Category Archives: Politics

Stolen valor

When it comes to American national security strategy, it’s important to weigh strategic decisions through a “big picture/little picture” lens.   Even if pulling out of these long, seemingly unwinnable conflicts in the Muslim world makes sense, how we pull out matters even more to America’s larger strategic interests in the rest of the world.

Part of being a leader of large alliances, that America spent a century of blood and treasure building, entails bolstering the TRUST needed to sustain these alliances that have helped keep America and much of the world safe, free and prosperous.  President Trump not only made the decision to pull-out of Syria, he pulled the rug out from under America’s leadership role in the free world.

He did not consult America’s top military leaders before announcing the decision.

He did not bother to consult or inform America’s closest allies, who have committed troops to our effort in the Middle East too.

The larger damage to America is not only about the crippling of American efforts in that region, it’s the bulldozer effect damage his one-man show decisions inflict on America’s alliances around the world.  He is a one-man wrecking ball to the Western world order.

President Trump’s precipitous withdrawal from Syria won’t improve America’s national security, won’t bolster American leadership cred and it won’t put an end to America’s problem of Islamic terrorists attacking America and American interests.

America’s “War On Terror” has been failing for many years.  The linchpin mission end of defeating Al Qaeda has not been achieved.  The sub-strategic ends, like denying safe havens to terrorists or the massive investment in regime change, have proved to be failures in some cases and extremely costly in terms of, not only money, but in American lives and erosion of our own military might, due to endless military deployments to sustain these missions.  Despite our best efforts, jihadist terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, still remain defiant, functional, and determined to fight on.

Good intentions motivated the dedicated people who formed these strategies, and many of the military leaders have spent years deployed, acquiring first-hand knowledge of this war.  Good intentions have not produced a sustainable victory for America.

Without wading into Islamic extremism debates on whether jihadist terrorist represent true Islam or not, here’s another approach to viewing  this.   Islamic terrorists always had enough home-grown support to sustain their groups, to regenerate after devastating losses, and even more ominous to our goal to defeat them, they have a remarkable ability to network across continents and pop up under newly minted names, with new leaders, fresh fighters, money and arms.  They’re fighting with their minds committed to impose an ancient religious theology on the world, while at the same time mastering flexible, mobile, and very lethal military operations using modern information/communication technology, international money operations, and often creative improvised weaponry.

Overlaying the Islamic terrorism challenge, America faced a complex strategic challenge trying to figure out how to find our own long-term strategic ends in the region, pulled between the centuries old power struggle between Shia and Sunni powers, dealing with NATO ally, Turkey’s lurch toward fundamentalism, and finding ways to work with assorted corrupt and/or autocratic regimes, whose human rights abuses run counter to our values, but whose strategic importance was vital to our mission.

Our own partisan spin war often undercut and trivialized the complex strategic challenges to defeating Al  Qaeda and threat from Islamic terrorists.  Accompanying our military efforts in the “War On Terror” (heck, even the names makes this point), our endless domestic word battles in America about whether calling them “Islamic” terrorists would be the magic bullet to fell them and the endless encapsulating our war efforts into catchphrases masquerading as strategy often did more to defeat a unified commitment to our military effort and impeded our military efforts.

The selling of catchphrases as strategy has no greater supporter than President Donald J. Trump, whose understanding of American foreign policy and U.S military policy comes from TV punditry SPIN.  He doesn’t study anything, except TV, Twitter and news articles his minions try to get him to read.  He does not read his policy briefs and he does not believe his intelligence briefs.  Instead, he does listen to various friends and his pet pundits, whom he calls for advice, but in the end he is someone, who in his own words, “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me”.  

President Trump said ISIS is defeated in Syria – a lie.  He said General Mattis is retiring – a masking of General Mattis’ resignation.  He reached a new low in using American soldiers as stage props,  – he stole the valor of dead soldiers trying to manipulate the American people and American soldiers into supporting his decision, claiming soldiers who died would support his decision.  And he lied when he said that his decision has widespread support among the U.S. military.

I could go on and on about what a disastrous leader of American foreign policy or pathetic excuse of a Commander-In-Chief President Trump is, but suffice it to say this man who trusts his gut, continually displays through his shameless, lying words and actions, that he is not only an emperor without clothes… he’s a gutless wonder, who tries to shield himself from media criticism using the valor of dead American soldiers.

