Dossier, was 'material and relevant' to the Page case....The 'Dossier' compiled by Christopher Steele on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump's ties to Russia....When the Nunes memo was released, there was controversy over its assertion that the Dossier formed an 'essential' part of the Page FISA application. But Senate Judiciary Committee staff, who reviewed the FISA application separately from the House, concluded that the Dossier allegations made up the 'bulk' of the application. Even a Washington Post article Sunday trying to debunk the Nunes Memo...conceded that the Dossier played 'a prominent role' in the FISA application. Finally, the Nunes Memo's assertion...that former FBI number-two Andrew McCabe agreed that 'no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele Dossier information,' was not challenged by Democrats when the Nunes Memo was made public....Readers will search the FISA application in vain for any specific mention of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign funding of the Dossier. For the most part, names were not used in the application....the FBI chose to describe the situation this way, in a footnote: "Source #1...was approached by an identified US person, who indicated to Source #1 that a US-based law firm had hired the identified US person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1's ties to Russia...The identified US person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified US person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1's ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified US person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1's campaign." Democrats argue that the FISA Court judges should have been able to figure out, from that obscure description, that the DNC and Clinton campaign paid for the Dossier. That seems a pretty weak argument, but in any case, the Nunes Memo's statement that the FISA application did not disclose or reference the role of the DNC and the Clinton campaign is undeniably true....The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named US person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a US law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele Dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of -- and paid by -- the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information....Steele's numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling -- maintaining confidentiality -- and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI....In the initial FISA application, the FBI argued that Steele had not leaked to the media. In later applications, the bureau admitted Steele had leaked but maintained that he was still credible because he only leaked after providing the Dossier allegations....Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele....Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." This clear evidence of Steele's bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files -- but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications....During this same time period, Ohr's wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife's opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs' relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC....According to the head of the counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele Dossier was in its 'infancy' at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele's reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele Dossier, even though it was -- according to his June 2017 testimony -- 'salacious and unverified.' While the FISA application relied on Steele's past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele Dossier information." • The Washington Examiner concludes : "The bottom line is that, whatever the criticism it has received, the Nunes Memo was almost entirely accurate. The release of the FISA application supports that view." [NOTE : Rosenstein may attack and sneer at Nunes nad the House committtees investigating him and the FISA applications he signed off on, but the truth is in Nunes'Memo, not in the FBI / DOJ FISA applications.] • • • LOSING THE Dossier PATH TO IMPEACHMENT, PROGDEMS TURNED TO MICHAEL COHEN. We learned in Monday's blog that Professor Alan Dershowitz wants the Cohen-Trump telephone call tape to undergo forensic analysis. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, also had harsh words for Cohen and the questionable legal strategy : “I question the strategy of doing this, of trying to make a tape say what it doesn’t say. Or of putting out a tape in which you’re a lawyer taping a client and then thinking you could cooperate with the government." Giuliani also told Fox News that they need to hear the raw version of the Trump, Cohen tape that's been released : “Now that we’ve seen the full scope of Cohen and Lanny Davis’ deception, we don’t trust anything.” According to Giuliani, analysts say the public audio is a “tape of a tape,” and because of that, they are unable to determine if Cohen cut off the recording in the room, in real time, or altered and/or erased parts of it at a later date. Giuliani said : “Since we don’t have the original, we asked for it. Our expert analysis is done until we get the raw copy, which we are seeking.” Giuliani speculated that the chances of success for obtaining the raw tape are narrow. Fox said that authorities in the government’s investigation of Cohen -- that is, the Mueller special counsel gang of Deep Staters -- are reportedly analyzing multiple recordings. Giuliani insisted, there’s nothing on the tapes [thereare several Cohen tapes] that contradicts the positions the President has publicly taken “on all these things.” Giuliani claimed he would welcome the release of all the so-called “Cohen tapes,” telling Fox News that if Cohen’s legal team sought his permission to release the tapes, “we would say happily, we’ll play it for everybody. They show the President didn’t do anything wrong and that Cohen deceives people.” • Could DAG Rosenstein obtain a copy of the raw tape for the President's attorneys? Almost surely he could. Will he? Almost surely, he will not. • In addition, on Monday the Daily Caller noted an interview with Professor Dershowitz, in which he explained that he believes the tape couldn’t contain evidence of any crime : “How do I know that? A former judge, appointed by Judge Kimba Wood, made a determination that this tape is covered by the lawyer-client privilege. And criminal discussions are not covered by the lawyer-client privilege. So we already have a judicial determination that this tape does not contain elements of a crime.” • • • WHILE PROGDEMS AND THEIR MEDIA HOUND TRUMP ABOUT COHEN AND RUSSIA, TWITTER "SHADOW BANS" CONSERVATIVES. And, once again, it is Devin Nunes who is taking the lead in stopping the Twitter practice. "Shadow Banning" is Twitter's practice of removing conservatives from its automatically created lists that show up in drop down search boxes. • Last week, Vice News reported that Nunes, along with several other conservative Republican figures, were harder to find on Twitter as their accounts did not show up because of Twitter's "shadow banning." The shadow banned conservatives didn't completely disappear from Twitter -- their profiles still appear when a full search for their profile is conducted -- but the potentially politically charged maneuver makes it much less convenient