Little Bongo

This is from Matt Groening 30 years ago [partial transcript]:

My name is Little Bongo
I’m known as a ding-dong-go.

What got me to thinking about that is this:

By now everybody knows that Vice President Mike Pence does not have a dog. More explicitly, there is no Mike Pence family dog. Full disclosure: I do not have a dog. Anyhow, the family does have a pet rabbit, and his name is Marlon Bundo. [Any implication of the late movie actor Marlon Brando is spurious.] And a cute bunny he is, as well.

There is more. Mike Pence’s daughter Charlotte wrote a children’s book featuring the rabbit, and it was released this week, soaring on the Amazon charts. See the cover above. The title is Marlon Bundo’s a Day in the Life of the Vice President. You need to accept my apology, because I Photo-shopped the image to make it easier to read.

But that’s not all. Owing to the Vice President’s historic opposition to all things homosexual, transgender, or otherwise deviant, some decided to have a bit of fun and to troll the VP. Particularly, the creative staff of John Oliver’s TV show Last Week Tonight created produced their own book. Follow the link and watch the video.


Playing the game of One-Up, the Oliver team put their book, by Jill Twiss, on the market a day in advance of the Pence book, and I purchased a copy (Kindle Edition). Here it is:

Again, I souped up the image, because the cover is Hell’s version of pastel on white and barely shows up on my monitor.

But wait! There’s more. In the Twiss book, Marlon Bundo is gay. Queer, if you will. The VP’s anti-queer notions are mocked throughout. Here are some choice pages (it’s a short book):

Marlon meets Wesley, another boy rabbit. The attraction is mutual.

The two play together, romping among the feet of important politicians.

They enjoy being together so much, they decide to be together forever. They decide to get married. But the authoritarian Stink Bug, of all the animals, decides he is in charge, and he insists they must not be allowed to marry, because that kind of thing is not done.

But all the animals rise up and defy the Stink Bug, and Marlon and Wesley are married in a beautiful ceremony.


And here is the score so far: The Jill Twiss book is outselling the Pence book handily, posting as number 2 in paid Kindle sales.

Number one (today) is Melinda Leigh’s Say You’re Sorry. The Pence Book (Kindle) is further down:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

I’m guessing the popularity of the Jill Twiss book is due to the VP’s deep undeliverability among those who read. John Oliver cites a significant connection. A book tour for the Pence book includes a 26 March stop at Focus in the Family in Colorado Springs. That’s significant, as FotF is the premier American institution (a church since 2015) seeking to relegate homosexuals and other sexual deviants to second class status:

Focus on the Family (FOTF or FotF) is an American Christian conservative organization founded in 1977 in Southern California by psychologist James Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is active in promoting an interdenominational effort toward its socially conservative views on public policy. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s. As of the 2015 tax filing year, Focus on the Family declared itself to be a church.

Focus on the Family’s stated mission is “nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide”.It promotes abstinence-only sexual educationcreationism; adoption by married, opposite-sex parents; school prayer; and traditional gender roles. It opposes abortion; divorce; gambling; LGBT rights, particularly LGBT adoption and same-sex marriage; pornography; pre-marital sex; and substance abuse. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists have criticized Focus on the Family for trying to misrepresent their research to bolster FOTF’s fundamentalist political agenda and ideology.

All said, nobody doubts the Pence book is a worthy children’s book, and I would purchase a copy ($9.99 for the Kindle) except for three things:

  • My youngest child is 46.
  • My grandson is 16.
  • Such a purchase could implicate me in the promotion of the Pence mindset.


People are voting with their pocketbooks, highlighting a groundswell of unpopularity for the Vice President. Such is the level of disdain that whenever talk among friends comes up concerning whether the current President should be impeached, the conclusion always boils down to “no,” Mike Pence being the reason. My personal view: we must continue to endure Donald Trump and to make him the poster child of what has become of American conservatism. If anybody can kill this wrong-headed mindset it will be those two dust bunnies at the top of the ticket.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.


This is your President speaking.

Number 76 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!

Something smells here, and the odor is coming from higher up.

This is your President speaking.

Number 75 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!

They are closing in on you, Mr. President. You are going to need to tweet harder.

Codswallop 201

Number 4 in a series

Yesterday I posted number 3 in this series about Hillsdale College. Hillsdale came to my attention some time ago, and I now receive periodical email from Larry P. Arnn, current president of Hillsdale. I also receive monthly issues of Imprimis, a Hillsdale newsletter. The matter yesterday concerned an item in the most recent issue with the headline The Politicization of the FBI. It was taken from a speech by Washington lawyer Joseph E. diGenova, and any distinction from a crude piece of propaganda is difficult to discern. Come Monday morning, and apparently we are not finished with Mr. diGenova.

CNN is now reporting that President Donald J. Trump has hired diGenova to join his legal team as he deals with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller‘s probe into criminal matters relating to the President and those around him:

(CNN) — President Donald Trump will hire an attorney to join his personal legal team who has alleged the President is being framed by a group of FBI and Justice Department officials, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

The longtime Washington attorney, Joseph diGenova, is expected to join the President’s legal team at a time when Trump is taking a more aggressive approach to publicly dealing with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, lobbing a series of attacks against Mueller on Twitter over the weekend.