That’s his crystalline defining comment about exactly who he is.  He stole the valor of dead soldiers to sell his crappy spin.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics

Acting like mafia dons and such

My house needs some serious decluttering of closets, the garage, drawers, cupboards, and, yikes, paper work.  Here and there, small bits of decluttering progress happen, but when it comes to books and kitchen gadgets, there’s rarely any that leave.

Last weekend I sorted through some bookshelves full of paperbacks (mostly historical romance novels) and filled up a medium-sized box to take to the Goodwill, but I came across this Agatha Christie book of short stories, which my youngest daughter read in her early teens.  Sorry about the shadowy photo, but my lame photography kind of adds to the mystery vibe…  This paperback escaped purging,  because I realized I had never read these short stories before.

A few weeks ago, sorting through some books, I came across this childhood favorite of mine:

I thought about throwing it into my Goodwill box.  That didn’t happen.

Miss Marple, in writing, is even more delightful than she is on TV or in movies.   I love characters who sit removed from the action, quietly whiling away at their  needlework, while their mind is on much more serious matters.  As for the Princess Tales, the pages are very yellowed, but there are some interesting black and white images of princesses, who will likely end up in a junk journal in the near future.

Sadly, my sleuthing skills will never be on par with the marvelous Miss Marple, so I’m stuck sorting through open source information, reading through tedious government reports and lots of googling.  Today, I’ve spent time rethinking and refreshing my memory about what else was going on around the time and/or shortly before the pivotal events in the 2016 corruption saga.

Trump is not the only American president to act like a mafia don and he’s not the only presidential candidate in 2016 to rely heavily on a “fixer”.  Trump relied on his longtime friend and personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has now defected to not just cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.  Cohen, out of all of the lawyers in America, hired Clinton loyalist and dogged Clinton mouthpiece, Lanny Davis.

So, who was Hillary Clinton’s trusted “fixer”?

It was Bill Clinton, of course.

Bill Clinton very much wields the power in the Dem good ol’ boy network, that Hillary never will.  Hillary has operatives, who report only to her, but her political power will never equal Bill Clinton’s.  He is a former-president, a bona fide political genius, has a large circle of political operatives, friends, Dems who owe him, while she, despite being a powerhouse fundraiser, is only a twice-failed presidential contender.

Bill Clinton maintained a pretty low public profile in Hillary’s 2016 run.  However, he made news at a few pivotal times .

Here’s an August 2015 story of  Bill Clinton and Vernon Jordan “happily golfing” with Obama at Martha’s Vineyard:

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-obama-bill-clinton-golf-marthas-vineyard/story?id=33106106

Bill Clinton and President Obama looked so “happy” in that photo, that I wondered what on earth they were chatting about, with Vernon Jordan, longtime Clinton hack along and Bill Clinton’s angry face and “strong-arm posture”.

Obviously,  Obama knows that Hillary has enough damaging information on the Obama administration security failures, Benghazi, etc., that there’s no way Obama can ever stand up against the Clinton machine and retain his own legacy.  President Obama used a private gmail account and emailed Hillary at her email address on her private server.  That information is in FBI Notes of Huma Abedin’s interview.  Abedin is shown various email chains and one includes emails from a gmail account with an alias, that Obama used.

In October 2015, Hillary appeared before the Benghazi Committee to clear Benghazi off the deck for her presidential run. Dems on the Benghazi Committee ran a full-throated spin effort for 11 hours straight – repeating two phrases, over and over and over, to set in stone, in the public mind these two points: “This hearing is a right-wing witch hunt” and “This is costing the American taxpayers $4.7 million.”   (pssst, note, Trump is just a Dem spin copycat with the “witch hunt” lament)

Bill Clinton wanted that email investigation gone, so imagine his ire that a year later, as the drip-drop of more emails fall-out was still impacting weekly in 2016.  The drips were sucking oxygen from Hillary’s campaign, almost as much as Hillary’s lackluster campaign style.

Then, in late June 2016,  there was the Bill Clinton/Loretta Lynch tarmac meeting to get the ball rolling in “THE END” to the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s emails.  It appears Bill Clinton decided to strong-arm the DOJ to deep-six Hillary’s email investigation.

Loretta Lynch refused to recuse herself from the email investigation, but she made some bizarre statement that she would abide by the FBI’s recommendation on prosecution, even though she fully knew prosecutorial decisions are a DOJ responsibility.  She put James Comey in an uncomfortable position, but as evidence bears out, Comey and the FBI had already written drafts exonerating Hillary months before.