for users to find them. These GOP leaders -- Nunes, along with Representatives Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, and Mark Meadows, as well as Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel -- felt the impact, said the left-leaning Vice News, but : "Meanwhile, their Democratic counterparts did not experience the same issue." • The Washington Examiner says Devin Nunes is looking at "legal remedies" to take against Twitter for "shadow banning." Nunes told Fox News on Sunday : "It sure looks to me like they are censoring people and they ought to stop it. We are looking at any legal remedies to go through." • Nunes' comments follow a tweet by President Trump saying : "We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once!" • Twitter says that "shadow banning" is not something the company does, and in a blog post attributed what happened to being an "issue" that was resolved on Wednesday. Twitter also claimed that some Democratic politicians were affected, but did not identify any, and suggested that the GOP problem "had more to do with how other people were interacting with these representatives’ accounts than the accounts themselves." • Representative Matt Gaetz announced last week on Fox News that he is also working on the shadow banning situation. Gaetz has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Twitter because his account didn't appear in auto-complete search results. Gaetz's spokesman said : "Congressman Gaetz continues to believe that interactive computer services, such as Twitter, should not discriminate against content while simultaneously asserting that they are a nonbiased public forum under federal law." Nunes says the issue of his visibility on Twitter had been a months-long problem : "For several months people have been contacting me saying, 'I tried to find you on Twitter. I couldn't find your account, why is that?' " Nunes, who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has repeatedly condemned Twitter for applying a layer of censorship on the tweets tied to the Drudge Report, tying the issue to the larger issue of censorship and bias conservatives face in the technology arena." • At the center of Twitter’s censorship problem is its decision to penalize “bad-faith actors,” who aren’t actually in violation of any rules but still threaten “healthy conversation.” The Washington Examiner says : "Much of the sorting between good and bad actors on Twitter is done by an algorithm which takes into account criteria like whom you follow and tweet at, and who follows and tweets at you. Twitter didn’t penalize the congressmen because of anything they said, but because the 'wrong' accounts were engaging with their tweets, two Twitter executives conceded in a blog post Thursday. The Republicans were guilty of being followed by the wrong people. Twitter has since restored the congressmen’s visibility on Twitter but the underlying issue remains. Twitter is still burying accounts it deems 'bad-faith actors,' while remaining opaque about who does or doesn’t fit that classification -- and which accounts follow or retweet you are still part of the criteria." The Examiner explained that Twitter, which once described itself as the “free speech wing of the free speech party,” has aggressively stepped up its speech policing in other ways : "The company in June acquired Smyte, a tech company whose specialties include fighting cyberbullying, 'hate speech' and trolling. Twitter’s third-party partners include the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing nonprofit known for labeling pedestrian conservative organizations as 'hate groups.' [NOTE : Facebook, Amazon, Google And Twitter All Partner With Left-Wing SPLC.] • BUT, Epoch Times says Twitter may "have relaxed the effects of its 'quality' search filter function associated with so-called 'shadow banning,' after evidence indicated that the content of some accounts on the social media platform was obscured to followers, while many others appeared to be unaffected." The Epoch Times discovered the change in the filter functionality while researching the shadow banning phenomenon : "Some search results changed overnight on July 28 after the Epoch Times alerted Twitter to some of its findings." For several years, says Epoch Times, Twitter users have accused the company of shadow banning....While the full extent and history of the practice remain unclear, one identified method was to remove the tweets of targeted accounts from search results, unless a user turned off the 'quality' filter function, found in the 'search filters' box. The filter is on by default and snaps back on after just one search. • • • THERE IS A DEEP STATE CONNECTION. Gaetz is convinced Twitter targeted him intentionally : “I am certain there were only four members of Congress who had their voices suppressed on Twitter,” he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on July 27. “Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, and Devin Nunes. That’d be one hell of a coincidence.” Epoch Times says : "All four lawmakers are Republicans. All four also have been vocal in seeking more documents regarding alleged bias within the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrants that spurred the Russia investigation, alleging that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign before and after the 2016 election. Official documents have shown the Justice Department and FBI under former President Barack Obama used unverified opposition research paid for by Democrats to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign." Epoch Times reported that it reviewed more than 50 accounts identified by hashtags commonly associated with Trump supporters (such as #MAGA) and Trump opponents (such as #TheResistance). Many of the accounts on both sides were prolifically cross-promoting their tweets, garnering thousands or even tens of thousands of followers. And, the Epoch Times found that : "Almost all accounts of the Trump supporters were targeted by the 'quality' filter. None of the accounts used by Trump opponents were apparently targeted by the filter, according to the confirmation function on the website Shadowban.eu, which the Epoch Times repeatedly tested to verify it can indeed identify accounts that have been affected." • Epoch Times says : "Many of the Trump supporters posted comments, links, and memes expressing faith in God, love for America, support for Trump, and criticism (at times speculative) of prominent Democrats such as Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Even Scott Presler, the vice chairman of the Virginia Beach Young Republicans who’s known for his upbeat attitude, has been shadow banned, despite having a verified account with almost a quarter-million followers....Many of the Trump opponents posted comments, links, and memes in support of Democrats and Progressive policies and criticizing (at times, speculatively) Trump. Some of them regularly used foul or abusive language, without any apparent effects. 'SHUT THE [expletive] UP!' stated user THE[expletive] [expletive]™ in a July 27 tweet, using the popular recurring hashtag #FridayFeeling as well as hashtags #DearDonald and #[expletive]Traitor, with an obscene emoji and a picture of the message '[expletive] TRAITOR' in large red letters. THere was NO SHADOW BAN. • If Gaetz’s complaint to the FEC succeeds, it could open the floodgates to others. Gaetz said Twitter and other social media companies have successfully averted lawsuits by declaring themselves neutral public forums that can’t be held responsible for what people post. Gaetz says : "Twitter...can’t say on one hand, ‘We’re neutral and thus we shouldn’t have to respond to lawsuits,’ and then, on the other hand, tell me and other outspoken conservatives that our behavior results in suppression on their platform,’ he said. 