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Monday, September 18, 2017

On Capitol Hill, it's business as usual.


When Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election, I believed that the Republican-controlled Congress would confidently pass the agenda that was responsible for dispatching Hillary Clinton and Company.  The issues that were most important to me- safe borders, immigration enforcement, rolling back unnecessary regulations, re-negotiating terrible Trade Agreements, and support for our veterans, were part and parcel of the platform that President Trump embraced during the election.  Given that those same issues are also traditional Republican concerns, I assumed that Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker of the House Ryan would have little difficulty corralling their respective Republican majorities and pushing aside the Democratic opposition.  Unfortunately, it just hasn't happened as I envisioned.  Although President Trump has been able to pass some of the agenda, he must be frustrated with the lack of urgency demonstrated by Congress.  Ten months into the Trump presidency, why hasn't Congress been more aggressive on implementing his agenda?

Most of the more prolific Republican members of Congress have voted in line with President Trump.  More accurately, they have voted as conservatives, which is what is expected by their constituents.  My Congressman, who has been in office over three decades, traditionally votes as a conservative, but I'm not ready to concede that his voting record this year is an indication of support for President Trump.  I think the same can be said for many of the more influential Republican Congressmen and women.  Voting conservative is something that is expected by their constituents, and not necessarily an indication of support for President Trump.  Since my district voted heavily in favor of Donald Trump, I expected my Congressman to take a leadership role in shepherding the Trump agenda through the House of Representatives.  He's been in Congress a decade longer than the Speaker of the House, and currently chairs the Science, Space, and Technology committee.  I can only assume that he wields enough influence to make a bold stand calling for unity behind our Republican President, and the issues that swept him into office.   On the contrary, since the inauguration, what I've observed is one Democrat member of Congress after another aggressively attacking President Trump and his policies.  Since the Republican Party has a forty-six seat majority in the House of Representatives, why is it always the Democrats who seem to control the debate?

For a Congressperson to be accountable to his or her constituents, it must take more than a positive voting record.  Our nation sits at a crossroads, and our elected officials must be ready to stand up and be heard, because the left has shown no hesitation in taking over the bully pulpit.  President Trump deserves a Congress that will use its majority to push aside the opposition and pass the legislation that will make our nation safer and our economy stronger.  For too many years, the polite, business-as-usual style of negotiating in the House of Representatives has allowed the Democrats to dominate the agenda, regardless of which party is in the majority, and every year, Congress seems to become less responsive to the people.  We need a Congress that tackles its responsibilities in a responsible fashion, and the last one to leave the Chamber turns out the lights.  Instead, we have a never-ending process of brokering, deal-making, behind-the-scenes negotiating, additional deal-making and still nothing gets accomplished.  This is not my idea of smaller government, folks, and any member of Congress who calls themselves a Conservative and has been in office more than a decade, needs to explain to me exactly what steps they have taken to make our government smaller, cheaper, and less intrusive on our lives.

The election of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth President of the United States was the first step taken by the American people in returning responsible, accountable leadership to Washington DC.  In order to provide President Trump with the legislative support he needs to make our nation safer, shrink the size of government, and grow our economy, we must elect a Congress which demonstrably supports the Trump agenda and is willing to toss aside convention when necessary and use the majority which was provided by the American electorate.  Its time to look beyond the Congressional voting record and ask the all-important questions, "what has my Congressperson actually accomplished, how dedicated are they to a smaller government, and just how aggressive is he or she willing to be in support of the Trump agenda?"

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A close look at Texas District 21 is a reminder as to why I'm running for Congress.


Why would anyone chose to run for Congress?  Some people really get a kick out of being in a position of authority.  It can be an addiction, especially for people who need constant positive reinforcement.  There are folks who truly enjoy the political process itself, including statistics, advertising, and the adrenaline rush that can come from campaigning.  Polling indicates that the majority of Americans believe people run for Congress as a means to financial enrichment, although a quick review of the requirements to get a successful campaign off the ground make it apparent that access to resources needs to present before the election, not just after.  Then we have the participants of conscience, people who get involved for the purpose of defending the Constitution and protecting our freedoms.  Not surprisingly, everyone claims to fit into the last category, especially during campaign season.

Until I embarked on a book tour to promote the publishing of my memoir, Mukhabarat, Baby!, I had no idea how angry people had become.  After two terms of Barack Obama, I wasn't necessarily thrilled with politics at the time, either, but folks were showing up to my speaking engagements prepared to ask very thoughtful and intelligent questions regarding the actions of both the Obama Administration and Congress.  Because I had experienced the frustration and anger of average Americans first-hand, I can't say I was surprised when an outsider, Donald Trump, won the presidency.  On the other side of the coin, an outsider also gave Hillary Clinton headaches.  In fact, many on the far-left still claim that if the Democratic establishment hadn't manipulated the rules here and there, Bernie Sanders would have been the nominee.  From my optic, that's a bit of a stretch, given that Hillary did win a substantial majority of votes in the combined Democratic primaries, but one thing is for certain, just about everyone seems to be pissed off about something.  Although it was unexpected, I was ecstatic when Trump won the election.  I've never claimed to appreciate his elitist background, brusk manner and dismissive attitude, but I sure did embrace the Trump Agenda.  Border security, standing up to law-flaunting sanctuary cities, re-negotiating eight years of awful trade agreements, repealing Obamacare, and respect for our military, police officers and first responders- what a package!  I was ready to see President Trump Make America Great Again.  I was disabused of any notion I had that things would progress smoothly for the new administration almost as soon as Hillary called to concede.

We've got multiple investigations about alleged Trump collusion with Russian efforts to impact the 2016 election with absolutely no evidence, the Washington Post and NY Times publishing leaked, classified information on a daily basis, and a GOP-majority House and Senate that seem ready to impeach their own president, and the Trump Administration isn't even ten months old.  After completing my book tour, I continued to speak to various conservative groups regarding the history of espionage and what I considered abuses of the FISA law by the Obama Administration.  At every event, I was approached and asked to run for Congress.  Conservatives in Texas District 21 have been re-electing Republican Representative Lamar Smith for over thirty years, but I was sensing that patience was finally wearing thin.  Voters in District 21 voted overwhelmingly for the Trump Agenda, and it was obvious that Congress was very interested in making Trump's campaign promises a priority.  Where did Lamar Smith stand on the Trump Agenda?  No one seemed to have a clue, but it was clear that he wasn't looking for an opportunity to stand up for President Trump.  Representative Smith appears content to follow the lead of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and defer to politics as usual.  After discussing the issue with my family and close friends, and keeping in mind the desire for change that was so apparent to me during my speaking engagements throughout District 21, I decided to run against Lamar Smith in the Republican Primary in March 2018.

I am not a politician, and can safely say that I belong to that group of candidates that is running for the purpose of protecting our freedoms, defending the Constitution and the rule of law, and keeping the American people safe from government overreach, crime, and terrorism.  When I first decided to run, I was told that I would need to write myself a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or I had no chance of winning.  I did not write myself a check for thousands of dollars, although if it had been possible, I would have.  I retired with a full disability after having been poisoned while working for the CIA in 2001, and like many of you, I live on a fixed income.  Having me in Congress would be a return to Representative Democracy, as I'm not an attorney, nor am I a millionaire.  Everything I have done up to now, I 've done either by myself or with the help of a small group of supporters.  I've learned so much about the electoral process, and I'm convinced that the rules and regulations that exist are intended to discourage "average" Americans from participating in elections.  This reality wasn't a huge surprise, but I have to admit I was shocked when I discovered that Democrats are much more quick to get involved in the causes they feel are important, and much more willing to donate to candidates whom they support. 

In 2018, the Democratic Party will be running a number of Congressional candidates that don't resemble what we've recognized in the past as a typical Democrat.  The Democrats purposely searched for retired military and law enforcement to run in conservative districts, and nationally Democrats have been putting a great deal of money behind these candidates.  One of the announced Democrats running in Texas District 21 is a retired Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and a Bronze Star recipient, and a graduate of West Point.  I thank him for his service and I appreciate his willingness to get involved in the process, but his politics are way to the left of the citizens of District 21.  I spent my time in warzones, including Iraq and Kosovo, and I've sacrificed for my nation.  I can think of nothing that I would appreciate more than debating this guy, as long as he promises to take of the ubiquitous UT baseball cap he seems to be always wearing.  But his candidacy is a good example of the problem pro-Trump candidates like myself are facing.  He's raised over three-hundred-thousand dollars, including quite a bit from out-of-state donors.  Democrats in California and DC really like this guy.

