AMERICA ALONE

Aquarian Weekly
1/16/20
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
AMERICA ALONE
Welcome to the New Age of Isolation, Apathy & Defeat
 
 
I’m not sure what you would call this Trump Doctrine. Is it foreign policy? Not sure it would make the cut of any “policy” per se. Seems like most of this presidency’s maneuvers are knee-jerk, ad-hoc, half-ass what-the-fuck kinds of things that end up in ranting tweets and Nuremburg type rallies of bloviating mendacities and bumper sticker logic. Does it show a consistent measure, say, like the Bush Doctrine’s War on Terror or Reagan’s Geo-Political chess games or even Clinton’s piecemeal effect? I would argue no. Fact is, it appears that Donald Trump doesn’t know either, and more to the point neither does his drooling attack dog Mike Pompeo, a former CIA Director and cheap hood from Kansas whose only understanding about international affairs is assassination. It was the current Secretary of State who convinced the easily swayed Trump to illegally assassinate the top general of a sovereign state in a battle zone that was not specifically waged against the nation for which he toiled. Ensuing press conferences seemed to indicate that he was bad. And that is a very tenuous reason to conduct international murder.

It appears even to the mentally challenged that the erratic short-range planning on how to deal with international affairs falls mainly to a man whose woefully short attention span and fantastic inability to learn anything has been on dangerous display for three years. Some call this a method. In other words, the lack of planning or doctrine is kind of a doctrine, and I would grant them this misnomer, if not for the imbalance of enemy vs. ally that comes with who might “like” or “ego pet” or “placate” a single human being as opposed to the safety and advantage of an entire nation.

This is especially appalling because nearly two-thirds of the American people do no support this president. He has zero mandate, in the traditional sense. For whatever that is worth these days. And these kind of zig-zag irrational one-off decisions – like tweeting to pull U.S. troops from Syria last year without alerting those who are running the war, or worse still, the allies on the ground – tend to alienate America from the international community. This has happened with annoying regularity during Trump’s first term and while this gets the current 41-percent that support him the giddies it does leave America isolated globally. And this latest Iran goofiness has only exacerbated the problem. And although I couldn’t give nary a shit whether we have any kind of powerplay in the Middle East, I would guess that Iraq (“welcomed as liberators”) after eighteen years voting last week to kick the most powerful nation out of its country has to be a bad look to the rest of the world. Not to mention without a presence in the country we broke, a vacuum – already partially filled by ISIS and soon to be consumed with Iran, the very nation killing its lead commander was supposed to impede – will most certainly not be completed by anything approaching U.S. friendly.

That is not foreign policy, it’s the script of a horror movie. 

This is why I took to Twitter – which I rarely do – to implore congress to cobble together a veto-proof halt to what will likely be an ongoing clusterfuck in the Middle East with Iran. The House, with mostly Democratic votes, predictably came with a feckless attempt to limit Trump’s war powers a few days later – I am not suggesting this was because of my tweet, but hey… – it was a show vote and not a binding resolution. At some point, I will argue until the face turns a bluish hue that the actual branch of government that has the constitutional powers to declare war needs to get their shit together and end what has amounted to over seven decades of abject stupidity from the executive branch, the Pentagon and the military. We suck at war. We have not won one since 1945 and that’s because congress was kept out of it since; in most cases illegally. This appears to have happened with Pompeo’s fancy assassination.

But I digress.  

If I may, let’s take a look at non-binding, shadowy “agreements” that lunatics have entered into with this president in the past three years: More pertinently, Russian President Vladmir Putin, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bind Salman Al Saud. All of these leaders – Trump favorites – are despots, dictators and tyrants. All of them Trump has “trusted” over American intelligence agencies – the same agencies the administration and Pompeo ran to use as cover for murdering the Iranian general. Trump said, on foreign soil during the first year of his term with Putin standing beside him, that Russia probably had nothing to do with hacking our 2016 election, before his private meetings with him that did not include an American translator. He has had two meetings with Jong-un that resulted in no signed treaty, just a couple of what he described as “love notes.” Meanwhile North Korea continues to fire off missiles and thumb its nose at the U.S. Then there was the little nastiness of the Saudis murdering an American journalist that Trump excused after some shady rationale from the Prince.

Now, Trump, who tore up an actual Nuclear Pact that had assurances in writing agreed by a large part of the international community, is telling us “All is well” and that he’s got Iran’s assurance that this whole thing is a misunderstanding and whatever other nonsense he can garble in a pinch. No treaty. No negotiation. No international coalition. Just “I got this” from a guy who has trouble telling the truth about everything.

No question that what happened this past week in Iraq could have gone far worse. If anything, Iran acted as an international power with some restraint. But that’s if it is to be believed and that’s another story, because we have nothing in writing. There is no safety net. There is no “trust but verify”. Only trust, and oh, a crazy man taunting another crazy man on social media. Makes me sleep well at night.

One thing is certain, there has to be some stable direction with America’s foreign policy, because this kind of silliness is not sustainable. If this is a new era of isolationism, then let’s go with that. Anything would suffice over what is currently transpiring. Pulling out of treaties, reneging on promises, scuttling agreements and random assassinations with no explanation is wearing thin.

What the result of all this looks like is anyone’s guess. And that is not foreign policy, it’s the script of a horror movie.    

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THE IRAN MISTAKE

Aquarian Weekly
1/8/20
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
THE IRAN MISTAKE
Forget Impeachment, Crimes, Lying, Stupidity & Sucking Up to Tyrants – This is the Worst Part of the Worst First Term
 
 
We are at the brink of war with Iran.

The executive branch is at war with Congress.

The Senate and the House are at war.

A game show host is in charge of all this.

Welcome to 2020.

What a shock. Impeachment. Then the assassination of a key war figure of a perpetual enemy. Is this what they call “wagging the dog”? Crisis. Distraction. Didn’t Bill Clinton do some bombing after he was impeached? Yeah. Same shit. Trump. Clinton. Shamed. War. Got it.

What makes this worse is Donald Trump appealed to the great unwashed for his constant mocking of stupid moves in the Middle East and now he has got himself one. It is a good distraction, for sure. Making bold idiotic moves to change the narrative is all well and good when you are stealing real estate in Manhattan or selling a pro wrestling gig. It even worked to sucker the duped into voting for you. Using the presidency as a queer business maneuver – like the Ukrainian nonsense which got him impeached – is another direr story entirely.

Assassinating Iran’s top military commander, suddenly the most important thing in the world – as Syrian burns and North Korea spits in our face and Europe laughs at us – with a gutted State Department and a Department of Defense in shambles is a bad move. War with Iran was always a bad move. Even in the best of times. These are not the best of times. Far from it. We are not prepared for this shit. Hell, this was an imprudent move in 1979 and through the 1980s and into 9/11. Always bad. Ask Saddam Hussein. Oh, shit. You can’t. They hung him. Why? Because we made him our puppet to take on Iran and they beat him mercilessly and we decided to hunt him as a despot, invade his country and then turn him over to what amounted to Iranians.