The CNN news item included a clip of diGenova appearing on Fox News in January, laying out the case for FBI malfeasance (my wording). The Fox News clip shows diGenova telling us this:

There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton, and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely-created crime.Everything that we have seen, from the texts and from all the facts developing shows that the FBI and senior DOJ officials conspired to violate the law and to deny Donald Trump his civil rights.

That’s heavy stuff, and it would be damning against the DOJ, including the FBI, were it even half true. I find it interesting that the banner scrolling across on Fox News reads “Is Mueller’s probe unraveling?” This being Fox News, I have little doubt there is wishful thinking on this channel’s part as they strive diligently to defend the modern piece of political art that is Donald Trump.

Summing up for Hillsdale College, this time-honored institution continues to thump for an absurd conservative idealism, and truth, least of all academics, is not a prime concern. More will be coming from Arnn and from Hillsdale, so the show won’t be over anytime soon. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

This is your President speaking.

Number 74 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

As the House Intelligence Committee has concluded, there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. As many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State.

Keep talking. You have the right to remain silent, but keep talking.

Codswallop 201

Number 3 in a series

Apparently I am not finished with Hillsdale College. It’s been so long since I started following this topic that I now forget what first caught my attention. Anyhow, they offered for free a very short on-line course, and the topic was the United States Constitution. As mentioned previously, I took the course, and I came away with the impression that what is advertised as a small institution of higher learning is, in fact, a propaganda mill for conservative causes. That impression has been reinforced.

I get regular emails from Larry P. Arnn, twelfth and current president of Hillsdale College. The Wikipedia entry contains a defining point:

In 2013, Arnn was criticized for his remarks about ethnic minorities when he testified before the Michigan State Legislature. In testimony against the Common Core curriculum standards, in which Arnn expressed concern about government interference with educational institutions, he recalled that shortly after he assumed the presidency at Hillsdale he received a letter from the state Department of Education that said his college “violated the standards for diversity,” adding, “because we didn’t have enough dark ones, I guess, is what they meant.” After being criticized for calling minorities “dark ones”, he explained that he was referring to “dark faces”, saying: “The State of Michigan sent a group of people down to my campus, with clipboards … to look at the colors of people’s faces and write down what they saw. We don’t keep records of that information. What were they looking for besides dark ones?”[11] Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel condemned Arnn for his comments, which he called “offensive” and “inflammatory and bigoted”, and asked for an apology.[12] The College issued a statement apologizing for Arnn’s remark, while reiterating Arnn’s concern about “state sponsored racism” in the form of affirmative action policies.

I also receive by postal mail regular copies of Imprimis, which seems to be a monthly Hillsdale newsletter, the title translating to “in the first place.” Most recent was the February 2018 issue, Volume 47, Number 2. There is an indication this operation has been around for nearly half a century.

The headline on the very front, that caught my attention, reads:

The Politicization of the FBI

Jesus help me, but I immediately recognized what this was all about. The issue is on-line, but to save you the bother of following the link, I am posting the text of the article by Joseph E. diGenova:

Joseph E. diGenova
Former U.S. Attorney

Joseph E. diGenova is a founding partner of diGenova & Toensing, LLP. He received his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and his J.D. from Georgetown University. He has served as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Independent Counsel of the United States, Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, and Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Church Committee).

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on January 25, 2018, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series. 

Over the past year, facts have emerged that suggest there was a plot by high-ranking FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in the Obama administration, acting under color of law, to exonerate Hillary Clinton of federal crimes and then, if she lost the election, to frame Donald Trump and his campaign for colluding with Russia to steal the presidency. This conduct was not based on mere bias, as has been widely claimed, but rather on deeply felt animus toward Trump and his agenda.

In the course of this plot, FBI Director James Comey, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, Strzok’s paramour and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, FBI General Counsel James Baker, and DOJ senior official Bruce Ohr—perhaps among others—compromised federal law enforcement to such an extent that the American public is losing trust. A recent CBS News poll finds 48 percent of Americans believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia collusion probe is “politically motivated,” a stunning conclusion. And 63 percent of polled voters in a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll believe that the FBI withheld vital information from Congress about the Clinton and Russia collusion investigations.

I spent my early legal career as a federal prosecutor. I later supervised hundreds of prosecutors and prosecutions as a U.S. Attorney and as an Independent Counsel. I have never witnessed investigations so fraught with failure to fulfill the basic elements of a criminal probe as those conducted under James Comey. Not since former Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray deep-sixed evidence during Watergate has the head of the FBI been so discredited as Comey is now.

The Case of the Clinton Emails

The Hillary Clinton email scandal began in 2013 with the U.S. House of Representatives investigation into the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. It was during that investigation that accessing Secretary of State Clinton’s emails became an issue. But it wasn’t until The New York Times broke the story on March 2, 2015, that Clinton had a secret, personal server that things really took off.