Googling last night, I came across two news stories that made me think that understanding Washington politics is a lot like following daytime soap operas.  With soap operas, if you don’t watch regularly, you need to have a friend or family member, who does and who can fill you in on all the long, winding back story.  James Comey was a deputy attorney general in 2004, involved in the Sandy Berger case.

Berger, a former Clinton national security adviser, stole classified documents from the National Archives.  Berger got off pleading to a single misdemeanor, a fine and later he had his law license revoked.  Yet, while Secretary of State, Hillary was emailing Sandy Berger, using an unsecured server and with a man who assuredly should not have any access to sensitive information.  They were discussing sensitive information about:

“Others could be controversial, such as 2009 messages from former national security adviser Sandy Berger about how to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over negotiations with Palestinians.”

https://nypost.com/2015/07/31/dozens-of-clinton-emails-censored-for-security-reasons/

Time to get back to Bill Clinton, though.  In July 2016 Comey exonerated Hillary on her email scandal, but Comey came under intense criticism and questioning from Congressional Republicans.  He quickly became adept at donning his Hillary defense counsel hat when being questioned by Congressional Republicans, all while claiming complete and total objectivity, impartiality and above all, unquestionable personal integrity.  James Comey, always answers to a higher loyalty… just ask him… even when he is flagrantly weaving and dodging spinning for Hillary Clinton.  However, it seems part of Comey resented being placed in this untenable position by Loretta Lynch and the Clintons, because he started making public statements.

Comey started publicly trying to defend himself after the huge Republican blowback about how the FBI handled Hillary’s email investigation and he drew public fire from more Bill Clinton strong-arm moves.  Bill Clinton lashed out:

“Bill Clinton is accusing the FBI director of serving up “the biggest load of bull I’ve ever heard” — marking the first significant public comments from the husband of the Democratic nominee on the scandal that’s plagued his wife’s campaign for over a year.”

https://nypost.com/2016/08/13/bill-clinton-accuses-fbi-of-serving-up-a-load-of-bull/

Back in August of 2016 I wrote:

Last week Hillary kept repeating lies about what FBI Director Comey said about her email server in his public statement.  Okay, no biggie, when you consider every time Hillary Clinton makes a public statement she LIES.  There were also reports that the FBI is deliberating whether to release the official report of Hillary’s three and a half hour interview with the FBI to Congress.

That sets the stage for my next amateur analysis of how the Clintons operate.  Some odd things have occurred with both, Bill and Hillary’s comments in recent days.  Bill Clinton started making statements yesterday asserting that James Comey is serving up a load of bull.  Lest you think he’s senile or crazy, let me expound on how the Clintons and Obama use public comments to intimidate people.

A few months back Obama was putting the screws to General Petraeus about his retirement pay.  I believe Obama wanted Petraeus to do something for him, that Petraeus was reluctant to do. I am sure when Petraeus’ scandal was settled with only one misdemeanor charge – they have a lot more serious charges that they dropped. The ones reported are serious – his mistress had hundreds of classified documents on her unsecure laptop, and his black books.  Petraeus hired the Clinton lawyer, David Kendall, so you know Kendall knows where all the Clinton bodies are buried.  A few days later, Ash Carter announced that they weren’t going to mess with Petraeus’ retirement benefits.

With this FBI investigation, several months ago, Obama commented on the ongoing FBI investigation into Hillary’s home-brew server and stated that it was careless, but not criminal.  Bam, when Comey made his announcement he stated that her use of this unsecured server was “extremely careless” and gave a laundry list of serious findings, but then he caved and stated that while her actions were “extremely careless”, it wasn’t “criminal”.  This is how the sending signals works.

These public shots across the bow are vintage Clinton tactics too.  So, when I heard Bill Clinton so boldly saying what Comey said was “bull” – that was a challenge.  Bill Clinton is the one behind the scenes strong-arming everyone from Obama on down to clear the path for Hillary.

https://libertybellediaries.com/2016/08/14/more-bill-clinton-strong-arm-moves/

The most important point about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is it was Bill Clinton’s larger scandal that was being covered up.  The homebrew server was set up before Hillary was ever Secretary of State, by Bill Clinton, as his personal Clinton Foundation server.  Bill Clinton wasn’t just trying to save Hillary with his strong-arm moves or working to get Hillary elected.  He was covering his own behind.