This is just another in an agonizing series of foreign policy blunders for this president. What the fuck am I talking about? There is no foreign policy. There is no domestic policy. This is reality TV for Trump. His capacity to parse these things does not exist. He is a damaged personality living in paranoia and madness and the best place for that kind of thing is the Pentagon. They love a commander-in-chief with his back against the wall. But no one, not even our top generals think we can sustain a third-front war in the region. We are still at war in Syria, despite rhetoric to the contrary, and in Iraq, where this guy was offed, and of course in Afghanistan – our longest running military mistake, which we have learned (yet again) was run on a lie and perpetuated for nearly two decades on more lies. Your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters died for a lie, just like in Korea and Viet Nam. And this lie by the most untrustworthy human to ever take the office is a doozy.

Even for the far less cynical, the timing is more than intriguing.

And it could have been avoided. In fact, it was avoided. Because the previous commander-in-chief had a choice; engage in an unwinnable conflict with the largest country in the Middle East or try and curtail its nuclear capabilities while giving lip-service to its inclusion in the world politick. Barrack Obama wisely chose door #2. It was his finest hour. It had international support and by all accounts (not most) it was working. For the first time, Iran was not pursuing nuclear capabilities. It was good for the region, especially good for our most cherished ally, Israel, and good for the world. I supported it wholeheartedly, and I support almost nothing. It was certainly not perfect. Nothing is perfect. This is not Disneyland. This is the real world. Things are difficult and have setbacks and bumps and bruises and you work with that. But all of this, reasoned the game show host, had to go, because Obama did it and all-things Obama had to go, because Donald Trump is a simpleton and should have been sent packing in the first weeks of a Republican primary, but has now engaged us in a war with Iran.

Again, even for the far less cynical, the timing is more than intriguing. And since it is hard to believe anything this dunce has to say we find that the same day hundreds of incriminating unredacted emails between the Department of Defense (trying to release the halted funds to Ukraine as directed by Congress and signed originally by the president) and the Office of Management and Budget (doing the bidding of Rudy Giuliani/Donald Trump) further implicated the president in criminal activity, an overt act of war ordered by Trump is sketchy.

However, regardless of timing and distraction from his disgraced presidency, this nation is on the brink of war with Iran. From its statements, Iran believes we are already there. Oil prices soared overnight. Israel is in lock-down. The over-reaching battle against ISIS, already damaged by recent ill-advised actions by this administration, is over. Trump has escalated troop numbers to the region already. Congress is being kept in the dark. Zero Pentagon briefings. Propaganda talking points. Trump tweeted an American flag.

Welcome to 2020. The year we have to find a way to oust this bleating cancerous boil from the White House and try and undo three years of astonishing destruction. That is if we see 2021.

Happy New Year. 

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NOT ALL REPUBLICANS ARE FOR TRUMP

Aquarian Weekly
12/11/19
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
NOT ALL REPUBLICANS ARE FOR TRUMP
Mass Exodus of GOP in Congress Tell a Different Tale
 
I have spent weeks hammering Republicans who have contorted their broken ideologies and done mind-bending about-faces on morality and Russia and free trade and exploding deficits and a ton of other apparently flimsy tenets of what used to make up their platform to kowtow to a rabid base that props up the worst polling numbers in the history of a first-term president. Donald Trump, I’ve surmised, has crippled the party, because, really, what could they do? They have to defend this. Supreme Court judges, tax cuts, a booming stock market and low unemployment is not nothing. So what if he’s a criminal and a doofus and the laughing stock of the world and blurts out daily vulgarities as a matter of Twitter discourse? And although having done this kind of thing for decades, I understand it. I do. But it turns out that I was not entirely correct about this. A preponderance of polling and a whole lot of talking does not quite meet the one criterion that matters in this workaday world; actions.

This week, Representative Tom Graves of Georgia announced that he is retiring from congress. At present, Graves makes seventeen Republicans that have decided to quit rather than seek reelection in 2020. This is not too dissimilar to the twenty-three House Republicans who bailed prior to the November 2018 crushing the GOP took in eventually losing forty seats in the midterms. Now, not all of these are merely seasoned professional politicians seeing the writing on the proverbial wall that Trump is headed for defeat and is poised to take the party down with him in November. More than a few have been around a long time – which some may argue means that it has taken three harrowing years of a game show host stumbling his way through the executive branch to make this a sane alternative to continuing the gig. But then again it may just be time to seek quieter pastures. Still, there is something brewing beyond this.

To wit: Only two of the escaping legislators, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. from Wisconsin and New York’s Peter King, are north of seventy. And despite abysmal approval ratings for the president, his pending impeachment in the very same House of Representatives, and the continuing low approvals for congress in general, many of these Republican retirees come from districts (polling twenty to thirty percent higher than the nation’s average) that they will most likely win without much effort. So why not run?

Well, let’s take Greg Walden from Oregon, who has raised a shit-ton of money and is virtually unbeatable in his district. What is his reason for getting out? And, by the way, he is not alone. There are others who have raised enough funds and have superior polling numbers to show that they could keep their jobs beyond 2020, and yet they want out.

I proffer that these representatives simply can no longer bear Donald Trump or where the country is going – fiscally, morally or otherwise. Some announced they were quitting shortly after Trump’s knee-jerk shift in Syrian policy turning America’s Kurdish allies over to their Turkish enemies without notifying anyone, including the Pentagon. Some also mildly raised eyebrows about the spend-thrift lunacy signed off by a Republican president. Recently former fiscal conservative rodeo clown Rush Limbaugh answered a caller concerned about the exploding debt under Trump by saying, “There has never been fiscal conservatives, that was always a myth.” And then there is the thorny battle between phony Evangelists who claim some form of aborted Christian values and yet tossed them into the shit can for this bleating oaf of a president, who mocks, spats and pays off hookers with campaign funds and holds sway over the human tragedy that is occurring at our southern border.

A good example of someone who is quitting directly because of Trump is Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, the only House Republican to publicly say he was open to impeaching Trump. The next day he quit. Rooney put his mouth where his position is and combined anti-Trump rhetoric with leaving, but for the most part the rest of those who have decided to abandon public service in the past few months have simply given no reason or just the standard, “I’m done.”

These representatives simply can no longer bear Donald Trump or where the country is going – fiscally, morally or otherwise.

It was either Sigmund Freud, Thomas Aquinas or someone or other said that “there are no coincidences” and we know that regardless of whatever lip service people provide, their actions indeed speak louder than words. Something is up.