Thousands of emails that the House at first requested, then subpoenaed, conveniently disappeared—remember those reports about BleachBit and the smashing of Clinton’s numerous phones with hammers? Clinton and her aides were, to say the least, not forthcoming. It was clearly time for the FBI and DOJ to act, using the legal tools at their disposal to secure the emails and other materials the House had subpoenaed. But that didn’t happen.

One tool at their disposal was the grand jury—the sine qua non of a criminal investigation. Grand juries are comprised of 16 to 23 citizens who hear a prosecutor’s case against an alleged criminal. The subject of the investigation is not present during the entire proceeding, which can last up to a year. A grand jury provides investigators with the authority to collect evidence by issuing subpoenas for documents and witnesses. FBI agents and prosecutors cannot themselves demand evidence. Only a grand jury can—or a court, in cases where a subpoena recipient refuses a grand jury’s command to provide documents or to testify.

Incredibly, FBI Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch refused to convene a grand jury during the Clinton investigation. Thus investigators had no authority to subpoena evidence or witnesses. Lacking leverage, Comey then injudiciously granted immunity to five Clinton aides in return for evidence that could have been obtained with a subpoena. Even when Clinton claimed 39 times during a July 2, 2016, interview—an interview led by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok—that she could not recall certain facts because of a head injury, Comey refused the case agents’ request to subpoena her medical records.

Comey claims he negotiated the immunity deals because of his concern about time. Yet the investigation was opened in the summer of 2015, nearly a year before he cut these deals. Compare this to the DOJ’s handling of four-star Marine General James E. Cartwright, who pleaded guilty in October 2016 to a false statement about leaking classified information to The New York Times. In that case, the DOJ bragged about its use of subpoenas and search warrants.

Not only was there no grand jury, the FBI never issued a search warrant—something it does when there is concern a person will destroy evidence. Clinton deleted half her emails and then claimed, under penalty of perjury, that she had turned over to the government all emails that “were or potentially were” work-related. The FBI later found email chains classified as “secret” or “confidential” that she had not turned over. Still no search warrant was issued.

Comey’s dereliction did not stop at the failure to utilize essential prosecutorial tools. He violated several rules that prosecutors consider sacrosanct:

  • Comey allowed one lawyer to represent four material witnesses, an arrangement ripe for the four to coordinate testimony.
  • After needlessly giving immunity to two lawyers representing Clinton, Comey permitted both to sit in on her July 2, 2016, FBI interview—a patent conflict. He claimed he could not control who sat in on the “voluntary” interview. That’s nonsense. He could have convened a grand jury, subpoenaed Clinton, and compelled her to appear and be questioned without a lawyer or else plead the Fifth Amendment.
  • Comey authorized the destruction of laptop computers that belonged to Clinton’s aides and were under congressional subpoena.
  • Comey ignored blatant evidence of culpability. It is ridiculous to the general public and risible to those who have security clearances for Clinton to claim she thought that “(c)” placed after paragraphs in her emails meant the material was in alphabetical order rather than meaning it was classified. If she thought (c) indicated alphabetical order, where were (a) and (b) on the documents? Clinton and her supporters touted her vast experience as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, positions requiring frequent use of classified information and presumably common sense. Yet neither experience nor common sense informed her decisions when handling classified materials.
  • Comey and the FBI never questioned Clinton about her public statements, which changed over time and were blatantly false. “I did not email classified information to anyone” morphed into “I did not email anything marked ‘classified,’” which morphed into the claim that (c) did not mean what it clearly meant. False and changing statements are presented to juries routinely by prosecutors as evidence of guilt.
  • Breaking DOJ protocols, violating the chain of command, and assuming an authority he never had, Comey usurped the role of the U.S. attorney general on July 5, 2016, when he announced that the case against Clinton was closed. He justified his actions saying that he no longer trusted Attorney General Lynch after her June 27, 2016, meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. This meeting took place at the height of the so-called investigation—just days before Peter Strzok interviewed Clinton on July 2. Thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch to secure documents through the Freedom of Information Act, we now know that Comey was already drafting a letter exonerating Clinton in May 2016—prior to interviewing more than a dozen major witnesses. We also know that the FBI’s reaction to the impropriety of the tarmac meeting was not disgust, but rather anger at the person who leaked the fact of the meeting. “We need to find that guy” and bring him before a supervisor, stated one (name redacted) FBI agent. Another argued that the source should be banned from working security details. Not one email expressed concern over the meeting. An FBI director who truly had his trust shaken would have questioned the members of Lynch’s FBI security detail for the Arizona trip about how the meeting came to be. Comey didn’t bother.

Comey described Clinton’s handling of classified information as “extremely careless,” a clumsy attempt to avoid the legal language of “gross negligence” for criminal mishandling of classified information—and we later learned that Peter Strzok, again, was responsible for editing this language in Comey’s statement. But practically speaking, the terms are synonymous. Any judge would instruct a jury to consider “gross negligence” as “extremely careless” conduct.

