Monday, December 11, 2017

Interesting article - Obama may have been 'playing' Trump, knowing just how to manipulate him

Obama says to Trump, "Don't hire Mike Flynn."  Of course, Trump, being Trump, immediately decided to hire Flynn. And so the drama began....

Barack Obama's Parting Gift to Donald Trump Was Mike Flynn

by John Kiriakou | December 11, 2017 - 7:13am

— from Reader Supported News

Donald Trump's White House falls apart a little more every day. It seems like every morning there's more news about who among Donald Trump's friends, relatives, and advisors is being subpoenaed, questioned, accused, or indicted or, worse for the president, who has flipped and will testify against him. Meanwhile, Trump flails around, making accusations against everybody from the FBI to the Democrats to the Washington Post and George Soros. It would be great fun to watch if the stakes weren't so high for the country.

The linchpin to this whole "Russiagate" case is Mike Flynn. The former three-star general and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was a loose cannon whom Obama had to fire in 2014. While Flynn had a real vision to transform the bloated DIA from a second-tier also-ran in the intelligence community to a primary war zone intelligence service, he was known as a nasty jerk to those around him, he was unnecessarily harsh with his subordinates, and he simply could not or would not follow the president's direction.

Flynn suffered from that very Washington affliction: He thought he was smarter than everybody else in the room and he wouldn't take advice. Trump has the same disease.

After Flynn had proven himself a thorn in the collective sides of Obama and Ashton Carter, then Secretary of Defense, he jumped into the Trump campaign with both feet, famously leading a chant of "Lock her up!" in reference to Hillary Clinton, at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

I believe it was then that Obama decided to have a little fun with Flynn, at Trump's great expense. Here's what we know:

NSA spies on Americans. They also spy on Russians. And when an American is on the phone with the Russian ambassador, or meeting with Russian attorneys with "ties to Russian intelligence," and then reporting back to a major Republican presidential campaign, NSA lights up. So NSA knew that Flynn was in touch with Russian Ambassador Serge Kislyak even before the two hung up the phone.

A conversation between a senior presidential campaign official and a Russian diplomat or intelligence officer is major news in the intelligence community, and that news would have been reported back to Obama posthaste. So Obama knew that Flynn, Donald Trump Jr., and others were meeting with the Russians. And he knew what was being said because NSA had given him the transcripts.

Another thing we know is that in their first post-election meeting at the White House, Obama gave Trump one piece of unsolicited advice: Don't hire Mike Flynn. The meeting was reported everywhere, and most observers thought that Obama had made the recommendation because he had to fire Flynn from DIA for insubordination.

I don't think that was it at all. I think Obama knew that Trump would do exactly the opposite of what he wanted. If Obama doesn't want him to hire Flynn, then, by God, he's going to hire Flynn. And so he did.

Flynn then proceeded to dig himself a deeper hole. We know that he telephoned Kislyak on December 22 and again on December 29 to ask him to either delay or veto a United Nations Security Council Resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. Of course, NSA was fully cognizant of these conversations and, as it turns out, provided those transcripts to the FBI.

Was this "collusion" with the Russians? Of course not. It was an overeager, underinformed, and amateurish attempt at foreign policy. If anything, it was collusion with the Israelis to try to block Obama's foreign policy on Israel and the settlements. If anything, it was a violation of the Logan Act of 1799, which prohibits the making of foreign policy by a private citizen, which Flynn still was.

But that's not the point. The point is that the FBI by then had a transcript of the call when they asked Flynn to speak with them about it.

And therein lies the rub. First, I can tell you from personal firsthand experience that nobody should ever, EVER, talk to the FBI, at least without an attorney sitting right next to you. FBI agents will lie, cheat, and deceive to get you to trip yourself up in your response to their questions. Even if you don't remember what you said in some particular conversation months or years ago, or if your recollection is fuzzy, they will charge you with a felony for "making a false statement." That's the leverage that they want over you.

Mike Flynn is a career intelligence professional. He knew that NSA would have been listening to his conversations with the Russians. He knew that NSA would have passed the information to the FBI. But when the FBI interviewed him about his talks with the Russians, he lied. It's as simple as that. He lied. And that's a felony.

In the greater scheme of things, Mike Flynn is a small fish. His son, Mike Jr., who was also implicated in the case, is a smaller fish. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has Jared Kushner in his sights. He has Donald Trump Jr. in his sights. Eventually, he wants to get the president, if the evidence leads him there. Mike Flynn can give him that evidence. That's why he made an agreement to plead guilty to that false statements charge. He likely won't see any prison time, and his son won't be charged with any crime at all. In exchange, the Flynns, along with George Papadopoulos and, probably, Richard Gates, will all be free to rat out Kushner and the Trumps. That's the end game.