'They can’t have it both ways.' ” • Canada Free Press wrote on Monday : "The lights are going off all over the Internet. The ability of Internet surfers to track down their favorite Conservative news sites, websites and blogs will be like finding the proverbial needle in a hay stack. The gig is up on mainstream and social media. It’s not about algorithms, not about Facebook’s sanctimonious ‘Community Standards.’ It’s not even about both Facebook and Twitter suddenly nosediving at the same time on the stock market. It’s about the MSM and social media working in sync with the Democrats to regain power in Midterm elections by keeping the masses from ever getting anywhere close to the truth." CFP, never shy about reporting factually, added : "The 'News' is no longer the citizens for surfing because the 'News' is now being painstakingly planted. Diversions by adult entertainers, lawyers secretly recording their own clients, Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel probing a non-existent collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia are the diversions to keep people from knowing the Media Blackout curtain has been dropped on the ‘net. A myriad of lesser diversions keep popping up daily, including the loon who took a pick axe to Donald Trump’s Hollywood star, Hillary Clinton showing up for a televised interview sporting what one commenter described as the swiped shower curtain from a Motel 6. Forget about the Dems new ‘For the People’ slogan because It’s ‘Midterm Victory or Bust’ for desperate Democrats who have lost well over a thousand seats since 2010. Entire state assemblies have been flipped from blue to red. Ditto for state governorships. Gone like the wind are Conservatives who had their own voice when a digitalized President Barack Hussein Obama came into power in 2008, roughly dividing the country 50-50. Conservatives had a voice in 2010, when midterms left Democrats in the dust, and had a voice again in 2012 and 2014. But the outcome of 2016 which easily handed Trump the presidency left the masses in a much different territory. ‘Hating Donald Trump’ has become both the Democrat order and News of the Day blocking out what some editors still call 'the News.' News stories reported on, written up and posted on conservative news sites are no longer showing up online and are being buried alive by search engines." • Like the Epoch Times, CFP did a test and tells us how we can test the Internet, too : "You can prove it to yourself with a simple Google search : Google recent top stories on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. No Fox listing can be found in the first six pages of general results and no listings for Fox in the first four pages of search news results. Although it varies from browser to browser and device to device, in general search results and News results, CNN typically commands the top spot. This status combined with CNN being the chief television network broadcast at most airports shows the kind of clout CNN owns even after it’s having been roundly called out as ‘Fake News King.' It’s not your overactive imagination that finds you arriving at the conclusion that the conservative voice is being suppressed." • A new report by the Media Research Center (MRC) documents how the major social media sites -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube -- and the Google search engine suppress conservative speech in a “clear effort to censor the conservative worldview from the public conversation.” (CNSNews, April 16, 2018) CFP says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, when asked about this censorship by Senator Ted Cruz on April 10, testified that his company “and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place,” and added that he did not know whether content from liberal groups, such as Planned Parenthood and MoveOn.org, had ever been restricted on Facebook.” The MRC report states : "These multi-billion dollar online media companies, which reach more than 1.8 billion people worldwide, have declared war on the conservative movement, and conservatives are losing -- badly. If the right doesn’t fight, it is doomed -- online and off. This is more than just a free speech battle. It is a struggle for the future of our nation and our world.” (CNS News) • CFP gives us some practical advice : "The only way to fight the media blackout is to go directly to the conservative news sites of your choice and send them out on your personal email accounts. Talk the substance of the Conservative stories up among family and friends. Hold that patten until Facebook and Twitter go belly up. Given that both social media giants seem as interested in left wing politics as they are in making money, that could take an infernally long time." • Canada Free Press reports some startling facts : "Taking punitive action against individuals under the guise of saving users the pain of glimpsing an offensive meme, comment or video, Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube has been deleting, locking and hiding content of targeted accounts. Not only have they demonetized accounts of popular personalities like Diamond and Silk, the black female duo leading the pack of Trump supporters, but they have refused ads from republican politicians such as Tennessee Senate Candidate Marsha Blackburn...Funny thing is, none of these purveyors of opinion draw the line at suspending and shadow banning large influential accounts, they’ve been shutting up the little guy, too. No one is immune to their slash and burn tactics....They are all about trashing the capitalist system that made these boys wealthy beyond measure. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you." • • • DEAR READERS, it is time to encourage President Trump and Representatives Nunes, Meadows, Jordan and Gaetz in their efforts to stop the growing elimination of the conservative and Republican voices from the Internet and social media. Email, write, fax, text message -- do whatever you can. Remember Thomas Jefferson : "The cost of liberty is eternal vigilance." • MSNBC invited Professor Dershowitz to sit on a panel consisting of New York Times reporter Ken Vogel, MSNBC legal analyst Paul Butler, Mimi Rocah (remember her from Monday's blog) and Dershowitz. They were to discuss the latest revelations from the Mueller investigation. Harvard law professor emeritus Dershowitz accused the MSNBC panel of trying to interpret the law in ways to target President Trump. The other panel members then tried to shut Dershowitz down, accusing him of defending Trump. But, Dershowitz had the last word : “I am making a civil liberties case. I am not part of the Trump defense team and don’t you dare accuse me of doing that. I am not making a case for anybody. I would be making the identical case if Hillary Clinton had been elected and they were trying to stretch the law the way all four of you are trying to stretch the law to target somebody who you disapprove of. I am the only person on the show who is trying to defend civil liberties. Give me at least an