Comey claimed that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case against Clinton. I have spent many years investigating federal crimes, and I can tell you that a reasonable prosecutor would have utilized a grand jury, issued subpoenas and search warrants, and followed standard DOJ procedures for federal prosecutions. In short, Comey threw the case. He should have been fired long before he was.

In late spring 2016, just weeks prior to Comey’s July 5 press conference clearing Clinton of any crime, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe ordered FBI agents in New York to shut down their investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Their objections were overruled. Sources have told me that McCabe also shut down an additional Clinton investigation. This is the McCabe who, while he was overseeing the Clinton email investigation, had a wife running for the Virginia State Senate and receiving more than $460,000 in campaign contributions from a longtime Clinton loyalist, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Moreover, it was only after the news of Clinton’s private server became public in The New York Times that McAuliffe recruited McCabe’s wife to run for office. McCabe eventually recused himself from the Clinton probe, but that was one week before the 2016 election, after the decisions to clear Clinton and to pursue the Trump-Russia collusion investigation had already been made. So his recusal was meaningless.

In clearing legal impediments from Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination, Comey and his senior staff thought they had helped Clinton clinch the presidency. Their actions put an end to a decades-long tradition of non-political federal law enforcement.

The Case of Trump-Russia Collusion

Rumors of collusion with Russia by Trump or the Trump campaign surfaced during the primaries in 2015, but gained in strength soon after Trump secured the Republican nomination in July 2016. Thanks to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we now know that high-level FBI officials were involved in promoting these rumors. Among Horowitz’s discoveries were text messages between FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that suggest an illegal plan to utilize law enforcement to frame Trump. The most revealing exchange we know of took place on August 15, 2016. Concerned about the outcome of the election, Strzok wrote:

I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [Andrew McCabe’s] office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.

No amount of sugar coating or post hoc explanation of this and other texts can conceal the couple’s animus against Trump and support for Clinton. Strzok’s messages illustrate his commitment to Clinton’s victory and Trump’s defeat or, if Trump won, to an “insurance policy.”

The term “insurance policy” obviously refers to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, which to this day remains a probe with no underlying crime. This is not the talk of professional investigators, but of corrupt agents who have created two standards of justice based on their political leanings. It looks like a reprise of the schemes undertaken during an earlier era, under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, that led to the creation of the Church Committee—a committee on which I served, and which tried to reform the FBI to prevent it from meddling in domestic politics.

At the heart of the Russia collusion scheme is the FBI’s utilization of a document paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Called the Steele Dossier because it was written by former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele, this document contains unsubstantiated information designed to taint Trump and his presidency. While Clinton partisans point out that candidate Clinton never referred to the Steele Dossier in her speeches, the fact is that she did not have to—the FBI hierarchy was doing it for her! Indeed, FBI General Counsel James Baker was recently reassigned because of his having leaked information about the Steele Dossier to the magazine Mother Jones.

Not one claim concerning Trump in the Steele Dossier has ever been verified by the FBI, according to Andrew McCabe himself in recent testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. The only confirmed fact is unsurprising: former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page traveled to Moscow on his own dime and met with various Russians—all perfectly legal.

Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan laundered the Steele Dossier through the U.S. intelligence community to give it an aura of credibility and get it to the press. It was also used by the FBI and senior DOJ officials to secure wiretap warrants from a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Then its contents, via court-authorized FISA warrants, were used to justify the illegal unmasking of the identities of wiretapped Trump officials. The contents of these National Security Agency intercepts were put on spreadsheets and presented to members of President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC)—specifically Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes—and subsequently leaked to the press. According to former NSC staff, President Obama himself read the FISA intercepts of Trump campaign personnel. Unsurprisingly, there was no request for a leak investigation from either the FBI or the DOJ.

In sum, the FBI and DOJ employed unverified salacious allegations contained in a political opposition research document to obtain court-sanctioned wiretaps, and then leaked the contents of the wiretaps and the identities of political opponents. This was a complex criminal plot worthy of Jason Bourne.

The Pall Over the Special Counsel and the FBI

Layered over this debacle is a special counsel investigation unfettered by rules or law. Not surprisingly, James Comey triggered the special counsel’s appointment—and he did so by design. According to Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, having been fired on May 9, 2017, he leaked official documents to his friend, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, with the specific intent that Richman would leak them to the press. Reportage on that leak is what led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller—a former FBI director and Comey’s good friend—as special counsel to investigate allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.

Mueller’s reputation has been damaged by a series of decisions that violate the ethical rules of appearances. For instance, he hired Democratic partisans as lawyers for the probe: Andrew Weissmann, who donated to Clinton and praised Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for disobeying Trump’s lawful Presidential Order regarding a travel ban for residents of certain nations that harbor terrorists; Jeannie Rhee, who donated to Clinton and represented Ben Rhodes in the email probe and the Clinton Foundation investigation; and Aaron Zebley, who represented Clinton IT staffer Justin Cooper in the email server probe.

