Tag: Misinformation

Back to the USSR: America’s Media Corruption

Back to the USSR: America’s Media Corruption

America’s newsrooms could use more people like Marina Ovsyannikova. That’s her there, holding up that sign on Russia’s state-run Channel One TV informing viewers that they’re being lied to about Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

“NO WAR,” the sign says, and then in Russian, “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you here,” and finally ending with, “Russians Against War.”

Facing possible prosecution and severe punishment, Ovsyannikova, a news editor at the station, felt she couldn’t stay silent any more as state television pumped out falsehoods to gin up public support for the country’s invasion of its neighbor. Her dramatic display of dissent was followed in short order by the similarly inspired resignation of Lilia Gildeyeva, a long-time anchor at Gazprom Media-owned NTV — technically a commercial station but closely aligned with the Kremlin — who fled the country before submitting her resignation, saying she feared she wouldn’t be allowed to leave if she resigned first. Just last year Gildeyeva was on a list of journalists praised by Putin for “achievements in developing mass media.”

While many in Russia know they’re being lied to by their so-called news media, many Americans have been slow to catch on that their so-called news media have been lying to them, too. Incessantly fed tall tales of “Russian collusion” and “Russian misinformation” and “Russian interference in American elections” by their own print and broadcast news sources, Americans have been led down a path of divisiveness, lies, coverups, and political fraud that would put Russian propagandists to shame.

Some of us have known for a long time that the mainstream media were complicit in deceiving the American public, largely on behalf of the Democratic Party and party elites and in the rabid and irrational manifestation of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). As a recovering journalist, I’m more attuned to these things than most, and have been calling out the lies and deceit in the nearly five years I’ve been posting my pieces on FJY.US and now on Substack. It’s always nice to be right, and as the truth inexorably comes out, things I’ve reported and opined on have almost in all cases been proven correct. It’s bitter pleasure, though, seeing how readily so many people, including people I know personally, bought, and continue to buy, into the lies being fed them.

Unless one is a regular viewer of Fox News — itself maligned by the media and political propagandists — or is willing to search out and read or listen to knowledgeable sources not corrupted by the prevailing political orthodoxy, one wouldn’t have a clue what really is going on in this country.

It only took 17 months and what amounts to a fraudulent presidential election for the exalted New York Times to finally acknowledge that the laptop reported in October 2020 by the New York Post to belong to First Son Hunter Biden is, in fact, authentic. The Times couldn’t even admit that it had covered up the story at the time it broke — part of a massive media and Big Tech coverup geared toward getting Hunter’s father, Joe, elected president, and to block the reelection of the Orange Menace. It buried the acknowledgment in a story this week reporting how Hunter borrowed money to pay a million dollar delinquent tax bill and remains under a federal investigation into his shady international business deals.

“People familiar with the investigation,” the Times bleated, “said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer [Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business partner convicted and sentenced to prison for fraud] and others about Burisma [the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Biden served for a cool million dollars a year despite knowing nothing about either energy or Ukraine] and other foreign business activity. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.”

Duh. Ya think?

Hunter Biden himself from his laptop

Covering Up Biden’s Corruption

If you were reading my posts — or the New York Post — in October 2020 none of this would be news to you. You’d already know about the connection between Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Burisma, and the whole sordid affair. And if you were reading my posts or watching Tucker Carlson on Fox News, you would know about how the corruption involving Hunter ties directly to his father, then Vice President and now doddering about the White House masquerading as President while Ukraine goes up in flames. And if at the time you listened to Carlson’s interview with Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski you’d also know how that corruption extends to China and the Biden family’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

If you didn’t listen to that interview or read the Post stories and other key pieces of information I linked to in my October 29, 2020, piece on Applying RICO to the Biden Crime Family, the Dems, and the Media, now would be an opportune time to do so. Better late than never.

In a coordinated move that would make the Russian censors proud, most of the U.S. media and Big Tech — led by Twitter and Facebook — squelched the Hunter Biden laptop story in the run-up to the 2020 election, going so far as to lock out the Post‘s own accounts and shutting down anyone who even mentioned them. They were given cover by a letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials — including such professional Obama Administration liars and current CNN pundits as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who has admitted previous support for the Communist Party — which said the Hunter laptop story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Never mind that, by their own admission, they had no evidence to support this audacious claim.

“If we are right” — operative word if — “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this,” the letter said.

What would have been correct, and honest, would have been if they wrote “this is the Democratic Party trying to influence how Americans vote in this election.” But that was the last thing they wanted Americans to know as they were already casting their votes. Now these same “former intelligence officials” refuse to withdraw or apologize for their own misinformation discrediting the laptop story.

Following the election, one-in-six Biden voters polled — 17 percent — said they would have changed their vote had they known about the laptop story or the other stories concerning scandals related to the Biden-Harris ticket that the media and Big Tech suppressed. Of course, I wonder what it would take, if all that isn’t enough, for the other 83 percent to change their vote. In any case, what even the 17 percent number says is that the outcome of the election would have been very different had the media and Big Tech not conspired to pull the wool over the eyes of American voters. Russian disinformation, indeed.

Hillary and Vlad Vladivostok Sept 8 2012

Back to the Beginning: Hillary Clinton

As I said, some of us have known all along that the so-called Russian collusion theory, which attempted to tie Donald Trump to the Kremlin, was a hoax perpetrated by Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Once the Mueller investigation ended in March 2019 with no evidence of collusion, prosecution of the real guilty parties should have been commenced, but wasn’t. The wheels of justice, to the extent they turn at all, turn exceptionally slowly, especially when highly placed individuals are concerned, and 14 months later, in May 2020, we began to get further confirmation of the extent to which the effort to discredit Trump essentially amounted to an attempted coup d’etat.