opportunity to make that case and don’t accuse me of making a case for somebody I’m not making a case for. • However, MSNBC had no problem with 'Mad' Maxine Waters -- on the same day its anti-Trump talking heads went after Dershowitz. Representative Waters on Sunday promised to reverse the GOP tax cuts -- “tax scam,” as she called them -- if Democrats retake control of Congress. The California lawmaker also said President Trump would be “in trouble” if that happens. Waters acknowledged the economic improvement touted by President Trump, but contended that the “other mess” will eventually be his downfall, especially if Democrats retake Congress, telling MSNBC : “This President is wreaking havoc on this country. And so while there is some improvement in the economy, we have all of this other mess that we have to take a look at and what is, you know, in the forefront of what is being talked about in the media. Democrats are working very hard. We have a lot of enthusiasm. We have good candidates. We have raised an awful lot of money, and I think we’re in a good position not only to take back the House, but I believe even possibly the Senate. Of course, if we do that, look out, President. You’re in trouble.” WHERE was the effort to temper Mad Maxine's trashing of the President of the United States??? AWOL on MSNBC. • MSNBC didn't even raise the great Friday news that the US economy grew at a 4.1% rate in the second quarter. Daily Caller reported that : "According to the report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), strong consumer and business spending, as well as a surge in exports buoyed the economic growth in the second quarter." President Trump said : “We’re on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years,” speaking from the South Lawn of the White House. “I will say this right now. I’ll say it strongly, as the trade deals come in one by one, we’re going to go a lot higher than these numbers and these are great numbers.” In addition to the solid second quarter result, the Commerce Department revised its first-quarter GDP growth from 2% to 2.2%. Personal consumption expenditures increased 4%, while business investment jumped 7.3%. President Trump said : "We are now on track to hit an average GDP annual growth of over 3% and it could be substantially over 3%. These numbers are very, very sustainable. This isn’t a one-time shot." Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin echoed Trump on July 29, saying that the United States has entered a period of sustainable growth : “We can only project a couple of years in the future. But I think we’re well on this path for several years. I don’t think this is a one or two-year phenomenon. I think we definitely are in a period of 4-5 years of sustained 3% growth at least.” President Trump also said the decline in the trade deficit was one of the “biggest wins” in the BEA report and it is “very dear to my heart because we’ve been ripped off by the world.” The trade deficit in the second quarter dropped by $52 billion, adding 1.1% to the GDP growth. The results were “considerably stronger” than expected, stated Goldman Sachs in a report. "This morning’s data confirms that growth has accelerated and that inflation is running close to the target,” the report said. • No wonder the ProgDems and their propagandist mainstream and social media sites are trying to shut down conservatives by feeding America the Fake news of Rosenstein and the Deep State. How else can they try to keep Americans from hearing the great news that's coming from President Trump's successful efforts to Make America Great Again.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Even Fake News Cannot Hide the Fact that Michael Cohen, Lanny Davis, and Hillary Clinton Are All Woven from the Same Sleazy Cloth

WHAT IS THE REAL NEWS TODAY, OR ANY DAY. It's becoming harder and harder to separate real news from the Fake stuff that's put out to destroy Trump. A look at some of the Fake vs the Real will show just how biased and propagandsit mainstream news has become. In the age of hating President Trump, American journalism has ceased to be journalism. It has become the Democrat Party's propaganda arm. There are no standards for objective reporting. The mad rush to destroy Trump has led cable networks, as well as mainstream news, to resort to Fake news and innuendo. ProgDem commentators at CNN and MSNBC, pretending to be journalists, announced after the President’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that President Trump disgusted them. This was not journalistic reporting of events . It was aggressively negative anti-Trump harangue disguised as journalism. • • • RUSSIA HAS DIRT ON TRUMP -- FAKE. Let's look at a Saturday Bloomberg article that follows the Fake news pattern of trying to bring down President Trump with accusations about 2016 campaign "collusion" with Russia. Bloomberg states : "President Donald Trump faces potential legal and political danger if it’s proven he knew in advance about a meeting his son and campaign aides had with Russians said to be promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to former federal prosecutors." • Here's how Bloomberg weaves the latest Russia "collusion" theory. Bloomberg reported that Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen added an "explosive twist" to the famous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower by saying that he is willing to testify that he and others were present when Trump was informed of an offer of material detrimental to Clinton ahead of the June 2016 meeting. Bloomberg is quoting CNN, which in turn was quoting what Bloomberg and CNN called "people with knowledge of the matter" -- those infamous "unnamed sources. • Bloomberg then says that an element of mystery about the unnamed sources is added because Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis -- a Clinton inner circle campaign operative who helped Bill Clinton survive his White House scandals as President -- said in a statement to MSNBC, “I have to wonder why the Trump people would put that out. It was not from us.” Bloomberg then reminds its readers that the Trump Tower meeting has "become a focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether anyone in Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the last U.S. presidential election." NOTE how we have moved from "collusion," not a crime, to "conspiring," a crime if proved. • Bloomberg then states : "Trump and his current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, deny that Trump knew about the meeting beforehand and say Cohen is lying. 