Category Archives: Politics

Searching for our American moral compass

“The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit about the shining “city on a hill.”  The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important, because he was an early Pilgrim– an early “freedom man.” He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat, and, like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds, living in harmony and peace– a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”

True Reagan, by James Rosebush, pages 258-259,  President Reagan’s January 1989 Oval Office farewell talk.

The above quote comes from a 2016 book about President Reagan, which I found at a dollar store a couple weeks ago.  Along with this $1 Reagan book, I  sprang another $1 for David Axelrod’s book, Believer.  I already have three other books about Reagan – Peggy Noonan’s, When Character Was King, The Reagan Diaries, and An American Life (Reagan’s autobiography), so I really didn’t expect to learn much new.   I certainly didn’t need another Reagan book, but hey, it was only $1 and in this President Trump reality show style presidency, nostalgia for a calmer, more principled presidential style hits me everytime Trump tweets or engages in his daily “one man against the media mob” spin optic skirmishes with the media, which replaced the traditional White House daily press briefing.

Trump, like Reagan, has been accused of  “staging” his presidency, so I’ve been considering this comparison

Reagan did put effort into his public speaking, setting, make-up, even lighting, and he strategized about how he wanted to engage with the media during his presidency, as does Trump.

President Ronald Reagan’s communication style, from beginning to end,  brimmed with a confident, upbeat American spirit.  While offering a respectful nod to our past, Reagan’s unswerving inner compass always pointed us to a brighter American future, to an America always marching confidently forward, with our founding principles unfailingly lighting our path.

Something new, I learned about Reagan in this True Reagan book was that a book Reagan’s mother gave him when he was 11 years old helped him form a model for his own life.  Rosebush writes, the 1903 book, That Printer of Udell’s, was written by former Disciples of Christ pastor, Harold Bell Wright, a proponent of practical Christianity and the theology of good works.  This novel was a prism into the life and character Reagan created for himself.

Rosebush continued, “For Reagan, this was not a book he read and then tossed on a bookshelf.  It provided a blueprint for the life he wanted.  He not only read it several times, he recommended it to others and even brought it to Washington when he was elected President, all those years later.” (p. 33)  That Printer of Udell’s is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free here and here.

Trump runs a one-man, freewheeling reality TV presidency show, where he spews daily about “victimhood” – his own at the hands of a corrupt media and/or America’s at the hands of nefarious foreign entanglements.  Most of Trump’s impromptu battles with the press aren’t well-planned PR efforts, but instead seem to be Trump venting in impulsive tantrums, reacting to news reporting he’s watched on TV that day.   Trump leaves his own staff completely in the dark, as he prances out to engage with the media and ad lib his latest spin battle.  These ramshackle Trump pressers substitute for principled policy positions or carefully planned policy initiatives.  Trump’s daily tantrums become the latest administration “policy”.

There is no deep moral conviction to Trump’s patriotism or American ideals.  In Trump’s view, every American treaty or agreement before his presidency, by virtue of having been negotiated by US officials other than himself, was a terrible deal and is totally unfair.  Trump believes America’s greatness rests solely on his own personal greatness and his ability to cut “great” deals for America.

Back in 2015, I read Trump’s book, TRUMP: How To Get Rich, which I bought at a local antique/used junk store and I stick with that 2015 assessment of Trump’s character:

Last week I bought one of Trump’s books, as I mentioned before, and I read it.  Assuredly, Trump offered many interesting insights into, as the book’s title stated, “TRUMP: How to Get Rich”.  The pride he takes in his children comes across and he offers some worthwhile advice on investing and negotiating, but trying to get to the character of who exactly is Donald Trump, well, he’s a man who has chapters in his book like “Be Strategically Dramatic”, “Sometimes You Still Have To Screw Them”, and “Sometimes You Have To Hold a Grudge”, replete with examples from his life and his guiding principles. Here are some quotes (page 138):

“When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can.  Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.”

Be paranoid.  I know this observation doesn’t make any of us sound very good, but let’s face the fact that it’s possible that even your best friend wants to steal your spouse and your money.”

The chapter on holding a grudge is even more interesting, because Trump relates how for years he had donated huge amounts of money to NY governor, Mario Cuomo and when he called Cuomo to ask for a favor from Cuomo’s son, Andrew, who was running the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Mario Cuomo refused to do the favor (which Trump doesn’t explain in detail other than to say it was an appropriate favor involving attention to a detail). Trump blew up and for any who are confused with Trump’s vendetta against Megyn Kelly on Twitter, calling her a bimbo last night or his refusing to entertain a question by Jorge Ramos from Univision this evening, well, this chapter on holding a grudge (page 142) explains it.  Trump called in a political favor believing it was owed to him, because he donated a lot of money to Mario Cuomo  (crony capitalism is what most people call this greasing of palms).  Here is how Trump describes the phone call:

“I did the only thing that felt right to me.  I began screaming.  “You son of a bitch!  For years I’ve helped you and never asked for a thing, and when I finally need something, and a totally proper thing at that, you aren’t there for me.  You’re no good.  You’re one of the most disloyal people I’ve known and as far as I’m concerned, you can go to hell.”

My screaming was so loud that two or three people came in from adjoining offices and asked who I was screaming at.  I told them it was Mario Cuomo., a total stiff, a lousy governor, and a disloyal former friend.  Now whenever I see Mario at dinner, I refuse to acknowledge him, talk to him, or even look at him.”

When you hear Trump whining about being treated unfairly, here’s what I believe he means: If you agree with him, fawn over him and puff up his ego, that’s treating him fairly.  If you disagree or criticize him, I believe, he will wage an all out campaign to destroy you.

https://libertybellediaries.com/2015/08/25/trumps-his-own-bimbo-eruption/

Trump reveres strong men, especially despots, who wield power over the weak.  Reagan revered individual liberty, as a God-given right to all people, and he abhorred tyranny.