The FBI, reportedly,  had several open Clinton Foundation investigations in 2016, yet somehow the FBI never tried to search the Clinton server for Bill Clinton foundation emails or Bill/Hillary/Huma exchanges that would go to pay-to-play???  Huma Abedin was the only non-family member with an email address on the Clinton server.   She also was reported to be working for the State Department, as a “special government employee and working for Teneo, a Clinton Foundation connected firm, at the same time.  There were actually two servers, the original one set-up by Bill Clinton’s IT guy and the upgraded one set-up by Hillary’s campaign IT guy, Bryan Pagliano, who was held in contempt of Congress, for failing to show to testify:

“The FBI latest document dump shows:

  • The FBI acquired TWO separate email servers and mobile devices that Hillary used.
  • The FBI determined 81 email chains containing classified information, ranging from CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET/SPECIAL ACCESS PROGRAM were transmitted on Clinton’s TWO UNCLASSIFIED email server systems. Of those 81 emails chains, 68 remain classified.
  • The FBI did not find evidence that Clinton’s server had been compromised. However, the FBI was unable to acquire all of the computer components and mobile devices used by Clinton, so they couldn’t conclusively determine whether the classified information on her system was compromised.
  • On page 4, the FBI notes that Pagliano, whom Clinton had set up the second email server in home, reported that he only transferred clintonemail.com  email accounts for Huma Abedin and BLANK from the old system to the new system. (The old system Bill Clinton had set up for his foundation work).”

https://libertybellediaries.com/2016/09/03/the-servers/

Imagine Bill Clinton’s rage in October of 2016, when leaks from the FBI’s NY field office are reporting several ongoing investigations into Clinton Foundation pay-to-play…  By that point, James Comey was probably sweating bullets trying to figure out what to do to plug the leaks and make the Weiner laptop mess go away, because all the polls looked like Hillary Clinton was going to be his new boss and Bill Clinton assuredly would not be a stay-at-home, baking cookies kind of  “First Spouse”…

Comey knew all about the Clintons.

This new Comey, spouting off as a Hillary cheerleader and speaking of “extremely careless” conduct, is a far cry from the 1996,  U.S. special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee Comey:

“Comey’s first brush with them came when Bill Clinton was president. Looking to get back into government after a stint in private practice, Comey signed on as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. In 1996, after months of work, Comey came to some damning conclusions: Hillary Clinton was personally involved in mishandling documents and had ordered others to block investigators as they pursued their case. Worse, her behavior fit into a pattern of concealment: she and her husband had tried to hide their roles in two other matters under investigation by law enforcement. Taken together, the interference by White House officials, which included destruction of documents, amounted to “far more than just aggressive lawyering or political naiveté,” Comey and his fellow investigators concluded. It constituted “a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct.””
http://time.com/4276988/jim-comey-hillary-clinton/

 

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Filed under General Interest, Hillary's Email Scandal, Politics, Public Corruption, Uncategorized

Our pathetic Republican Hypocrites

Back in 2014, I wrote a slew of angry blog posts about the Obama administration’s handling of swapping Gitmo prisoners to secure Bergdahl’s release, coupled with the Obama administration efforts to cast Bergdahl as a “war hero” – here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.   I was sickened by the Obama administration spin efforts and appalled that President Obama was publicly inserting himself into the U.S. military judicial process.

It was unquestionably undue command influence, that even if it wasn’t “illegal”, it was irresponsible and reprehensible conduct from a commander, at any level.

Trump tweeted:

At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a “U.S. Military hero,” Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas.

Coming directly from the commander-in-chief, well it’s appalling and should be roundly condemned.  That President Trump reacted to FOX pundit spin efforts, did not seek advice from his administration advisers, and blasted out a tweet, speaks to reckless and irresponsible conduct.

Lady Justice in America needs to keep her scales balanced and her blindfold securely in place.  Too bad so many conservative and Republican Trump followers now behave like vile, pathetic hypocrites and have become worse than the Obama cult, whom they reviled and criticized for 8 years.

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Filed under General Interest, Politics

Another Russian ramble

Here’s a timely link to a NATO Defense College publication: Handbook of Russian Information Warfare,  which I saw in a tweet yesterday.  In America, a great deal of fear mongering substitutes for actual understanding of the Russian information warfare strategies and how the Russians view information warfare in their overall military strategic operations.

The Russian approach to information warfare seems to both terrify and mystify many American policymakers and journalists.  The key, I think, relies on wrapping your mind around the Russian’s reliance on reflexive control, which this handbook explains in easy to understand terms.