'I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.,' the President tweeted Friday morning. 'Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam.' ” Bloomberg tries to downgrade Trump's categorical denial by saying : "Trump has said he didn’t know about the Trump Tower meeting until a year later, when he dictated a statement on behalf of his son that the discussion was primarily about a dispute over adoptions of Russian children. That turned out to be misleading at best after revelations that the meeting’s organizer had pledged damaging information from the Russians on Clinton but the participants ended up discussing relief from US sanctions on Russia." • Then comes, in the absense of evidence, the Bloomberg character assassination of President Trump : "While there’s no crime in lying to the public, Trump could face fresh legal jeopardy in the cases Mueller is building alleging conspiracy with Russia to interfere in the election and on efforts to obstruct his investigation, said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner at the Thompson Coburn LLP law firm in Chicago." NOTE that Bloomberg has already 'convicted' President Trump of "lying to the public." • Who is Renato Mariotti?? He is a Chicago Southside Democrat, former federal prosecutor and, according to The Windy City Media Group, "an especially vocal critic of the Trump administration since the current President took office." The Windy City Media Group is the Chicago area LGBTQ media group, although Bloomberg doesn't mention that. • Mariotti ran for Illinois attorney general and lost, getting 4% of the votes in the March Democrat primary. He is now described by the Chicago Tribune as "a go-to source for journalists and twitter users seeking to make sense of Robert Mueller's investigation of alleged collusion" between Trump and the Russians during the 2016 campaign. Mariotti is a legal expert on CNN and MSNBC and writes for Politico and The Hill. • Mariotti, because there is No Evidence, chooses to create a crime out of the air, telling Bloomberg : "Don’t think of crimes as something committed at a specific time and date. Typically a white-collar crime is something that happens over a long period of time and it involves many different steps.” NOTE that we have now moved in one Bloomberg article from a "reported" Cohen statement, offered by unnamed sources, that he is "willing" to testify about when Presudent Trump knew about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to Trump being labeled a possible "white collar" criminal. • THAT is FAKE news -- biased publishing of innuendos and allegations without evidence in order to make President Trump look like he is guilty of Russian collusion and conspiracy. • Bloomberg then goes into the "Quick Take" mode, asking : "That raises an important question about Cohen’s claims : Who has more credibility, the President, or his former lawyer?" Bloomberg seems to support the Trump side at first, using an apparent interview with Mimi Rocah, a former Manhattan federal prosecutor -- she is also an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst, not mentioned by Bloomberg -- but watch how her analysis slides into anti-Trump innuendo. Rocah says : "“I would not place my faith in Michael Cohen’s credibility. The reason prosecutors win so many convictions is that they never rely on just one person. You need other evidence. Cohen’s claim may be a smoking gun, but how do you back that up? You look at the surrounding evidence and circumstances. You see Trump saying, around the same day as the meeting, we’ll have a major speech to discuss the Clintons. You look at the fact that he had a long-standing relationship with the Agalarovs, who helped set up the meeting." Rocah adds : "Prosecutors also ask juries to use their common sense. Does it make sense that Trump knew about the meeting? You look at all the circumstances together and use your common sense." Should Cohen’s claims turn out to be true, Rocah said, Trump could have legal exposure : “If Trump knew in advance that the Russians had stolen information, and understood its importance, that puts him at risk, in legal jeopardy, of being part of the conspiracy that the Russians have been charged with to defraud the US.” • NOTE Rocah's fast-and-loose playing with sometimes false innuendo. The "long-standing relationship with the Agalorovs" that Rocah alludes to is this, according to Abby Vesoulis, who wrote in TIME on June 26, 2018 : "Many Americans first learned about Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov from his role in setting up the infamous Trump Tower meeting involving a Kremlin-connected lawyer and top members of the Trump campaign. Now he has a music video about it. The English-language video features Agalarov singing and dancing alongside actors portraying Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka, Hillary Clinton, porn star Stormy Daniels, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The various characters in the video can be seen handing mysterious envelopes and possibly stacks of cash to each other. In one particularly suggestive scene in the video for 'You Got Me Good,' Agalarov and Trump party with a group of Russian beauty pageant contestants on a hotel bed. 'You got me so good, you really got me so good,' Agalarov sings." TIME's Vesoulis says the Agalarovs’ relationship with the President : "goes back to at least 2013, when Emin and his wealthy father, Aras, worked with the Trumps to prepare for the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia. That year, Trump also made a cameo in another one of Agalarov’s music videos alongside actual 2013 Miss Universe contestants. Agalarov’s publicist, Rob Goldstone, was the person who contacted Donald Trump Jr. informing him that he could arrange a meeting in which Russian sources could give the family intel that would 'incriminate' former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to which, Trump Jr. replied, 'If it’s what you say I love it.' Donald Trump Jr. has since testified that the meeting was fruitless." So, the "long-standing relationship" was a publicity video for Trump's Miss Universe contest in Moscow. Period. • Rob Goldstone, whose name was also dropped by Rocah, actually did arrange the June 2016 Trump Tower meetign at the insistence of his longtime client, Azerbaijani Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov, who later tried to persuade him that the firestorm around the British publicist’s brokering of the meeting at Trump Tower was “mega PR” : “This is making you one of the most famous people in the world.” PR man Goldstone later told a US Senate committee that Agalarov had insisted he help set up the meeting despite his own misgivings : “I believed it was a bad idea and that we shouldn’t do it. And I gave the reason for that being that I’m a music publicist. Politics, I knew nothing about.” Goldstone's testimony supports the claim of Donald Trump Jr that the meeting failed to live up to the hype, discussing adoption laws rather than than ammunition against Clinton : any attempt at collusion was torpedoed by incompetence. Goldstone told the Senate committee, in a transcript recently released : “I thought, OK, maybe here’s the smoking gun or whatever it is that’s coming. And then the next thing I start hearing about adoption and sanctions and the impact that that is having on adoption and Americans. And that is when I completely tuned out and was like we’re having a meeting about adoption. I don’t get this.” He added : “On the way out, Don Jr kind of thanked me. And I said to him, I’m sorry. I’m really embarrassed by this meeting. I don’t know what that was about.” • So, we now see that Bloomberg's use of Mimi Rocah was intended to give legal expert weight to innuendo that the mainstream media has been peddling since news of the Trump Tower meeting surfaced in 2107 -- that President, then-candidate, Trump knew about the meeting, that Don Jr. set it up to help Russia derail Hillary's campaign, that the arrangements were made by Trump family "long-standing" Russian friends (if they were friends, why didn't Emin or Aras Agalarov just pick up the phone and tell Trump what they knew?? -- the answer is so obvious -- they were not friends, there was no collusion, and Goldstone, who arranged the meeting, corroborates Don Jr's version of the meeting amounting to a waste of time). But, Bloomberg and Mimi Rocah peddle the same old story -- that somehow the meeting helped Trump to win in 2016, and that it is evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. • BUT, Bloomberg was not about to give its poor readers a rest. Bloomberg then hauls out the Holy Grail Fake news argument against Trump -- who cares if the Bloomberg article up to that point had not proved even an Obama-esque 'smidgen' of collusion -- Bloomberg asserts that where there is "collusion" there is "obstruction" and obstruction, unlike collusion which is not a crime, could be the basis for impeachment. Consider the Bloomberg hatchet job. It quotes Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor now at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, who tells Bloomberg : "There may be an obstruction charge as well. If Cohen’s reported version is correct, 'it would make it very hard for Trump to say there was no collusion,’ he said. 