Reagan’s belief in America as a force for good in the world defined not just his presidency, it defined his entire life.  Reagan believed in promoting individual liberty and in clearly speaking out against the forces of tyranny and oppression everywhere.

Trump can’t even conjure up the energy to speak up for peaceful Hong Kong protestors and in fact, not only sides with President Xi, but Trump would support China’s use of force to silence the freedom protestors (that’s the truth).

These trips down memory lane can be interesting, but trying to figure out a better path, in the present, relies more on assessing the current “road conditions” than studying the roads of days gone by, I think.  That doesn’t mean we can’t learn some sound “rules of the road” from past travels, especially when it comes to understanding that the competency of the driver assures us a better chance of arriving safely at our destination, even in the most adverse road conditions.

Trump compared to Reagan… the similarities ended with both men were involved in show business.  For me, I’ll follow Reagan’s moral compass over Trump’s any day of the week.

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Filed under American History, General Interest, Politics

Ghislaine Maxwell Sent A Signal

Here’s a small Jeffrey Epstein related story, about the whereabouts of Epstein’s longtime companion/friend, Ghislaine Maxwell that caught my attention:

Jeffrey Epstein’s gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell spotted at In-N-Out Burger in first photos since his death

On Wednesday, there were numerous reports alleging that Maxwell was holed up, living in the secluded  Massachusetts coastal mansion of Scott Borgeson, a tech CEO.  Then on Thursday, voilá, this report with photos of Maxwell, nonchalantly sitting at a fast food restaurant in Los Angeles, reading a book, appeared.

This NY Post report states Maxwell hadn’t been photographed in public since 2016, which attests to her ability to disappear from the public spotlight.  And out of all the books in the world she could be photographed reading, she chose, The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives…:

“Maxwell, 57, the alleged madam to the multimillionaire pedophile, was scarfing down a burger, fries and shake al fresco at an In-N-Out Burger on Monday while reading “The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives,” a nonfiction best seller by journalist Ted Gup.

Sitting alone with a pet pooch, she was surprised to be found and told an onlooker, “Well, I guess this is the last time I’ll be eating here!”

Maxwell, accused in court papers of providing sex slaves for Epstein and engaging in threesomes with the financier and underage girls, had not been photographed in public since 2016.”

https://nypost.com/2019/08/15/jeffrey-epsteins-gal-pal-ghislaine-maxwell-spotted-at-in-n-out-burger-in-first-photos-since-his-death/

Methinks Maxwell was clearly sending a not so subtle, shot across the bow message, with her book selection.  This Epstein story will definitely get messier.

August 18, 2019:  Here’s an update on the Maxwell photos, The tantalising mystery of Ghislaine Maxwell’s burger bar ‘makeover’ as conspiracy theorists ask why she ‘took off her glasses while reading a book and had TWO drinks next to her’.

This latest article analyzing both photos raised questions that reminded me of one of those childhood hidden puzzles.  The 2nd photo interests me more.  In that photo Maxwell’s bag is moved and she’s posed with her book open in front and without her glasses on.  I wonder if careful analysis can discern what page her book is open to?  That might provide a clue, since everything about these photos was staged by Maxwell.  

August 19, 2019:  The UK Daily Mail has another update on the NY Post’s story about Maxwell in LA:

EXCLUSIVE: Ghislaine Maxwell STAGED In-N-Out photo in Los Angeles with her close friend and attorney, using confidante’s dog Dexter in the snapshot

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Filed under General Interest, Politics

Our era of living dangerously… with news reporting

Last Saturday morning news broke that Jeffrey Epstein, accused sex trafficker, had apparently committed suicide while being held in a federal prison, awaiting trial.  Investigations, we’re told, have commenced to get to the bottom of what happened.  Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that Epstein had received medical care for a failed suicide attempt.

Trusting the American news media to accurately report any story with political overtones proves more difficult  in the era where most of the news media live dangerously on social media, where they tweet and retweet each other’s “reporting” with little, to no independent fact-checking.  Our news editing gets done, in real time, on Twitter, the place America’s journalists live 24/7 to gab (and fight the #Resist spin war).

All of the careful editing and filtering through information, before reporting news to the public now gets done – in public.  Mountains of incorrect information gets tossed onto Twitter, retweeted thousands of times (meaning the journalists lost control of the information) daily and the only accountability for tweeting incorrect, or even maliciously false information, is, “Oops, I removed that tweet.”  And on their previous false information continues to circulate.  There is zero accountability for spreading false or totally unverified information among America’s news media.

Adding to America’s widening information crisis, President Trump and many elected public officials recklessly spread false information on Twitter too.

Of course, social media erupted in conspiracy theories accusing the Clintons of having Epstein murdered, accusing Trump of having Epstein murdered and Joe Scarborough, former Republican Congressman, former Trump friend,  and now one of MSNBC’s biggest spinners of the Trump/Russia Collusion spin narrative tweeted:

Joe Scarborough
@JoeNBC

A guy who had information that would have destroyed rich and powerful men’s lives ends up dead in his jail cell. How predictably…Russian.

9:41 AM · Aug 10, 2019

This was par for the course with the conspiracy theories, even though there were very few facts asserted in the reporting.

President Trump, “great” leader that he is, rather than trying to calm the spin hysteria, tossed in more spin fuel by retweeting a tweet alleging that the Clintons had Epstein murdered.

Of course, there’s a possibility Epstein was murdered and assuredly many rich and powerful men probably desire that Epstein never be allowed to spill all of their secrets. On Friday, the news broke that the judge in the Epstein case had unsealed over 2,000 documents, leading to reports that one of the women accusing Epstein of sex trafficking alleged that Epstein flew her to have sex with former New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson, former Democratic senator, George Mitchell, and Prince Andrew of Great Britain, among others.

And then there’s the likely possibility that Epstein really did commit suicide.

The social media eruption about the Epstein news and Trump jumping into the fray, fanning the flames of conspiracy theories, seems par for the course with our media and politics subsumed into being just reactionary spin troops trying to own another spin cycle.