Once the 2020 election was over it was considered safe to reveal details of the conspiracy that led to the election of Jell-O Joe Biden and, more at issue, the defeat of Donald Trump. The full details of this conspiracy — that’s the actual word used by the author of the Time story detailing the process — were contained in a pivotal February 2021 piece by Time‘s National Political Correspondent Molly Ball. Titled “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” in it Ball writes that she gained access to “the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group’s inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum.”

Admitting the story sounds like “a paranoid fever dream,” Ball wrote of “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” And this from a highly placed media person who ostensibly approves of this sort of thing.

“They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it,” she wrote. “And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.”

Ignoring, if you can, Ball’s use of a semi-colon, you can be excused if you think this sounds a lot like incessant Democratic blathering about “saving democracy,” which you also would not be wrong to equate to the same sort of electoral manipulation that led to the 2020 results. Only they want it in perpetuity. The classic one-party state. All with the full complicity and collusion of the “liberal” mainstream media. Back to the USSR.

In July of last year I posted a piece I titled If You Don’t Read Anything Else This Year, Read This. If you didn’t follow that guidance then, now would be a good time to do it. That piece quotes 36 tweets by researcher, writer, and podcaster Darryl Cooper in which he lays out why, exactly, ordinary people know that the 2020 election was stolen. It closely parallels what Ball says about the conspiracy involved in its “fortifying,” and things I’ve been reporting on all along.

Finally, last month, we got the latest filings from the long-enduring investigation being conducted by Special Counsel John Durham which ties the whole Russian collusion hoax back to its source: Hillary Clinton. We already knew that she was willing to sacrifice national security by conducting classified and sensitive official business on an unsecured private server when she was Secretary of State under Obama, but we now have evidence that her campaign was actually attempting to garner information directly from the Oval Office during Trump’s presidency.

We’ve also had evidence, which predates even the 2016 election and Clinton’s ludicrous “reset” with Russia, of her ties to Putin and his oligarch cronies. We also had evidence, which alarmed even some in the FBI, how Clinton Foundation — the Clintons’ family business — activities in Russia posed a potential threat to U.S. national security and risked providing “. . .  a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial application.”

With grifters like Clinton and Biden and their cronies, and with media that coverup the facts and perpetuate the lies and deceit, that collude to “fortify” our elections, who needs Russians? It might be too much to hope for a Marina Ovsyannikova, but at least some journalistic ethics and integrity and less malpractice and corruption would go a long way. Even those things, it seems, have gone beyond the range of expectation. And with them goes the viability of our democracy.

Featured image: Marina Ovsyannikova Tells It Like It Is, AFP via Getty Images. Used under Fair Use.

Hunter Biden, from his own laptop, via the New York Post. Used under Fair Use.

Vlad and Hillary Cozy Up in Vladivostok on Sept. 8, 2012, AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, Pool. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.

Ignorance With Impudence

Ignorance With Impudence

Remember Baghdad Bob? You know, the Iraqi Information Minister who, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, told reporters to believe him, not their lying eyes. As American troops advanced on the capital, Baghdad Bob made one pronouncement after another about how they were being repelled, poisoned, American troops were committing suicide, and the glorious Iraqi Army would crush the infidels. Even as American tanks rolled within view of the podium, Baghdad Bob continued to insist that the Americans would never be permitted to enter Baghdad and Iraqi forces would prevail.

Well, guess what? Baghdad Bob is back. Actually, lots of Baghdad Bobs. An entire phalanx of them, filling the podiums not in Baghdad, but in Washington. Now Baghdad Bob masquerades as a range of surrogate characters, all babbling nonsense as ridiculous and unbelievable as old Bob:

Jen Psaki, White House spokesbabbler. Rear Admiral (!) John Kirby, Pentagon spokesbabbler. Ned Price, State Department spokesbabbler. Jake Sullivan, allegedly National Security Adviser since someone left a door open and allowed him to escape from daycare. And their babbling bosses, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the Babbler-in-Chief, Joe “Jell-O Joe” Biden.

It was at least entertaining to hear the babbles of the original Baghdad Bob. It’s a lot less entertaining hearing the strings of lies and political spin uttered daily, even hourly, seemingly without a shred of shame, by this crewe of Washington Baghdad Bobs. It is the kind of high audacity for which I reserve one of my strongest insults and expressions of disgust: Ignorance with impudence. You cannot find better examples of what that means than simply listening to this pack of incompetent and unscrupulous liars and scoundrels.

My view, from personal experience

By way of disclosure, part of my response to what is going on in Afghanistan right now derives from my personal experience. I didn’t get into this in my last post on the subject, but I think it would be helpful to readers’ understanding of the current situation for me to do so. It will help explain why I can see that virtually everything we have done, and are doing, in Afghanistan in recent weeks is absolutely ass-backwards and thoroughly incompetent. And how, ultimately almost certainly, it will lead to significant loss of life to American citizens and citizens of our allies, as well as to a wide range of Afghan civilians, including those who helped us and those who simply believed the lie that they might have a different way of life. Despite the insensitive and ill-informed lies of the Babbler-in-Chief, people already are dying, often in the most awful and gruesome ways.