One advantage I have, which can't be bought, is that I represent the heart and soul of the Texas Hill Country.  I'm from here, and my connection to this community is a source of great personal pride.  District 21- Comal, Real, Bandera, Gillespie, Blanco, Kerr, Kendall Counties, with significant sections of Bexar, Hays and Travis Counties as well, is home to as diverse a group of Texans as you will find.  San Antonio and Austin are two of the fastest growing urban areas in the nation, but travel an hour west of Austin or an hour north of San Antonio, and you will find countless ranches and farms decorating our beautiful hills and river valleys.  Retired military families are a tremendously vibrant and important part of the district, as is Texas State University, one of the largest in the state.  The folks that live in District 21 are honest, hard-working, and generous; they don't have much time for foolishness, and they tend to see government nowadays as wasteful, intrusive and over-reaching, and I'm in complete agreement.  District 21 is one of the most consistently Republican districts in Texas, and if you're from here, you know why.  Families are the priority, and religion is the bedrock of this basically conservative community.  Be that as it may, people are very welcoming to new neighbors, and I've never seen one example of intolerance or racism.  Simply put, the voters of District 21 voted overwhelmingly for the pro-family, smaller government, support for rule-of-law agenda of Donald Trump.  I am much more reflective of this community than my opponents, and as a member of Congress, I will address their concerns and expectations.  Its not so much about us anymore, folks, its about the generations who follow.  Congress has been using their credit card for years, and its just about at its limit.  We must be accountable to our children and grandchildren, and leave them with real opportunities for success and the pursuit of safe, free and happy lives.  

    

Friday, August 18, 2017

Lets take the argument over Confederate Monuments to its logical conclusion, shall we?


Last week was not the first time I'd heard someone complain about Confederate War Monuments, but it had never really galvanized the left in this country until the disgusting violence that occurred last week in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I'm not really sure why, but some folks believe that the actions of a handful of absurd, lunatic racists, including one now charged with murder, is somehow connected to the existence of Confederate War Monuments that have been standing, many of them, for over a century.  All pretense aside, the truth is, the left has taken advantage of this tragedy to push the Confederate Monuments debate to the forefront simply to keep alive the flow of criticism directed at President Donald Trump.  Initially, President Trump was attacked in the press for not singling out "white supremacists" in his commentary condemning the violence.  Never known for letting an opportunity slip by, the left used this event to bring attention to the existence of numerous Confederate Civil War Monuments across the nation, but mostly in southern cities.  Anticipating that President Trump would not throw his southern supporters under the bus, the media's insertion of this topic into our cultural discourse was perfectly timed to keep the criticism of the President at a fever pitch.  Democratic leaders could not wait to express outrage at the continued existence of these statues and memorials, even though most, including House Minority Leader Nancy Polosi, have been working around Confederate Monuments for decades and only now are finding reason to complain.

Lets take this discussion in a logical direction, shall we? I'm willing to accept that many Americans are uncomfortable with Monuments to people who were slave owners and were fighting to uphold that inhuman practice.  But if we're going to get rid of monuments to men who supported slavery, lets at least be consistent.  Instead of singling out Civil War Generals Robert E. Lee and John Bell Hood, and statesmen like Confederate President Jefferson Davis, lets make a clean sweep of things and start at the beginning.  Lets go back to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of our nation.  We need to remove all statues and public acclaim for our most historic military hero and first president, George Washington; he was a slaveholder who made no effort to include abolition of slavery in the writing of the Constitution.  Neither did James Madison, James Monroe or John Adams.  Heck, Thomas Jefferson not only owned a plantation full of slaves, he kept a few females as concubines.  Has anyone thought about what we might call Washington State and Washington DC, now that we are abolishing all honorifics for persons who supported slavery?  Time to rename James Madison and George Mason Universities.  What will we do with our currency?  Shall we put Ronald Reagan on the dollar bill, and Bill Clinton on the nickle?  Who gets the honor of dynamiting half of Mt. Rushmore?

Better yet, lets include avowed segregationists on this list as well.  During the 1950's and 1960's, there were a number of high-profile politicians who put up one road block after another in an effort to block integration and the Civil Rights Act.  What about William Fulbright, famous for the Fulbright Scholarship?  President Bill Clinton dedicated a statue to his mentor Senator Fulbright, in a ceremony at the University of Arkansas in 2002.  Fulbright was a dyed-in-the-wool southern segregationist; do you homework so we can add him to the list, which will be a mile-long by the time we're finished.  I'm guessing somewhere along the way, someone from the left is going to suggest that we only focus on Civil War racists.  I'm okay with that, as long as you explain it to me and the American people.  Why is a slaveholder in 1861 more evil than one in the late 1700's?

At the end of the day, this is all about politics, which is disgusting, because I believe that many Americans truly are hurt by the idea of monuments to slave holders, and I sincerely respect their emotions on this issue.  But history is history, and we can't erase the past arbitrarily.  The Nazis were good at picking and choosing what parts of German history to trash and what events to embrace.  But don't hold your breath on this one.  As soon as the public gets a bit tired of this headline, the press will have another Trump-related scandal for us to digest.  These distractions have one true goal- the destruction of the Trump agenda.  Democrats are petrified not of Trump, but of the agenda on which he campaigned.  They realize that tighter border security and immigration reform will make our nation safer, that re-negotiated Trade Agreements will boast our exports, and that a stronger military will make us the most respected nation in the world, as opposed to Obama's effort to make us the most popular.  More jobs and less obsession with the fringes of our society is Making America Great Again.  Why is the Trump agenda so dangerous to Democrats?  Because after its implemented, and the economy takes off and real jobs return, we may not see another Democrat in the White House for some time.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Join me in my Congressional Campaign as we work for limited government and accountable representation.

After months of serious contemplation, I have decided to run for Congress.  Over the past two years, I've been asked on numerous occasions to consider taking this step, especially by persons who had been present during one of my speaking engagements.  I'm running because I no longer have any faith that Congress functions in the best interests of the people, and I believe I can make a difference.  My opponent, Congressman Lamar Smith, has been representing the 21st Texas District in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than thirty years.  During that time, he has voted in a manner which is reflective of the opinions and interests of his constituents, although he hasn't been the most prolific of legislators.  The most pressing issue regarding Representative Smith is that he chosen to make a career out of holding this seat, and he isn't alone.  Its more than obvious that way too many members of the 115th Congress have prioritized re-election over addressing the people's business.  Simply put, Congress has been dysfunctional for some time, and the major reason we've reached this point is because the Senate and the House of Representatives has become an employment agency, and its a very safe job to have, let me assure you.  The re-election rate for incumbents in the House of Representatives has risen to ninety-one percent, and the number of Congressmen and women who have been in office for more than two decades continues to grow, even though each and every one of these respective legislators is aware that the Founding Fathers intended something different. 

Aside from the issue of perpetual re-election, Congress is crippled by a lack of occupational diversity.  Over fifty percent of Congressmen and women are attorneys, and a disturbing percentage have never truly had a job outside of "government service".  The writers of the Constitution envisioned a House of Representatives that mirrored the people it represented- doctors, teachers, farmers, soldiers, carpenters, designers, nurses, engineers, businessmen and women, law enforcement, etc.  They correctly understood that for a Representative Democracy to function as designed, it truly must stay a Representative Democracy.  A quick review of the roll call in the 115th House of Representatives does not in any way resemble a slice of America today.  Moving back in that direction, by electing officials who understand the value of including more Americans in the legislative process, will go a long way to restoring the people's faith in government.


Before deciding to take on this challenge, I understood the difficulties in running for Federal office.  The rules have become progressively more complicated, and the information requested by the Federal Election Commission is very intrusive.  The real issue, though, is and always seems to be money.  We all seem to agree (at least the folks who I've been meeting on the campaign trail) that money has taken over the political process and "something needs to be done".  I can assure you, the men and women who are already in office, or at least the great majority, have no interest in making the process more accessible to the average person.  Its all about getting re-elected, so if the process discourages people, then why make any changes?  Be that as it may, I must ask for donations or I will not be able to mount a competitive campaign.  Its a given that my opponent will have more resources.  Anyone interested in currying favor will almost always donate to the incumbent. Political Action Committees also tend to support incumbents, as they understand the ninety-six percentile rule and want to keep/increase whatever influence they've already established.  For challengers like myself, we must spend all the more time on the streets, shaking hands, meeting folks, and giving you the chance to tell us your perspective.  I welcome this dynamic in the process, and I look forward to every opportunity to introduce myself and to meet you and your families.

As part of the process, I created an account with the online service "Crowdpac", which provides candidates the opportunity to raise funds online by reaching out to a wider audience.  After my candidacy was announced on Social Media, I received hundreds of emails and messages of support.  I've been writing this blog for over two years, I know people are unhappy and I know the average American is truly frustrated with a system that only seems to represent the fringes of our society.  I've heard you, and because I've established a bit of a presence in the blogosphere and occasionally find myself speaking about current events on Fox News, I've decided to dedicate myself one-hundred percent to returning the People's House to the people.  In order to be successful, I need your support.  I need you to mention me to your friends and family, and I need your vote.  But for those who are able, I also ask you for a donation to my campaign.  I understand that not every person is able to donate to political causes.  The important thing to realize, though, is that EVERY DOLLAR MATTERS.  Crowdpac is just as happy to accept donations of twenty-five dollars as they are two-hundred dollars.  I'm certainly not a typical politician; in fact, I think its fair to say that I'm not necessarily comfortable in these shoes.  But I believe in my message and my campaign, and I believe we can win.  Last year the American people surprised the establishment by choosing a president who intends are ending "business as usual", and ushering an era of new faces and fresh ideas to Washington DC.  I am part of that movement.   

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Oval Office should be above arguing on Twitter, especially with the likes of MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.