I choose to see this as some Republicans not being comfortable with all this and to stick around and have to deal with a pro-Trump primary opponent or to rubber stamp this mess is simply beneath them. Many of my colleagues, and still other brain damaged types, claim this is a sign that perhaps things may not go as smoothly in an upcoming senate trial for Trump. But a Republican-controlled upper chamber is not going to kick their president out of office no matter what crazy, illegal, anti-American crap he does. And, again, if that is the way they wish to play it, I cannot argue with them. And this is why although I am considered a cynic, I am a realist. I never believe when people talk about loving America or blah-blah values. This is how things work. Self-preservation wins against America and values every time.

Other commentators and insiders broach the idea that legacy and having the stain of letting these latest crimes and misdemeanors pass will forever put senators in the “wrong side of history” box and that may sway them. But a gig is a gig and if you belong to a club or a team or a company, and in this case a political party, you may have to fall on a sword or two to keep your job or at least keep the whole thing afloat.

But it ain’t all of them. Seventeen and counting members of congress are begging to differ. They won’t stick around to continue to besmirch their names with this madness. Maybe they actually care about the country, the constitution or perhaps they’re thinking of saving their own hides. The last one is probably true, because I highly doubt even in exiting they would vote against the party to impeach Trump in the House. But, nevertheless, what their quitting ultimately says is that it is better than whatever Donald Trump and his cronies are cooking up next. And I can’t say I disagree with that either.    
 

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GORDON SONDLAND – THE HUMAN CARPET BOMB

Aquarian Weekly
11/27/19

Reality Check

James Campion

GORDON SONDLAND – THE HUMAN CARPET BOMB 
Trump Supporter & EU Ambassador Buries Everyone in Key Impeachment Testimony

I know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a “quid pro quo”? As I testified previously with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes. 
– EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland

The final twenty minutes of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 cinematic masterpiece The Godfather features the killing of everyone protagonist Michael Corleone considers enemies to his crime family. The mob boss refers to this as “taking care of all family business.” This is the best analogy to describe what EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland did this week in his testimony to congress. Those who figured this pro-Trump donor, rich guy who bought his way into his position would plead the fifth amendment and be a hostile witness to the Democratic-led impeachment hearings were way off. The man came with a story and that story is that not only did the president of the United States demand that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinisky make a public statement that his country would be conducting investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s involvement in a company called Burisma, but whether the investigation actually transpired mattered in no way to Donald Trump, only that it was publicly announced, so the president could use it as a political hammer to pummel who be believed was his most threatening opponent in the 2020 election.

Essentially, days after the Mueller Report made it clear a frightening number of members of the Trump 2016 campaign for president worked with Russians to dig up dirt on his then opponent Hillary Clinton, Trump was doing it again. I mean, what country makes public announcements about starting an investigation? But, shit, who can blame him? It worked the first time. Sondland, a business man with no experience being an ambassador of anything, was tasked with “making deals” with the president’s private counsel, Rudolf Giuliani in Ukraine to help the president out. Instead, he got busted and went all Michael Corleone, repeating over and over this week under oath, “We followed the president’s orders.”

During his opening statement Sondland emphatically stated, “We all understood that these pre-requisites for the White House call and White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements. Secretary (Rick) Perry, Ambassador (Kurt) Volker and I worked with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States.”

Sondland evoked the infamous “Three Amigos”, who were running a counter shadow diplomacy (shakedown) with the Ukraine president while diplomats like Dr. Fiona Hill, who testified the next day she was pissed at Sondland for undermining their work, were woefully unaware. But they were not alone. Before Sondland was done guffawing his way through his testimony he dragged half the Trump Administration into this fiasco – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence and all those in their employ. “I don’t remember anyone ever sounding an alarm bell,” he said under questioning. “Everyone’s hair was on fire, but no one decided to talk to us.”

Sondland testified that “everyone was in the loop” on what amounted to a half-baked plan to get Ukraine into American domestic politics because Trump has proven he cannot win an election without foreign aid. Again, this makes sense, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but this time he was a sitting president and according to one of the first and foremost edicts of the founders of this nation there should never be foreigners involved in any American election. And so now Trump is being impeached over it, which also makes sense to me, because if it is broke, you kind of have to try and fix it.

But what now of the secretary of state, who has already been implicated by what has appeared over the past few months to be a seriously brain damaged Rudy Giuliani, who went on every television station available to say the state department begged him to conduct this lunacy? Pompeo has also admitted to being on the July 25 call that was the smoking gun to all of this and if Sondland and Giuliani are to be believed – and who the fuck knows about that because they’re are both as guilty as sin and running wild trying to toss as much mud everywhere else – then he, and thus the state department, was more or less in charge of this operation.

Anything goes and there isn’t a fucking thing the second equal-branch of government can do about it.

Giuliani seems to be the sacrificial goat here, as his partners in crime and Republicans in the House try and make him the end-game on how this craziness went off the rails, somehow separating the private attorney for Trump who was doing something that would benefit the president as a rogue agent. For his part, Giuliani continues to claim to be some kind of lawyer yet litigates on TV shows and waves around documents corroborated by idiots and delinquents, then gets caught in several criminal operations which are currently being investigated by the state of New York.

Then it was Mike Mulvaney’s turn. You might remember the president’s chief of staff and the one responsible for the money being held up for Ukraine that alarmed the whistleblower and the parade of witnesses proving an impeachable offense this week, holding a press conference admitting weeks ago that Trump was extorting the Ukrainians and that we “should get over it.” Turns out Sondland was also reporting this nonsense back to him and that he knew all about it and this is why neither he nor Pompeo want any part of testifying in these hearings despite Republicans and Trump supporters shouting about how innocent, normal and “perfect” this behavior is by the president. Why, you may ask, do they hide from exonerating him? Sondland says they can’t speak simply because they’re guilty, like he’s guilty, which made his testimony so compelling. The guy, with a huge smile on his face like someone busted with his hands in the cookie jar, openly implicated himself in front of congress. That is bad ass.

Then Sondland turned on the vice president, making sure congress and the American people understood he was also in this nefarious “loop”. This took Republicans by surprise. They had spent all week jumping through rhetorical hoops to divest Pence from this mess just in case things went haywire in the Senate and Trump did get sent packing. To this end, smelling a possible presidency, the office for Mike Pence had to scramble in real time to send out a mass press email denying all of it. Trump followed Sondland’s show with his classic, “I barely know this guy” routine – which may soon be the case with Giuliani, Mulvaney and Pence. Can’t you see it, “Sure, Mike is the vice president, but I hardly talk to him and can’t even picture what he looks like.”

Because, of course, all of these crimes, testified Sondland, was at the behest of Donald J. Trump. This, I should point out, was after the multi-millionaire, who doesn’t need this gig, watched former Trump associate Roger Stone go to jail earlier in the week for seven counts of fraud, lying and the usual stuff people around Trump go to prison for. At first Sondland, who began his opening statement by stating proudly he was “a lifelong Republican”, couldn’t remember half of this in his initial deposition, but testimony from colleagues began to out him which duly jogged his memory.