'There would also be a potential obstruction charge, because he tried to prevent prosecutors from knowing what happened.” • Concerning the ProgDem mantra that collusion leads to obstruction, Sandick and Bloomberg are on the same page. Here is what Sandick told Bloomberg : "It would make it very hard for Trump to say there was no collusion. There would also be a potential obstruction charge, because he tried to prevent prosecutors from knowing what happened.” Here is Bloomberg's immediately following analysis : "While the most serious potential criminal charges relate to conspiracy and obstruction of justice, there are lesser offenses too. It’s illegal to knowingly solicit political contributions from foreign nationals, and providing stolen emails could be viewed as an 'in-kind' contribution. Enforcement of a violation depends on which agency would pursue it. If it’s the Federal Election Commission, it’s a civil matter, with the biggest penalty being a fine. The Justice Department can bring criminal charges for willful violations of federal election law, though its track record of winning convictions has been mixed. The maximum sentence for violating election laws is five years’ imprisonment, depending on the offense." • NOTE : I consider myself something of an election law expert, having written the original pro-forma federal election law that led to the establishment of the FEC, and I have to say that I have never seen the providing of emails considered as an in-kind contribution by the FEC. Sending emails to names on voter lists or members of voter groups is considered an in-kind contribution. But, there is no FEC discussion I can find that even talks about offering to give, or giving, emails to a candidate being viewed as an in-kind contribution that needs to have a value placed on it and then be reported. • Bloomberg drives its collusion-equals-obstruction-equals-impeachment point home with this : "With Democrats now favored by many analysts to win back the House of Representatives, Cohen’s reported allegations could move the needle closer to impeachment -- a possibility that Democratic leaders have downplayed so far -- and at minimum will reinvigorate efforts to investigate what happened." • • • THE BLOOMBERG ARTICLE IS JUST ONE OF MANY ANTI-TRUMP HATCHET JOBS. Googling the Trump Tower meeting, I found these headlines -- "What We Know About the Controversial 2016 Trump Tower Meeting" (TIME) // "Trump denies knowing about 2016 Russian lawyer meeting" (New Vision) // "Michael Cohen 'says Trump knew about Russia meeting in advance" (The Guardian) // "Trump denies lawyer's Russia collusion claim" (In-Depth-The Times) // "The Case for a Trump-Russia Conspiracy Just Got a Little Stronger" (The Atlantic) // "Trump denies knowing about Trump Tower meeting, disputing Cohen" (Carl Bernstein, The Hill). • Fake News Lives and the Fake mainstream media is pushing it to destroy Trump. • • • WHAT DIRT DID RUSSIA HAVE ON OBAMA? That's what the Daily Caller asked on July 18, in the midst of all the hype about Trump's supposed "collusion-conspiracy-impeachment." Freelance journalist Brett Wilkins wrote the Daily Caller piece that states : "President Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election has sparked renewed accusations from the usual liberal voices that Vladimir Putin must surely 'have dirt' on the President. Leading this chorus was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who tweeted : “Seriously, what does Putin have on Trump that he’s so afraid?” • Wilkins lists Trump's gestures toward Russia and Vladimir Putin : "Trump has steadfastly refused to criticize -- and has even praised -- Putin. But he’s also praised a host of far more brutal dictators and strongmen, from North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines to the Islamic fundamentalist monarchs of Saudi Arabia. No one is suggesting any of these leaders “has dirt” on Trump, and besides, the United States has for generations supported some of the world’s most repressive regimes regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat occupies the White House." • What about Barack Obama? Wilkins says this : "More importantly, even a cursory look at Barack Obama’s policies and actions regarding Russia reveals an inarguably more accommodating stance toward Moscow than Trump’s. From the outset, conservatives derided Obama for his ridiculous 'reset' button. Recall that during the 2012 presidential campaign Obama mocked Mitt Romney when the latter called Russia America’s 'number one geopolitical foe.' Obama scornfully retorted that 'the 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.' ' • As Wilkins notes, it was also during the 2012 campaign that Obama was caught on a hot mic suggestively promising then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that he would have 'more flexibility' to consider and presumably pursue pro-Moscow policies once he got re-elected. • And, Wilkins reminds us : "Even after Russia’s invasions of George and Crimea, and even after he was informed by US intelligence officials that Russia was interfering in the 2016 election, Obama’s response was very measured. Yes, he expelled 35 Russian diplomats. So did Trump, following the alleged Russian bioweapon attack in Britain earlier this year -- although Trump booted 25 more diplomats than Obama....Yes, Obama slapped sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its alleged election hacking. So did Trump, who not only upheld the previous administration’s Crimea sanctions but who also upped the ante by imposing strict new sanctions on Russian oligarchs and top government officials, all of them closely tied to Putin, in response to alleged election meddling." • What about foreign policy? Wilkins states : "Where Obama went to great lengths to avoid killing Syrian government troops and infamously reneged on his 'red line' threat there, Trump has escalated the war against Islamic State militants to include multiple bombings targeting large numbers of Assad’s troops, and Russians have been killed in combat by US troops in Syria. Trump also blew up the Iran nuclear deal, which both Obama and Russia very much wanted to continue." • Wilkins concludes : "There is also no evidence Russia has any dirt on Trump. A sober and objective examination of his record beside that of his predecessor must surely lead any reasonable observer to conclude that Barack Obama’s