I understand the motivation, but every time I hear that President Trump is arguing with someone on Twitter, its like fingernails on a chalkboard.  First and foremost, the President of the United States should not be arguing with journalists and entertainers on social media.  The Office of the Presidency has platforms in place to allow the president to address either the media, or the American people.  Responding to ill-intentioned individuals on Twitter provides the worst elements in our society with an opportunity to insult the Commander and Chief.  Candidate Trump made tactile use of Twitter during the Republican Primaries and during the campaign against Hillary Clinton.  He was able to communicate with the American people with language that set aside some of the delicacies that annoy many real Americans.  Now that President Trump sits in the White House, we assume he has too much on his plate, so to speak, to get drawn into a social media arguments with ignorant and nasty journalists and entertainers who openly admit disdain for our Republic and its history.  So much for assumptions.

On a personal note, I can't help but be confused and disturbed with some of President Trump's Twitter comments.  With as much less-than pleasant ammunition about Mika Brzezinski available through Google, why bring up some occasion at Mar-el-Lago three years prior when Brzezinski had evidence of recent plastic surgery?  News flash- Mika Brzezinski has had some work done?  At the end of the day, the President of the United States should not insult someone's physical appearance on social media, regardless of how nasty this person has been.  President Trump argues that the biased and aggressively political media no longer provides his administration with access to the American people.  He believes that his forty-five million followers on Twitter give him the access he needs.  Actually, Mr. President, at least half of your followers are Democrats, waiting for you to make some ill-advised comment about an entertainer, a journalist, or a Democrat politician.  President Trump, I implore you- please cancel your personal Twitter account.

I'm not President of the United States, so I feel very comfortable commenting on MSNBC hacks Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.  Joe and Mika were heavily involved before beginning divorce proceedings with their former spouses, but in some circles, the vows made during the marriage ceremony mean nothing.  You would think that when Joe and Mika decide to tie the knot, both might be a bit embarrassed when the preacher gets to the vows.  As for Joe and Mika, the MSNBC hosts of some morning program (honestly, I've never seen it, and from what I understand, few people have), you would be hard-pressed to find more miserable, mean-spirited, unpleasant co-hosts.  Joe used to be a Republican, and Mika used to be a human being.  In February 2017, Brzezinski decided to no longer accept Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway as a guest on the show (I guess Joe agreed).  Mika claimed that Conway really didn't have the access she claimed, and that each time she was interviewed, "something's askew, off, or incorrect".  In fact, Brzezinski didn't want Conway on her show because Conway knows how to handle agenda-filled interviews.  Instead of just admitting that Conway wasn't easily intimidated and manipulated, as most of Joe and Mika's conservative guests are, she engaged in a mean-spirited, insulting, personal attack.  This episode is important, because Mika claims to be a huge supporter of women in the workplace.  The entire episode was a good example of just how much clout Brzezinski has at MSNBC.

Thank goodness very few people actually believe that MSNBC is a "real" provider of news anymore.  You would have to search high and low to find two people with less class than Joe and Mika.  Actually, what's really missing with these two is an iota or either integrity or relevance.  Since, like most Americans, I've never seen the show, I've been reviewing clips sent to me by friends and associates.  When Mika and Joe get started on a Trump kick, which I understand happens every day, they aren't able to discuss the details of the various controversies, because as we know, the FBI has been unable to provide even the slightest shred of evidence that Trump or any of his staff were involved with Russian efforts to impact the 2016 election.  Instead of filling their time slot with useful interviews and factual investigative work, Joe and Mika spend their time insulting President Trump.  According to Joe and Mika, President Trump is a criminal, a liar, a crook, a terrible businessman, a terrible father, a Russian agent, and a "shmuck".  Its the same message day-in and day-out, and for the life of me, I can't imagine how anyone can watch this crap.  The truth is, there are loonies on both sides of the spectrum, and when President Obama was in office, it was occasionally necessary to put some distance between myself and some of the angry, anti-Obama crowd.  But the left seems to adore these two clowns, and since the left basically controls the media, we'd better get used to seeing them around.  I'm just grateful I don't have to watch them, although they do serve a purpose.  They remind me that in America its still possible for someone with absolutely no talent or integrity to earn two million dollars a year (her salary; I have no clue what he makes).     

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The apparent all-out war on the Trump Administration may appear to be focused on the President, but the real target is something much more important.


Within weeks of losing the 2016 Presidential Election, the big shots of the Democratic Party called an all-hands meeting to formulate a strategy in response to Donald Trump's unexpected victory.  It would be both dangerous and wrong to assume that the leaders of the Progressive Movement that has taken over the Democratic Party are incompetent or ignorant.  In fact, I'm sure the plan that was formulated at that gathering has been successful beyond their wildest expectations.  They recognized that the biggest threat to their efforts was not President Donald Trump, but his agenda.  If the Trump Administration was successful in legitimately stimulating the economy, creating a perpetual job-creating machine, and re-establishing the United States as an international Super Power, then the progressive message of bigger government, more regulation, open borders, higher taxes, and international control of our environmental policy, would be tossed in the dustbin of history.  Don't be mistaken; behind the non-stop criticism, hysterical attacks, and never-ending demonstrations, is a real fear that Trump's efforts to invigorate the economy, bring jobs home, and squash ISIS once and for all, will succeed, which would leave the Democratic opposition without a platform on which to run in 2020.  The powerful Democratic movers and shakers who met after the November 2016 surprise, agreed that whatever marching orders they issued must be in pursuit of the same goal: the crippling of the Trump agenda.

I imagine that the Democrats and Progressives who are working tooth-and-nail to disrupt Trump's legislative efforts are thrilled with the non-stop barrage of stories in the press regarding President Trump and alleged Russian efforts to impact the 2016 campaign.  Its nothing but icing on the cake, as far as their concerned.  Like the rest of us, they probably didn't realize the depths to which the mainstream media would sink, in order to carry out their part of the plan.  One scenario that seems the most likely: the Democrats realized that they still had almost three months of the Obama Administration in control of the tools of government.  Since the FBI had already informed the Obama folks that the Russians were being more aggressive than usual with regards to password theft, virus introduction, and hacking in general, every time a Russian met with a Trump adviser, that person was unmasked and the identity leaked to the press.  Therefore, you have the FBI announcing increased Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 campaign, at roughly the same time as information is leaked regarding Trump folks meeting with Russians.  I can assure you, it wasn't coincidental that the announcements by the intelligence services and the FBI regarding Russian hacking, hit the papers at roughly the same time as the press chose to print leaked information regarding Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn meeting with Russian officials.  We know now that Session's interaction with Russian officials occurred when he was still a Senator, and was totally innocuous.  Because of all the legal wrangling, I'm still not sure what the FBI thinks it has on Michael Flynn, but one thing is for certain, we have yet to see even a shred of evidence linking Russian espionage with anyone associated with the Trump campaign.

As for who is responsible for unmasking Sessions and Flynn, only certain officials have the authority to make such a serious decision.  Susan Rice was one of the "unmaskers", but we have yet to discover who else was blatantly abusing regulations that were put in place to protect U.S. citizens against just this type of political warfare.  This issue should have died a deserved death months ago, but the media keeps the narrative fresh, through a regular supply of White House leaks.  These leaks have become so plentiful, that I never hear any concern regarding the validity of the information and the existence of the so-called "leakers".

This issue has become so large, that we now have a Special Counsel investigating the Trump Administration and its contacts with Russians.  The Special Counsel rule has been abused in the past, but to appoint Robert Mueller to the role when the FBI has yet to produce one iota of evidence supporting the allegation, should be very disturbing to every law-abiding American.  Its a boon to the Democrats, whose strategy was to hinder the Trump Agenda in the Courts, in Congress, and by utilizing the media to monopolize the bully-pulpit and control the front-page narrative.  Another avenue of attack was to paint all Trump efforts as racist, starting with the attempt to repeal Obamacare.  The Democrats never tire of abusing the race card, and for the first time in his life, Donald Trump is being labeled a homophobe and a bigot.

At the moment, the left is accomplishing more than was expected or intended.  After watching Donald Trump do the unthinkable and beat Hillary Clinton, the Democrats realized that if his agenda proves successful, a Trump second-term is assured, along with increased Republican majorities in Congress and more than likely another conservative Supreme Court Justice.  The strategy put in place was solely focused on disrupting the Trump agenda, but no one considered how ineffectual the Republican Congress was going to be, and how often President Trump would self-inflict wounds through the use of social media.  The Democrats have been able to cripple the agenda, and cause serious damage to the reputation of President Trump, at a time when the Republicans control Congress, the Executive, and, arguably, the Supreme Court.  I'm not surprised that the left has been able to slow the agenda, but getting a Special Counsel appointed to investigate an allegation that has yet to yield any evidence is something I would never have foreseen.  Not surprisingly, Mueller has already expanded his investigation to include possible obstruction on the part of President Trump.  Its like having a never-ending supply of darts- keep throwing, and eventually you will hit something.  I guess you can't blame Mueller; no doubt he has discovered that the allegation of Trump collusion with Russia is without merit, and an opportunity presents itself to justify an extended, long, political, and expensive investigation.