I am not a military strategist, and make no claim to be one. Most of my knowledge of military principles comes from Sun Tzu, and a childhood fascination with the strategies that helped the Allies defeat the Axis. But I am a good observer of what is going on around me, watching as social and other trends grow from mere seedlings into towering and inexorable movements, cultivating good sources, and keeping my ear to the ground to listen for vibrations of approaching storms. And I have enough knowledge and sense of history to apply, compare, and contrast current events to past events. I believe these are reasons why my ambassador looked to me to help explain what was going on in Algeria as terrorism began to swell up and rack the country in the early 1990s — even though my job had absolutely nothing to do with any of that — and why the political section chief ran all his cables by me before dispatching them to Washington.

It is the same sensibility that allowed me to be the sole member of the U.S. intelligence community (I say that in all honestly and humility) to correctly, and definitively, call the outcome of the 1994 Jordanian parliamentary elections. It was one of the rare times during my 11-year diplomatic career to be concretely recognized with a promotion, as incompetents all around me were routinely promoted.

Perhaps most salient to my understanding of the Afghanistan debacle was my time in Albania, during the 1995-1997 period. As Economic and Commercial Officer I predicted, soon after my arrival in the country, that the massive pyramid schemes spreading throughout Albania would, in time, collapse, and bring the government and the country down with them. At first I was scoffed at and few people paid my reports any attention. Pyramid schemes? Who cares? When most of a country’s population has invested their life savings in them, someone should. And then, as the end approached, almost to the week I had predicted more than a year before, suddenly my reports became must-read material back in Washington and elsewhere.

When the country did finally collapse and anarchy sprang up in the hinterlands, our military intelligence people saw things in terms they were used to, as if this was a conventional war with a front approaching the capital, a little closer each day. I and only one other person in our country team, the Public Affairs Officer, spoke out, saying this was a crazy view, and the anarchy was going to burst out all around us without warning. We were scoffed at, but that is exactly what happened, within days.

It happened with the suddenness we had predicted, and it was too late to do anything about it, to get non-essential personnel and family members, as well an many endangered civilians and personnel at other embassies, out of harm’s way. We were under a 24/7 hail of gunfire from all sides — something that went on for many weeks — and as Aviation Liaison I was the one who conveyed the news that the airport was under attack and all flights canceled. The person whose responsibility it was to handle an evacuation was curled up in a corner on the floor, in tears. When she finally pulled herself together and called the country team into a meeting, her solution was to mount a motorcade and drive for hours across uncontrolled territory to reach the border and leave the country.

I had spent many hours over as many beers with a Welsh friend of mine over the past year-plus discussing what we’d do — not if, but when — the end came. We knew such an approach as had been proposed would probably wind up getting everyone killed. The only solution, we decided, was to bring military helicopters directly into the compound and fly people out of the country. So I spoke up and proposed that as the most effective solution, acknowledging how the plan was devised, and in the end, after hours of consultation between the front office and Washington, that is precisely what we wound up doing. Over the subsequent weeks, as I stayed on as one of the essential personnel to not be evacuated, the U.S. Navy flew out hundreds of people of 30-some nationalities, including personnel from the Russian and Chinese embassies, without the loss of a single person or aircraft, though all the choppers, it later was found, had taken fire. Marines were brought in to protect us on the ground, and I have to say, I was never so happy and relieved to see Marines as I was seeing them come down onto our compound in the growing darkness.

As it turned out, the Brits tried something similar to what our GSO had proposed, but just to drive to the port city about an hour away and get on a ferry to Italy, and they were lucky to escape with their lives. All their vehicles were taken at gunpoint, and they wound up aboard a ferry with many of the very people they were running from. This, of course, is a danger we’re already seeing, as Taliban and other terrorists infiltrate escaping Afghans in their plans to bring attacks to the U.S. and other Western countries.

And now there is Afghanistan

If you look at the details of what we’ve done in Afghanistan, it makes our escapade in Albania look like a picnic in the park. Not only are the numbers enormously larger, the territory vastly bigger and more isolated, but the threat massively more dangerous and coordinated. And yet our so-called leadership approached our exit from the country apparently with less care, planning, or sense than we handled our evacuation from Albania.

Tell me, if you are one of those I’ve heard from who think this exit couldn’t have been handled any better, what kind of military strategy calls for surrendering your most secure base and means of ingress and egress — the Bagram Airfield, otherwise known as the Bagram Air Base, just 30 miles outside Kabul — before you have gotten all your interests out of the country? What kind of political or military calculation leads you to surrender hundreds of billions of dollars worth of valuable, useful, and lethal military hardware to the enemy? What kind of genius does it take not to see the advance of the Taliban, not in days, but over months, as they closed in on the capital? Who pulls out your on-the-ground intel capability while your citizens and assets are still in harm’s way? And what kind of calculation would one have to make to completely withdraw all of one’s troops, leaving behind more than 10,000 American citizens, thousands more citizens of our allies, and tens of thousands more of those Afghans and their families who assisted our 20-year effort in the country?

If none of that makes sense to you, you have more sense than our Babbler-in-Chief, his benighted advisers, and those in the top leadership who allowed and facilitated him to go through with such a catastrophic plan. But, wait! It gets better. Or, more correctly, worse. While we haven’t had a U.S. service member killed in almost a year and a half in Afghanistan, now you pull out all 2,500 troops, only to have to send 6,000 back in within days. And we give up our embassy, another key safe haven, because we have no capability to defend it, so we move everything to a civilian airport inadequate to the task it now has to carry out, and surrounded by hostile and malevolent forces.

None of this, none of what currently is being done, considers that thousands of Americans aren’t in the capital. They’re out in provincial cities, and in surrounding Medieval boondocks. Even those in Kabul have been prevented from getting to the airport. What is someone hundreds of hostile kilometers away supposed to do? “Stranded” is indeed the correct word for their situation, despite what Baghdad Bob Psaki says about the situation. And to listen to the child-idiot Sullivan, maybe they should just call an Uber. Such moronacy. Such callousness.