And that brings us back to Barack Obama. Obama, whether you like him or not, is undoubtedly one of the brightest and most politically savvy presidents we've had in generations. I think he saw all of this coming. He knew that the Trump campaign was a train wreck waiting to happen. He knew that Hillary Clinton was probably the only Democrat in America who couldn't beat that train wreck. He knew that he could manipulate the narcissist Trump. So Obama planted the seed to bring the entire House of Trump crashing down. It all started with Flynn, the guy who thought he was smarter than everybody else.

The investigation and ensuing criminal cases make for an ugly process, but the country will be stronger once it's all over. We'll have Barack Obama to thank for it.


ABOUT AUTHORJohn Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

How does a near-death experience change you?

How does a near-death experience change you? Brain surgeon DR EBEN ALEXANDER heard heavenly music and saw waterfalls flowing into crystal pools 

As a scientist, a neurosurgeon and an academic who taught brain science at Harvard Medical School, I am fascinated to know how we all perceived these versions of the hereafter.


OH YES! "IF ONLY" satire by Borowitz of the New Yorker

Broad Majority of Americans Support Moving Trump to Jerusalem

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a new poll conducted on Wednesday, a sweeping majority of Americans said they support moving Donald J. Trump to Jerusalem.

The sixty-three per cent of survey respondents who approved relocating Trump to Jerusalem placed few conditions on such a move, other than that it take place "as soon as possible" and that it be "permanent."

In other poll results, an overwhelming majority of respondents said that they would support relocating Trump to any number of other foreign destinations, including Russia, the Philippines, and "that station where scientists live at the South Pole."

Though Americans were strongly enthusiastic about moving Trump to Jerusalem, in a rare consensus both Arabs and Israelis vehemently opposed the move.


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Read all about WORMWOOD, the new documentary/movie series coming on streaming Netflix

Don't miss this documentary/movie. It should be an informative Errol Morris movie/documentary.  I have followed this true story for many years now -- and have heard much about it at Conspiracy conferences Holland and I attended over the years.  Apparently, CIA agent Frank Olson was a guinea pig used by his agency to test LSD (without his knowledge or permission -- of course).  It did not go well -- and he ended up either diving out of or being pushed out of a high hotel window. 

Add this to the list of other government CIA tragedies we will never hear all the truth about, such as the same kind of thing happening to Sec'y. of Defense James Forrestal who plunged to his death from a 16th floor window in a hospital where he was being held hostage by the government (it seems he wanted to tell the public about UFOs and alien visitors to our planet--a VERY BIG No-No)  (Read more about Forrestal and his death here: even CIA Director William Colby, who vanished from his house one evening while making supper -- and whose body was found several days later floating in the river.  (If you like true crime mysteries, you'll want to read about this one, entitled Who Murdered the CIA Chief?

For anyone who is curious and prefers truth over lies, there are plenty of these stories online  -- real life "mysteries" that still remain to be solved (and because they are being kept under tight wraps by the federal govt., we'll probably never know the truth).


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Words of Wisdom from Dan Rather on our present "Age of Unreason"

What a welcome relief to hear words of sanity from Dan Rather, instead of the cruel, hypocritical, bigoted madness we have been subjected to by Trump and his (Ugh!) Republican Party.  

When the time comes, and I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot and the defiling of our communal, social, and democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's already infamous quote:

"I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing... as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze or women or movies."

Grassley's vision of America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who are whisked through life in chauffeured cars and private jets, whose often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth.

I have seen the waitress working the overnight shift at a diner to give her children a better life, and yes maybe even take them to a movie once in awhile - and in her, I see America.

I have seen the public school teachers spending extra time with students who need help and who get no extra pay for their efforts, and in them I see America.

I have seen parents sitting around kitchen tables with stacks of pressing bills and wondering if they can afford a Christmas gift for their children, and in them I see America.

I have seen the young diplomat in a distant foreign capital and the young soldier in a battlefield foxhole, and in them I see America.

I have seen the brilliant graduates of the best law schools who forgo the riches of a corporate firm for the often thankless slog of a district attorney or public defender's office, and in them I see America.

I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, and paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly and infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, and in them I see America.

I have seen the immigrants working a cash register at a gas station or trimming hedges in the frost of an early fall morning, or driving a cab through rush hour traffic to make better lives for their families, and in them I see America.

I have seen the science students unlocking the mysteries of life late at night in university laboratories for little or no pay, and in them I see America.