In the end, it may end any hope we have of getting Trump's agenda back on track.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey must be held accountable for his actions.


Since the beginning of the Justice Department's investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private internet server, we've been treated to a parade of politicians, journalists, and analysts, all trying to spin the mess into a political weapon.  Occasionally we would get a glimpse of a well-groomed bureaucrat here and there, stuck in the unenviable position of trying to answer questions without sharing classified information.  Most of us were introduced to former FBI Director James Comey sometime in the summer of 2016, which speaks highly of his ability to stay out of the spotlight, considering the number of high-profile investigations in which he was involved.  In my experience, anyone with that level of authority who has been able to avoid becoming a familiar face, is doing something right.

How things have changed for Mr. Comey.

During the Hillary Clinton investigation, Comey was put under a tremendous amount of pressure by Congressional Democrats, who were acutely aware of the damage the controversy was causing her presidential campaign.  Although the left will claim otherwise, fro the most part, the GOP let the investigation evolve and expand on its own, as new revelations provided room to grow.  Many Democrats believe that Comey's decision to publicly announce new developments in the investigation during the presidential campaign eventually cost Clinton the election.  Clinton has echoed that allegation, along with her list of at least thirty-six other "reasons" that Donald Trump unfairly won the election.  At the time, Comey was vilified by Democrats on Capitol Hill, amid the usual calls for investigations you usually get when two or more Democrats are in the same room.  It was obvious to me that Comey took the accusations to heart, and this once stoic, professional bureaucrat allowed himself to become personally involved.

When Donald Trump arrived in DC, he made the decision to keep James Comey on as Director of the FBI.  The Justice Department and the Bureau had become highly politicized during the Obama Administration, and Trump thought it was important to keep some level of continuity, especially as ongoing investigations were concerned.  For anyone who might need a reminder, when I recall the last eight years of the Department of Justice, I think of the "Fast and Furious" debacle, the decision not to investigate the IRS audit targeting controversy, the choice by Congress to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, and the "coincidental" meeting on the Phoenix Airport tarmac between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, whose wife at the time was the subject of an ongoing Justice Department investigation.  During the eight years of the Obama Administration, which include three years with James Comey as the Director of the FBI, the Bureau had a crisis of personnel, as highly-respected, experienced Special Agents and Supervisory Special Agents were choosing early retirement or just flat-out quitting.  Off the record, the decision to leave usually involved the politicization of the Justice Department.  Just how would this "politicization" reveal itself?  Possibly with the request for FISA authority to conduct surveillance and listen-in on phone conversations being conducted by Russian authorities.  The never-ending leaks are another example of what can happen when a sensitive government agency has been seeded with political appointees and activists.  When President Trump and his advisers realized the level of politicization in the FBI, and the probability that one investigation after another sans justification would be focused on his Administration, he used his authority to make a change in Bureau management.  No doubt President Trump was also considering the possibility that the investigation of his campaign staff and Russian contacts would continue as long as the distraction negatively impacted the Trump Agenda.  Keep in mind that no evidence has yet been discovered which implicates anyone in the Trump campaign with Russian espionage activities, but for some reason the investigation goes on and on and on.

The one surprise Comey saved just for me was his admission to leaking classified information.  Comey claims that once he realized he was getting the ax, he decided to pass notes from his private conversations with President Trump to a college professor, with instructions that she share the notes with the press.  His justification?  Comey asserts that he was concerned Trump might squash the Russia investigation, therefore the public release of the notes might force the naming of a Special Counsel.  What a load of horseshit.  Everyone with even a modicum of political common sense knows that Comey released his notes in order to "get back" at President Trump.  Who would have envisioned that the top Law Enforcement Officer in the country, the person who is tasked with locating and prosecuting persons who leak classified information, would openly admit to Congress that he had knowingly shared classified information with an acquaintance for the express purpose of delivering that information to a journalist?

During his opening remarks to the Congressional Committee, Comey claimed he was angry with President Trump, because of Trump's alleged criticism of the FBI's rank-and-file officers.  Sorry, but I have to call horseshit once again.  A review of the statement Trump released to announce Comey's termination, makes it clear that all and any criticism was reserved for Comey.  President Trump rightly expressed concern regarding the effectiveness of the FBI with Comey in charge, and in no way maligned the hard work being done by Bureau personnel.  At the end of the day, Comey's appearance before members of Congress only reiterated what the Trump Administration has been saying from the beginning.  No persons involved with the Trump Campaign colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.  The mainstream media, which continues to prove that "anything goes" in the war against the Trump Administration, was unable to spin Comey's appearance into the Russian espionage narrative, so they've moved on to Plan B, which is to introduce the world to "Trump the Obstructionist".  The talking points must have been prepared quickly, because I noticed the term "obstructionist" on the websites of the NY Times and the Washington Post, and heard it on MSNBC and CNN.  The media is a formidable opponent, folks, as they answer to no one, and can print whatever allegation comes to mind, as long as it comes from an "unnamed source".  To demonstrate that respect for the rule of law is paramount in today's FBI, the Department of Justice needs to make an example of James Comey, and prosecute the former Director for providing the media with classified information.  Since he's admitted his guilt, this case should be open-and-close, which would go a long way to discouraging potential leakers in the future.      

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A few reasonable observations regarding President Trump and "Covfefe".


(We always welcome guest bloggers to Mukhabarat, Baby!, especially young folks with a unique, concise perspective.  This is 11 year old Zach's second guest appearance.)



"President Trump's tweet is the latest example of his ability to draw attention on social media, and keep the public guessing as to the meaning of his remarks", says Joshua Berlinger, Digital Director for CNN's Hong Kong Bureau and author of the article "Covfefe: When a Typo Goes Viral".

But maybe President Trump was simply thinking about coffee.

Having just returned from a long trip, he was probably really tired.  More than likely, he he wasn't thinking clearly, and instead of typing "coffee" or "conference", he wrote "covfefe".  My question is, have you ever done something similar?  If so, then maybe you shouldn't be so critical of someone for doing something you yourself have done.  Of course, you probably didn't have thousands of people ready to mock you.  I'm addressing that one particular group of voices who find fault with everything about our president, and of course, could not leave the "covfefe" issue alone.

My next question is, why is this news?  Some people think of the president as a demigod, a perfect being who does not make mistakes.  Presidents are mortal, believe it or not.  Donald Trump is no different.  So why then, does it become such a big deal when the president makes a typo? This is nothing more than an effort to make President Trump feel like a fool for doing something very human.  Becoming president should not mean that a person can no longer make a simple typo.  In fact, by making the typo, President Trump has provided a reminder that he is an imperfect American, just like the rest of us.

Its also a reminder of just how different President Trump is from previous presidents, and the traditional, carefully orchestrated pronouncements typically associated with the office, an important point made by Berlinger in his article.  Yes, he tweets....but who cares?  Just about everyone gets news from one social media source or another.  If President Obama had tweeted a "covfefe", it would have been treated as just another example of how down to earth he is.  But this is Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, so it must become a big deal.  Honestly, if "covfefe" is to be considered "breaking news", then I should be famous by now, along with every other American who struggles with spelling.  That being said, we can't exclude the possibility that maybe the president simply hit the wrong key.  C'mon now folks- I'm eleven years old, and to me, he must have just hit the wrong key.  Its seems like a simple, forgivable mistake.  Don't you think that journalists should have better things to do than writing about a typo?  I sure do.    

Friday, June 2, 2017

Kathy Griffin is a hypocrite and a coward, and she has more than used her her fifteen minutes of fame.


Sometimes I make fun of comedienne Kathy Griffin's appearance. Honestly, I really do make an effort to avoid picking on ugly people.  I have yet to win any beauty pageants myself, and I'm sure it wouldn't take a professional entertainer to point out my flaws.  Before I allow physical characteristics to become part of my commentaries, I make darn sure that the target of my judgement is deserving.  Kathy Griffin has built a very successful career as a comedienne by making fun of people.  Our society seems to believe that famous people shouldn't complain about vicious personal attacks because, well, famous people usually have lots of money.  Who wouldn't put up with a few insults on the way to a seven-figure annual income?  Kathy Griffin used to reserve her nasty comments for entertainers, but recently, after being hired by CNN to do an annual New Year's Eve broadcast with Anderson Cooper, Griffin has expanded her target range to include any and all Republicans and Conservatives.  As the old adage reminds us, "what's good for the goose is good for the gander".  Kathy Griffin is a physically repulsive woman.  When the cameras are rolling, she manages to look OK, (credit due to her makeup team as opposed to genetics) but as was evidenced by her apology video clip sans makeup from last Wednesday, Kathy Griffin is not an attractive woman.  Because she presents such an odd combination of physical attributes, at times I've found myself studying her appearance.  Her head is much too big.  In fact, the last time I watched more than five seconds of her stand-up, it appeared as if her head accounted for forty percent of her body.  Sadly for Kathy, television usually focuses on head shots, and Kathy is the spitting image of the Mr. Potato Head toy I enjoyed so much as a child.

