Mueller’s Probe Will Soon End – and Libs Will be Bummed

The Mueller probe is in the home stretch. Given that he has been at it for 10 months, and seems to have completed all of his interviews (Trump will never be interviewed), its time for him to pull together all the pieces into a final report.

Like a blind man trying to understand the shape of an elephant, we know much of what Mueller has collected, but we don’t know what he knows. However, given the reams of documents, the testimony of multiple Trump campaign and administration associates that are cooperating, and the already documented facts (Don Jr.’s e-mails, etc.), we can make some certain deductions about what Mueller will unveil:

  1. The evidence will clearly show that the Trump family, along with multiple other campaign members has long been involved in money laundering with various Russian oligarchs and mobsters. This explains Trump’s refusal to release his Tax Returns, his Russian banking connection, and how the Russians initially exerted control over him.
  2. The evidence offered by Papadopoulos, Flynn, and now Gates, along with the Don Jr. e-mails and many other corroborating documents will show that the Trump organization did, in no uncertain terms, collaborate with the Russians to alter the course of the 2016 election. The efforts were probably initiated by the Russians, just as any blackmailer would draw a victim deeper into criminal behavior. But criminal behavior it is, and Mueller will prove it.
  3. The attempt to hide the criminal behavior will be shown by Mueller to be Obstruction of Justice. Unlike so many other political crimes, obstruction won’t be the biggest part of this case – but it will be fully documented via a solid set of facts.

This may not be a perfect representation of Mueller’s report, but its a minimum of what he has on Trump. Mueller will connect the dots to give us a photographic blueprint of the entire case. And Mueller has shown at every step that he has had more than anyone has expected, so the report will likely include additional items that are not yet known. But even if its just these three items, they will be damning.

So why would liberals be bummed over this turn of events? Because Mueller will be too cautious to issue the fourth, and most damning accusation – that of Treason.

Why does Trump refuse to impose congressionally mandated sanctions? Why does he believe Putin over his own Cabinet members? Why does he refuse to call out Russia for its meddling? The answer is obvious – because Putin controls Trump through blackmail. Trump is betraying the United States to an enemy power, because that enemy power has the power to destroy him. The only way to save our country is for us to destroy him before he can do any more harm.

The Mueller report is urgently needed. Then Congress MUST act immediately to remove Trump from power. Then we can deal with the rest of the mess.

 

 

FBI Bias and the Secret Memo

There has been much speculation about the FBI being biased against the President and the dangers this poses to the country. The House just voted to release a secret memo which purports to shed new light on the bias at the FBI. But we already know quite a bit about the bias that actually exists at the FBI.

Lets go back to a few weeks before the 2016 election. At the time (late October 2016), Hillary Clinton was beating Donald Trump by an average of six points in the composite polls. But by election day, that lead had evaporated, and most polls showed the race very close – although many of them still showed that Clinton would win. In the end Clinton won the popular vote, thanks to California, but Trump won the electoral vote and the presidency. But it was very close. Trump won four states by less than 1%, and Florida by 1.2%. Those few states propelled him to victory.

So what caused Hillary’s lead to evaporate over a two week period? On October 28, 2016, 12 days before the election, James Comey released a letter announcing that he was re-opening the investigation into Hillary’s e-mails. The reason given was to examine a batch of e-mails found on Anthony Weiner’s PC. It soon became obvious that this new investigation made no sense, given that all the e-mails on Weiner’s PC had already been among those that had been reviewed. Trump immediately pounced with accusations that Comey’s announcement showed that Hillary engaged in a treasonous act. Trump’s accusations, which were given widespread airplay on all networks, were not at all consistent with Comey’s letter. But Comey said nothing to refute what Trump was saying, so many people took Trump’s version as reality. For many voters, this reinforced the impression that Hillary was perpetually involved in shady/corrupt activities, an impression that the Republicans had spent years creating. Although Comey came back with an exoneration of Hillary on November 6, by that time Hillary’s lead was gone and on November 8, Trump was elected.

What Comey and the FBI knew, but the public did not, was that the FBI was also investigating the Trump campaign for the Russia activities. We don’t yet know that those investigations will prove that Trump engaged in collusion, but we do know that many members of his campaign were in continuous contact with Russians and that Don Jr. attempted collusion.

If Comey had either told the public that Trump’s campaign was also under investigation, OR would have not re-opened the investigation into Clinton under bogus circumstances, then Hillary would now be President.

As with every law enforcement agency in the country, the members of the FBI are primarily conservative by nature, and primarily Republicans in their politics. Any suggestion that the FBI is filled with liberals that must be purged is ridiculous. The pro-Trump bias of the FBI already exists, and was the reason for his election.