I have seen the families struggling with a cancer diagnosis, or dementia in a parent or spouse. Amid the struggles of mortality and dignity, in them I see America.

These, and so many other Americans, have every bit as much claim to a government working for them as the lobbyists and moneyed classes. And yet, the power brokers in Washington today seem deaf to these voices. It is a national disgrace of historic proportions.

And finally, what is so wrong about those who must worry about the cost of a drink with friends, or a date, or a little entertainment, to rephrase Senator Grassley's demeaning phrasings? Those who can't afford not to worry about food, shelter, healthcare, education for their children, and all the other costs of modern life, surely they too deserve to be able to spend some of their "darn pennies" on the simple joys of life.

Never mind that almost every reputable economist has called this tax bill a sham of handouts for the rich at the expense of the vast majority of Americans and the future economic health of this nation. Never mind that it is filled with loopholes written by lobbyists. Never mind that the wealthiest already speak with the loudest voices in Washington, and always have. Grassley's comments open a window to the soul of the current national Republican Party and it it is not pretty. This is not a view of America that i think President Ronald Reagan let alone President Dwight Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would have recognized. This is unadulterated cynicism and a version of top-down class warfare run amok.


Friday, December 01, 2017

Fwd: Tax fraud alert in the Senate

What a ridiculous mess the GOP tax fraud bill is!  Take a look at all this last-minute scribbling in the margins as the Republicans desperately try to put any kind of sense in it -- and are failing.  But they are all committed to passing it, no matter how bad it turns out to be, even though NO ONE really knows what the hell it is--some of the scribbling is completely illegible! It's a zombie-fied mess that should be thrown on the trash pile.  And this is the low place we have sunk to in what we call "representation" and "legislation."   The Republican party is as good as dead, with the last nails in its coffin being hammered in by Trump and Tribe, yet like a zombie it keeps rising with more horrors to perpetrate on WE, the people.  God help us all! 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ryan Grim <>
Date: Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 7:16 PM
Subject: Tax fraud alert in the Senate

People often joke about Republicans that they believe government doesn't work, and when they take power, they set out to prove it. Man, has that never been more true than tonight, as Senate Republicans are literally scribbling tax law into the margins of a document and rushing it through. They plan to vote any minute, and they didn't even try to find somebody in the office with good handwriting. No, really:

Say what you will, at least Republicans have been honest about why they feel so much pressure to get this done. Here are three actual quotes:

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner: "Donors are furious"

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins: "My donors are basically saying: 'Get it done or don't ever call me again.'"

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham: "The financial contributions will stop."

This bill gets talked about in the press as a $1.5 trillion tax cut. It's not. It is, broadly speaking, a $6 trillion tax cut for some people paid for by a $4.5 trillion tax hike on other people.

That makes it the biggest tax hike in American history. (Republicans spent years calling Obamacare the biggest tax increase in U.S. history because it raised about $800 billion in taxes. This blows that out of the water.)

Here's my story laying out the numbers to make the case.

But the GOP has a list of more than a hundred economists who say that it's a great idea! The Intercept's Lee Fang took a closer look at the list and found it was populated by ghosts, cranks, office assistants, an ex-felon (not that there's anything wrong with that) and a lot of retired economists who were claiming to still be working. His story is here.

If you want to take a break from watching C-Span as they inch toward passing this stack of paper, here's an interview I did with TYT's Ana Kasparian on the tax bill.

You're getting this email because you either signed up for it or you took a survey and opted in to this newsletter -- or, probably, you declined to opt out. Either way, I hope you're enjoying it. I'm the Washington bureau chief at The Intercept, and I send this several times a week. If you see an ad here, it's there because sending mass emails turns out to be really expensive. I'm not making any money off of it; it goes to the email service provider and just defrays the cost a bit. If you want to contribute directly to help keep the thing running, you can do so here, though be warned a donation comes with no tote bags or extra premium content or anything. Or you can buy a copy of Out of the Ooze: The Story of Dr. Tom Price, the first book put out by Strong Arm Press, a small progressive publishing house I cofounded.

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Shirtless" Roy Moore trolled for teens at the YMCA--local voters laughed about it

Poor Fox Noise -- now that their loudly proclaimed "Christian" morals are being revealed to be non-existent, they and the GOP have no rudder to steer their voters rightwards anymore....what to do????  What would Jesus do???? 

'Shirtless' Roy Moore tried to pick up teens at YMCA — and local voters 'treated it like a joke': report

"It was a known fact: Roy Moore liked young girls," recalled one retired Alabama policeman.