Although in my opening paragraph, I was admittedly rough on Kathy Griffin, my comments are nothing compared to the insults she has directed to President Trump and his family.  Some of the comments involving the President and his Daughter Ivanka are so offensive that they occasionally draw criticism from Democrats as well, believe or not.  Her insults, protected by First Amendment and her claim to being an established comedienne, include way too many targets to count.  Griffin may have pushed the proverbial envelope a bit to far earlier this week, though, when she released a photo taken during a professional photo shoot with photographer Tyler Shields, in which she is holding aloft a fake representation of the bloody, decapitated head of President Donald Trump.  I encourage anyone who has not seen the picture to find it in Google, because as offensive as the photo may be, its important that all reasonable Americans understand just how bizarre and full of hate progressives and the left have become.  No doubt Griffin was shocked by the reaction to her artistic efforts.  After discovering the tens of thousands of angry tweets relating to the photo, she put together a short video clip apologizing and admitting that she had "crossed the line".

I was relieved that Griffin had responded quickly and unequivocally regarding the inappropriateness of the photo, especially when it was discovered that the President's eleven-year old son Barron saw the image on television before the First Family had been warned.  Not surprisingly, some on the left saw nothing wrong with Griffin's photo shoot.  Do you remember Ken Jennings, the egg-head from Utah who memorized a set of encyclopedias and was able to win a ton of money on Jeopardy?  He's a celebrity now, and since he's a typical leftist, he is more intelligent than the rest of us, and has carte blanche to say whatever comes into his mind.  In response to Barron Trump seeing a representation of his father's bloodied, decapitated head on television, Jennings tweeted, "Barron Trump saw a very long necktie on a heap of expired deli meat in a dumpster.  He thought it was his dad and his little heart is breaking."  I guess Ken Jennings has graduated from professional Jeopardy player to world-class comedian.  In the real world, Ken Jennings sees himself as a successful author.  Its time Jennings tasted a bit of humility.  Please, please don't buy his books, especially not the books with children as the target audience.  After all, Barron Trump, at eleven years, is still a child.  Don't buy his books, and encourage others to follow suit.  I'm hoping people will be so incensed that booksellers decide to no longer carry his product.

As for Griffin, it didn't take long for her to return to form.  Because Donald Trump, Jr. has tweeted in defense of his younger brother, Kathy Griffin has decided that she is being "bullied" by the Trump family.  I kid you not.  Celebrity Ambulance Chaser and lefty par excellence Lisa Bloom is representing poor, abused, innocent Kathy Griffin.  I truly hope that the American people, at least those who believe in personal accountability, won't take this pretend-attorney and her sad, put-upon client very seriously.  We truly are the silent majority, folks.  We aren't represented by the Washington Post, CNN, the NY Times or MSNBC, because we refuse to fall into any "victim" category.  I didn't enter this country illegally, I'm not trapped in the wrong body, I don't feel sexually harassed whenever someone smiles at me, I'm not in jail because society failed me and I was "forced" to sell drugs, and I don't believe that the country owes me anything other than the opportunity to make a good life for myself.  I truly believe that most Americans feel the same way.  Lets make ourselves heard by avoiding the promotions and products of the Kathy Griffins and Ken Jennings of the world, and stand up for the America in which we believe.

  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A trip down memory lane to Baghdad, circa Fall, 2003, and Operation Blue Eyes.

In the Fall of 2003, Mark and I were both posted to Baghdad, spending our days and nights trying to find contacts that we could work into penetrations of the Insurgency.  At the time, the enemy had temporarily coalesced into a nasty, potent force that was making it very difficult for our troops to accomplish their mission, not to mention the civil service folks that had arrived for the purpose of rebuilding Iraq.  Normally, the hard-core terror networks like to keep their hands clean from association with local militias and armed groups, like the ones that constituted a big part of the Insurgency.  As time went on, though, these groups started working together much more effectively.  Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been sent to Iraq by Al-Qaida to create a new organization, Al-Qaida in the Land of the Two Rivers.  Zarqawi had no qualms working with the various insurgent groups, which provided greater access to the different provinces of Iraq.  Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and suicide bombers were popping up everywhere, including Baghdad.  At this particular time, travel outside of the Green Zone, the safety corridor established for civil servants, diplomats, etc., had become very difficult, not to mention dangerous.  Regardless, the officers in my Branch were having success utilizing our network of contacts to locate freshly planted IEDs and notifying the military in time to prevent casualties.  We had the authority to leave the Green Zone, which was a calculated and necessary risk, given that my colleagues were absolutely the best of the best, and there was a job to do.  Social visits to Baghdad were out of the question, at least temporarily.

Every few months, I would return stateside to see our medical staff and my personal physician, and get approval to return to the field.  This was an arrangement that was crafted by my close friend Gretchen, who was also the chief personnel officer for our Baghdad facility.  After initially receiving the assignment, I didn't think I would be able to accept the job.  As much as I wanted to go, and Baghdad needed competent officers, I couldn't see how the medical folks would sign on.  Gretchen went to battle for me, and when all was said and done, she had put together a plan which was satisfactory to all, and in the end, worked perfectly.  Gretchen is one of those rare personalities that you seem to meet more often in the halls of the CIA than in the real world.  Brilliant, hard working, one-step ahead of everyone else, and funny as hell.  She is known for her reputation, and for having the most beautiful, piercing ice-blue eyes you can imagine.  If you needed help, and she thought the effort was in the best interests of all involved, Gretchen would go to bat.  That being said, I would never want to get on her shit list, although I don't know that she's ever had one.  She was damn good at measuring up people within five minutes of walking into her office.


On one of my return trips to DC, I went in to visit Gretchen and chew the fat.  I was really excited when she told me that she would be making a short TDY visit to Baghdad, because Gretchen was a priceless cog in the big machine that kept the Baghdad facility well-oiled and productive.  She wasn't someone, as opposed to Homeland's Carrie Matheson, who could just get up from her desk, pack away her Baretta, and fly First Class to wherever takes her fancy.  Gretchen always had to deal with someone asking for something, so I was surprised and pleased to find out that she had arranged the time to come to Baghdad.  Her trip was all about work, and she didn't get much sleep during her stay.  Personally, I was thinking that Mark, his fiance, Gretchen and I could hang out in my hooch, playing games, drinking a bit of wine, and watching DVDs.  Gretchen had other ideas.  Besides the workload that would undoubtedly be waiting for her on arrival, Gretchen told me that she would just love to get out of the Green Zone.  At first, I couldn't figure out how I could make it work.  She was known to everyone, and her presence, or lack thereof, would have been noticed in our facility.  I returned to Baghdad a few weeks before Gretchen, so when I returned, I brainstormed with Mark, and we eventually came up with "Operation Blue Eyes".

I wish I could say that Operation Blue Eyes was a great success, and Gretchen was able to buy three rugs at the local suq, and the original lamp containing Barbara Eden, but events didn't play out as planned.  During Gretchen's first full night in the Green Zone, while the four of us were chatting in my digs, we had a mortar attack, during which the three veterans who knew the location of the bomb shelters, up and ran out of the hooch, leaving Gretchen to find her own way (I address the escapade in greater detail in my memoir, Mukhabarat, Baby).  That experience encouraged Mark and I to shelve our original plan, given the heightened state of security.  What was Operation Blue Eyes?  Frequently Mark and I would have interviews with sources so sensitive that, utilizing disguises, we would bring the contact into the Green Zone for debriefing.  We were going to create the illusion that we were returning a source outside of the Green Zone following an interview.  The fun part would have been instructing Gretchen to don a man's wig, sunglasses, and a big mustache.  In the real world, Gretchen is light complected and very feminine.  This Op, which would have required an entire chapter in my book all to itself, contained other really fun details that I'm forced to keep to myself (including a "fake" Gretchen!).  The truth is, we would have been obliged to break a few rules (oops!), and stretch the security issue too much for comfort, so this operation never saw the light of day.  Regardless, it was great having Gretchen with us for a bit.  She made every occasion funnier, brighter, and special.  I don't think Gretchen was ever aware of the original Op- I had basically forgotten itself until today.  But I assure you, no one would have appreciated the effort we made more than Blue Eyes.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reuters releases a story on the recently-announced Special Prosecutor which clearly demonstrates how close they are to becoming a second-rate distributor of left-wing talking-points.


Link: Reuters has access to people who know "how the White House thinks".

 For decades, conservatives and Republicans have groaned about a perceived liberal bias in the news.  Poll after poll confirms that the great majority of journalists support the Democratic Party, and to be fair, most members of the media have never denied this reality.  During the 1980s and 1990s, those of us on the right had to put up with the media's almost ferocious defense of Anita Hill and President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but the public at large seemed to understand the media's inclination to sympathize with liberals.  Some people unforgivably associate conservatism with fascism, and I've noticed many left-wing thinkers like to promote the idea that Democrats are the defenders of free-speech.  In truth, the actions of numerous groups who have been supported by the Democrats in the past, which include forcibly preventing guest speakers from delivering their addresses, call into question the left's true intentions regarding the First Amendment.  Not surprisingly, the media has been all-but silent on the repeated instances of conservatives being denied the right to speak, which falls in line with the less-than-fair way President Trump has been treated by the press.  Since his arrival in Washington DC, the media has attacked President Trump on a daily fashion, and from many different directions.