Trump’s retweeting Clinton conspiracy theories assured that the mainstream media and Dems would immediately switch to attacking Trump and Trump could wallow as king of the spin sewer for another day in this Trump vs. Dems/mainstream media scorched earth mass media spin information war, both sides slither in the sleaze… just bottom-feeder reactionaries, not noble seekers of the truth and assuredly not dedicated public servants working hard to do what’s best for America.

The truth is that Epstein’s death while in federal custody, whether by his own hands or by others, is another glaring system failure in America.  Conspiracy theories will gain more ground, because more and more Americans totally distrust the media and our elected officials.   The less people trust in our governmental and civic institutions, the easier it becomes for people to believe the worst of the people entrusted to run these institutions.

With Trump the Spinmaster-In-Chief, America truly lacks any principled leadership in the executive branch, with Congress in constant gridlock and immersed in the scorched earth spin efforts, we lack a functioning legislative body and the Epstein death casts more doubts on our justice system.  Pew Research Center in a July 22,2019 article states:

Trust is an essential elixir for public life and neighborly relations, and when Americans think about trust these days, they worry. Two-thirds of adults think other Americans have little or no confidence in the federal government. Majorities believe the public’s confidence in the U.S. government and in each other is shrinking, and most believe a shortage of trust in government and in other citizens makes it harder to solve some of the nation’s key problems.

Trust in Congress resides at rock bottom for many years now.

Trust in the media, likewise, is grinding down, where more and more people only listen and believe news reporting that fits their hyper-partisan views.

Without trust in our American justice system, our entire political system rests on very shaky ground

The instant conspiracy theories when Epstein’s death broke, speaks to total distrust in our government.  That many of the wildest conspiracy theories came from the blue checkmark crowd of news pundits, journalists and of course, the many other celebrities Twitter has deemed important voices worthy of a blue checkmark, speaks to the caliber of people whom are deemed social media influencers.

The President of the United States rushing to get in on the Twitter conspiracy tweetfest speaks volumes about, not only to Trump’s disrespect of the office he holds, it speaks to how our news media Twitterocracy, where Trump understands that the news media manufactures news, in real-time, tweet-retweet storm, by tweet-retweet storm.  The TV cable news and print media report follow where the Twitter spin storms blow.

The damage from these constant spin uproars will continue to corrode American culture long after they are forgotten… which will be within a few days…  The El Paso and Dayton mass shootings happened a little over a week ago, the media has already dunked the Dayton mass shooting down the spin memory hole, because it doesn’t feed the anti-Trump and liberal anti-gun spin narratives.

In our age of social media distraction, this Epstein spin hysteria will dissipate quickly, because the frenetic pace of the news media spin cycles reflect the collapse of the American people’s attention span.  Epstein’s death will fade quickly from the social media top trending topics too,  but assuredly it will be recycled often as bits of new names and conspiracy theories trickle out.  That said, our elite journalist class reflects the rest of America’s social media dwellers.  Most seem to have the attention-span of gnats and the critical-thinking depth of a dry well… except when it comes to clinging to their partisan spin narratives.

Despite all of us having access to more information than ever before known to mankind, it sure seems to be getting harder and harder to latch onto facts as media, especially social media,  spin swirls up ever-expanding dust devils of incorrect, inaccurate and oft-times deliberate, politically-motivated disinformation.  Before we can even clear the spin dirt from our eyes as one spin cycle blows through the echo chambers of our our news media, pundits and social media, we’re blasted with another, “News Alert!”

The story of Eptain’s death will assuredly fuel many more spin dust devils, but as for me, I’m a start-at-the-beginning-of-the-story kind of person, so what I want to know, more than how he died, was how he really lived.  How did Epstein even become an international jet-setter, hobnobbing with the rich and powerful all over the world?  What was Epstein’s real business, because assuredly the sex trafficking, while the most salacious bit isn’t the full picture?

I strongly suspect all these rich and famous people, like President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and L Brands CEO, Les Wexner all know what Epstein’s real business was and it wasn’t just the sex part.  Epstein’s lawyers made a claim that Epstein helped Bill Clinton set-up his Clinton Global Initiative.  What the help involved led to Bill Clinton taking dozens of flights with Epstein on Epstein’s private jet:

“Much of Epstein’s access to Clinton’s world also flowed through Maxwell. “The Clintons were relatively intimate with her,” a Maxwell friend said.

In 2002 and 2003, flight logs reportedly show that Bill Clinton flew on 26 flight legs on Epstein’s private jet.

“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” Clinton spokesman Angel Urena said in a statement. Urena said the flight legs comprised four trips in 2002 and 2003 and that staff and Secret Service were present on all flights. Urena said Epstein visited Clinton at his Harlem office once in 2002 and that he briefly visited Epstein’s apartment one time.

Maxwell’s ties to Clintonworld, meanwhile, would last another decade.

One friend of Maxwell’s, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described their surprise upon showing up at a dinner party at her Upper East Side apartment around 2005 to find Doug Band, then a top adviser to Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, among the 8 to 10 guests. In 2006, a charity run by Epstein, C.O.U.Q. Foundation, gave $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation, the Daily Beast reported.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/21/jeffrey-epstein-trump-clinton-1424120

The media also reported Epstein had business dealings with former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barack:

“While the Israeli politician has tried to play down his ties to Jeffrey Epstein since the billionaire’s indictment on charges of child sex trafficking, Barak became a fixture of the Epstein story after Israeli outlets reported he had received more than $3 million in payments from Epstein-connected institutions since 2004.

The former prime minister was also photographed leaving Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion in 2016 and has acknowledged visiting the billionaire’s private Caribbean island, where Epstein is accused of hosting orgies with underage girls.