That memory is the final nail in Trump’s coffin in the House. He will doubtless now be the fourth president stained with impeachment forevermore and by all rights should be on a helicopter out of DC by Christmas, but the Republicans will make a monumental statement by not convicting him in the Senate – all of this is fine for the next president and the one after that, whether Republican, Democrat or Russian or Ukrainian. Anything goes and there isn’t a fucking thing the second equal-branch of government can do about it.

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THE BILL TAYLOR ANGLE

Aquarian Weekly
11/20/19

Reality Check

James Campion

THE BILL TAYLOR ANGLE
How a Lifetime Ambassador Frames the Trump/Ukraine Scandal

I could see the armed and hostile Russian-led forces on the other side of the damaged bridge across the line of contact. Over thirteen-thousand Ukrainians had been killed in the war, one or two a week. To this day, that continues. More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without U.S. assistance. 
– Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor’s opening statement to congress impeachment hearings, November 13, 2019

While there is clearly enough evidence to impeach the president of the United States for trying to extort a foreign nation into making public announcements on investigating a political rival and relitigating Russian interference into the 2016 election – it’s pointless trying to argue against this anymore – the testimony of Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor this past week provided a key element missing in all of this; the congressionally allocated weapons aid to Ukraine withheld by Donald Trump from June until September of this year. The Democrats are holding Trump responsible for his reasoning. The Republicans are trying to mitigate his reasoning. However, what Mr. Taylor repeated again and again was the dangerously irresponsible measure of simply withholding funds congress passed, the president signed, and the American public funded. Period.

Taylor, who admitted in his testimony that he had considered quitting over “major concerns” that the United States was openly reneging on a deal that at the time was six-months overdue, referred to an anxious August 29 cable he sent directly to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he described “the folly I saw in withholding military aid to Ukraine at a time when hostilities were still active in the east and when Russia was watching closely to gauge the level of American support for the Ukrainian government.” Taylor concluded, “The Russians, as I said at my deposition, would love to see the humiliation of President Zelensky at the hands of the Americans. I told the Secretary that I could not and would not defend such a policy. Although I received no specific response, I heard that soon thereafter, the Secretary carried the cable with him to a meeting at the White House focused on security assistance for Ukraine.”

Pompeo, acting less as secretary of state and more like Trump’s enforcer throughout this growing scandal, predictably did not answer the cable and instead proceeded to demand anyone in his employ not cooperate with congress in the ensuing investigation. But what Taylor was seriously worried about was not why Trump would play around with not releasing what amounts to war funds to protect the interests of the U.S. and its foreign policy – whether personal gain or, as Republicans are trying in vain to convey, to investigate corruption – but that he was doing it at all.

This is the ugly story Bill Taylor told that has not been refuted by even the craziest Trump zealots.

In wrapping up his opening statement, Taylor made clear: “There is another Ukraine story—a positive, bipartisan one. This one is about young people in a young nation, struggling to break free of its past, hopeful that their new government will finally usher in a new Ukraine, proud of its independence from Russia, eager to join Western institutions and enjoy a more secure and prosperous life. This story describes a nation developing an inclusive, democratic nationalism, not unlike what we in America, in our best moments, feel about our diverse country—less concerned about what language we speak, what religion if any we practice, where our parents and grandparents came from; more concerned about building a new country.”

These are not sentiments of a politician, a Trump attacker or apologist. William Taylor sounds like a professional who has given his life and work to the sovereignty of a country threatened by its enemy, an enemy that infiltrated an American election that his president has denied ever happened, to the point of trying to shift blame on the very country he works in America’s interests to protect. His passion reverberates in every word of the above statement. And, for whatever reasons, Trump fucked with all of that. No one is disputing that much. That, I argue, and I think Taylor’s tone and testimony concurred, is an abuse of power and a shirking of the constitutional duties of the presidency and therefore enough for impeachment. And that is, as Taylor asserts, a forgotten angle to all this political back and forth that has and will transpire during these historical impeachment hearings.

In the nearly nine months (Trump released the funds on September 11 after severe and vociferous bi-partisan bitching by congress and the whistleblower allegations that he was playing footsies with Ukraine’s president to toss mud on his possible 2020 opponent) Ukraine lost hundreds of lives on the battlefield and compromised its position in defending its nation against Russian aggression. This is the ugly story Bill Taylor told that has not been refuted by even the craziest Trump zealots. Nine months went by as Trump did whatever he was doing. Allied lives were at stake and as such American security was compromised.

To make clear, the Trump administration initially told Congress it was releasing the aid to Ukraine on February 28. It repeated that assertion to Congress again on May 23. Not once in this timeline had the president given a single reason for this – incoherent, weird, reasonable or otherwise. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has arguably been Trump’s most effective attack machine on Capitol Hill, went to the cameras by mid-summer and shrugged his shoulders as to what was going on after he had been rebuffed by the State Department and the White House as to what the hell the president was doing and why.

At best McConnell had first been told from White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, who was doubling as director of the Office of Management and Budget, that Trump wanted the money withheld because he had “concerns” about the aid’s necessity. Not, mind you, about ferreting out Ukrainian corruption or some half-baked conspiracy theories whipped up by rightwing blogs that the 2016 DNC email hacks had come from Ukraine and not Russia. These asinine cover stories, still being peddled, were later whipped up once the shit hit the fan.

Ten days after the funds were finally released, Trump, who lies so much he actually contradicts those lies with different lies, changed his story twice. On Monday, September 21, Trump told reporters that his decision to withhold the funds was due to concerns about corruption in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s new government. Asked again the next day, Trump said he’d withheld the aid out of frustration that European countries were not doing enough to support Ukraine. This was followed by Mulvaney hosting a self-immolating press conference that we should all “get over it” because “it’s done all the time.”

Needless to say, all of this has led to where we are; impeachment hearings that Trump calls a hoax, because he calls everything a hoax. Here’s what not a hoax; the president of the United Stated withheld $391 million of military aid to an ally in time of war, a measure considered crucial enough for both houses of congress to pass as part of the annual budget and for the president himself to sign. Evidence is mounting that he did so for personal political gain and used unelected officials, rogue elements of the state department, and known criminals to help him pull it off. This is important distinctions to why, but the mere act of doing it is enough to warrant his removal from office as an unfit commander-in-chief. 

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GOP, THE RULE OF LAW & THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY

Aquarian Weekly
10/30/19

Reality Check

James Campion


GOP, THE RULE OF LAW & THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY
Trump’s Guilt is Absolute, So Who Will (or Won’t) Do Something About It?