Taking a chance on public burnout, CNN, MSNBC, and the three traditional news stooges, ABC, CBS, and NBC, take turns printing front-page stories that detail a White House in absolute chaos.  Every third or fourth story, though, reminds the public of Trump's plan to outlaw Muslim immigrants in perpetuity, and to hide the "fact" that he and his staff colluded with Russian espionage to unfairly steal the presidential election from the oh-so deserving Hillary Clinton.  Actually, the media can take full credit for turning a non-story with absolutely no evidence, into an investigation with a Special Prosecutor, which will cost the U.S. taxpayer untold millions of dollars.  The Justice Department has a legal threshold that they are obliged to meet before enacting the Special Prosecutor option; that threshold certainly includes the existence of evidence.  Once this investigation is complete and the Trump Administration is vindicated, we all know that the media will bring up sources who claim that the Trump Justice Department "fixed" the outcome.  Regardless, I want to know which media billionaire big-shot is going to pick up the tab for the cost of an investigation that should never have been initiated.

The fact that the mainstream media is aggressively pursuing an agenda to discredit the Trump Administration is no longer "news", so to speak, to conservative listeners of Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin.  That being said, the Reuters story that I've linked at the top of the page leaves me both angry and a bit perplexed.  I realize that there are folks on both the right and left who are going to believe the worst of the other side, regardless of the truth, as this is the nature of politics in today's day and age.  The problem of leaks emanating from the White House has become a full-blown crisis, and President Trump needs to appoint someone (Vice President Pence would be a great choice from my perspective, if not, I'm happy to do the job myself) who will focus exclusively, every day, on finding, firing or reassigning persons suspected of leaking.  Heck, why not just can everyone who has "Obama" written on their resume?  Also, keep Jared Kushner and Ivanka as far away from Operation Plug the Leak as possible.  There is no question that life-long Democrat Kushner elbowed his way into getting a few like-minded friends hired, and they may not actually be part of the problem, but I would look at those people very closely regardless.

Reuters claims to not only have sources in the White House who can report on conversations and events, they also claim to have sources who are familiar with how the White House thinks (see link, first paragraph, last sentence).  Are they referring to the White House as a living, breathing creature, or just certain people inside?  How long has Reuter's sources been able to tap into the thoughts of people in the White House?  Shouldn't this be an issue for the Secret Service and the FBI?  In a very bizarre way, things are beginning to make sense.  Since the Associated Press, the United Press International, Reuters, the Washington Post and the NY Times all have multiple sources in the White House, maybe we are dealing with only a handful of leakers, all with the ability to know what Trump and his closest advisers are thinking.  During my years with the CIA, I was not aware that this type of "information collection" was legitimate, but I can't account for what is now acceptable after two terms of Obama.

My tongue-in-cheek comments about Reuters is meant to shed light on the media and their self-authorized efforts to steal information from the Trump White House that is meant to be classified.  Shouldn't the President of the United States be afforded the opportunity to converse with his staff in private?  Why is the media allowed to repeat White House conversations involving the President of the United States?  Since the beginning of this embarrassment, we have assumed that these sources exist, and what they are reporting is accurate.  Since the media has no obligation and certainly no intention of disclosing their sources, how can we be sure that the details being printed in the Post and NY Times isn't all bullshit?  Is it beyond the pale to consider that the media might INVENT something?  Actually, history is replete with journalists doing just such a thing, as both the NY Times and the Post are aware.  In today's over-the-top, angry-left political environment, I have absolutely no reason not to approach everything I hear that has been published by Reuters, the Post or the NY Times, with great cynicism.  I voted for Donald Trump, as did enough Americans to put him in the White House.  He deserves just as much respect from the media in his first term as the Community Organizer got from me in 2008.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Congressional Republicans selfishly refuse to defend President Trump from a never-ending, orchestrated campaign to destroy his agenda.


Link: List of Major Obama Administration Scandals.


The Obama Administration struggled through one Congressional investigation after another, with the Departments of State, Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, and Agriculture all getting their turn on the hot seat.  Interestingly, the public never really connected these scandals to Obama, instead associating Lois Lerner, Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and other career bureaucrats with the various investigations.  When President Obama first took office, his administration focused on placing political appointees in various government positions of influence.  Performance may have suffered when someone unqualified individual took over a powerful agency, but concern for the average citizen was not on the list of priorities.  In some instances, persons were appointed to certain positions for specific purposes.  Leon Panetta, whose intelligence experience was limited to two years as an Intelligence Officer in the Army from 1964 to 1966, was appointed Director of the CIA in 2009.  Panetta spent two years as CIA Director, which was more than enough time to conduct an internal investigation into the interrogation practices of the agency under the Bush Administration.  Lerner, Napolitano, Holder, and Clinton closely followed the script, as none of the scandals involving these agencies were ever connected to Obama.

President Obama was particularly adept at manipulating public perception.  Without exception, during every political crisis the GOP took the hit.  The Republicans were responsible for the shutting down of government over budget disagreements, and because the Republicans were so obstructionist, the President was forced to address prolific legislation through the use of Executive Orders.  At times, it appeared as if Obama would not find a way to avoid criticism.  The U.S. role in crafting the nuclear Treaty with Iran, and the subsequent night-time delivery of  four-hundred million dollars to the Iranians, not to mention the gift of one-hundred thirty tons of Uranium, didn't seem to sit well with the American people.  But the Democratic Party, Congressional Democrats in particular, in-step with the main stream media, put out the fire in shockingly quick fashion.  The weak-kneed Republican Congressional leadership probably was too tired of fighting the fight, and focused instead on upcoming elections, which brings us to a big part of the problem.

A friend who works on the staff of a GOP Congressman frequently complains about how much time is allotted to campaigning.  He remarked that the next campaign always begins the morning after winning an election.  For a number of reasons, members of Congress are never prepared to move on to a live outside of Capitol Hill.  No doubt the most common reason for wanting to get re-elected in perpetuity is the sense of power public office can provide.  In addition, the great majority of Congressmen and women have enriched themselves while serving, which is why I am always pleasantly surprised when I learn of a Senator or a Representative from any political background who has not become a millionaire while in office.  These politicians take the access they are afforded through their position very seriously, which explains why so many Republican Congressmen refuse to support President Trump.  The Democrats have demonstrated how successful a president can be regarding his/her agenda, with the support of a united party, but the message just hasn't caught on with the right.  Republicans on Capitol Hill are constantly worried about Trump's "numbers", because they don't want to lose votes in the next election by supporting a damaged president.

President Trump has had precious little time to introduce his agenda, as the media has totally signed-on to the anti-Trump campaign.  Not long after Trump was elected, the power-brokers in the Democratic Party met to discuss what steps to take regarding the new president and an agenda which threatened to guarantee Trump's re-election in 2020.  Because of the total politicization of the Justice Department, they were aware of concerns regarding Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.  Fortunately, they also had almost three months to continue collecting intelligence and disseminating it as ammunition to a frenzied and angry media.  The decision was made to declare war on the Trump agenda, and the plan included using political activist Judges to slow-down Trump's efforts in the courts.  In addition, a willing mass of unemployed young protesters would be bused from one location to the next, to give the impression of spontaneous opposition to this administration's policies.  The media promised to do their part, by taking full advantage of any mistakes made by the administration to keep unflattering stories alive.  The most important effort would be the cooperation between the media and persons leftover from the Obama Administration to edit, politicize, and disseminate information from ongoing Justice Department investigations.  The leaks, which also include salacious stories of internal fights within the administration, have not only proven to be hard to stop, they are illegal.  Most recently, the Washington Post alleged that President Trump shared classified information with Russia regarding ISIS operational activities in Syria.  While accusing Trump of wrongly sharing classified intelligence, the Post included the details of the information in their story.  Should the Post be criticized for disseminating classified information?  Not in our lifetime.

If the Republican members of the Senate and the House of Representatives make the decision to defend President Trump with half the vigor that the Democrats demonstrated during the Obama Administration, the American people would regain the Bully Pulpit. I'm convinced that the majority of Americans are much more in line with the politics of the right, as opposed to what they see coming from the left.  The average American is not comfortable with protesters destroying property and denying people the right to speak.  The Republicans need to tie these demonstrations around the neck of the Democratic Party like a scarf, because I have yet to hear Democratic opposition to the behavior of these hooligans.  But more important is the need for the Congressional Republican leadership to support the Trump Administration.  Individual members look to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to unite the Congressional GOP behind this president, because come election time, regardless of the polls, a Trump endorsement for a Republican Primary opponent will be tough to overcome.
Although the left continues to absolutely dominate the dissemination of information to the public at large, conservative media has become more relevant in the last decade.  Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Matt Drudge and Breitbart give us a voice, but so many Americans still rely on CNN and the three fossils of news programming, ABC, CBS, and NBC, for their daily smidgeon of news. 