policies and actions were more conciliatory toward Russia than Trump’s have been....For a side that proudly touts its 'fact-based' arguments, liberals like Pelosi would do well to look at the facts and ask if maybe it’s not Trump, but rather Obama, that Russia’s got the dirt on. That last bit might sound ridiculous, but so do public proclamations in the absence of facts." • • • TRUMP SAYS THE FAKE NEWS IS PUSHING THE US TOWARD A MAJOR RUSSIA CONFRONTATION. Fox News reporter Brooke Singman wrote on July 19 that : "President Trump claimed Thursday the 'Fake News' is pushing for a 'major confrontation' with Russia....The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing MUCH better than any other country!” Trump tweeted. In a second tweet, the President said : "The Fake News Media is going Crazy! They make up stories without any backup, sources or proof. Many of the stories written about me, and the good people surrounding me, are total fiction. Problem is, when you complain you just give them more publicity. But I’ll complain anyway!" President Trump also pointed out on Sunday a Cohna tweet from 2017 that says : "So proud of @DonaldJTrumpJr for being open, honest and transparent to the American people. This nonsense needs to stop! 4:53 AM - Jul 12, 2017 · Manhattan, NY." • • • LANNY DAVIS -- CLINTONITE TO THE CORE. Lanny Davis is the co-founder of the law firm of Davis Goldberg & Galper PLLC, and partner at a public relations firm. He describes himself on his website as a lawyer, crisis manager, consultant, author, and TV commentator -- here are the exact words,"Lanny represents individuals, countries, and companies in high stakes global crises, litigation, government investigations and crisis management." • Law professor Jonathan Turley said : "Trump today repeated his own denial and tweeted that “I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!”....the denial could not be more clear. In other words, someone is lying. Indeed, Cohen’s new role as a truth teller seems to have triggered a self-destructive impulse. This is a type of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) strategy with a twist. Usually you make such a threat to avoid the actual MAD move. Here, Cohen is going MAD in the hope, perhaps, of post-apocalyptic survival through a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. The new account seems to contradict Cohen’s prior statements to Congress and investigators when he was specifically pressed on this very question. Even if Mueller gives him a deal, it will not protect him from state charges and it could involve a guilty plea, as with former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn." • But, I have a concern that points at far more sinister scenarios. • Business Insider wrote on July 5 that : "Michael Cohen just hired one of Bill Clinton's most notable lawyers to represent him. President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen just hired Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton. The hire was first reported by the New York Times. 'Michael Cohen deserves to tell his side of the story -- subject, of course, to the advice of counsel,' Davis said in a statement to the Times. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's outside counsel, told Business Insider that Cohen 'should have the attorneys who he has the most confidence in.' ....Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that Davis told her he was retained by Cohen as he prepares for a legal and public relations 'onslaught.' 'Like most of America, I have been following the matter regarding Michael Cohen with great interest,' Davis said in a statement to Haberman. 'As an attorney, I have talked to Michael many times in the last two weeks. Then I read his words published on July 2, and I recognized his sincerity." Business Times says Davis's noting of July 2 is a reference to Cohen's ABC News interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, in which Cohen split with Trump and fueled speculation that he could soon "flip" and cooperate with the government regarding the criminal investigation he's at the center of in the Southern District of New York, saying he would "put family and country first" when considering what he should do regarding that criminal investigation. When Stephanopoulos pressed Cohen about his past vow to "take a bullet" for Trump, Cohen doubled down, saying: "To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter, and my son and this country have my first loyalty." Business Insider stated that in June Cohen hired Guy Petrillo as the latest lawyer representing him in the case "after it was reported that Cohen was breaking up with existing his legal team. Petrillo, a partner at Petrillo Klein & Boxer, has extensive experience in the Southern District of New York, which is something Cohen reportedly sought. Experts told Business Insider Petrillo was the kind of lawyer a person would choose if he or she were seeking to cut a deal with prosecutors." Business Insider also reported that "people close to Cohen told The Wall Street Journal and CNN he was frustrated Trump wasn't paying his legal bills -- even suggesting Cohen was open to cooperating with the government and providing information on Trump." But, President Trump has distanced himself from Cohen, suggesting that the investigation has far more to do with Cohen's business dealings than anything Cohen did for the President. Trump has also said he is not worried about Cohen giving the government anything damaging on him because he hasn't done anything wrong. AND, Bloomberg legal expert Harry Sandick turns up. Business Insider reported that Sandick "told the New York Daily News that Davis' hiring may signal a turning point in Cohen's legal strategy and show that he's tired of waiting for Trump's help. 'He has to prepare for the possibility that he could be charged,' said Sandick, a white collar defense lawyer. 'It would be foolish just to sit around and assume that the pardon is coming.' " • If you've watched cable news outlets, there's a chance you've seen Lanny Davis on the airwaves. He worked as special counsel defending then-President Bill Clinton against impeachment, and during the 2016 presidential campaign was constantly on CNN touting Hillary Clinton and tearing apart Donald Trump. • • • DEAR READERS, I have a very negative sense about what is going on with Michael Cohen. Last week, Fox News Brian Kilmeade said : "And it is, just the beginning of, I guess, Lanny Davis’ attempt to pay back Hillary Clinton or try to pay back Donald Trump for beating Hillary Clinton.” • That is what worries me. We know that Hillary and the Democratic National Committee paid for political smear that they then offered to the FBI as real investigation -- the Steele Russia Dossier became the basis for the Fake collusion theories about Trump and Russia. We also know that Hillary is still hurting from her loss to Trump and can't seem to move beyond it. We know that Hillary and Bill Clinton are still trying to live off the Clinton Foundation, but now with little pay-for-play to sell and a rapidly waning influence. Hillary's daydream of running again in 2020 is certainly part of their strategy to get back into the Swamp's "influence selling" game. And, we know that for 30 years, the Clintons have been very dangerous enemies for anyone who got in their way. • Has Michael Cohen, frightened and with mounting legal bills, been swept up into the Clinton