As one military person with on-the-ground experience in Afghanistan said, we need to send at least another 6,000 troops, above the 6,000 already sent — my estimate is closer to 12,000 additional — back in, and to secure every airport around the country, and escort AmCits and others to those airports to extract them from the country. They should be authorized to use whatever lethal force is needed to secure our citizens. But that isn’t being done, and already troops are being withdrawn so Jell-O Joe can meet the artificial deadline of August 31 he set, American citizens be damned. By another knowledgeable estimate, most troops are going to have to be withdrawn as early as the end of this week to meet the deadline. It’s hard to imagine a greater show of disregard for one’s own citizens, let alone the citizens of countries that supported us and helped us. Our credibility isn’t hurt in the world — it’s gone.

As CIA Director William Burns goes on bended knee to Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul to beg to extend the artificial deadline, and Baradar tells him to stuff it, we have officially turned 20 years of expenditure of blood and treasure and reasonable success to utter and acknowledged defeat. What can be more shameful?

Now at this point, maybe lying is the only defense you have left. And since the official pronouncements are so transparently and verifiably false, we’re left with our cadre of Baghdad Bobs in Washington. Even the toadies in the left-wing media can’t cover up such an obvious disaster. As one CNN reporter said from Kabul, she had been covering many crises in many places over many years, but she had never seen anything like what she was seeing in Kabul.

“It’s mayhem! It’s nuts!” she shouted on camera.

And meanwhile the top Dems, Pelosi and Schumer and the rest, party and dance and raise funds, and their NPR lackeys already are saying they hope the American public has a short memory when the 2022 mid-term elections come up.

I know one American who won’t forget this. Not in 2022. Not in 2024. Not ever. And I hope you don’t, either.

Baghdad Bob gif from gifimage.net, used under Fair Use.

“No One Being Killed in Kabul,” by Marcus Yam, Los AngelesTimes/Rex, from DailyMail.Com, used under Fair Use

This piece also appears in my Substack community, Issues That Matter. Please subscribe here, and there.

Fragging the Commander in Chief

Fragging the Commander in Chief

If you’re old enough to remember the Vietnam War, or if you’ve done some research on it, you probably know the term ‶fragging.″ While the practice predates the Vietnam War, it became an all-too-common practice during that conflict, and the word ‶fragging″ came into the vernacular during the Vietnam War years.

The term comes from the fragmentary grenades that often were used by American soldiers to kill their own platoon and company commanders who were deemed (rightly or wrongly) to be incompetent or abusive, or who ordered their commands (often acting on orders from above) into situations considered especially dangerous. Estimates of successful and attempted fraggings during the war run from 800 to more than 1,000.

If you’ve been watching or listening to what much of the national media has had to say about Donald Trump during the ongoing coronavirus drama, things amplified by the rank-and-file never-Trumpers in the country and so-called ‶leaders″ of the Democractic Party, you might agree that it is not an exaggeration to call what is going on ‶fragging.″ The President could leave the Rose Garden and walk across the surface of the Potomac River, or declare a cure for cancer, and the media would still pillory him. And it’s not just the President who is being hit by the virtual fragmentary grenades being hurled (and who, to his credit, has generally shrugged them off), but the general U.S. populace and, of graver concern, our very democracy.

At the more mundane level, as a former journalist I am embarrassed by the moronic nature of some of the questions members of the media ask at the daily White House coronavirus news conferences. Many of these alleged reporters are simply uninformed and unprepared, while others are clearly out to pose ‶got’cha″ questions that neither illuminate nor add to public knowledge. These questions clearly are part of a larger campaign to discredit the President who, again to his credit, is quick to bat them back and call out their not-so-hidden agenda.

No accident

With the 2020 elections approaching, this campaign is no accident. It’s the last-ditch attempt by the Democratic Party and its supporters in the anti-Trump media (which, in all fairness, is most of the media) to block the reelection of Donald Trump. To them, this is less a health crisis then a political opportunity, as dodgy as it might be. In the aftermath of one failed attempt after another at undoing the results of the 2016 election, this is their last shot.

As I’ve recounted on this blog, they watched their Russia hoax and the Mueller investigation, the Ukraine non-event, and their crown jewel, the impeachment fiasco, blow up in their faces. Along the way there were the Kavanagh confirmation and border stonewalling sideshows. The closest they’ve come to stymieing the President’s program, if not actually unseating him, was tipping the House of Representatives blue in 2018. But without gaining the Senate, it wasn’t enough for them to accomplish their goals, which was to unseat a duly elected President – just one they didn’t like.

Now picture their dilemma. Faced with the unnerving prospect of nominating a Socialist as their party’s candidate to stand off against Trump – architect of the best economy in anyone’s memory – in November, the party nomenklatura huddled, called in every chit in sight and some that hadn’t yet materialized, threatened, cajoled, and bought off every other candidate in the race, threw their compliant media machinery into high gear, and voila!, engineered the primary victories of the only logical choice they had left: A doddering soon-to-be-78-year-old (17 days after election day, to be precise) former vice president who thinks kids still listen to record players and who has a hard time remembering what state he’s in or what day of the week it is. Or, for that matter, even what office he’s running for.

