Susan Power – The New Face of the Unmasking Scandal

What a UN Ambassador wanted with intel on Trump…

A new name has surfaced in the unmasking scandal. UN Ambassador Susan Power made hundreds of unmasking requests in the last year of the Obama Presidency. Unmasking is the process by which individuals caught up in warrantless NSA surveillance are named in intelligence reports. It is a violation of the 4th amendment when misused.

During the Trump campaign and transition period, there were leaks of damaging information only discovered by government surveillance. At some point, Trump officials were unmasked in US intelligence reports and those reports were leaked to the press. The New York Times was one that reported Trump ties to Russia that were gleaned from NSA wiretaps.  They have since attempted to back off the claim.

Illegally unmasking a US citizen and leaking that information is a felony and carries up to 10 years in jail. The prime people of interest are former CIA director Brennan, Susan Rice, and now Susan Power.

So why would a UN Ambassador be caught up in this? The potential answers to that question truly scare me. If Susan Power was leaking intel on the Trump transition team to other UN member nations, that would be a huge development. Don’t forget, much of the Russia collusion speculation came from intel provided by the UK, Germany and the Ukraine. Were they doing the spying? Or was the US doing the spying, laundering the info through them, and then using it to smear Trump and attempt to influence the election outcome and bolster the resistance movement?

A crime was committed. The fact that we know anything about the Russia investigation is indicative of the many illegal leaks. What we know shows that those leaks include information only our intelligence agencies should know.  Brennan and Rice have both been openly hostile towards the Trump administration.  It will be interesting to see where the investigation of Susan Power goes.

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Why Democrats Want Mueller Fired

The whole Russia thing has been a bust so far…

There have been some interesting theories about why Special Investigator Robert Mueller was hired, why he has put together a legal team of Clinton donors, how fair he actually is, etc. I’d like to look at another theory, why Democrats want Mueller fired. While no Democrats have called for Mueller to be fired directly, it seems a little odd to me how the chips have fallen.

Consider this, on July 19 Trump gives an interview where he suggests that if Mueller starts investigating items outside of Russia that would be grounds for firing.  July 20 headline? Mueller expands probe to Trump business transactions. Citing unnamed officials, Bloomberg says Mueller is doing exactly what Trump said would get him fired. That’s a little too convenient for me.

Special prosecutors have a history of stepping out of bounds. Patrick Fitzgerald, already knowing it was Richard Armitage who leaked Valerie Plame’s name, put Scooter Libby in jail on trumped up obstruction charges so he could try to get to Dick Cheney. Kenneth Starr turned an investigation into a shady land deal into an impeachment trial for lying under oath about sex with an intern.  It’s very likely Democrats are hoping the Russia probe will turn into something similar. Or at least a back ally way to get their  white whale: Trump’s tax returns.

There is a lot of pressure on a special prosecutor to find something to justify their paycheck. Mueller’s team of Clinton donors also may have some incentive to find something. But getting fired could be just as good.

Mueller getting fired would still be a win for Democrats. I’m sure we can all imagine the headlines. Trump fired Comey on the recommendations of his Department of Justice. Comey had screwed up a couple investigations, based findings on the phony Russia dossier, been unclear about Trump not being under investigation, and after being fired Comey released classified info to the media to get Mueller hired in the first place.  But that didn’t stop the media from speculating about Comey’s firing being obstruction of justice.

Can you imagine the media field day if Trump fires Mueller? Every tin foil hat conspiracy theory cooked up by CNN and MSNBC over the last six months will be permanently believable even if never verified. Firing Mueller will permanently create the specter of the Nixonian President who got away with it.

For Democrats, that would be a much better result than if Mueller concluded his investigation empty handed.

5 Times Obama Didn’t Appoint a Special Prosecutor

…but should have

I saw a meme recently mocking the Trump team for lawyering up. There’s a reason Obama and his team never needed to lawyer up. They had Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch as the attorney generals. Neither of them had any interest in looking at wrongdoing by the Obama administration. Even the thought of Obama hiring a special prosecutor to investigate himself is hilarious.
 
Here are five times Obama should have appointed a special prosecutor but didn’t:
 
1. Fast and furious – the gun running scandal where the US sold weapons to Mexican drug lords that were then lost and later used to kill US border agents. The murder of the border agents was initially used by the administration to call for greater gun control, until it was discovered where those guns came from.
 