Barak has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Epstein’s alleged crimes and maintains he never so much as talked to the financier in the presence of underage women. In a previous interview with The Daily Beast, Barak said he was first introduced to the financier by Israeli leader Shimon Peres in 2002, and saw Epstein only “on occasion” after that.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeffrey-epstein-israeli-politician-ehud-barak-often-crashed-at-his-manhattan-apartment-neighbors-say

Other media reports link the Saudi heir to the throne to Epstein, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and so the Epstein list of “friends” goes.

How about the media begin at the beginning of this Epstein saga and figure out exactly what Epstein’s business dealings were and get to the full scope of Jeffrey Epstein’s connections to the rich and famous, because assuredly in death, all of these people who had business dealings with Epstein will claim, “Jeffrey Epstein?  Hardly knew that guy.”

END OF STORY.

 

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Filed under General Interest, Politics, Public Corruption, The Media

Finding hope amidst the carnage

There were two mass shootings in America within 24 hours, one in El Paso, Texas, yesterday and one in Dayton, OH, in the wee hours of the morning today.

Yesterday, when the El Paso story broke, I was watching a stupid sci-fi movie, Idiocracy, which one of my sons insisted I would love (I didn’t).  In that movie, set hundreds of years into the future, America’s gene pool and culture had declined dramatically, where the English language had eroded into gibberish and mindless slogans, education had been demonized and the American system had descended into chaos, and corruption,  with a WWF type star running the country.

A male and female from the present were frozen in a top secret military experiment, where they were supposed to be awakened in the near future, but they ended up being frozen for several hundred years.  When these two average people awakened they found themselves,literally, the smartest people in the world.  The man had been a dud in the Army, who did nothing to distinguish himself as a soldier, while the woman had been a prostitute, who was conned into being a part of the experiment.

The movie Idiocracy was made in 2006 and here we are in 2019 with a WWF type star as president and most days the mindless spin word games leave me wondering what the heck happened to America.

In 2019 America, the media news cycles are largely driven by the blue checkmark crowd of political and thought leaders who drive the media spin cycles on Twitter.  President Trump also uses his Twitter account to drive spin cycles.  We live, not in an Idiocracy, but a Twitterocracy. News Media people and politicos on Twitter drive the other American news formats, especially the cable TV spin cycles.

Today’s reporting has been a mix of law enforcement reporting updates, reports on the victims, pundits and politicians assigning blame for the shootings (well beyond the two shooters) and as can always be expected massive politicization, before the bodies of the murder victims are even cold. It’s a rather ghoulish national media and political spectacle.

At the end of the day, it appears the El Paso shooter was motivated by white nationalist sentiments and the Dayton. OH shooter was an Elizabeth Warren supporter, Satanist and anti-gun violence advocate (try making sense of that, if you can). My personal opinion is what likely motivates these killers is probably a complex combination of factors, like mental illness, erosion of family, decay of civic culture, social alienation, violent culture, malign online groups that fuel hate.  Of course, America’s 24/7 scorched earth spin war, which the media avidly aids and abets, certainly probably could be a contributing factor too.

My point is, it’s doubtful we can pinpoint one specific cause, even though many people want some specific cause, that they can fixate on as the source of the evil, because it’s much easier to believe that, “if we only got rid of that cause, that would fix the problem”.  For many on the Left, Trump is the cause and removing Trump from office is the solution.  For many others on the Left, the cause is guns and more gun laws will fix the problem.

I’ve never owned a firearm in my life and never want to own one.  I understand the strong views of people on both sides of the 2nd Amendment debates and constant battles over gun laws.  That said, sure there might be some more gun laws that might keep guns out of mass shooters hands, but at this point enough details aren’t known about these two mass shooting incidents to have a calm debate about whether the law the Democrats are hyping today would have had any impact on either of these two shootings.

The reality  that the “causes” are complex and there  isn’t some magical, easy-fix political solution to end these mass shootings, particularly those carried out by white nationalists, who are reported to be using online forums to radicalize and spread their racist ideology, ramp up racial fear and incite rage, doesn’t sit well with many Americans.  People like believing there are political solutions to slaying violent ideologies (see all the true-believers that American military might could destroy radical Islamist ideology).

This is just my opinion, but positive cultural changes in America begin in the hearts of good citizens, good neighbors, and strong families.  We can all work toward that end, in our own small ways.  Each tiny effort can begin the change.  Of course, having strong leaders in America, from all walks of life, working to spread calm and  positive messages, instead of turning everything in America into a vicious political battle, would help a great deal too, but judging from most of the Twitterocracy thought leaders, and partisan political peeps, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening.

And here we come to President Trump and his endless ginning up anger and flirting with white nationalists in his rhetoric.  While I don’t believe it’s fair or productive to run around calling him a racist or white nationalist, he has never come out and tried to distance himself from white supremacist or denounced their hate-filled ideology.  As the person holding the biggest megaphone in America, it’s way past time for him to strongly denounce white nationalism and white supremacy ideology.

The best thing the news media could do for America is abandon their cozy spin nest on Twitter and get back to reporting who, what, when, when, why and how, instead of being major players in the partisan spin wars, which churns out of the Twitterocracy every day in America.  Yes, even Trump knows Twitter drives the American news cycles in America and propels the Left’s spin narratives, which is why he clings to his personal Twitter account.

And the best thing each of us average citizens can do is try to take care of our families, our friends, our communities and pray that each small drop of kindness adds up to large enough waves to begin changing the tide in our country.

Finding hope amidst the carnage won’t be easy,  but we could each resolve to spread some kind words and work to do some good deeds… that’s a start.

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Filed under Food for Thought, Politics

A Total Corrupt Mess

For a few days, I’ve thought about writing a blog post about Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress on July 24, 2019, but despite tweeting a good bit about it, deciding how to express my thoughts without just ending up expressing my outrage, made me hesitate.  I tweet under the name, libertybelle at Twitter.  A few days ago JK posted a comment on my blog with a link to a video: https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/454668-rising-july-25-2019 , titled, Establishment Dems exposed, Krystal Ball: How much damage has MSNBC done to the Left? with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti dissecting how Mueller’s testimony deflated the Trump/Russia spin hysteria peddled by MSNBC (and CNN too).