Mueller also staged a pre-dawn raid with weapons drawn on the home of Paul Manafort, rousing Manafort and his wife from their bed—a tactic customarily reserved for terrorists and drug dealers. Manafort has subsequently been indicted for financial crimes that antedate his campaign work for Trump and that have nothing to do with Russia collusion.

Then there’s the fact that when Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation in July 2017, he didn’t tell anyone. The removal and its causes were uncovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Why was such vital information concealed from the public? It is not, as is often claimed now, that Strzok was a minor figure. All the major decisions regarding both the Clinton and the Trump-Russia collusion investigations had been made under Strzok.

Significantly, Strzok also led the interview of General Michael Flynn that ended in Flynn pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI. It is important to recall that Flynn’s FBI interview was not conducted under the authority of the special counsel, but under that of Comey and McCabe. It took place during Inauguration week in January 2017. Flynn had met with the same agents the day before regarding security clearances. McCabe called Flynn and asked if agents could come to the White House. Flynn agreed, assuming it was about personnel. It was not.

Flynn had been overheard on a FISA wiretap talking to Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. There was nothing criminal or even unusual about the fact of such discussion. Flynn was on the Trump transition team and was a federal employee as the President-Elect’s national security advisor. It was his job to be talking to foreign leaders. Flynn was not charged with regard to anything said during his conversation with Kislyak. So why was the FBI interrogating Flynn about legal conduct? What more did the FBI need to know? I am told by sources that when Flynn’s indictment was announced, McCabe was on a video conference call—cheering!

Compare the FBI’s treatment of Flynn to its treatment of Paul Combetta, the technician who used a program called BleachBit to destroy thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton’s computer. This destruction of evidence took place after a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives issued letters directing that all emails be preserved and subpoenaing them. Combetta first lied to the FBI, claiming he did not recall deleting anything. After being rewarded with immunity, Combetta recalled destroying the emails—but he could not recall anyone directing him to do so.

The word in Washington is that Flynn pleaded guilty to take pressure off his son, who was also a subject of Mueller’s investigation. Always the soldier. But those who questioned Flynn that day did not cover themselves with law enforcement glory. Led by Strzok, they grilled Flynn about facts that they already knew and that they knew did not constitute a crime. They besmirched the reputation of federal law enforcement by their role in a scheme to destroy a duly elected president and his appointees.

A pall hangs over Mueller, and a pall hangs over the DOJ. But the darkest pall hangs over the FBI, America’s premier federal law enforcement agency, which since the demise of J. Edgar Hoover has been steadfast in steering clear of politics. Even during L. Patrick Gray’s brief tenure as acting director during Watergate, it was not the FBI but Gray personally who was implicated. The current scandal pervades the Bureau. It spans from Director Comey to Deputy Director McCabe to General Counsel Baker. It spread to counterintelligence via Peter Strzok. When line agents complained about the misconduct, McCabe retaliated by placing them under investigation for leaking information.

From the outset of this scandal, I have considered Comey a dirty cop. His unfailing commitment to himself above all else is of a pattern. Throughout his career, Comey has continually portrayed himself as Thomas Becket, fighting against institutional corruption—even where none exists. Stories abound of his routine retort to anyone who disagreed with him (not an unusual happening when lawyers gather) during his tenure as deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush. “Your moral compass is askew,” he would say. This self-righteousness led agents to refer to him as “The Cardinal.” Comey is no Thomas Becket—he is Henry II.

A great disservice has been done to the dedicated men and women of the FBI by Comey and his seventh floor henchmen. A grand jury probe is long overdue. Inspector General Horowitz is an honest man, but he cannot convene a grand jury. We need one now. We need our FBI back.

And that is a load. I hope by now you have read through the foregoing, because some Skeptical Analysis is in order. There is a bunch, and life is short. I will hit some high points, but the conclusion is that this is a shining example of political propaganda. Here are a few items.

Massive Irony

The headline writer’s sense of irony seems to have gone AWOL. Recent events demonstrate attempts by the Trump administration to work against the FBI for political gain. Since that time the FBI (and other government intelligence services) started looking into Russian government interference with the 2016 elections and Donald Trump’s connections with the Russian government, Mr. Trump and his allies have, with little success at concealing, been putting pressure on the FBI to cease and desist all such inquiries. First FBI Director James Comey was fired on 8 May, and, more recently, Acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe was also fired, this time by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, transparently at the direction of President Trump. Please let not Hillsdale College speak of politicization.

The Clinton Emails

DiGenova wants to use the matter of Hillary Clinton’s emails to make a case that James Comey was corrupt in the execution of his duties. He asserts that Comey should have convened a grand jury, as he (diGenova) would have done as a prosecutor. Really? An examination of all the evidence—and there is a boat load—that has been publicized indicates that, while Clinton was derelict in her use of a private server, there was no intent to break the law, and there is in fact no evidence laws were broken. Yes, any responsible prosecutor would have kicked this case and freed up FBI resources for serious matters. From the viewpoint of any thinking person, if Clinton had been a low-level clerk and not somebody with the last name Clinton running for public office, this matter would have been cause for a letter of reprimand and possible dismissal from employment. At most. Mr. Trump has been President and in control of the Department of Justice, and to date no charges against Mrs. Clinton have been forthcoming from the DOJ.