2. The IRS targeting scandal – the IRS targeted right-leaning political groups by denying their applications and subjecting them to unreasonable questioning. Congress investigated, but no charges were ever filed by the Obama DOJ and the administration did not appoint a special prosecutor. The person responsible, Lois Lerner, never faced legal consequences.  Multiple calls for a special prosecutor were ignored by the Obama DOJ.
 
3. Benghazi – not only did the administration lie to the public, but Hillary Clinton violated the law when she distributed classified information about the Benghazi incident and destroyed classified information regarding the incident.
 
4. Hillary Clinton’s email server – despite the destruction of evidence, and Loretta Lynch completely invalidating the investigation by meeting with Bill Clinton on his private jet, a special prosecutor was not appointed. This is despite evidence that Obama knew about her server and that the Obama DOJ made unethical deals with Clinton attorneys to help destroy and hide evidence in the case.
 
5. The Iran Nuclear Deal payment – This was when Obama negotiated a poorly structured nuclear deal with Iran, and then sealed it with a huge cash payment delivered in the middle of the night. After the payment was discovered, the Obama administration claimed it was an old debt from a couple Iranian governments ago when we cancelled an arms shipment to them during their revolution.
 
Any of these were more salacious than the idea that Trump associates may have sought opposition research from the Russians. But none were investigated by any body with actual authority. None resulted in special counsels.
 
This also doesn’t include the smaller things, like the raid on the Gibson Guitar factory, Solyndra, or NSA spying on reporters.  And it doesn’t include the bigger things that came to light more recently such as Obama spying on Trump associates and unmasking them. I haven’t even touched on the leaks.
Trump fired James Comey.  Obama’s first year in office was a blood bath for Bush administration attorneys and officials.  The difference so far between Trump and Obama is that Obama had more scandals and fewer people in his government that had any interest in noticing.

What if Trump Jr got what he wanted?

Still looking for a law that was broken….

Here’s a question that’s been nagging at my mind. Forget the the fact that Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and the Obama administration colluded with the Ukraine, UK, and Germany to smear Trump and spread false information to influence the election. Forget that this Russian attorney who met with Trump Jr. did it under false pretenses and didn’t give him any information.
Let’s say it was all worst case scenario. Trump Jr. meets with this Russian lawyer. The Russian lawyer actually works for the Russian government, she isn’t just loosely associated with them like she is with the company that did opposition research on Trump. This is the real deal. Let’s pretend she gives Trump Jr. actual hard proof that Hillary Clinton was taking illegal donations from Russia, which is what this attorney claimed she had.
Badger
In our imaginary scenario, Donald Trump, Jr. meets with a Russian attorney from the Russian government and she gives him hard evidence that Hillary Clinton has committed a crime.  Maybe he turns that over to the FBI, maybe he gives it to the media, maybe he just distributes it to his campaign, who knows.  Are we saying that it should be illegal for someone to receive evidence from a foreign source that an American is doing something illegal?  Is it treason to discover that an American has broken the law if that discovery comes from a foreign source?
As Democrats call for impeachment and label Trump Jr.’s actions treasonous, it’s worth asking what we are losing out on in all of this populist mayhem and political assassination.
For one, the Obamacare replacement has ground to a halt. Before you cheer (if you happen to be a Leftist and reading this), in no uncertain terms Obamacare has failed. Forget just premiums rising at exponential rates, next year there are 45 counties in America that will have zero healthcare plans on their Obamacare market exchanges. In other words, the Obamacare marketplace is going to look like a Venezuela marketplace for thousands next year.  3 million will have one option.  That’s what government run healthcare looks like for America.
However, the false narrative that Trump has been under investigation or that this Russian meeting means anything has stymied the Trump agenda.  In fact, Republicans have devolved in their “repeal and replace” mission so far that their plan is barely more than a namechange at this point.  From ACA to AHCA.  And they can’t even get 51 votes for that.
As the mob seeks to crucify Trump and his associates, the only winner is the news media. If you believe their own producers, Russia may be a “nothingburger” but it’s been “great for ratings”.

Forget Russia, Let’s Talk About Germany

If negative media is an act of war, we are in trouble…

After Comey’s testimony, the Russia Trump collusion story has been downgraded to Birther level controversy.  Comey vindicated Trump, saying in fact that Trump was never even under investigation.  Comey has also said that Russia did not alter a single vote in the US election.  On the administration side, it seems as though the biggest issue is General Mike Flynn’s work with Russia and failure to disclose the payments he received. Yes Trump asked Comey to go easy on Flynn, but Trump also fired Flynn.