Jill Biden jumps to defend husband Joe Biden from animal rights activist at Biden campaign rally in Los Angeles, March 3

In pushing Joe Biden to the forefront of the race, the party poobahs were counting on the power of reminiscence for a guy who, despite his paucity of any real accomplishments and being tinged with corruption throughout his career, was enough of a milquetoast that he could provide contrast with the brash Trump. What they probably weren’t counting on was how quickly Biden’s mental acuity was fading and how the man was virtually evaporating right before our eyes. Or that their chosen ‶pro woman″ candidate would be accused of rape.

Meanwhile, as the coronavirus drama accelerated, putting Trump front and center before the nation on a daily basis, Biden has retreated to his basement in Wilmington, issuing intermittent, sputtering, semi-coherent blasts, generating doubts (including by this writer) that he will make it to the convention, much less the election.

Even the usual useful idiots in the media have shown, through their facial expressions, their doubts about Biden as he babbles his way through on-air interviews. Don’t believe me. Listen yourself to the clip on that page. Be sure not to miss the part that begins at minute 1:00. It’s hard to decide whether it’s more amusing or frightening. If nothing else, it might make you feel sorry for this guy and question why his handlers are pushing him (often under the protective shield of his wife, Jill Biden) to make these appearances. Listening to these rambles, can you picture him leading a Scout outing, much less a national response to the coronavirus? The phrase that comes to my mind is, ‶We’re all going to die.″

Setting the record straight

It would be an impossible task to address every lie and every distortion put out daily by the media, but let’s look at just some of the biggies.

Myth: Trump didn’t listen to his medical advisers early on which allowed the virus to spread.

Truth: Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has led the country’s medical response to every viral epidemic since the early 1980s, said on multiple occasions in January and February that no one needed to be concerned about this virus. On at least two occasions, on Jan. 21 and Jan. 26, he told media interviewers that the risk to the U.S. was low.

On Jan. 21 Fauci told Newsmax interviewer Greg Kelly, “Obviously, you need to take it seriously, and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But, this not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.” Then on Jan. 26 he told radio show host John Catsimatidis, ‶It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,″ adding, ‶It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China].″ Further, CDC Director Robert Redfield has said he agreed with Fauci’s statements at the time.

Fauci continued to make similar statements all the way until late February, including saying on Feb. 29 that Americans didn’t have to make any lifestyle changes due to the virus. Meanwhile, Trump announced the travel ban from China on Jan. 31 and it went into effect on Feb. 2, credited with avoiding many cases and attendant deaths being brought into the country from China. The kudos the media gave him for that? They called the travel ban ‶racist″ and ‶xenophobic.″ and Biden, without specifically referring to the travel ban, also called the President ‶xenophobic.″ On March 11 Trump announced a ban on travel from Europe, and on March 20 the EU, Canada, and other countries finally got around to announcing their own travel bans. By then Italy and Spain were on countrywide lockdowns as deaths already were piling up in those countries.

Myth: Trump was in denial about the danger the virus posed.

Truth: On Feb. 24, Nancy Pelosi, one of the President’s biggest critics, was urging people to attend Chinese New Year festivities in San Francisco’s China Town. “It’s exciting to be here, especially at this time to be able to be unified with our community,” Pelosi gushed at the time. “We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people ‘Come to Chinatown. Here we are, careful, safe, and come join us.’” On the other coast, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, another Trump critic, and New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot were urging city residents to go about their normal lives. Now who, exactly, was more in denial?

Myth: Trump has gutted the CDC and NIH and eliminated the pandemic task force that was attached to the National Security Council.

Truth: There is so much to be said about all his and the truth is so convoluted I’m not even going to try to detail it, except to say that funding for both CDC and NIH actually increased in recent years, mostly because Congress increased their funding against Administration requests to cut unnecessary positions. There has been no gutting. Read the details here.

Myth: Trump has muzzled Fauci and the other medical people on the coronavirus task force.

Truth: You’d have to be totally gullible and listening only to the media distortions rather than watching the actual daily White House news conferences (which the major networks and some cable networks have stopped carrying, either in full or in part) to believe this one. As in any major crisis-control environment, there is an attempt to coordinate public statements, which is just good management, but Fauci has made it clear that he has never been muzzled. In response to New York Times claims that he had been, Fauci responded, ‶I’ve never been muzzled and I’ve been doing this since Reagan.That was a real misrepresentation of what happened.”

Myth: The Democrats in Congress want to help working people and small business and it’s the Republicans who don’t care about them.

Nancy “Let Them Eat Ice Cream” Pelosi fat and happy while America suffers. What passes for “leadership” in today’s Democratic Party.

Truth: With Democrats claiming, under media cover, that it was Republican desire to turn the multi-trillion dollar stimulus package into a corporate slush fund, the main reason why Congress couldn’t quickly agree to get aid to millions of laid off American workers and closing small businesses was very different. It was because House Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy ‶Let Them Eat Ice Cream″ Pelosi drew up a competing 1,119-page bill stuffed with a Democrat wish-list that had nothing to do with the coronavirus or assistance to people, businesses, or hospitals. On the list were provisions to mandate ‶diversity″ on the boards of companies receiving stumulus funds, same-day voter registration and early voting requirements, collective bargaining for federal employees, carbon-offset requirements for airlines receiving assistance, a bail out of the U.S. Postal Service, paying off student debt, resurrecting the Obamaphone program and, of course, funding for the Kennedy Center in Washington. As House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (the same Jim Clyburn who was single-handedly responsible for putting Joe Biden back on the political map) put it in a conference call with his Dem colleagues, This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Never mind that people across the country were unable to pay their rent or feed their families. This was politics at its abysmal worse (which is really saying something).