Trump-Russia Collusion

The most interesting quote from this section is, “Thanks to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we now know that high-level FBI officials were involved in promoting these rumors. Among Horowitz’s discoveries were text messages between FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that suggest an illegal plan to utilize law enforcement to frame Trump.” Then diGenova proceeds to quote a passage from an email between two intimate friends making a joke. He wants to take this seriously, and he hopes his readers do, ignoring the context. Hint: the context makes it clear the remarks were in jest.

DiGenova also notes the two held Mr. Trump in low regard, going so far as disparaging him. DiGenova fails to note this is not from an official government correspondence, but it is simply two friends expressing rightly-held and possibly private views, said views being held by a majority of American citizens. I need to emphasize the term rightly-held, because there is no measure by which Donald Trump comes off as a worthy person. And I do not make that remark in jest.

The second interesting quote from this section is, “At the heart of the Russia collusion scheme is the FBI’s utilization of a document paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.” Most interesting  is that diGenova points out the Clinton campaign paid for Steele’s research. He overlooks the reason the Clinton campaign paid for it. That’s because I failed to step forward and pay for it, myself. Dude, any right-thinking person would have paid to find out what The Donald was up to in that Moscow hotel and elsewhere:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

More important, diGenova ignores that the Steele dossier was not, in fact, critical to launching the investigation. The investigation was already in the works when the FBI received this information. DiGenova’s warping of the truth at this level amounts to fabrication of facts, otherwise known as lying.

The Pall Over the Special Counsel and the FBI

Finally, this quote is worthy: “Mueller also staged a pre-dawn raid with weapons drawn on the home of Paul Manafort, rousing Manafort and his wife from their bed—a tactic customarily reserved for terrorists and drug dealers. Manafort has subsequently been indicted for financial crimes that antedate his campaign work for Trump and that have nothing to do with Russia collusion.” I can’t vouch for the “weapons drawn” part but there is nothing remarkable about the pre-dawn raid part. Paul Manafort, by all indications, is an international criminal. He is being charged with money laundering, failing to pay taxes owed to the government, and conspiracy against the United States. He stands to spend the remainder of his life in prison if found guilty of these charges. This is not a case of unpaid traffic tickets, and diGenova is being disingenuous, even highly deceptive. He is a liar.

This article, appearing in the February issue of Imprimis, derives from a talk diGenova presented for the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies, as it says up front. This was apparently in conjunction with the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series. The apparent theme of diGenova’s talk bears scant semblance to the Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation’s stated goals:

Giving primarily in four major areas: 1) environmental concerns, with emphasis on programs that strive to preserve the land and educate our children on the importance of protecting and caring for our natural heritage; 2) animal welfare, with emphasis on the protection and humane treatment of both wild and domestic animals; 3) social concerns, with emphasis on helping Native Americans help themselves; and 4) the fine arts, with emphasis on renovation or the visual and performing arts. The foundation may also fund other charitable organizations or programs as deemed appropriate by the board of directors.

This has all the marks of a political smear laid on those currently making trouble for President Donald Trump. Would that it be more effective, because, as matters unravel daily, the President is going to be needing some backup, fabricated or otherwise.

This is your President speaking.

Number 73 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!

Oops! When you are on the wrong side of the FBI, then you are among some interesting company.

The Government You Paid For

Number 30 in a Series

This series of posts is supposed to be about people getting the government they paid for. Sometimes that is not the case. Please follow this humorous story.

Republican Tim Murphy represented Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District until last year. Then he apparently got a woman pregnant (artificial insemination I presume) and subsequently encouraged her to abort the pregnancy. Then, for reasons left for the reader to figure out, he resigned his office. So the Commonwealth of  Pennsylvania figured it needed a replacement to represent its 18th district, and a special election was scheduled for the 13th of this month. Democrats pounced.

Eager to get back into  the game, maybe even to obtain a majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats put up a candidate to run for the open position. That was Conor Lamb. The Republican Party fielded candidate Rick Saccone.

Saccone is critical of welfare spending and is considered a budget hawk. He supports large-scale cuts to K-12 education, childhood education programs, public libraries, child welfare, and other state programs in order to pay back the federal government’s debt. Saccone’s beliefs are strongly influenced by Christian reconstructionist and author David Barton, who also introduced Saccone’s 2018 special election run.

Yes! Rick Saccone is everything the Republican Party has come to  stand for, and his association with Texas religious crank David Barton demonstrates he has well and truly drunk the Kool-Aid.

Conor Lamb is a Marine Corps Reserve officer, having served an active tour as a judge advocate general. Prior to the congressional campaign he was a federal prosecutor.

This was shaping up as an election to  define the political landscape for the remainder of the year. District 18, shortly to disappear as lines are redrawn, was represented by Republicans for the past 15 years, and President Trump carried the district by a 20-point margin in 2016. Turning this district would be a grand prize for the Democrats. They poured in the resources. Full disclosure: I have contributed money to the Democratic Party, and I  receive several times daily email solicitations for funds. Prior to the election on Tuesday I am sure I received at least a dozen appeals to donate to the District 18 race.