This assessment of the damage to Dems was brutal and I believe accurate.  Their prediction that the Trump/Russia spin hysteria was dead, failed to take into account how quickly the Dem/Mainstream media spin warriors regroup and rewrite their narratives.  They will continue with this Trump/Russia Collusion narrative, because they must.  Heck, the Washington Post yesterday, ran an editorial claiming Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset, so the Dems Red Scare 2.0 effort is well underway.

The Trump/Russia Collusion spin narrative is the Dems big lie propaganda effort, from which all their efforts to takedown Trump, at best, or delegitimize his presidency 24/7, at worst, spring.  If Dems ever concede that Trump/Russia Collusion spin narrative was concocted, or to use Trump’s term, “a hoax”, all of their Trump hysterical narratives implode.  And that is what I suspect might happen.

I’ve read a lot of takes on Mueller’s testimony, but I am relying on what I saw in Mueller’s overall testimony.  Dems and many #Resist media pulled short video clips to spin that Mueller’s “performance” made the case to impeach Trump.  Many Trump pundits and media ran with Mueller’s “performance” was dismal, with some claiming Mueller’s fumbling, to look up passages in the Mueller report, was “an act” to run out the clock.

Well, here’s my take, Mueller’s testimony was the best he could do.  Mueller looked to me like an elderly man with significant memory problems and my anger burned as I watched him struggle to answer questions, struggle to remember, struggle with multi-pronged questions (a lot of the Dems had those prepared).  The worst part of this was watching Mueller struggle to find passages in the Mueller report, which Dems had planned to have Mueller read out loud for dramatic effect.  Mueller got lost trying to locate the passages.  Watching Mueller’s testimony was like watching my husband several years ago and it appalled me that rabid Dem lawyers on that Special Counsel team and Democrats staged this spectacle USING this man, who served his country honorably for many years, as nothing more than a stage prop in another of their media SPIN sideshows.  It felt like I was watching elderly abuse many times.

Mueller’s testimony exposed the total sham of the Trump/Russian investigation, for me.  I believe rabid Dem lawyers ran that investigation and USED Mueller as a figurehead and shield from scrutiny.   A question to be answered, which I believe assuredly needs to be answered by the AG, is whether there’s a medical diagnosis of  Robert Mueller’s significant memory problems.  I feel there’s very likely a medical diagnosis to that.  Some pundits and reporters mentioned his “mental acuity”, but the AG needs to find out whether his condition was known before he was appointed to lead this Special Counsel investigation.

The other question that should be answered is what exactly was going on with that Rosenstein and Mueller meeting with Trump in the Oval Office the day before Rosenstein appointed Mueller to head the Special Counsel investigation.  Trump and Pence believed Rosenstein brought Mueller to the White House to interview for the FBI director position.  Mueller testified that he did not interview for the position.  Andrew McCabe wrote in his book, that Mueller’s phone was left in the Oval Office and had to be retrieved later.  What on earth was that all about?  Was Mueller used to plant a phone in the Oval Office to “surveil” or “spy” on the Oval Office?

Did Comey, Yates and other rabid anti-Trump people just use Mueller all along, as cover for their efforts to takedown Trump?  While I hope AG Barr gets to the bottom of this, I’ve learned placing faith in anyone or anything in Washington always leads to massive disappointment.  The truth is all that “Drain the Swamp” hoopla Trump hyped misses the truth – there are so many corrupt politicians, on both sides, in Washington, that to really expose the massive public corruption would require throwing them all out, fumigating the place from top to bottom, and starting all over, LOL.

It’s a total corrupt mess and Trump, a lying con man, as good as Dems at stirring up identity politics firestorms, isn’t really going to solve anything.  He likes to peddle influence, like the best of them, hobnobbing with his rich friends, offering them top jobs and on it goes.

Our news media, mainstream media & FOX, are just big businesses making a fortune off of running competing  Trump Reality Show vs. The Trump/Russian Collusion Show.  Where it ends, well, I have no idea, but it’s going to get much worse, I feel sure.

 

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, General Interest, Information War, Politics, Public Corruption

A Country of Strangers…

After the past few days of Trump-crazy spin, from both sides, blaring across American media, I spent some time thinking about a sad Conrad Richter novel, A Country of Strangers, written in 1966, which I read last month.

The Richter novel was set in the American colonial period, at the time an agreement between colonials and the Ohio Tribes, consisting of several related Algonquin peoples, required the return of all white captives.  Richter’s story was written from the viewpoint of a young Lenni Lenape woman, Stone Girl (Mary Staunton), who was a white child captured by a Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indians) tribe when she was very young.  She has only a few memories of her white family and a few bits of information an older white woman captive kept repeating, reminding her of her English name and parents.  Stone Girl’s belief system and identity is completely Lenape.  To compound her alienation from her white heritage, she does not speak English.

Stone Girl married a warrior in the tribe and has a young child, so when the return of captives agreement becomes known, her husband takes her and their child further into Indian territory, hoping that will keep her safe from being forcibly returned to a white family she doesn’t even remember.  Stone Girl and her child are forcibly returned.   While Richter’s story disappointed me a bit, overall it left me feeling, not only sad for Stone Girl and her child, but sad about how so often political decisions made with the best of intentions, end up causing immense anguish for powerless individuals caught in the middle.

My father’s German ancestors settled into northeast PA, moving north of the Blue Mountain, in 1762.  That area had been an ancient Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indian) village, called Meniolagomeka.   Moravian missionaries had spent a few years in the 1750s erecting a mission in the area to attempt to convert the Lenni Lenape villagers to Christianity, before the Delaware were pushed out and white settlers moved in.  The French and Indian War, from 1754-1763, took a very heavy toll on the Lenni Lenape, from repeated forced relocations, disease and the ravages of this war.