But there are still a large number of people who believe in Country over party in the FBI and Justice Department. The goal of the Trump people is not to purge the FBI of Democrats, but rather to purge those who believe in public service rather than service to the cult of Trump. The secret memo that is about to be released by the House shows Congress’s complicity in this process. We continue to move inexorably down the road to an authoritarian government in which the Justice Department becomes the President’s secret police.

Trump and the Republicans in Congress must be stopped. We, the people must vote for those who will uphold the laws of the United States. We must elect Democrats to majorities in both the House and Senate in 2018. If we fail, we may not get another chance.

 

 

America’s Future at Risk

We live in a world in which only the fittest will survive and prosper. This is a basic law of nature, and it applies to nations just the same as it applies to the creatures of the jungle.

America has, for the past 100+ years, been the strongest nation in the world, and all of us have prospered because of our position of strength. It didn’t happen all at once. A series of smart decisions, many of them made more than 50 years ago, all led to today’s position as the world’s one true superpower. But we live in dangerous times, and our long term position is at risk. While these risks may not impact anyone over 75, they will impact our children, and their children and so on down the generations. As adults, we must do our part to protect and preserve the viability of this country so that our children and grandchildren may thrive.

Lets talk for a bit about Risk Management. Risk Management is the science of identifying risks, prioritizing the most severe, and developing strategies to either avoid them or mitigate their impacts. This strategy is employed every day in business and by our military. But we never seem to apply it to the most important topic – the long term success of the United States.

So what are the biggest risks to the future of American greatness over the next 25-50 years? If you were to watch Fox News or read Breitbart, you’d think the biggest risks are radical Islam, immigration, and North Korea. Let’s examine the risks posed to the existence of the US by each of them.

Radical Islam (Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban, etc.) clearly poses a threat to the lives of ordinary Americans. They have killed thousands of American civilians (mostly on September 11, 2001) over the past 20 or so years. But do they pose a threat to the American nation? Hardly. Taken collectively, they could never defeat even a small fraction of the mightiest military that the world has ever known. Nor do they have nuclear weaponry that can take out American cities and devastate  our economy. They have to be classified as a low-priority risk to the US.

Immigration is seen by some to pose a threat to our very way of life. But, as a nation of immigrants, those who are here have always been suspicious of the next group who are different. Just as there were fears of the papist Irish, the ignorant Slavs from Eastern Europe, and the orientals, now there are fears of Hispanics, Africans, and especially Moslems. Unchecked and completely unimpeded immigration would be a risk to the US. But we haven’t had that since 1924, and nobody is advocating such a thing. What we have had over the past 90 years is a slow but steady influx of new, dynamic, risk taking people who come to America because they believe this is the land of opportunity and freedom. And this level of immigration has been a good thing, revitalizing, renewing and continuing to diversify America in ways that are true to our core principles. This doesn’t mean that there are no casualties from immigration – of course there are. We need to address those issues and fix them. But controlled immigration is not a threat to the existence of the US – in fact it adds much more to the success of this country than it costs. As long as we keep doing basically what we’ve been doing since 1924, immigration is a low-priority (or maybe non-existent) risk to the US.

North Korea clearly does propose a real risk to the US. Given that is has nuclear weapons, ICBMs, and a stridently belligerent leader, a level of risk cannot be denied. But what is the level of risk? Can they destroy enough of America to bring about the collapse of our government or destruction of our economy? This answer is probably no for now, but possibly changes to yes in a few short years. So this is a risk. And although the past six Presidents have seen it as such, it has continued to grow from a small risk to a much greater risk. The Trump administration clearly recognizes the risk, but as of yet they do not seem to have developed a strategy to mitigate or avoid it. North Korea is a risk and should be a top concern.

But there are other risks to the future of America that the Trump Administration is ignoring. The biggest long term risks to the US are elimination of our free institutions, and climate change.

The government of a democratic nation by definition represents the will of the people. But what if outside forces can bend the will of the people without their knowledge, or worse yet, subvert the will of the people by manipulating elections. If that is the case, then the “democratic” nation is merely a puppet state of another nation. There is no question that, in 2016, Russia attempted to bend the will of the people through propaganda and subvert the will of the people by altering votes. And they succeeded. So now we have an administration, and numerous members of Congress who have been elected on the basis of Russian manipulation. And not surprisingly, they have no interest in investigating this issue or dosing anything from preventing it from happening again. This is a true threat to the independence of the United States. As Russia gets better and smarter at hacking and manipulating the electorate, Republicans do nothing, hoping that once again the Russians will back them. And when the President and his allies cast doubts upon the independent reporting of a free press, they are further playing into the hands of the Russians. These actions pose the greatest short-term threat to the independence of America.