Defenders of the president’s high crimes and misdemeanors are running out of stuff. And, man, they’ve tried all the stuff; denied it ever happened (quid pro quo on military aid to another nation unless it dug up dirt on a political opponent), mixed semantics (making it about the literal phrase “quid pro quo” and not the action depicted in a transcript and through witness accounts), turned attentions to everything but the actual crime (the Democrats, the media, the system), flipped the blame on the participants catching and reporting the crime (original whistleblower or the parade of the non-partisan deposed) and finally making it about something to do with “closed doors justice”, which ironically is a rule Republicans implemented four years ago to try and besmirch former Sectary of State Hillary Clinton before the 2016 campaign with the endless nine-million dollar Benghazi hearings that ended up revealing nothing.

It sounds more and more, and I suspect it is understood in private, that they know Trump is guilty. Every day it’s a different defense and none of it is sticking. If anything, it is making things worse.

Simultaneously, for the first time there appears to be cracks in the Republican shield on Capitol Hill. There’s been severe blowback on the president’s irresponsibly turning Syria over to all of our enemies and dooming our only allies and probably putting Israel in its greatest bind since the Six-Day War in 1967, and his brazenly announcing that he would be hosting the 2020 G7 Summit at his personal golf resort that has been hemorrhaging money for years. Trump has acknowledged this by a recent tweet calling some of his fellow Republicans “human scum.” Nevertheless, it appears, despite almost certain impeachment in a House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats, none of this may be enough to remove him from office in a GOP-controlled Senate hearing.

The decision by the Senate, if it chooses to leave Trump in office, is clearly political now. Traditional conservatism has officially descended into Trumpism. Trumpism is the end of geo-political hawks, the demise of free traders, the eradication of religious right moralists, and the silencing of fiscally conscious anti-deficit marauders or anti-socialist bail-out complainers. Trump has eviscerated heretofore core tenets of conservative principles. The Senate may have no choice but to save this president because Republicanism is in shambles. The alternative as they see it is to hand the country over to the Democrats. The party is now run by its base. It is all that is standing between self-immolation or total political oblivion. They got their judges. They got their tax cuts. Yet the party is faced with an election year with a president with a forty-percent approval rating and days from impeachment in the House of Representatives. But without Trump’s supporters, the Grand Old Party is finished as a national power.

Should Trump be impeached and removed from office by the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence would barely hold the South and part of the mid-west in 2020. I understand this reality. And I expect Senate Republicans to vote to for immediate survival and turn the future of the presidency, which has expanded to an almost monarch status in the past one-hundred and fifty years, into what appears to be an “anything goes” proposition.

How do our children’s children view the circumstances of this abuse of executive power going unchecked by an equal branch of government?

That is the consequence of this decision. And it is on them now, not the Democrats, who appear in this case to be on the right side of history. They are playing politics too. That is true. But it was not the Democrats, nor the media, nor the system that concocted and then enacted this fool plan to strongarm the new president of a desperate nation into publicly lying to assist in re-electing a sitting president. Trump did that. He is responsible for this constitutional crisis. He unleashed this rabid opposition force. He lost the congress last year and then handed them a giant hammer with which they could use to take chunks of his presidency and pass the tattered remains over to the higher chamber for trial.

And so, the question remains: What if a president commits a crime, or in this case when combined with the Mueller Report’s ten incidences of obstruction of justice, several crimes, and is given political coverage by those in his party shirking their sworn duties? If said president is given a pass, then what does history record? Forget the politics of the moment. Forget this experiment of having a game show host run the country. How do our children’s children view the circumstances of this abuse of executive power going unchecked by an equal branch of government?

I guess what I’m saying here is this is no longer on Donald Trump. He is guilty. There is more than enough evidence that he acted at the very least inappropriately with his executive powers as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. That is a given. If he gets away with it, good for him. Presidents have pushed boundaries for decades. This is an extraordinary circumstance for sure, but it needs the checks and balances we are so proud of touting on holidays and in song and story in order to pass constitutional muster. Good for him, bad for our precious rule of law.

What indeed happens to a nation where there are those who see the crime, casually ignore it, play politics with it, and then systemically allow it? In essence, rubber stamp it. Tell the world and history that it is okay to be a criminal and be president. We then come to a line crossed with no return. This will be the precedence. And soon, probably sooner than later, the other party will be in power and maybe, it is hard to imagine, but maybe there is an even crazier megalomaniac that is handed the most powerful post in the free world. What then would stop them from playing campaign strategies with America’s security and military commitments? What would keep them from using unelected personal attorneys from running a shadow foreign policy for personal gains?

The answer is nothing. Nothing will stop future presidents if this one is allowed to get away with this unscathed. They will use foreign nations to assist in effecting our elections and point to this one as they’re excuse. Unless the Republican-controlled Senate does its sworn duty and evict this president from office for these actions we have officially completed the creation of a totalitarian position in the presidency.

What the Republican-ruled Senate does with this president in this crucial moment in American history is on them.

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PRESIDENT TERRORIST

Aquarian Weekly

10/23/19

Reality Check


James Campion

PRESIDENT TERRORIST

Trump’s Attack on American Interests in the Middle East Sets Up Next 9/11

You are creating a Frankenstein.
– Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to President George H. W. Bush, 1989

The president of the United States has now gone completely mad. Donald Trump was pretty much on the brink of insanity for some time, but this flimsy house of cards he’s shoddily erected over the initial years of his colossally inept presidency is tumbling daily as more and more people from the gutted State Department bury him in impeachment hearings. His unhinged press conferences, erratic tweets and these Nuremberg-esque rallies have become a surreal insight into the deranged paranoia that the leader of the free world has entered in. He is fucked. And he knows it. The only thing that stands between Trump and official ignominy is Rudy Giuliani, who will soon join his last “fixer lawyer” in prison.

This leads us to what transpired in Syria last week, which has caused even many Republicans to see the light.

In one seventytwo hour run of the most bizarrely dangerous foreign policy that has come from the executive branch in my lifetime, Trump green-lit the massacre of America’s only true ally against ISIS and Iran in the Middle East, the Kurdish forces, which were heretofore assisted with U.S. aid, weapons, and military presence. This knee-jerk lunacy, done without alerting the Pentagon or our intelligence agencies, handed Syria over to the Russians and Iran and invited the Turks to run rough-shod over miles of real estate that American lives were sacrificed to hold for half a decade. Then when he was publicly and privately eviscerated by GOP hawks in his administration, the Pentagon, and Congress, most of which are normally seen carrying buckets of his water, he spastically tried to reverse course by tweeting craziness about destroying the Turkish economy and then drafting what could only be described as a letter written by a middle school bully trying to cover his ass. When none of these absurd tactics worked, the president blithely told the world that the U.S. doesn’t give a crap what happens in the Middle East anymore and to let the rest of them “play in the sand”, summarily dispatching his secretary of state and vice president to secure a deal to turn Kurdish land over to its sworn enemy and send them scrambling into oblivion. When it was done he called it “a great day for civilization.”