And that’s what this is all about. It’s a prime example of how American politics is about money. There seems to be something about the American voter, maybe voters all over the world. So many do not take a look at the facts available, make a decision, then vote their conclusions. It’s either they must be told how to vote, or else they are prone to follow the most recent and the loudest voice. It’s this latter case where money comes in. Money buys the voice. The more money, the longer and the louder the voice speaks.

And the money came in, not from me. Despite the flood of emails, I kept a tight fist, saving my salvo for a pair of  Texas races coming up later this year. But others did. Apparently, Conor Lamb pulled heavily from individual donors like me. Rick Saccone had tremendous outside help. Rather than reconstruct the story from pieces, I am posting what was published on-line by Time.

Republicans and Democrats are employing very different fundraising strategies ahead of the midterm elections, but the results of a special election in Pennsylvania show the GOP strategy may have some drawbacks.

As in other races, a higher amount of Democratic dollars went straight to candidate Conor Lamb, while more Republican money went to outside groups backing state Rep. Rick Saccone. Lamb’s official campaign committee outraised Saccone’s 3 to 1, according to Issue One, a non-partisan group that tracks spending in politics. But outside groups backing Saccone outspent outside groups backing Lamb 6 to 1.

Regarding money raised by Lamb’s campaign, Rick Saccone was quick to mention this. His campaign touted, for voters’ appreciation, his opponent’s fund-raising success. Critically, Saccone failed  to mention the tremendous flow of cash from outside sources. That would be money not spent by his campaign but by groups supporting his election. The NRA made its weight felt:

The National Rifle Association has engaged in an under-the-radar spending campaign for Republican candidate Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s Tuesday special election.

It is the only federal political spending the pro-gun group has reported since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., according to FEC reports.

The NRA spent $7,868 in support of Saccone but the money wasn’t seen in a high-profile venture like TV ads or get-out-the-vote efforts. Most of it – $7,532 – was spent on mailings scheduled to be distributed in the district on Monday. The remaining $336 was spent on phone banking earlier this month, according to campaign finance filings.

Nobel Prize laureate Bob Dylan has been  noted for pointing out that “money doesn’t talk, it swears.” In this case it whispered. Despite the lop-sided [UNDERSTATEMENT ALERT] spending, Conor Lamb eked out a win by a handful of votes. A recount is in progress, but it’s apparent Mr. Lamb is heading for Washington.

Conor Lamb ran as a conservative Democrat, but Republicans can expect little help from him. While he may vote against the Democrats’ more liberal social ideals, there are a number of things he can be counted on not  to  do:

  • Vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
  • Vote funding to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
  • Vote to disassemble the Affordable Care Act.

And more.

The big difference between Rick Saccone and Conor Lamb is that President Trump did not come to Pennsylvania to campaign for Conor Lamb. He did for Rick Saccone. The Trump brand is daily becoming more toxic, and we are wondering, come November, whether Republican candidates will look to keep their distance from this rogue leader. Having elected a president from the least qualified, Republicans may have come to think they have some sort of mandate, forgetting in the short term that their candidate was the less popular of the two top contenders.

Powerful lobbying groups such as the NRA and high-pocket industrial interests such as the Koch Brothers can be counted to back Republican candidates in the coming months. Whether they will obtain the government  they paid for is now open for question.

This is your President speaking.

Number 72 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do…they almost all do…and that’s how I know!

He says he was making it all up.

The Government You Paid For

Number 28 in a Series

People. People! At long last we are getting the government we paid for. Of course, we were shopping in the bargain basement.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir had the story last night, following a day in which President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by Twitter. Want to talk bargain basement? This government transaction did not rise to the cost of a postage stamp.

And it was abrupt. But the President said it was not abrupt. He told that he had discussed the matter last Friday. One who disagreed was Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steven Goldstein.

That’s right. The under secretary contradicted the Trump man. Zingo! Gone in 60 Seconds.

Truth be, this massive parting of the waves comes as no surprise, only the timing. It has been building. There were differences in policy. Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s giant corporations, possesses worldly experience, said experience apparently absent at the top. Tillerson wanted to cool down the “Rocket Man” rhetoric and the jangling of nuclear codes.

Now the President has changed his mind. DPRK Exalted Ruler for Life Kim Jong-un is desiring to additionally elevate himself by scooping some face time with the Leader of the Free World. Is this going to be another of Kim’s bait and switch ploys? An amused world does not hold its breath. But it did allowe a festering wound to open up.

As it turned out, the IQ test proved unnecessary. When you stand in front of the Great Seal, you do not need to take an IQ test.


And now we know we have the government we paid for.

This is your President speaking.

Number 71 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!

 A polite way of telling you that you’re fired.

The Government You Paid For

Number 27 in a Series

You may find this hard to believe, but former ExxonMobil CEO is arguably the most qualified person confirmed to President Donald Trump’s cabinet. As Secretary of State, he brings an understanding of world politics, a level head, and the experience of managing a large organization.