What did Russia do then?  Russia did not collude with the administration.  Russia did not change the votes.  They did not hack the electronic voting machines. Apparently it’s possible that Russia released Podesta’s emails, but the incriminating statements there came directly from Podesta and other DNC staffers.  At this point, it appears that Russia’s biggest sin was printing negative press and sometimes fake news about Hillary Clinton.

Russia did not print negative news about Hillary Clinton in order to elect Trump.  Unlike the Clinton’s campaign work to influence the GOP primary and make sure Trump won, Russia simply didn’t like Hillary Clinton.

Russia’s actions have been called an act of war.  Even some on the GOP side have called Russia’s actions an attempt to destroy our constitutional process and democracy.  Is this a valid accusation?  Does foreign media printing negative stories equate to election hacking?  Should we be sanctioning Russia because they printed negative stories about Hillary Clinton?

Let’s talk about Germany.  Harvard recently performed a study on various news outlets to see whether Trump was getting fair coverage.  The result is that Trump is getting more negative coverage than any of his predecessors.  Remember, negative press from foreign sources equals an act of war and destruction of our constitutional process.  So we should probably be concerned about Germany’s ARD news network’s 98% negative reporting rate on Trump.

Britain is another hacking nation that has declared war on the US through their media outlets.  Financial Times was negative about Trump 84% of the time, BBC 74% of the time.  When it comes to using media to influence US opinion, both Britain and Germany are just as guilty as Russia.

There’s one other problem worth mentioning.  The assault on the US and our constitutional processes is not being led by Russia or Germany.  It’s being led by the US. If unbalanced coverage and fake news equals everything the left and John McCain say it does, then we should be more concerned about CNN and NBC reporting negatively about Trump 93% of the time.  CBS was 91%, New York Times 87%, Washington Post 83%. Comey’s testimony discredited all of these US news outlets, forcing them to print retractions of fake news they had recently reported.

If the whole Russia thing boils down to their state media operations, I hope we can find a way to laugh at ourselves and move on with our lives. And to think, Obama kicked the Russian ambassadors out of our country over this.

The Russian Fiction

Let’s not bicker and argue about who hacked who

Obama complained for months about the Russians tampering with the US election to get Trump elected.  Apparently for all of Trump’s lack of political experience and his apparent intention to start World War III the first time he loses his temper, he is also somehow irresistible to the Russians.  It has nothing to do with Trump’s desire to sell the American uranium industry to the Russians, Hillary already did that.

For some unexplainable reason, Russia is willing to start a cyber war to install Trump.  So much so that they “hacked the election”.  They literally caused you to vote for Trump. The Russians worked intentionally to aide Trump.  I’m not even sure if we can call this America anymore or if we are just a puppet of Russia.  And of course, if Trump doesn’t denounce Russia and concede this sham election, he should be hung for treason, right?

Back to reality.

What does the media mean when they say Russia hacked the election?  Russia did not tamper with voting machines.  Russia did not funnel fake news to the mainstream media who then dutifully reported it.  In fact, the last major example we have of that was when the CIA told the President who told the media that Iraq had stockpiles of WMDs.  Russia did not get into your computer and use subliminal messages to make you feel like voting for Trump.  None of that happened.

In fact, it’s not clear that this was a Russian national effort.  Apparently the CIA has identified some Russian officials (unnamed) who might be involved.  But there’s another wrinkle.  The CIA might not even know what they are talking about.

The “hack” of the election wasn’t a hack of the election at all.  It was a hack of the DNC servers.  To be clear, no one invented the Podesta emails.  No one modified them.  Whoever the hackers are, whether Wikileaks who took responsibility for it or Russian officials according to the CIA, all they did was publish real, actual emails written by real, actual Democrat staffers.

According to the CIA, the hackers hit the GOP and DNC, but only released the DNC emails. The FBI disputes that, saying the GOP servers were never hacked.  If the GOP servers were never breached, that eliminates the CIA argument that the Russians were trying to hurt just the DNC.  In fact, the argument was flimsy to begin with.  It’s possible they hacked the GOP and just didn’t find anything incriminating.

So did Trump really win simply because Russia hacked the DNC?  Did people walk into the voting booth thinking to themselves “Gosh, I just can’t vote for a party that let’s their servers get hacked by the Russians”.  It seems like Hillary Clinton’s loss had a little bit more to do with what was on those emails.  Contained in the Podesta emails was evidence of media manipulation, CNN sending debate questions to Hillary ahead of time, racism within the party, Hillary’s health issues, and of all things proof that Team Hillary not only rigged the DNC primary, but also promoted Trump in the GOP primary because they thought they could beat him.