Here’s a quick explanation of  reflexive control from a Small Wars Journal article written by Ronald Sprang:

“The second modern Russian theoretical concept is reflexive control. Reflexive control is applied as a means to interfere and manipulate an opponent’s decision-making cycle. It can target human decision making and organizational decision-making systems and processes. Reflexive control can also be applied through automated systems and digital mission command architecture. Reflexive control is “a means of conveying to a partner or an opponent specially prepared information to incline him to voluntarily make the predetermined decision desired by the initiator of the action.”[x] One of the goals of reflexive control is the temporary slowdown of the adversary’s tempo and operational level decision making process.[xi] This adjustment in tempo creates windows of opportunity for Russian exploitation of changes in tempo and potential opponent decisions that shape the operational level forces into the overall Russian operational design and approach.”

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/russian-operational-art-new-type-warfare-and-reflexive-control

To explain how the Russians approach to information warfare developed requires going back further in Russian history than the Soviet era, I think.  The Russian state secret police dates back to 1565, when Ivan the Terrible formed the Oprichnina.

Recently, I began watching the Amazon Prime Russian TV series, Ekaterina, about the life of Catherine the Great,  which originally aired on Russia 1 TV, a few years ago.   My Russian vocabulary consists of only a dozen or so words these days, having forgotten most of what I learned in two years of high school Russian class, but thankfully this series has English subtitles.  The series emphasizes the endless palace intrigue, the imperial scheming of Empress Elizabeth of Russia and especially the machinations of the secret police.  Elizabeth had seized the crown in a coup d’etat, having the infant heir to the throne, Ivan VI,  imprisoned for his entire life.

This long history of Russian state secret police and the Russian people being culturally indoctrinated to the supreme power of the state to control their lives, to invade their privacy at will, and to basically monitor all of their activities has been the norm since medieval times.  I’ve written about this before on my blog, in a 2016 blog post, The War of Words (Part 2):

I have been thinking a great deal about what I consider cultural DNA, with how peoples the world over develop patterns of behavior ( culture) that endure, despite the changes in government.  In fact, the people’s behavior determines how long and how much control they will tolerate from their government, to maintain the status quo and social order.

wp-1469293980388.jpg

Above: My copy of “Letters from Russia.  To the right is a folk-art wooden container my son brought back from Russia, painted in a Russian folk art style called Khohkloma.

Thinking about what to write in this Part 2 post, I ordered a book, which I had read about a long while back, that explains the Russian cultural DNA, a few years after Alexis de Tocqueville traveled to America.  That cultural DNA still persists in Russia today.  The book is “Letters from Russia” and like de Tocqueville’s, “Democracy in America”, the book on Russia was written by another French nobleman, Astolphe de Custine.  Although his trip to Russia in 1839 was only three months long,  he captured life in Russia under the despot, Czar Nicholas I, in such prescient, stark detail, that historians still study his letters.  His book was banned by both, Czar Nicholas I and the Bolsheviks, who didn’t much like Custine’s letters.  I can relate, heck, my posts on the Excite message boards in 1998 evoked quite a response too and there I was fighting hordes of new posters who showed up to take over the boards with the Clinton talking points……… hummm, I likened them to being like Genghis Khan.

In their own words these two French nobleman present their opinions on the cultural DNA differences between a people who accept rulers and a people who don’t.  In 1996, renowned journalist, Steven Erlanger, wrote a NY Times piece on Custine’s book, that gives you Custine in his own words.  Here’s a short excerpt:

“In Russia, everything you notice, and everything that happens around you, has a terrifying uniformity; and the first thought that comes into the traveler’s mind, as he contemplates this symmetry, is that such entire consistency and regularity, so contrary to the natural inclination of mankind, cannot have been achieved and could not survive without violence. . . . Officially, such brutal tyranny is called respect for unity and love of order; and this bitter fruit of despotism appears so precious to the methodical mind that you are told it cannot be purchased at too high a price.

Faced with the pervasiveness of the secret police and the immensity of the bureaucracy, Custine at first is shocked. He sees the dead weight that these hordes of state employees place on Russia, and their own dehumanization.