This has been the Trump Doctrine: Cause an international crisis, like taking North Korea to the brink of war on Twitter, then capitulating with a deal that give a tyrant the store and claim victory. It’s like the game Risk for the mentally challenged. 

When piled on top of Trump’s abjectly stupid decision to pull out of the Iran anti-nukes treaty with nary a backup plan, the downright pathetic defense of the Saudi government’s murder of an American journalist, and the unnecessary violence-trigger of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, abandoning Syria to ISIS, Russia and Iran will soon be remembered in the annals of history as the second greatest terrorist sponsorship against America.

However, this wouldn’t be the first time a Republican administration fostered anti-American sentiments through bungled foreign policy. That one ended up causing the deaths of hundreds of our citizens on 9/11.

It is worth noting.

During of the decade between 1979 and 1989, the CIA ran among many half-assed maneuvers in the Middle East something called Operation Cyclone, a covert venture to arm and finance the Mujahideen, an Afghani fighting force that attempted to thwart its country’s invasion by the USSR. By the early 1980s this turned overt, becoming a proud function of what would become known as the Reagan Doctrine – illegal proxy wars fighting off communist uprisings globally. It was just a new-fangled sad repeat of the “domino effect” catastrophes in Korea in the 50s and Viet Nam in the 60s and early 70s that Reagan thought went well and would eventually lead to his Iran-Contra crime that should have cost him his presidency. Reagan, we now know was suffering early stages of dementia, convinced these duped warriors that part of America’s interest in Afghanistan went beyond the ousting of communists from its region. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz sold a dream of a democratized Afghanistan to stabilize the region, promised aid to their refugees that fled to neighboring Pakistan, and the continuation of defense funds to assist in what was then considered burgeoning radical Arab factions.

Of course, this was complete bullshit, as America, then under President George H.W. Bush, would dismissively abandon all interest in Afghanistan and its people around the region, which was beginning to boil over. These funds were handed instead to Pakistan to ironically fight the very same Mujahideen and Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein to combat Iran. The fallout from this bait and switch led to the complete destabilization of Afghanistan and caused the fractured segments of the Mujahideen to form the Taliban and al Queda. You may have heard of them.

Does any of this sound familiar to what the president just did to the Kurds in Syria?

The president is a terrorist. Not even I saw that coming.

Not to Trump. And why would it? You could barely jam into the Grand Canyon what Trump doesn’t know about anything. Shit, when all of the above was transpiring Donald Trump was blowing daddy’s money paying whores to drip candle wax on his balls and selling off parts of NYC to Arabs to use that money to buy weapons to kill Americans. He was also unaware that the country he was running for the past two years had promised the Kurdish fighters cover as they jailed thousands of captured ISIS fighters. As a result, our only defense against ISIS and Iran in the region has been sold out by Donald Trump as their women and children are being slaughtered on the Internet by the Turkish Army.

This is much worse than the Reagan/Bush fuck-ups of yesteryear, in that it is random, erratic and done with no support from our intelligence community or the Pentagon. Moreover, American troops are already there and in harm’s way. This presidency, as Trump promised, is a one-man operation, one that has resulted in a shadow foreign policy he’s been running through the state department, the department of justice and his private attorney. It was only a matter of time before it unraveled before congress and the American people. Trump’s best defense is to yell at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, scream again about fake news and dispatch his chief of staff to admit to the current impeachment charges of using foreign influence for political gain. “There is going to be political influence in foreign policy,” shouted Mick Mulvaney in front of cameras. “We do that all the time with foreign policy. Get over it.” Then he pulled a Trump and blamed a misquote, even though he was on camera saying it.

It’s over for Trump. He will be a sad footnote in a long series of American bungles. But what about us? What kind of fallout will the next generation suffer by the sins of this one? We can only hope it is only a 9/11 and not worse. His buddy in North Korea has other ideas too.

The president is a terrorist.

Not even I saw that coming. 

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DOES DONALD TRUMP WANT TO BE IMPEACHED?

Aquarian Weekly
10/9/19

Reality Check

James Campion


DOES DONALD TRUMP WANT TO BE IMPEACHED?

Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.1 This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about “foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence.” 
– Memo from the chair of the Federal Election Commission Ellen L. Weintraub, June 13

After the five or six people still left defending our beleaguered game show president bent themselves in logical pretzels for close to a week claiming Donald Trump absolutely did not ask a foreign country to intervene on a potential political opponent, Joe Biden, despite a whistleblower complaint and a declassified review of the July 25 phone call between the U.S. president and the president of Ukraine that appeared to show that Donald Trump was trading allocated funds to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression for dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter, here is what Trump told live television cameras on the White House lawn on October 3: “Well, I would think if they (Ukraine) were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens because how does a company that’s newly formed and all these companies, and by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. So I would say with President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend they start an investigation into the Bidens, because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked.”

This begs the question: Does Donald Trump want to be impeached?

I think this is another one that goes into the flimsy but understandable yes/no column when dealing with this lunatic. Let me explain.

Let’s do “No” first.

As covered for years in this space, Donald Trump enters almost everything he tries his hand at as a complete neophyte. This is why it’s almost always a mess eventually. Sometimes he stumbles into a success, but eventually he destroys it with knee-jerk hubris – see Trump steaks, Trump University, the USFL, the Atlantic City debacle and his TV show for examples of this. Most of his talents, if there are any, is in selling a brand and that brand is a billboard depiction of what he would like to be but is not. You can only fake shit for so long, and ultimately the jig is up. This “method” has transferred to the highest office in the land and therefore he has little to no idea what he is doing when he says something like the above. This is like your toddler blurting out “fuck” at your dinner party. The kid doesn’t know he is cursing. He just does it. If you are not sure you are implicating yourself in a crime, then you do it. Trump and Rudolf Giuliani, former NYC mayor and Trump’s personal lawyer, believe – Giuliani has told several news outlets that he is “a hero” – that rooting out corruption abroad is a calling. This, of course, is an administration that has supported murdering American journalists in Saudi Arabia, turning away from unchecked missile testing and human rights atrocities in North Korea and defending whatever the fuck Vladimir Putin does on daily basis.

Text messages released after former US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker (he quit in disgrace) was deposed by congress for nine hours this week, reveal that many who were tasked with carrying out this nonsense believed Trump was on shaky ground but either didn’t care or was plain stupid.

Throughout the summer Volker told Giuliani that his sources on these purported incriminating documents he keeps waving around on cable news were false and misleading, but like most zealots around Trump, Giuliani, a private citizen who has little to no idea what the hell he’s doing either, believed as long as they fit the narrative of Biden’s guilt, he’d plow ahead. This kind of warning cost the ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch her gig in the spring when Trump removed her because Giuliani couldn’t get her to help him commit these crimes. All of this out in the open and without care for who would know it.

This is like your toddler blurting out “fuck” at your dinner party.