Now that the funds earmarked for small business have already been depleted, Pelosi is again holed up in her San Francisco mansion gloating about her chocolates and $13 a pint ice cream stashed in her $24,000 refrigerator, holding up adding more funds to the program while Americans suffer through the biggest financial crisis to strike the country in 90 years. If there was ever more proof of her true priorities, this is it.

The misinformation spills over to hatred

Have no doubt: This campaign of misinformation by the media and the Dems is spilling over to generate further division and outright hatred among what is already a polarized country. You don’t have to look far to see it. To illustrate this consequence, intended or not, here is a random sampling of just a few of the hateful postings I’ve seen online in the past few days (never mind the factual lapses, these quotes weren’t selected for their credibility):

Trump is a mass murderer, period, and any person even considering voting for him should lose their voting rights forever.″

Trump’s response to the pandemic has been an unmitigated disaster, his press briefings are all about him telling lies about how great he is. His approval ratings have dropped. He will only help states get vital supplies if they suck up to him, while they compete against each other for protective clothing, ventilators, etc. He knew from the 20th of January about the risks, yet he did nothing until near the end of March in terms of social distancing. Even his own party wish he would STFU.″

The only political turds in this country are WR0NGIST G0P/C0NS. And only WR0NGIST G0P/C0N turds refuse to see it. You know almost nothing about politics, bro.

the choice is between evil and the Devil Incarnate. the choice is between a lousy crook who has NO vision whatsoever and a racist criminal who is set on destroying our entire way of government, our entire way of economy and our entire planetary environment. I will vote for Biden because not voting or voting for a 3rd party candidate is to give a vote to the Rump in the White House…″

Nice stuff, huh?

Finally, on a personal note, I myself, your not-so-humble correspondent, have been the target of some of this hate in the past two weeks, in what might be the unlikeliest (but isn’t) of places. We have this neighborhood online thing, part of the nationwide NextDoor network, ostensibly to promote neighborliness among, well, neighbors. Along with the usual lost-dog postings and pictures of Bambi in peoples’ yards, some in the neighborhood have had the temerity to post things about the coronavirus, understandingly being a subject for conversation, and within a short time the Trump haters have jumped on and do their best to take over the threads and shut down everyone else. Not to exclusively defend the other side, since both sides put up their fair share of misinformation, but in a couple of cases, when I couldn’t stand the verbal fisticuffs any more, I’ve posted something intended to stop the politicization of what should, I think, be considered a national crisis and suggesting that people consider pulling together instead of apart

Some positive comments were posted in response to my postings, and then the anti-Trump haters jumped back on to spew their venom. They just can’t let anyone who disagrees with them or even has another view of things have the last word. In one case the whole thread shortly thereafter disappeared. But in another case one of my efforts was rewarded by having my post, intended to be conciliatory, deleted and my account disabled. Questioning NextDoor why this occurred garnered the fairly predictable blather about ‶neighborliness,″ blah, blah, blah (and, while it wasn’t applicable to my posting, there was boilerplate blather about not referring to the virus as a ‶Chinese virus″ even though we all know where it originated).

While I was being lectured about ‶neighborliness,″ what about its lack in those who got me blocked? I have little doubt but that the haters are probably still there. I haven’t bothered to go back even though my NextDoor-imposed exile has lapsed. I lived perfectly well before discovering NextDoor and I imagine I can live perfectly well without it going forward. And I don’t need more hatred and venom in my life.

I can survive without NextDoor, but can the country and our democracy survive this continual wave of hatred and misinformation? That remains to be seen.

Photo credits: Featured image: Peter Linford/Pixabay, used with permission; Jill defends Joe, Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images, used under Fair Use; Nancy tells the people to eat ice cream, CBS, used under Fair Use

The Russia Hoax Is Over: Now It’s Time to Prosecute the Real Colluders

The Russia Hoax Is Over: Now It’s Time to Prosecute the Real Colluders

Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s report is in, and it’s not going to change a lot of minds. Those afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) are saturated with too much prejudice and misinformation to accept its conclusions and concede they were wrong. And on the other side, for those of us who knew all along that the basis for the Mueller investigation – the Russia Hoax – was bogus, the report just confirms our belief (read my July 2017 posting Why I Don’t Care About the Russia Thing to see what I said about all this nearly two years ago, two months after Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel).

Regardless which side one comes down on, what Mueller’s report should do is to alert the entire country to how there was a secret attempt by those in power, aided and abetted by many in the mainstream media, to undermine the nation’s electoral process and to thwart the election of a single person – Donald J. Trump – to the presidency, and to stymie his ability to govern once elected. Now it is time, if there is any justice left in this country – admittedly a huge stretch of belief and the imagination – to root out, investigate, and prosecute the real colluders, those parties involved in what amounts to a silent coup attempt, the greatest and most far-reaching conspiracy in U.S. history.

I don’t use those words lightly. I pride myself on not being a conspiratorialist. I think stupidity and greed and zealotry and serendipity account for far more that happens in the world than conspiracy. But if ever the word applies, it is to what has gone on behind the scenes in the FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department, the State Department, the FISA Court, Congress, the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Clinton Foundation, the Obama White House, and — not insignificantly — much of the national media, since at least 2016. And no matter how one feels about Trump, we all should be concerned about this amalgam of forces and the danger it represents.

Some elements of this conspiracy, particularly things that went on involving several top officials of the FBI, have already been revealed, but there is much, much more that has yet to reach the light of day. If it ever does. Now with the Mueller report out and, after pumping $30 million taxpayer dollars down the toilet, clearing Trump of any collusion with the Russians, it is time to deal with the real collusion that went on, and continues to go on and, against all odds, to prosecute the guilty parties.

Let’s start with what we now know, courtesy of the 22-month-long Mueller investigation.