Among Russian officials, attention to detail is quite compatible with disorganization. They go to a great deal of trouble to achieve some petty end, never satisfed that they have done enough to demonstrate their zeal. Consequently, in this rivalry between employees, one formality does not guarantee the foreigner against another. It is like a pillaging army: because the traveler has passed through the hands of one regiment, this does not prevent him from meeting another, or a third, and each of these bands spaced out along his route vies with the last in harassing him.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/16/weekinreview/word-for-word-marquis-de-custine-long-ago-look-russia-so-what-else-new.html?pagewanted=all

Interestingly, in the introduction to “Letters from Russia”, editor, Anka Muhlstein,  presents the bulls-eye de Tocqueville quote on the difference between America and Russia:

“There are on earth today two great peoples who, having started from different points, seem to be advancing towards the same end: they are the Russians and the Anglo-Americans.  They both grew up in darkness and whilst Europeans were busy elsewhere, they suddenly placed themselves in the forefront of nations, and the world learned at almost the same time of their births and their greatness

All other nations seem, more or less, to have reached the limits nature has assigned to them and within which they now need only to remain, but those two are still growing…. America is struggling against obstacles of nature,; Russia against men…. The principal means of action for the one is liberty, for the other servitude.”

Letters from Russia, by Astolphe de Custine, edited and with an introduction by Anka Muhlstein, page ix of the introduction.

America is the only place on earth that broke that mold completely and set up a government meant for the people to have control over the government and for the individual’s rights to be paramount.

We are a nation built by free-thinking and free-acting citizens.

The Russian/American “cultural DNA” dichotomy precludes many American analysts from easily grasping the Russian’s dependence on “reflexive control”,  but looking at it from another angle helps.  The Russians don’t have the military might to rely predominantly on military force to achieve their geopolitical aspirations, but they have centuries of experience developing vast spy networks, compiling massive information operations and for engaging in using psychological operations to exert control over factions inside Russia and in their foreign policy.

Americans, on the other hand, understand military force as the way America fights its enemies.  Although we have the most sophisticated technological means to gather information; we just don’t seem to be very adept at developing a comprehensive strategy to utilize information for information warfare operations.

However, America’s partisans, colluding with sympathetic media, have been waging sophisticated SPIN information warfare against each other and against the American people since the early 90s.  Perhaps our military and intel information experts might at some point realize that the Russians are working to fuel the extreme American partisanship, by fanning the flames of our own domestic scorched earth SPIN information war.

Ending the American scorched earth SPIN information war would be a giant blow to the Russians’ info war operations in America.

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Filed under General Interest, Information War, Military, Politics

Another IG report

Here’s another IG report just released:

Report of Investigation:Recovery of Text Messages From Certain FBI Mobile Devices

 

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Filed under General Interest, Politics, Public Corruption, Uncategorized

Crafting and Politics Combo

I’m tired of reading transcripts and reports looking for tidbits of information that might have been overlooked, or as JK would phrase it, The Crow Method.  I’m tired of being a news junkie too, so I’m trying to spend more time on my crafts.  This is going to be a combined politics and crafting post, because I’m too lazy to write two separate blog posts today.

First up, here’s the crafting portion of this post. Among the crafting peeps on youtube and facebook, there are lots of groups and people posting “challenges”, swaps, and assorted group crafting activities.  I decided to attempt the December Daily challenge, just for myself.  I constructed a junk journal for this project using all paper, stickers, ribbon and trim that I already have.  The cover is constructed from a food package box, covered with old scrapbook paper and some old Christmas ephemera.  The pages in this journal are all old Christmas cards that I sewed into the spine of the book.  I covered the spine with Christmas ribbon that’s been sitting here many years.  My personal challenge was to use only stuff I already have.  Here are a few photos:

Now, onto the politics.

I found an interesting tidbit of information reading the latest Comey transcript of his December 7, 2018 testimony to the Joint House Judiciary & Oversight Committees .  On page 125, Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe, former U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas asked Comey the following:

Mr. Ratcliffe. So I want to relate to you some of the
testimony that we’ve already received. FBI Deputy Director Andy
McCabe testified before Congress that the FBI could provide no
points of verification to verify the Steele information other
than the fact that Carter Page had traveled to Russia in July
of 2016. Were you aware of that when you signed the application
on October 21st of 2016?

Mr. Comey. I don’t remember any of that right now.

Mr. Ratcliffe. Bill Priestap who — what does Bill
Priestap do at the FBI?

Mr. Comey. I think he’s still the Assistant Director in
charge of the Counterintelligence Division.

Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. He testified that corroboration of
the Steele dossier was in its, quote/unquote, infancy, at the
time of the application that you signed on October 21st, 2016.
Did you know that?