Luckily, the foundational institutions of our democracy, the FBI, CIA, Justice system, and elections system, have great internal integrity due to the patriotism of their apolitical employees. But they are all under attack by Trump and his allies (knowingly or unknowingly) on behalf of the Russians. All Americans who believe in the independence of this nation must do their part to take back our democracy. At a minimum, they must vote – against those who want to destroy our independent free press, our independent judicial system, and our independent elections. They must vote against all Russian-backed candidates – which today means they must vote against Republicans. And all who can must do more to spread the word.

If we can overcome the short-term risk of Russian manipulation, then we must confront the long term risk to America, and to the planet from climate change. Climate change is real and we are feeling its initial impacts already. But much more is to come. Changes in weather patterns will lead to widespread droughts which will lead to widespread famine. Sea level rise will lead to coastal inundation which will cause massive displacement of people worldwide. These impacts will be exacerbated by overpopulation and destruction of the natural environment. While these impacts will be fall the hardest on those nations that have the least resources, there will be no escaping them in the US. It is imperative that our government focus all possible energy on developing long term strategies to both minimize the severity of climate change and to mitigate its impacts. This is the biggest threat to the future of America. We need to act as if we care.

Trump’s Goals in the War on the Media

Since the time of George Washington, Presidents have been unhappy with the media. Every President has felt that they have been treated unfairly, and every President has responded in negative ways.In this sense, Trump is no different than his predecessors.

But Trump, with the help of others (notably Steve Bannon) has taken his disregard of the press to new levels. Even though many members of the media are completely supporting Trump, he has declared the media (clearly only those that don’t support him) the “enemy of the American people”.  He threatens to pull their licenses if they say bad things about him. He has also repeatedly called for revisions of the Nation’s libel laws so as to prevent members of the media from speaking out.

His short term goal is intimidation. By using the strongest language and the strongest threats, he hopes to cower as many members of the press as possible into self-censorship. But that plan alone isn’t working. In fact, multiple media outlets are vying to earn Trump’s “Fake News” awards.

But in a more insidious way, Trump is actually waging war on the US Constitution. His real goal is the elimination of a free press, replacing it with one that is loyal to him. We know that he’s fond of the Second Amendment, but he is clearly not so fond of the First Amendment. His criticisms of the press are thinly veiled dog whistles to signal his loyal Stormtroopers to take actions – legal and illegal – to silence his critics.

With Nixon it was an “enemies list”. But with Trump, is more akin to a “hit list”. Journalists have been paying for their reporting with their lives in other countries for years – especially in places like Russia and Mexico. Soon it will be occurring in the United States.

When Trump wages war on the First Amendment, he wages war on the key to the freedoms we all hold dear. His way is the path to totalitarianism. His attempts to suppress the rights of a free press must be stopped. All members of both political parties must speak up. Now.

 

Bannon’s New Plan

Steve Bannon is not stupid. So why did he say that the meeting taken by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a number of Russians was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous”? Bannon knows that Donald Trump is loyal first to his family (after himself of course) before anyone else, and that getting into a fight vs. the family would lead to Trump savaging him.  And it played out as Bannon expected – although Trump may have been a little bit harsher than Bannon had hoped.

The past 24 hours have seen a significant (and predictable) backlash against Bannon from the Trump camp and his supporters. Although many tea-party types have tried to avoid taking sides, the vast majority of those who have done so have sided with Trump.

What Steve Bannon did was no accident. Nor is he making apologies for anything he said. So what is Bannon’s plan? Its simple – he plans to be a survivor in the coming bloodbath so he can regain his former glory and power – with or without Trump.

Bannon knows what’s coming, and he’s trying to get ahead of it. He has a huge amount of power due to the fact that he wasn’t involved in the Russian skulduggery. He knows that large numbers of the Trump team are guilty of collusion/treason and that Robert Mueller will soon indict them. This certainly includes Flynn, Manafort, Don Jr., Kushner, and numerous small fry. The only unknowns are whether Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump will also be named. And when Mueller does indict, the evidence will be so thorough, so well documented, and so complete, that all but the most loyal Trumpians will have to get onboard.

Once this all comes about (and it may not be far away), Donald Trump will be damaged to the core. Nobody knows at this point whether his Presidency will survive. But either way, Steve Bannon will be OK. Either Trump will survive, in which case he will need an untainted senior advisor whom he trusts (re-enter Bannon), or he won’t survive, in which case Bannon goes back to playing his long game at Breitbart, reels in the disaffected Trump people, and waits for the next opportunity.

Either way he avoids going down with the ship. And his plan will probably work. But it will be messy.