The plight of Native Americans in the European settlement of America still haunts our American conscience, but so often we try to see these troubling situations in black and white, trying to choose a side, when in very personal terms, the larger political decisions, even well-meaning ones, sometimes inflicted enormous personal suffering on many individual people, on both sides, caught up in them.

I found an interesting 2001 article, Redeeming the Captives: Pennsylvania Captives Among the Ohio Indians, 1755-1765, by Matthew C. Ward, at JSTOR.  This article was originally published in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 125, No. 3 (Jul., 2001).  Ward writes that in this 10 year period in the mid-1700s, the French and Indian War had left the frontier border, especially in Pennsylvania, dangerously unprotected and exposed.

Ward explains that during that short decade, the Ohio Tribes waged an escalated campaign of taking white captives as a political and strategic effort, resulting in the capture of nearly two thousand white settlers – men, women and children.  Many of these captives fully-integrated into the Ohio tribal societies and despite the forced return of white captives at the end of the French and Indian War, many of these captives fled back to their Indian tribes or refused to leave their tribe.  In the Conrad Richter novel, Stone Girl finds out her Indian warrior husband has died in a battle and then her young son is killed, so the spoiler alert is she flees back to the Indians with a former captive, white man she has met, who, like her, had completely acculturated into Indian tribal life.

This phenomenon of white captives voluntarily returning to live with the tribe has been well-documented in early American historical accounts and was very common.  The European settlers, who considered the Native Americans uncivilized savages, were mystified by the frequency with which white captives chose to “go native” and stay with the Indian tribe.  The Delaware tribes adopted white captive children into their families and fully-integrated white captives, even adults, into their tribal social structure.

And that brings us to our modern politics and the frequent warnings of the dangers of tribalism, where sadly America, in a real sense, often truly feels like a country of strangers.

Interestingly,  Jonah Goldberg’s latest book, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy, Goldberg mentions this very situation in our early American experience:

“In his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, Sebastian Junger recounts how the English colonies in North America were vexed by a bizarre problem: Thousands of white Europeans colonists desperately wanted to be Indians, but virtually no Indians wanted to be Europeans.  “When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs,” Benjamin Franklin explained in a letter to a friend in 1753, “if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return.”  However, Franklin added, when whites were taken prisoner by the Indians, they’d go native and want to stay Indians, even after being returned to their families.  “Tho’ ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life… and take the first good opportunity of escaping again into the woods.”

As Junger observes, this phenomenon seemed to run against all of the assumptions of civilizational advance.  And yet it kept happening thousands of times over?  Why?  Because there is something deeply seductive about the tribal life. The Western way takes a lot of work.”

Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy, Jonah Goldberg, page 13

The Western way, indeed, does take a lot of work to keep our diverse and complex society united for any common purposes and with the rise of populist and nationalist sentiments, and the deepening factionalization (tribalism), often fueled by obscene identity politics, America seems more and more like a nation of  screeching tribes, on a 24/7, media-fueled verbal warpath, rather than a nation united by any common beliefs or bonds.

So, where does America go from here?  How do we begin to heal the divides and unite our nation under even a few common beliefs?  How do we begin to neutralize the damage inflicted on American unity, by this malignant, 24/7 scorched earth spin information war, that only works to fuel outrage and mass hysteria?  Is there hope for our rabid American partisan to find some calmer middle ground and begin to work together to unite Americans around a few common beliefs and causes?

America began as an unique experiment – a project – that requires commitment from each generation of Americans to thrive and succeed.

There’s been another Trump-incited debate in recent days about what American immigrants owe America and JK posted a link to the National Review podcast, where Charles Cooke and David French debate whether American citizens, who immigrated here, owe America more gratitude than native-born American citizens

My personal belief is it’s not so much about showing “gratitude”; it’s that our republic needs more individuals making the personal choice to commit to the American project’s most important civic belief – treating our fellow citizens, regardless of which “tribal group in our diversity soup” they identify with, with respect.

I agreed with some points on both sides of the French/Cooke debate, but for me, debating who owes more “gratitude” misses the most important point.  It’s not about picking a group who owes more to America, it’s about ALL American citizens should decide whether they want to put in their oars and row, in working toward some common goals.

I believe the first core belief America needs, to even form an American team, that can function, is demanding, not “gratitude”, but demanding we all  commit to treating each other with respect.  Focusing on judging other Americans, based on their displays of “gratitude” or how they show respect for America, which President Trump will surely hype in his 2020 campaign, as he wraps himself in the American flag and works to polarize and incite more divisions, gets us nowhere.  I say this, even though, I am struggling with negative feelings toward Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks and her comments that I perceive as anti-American.   Still, working hard to treat other people with respect, here we go from the PA girl, is our keystone belief.  It’s our American central principle, if you will.   Pennsylvania is the Keystone State, just had to throw that in.

Our political leaders spend more time fueling divides and anger, with too many orchestrating and participating in personal smear campaigns.

A few weeks ago, I listened to the audiobook  Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country, a book written by Senator Tim Scott and former Congressman, Trey Gowdy.  The book explains their friendship, but in the process, both offer many examples of how to build a relationship between two people from very different backgrounds.  They both talk about how they worked hard to build trust in their relationship and that required being willing to, not only listen to each other’s differing perspectives, it meant trying to understand them.  Their friendship took commitment, like all trusting relationships do.  On a larger scale America needs leaders committed to building trust across partisan lines and leaders who will put the national interest above their personal or partisan interests.

In his book, Them: Why We Hate Each Other — And How To Heal, Senator Ben Sasse, relates this very point:

“Over the last year, I’ve had occasion to meet with a number of senior Chinese officials, and they’ve always been quick to point out — a kind of diplomatic trash talk — how young the United States is compared to China’s forty-five centuries of history.

Fair enough.  We’re babes, historically.  But (as long as we’re trash talking) age is not always what it’s cracked up to be.  And, besides: doesn’t this discussion miss the point?  China is a nation in the classic sense. It is blood and soil.  It’s great wall, a fascinating people, an extraordinary long-lived culture.