Mr. Comey. I don’t remember hearing that, but that makes
sense to me, if my recollection is correct, that we got it in
September or maybe October. It would, by definition, be in its
infancy in October.

Oddly enough, James Comey, James Clapper and John Brennan all do media spin efforts to give the impressions that the “salacious information” hasn’t been verified, but other parts of the Steele dossier are verified.  For instance here is a May 2018 blaring headline from Newsweek:

JAMES CLAPPER SAYS ‘MORE AND MORE’ OF STEELE DOSSIER HAS TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE

In this article, Clapper is quoted as saying: ” “The salacious parts, no. That’s never been corroborated. It would appear to me that as time has gone on more and more of it has been corroborated, but I can’t actually give you a percentage,” Clapper said.”

It appears, to me at least, that Clapper is deliberately spreading false information wrapped in weasely language.

This entire Steele dossier is a fraud.  From other testimony, like Bruce Ohr, from the Obama DOJ, it seems like no one in the Obama DOJ or Comey FBI even know who on earth Steele’s, supposedly Russian sources, with access high-up in the Kremlin, even are.

Trump isn’t the only big liar when it comes to  2016 campaign efforts to acquire Russian op dirt.  The problem is that Trump screams “But Hillary” to deflect attention from his shady actions, like Don Jr. meeting that Russian lawyer hoping to acquire dirt on Hillary.

However, both campaigns’  2016 corruption needs to be exposed and dealt with.  It’s not an either or proposition.

This Steele dossier was deliberately fed to the Obama DOJ by people connected to the Clinton campaign/DNC.  This information was fed to the highest levels in the FBI, as intelligence from a reliable former British spy and a former British ambassador to Moscow, Andrew Wood, was involved in selling the Steele dossier too.  Wood fed the dossier to the late U.S. senator, John McCain and McCain hand-delivered it to James Comey.  Every effort was made to present this Steele dossier as coming from reliable sources.

Here we are, two years later and it sure looks like “more and more” of the Steele dossier has not been verified and it looks like there was a BRITISH effort to interfere in our election.

And we still have no clue who Steele’s Russian sources are???

Comey can prance around like he’s leading the charge to “save our democracy”, but from what I see, it looks like he was massively duped by Steele and Sir Andrew Wood.

Trump might turn out to be a lying crook too, so his “But Hillary” deflections fall on deaf ears with me.  In light of Cohen’s corruption, if we find out Trump is guilty of tax evasion and/or money-laundering, I would not be at all surprised.  However, the Clinton corruption is already smacking us in the face, with the Steele dossier deceptions, Hillary merging her State Dept emails on to Bill’s personal Clinton Foundation server, the tens of thousands of destroyed emails on that server, and the shady Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton tarmac meeting. And even worse than all that, the Clinton corruption appears to have corrupted the Obama DOJ and the FBI, at the highest levels.

The IG report on the Clinton email investigation ended up with Michael Horowitz believing Comey and disbelieving Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.  In light of Comey’s selective amnesia now, perhaps McCabe was telling the truth, that James Comey knew about McCabe authorizing media leaks to silence the leaks about the Weiner laptop and Clinton Foundation criminal investigations the FBI had underway.  With Comey’s quickie Weiner laptop spin effort, Comey buried the Clinton Foundation investigations. Immediately following Trump’s surprise win, Comey teamed up with James Clapper and John Brennan to gin up the “Trump/Russian collusion” spin hysteria.

Assuredly, there will be plenty more transcripts and reports to sift through before our 2016 nightmare ends.

No rest for weary old crows searching for the golden nuggets of information… or trying to find more time to craft.

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Filed under General Interest, Hillary's Email Scandal, Politics, Public Corruption

Still burning bright

It’s hard to believe we are approaching the close of 2018… and America is still stuck on 2016 campaign corruption.  There are plenty of facts, pointing to corruption, with both candidates.  However, “facts” hold little sway in this neverending 2016 scorched earth spin information war.  Yet, it still burns on.

Americans have heard both sides repeating their version of “The Truth” so many times, that for many of us, our minds drift off into a zombie-like trance as soon as 2016 rehashing begins.  However, for the politically active and engaged Americans, it still looks like they haven’t been burned out by this relentless 2016 scorched earth spin war yet.