The effort to cripple the Trump agenda, which is about controlling our borders, fighting terrorism abroad and at home, creating jobs, and standing up for the Constitution, will not stop.  In their own way, the Democrats want to make this country ungovernable, expecting that the blame will fall on President Trump.  The Democrats flirt with the idea of Impeachment, but aside from having no basis to bring proceedings, the left is petrified of a Pence Administration.  They are much happier with the status quo, which from their perspective leaves a sitting president bereft of party support.  This must end.  The Republicans in Congress must stand with President Trump, instead of cowering before accusations and allegations which all of Congress realizes are politically motivated lies.  Sure the Russians made an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign, just as they have with every election since 1944, alongside the Chinese and Iran.  The Special Prosecutor will eventually confirm that there was absolutely no collusion on the part of the Trump Campaign, a fact which is known to the Democrats.  I only wish we could hand Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein the bill for the millions of dollars that this unnecessary investigation will cost the nation.
    

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, out of step with Spurs fans, will never bring another championship to San Antonio.


Spurs Coach trashes President Trump....again.


Sunday afternoon, Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich once again took the opportunity to complain about President Trump to the media.  During his long and highly successful career, Popovich seldom discusses anything but basketball during his pre-game interviews, but recently he has broken with habit in order to remind all us idiots out here in the real world who voted for Donald Trump, just how stupid we are.  Given that the Spurs were just embarrassed on national television, losing to Golden State in the Western Conference Finals by thirty-six points, my advice to Popovich would be to think more about basketball in pre-game interviews, and less about politics.  Be that as it may, Popovich must know that the majority of Spurs fans do not agree with his politics (its a guess on my part, but Trump handily won Texas and the south), and will never have the chance to let him know how they feel about Hillary Clinton and the rest of the snakes running the Democratic Party.  Lucky Gregg, a multi-millionaire just because he's a good coach, and he keeps getting lucky.  Because we love our basketball team and we want to hear the pre-game perspective from the head coach, Popovich gets to lecture to us, and he never has to listen to us in return.  Actually, the more I see of the Anti-Fascists and Black Lives Matter Nazis shutting down free speech all over the country, the clearer it becomes to me that Democrats like Popovich think that they shouldn't have to hear what other people think. 

Unfortunately Popovich will not read this commentary; he's an incredibly intelligent guy, and maybe he might have recognized that Spurs fans want to know how Coach Popovich plans on shutting down Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, not how much Popovich truly despises President Trump.  If it has nothing to do with basketball, Popovich, then don't bring it up during a pre-game interview.  Otherwise people like me are going to get a case of the red-ass and comment on your lifestyle and just how misguided your political perspective is, not to mention misplaced.  In the world of Gregg Popovich, athletes and coaches make millions upon millions of dollars because of their direct involvement in professional basketball.  Popovich, just like the like-minded geniuses in the entertainment industry, have lost all concept of what life is like for average people, which is why the elites in America today vote Democrat, and the working folks vote Republican.  Since Popovich likes to discuss politics so much, I would love to show up to his next pre-game interview disguised as a sports journalist, and ask him this question: "Are you comfortable making in three months what it takes the average teacher to earn in a twenty-five year career?"  I will never have a seven or eight figure salary, but I have no problem with someone working hard, earning loads of money and living well.  Frankly, I would rather it would be nurses, teachers, soldiers, police officers, bus drivers, medical researchers, and librarians as opposed to entertainers and athletes, but I can't change the way our society has evolved.  Regardless, I will never be comfortable being lectured to about politics, be it from the right or the left.  Maybe its a bit of jealousy on my part, but these turds already have the market cornered on financial security, do they think they get to influence politics as well?  Sadly, that's exactly what they do.  Many young people who are voting for the first time, will go into the voting booth and choose a candidate just because George Clooney or Katy Perry said they should.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much.  I wouldn't exchange our system with another, and at the end of the day, we really do get the government we deserve.  That being said, I don't want a political lecture from anyone unless I'm watching a debate or the evening news.  It's interesting that the famous folks who feel entitled to preach politics to the rest of us average, middle of the road nobodies always seem to be Democrats.  When was the last time you heard a sports personality or an entertainer (or a Drag Queen- it seems everytime I turn on the television I'm looking at a transgender person or a Drag Queen) take the microphone and start promoting conservative values?  Don't hold your breath; it rarely happens.  Normally, conservatives don't feel comfortable sharing their political opinions with strangers.  As for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, I can only hope that the series will turn around in San Antonio and the good guys in silver and black will win. Oops, I almost started lecturing about my favorite sports team, and nobody wants to hear about that!      

Monday, May 15, 2017

As part of the effort to silence the leaks, President Trump needs to question how personnel were hired in his Administration.


Link: Trump incensed by continued White House leaks.


Last week, after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he was met with a barrage of hostility and criticism, at first from the predictable Democratic loud-mouths, and followed up by the media, which now editorializes everything.  Not surprisingly, many Republicans in Congress took their marching orders from the Democrats and the media, and joined in the criticism.  Would President Barack Obama have face this type of response?  Of course not, but the "eat your own" Republican Party, many of its members singularly focused on re-election, leave President Trump with no real political support.  Some will blame President Trump, but the problem is much more a symptom of why Trump chose to run for president in the first place.  He should be able to rely on a Republican-controlled Congress for support, and to leave the criticisms and calls for Independent Counsels to the Democrats.  But GOP Senators and Representatives have become so worried about getting re-elected, that they obsess over the vagaries of public opinion.  First and foremost, President Trump had every right to fire Comey.  The Democrats had been calling for his head ever since Hillary Clinton announced to the nation that Comey is the reason she lost the election.  Recently, many of Trump's supporters started questioning why the FBI wasn't tackling the problem of leaks more aggressively.  Since former National Director of Intelligence James Clapper and Comey had publicly stated that no evidence has yet to be discovered linking the Trump Campaign Staff to Russian efforts to impact the election, why is the FBI still knee-deep in that investigation?  Just when was Comey planning on winding things down?  It had become a serious distraction, especially when the only illegal activity that had up to now been uncovered was the politically-motivated "unmasking" of 1,934 citizens, in an investigation which had yet to find even a scrap of evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump team.

Attorney General Sessions needs to take the lead in putting a stop to the leaks.  Trump needs to explain to his staff that all phone calls to the Washington Post and the NY Times must stop, and make a point of finding the next culprit and summarily firing said person.  Frankly, President Trump needs to revisit the list of people who have become his closest advisers.  The media continues to claim that much of the leaking can be attributed to the Trump Administration's hiring of so many people who are unfamiliar with the White House and politics in DC.  The last time I took a good look, most of the mid-level staff in the White House are professional political workhorses.  What about draining the swamp?  I am truly surprised by the number of highly qualified loyal Trump supporters who applied for positions with the Transition Team, and never so much as heard a burp in reply.  I happen to be one of those individuals.  As an author with a successful career in the CIA on my resume, along with time as a Federal Agent, and a vocal supporter President Trump during the election, I am just the kind of person the Transition Team should have considered for one of those mid-level positions, which doesn't provide the opportunity to speak, but allows one to observe and listen.  I believe the majority of the leaks in this White House comes from the numerous unspoken bodies in the room, who stand in the background in case their Cabinet member boss needs something.  Once previously I wrote a blog questioning the hiring methods of the Trump Transition Team, and I received hundreds of email responses from persons in positions similar to my own.  Professionals in the Department of Justice, Department of State, and in the Department of Homeland Security, who had chosen early retirement because of their unwillingness to continue working for the Obama Administration, but had volunteered to return in support of the Trump Administration and his desire to Make America Great Again.  Why weren't we considered for any of the thousands of jobs that were supposedly being filled?  The truth is, most of those jobs were filled with former Obama officials and others who have no interest in seeing President Trump succeed.

President Trump needs to re-evaluate the team he has put in place to hire the staff which has access to the daily routine of the White House, and ask his Cabinet members to take stock as well.  Anyone with Obama on their resume should be given the boot.  In addition, Cabinet members and anyone with similar access, including the CIA and FBI Directors, need to monitor their personal staff with the goal of identifying anyone engaged in leaking.  For President Trump to be distracted in this manner is as devious as it is unfair.  Those opposed to the Trump Agenda, with the media at the front of the pack, are using this access to paint whatever picture matches their narrative, of an administration in crisis and a White House in conflict. I don't believe the Trump Administration is in crisis and I certainly don't believe the juicy tidbits about Bannon arm-wrestling Jared Kushner for the President's ear.  Anyone who has had the pleasure of ever knowing President Trump understand that he expects a lot from his team, as he tackles the real challenges of North Korea, Russia, Syria, ISIS and our broken immigration system.  Everyone in the White House who is truly loyal to this administration needs to prioritize the identification and removal of leakers, and whatever mechanism is currently in place to hire qualified persons who will support this President without reservation, needs to review the stacks of resumes they received in December and January.  We haven't gone anywhere.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

As we moves to outlawing tobacco use altogether, one state after another is legalizing marijuana use.


Links:  A.  A link exists between marijuana use and schizophrenia.
            B.  Marijuana use can trigger schizophrenia.
            C.  National Institute on Drug Abuse summary on marijuana use.