On the day of the infamous “shake-down” phone call, state department officials were trying like hell to first identity, then facilitate and finally cover up this half-baked scheme to have Ukraine investigate an American politician running for president and most importantly to go on the record for it, clearing the way for the story to damage Biden before the primaries. Volker texted top advisor to the Ukrainian president Andriy Yermak, “I think potus really wants the deliverable.” Later, on September 1, when this was still being bungled along by members of the state department, William Taylor, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, texted Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland responded with, “Call me.” This call, which was clearly ordered by Sondland to keep off the record had confirmed Taylor’s fears that they were breaking the law, because on September 9, Taylor texted Sondland: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Sondland, who had endeavored mightily to keep this craziness from having an electronic paper trail, responded with, “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”

All the while Trump thought this was okay, in fact, noble pursuits, and for the most part, as the admission of his crimes on the record (again) prove, he still does.

Now, the “yes” part.

I think there is a large part of Trump’s thinking, such as it is, that this kind of muckraking battle to the end will benefit him politically and harm Joe Biden. This has been his mission all along. He also knows that Russia helped him win last time and this shameless begging of foreign aid in assisting this time clearly shows he would rather be leaned on by a Democratically controlled congress than not attempt it. Biden’s numbers, which the president initially ignored and then predictably mocked in the only states that count: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri are startling. Unlike Hilary Clinton, they are double-digit leads. It is better to be impeached than to face ignominious defeat. If this were Elizabeth Warren or some other Democratic rival, I can look past its political immolation context, but it’s Biden, his greatest threat, by far.

And finally, Trump is aware that a Republican-controlled senate would never oust him. The party is hanging by a thread as it is. Without the Trump base there is no party. They are doomed. The demographics and historical winds have already swung left and will continue to do so for the rest of this century if not for the thirty-two percent that keep this rot from completely fading into dust. They have to stick with Trump and he knows it, and this will allow him to claim another hollow victory once the senate boots the impeachment to the curb. Just in time for the 2020 campaign to heat up.

I usually go with the former. I don’t think Trump is soliciting impeachment. I just think Trump is an idiot. Everything he has done as president bared this out. The cover ups are coming from the state department and White House officials who cannot control this fool. But make no mistake, Trump’s statement this week that he absolutely would like foreign counties to get involved in the 2020 election seals his welcoming impeachment whether he wants it or not. 

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GAME SHOW HOST + PRESIDENCY = IMPEACHMENT

Aquarian Weekly
10/2/19

Reality Check

James Campion


GAME SHOW HOST + PRESIDENCY = IMPEACHMENT   

In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.
– Opening statement in National Security Whistleblower Complaint, delivered 8/19/19 to Director of National Intelligence and reviewed by the U/S Congress, 9/26/19

Well, of course. How else could this possibly end? It was only a matter of time that this abomination of a presidency would finally sink us into a constitutional crisis and wind up in the embarrassment of impeachment. Because most likely Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere, unless we send him packing in November of 2020. The Senate Republicans are not going to convict a president with an intra-party popularity around 90 percent even if he “shoots someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.” It is political suicide and that is the game they are playing here – not any hokey bullshit patriotic sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. That is a line you learn in middle school that pertains to none of what actually happens or has happened in Washington DC since they elevated a mosquito infested Southern swamp into the nation’s capital in 1790. Nah, Trump will stay with his shame and his historical marker as a hack criminal whose best work was saved for B-level television and the inside straight he pulled on November 6, 2016 that we now know occurred with ample assistance from the Russian government. You could see this coming from the start of this mess, as I wrote to friends within minutes of his Election Day victory, it was merely a “Countdown to Impeachment”. He would do something stupid and wrong, I reasoned, and he has done many things stupid and wrong since, but this latest Ukrainian shit will finally get that scarlet letter “I” painted on his bloated visage forevermore.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint news conference with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

History is a bitch and it has come calling for Donald J. Trump. His unimpeded lunacy has a shelf life and it has reached its apex. Our national crisis of one; this bleating troll of a man whose check has bounced and the bank, well, the bank needs the money, bub. And El Douche knows all about that. His phalanx of failures resulting in a spectacular number of bankruptcies and sad-sack ventures has led to these secret tax returns he still uses an army of lawyers to prevent us from seeing. Oh, the tales they would tell: More embarrassments that will likely come crashing in once he set in motion the congress’s legal might to impeach. Oof, it has become a civic lesson for Donnie, who chose to run the United States like a casino and went belly up. Because belly up is the default position for him. Self destruction is his raison d’être. His art is masochism.

Ahhh, but The Donald thinks the dogshit in his fist is a sweet-smelling rose. This, and myopic racism is what his father gave him with a preternatural gift of denial and an unrivaled level of self-unawareness. And that’s probably best. It’s always a boon for the victim to not see it coming. My cats know that deal, but the president, well, he needs some education on how this whole system works when it has been cracked in pieces as he’s been stumbling through his Mr. Magoo governing style, careening into crime after crime and then telling us all about it on Twitter and national television. Remember when he admitted to NBC News that he fired the head of the FBI because of “the Russian thing”, which brought the weight of a two-year investigation that he tried to thwart at every turn? This, of course, and a mid-term thrashing handed congress over to his political enemies on a silver platter. That should have been enough to impeach, as the ten blatant instances of obstruction of justice that continues with this latest Ukrainian clusterfuck.

I mean, how stupid do you have to be to pull this shit and then evoke the Justice Department, the puppet attorney general, the vice president, and drag your mentally ill private attorney, who then fingered the entire state department, into this nonsense? There are so many fuck-ups in Trump’s attempt to mob-threaten a foreign country to investigate a totally ginned up bullshit story about the son of his likely political opponent, whom he is losing to in every poll since Joe Biden shuffled meekly into this race. Not the least of which is to put the whole affair into “a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature” according to the fancy whistleblower complaint released on 9/26 to congress, and “not the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.” Only because…wait for it…this is the crap Hillary Clinton rightfully got for having a separate email server. Every time you hear Trumpites mention “Hilary’s emails” this is why. And well… duh.

Hey, you wanted a game show host to give this a try.

The most damning excerpt in the whistleblower complaint is the White House directing the “lock down of all records of the phone call”, which, (clearing my throat for effect) is an all-star super-duper topper most of the poppermost Cover Up. And it will end in the disbarment and perhaps jailing of Steven Engel, director of the Office of Legal Counsel, who blocked the whistleblower complaint from being handed over to congress, which is dictated by law, Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, head of the criminal division, who brazenly passed on investigating the president’s crime, Attorney General Bill Barr, who not only denies having heard about any such call to pursue a conspiracy theory probably pitched by FOX News talk show host Sean Hannity that it was Ukraine not Russia that helped Trump win in 2016 despite the intelligence community and the Mueller Report conclusions, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who according to Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, put him in the “untenable position of denying the material to congress over a claim that it did not fall within his jurisdiction as leader of the intelligence community,” which is literally his job description, and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolf Giuliani, whose erratic criminal behavior for months enthusiastically headed up this fiasco.