But America is something different.  America is an idea — it is a creed.

The American idea is a commitment to the universal dignity of persons everywhere.”

Them: Why We Hate Each Other — And How To Heal, written by Ben Sasse, page 134.

I agree with Sasse about “universal dignity of persons everywhere”, but being a homemaker, I believe we should work to clean up our own house, first, starting in our daily lives and hopefully our elected leaders and those with a public platform will commit to cleaning up our own political house, instead of just talking about which side is worse.

Frankly, I am ashamed of our American scorched earth spin information war, even though I am just a homemaker, with no political power.  The elected leaders in America represent all of us… and most of them, on both sides, are committed to this appalling spin war, where vicious, orchestrated smear campaigns and petty media spin games  – to incite, belittle, disparage each other – have become their default form of politics.  President Trump, AOC & her squad, and many other elected leaders, political operatives, and the media remain completely committed to waging this spin war.

This scorched earth spin information war is a national disgrace.  We should all commit to end it.

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Filed under American Character, American History, Civility, General Interest, Information War, Politics

Epstein again

There were a few interesting developments in the Jeffrey Epstein case yesterday.

Here’s a link to a story, Real Hedge-Fund Managers Have Some Thoughts on What Epstein Was Actually Doing, written by Michelle Celarier, which offers some theories on how Epstein made his fortune. In this story there’s a link to a tweet thread that’s that a must read too.

Federal prosecutors also  tacked on witness tampering allegations to Epstein’s charges:

“The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan said Epstein wired $350,000 to two possible co-conspirators within five days of the Miami Herald’s November 28 expose on former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s sweetheart deal with Epstein in 2007.”

https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/12/federal-prosecutors-accuse-epstein-witness-tampering/

This Epstein case is hot news now, but my prediction is it will go much like the Harvey Weinstein and Ralph Northam media feeding frenzies, if Epstein’s connections implicate too many big Democrats.

So far, the mainstream media isn’t pouncing on digging through Bill Clinton’s statement and investigating, in fact, it’s been dead silence there.  You won’t see the Washington Post sending dozens of reporters to uncover how much of Bill Clinton’s statement is true, but every hint that Trump made some comment about Epstein is being spun for all it’s worth, especially on MSNBC.

The mainstream media is just as corrupt at running interference and damage control for the Clintons, as FOX News is at running damage control for Trump.  The reality is that it would not be surprising if old golfing buddies, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump both had some unsavory connections to Epstein.  Bill Clinton and Donald Trump both have plenty of allegations of sexually predatory behavior and unsavory proven history of trying to cover-up that behavior.  It is fact that Bill Clinton lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky and his minions were waging an all-out smear campaign against her.  It is fact that Trump had his attorney pay hush money to two women, who claimed to have had affairs with him,  during the 2016 campaign.

Sadly, the media is now more dedicated to aiding partisan causes than objectively reporting news.  And our justice system seems to operate the same way.  There’s plenty of media and Dem outrage about Epstein now, but that was because they wanted Alex Acosta to be taken down.  If there’s no evidence to damage Trump and more evidence implicating Bill Clinton or other big Dems, well, Epstein’s case will go the way of Weinstein – it will fizzle out.  The mainstream media will work to make the story go away.

Update:  Andrew McCarthy at National Review offers his analysis of the Epstein plea agreement and double jeopardy issue: Acosta’s Sweetheart Deal Likely to Foreclose Epstein’s SDNY Prosecution

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More on Jeffrey Epstein

Here’s an interesting link on the Jeffrey Epstein case, which raises some interesting questions:

It Sure Looks Like Jeffrey Epstein Was a Spy—But Whose?

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America is about individuals

I am not a feminist.

I am a woman, yet I have never once in my life believed I am entitled to special rules due to this.

This week’s feminist hissy fit centers on the U.S. women’s soccer team.  The media Furies rail that the U.S. women’s soccer team deserves pay equal to the U.S. men’s soccer team.  The truth is the U.S. women’s soccer team, while the best women’s soccer team can’t hold a candle to men’s soccer teams.  This is the reality in most sports.

The glaring truth is men and women are physically different and have different physical capabilities.  Pretending otherwise, to appease feminists or advance political agendas, hurts everyone who is willingly brainwashed into buying into policies based on false premises and slippery, deceptive language, or coerced through political and social media pressure to buy into these feminist false arguments and their always-evolving demands.

I do not believe in dogmatic modern feminism, which appears to me to be  a thinly veiled, radical leftist, socialist political movement, with a mission of “destroying the patriarchy” (code word for Western civilization).  Modern feminists state they want to stamp out sexism and remake, not just our political structure, but our culture and even our daily lifestyle choices to fit their ever-evolving notions of what a feminist utopia should be.

Most of all it’s alarming how many women (and many men too) just jump on board each new media-fueled feminist demand or outrage antic.

The radicals leading the modern feminist movement often contradict each other and advocate conflicting policies, but they agree on their demand for political change, all encapsulated under the banner of “Equality and Fairness”, which the mainstream media invariably champions, without question.  The feminist movement’s major mouthpieces issue their demands, which dictate how everyone, especially men, must act and think about… women’s rights and women’s roles in the workplace, “gender roles”, male and female personal interactions, what words must be used when speaking about women and “gender” issues, and what everyone must think about an ever-growing list of issues and grievances their movement decides are “unfair”.  Most of all feminists want to tell men what they can and can not do, even down to their private sexual behavior.

The modern feminist movement is all about controlling men.

It’s exhausting listening to so many grown women living their lives in a perpetual state of raging that men need to change, all to conform to their latest charge of inequality or about how “unfair” some issue is to women.  Oddly, many liberal men have completely bought into modern feminism and are willing to embrace every new angry charge radical feminists level at men and the “patriarchy” writ large.