Last Friday, James Comey, former FBI director, testified in a closed-door hearing before the combined Judiciary & Oversight committees in the House.  The transcript of that hearing was released over the weekend.  The Republicans grilled Comey, looking for answers on the FBI’s handling of Clinton & Trump related matters during 2016.  The Democrats did another Comey flip, this time they love James Comey and sang his praises, although in 2016 many of them were berating him, demanding his handling of the Weiner laptop probe should be investigated and that he should be fired.  Pelosi and Cummings, both railed that the FBI had “Trump fanboys” who needed to be investigated.  Many of the same Dems, who railed against Comey’s 2016 actions, now act like Comey cheerleaders.

The Republicans, who organized this hearing, are still asking many of the same questions of James Comey, they’ve been asking since 2016, and they’re still hitting an “I don’t remember” Comey brick wall.  Over 200 times Comey could not remember, suffering from what appears to be a severe case of selective amnesia.

Despite Comey’s memory issues, he has now found his new public voice as a “Hillary fanboy”…  The entire spectacle of James Comey trying to become a media gadfly to trash Trump, praise Hillary and act as the defender of truth, justice and the American way only casts more doubt on Comey as a nonpartisan director of the FBI.

James Comey sacrificed his credibility and compromised his integrity in his ruthless quest to take down Donald Trump. However, before that, it sure looks like Comey gradually sacrificed it by going along with the Loretta Lynch/Clinton efforts to bury the FBI criminal investigations of the Clintons. Comey appears to have completely bought into the Dem’s Trump/Russian collusion op dirt, without ever verifying who paid for the Steele dossier or even verifying the information. Even now, he doesn’t want to be questioned about the Steele dossier or what parts of it were ever verified. That Steele dossier information was used in FISA warrant applications.

JK posted a link in a comment for the U.S District Court for District of Columbia’s memorandum opinion by Judge Royce C. Lamberth.  This Dec. 6th opinion relates to questions still unanswered about the State Department’s responses to inquiries of its efforts to respond to FOIA requests for Hillary’s officials Secretary of State emails.  This FOIA request matter goes back to 2014 and still the State Department hasn’t satisfied the court that it made a good faith effort to locate the requested information.  It’s quite amazing to read this opinion from a federal judge, who put into writing that he still doesn’t have answers as to whether Hillary set up running her State Department emails through Bill’s personal Clinton Foundation server to “intentionally flout FOIA”.  While Comey may engage in spin games, complaining about House Republicans still asking questions about Hillary’s emails, it seems a federal judge has plenty more questions about Hillary’s emails too.

Robert Mueller may have solid evidence that President Trump committed crimes, but with Comey’s public halo polishing antics, Comey’s credibility and judgment make him an angel trying to fly with a permanently tarnished halo and even worse, no wings.  The costume store must have been fresh out of extra-tall Superman costumes to fit his 6’8″ frame, but never let it be said, when it comes to  self-righteous media spectacles, James Comey, sans halo or cape, will still keep sanctimoniously preening on and on and on.  The one thing publicly tangling to drag Trump or the Clintons to justice seems to do is destroy the reputations of those trying to fight their corruption, while Trump, just like the Clintons remains unscathed.  Trump and the Clintons, at this point, seem to be above the law.  Comey’s smarmy interviews, trying to sound full of righteousness and then coupling that with calling on Americans to support Democrats, speaks to a man who has lost not only his moral compass, he’s lost any vestige of credibility on anything related to Trump or Hillary.  He’s reduced himself to sounding like a political hack.

If Mueller has a case against Trump and he’s banking any of it on James Comey as a witness, it seems likely to be a total PR disaster for Mueller.  The crimes that smack you in the face with Trump are his witness tampering and obstruction of justice antics, played off by Trump mouthpieces, as just Trump letting off steam tweeting.  Just like Bill Clinton, Trump benefits from the protection of the presidential shield and unlimited access to media willing to sell his “victim of a partisan witch hunt” spin for as long as it takes.

If past is prologue, for 20 years, the mainstream media still run the “Hillary victim of a vast, right-wing conspiracy” spin. Trump may not read much, but he’s memorized the Clinton Scandal Survival Playbook.  Impeachment proceedings loom more menacingly for Trump, as House Dems plot their “destroy Trump” investigative schedule, but their two long years of unhinged and undisciplined media attacks on Trump have done as much, possibly more, to destroy their own credibility than Trump’s.  Trump still benefits from the Dem #Resist media hysterics.  Whether that will save him from impeachment remains to be seen.

America remains still aflame in 2016 scorched earth spin…

So much winning… for America’s enemies.

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, General Interest, Hillary's Email Scandal, Information War, Politics, Public Corruption