First, and most critically important, is that there was no collusion between Donald Trump and anyone close to Donald Trump with the Russians to steal the 2016 elections. Second, there was insufficient evidence to document any attempt on the part of Donald Trump to obstruct justice. He was completely within his rights as President to fire former FBI Director James Comey, someone who had grossly abused the power of his position (more on Comey a bit later).

The third important take-away, as Mueller concluded, was that the Russians, unaided by anyone connected to Trump, meddled in the 2016 elections. Duh. Unless you’ve been living in a monastery on Mount Athos for the past century, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the Russians have been meddling in our elections for a very long time. I don’t think I was terribly prescient to have pointed out this very thing in my July 2017 posting, and it didn’t take $30 million for me to make the observation. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last time. While this isn’t even close to being a surprise, it does paint a trail directly to the White House – not to Trump, but to former President Barack Obama. Again, more on this a bit later.

Thanks to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we learned last year of the misdeeds of former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, former Special Counsel to the Deputy Director of the FBI Lisa Page, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Director James Comey, and former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik. Also mentioned is former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, noted for urging Comey to refer to his investigation of Hillary Clinton’s gross mishandling of official emails as “a matter,” not an investigation (speaking of obstruction of justice), and her notorious meeting with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac at Phoenix where, she and Clinton insist, they didn’t discuss the investigation into Mrs. Bill Clinton. Right.

Thankfully, all these miscreants are now “former” officials, resigned or fired or, in the case of Lynch, phased out with the change of administration. While Horowitz absolved these parties of acting as they did for political purposes, a reading of the events and the messages exchanged between them would give any fair observer serious doubt about that contention. Nevertheless, Horowitz cites numerous incidents where agency and departmental policies were not followed, examples where clear conflicts of interest arose and officials failed to properly recuse themselves, improper use of both official and private means of communication between officials, and – importantly – improper disclosure of non-public information.

Among the many troubling findings in the IG’s report, the ones concerning improper and even illegal contacts between top FBI officials and the news media are especially troubling since they uncover the nexus – can we call it collusion? I think so – between government actors and so-called news reporters. As Horowitz said in his summary to Congress, “We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters . . . We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review. In addition, we identified instances where FBI employees improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events. We will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded, consistent with the Inspector General Act, other applicable federal statutes, and OIG policy.”

Critically important in that verbiage are the words “federal statutes.” Many of these actions violated federal law, aside from the blatant ethical violations, and it is time that the guilty parties be charged and tried for their violations. This includes Comey who, as I pointed out in June 2017, openly admitted violating the law in his testimony before Congress, and has further inculcated and embarrassed himself as time has gone on. Comey accuses Trump of undermining the reputation and credibility of the FBI. But, no, Mr. Comey. It’s your actions and those of the others who abused their positions that have undermined trust in the FBI. If one can fault Trump for anything in dealing with Comey, it is in not firing Comey as soon as he took office.

That’s the FBI and the DOJ. And now we come to the CIA. This week, post-Mueller, I literally couldn’t stop laughing listening to John Brennan, Director of the CIA under Barack Obama – and someone who has accused Donald Trump of treason – lamely say perhaps he had based his allegations on faulty information. Faulty information? Okay, I used to work on the inside of the intel community, so I know what total balderdash that is. But for interviewers and alleged journalists not to challenge this contention is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. I mean, what kind of idiot does one need to be to believe a single word of this ridiculousness? He was the friggin’ head of the CIA, furchrissake, and he’s saying he accused the President of the United States of being a traitor based on “faulty information”? But it’s more than mere idiocy behind the malpractice. It’s the same kind of malice, and the motivation to cover one’s own sorry ass, that motivates someone like Brennan that motivates his interviewers to let him skate by on what on its face is utter nonsense.

While the intel community confirms the obvious, that the Russians meddled in the 2016 elections (and just about every other election), it’s another Obama appointee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, that provides the direct link to Obama himself and his role in this massive collusion. Clapper, who called President Trump a KGB operative (I suppose based on more “faulty information,” or maybe that was just “the least untruthful” thing he had to offer, like the one he gave in explaining his never prosecuted 2013 perjury before Congress), has confirmed that President Obama was informed of Russian electoral meddling. And he knew of it at least as early as the summer prior to the November 2016 elections.

So Obama knew. And we all know he knew. So what did he do, as President, to block this Russian intervention? In a private meeting in September 2016, he asked Vladimir Putin to cut it out. That’s it. Cut it out, Vladimir. One can imagine how seriously Putin took this admonition, coming from Barack “Red Line” Obama. So why didn’t Obama do more to block Russian interference? For the same reason that Comey said he released, without consequence, the news of Hillary Clinton’s emails turning up on Anthony Weiner’s private computer in October 2016: Obama figured Clinton would win the election and he didn’t want to muddy the waters, like Comey didn’t want Hillary to start her administration, which he fully expected to happen, under a cloud. And then when Trump won, it was only then that Obama went public with his knowledge and took any direct action against the Russians. Like Comey, he didn’t want Clinton to start her administration under a cloud, but he had no problem casting the darkest kind of cloud over Trump. Given his prior inaction in near-complete disregard for the integrity of the U.S. electoral system for political reasons, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the collusion goes right to the top, to Obama himself. And what influence that had on how others acted is a matter for reasoned speculation.

Now at this point, things get still more interwoven. Byzantine would be an apt descriptor.