web, to be used by Clintonite-par-excellence Lanny Davis to get even with Donald Trump. That is the kind of game that the Washington ProgDem elites and the ProgDem propagandist media would love to be part of -- defeating and destroying Donald Trump in any way possible -- if not with the truth then with Fake News Dossiers and fuzzy taped telephone conversations. That is the danger Michael Cohen now represents -- a new Clinton assault on Trump through whatever means they can create out of smoke and mirrors. • Professor Turley said it this way : "New Jersey mobster Sam DeCavalcante once said, 'Honest people have no ethics.' Cohen’s new found 'honesty' appears to rest on the same dubious distinction, as he actively seeks to incriminate his former client to save himself with secret recordings and gotcha accounts. It also is possible that the 'new' Cohen is a lot like the old Cohen -- a stranger, perhaps, to both honesty and ethics. Nevertheless, he has the ability to move this scandal into a new and precarious stage for this administration. Cohen now knows that he is fighting for simple survival, and that makes him dangerous. The real 'truth' is that Cohen is done -- but that does not mean he is finished." • O'Dwyer PR website said it another way. Fraser Seitel, a PR and communications expert for over 40 years, wrote on Friday : "It’s not just that Donald Trump’s former friend and fixer finds himself in the crosshairs of attack dogs from the New York US Attorney’s office, investigating him for, among other things, falsified bank records, fraudulent business dealings and illegal hush-money payments to presidential paramours. No, Mr. Cohen’s real problem is that he recently fired his experienced but low key legal team and hired, in its place, a combination lawyer/PR man. And that particular 'counselor' is none other than our old buddy and self-promoter par excellence, Lanny Davis....Mr. Davis is the consummate Democrat DC swamp thing, a lawyer-turned-public relations pretender whose client list reads like a Who’s Who of disgraced companies, corrupt politicians, ruthless dictators and virtually anyone else willing to pay his exorbitant fees. Topping the Davis client roster are a federally-subsidized Maryland additive company accused of putting useless fatty acids in infant formula sold to poor women, for-profit colleges accused of exploiting students, and at least two African despots condemned by the international community for assorted crimes against humanity. (Not to mention, Harvey Weinstein!) Davis got his start as a Bill Clinton White House lawyer who became one of the President’s primary public defenders against Monica Lewinsky, right up until Clinton admitted lying about his sexual shenanigans in the Oval Office. Thereupon, presidential alibi-er Davis wrote a book, Truth to Tell, in which, lo and behold, he extolled the public relations virtues of being honest all the time. Having found religion through his public relations epiphany, the former Clinton con man became a 'crisis communications counselor. My credibility,' Davis humbly told the New York Times, 'is the only thing I have.' " Seidel says that "was good enough for the cornered Cohen to drop his low profile, white-shoe lawyers from McDermott Will & Emery and sign on with loquacious Lanny. And ever since he did, Davis has been an omnipresent presence on cable TV, dropping bombshell after bombshell about his new client’s treasure trove of Trump tapes." But, according to Seidel, Cohen’s desperate hiring of Davis may likely prove fatal for the fallen fixer : "Davis’ spotlight strategy is the last thing Cohen needs. Michael Cohen’s best chance of avoiding jail is to cooperate with prosecutors behind the scenes, providing valuable information quietly so that those he’s fingering (guess who?) are kept in the dark and off balance. Presumably, that’s what his former lawyers were trying to do. And that’s what experienced public relations counsel would recommend as well. But not Lanny, who claims to be guided always by a mantra of 'tell it early, tell it all, tell it yourself,' which is admirable in theory, but often impractical, especially when 'revealing all early' proves counterproductive to your client." Seidel says that : "When Davis launched his perpetual publicity machine...he set Cohen up for a monumental fall. As Rudy Giuliani correctly concluded, the secret taping of a client destroys Cohen as a witness, leaving him with even less credibility than his spokesman. Even more important, if all Cohen has is a single, surreptitiously-recorded, garbled tape that may or may not suggest Trump lied about paying hush money to starlets, prosecutors may not be interested in striking a deal." AND, says Seidel, Lanny’s bombast has destroyed any chance of a presidential pardon : "Say what you will about Donald Trump....he has also proven himself loyal to his allies, as long as they don’t cross him. Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, for instance, have remained true to their former employer, even in the face of a withering attack from a running-out-of-time special prosecutor desperate to get the goods on Trump. Both will be convicted of crimes, and both may well receive presidential pardons for their loyalty. Cohen, on the other hand, especially now that he’s retained such a loud-mouthed Trump hater, will likely not be so pardoned when the government’s wrath rains down on him. Even if Trump wanted to pardon Cohen, he couldn’t because...Davis is a proxy for the evil empire the Trump base will simply not abide : the Clintons....Lanny Davis has been a Clinton toady for nearly three decades, first defending Bill’s sexcapades in the White House and then later toiling in the never-ending Hillary campaigns....in recruiting such a high profile and, in the eyes of Trump supporters, repulsive, Clintonista to his team, Michael Cohen has effectively made it impossible for the President to pardon him.... And with every new TV appearance or print interview or over-the-top public challenge to the President, Davis digs the hole deeper for his confused and beleaguered client....So, the bet here is that poor, beleaguered Michael Cohen, like other similarly-panicked and put-upon suckers before him, ultimately sealed his fate the day he hired an ersatz 'crisis communications guru' who has demonstrated time and again that his only real 'client' is himself." • Finally, during Saturday’s “Justice” with Jeanine Pirro on Fox News, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz shared his reaction to the tape. Dershowitz told Judge Jeanine the tape should be “subjected to forensic analysis” to determine why it was cut short at a particular point : “All I know is this tape must be subjected to forensic analysis. We must stretch the words to find out what exactly the President said, what the context was, and most important, why it ended at a particular point. Was that a decision made by Mr. Cohen to end it there? Was it erased because he said things that were exculpatory? We need to know the entire context of the tape, if the tape means anything. By the way, the tape does not contain any evidence of crimes.” • There is a serious message in Dershowitz's words -- beware of Clintonite lawyers bearing tapes because they may be doctored, edited, spliced, and perhaps even created out of thin air from snips of other voice recordings. • We are forewarned. • Cohen, Davis and the Clintons are woven from the same sleazy cloth.