 

The Destruction Caused by Fake News

The founding fathers placed a large amount of faith in the freedom of the press – that’s why it’s the first amendment to the US Constitution. And they knew that having a free press meant that there would be many different voices speaking many different – and often conflicting – messages. It has been so since the founding of the Country.

But today we have entered into an era in which fake news has become a threat to the continuation of our democracy. There are numerous purveyors of intentional lies that are designed to divide and weaken America. The primary source of these lies is Russia. Putin has created an army of trolls that creates fake news stories with the goal of meddling in the fabric of American democracy, pitting us against one another in an attempt to weaken us.

The Russians don’t necessarily care about American politics, as long as our politicians don’t care about them. But when they find politicians that take strong anti-Russian stands, they do everything they can to destroy those “enemies”. One of those enemies was Hillary Clinton, so the Russians did what they could to weaken her. Of course, in Trump they had a willing partner who was happy to collude in order to win. In helping Donald Trump, they also assisted a number of other Republicans in close races.

But the Russians didn’t do it alone. They worked through proxies in ways that magnified and spread their misinformation. Those proxies (wittingly or unwittingly) absorbed the Russian-generated fake news, magnified it, and spread it to their followers. Thus have InfoWars, Breitbart, Drudge, Fox News, and others from the right worked to destroy the core values that hold America together. These organizations have betrayed the people of the United States that they purport to serve. Instead, they continue to spew a narrative that originates in Moscow. And slowly but surely, they are succeeding. The America we knew is collapsing from within.

How can we fight back? We must always ask – who is behind this? who is benefiting? Why are the Republicans doing nothing about this threat? When Republicans question the special prosecutor, what is their motivation? Is it to protect the legitimacy of their illegitimate win?

We must take back our Democracy. To do so, we must find those that have been corrupted or co-opted by the Russians and remove them from power.That includes Trump, and those in Congress that are speaking so loudly in his defense. Only then can we stop the Russians from controlling our elections.

The New Trinity

There was a time when Conservatives used to see the Soviet Union as a threat to the very existence of the US. Richard Nixon (and many others) made a career of bashing communists and anyone who remotely resembled them. Ronald Reagan famously referred to the Soviet Union as the Evil Empire, and worked hard to bring about its demise.

But while the new Russia that rose in its place may not be communist, it is an evil dictatorship and is ruled by a man who wants to destroy the dominance of the US over world affairs. Russia is the only realistic military threat to the existence of the US, and it is not our friend. Russia is acting against the US in multiple places – propping up a dictator in Syria, supporting North Korea and Iran, and undermining democratic institutions in both the US and other western democracies. Vladimir Putin is a has killed numerous journalists and opposition politicians, both inside Russia, and when he can get away with it, in other countries.

Putin is a also master manipulator of truth – as exemplified by the Russian Olympics Team, which to this day does not admit to cheating. He denied invading Crimea, and has denied that his armed forces are active inside Ukraine even though they have been fully unmasked. As a master mobster, he has become the richest person on the planet by stealing from the Russian state.

Strangely, Donald Trump supports and appears to trust Putin – which seems to make no sense. Given Trump’s strained relationships with the leaders of our allies, why would he have such a high degree of trust and desire a closer relationship with our most dangerous enemy?

Is it because Donald Trump sees a kindred spirit in the authoritarian nature of Putin’s Russia and hopes to move the US in that direction? Donald Trump seems to prefer authoritarian leaders over those that are democratically elected, and Trump uses the same tactics of denying the truth, accusing his opponents of the crimes he is committing, and many more. So part of it may just be envy.

But there must be more. The best explaination is that Putin has the goods on Donald Trump. It could be that Putin is Trump’s banker, or the Steele dossier, or something else. Which would also explain the close relationships between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election, and the numerous Russian attempts to assist the Trump campaign that have already been exposed. It also explains the eagerness of multiple members of the Trump campaign to collude with the Russians, and of course, their poor memories of such activities.

So which is it? The probable answer is both. Putin has control over Trump, both via some hard power, and more subtle control via soft power. Never in the history of the US has its leader been so compromised by a foreign power.

The third leg of the Trinity is those in the press, who, even though they see this reality, fail to call it out to their viewers. This is Fox News at its worst. Fox has gone from hating Russia just a year ago to now being neutral towards Russia and Putin. Why, because they see the connection between Putin and Trump, and they don’t want their listeners to know the truth. Trump is inching closer to an authoritarian government every day. And Fox News, which would have crucified Obama for doing a fraction of what Trump has done, is fulling supporting the dismantling of our democracy.

Millions of people are being deceived. Will they wake up in time?

We will see.