When I was a child, people didn't appear overly concerned with the health issues related to smoking cigarettes.  I recall when the tobacco companies were ordered by the U.S. government to display a warning on every pack of cigarettes, but I didn't notice very many people quitting the habit.  When researchers were able to determine a direct link between tobacco use and cancer, some folks got the message, but millions of Americans continued to light up.  The real change started in the late 1980's, as individual states and the federal government started taxing the heck out of tobacco.  Once people started talking about second-hand smoke, and possible prenatal ramifications of cigarette smoking, organized efforts to ban smoking in public places popped up everywhere.
In some instances, smokers were made to feel unwelcome in public venues like sporting events and parades.  Today, smokers are treated as second-class citizens, at least as long as they have a cigarette or cigar in their hand.  I have problems regarding the way smokers are treated, and the issue does raise some interesting civil rights questions, but in the end, if tobacco smoking becomes illegal, millions of Americans will be spared the agony of Lung Cancer.  At the same time, a surprising number of states have either legalized or are in the process of legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Simply put, as our society moves to limit and eventually eradicate the use of tobacco, more and more states are making recreational marijuana use legal.  In the 1990's, a powerful lobby which existed to pressure states into legalizing medicinal-use marijuana, brought the issue to the forefront.  At the time, the public was assured that legalizing marijuana for pain relief would not result in the relaxation of laws against recreational use.  In fact, that's exactly what happened.  Talk about a slippery slope- one day the public was being inundated with stories about terminal cancer patients whose only pain relief came from marijuana use, and today, so-called experts have started spreading the lie that marijuana doesn't have the same harmful effects as tobacco use.

So much depends on how much marijuana a person smokes/eats, and if it has been diluted.  Although marijuana in its popular incarnation contains more tar than the average cigarette, the myth persists that pot smoking is much less dangerous than lighting up a cigar or cigarette.  As one state after another lightens the penalties for marijuana use or legalizes it altogether, tobacco continues to get pummeled in the media and in public forums all over the country.  The latest nation-wide campaign to discourage smoking is aimed at young people, and no doubt is being financed by a fat wad of taxpayer dollars, but who is behind the lobbying efforts to legalize pot?  Could it be the big tobacco companies, who are transitioning their operations to grow marijuana instead of tobacco?  As part of the effort to insure that pot for medicinal purposes is readily available, the federal government has approved some companies to begin growing marijuana.  If and when pot is finally legalized, don't be surprised to discover that the same tobacco companies that dominated the cigarette market now are making a nice profit growing marijuana.

When I was in grade school, I was taught that marijuana was a very dangerous drug.  For the life of me, I can't recall if anyone ever explained what about marijuana made it so dangerous.  Common sense and experience made it clear to me that pot was a gateway drug, because so many people I knew who started smoking pot at a young age, moved on to experimenting with acid, ecstasy, cocaine and prescription drugs.  It's very personal to me because it directly impacted my family, as it has millions of other families in this country.  Regardless of the warning signs, pot smoking is still a popular pass time for far too many young people.  Recent research has discovered other real problems with marijuana, as a clear connection exists between certain individuals who smoke pot and develop psychosis.  Schizophrenia seems to be the most common of the conditions which can be triggered by marijuana use.  Most pot smokers will not become schizophrenic, but a clear percentage of persons with a predisposition to chemical imbalances will become psychotic.  As is often the case, persons suffering from schizophrenia decide that the best treatment is to continue smoking pot, which only increases the frequency and severity of psychotic episodes.  I am very concerned that this information, which is readily available on the internet (google schizophrenia and marijuana), has not been adequately disseminated by the media or the government.  If respected researchers are regularly discovering more links between marijuana use and schizophrenia, why are we rushing to legalize pot?

I have added three links from well-respected sources which support the argument that marijuana can bring on psychosis in some individuals, not to mention the issue of decreased motivation/lack of ambition.  Someone other than the consumer is going to benefit from the legalization of marijuana in the United States, and I'm guessing that their lobbyists are spreading around enough campaign contributions to ensure that negative information will be smothered.  As more laws and ordinances are passed limiting tobacco use, tobacco growers are faced with the reality of losing their livelihood. At the same time, the legalization of marijuana will increase the demand.  Large-scale tobacco growers will simply start growing marijuana instead of tobacco.  It has been argued that legalizing marijuana will eliminate the black market and the smuggling of marijuana into the United States.  Nonsense.  Black market marijuana will still be available, as without federal and state taxes and fees, it will be much cheaper than the pot that is being legally sold.  I hope that the Trump Administration will recognize the danger in legalized marijuana, and assign the Department of Health and Human Services to complete a thorough review of current research into pot use, and responds appropriately.      
           

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sanctuary cities encourage selective application of the law.


Link: Texas Governor Abbott signs Sanctuary Cities Bill.

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill which provides police officers with the authority to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain.  In addition, the bill requires local officials to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation.  Previously, immigration officers would place an Immigration Detainer on the suspect, which required that local authorities hold the suspect for up to forty-eight hours, to give federal law enforcement the opportunity to arrange deportation proceedings.  The new bill signed by Governor Abbott is in response to the Sanctuary Cities phenomenon, in which certain communities were choosing to ignore the Detainer request.  Opponents of the bill argue that it will encourage profiling and create fear in Hispanic communities,  while supporters call for even enforcement of the law.  San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas are just a few of the communities who
self-publicize their "sanctuary" status.  Police Officers in sanctuary municipalities are not allowed to inquire about a person's citizenship.

According to the law of the land, a person present in the United States without documentation is in this country illegally.  For years these persons were identified as "illegal aliens".  That term has since been designated "dehumanizing" by the progressives and the politically correct in our society, and since they make all the rules, "illegal alien" is a term no longer utilized to describe persons in our country without authorization.  At the same time, the politically correct machine has decided that any foreign national in the United States who wishes to stay permanently should be identified as an immigrant.  Again, back in the ancient days when I was studying Cultural Geography at College, the term "immigrant" was reserved for persons who had arrived in the United States legally, and had some form of documented status.  My mother was a French citizen who married my U.S. Citizen father; she obtained her legal residency through marriage.  The U.S. Department of State, through its various Embassies around the world,  issues Permanent Resident Visas by the hundreds of thousands every year.  These people follow the legal pathway to living in the United States.  With some rare exceptions, Visa applicants must wait years on the list before being selected.  These people are the true heroes in this mess.  While they wait to obtain legal authorization to live in the United States, hundreds of thousands cross the U.S./Mexico border every year without documentation.

The Democratic Party is very sympathetic to the plight of persons who are in the United States without permission; not surprisingly, every Sanctuary City has a Mayor and City Council dominated by Democrats.  The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to include Amendments to allow the people to change unpopular laws.  Its not the simplest of processes, nor should it be.  Laws are enacted to protect people and property.  Coincidentally, Sanctuary Cities, which flaunt the law, have become magnets for Mexican and Central American criminal gangs.  The criminal alien sans documentation but with a bit of common sense, will gravitate to the communities that are not allowed to ask his/her citizenship.  Gangs like the evil, violent Mara Salvatrucha Trece , which is roughly translated as "Gangster Salvadoran Soldiers", have established a dangerous presence in most of the Sanctuary Cities, as have the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels.  One way to combat these groups is through identification, but how to you identify someone when the law prohibits Police Officers from determining nationality?

For many years, undocumented immigrants kept a very low profile.  The idea was to find a job, send some of the money back home to help out, and hopefully find a way to adjust status to Resident Alien (Green Card).  Basically, all persons involved on both sides of the issue agreed that the rule of law was central to the discussion.  Not anymore.  The rule of law has no place in Sanctuary Cities.  Municipal authorities in places like San Francisco, Houston and Seattle have decided that they get to decide which laws should be respected and which should be ignored.  At the same time, they claim that undocumented immigrants have civil rights GUARANTEED BY OUR CONSTITUTION.  The hypocrisy would be funny of it weren't so scary.  The longer we allow Sanctuary Communities to exist, the greater the encouragement for others to give their life savings to a smuggler and enter the United States illegally.  Many Central Americans are tempted by the lure of Sanctuary Cities to first attempt illegally entry into Mexico.  The Mexican government has not the slightest sympathy for persons entering Mexico "sin documentos".  People are robbed, beaten, sometimes assaulted, and dumped back on the other side of the border.  For all the bleeding heart liberals who believe that the United States has some humane obligation to persons trying to enter the U.S. illegally, does it matter that thousands are ruined, with many losing their lives, because of the existence of Sanctuary Cities?

National security is any nation is only as strong as its borders.  It is unfair to expect the American taxpayer to support ten million citizens of the Republic of Mexico.  In 1776, we were faced with tyranny and taxation without representation.  Our Founding Fathers went to war, to build a Democracy under the rule of law.  Mexican citizens must follow our example and stand up to the corruptocracy that pretends to be a government, and enforce their Constitution.  This includes going to war with the narcotraffickers who have an unwritten understanding with the government to stay out of each other's way.  Like it or not, the problem of undocumented immigrants has become an issue of national security for the United States, and we must get control of our borders.  At the same time, we must stand up for the rule of law and eliminate the reasons people are tempted to risk their lives, break our laws, and cross our border illegally.  This includes legitimate sanctions and jail time for employers who knowingly hire "cheap" labor provided by undocumented workers, and the elimination of communities who promise a safe haven for persons to live whose entire presence in the United States is predicated on breaking the law.