A large part of Mueller’s investigation was based on information gathered under a secret warrant issued by the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC, commonly called the FISA Court, based on the acronym for the act authorizing the court). The court issued this warrant, which allowed monitoring of Carter Page, a one-time low-level Trump foreign policy aide, based on an unverified, and since largely discredited, “dossier” produced by a private consulting group known as Fusion GPS and commissioned and paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

To be clear, it is a major violation for the FBI to provide unverified information to the FISA Court in pursuit of a warrant. The FBI has to confirm that the evidence offered has been verified, and in offering the dossier as verified, which it was not, and not revealing that it was actually a product of the Clinton campaign, the FBI – under Comey and McCabe’s direction – essentially committed a fraud on the FISA Court. Without delving into every single detail and level of subtlety, the end result was the ability on the part of the FBI and other intel agencies to spy not just on Page but on other U.S. citizens with whom Page communicated – up to 25,000 individuals, including just about everyone connected to Trump, and possibly Trump himself.

That would have been bad enough, but what we now know is that then National Security Advisor Susan Rice – by her own admission – requested the unmasking of U.S. citizens and thus had access to information gathered not on foreign enemies, but on U.S. citizens – U.S. citizens connected to the Trump presidential campaign. Rice — the same Rice who lied to the country for weeks about the true facts of the 2012 Benghazi attack – has insisted she did this for national security reasons and not to spy on the Trump campaign.

But wait – there’s more! Former Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, another key Obama confidante, made 260 requests to unmask U.S. citizens – more than one a day both prior to, and succeeding, the 2016 elections, right up to Trump’s inauguration. Thanks to FOIA litigation against the State Department and the NSA filed by Judicial Watch and the American Center for Law and Justice, we have evidence of the political bias behind these unmasking requests, and also more evidence of the nexus between the Obama White House and the news media. Email chains unearthed by the FOIA demands reveal how Power – who, as UN Ambassador, ostensibly would have no grounds for any unmasking requests – and her counselor, Nikolas Steinberg, sought “to seek maximum amplif.[ication]” of her pro-Obama/anti-Trump political pitch with 60 Minutes Executive Editor Bill Owens and others. Owens’ response, that he would help Power pitch her effort to undermine Trump’s incoming administration, should remove any doubt about the anti-Trump bias in the media.

The list of both Obama and media people involved in this – should we call it collusion? – goes on. Read about it here.

Before we’re done with the FISA Court issue, it should be noted that Mueller himself, when he was Director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013, was called by the FISC to answer for some 75 cases, some going back to the late 1990s but many under his tutelage post-9-11, in which the FBI improperly omitted material facts from warrant applications. So now the question arises, why haven’t we heard from the FISC about the improper submission of the dossier to obtain the warrant against Carter Page? Good question. Maybe, now that the Mueller report is out, we will hear from it. And if not, one has to wonder whether the FISC judges involved in issuing the warrant are part of the collusion. I’m not ready to say they are, but it’s a question that needs asking the longer the silence goes on.

Moving on to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, where much of this litany of misdeeds originates, I’ve already made clear on a number of occasions, including in my other linked postings above, why Hillary Clinton needs to be prosecuted. She should be, as should anyone in the State Department (my former employer), whether career person or political toady, who allowed her to get away with conducting official business, and putting highly classified emails, on an unsecured private server. Her complete and clearly illegal disregard for national security, as well as her other misdeeds, including her “pay-for-play” deals while Secretary of State, such as the Uranium One deal and involving the Clinton Foundation, all provide fertile ground for investigation and prosecution. As I’ve said more times than I can count, had I done what she did, I’d be in prison right now. And that is where she should be.

By the same token, those officials, whether in the FBI, or any of the other agency or department, at whatever level, who violated the law, should be prosecuted. A clear marker needs to be laid down to assure this sort of abuse of power does not recur. Now, if ever, post-Mueller, is the time for this process to be set in motion.

But do I see it happening? Do I believe that tomorrow the sun will come up in the West and set in the East? The depth of corruption, the extent of the collusion, and the two levels of justice we live with in this country all make prosecution of Hillary and most of the other guilty parties about as likely. Sure, there might be some low-level functionaries punished, beyond the resignations and firings that have already taken place. Maybe. But the worse offenders? The most egregious actors? Not likely. I truly wish I believed otherwise, and given the seriousness and profound impact this affair – this attempted silent coup – has had on the country, I think things will not be right with our democracy ever again without some semblance of justice. Just as Lincoln’s assassination, the assassination of JFK, and Watergate each changed the direction and nature of the country that came after them, we likely are witnessing a similar disruption that will have lasting effects. And we may never see things set right.

All of this has been hiding in plain sight for the past three years, and actually much longer. It’s all been there to see if anyone took the time and effort to look. To look, and not depend on the misrepresentations, obfuscations, and just plain untruths – that journalistic malpractice, that is but one manifestation of the death of journalism, I referred to earlier – committed by a large part of the mainstream media, fed and furthered by some in Congress, and the other official players in the bureaucracy. It is this part of the collusion, the part contributed and covered-up and spread by the mainstream media, that I think poses the greatest danger to our democracy, which so depends on a free – and fair – news media.

In his parting remarks to the country in 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower warned of a military-industrial complex that posed a threat to our liberties and democratic processes. Now we need to speak of a political-media complex that poses a threat at least as great, and almost certainly greater, as the military-industrial complex Eisenhower saw. It is perhaps the defense and support of this new complex that, more than anything, motivates and drives the effort to defame and bring down Trump. This largely explains why opposition to Trump can be found on both sides of the political aisle. Whether in his accusations of fake news or his willingness to buck the established order, Trump represents a threat to the political-media complex and all it stands for. And whether we like him or not, we all need to fear this complex.