Never mind.

It is becoming apparent we now have the government we paid for.

This is your President speaking.

Number 70 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Rasmussen and others have my approval ratings at around 50%, which is higher than Obama, and yet the political pundits love saying my approval ratings are “somewhat low.” They know they are lying when they say it. Turn off the show – FAKE NEWS!

Hey! Fifty percent is impressive. Difficult to believe, but impressive nonetheless.

This is your President speaking.

Number 69 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job and…..

…have shown conclusively that there was no Collusion with Russia..just excuse for losing. The only Collusion was that done by the DNC, the Democrats and Crooked Hillary. The writer of the story, Maggie Haberman, a Hillary flunky, knows nothing about me and is not given access.

And that just about does it for today.

This is your President speaking.

Number 68 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

A show now headed by ‘Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd.’ He’s a sleeping son of a bitch

[Delivered during a campaign rally speech supporting Republican candidate Rick Saccone on 10 March, as reported by The Hill.]

This is now part of the official history of the United States of America.

This is your President speaking.

Number 67 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job – will choose wisely!

People, the man definitely has a way with words. He is, however, completely lacking any sense of irony.

President Donald J. Trump is looking to replace his Chief Economic Advisor, this after his previous Chief Economic Advisor quit over the matter of imposing unrealistic tariffs on imported steel and aluminum while threatening to start a trade war. It is fortunate for all that Mr. Trump will have no trouble filling the position. See, he says so right there in the tweet.

Courtesy of CNN the image above is a compilation of others who have readily signed up to work for Donald Trump, or else already had the job when Trump came to the office. CNN has been gracious enough to provide an itemized collage of these individuals. See the following.

Not pictured are the recently-departed Gary Cohn and the soon-to-depart Hope Hicks. These are the people previously known for “wanting the job.”

Choose wisely, Mr. Trump. Choose wisely.

This is your President speaking.

Number 66 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House. Wrong! People will always come & go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision. I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection). There is no Chaos, only great Energy!

Hint: there is chaos in the White House.


Number 30 in a series

Repeating from a previous post:

It would appear this is not going to end anytime soon. For the record:

schlemiel: an inept clumsy person; a bungler; a dolt (Yiddish שלעמיל shlemil from Hebrew שלא מועיל “ineffective”) (OED, MW)

When Donald Trump set out on his pretend run for the presidency, he knew exactly how to go about it. I say “pretend” because there are concerns he never intended to take office, launching and prosecuting an outrageous campaign for reasons beyond the present scope. Anyhow, he seemed to know his target audience thoroughly, either by instinct or benefiting from excellent advice. To this audience he promised everything.

Inspired, he started by promising a border wall would be built along the Mexican border. And Mexico would pay for it. Apparently he promised to raise tariffs to protect American companies (and American workers) from unfair trade practices. On this latter last week he  announced to deliver.

NEW YORK — The Dow and S&P 500 registered a third straight day of more than 1 percent declines on Thursday after President Donald Trump said the United States would impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum, raising concern about higher prices and a trade war.

The declines put the Dow into negative territory for the year and drove the Cboe Volatility Index to its highest close since Feb. 13, denting the market’s recent recovery from deep losses in early February.

It is possible someone told Donald Trump previously, “Dude, there’s some of this shit you really do not want to do.” Only possible. We are mindful that solid business practices were never Donald Trump’s strongest asset. Nor clear thinking. Consequences ensued.

(Reuters) – Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin urged President Donald Trump to reconsider a tariff hike on steel and aluminum imports on Friday, saying the move will hurt Americans.

“If the president wants to protect good-paying, family-supporting jobs in America, especially here in Wisconsin, then he should reconsider the administration’s position on these tariffs, particularly on ultra-thin aluminum,” Walker said in a statement.

This from someone who always seemed to echo Donald Trump’s most strident tones. But wait. The drama features multiple plot twists:

SAN FRANCISCO — Billionaire investor Carl Icahn sold nearly 1 million shares of stock in a company tied to the steel industry leading up to President Donald Trump’s decision to impose costly tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the U.S.

Icahn also has ties to Trump; he was an unpaid adviser to the president before resigning last August.

Gee, Donald. Thanks much for the heads up.

And twists:

LONDON — Share markets in Asia and Europe regained ground on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump faced growing pressure from political allies to pull back from proposed steel and aluminum tariffs and a potential global trade war.

European sentiment was also supported after Germany reformed its coalition government to end more than five months in political limbo and as initial unease caused by a hefty election vote for anti-establishment parties in Italy began to ebb.

And turns:

Ryan Criticizes Tariff Plan as Trump Issues Nafta Threat

Admit it. We would not be having this much fun if we had elected Clinton. And the show is only now getting up to speed.

This is your President speaking.

Number 65 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November? Wanted to discredit so Crooked H would win. Unprecedented. Bigger than Watergate! Plus, Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling.

People, I don’t make this stuff up. Fortunately, I don’t have to.