America is about individuals pursuing their dreams. It’s not about political parties, mass political action or social media mob actions.

Here’s a home truth about people – you can’t dictate what other people must believe.  Freedom of belief is a right in America and should not be dictated or constrained by government, political or social pressure.  Every American should feel free to disagree with or embrace religious, political or even personal beliefs without fear of social, political or even economic retaliation from modern social media or media-generated mob smear campaigns.  We shouldn’t accept dictates on what words we must use to talk about any political or social issues.  Differing viewpoints deserve a hearing.

I believe there are amazingly competent women and there are amazingly incompetent women, smart women and dumber-than-a-rock women, women who work hard and women who are lazier than my old dog, Lucy, whose major daily effort is dragging herself to the food dish each day.  The same is true for men.  I’m all for job opportunities for everyone, based on clear standards, across the board.

My only exception is I do not believe in allowing women in a few grueling combat positions, because I believe the military mission and what best leads to mission success outweigh feminist politics, always.  I base this view based on my view that military mission success often asks soldiers to take on dangerous mission, even sacrificing their lives for some of them.  And due to the gravity of some of these combat missions, I don’t think feminist agendas outweigh, careful, deliberative military assessments, as to what physical requirements are needed to accomplish these missions successfully and feminist agendas certainly do not outweigh the risk to other team members, who might be put at risk by lowering standards or allowing women, who are not as competent as their male team members.  It’s not fair to put other team members at risk due to feminist political pressure.   Some of these tasks require a great deal of upper-body strength and endurance, which the overwhelming body of research shows women do not possess.  Biology is what it is, so in military mission decisions, I opt for what best leads to mission success.  PERIOD.

This latest U.S women’s soccer team win has become an anti-Trump rally and members of this women’s soccer team are just as much to blame for this political sideshow as Trump.  In fact, the team captain is wallowing in media deification for her “trash-Trump”, anti-American political antics.  As an added “feminist issue”, the feminist mantra is all about how these female soccer players dont’ get paid as much as the men’s team.  The truth is the men’s soccer team brings in a whole lot more revenue and although the U.S. women’s soccer team are amazing athletes, no women’s soccer team can compete with the counterpart top male soccer teams.

Male and female biology is what it is – that’s the truth.

What on earth is wrong with cheering on women’s sports and working to expand opportunities for girls sports too, without turning it into a feminist political cause?  Why do radical leftist politics turn everything into a major political and cultural war?

A good starting point for changing America for the better, way beyond political action, begins with treating people as individuals worthy of respect and entitled to their own beliefs, thoughts and opinions.

It seems like America’s 24/7 media spin drama feeds mass hysteria, mass outrage, mass demonization… mass GROUPTHINK.

My modest proposal is that we start listening to each other more and spending more time trying to get to know people as individuals first, rather than as part of some nefarious “other group”.

Just that one change of focus can broaden your view immensely and it can lead you to some amazing conversations with people, whom you thought you had nothing in common with or believed were bad people… based on hot button political issues, the political candidate they support, or group they belong to.  Each person deserves to be treated as more than a one-dimensional object to hate.

How hard is it to work on respecting people as individuals?

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Clinton Damage Control Full-Steam Ahead…

Jeffrey Epstein, billionaire hedge fund investor, friend to both Republican and Democrat powerful politicians and connected people, was arrested in New York on charges of running a sex trafficking ring of underage girls.  In this latest episode of this Epstein sex crime saga, plenty of names are being tossed out as being linked to Epstein… again.

Former president, Bill Clinton, is reported to have traveled on Epstein’s private plane 26 times.  Last night, Clinton’s spokesman released a statement:

“Bill Clinton “knows nothing” about the “terrible crimes” linked to Jeffrey Epstein, the former president’s spokesman said Monday, in Clinton’s first statement after new sex-trafficking charges were lobbed against the wealthy financier.”

“In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation,” the statement said. “Staff, supporters of the foundation, and his Secret Service detail traveled on every leg of every trip. He had one meeting with Epstein in his Harlem office in 2002, and around the same time made one brief visit to Epstein’s New York apartment with a staff member and his security detail. He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and he has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida.”

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bill-clinton-knows-nothing-about-financier-jeffrey-epsteins-terrible-crimes-former-presidents-spokesman-says

When the Clintons feel compelled to do damage control with a statement, it’s best to be highly skeptical the statement is truthful.  This statement was meant to be the Clinton talking points for the mainstream media to begin spinning another “nothing to see here” diversion.  Plenty of the mainstream media will just run with this Clinton statement, as if it’s been investigated and verified as factual.  The Clintons have done this same smoke and mirrors spin routine to cover-up scandals, with the mainstream media serving as their loyal spin team, for decades now.  Honestly, this statement struck me as another Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman” or “I never sent nor received any information that was marked classified.”

My prediction is that every thread of innuendo, no matter how flimsy, linking Trump to Epstein will result in massive mainstream media spin attacks trashing Trump, without any fact-checking, while any information damaging to Bill Clinton will get brushed under the carpet.

That’s how the mainstream media rolls.

As an aside to the spin efforts, there’s an interesting Tweet thread from 2018, by  Techno-Fog, which has FBI documents from 2008 about Epstein, suggesting that Epstein was an FBi informant on some financial investigation

Mueller was the FBI director in 2008.

Small world in that DC swamp, that’s for sure…

Oh, one other interesting bit of information that I wasn’t aware of is Jeffrey Epstein helped devise the Clinton Global Initiative:

“Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted Monday on child sex-trafficking charges, helped president Bill Clinton devise the Clinton Global Initiative, according to a letter his attorneys sent to federal prosecutors in 2007.

“Mr. Epstein was part of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative, which is described as a project ‘bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Gerald Lefcourt wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Fox News in 2016 and resurfaced Monday by the Daily Caller.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/jeffrey-epstein-lawyer-claimed-alleged-pedophile-helped-devise-clinton-global-initiative/

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