Just to make sure the reader caught that: Hillary Clinton and her team rigged both party’s primaries in 2016.

Problem emails didn’t just come from Wikileaks.  Team Hillary also got in trouble with the emails released by the FBI from her illegal server, and the undercover video of Scott Foval and others by Project Veritas.  Those two sources showed how the DNC bussed people across state lines to vote illegally, and even paid homeless people to go into Trump rallies and cause violence.  One would think the CIA might be interested in that.  At least one might think that had more to do with Hillary’s loss.

Calling on the Russians to hack and rig an election is nothing shockingly new.  Ted Kennedy did it in 1984 to try to get rid of Reagan. But the Russians didn’t decide the US election in 2016. If they are truly involved, all they did was shed light on the treacherous, terrible, racist, and illegal things the DNC was already doing to hack the election.

Maybe we should send them a thank you card.

Trump vs. The Media

Why they are losing and how they can win again

On October 10 before a national debate with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump pulled off the prank of the century on the media.  Dogged by an old video of Trump saying horrible, demeaning things about women, he invited the press to a meeting to discuss it and apologize.

When they arrived, Trump had a panel set up.  He was there with four women from the Clintons’ past.  Juanita Broaddrick was a woman Bill Clinton had raped, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones were two women Clinton had sexually harassed and assaulted, and Kathy Shelton was a lawyer who had represented a child rape victim in a case Hillary Clinton cheated to win for the defendant.  The war between Trump and the media was on, and Trump was up 1-0.

In a recent Washington Post article, they recognized Trump’s constant victories over the media and lamented how they really don’t know what to do about it.  Obama went as far as to blame Trump’s victory on bars and restaurants that play Fox News.  In fact, their recent attempt to marginalize competing news sources by labeling them as “fake” has become a parody itself as more information is released by Wikileaks showing how the mainstream media sent the Clinton campaign debate questions ahead of time, let them edit articles, and apologized if they thought an article was too harsh on her.

voting-boothWhile the Washington Post was calling out the “fake” right wing media for making claims that 3 million illegal aliens hacked the election by voting illegally, the New York Times was claiming that Putin and the Russians hacked the election by distributing fake news, hacking DNC emails, and possibly even interfering with the voting booths themselves. You can now identify which way a fake news source leans just by looking at who they think stole 2016.  This works for everyone from CNN and NYT to Fox News and Breitbart.

How do the mainstreams fix this and get back on the path to being trusted and having political influence?  It might help if they sought a truce.  The media has a very adversarial relationship with Trump.  On July 23, the Huffington Post put out a piece about how to defeat Trump. Disgraced, yet highly respected journalist Dan Rather said the media must do what he did to Bush and be more biased to beat Trump. The media that ignored Joe Biden for 8 years now has 24 hour surveillance on Trump’s Twitter account just waiting for a gaffe to jump on.

When Trump saved 1,000 jobs at Carrier, the media congratulated themselves for finding a silver lining in something Trump had done.  Then of course they predictably changed their minds on the deal labeling it an empty PR stunt that encourages crony capitalism.  It’s funny how Obama hasn’t even left office yet and suddenly stimulus, crony capitalism, and picking winners and losers is a bad thing again.

For the mainstream media to win again, it would help if they weren’t so obviously biased. They have become so predictable that we almost wonder if Trump says some of the more crazy things he says on purpose.  A prime example came this past week when Trump tweeted that flag burners should maybe get a year in jail.  Predictably, the media went crazy.  Typically blind NPR went running back to the 1980s to criticize Trump for making the same unconstitutional error that George HW Bush made.  In the process they skipped 2005 when Hillary Clinton co-sponsored a bill to put flag burners in jail for a year.  This of course has us all curious if Trump knew about Clinton’s bill, or if he just got extremely lucky.

If the media wants to beat Trump, they need to stop trying.  They need to go back to what they learned in journalism school and seek fact rather than substantiation of their truth. They need to ask questions again. Skepticism is a lost art.  A little balance wouldn’t hurt either.  CNN may be making a game changing move in their attempts to bring Megyn Kelly on board.

If they keep trying to be the propaganda wing of the Democrat party, Trump is going to keep beating them.