So, in very Nixonian fashion, this whole “getting dirt on the opponent” that took on national security alerts in 2016 with the Russian government basically entrenched in what would be the future president’s campaign, was taken to yet another country with the same crime and then, well covered up. Trump, descending into a state of complete doddering madness, had the bright idea to declassify a private conversation with the Ukrainian president that… wait for this one… totally incriminated him. This is what the president of the United States released to the public and an impeachment inquiry the day before the damning whistleblower complaint dropped: Trump to newly sworn-in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it…it sounds horrible to me.”

I think I’ve written this here before, but for the purposes of people who are still stunningly defending this recidivist criminal behavior: Game. Set. Match.

The president of the United States withheld funds appropriated for the defense of an American ally to gain dirt on a political opponent, got a half dozen White House lawyers to lie and cover it up and then proudly shared the evidence to bury him. Or a typical Tuesday afternoon in the Trump Administration.

Hey, you wanted a game show host to give this a try.

Really, I mean, given everything that has transpired up to this, is impeachment that much of a stretch? 

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HATRED ON PARADE

Aquarian Weekly
8/21/19

Reality Check

James Campion


HATRED ON PARADE
The Rise of White Nationalism & the Ongoing Threat of Domestic Terrorism 


Remember when we were all afraid of ISIS killing us in the streets a few years back? Oh, those were the salad days. We were so much happier then. Foreign religious maniacs, we kind of get. White guys with a grudge and armed to the teeth, we mostly ignore, sometimes laugh at, and strangely vote for. But in the wake of the massacre in El Paso (20 dead, 27 wounded) engineered by a white nationalist, who was, like ISIS, part of an international network of terrorists (his fancy manifesto pointed to inspiration from the New Zealand right-wing Mosque shootings) it is clear we have ourselves a growing epidemic. Citing figures from the Anti-Defamation League, during the years of 2009 through 2018, international terrorism was responsible for twenty-three percent of ideological murders, while far-right extremist killings topped out at seventy-three percent. Moreover, the same report noted that these growing extremist murders have spiked thirty-five percent from 2017 to 2018, “making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995.”

Members of the Ku Klux Klan yell as they fly Confederate flags during a rally at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina July 18, 2015. A Ku Klux Klan chapter and an African-American group planned overlapping demonstrations on Saturday outside the South Carolina State House, where state officials removed the Confederate battle flag last week. REUTERS/Chris Keane? TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX1KUSD

Take that ISIS.

White nationalist terrorism has become a 9/11 level problem, but oddly it is treated like some weird anomaly, or to listen to rhetoric excuses of “overrated” or a “hoax”. Systemically, it is flat-out ignored. In fact, the Trump Administration immediately stripped funding and diverted attention away from domestic terrorism, much of it put in place after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, then the most lethal mass-murder in our history (168 dead, including 19 children, and five-hundred injured). In March, when asked at the White House whether white nationalists were a growing threat around the world, the president replied: “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. It’s certainly a terrible thing.”

It has been clear from day-one that Donald Trump is working on some level of racial paranoia and renders special dispensation from his usual attack-dog mode when commenting or not commenting on white nationalism, which is a nice way of saying he is a racist – the latest example on the heels of the El Paso shooting is the admission from the administration’s Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli that the new proposed stricter limitations on legal immigration is now needed since in the past there were “just people coming from Europe”. As if on cue, as I write this Trump is forcing the hand of Israel to ban two Muslim congresswomen from entering that country. But the president’s overt bigotry does not excuse the rest of our government. Homeland Security, the FBI or the CIA has payed ancillary attention to this crisis while lunatics fabricate invasions from Mexico, a dangerous lie which the El Paso shooter cited as igniting this latest tragedy.

Angry white people afraid of progress and foreign interlopers is what made Donald Trump president.

So, in essence, unlike the national derangement we endured post-9/11 which sent our government into fascist spasms – sanctioning torture, cobbling together the goofy Patriot Act, and invading a nation with no connection to the attacks – we now have a government that ignores, and in some cases, openly supports white nationalist terrorism. The United States of America has apparently and willfully entered the infamous “axis of evil”.

To wit: Mere hours and days after 9/11, things went understandably haywire around here. It was a justified reaction, if not weirdly dangerous and mostly illogical. But where is a similar reaction now? An alarming number of dead Americans (fifty extremist-related killings in the U.S. in 2018, making it the fourth-deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970) and tons of evidence these killings are motivated, inspired and carried out with a similar myopic agenda; destroy American values and choose the victory of one sect of humanity over another. ISIS. White Nationalism. Same shit. Waaaaayyyy different reaction.

It is now exactly two years since that abomination in Charlottesville with neo-Nazis and the KKK proudly marching around town with torches threatening Jews, African Americans and homosexuals that resulted in a street riot and the murder of a woman, followed by flaccid hemming and hawing from Donald Trump, which earned him high praise from the Klu Klux Klan. The murder has still not been designated as a hate crime nor has the investigation into the groups that organized the rally/riot bared anything more on these insurrectionists.

This past spring, a few months after the October synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh a judiciary committee convening on the rise of alt-right hate crimes held a hearing in which FBI Director Christopher A. Wray revealed that the bureau has arrested 250 white nationalist terrorists engaged in anti-American activities over the past two years. However, Dave Gomez, a former FBI supervisor, who oversaw terrorism cases, told the Washington Post that he believes FBI officials are wary of pursuing white nationalists aggressively because of the fierce political debates surrounding the issue. “I believe Christopher A. Wray is an honorable man, but I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would,” Gomez told The Post. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”

So, on a political level, this makes sense. Angry white people afraid of progress and foreign interlopers is what made Donald Trump president. Even his “the press is the enemy of the people” crap inspired a Florida man who created a two-week crisis by mailing sixteen packages of inoperative pipe bombs packed with fireworks powder and shards of glass to thirteen famous Democrats and CNN who was ironically under sentence the week of the El Paso shooting. Before going to jail he told the court he believed “enemies of President Donald Trump were trying to hurt him and other Trump supporters.” In fact, Trump smartly leans on this fear and anger every time he needs a boost, and tripled-down on this craziness in the fall of last year to try and stem the tide of what would turn out to be a mid-term election pummeling by advancing a total lie about an invading caravan coming up through the southern border – using the term “invasion” over and over again, another inspiration for the El Paso shooter, even going as far as sending in troops to combat this illusion.

But it is simply the fact that the government is turning its back on this growing threat that is troubling, yet it does not surprise me. This country’s history is littered with this miserable shit. And the current climate does indicate that things are only going to get worse. What does surprise me that it is 2019 and we are still dealing with these horrors. But they are real, and they are becoming commonplace, and they must stop.

But who is going to stop it?

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