Tuesday, October 31, 2017
THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 10/31/2017
Manafort, Tea Party, fires and sex
As of Monday morning, the news informing this column casts no guilt on President Donald J. Trump and no aspersions on his campaign; nor does the reported indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort—even if proven true—shed any light on evidence of collusion between Trump, his campaign and Russia. Reportedly, Manafort (who had a temporary, limited role during the 2016 Trump campaign and, frankly, never impressed this writer as a good face or voice for Trump) faces charges stemming from financial and advocacy activities years ago involving foreign governments.
At the time he was brought into the Trump campaign last year, he had no prior convictions or indictments, so Trump is free of any taint associated therewith. Assuming that Manafort has no previously unknown information—the surfacing of which would be surprising, even shocking, given the lack of secrecy in the phony Trump/Russia scandal—it will be nothing less than an exoneration of Trump and his campaign.
Let’s be clear about one thing: The indictments announced Monday are irrelevant to the task given the special prosecutor, Bob Mueller, of discovering actual collusion (not a crime) or conspiracy (a crime if what was being conspired amounted to a federal criminal act). A case can be made regarding the disclosure of the surreptitious and blatantly illegal deception over the funding of the so-called “Russian dossier” and its numerous fabrications, by the Democratic National Committee, based on stated Russian sources by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.
That case would be that the money paid by Democrats and their contracted lawyer/law firm—Mark Elias and Perkins Coie—to opposition research firm Fusion GPS, were not for “legal services,” but were payments to foreigners for salacious fabrications whose use was intended to remove Trump from the presidency of our nation. That is vile Russian/Democrat “collusion.”
Let’s note several other news items. “US to pay tea party groups in lawsuits over IRS scrutiny,” by Sadie Gurman of the AP, provides a fitting closure to one of the most despicable, outrageous and, frankly, defining cases of corruption under Obama’s presidency. President Richard Nixon was impeached, in part, over merely attempting to use the IRS to persecute his political opponents; Barack Obama succeeded beyond Nixon’s wildest dreams.
It was a conspiracy in plain sight between Obama, IRS head Lois Lerner and their minions at the agency’s tax exempt division, to slow down and harass the Tea Party movement into ineffectiveness in the elections following the passage of Obamacare (ACA), rammed through Congress with 100 percent Democrat votes. Some of those responsible should face fines and jail.
In “GOP targets environmental rules after wildfires,” the AP’s Matthew Daly reported on reasonable and much overdue measures proposed by Republicans in Congress to expedite cutting and thinning of our national forests, recently in the news for deadly, massive wildfires that destroyed many thousands of homes and businesses. Fires in America’s forests are not entirely preventable; indeed, about a hundred years ago, fires in the upper Midwest that killed hundreds were accelerated by logging. The clearing of forests was good but the wood debris littered the forest floor and had the predictable effect of precipitating conflagrations, overtaking towns.
It is beyond dispute that if forests are cleared and heavily thinned in the areas surrounding towns and cities, the fires that start by nature or human carelessness (even intention) have vastly less fuel as they approach population centers. Why else would forestry departments go to such lengths to urge clearing fuel from around rural, foothill and mountain homes? It’s an idea so full of common sense that no one could credibly deny that seeing less forest around towns and cities would be a fair trade-off.
No one but Democrat environmental slaves to the so-called global warming religion, as revealed in Daly’s piece, drives opposition to Republican proposals. “Democrats also complain that Republican proposals don’t acknowledge or address root causes for increasingly severe wildfire seasons, such as climate change or increased development near forest lands.” First, when people develop and move into subdivided parcels, simply provide schools with additional money from clearing of nearby forests by logging—it’s a win-win. Second, they can’t have it both ways by saying forests are dying from global warming but overgrown tracts must be left alone to fuel conflagrations. Go see “Only the brave” playing locally for the meaning of “fuel.”
“California lawmaker apologizes for 2009 harassment incident,” by AP’s Kathleen Ronayne; Instapundit.com’s Glenn Reynolds asks, “Why are Democrat-run institutions such cesspools of sex assault (or violence, drugs, corruption, etc.).” She inadvertently illustrates the oversight in many news stories—or the “Name that party” game—of neglecting to identify Democrats caught in scandal as, well, Democrats. “Oversight” would be sloppy; intentional obfuscation would be professional malpractice. It’s hard not to lean toward intentionally misleading readers when, in a later baseless charge by the Women’s Caucus, Ronayne immediately identifies Assemblyman Devon Mathis as a “Republican-Visalia,” for his “alleged actions.” Years ago, a media critic assembled over a dozen reported sex scandals, often involving minors, that rarely ID’d the perpetrator’s political party; yes, they were mostly Democrats.
A brief correction to an accepted narrative from the Vietnam War: Ho Chi Minh was, first and always, a communist adherent of Lenin, Stalin and Mao. His fanatical pursuit of a “unified Vietnam” was solely to implement international Communism. Not red-baiting, “domino” theorizing or commie-hunting; just pure, brutal, totalitarian devotion to Russia and China.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALIZES: Democrats, Russians and the FBI: Did the bureau use disinformation to trigger its Trump probe?
Perhaps the court should address this. Plus:
It turns out that Russia has sown distrust in the U.S. political system—aided and abetted by the Democratic Party, and perhaps the FBI. This is an about-face from the dominant media narrative of the last year, and it requires a full investigation.
The Washington Post revealed Tuesday that the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee jointly paid for that infamous “dossier” full of Russian disinformation against Donald Trump. They filtered the payments through a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie), which hired the opposition-research hit men at Fusion GPS. Fusion in turn tapped a former British spook, Christopher Steele, to compile the allegations, which are based largely on anonymous, Kremlin-connected sources.
Strip out the middlemen, and it appears that Democrats paid for Russians to compile wild allegations about a U.S. presidential candidate. Did someone say “collusion”?
This news is all the more explosive because the DNC and Clinton campaign hid their role, even amid the media furor after BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier in January. Reporters are now saying that Clinton campaign officials lied to them about their role in the dossier. Current DNC Chair Tom Perez and former Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz deny knowing about the dossier arrangement, but someone must have known.
Perhaps this explains why Congressional Democrats have been keen to protect Fusion from answering dossier questions—disrupting hearings, protesting subpoenas and deriding Republican investigators. Two of Fusion’s cofounders invoked their Fifth Amendment rights last week rather than answer House Intelligence Committee questions, and Fusion filed a federal lawsuit on Friday to block committee subpoenas of its bank records.
The more troubling question is whether the FBI played a role, even if inadvertently, in assisting a Russian disinformation campaign. We know the agency possessed the dossier in 2016, and according to media reports it debated paying Mr. Steele to continue his work in the runup to the election. This occurred while former FBI Director James Comey was ramping up his probe into supposed ties between the Trump campaign and Russians.
Two pertinent questions: Did the dossier trigger the FBI probe of the Trump campaign, and did Mr. Comey or his agents use it as evidence to seek wiretapping approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Trump campaign aides?
Perhaps the court should address this. Plus:
All of this also raises questions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Fusion news means the FBI’s role in Russia’s election interference must now be investigated—even as the FBI and Justice insist that Mr. Mueller’s probe prevents them from cooperating with Congressional investigators.Yes, he should.
Mr. Mueller is a former FBI director, and for years he worked closely with Mr. Comey. It is no slur against Mr. Mueller’s integrity to say that he lacks the critical distance to conduct a credible probe of the bureau he ran for a dozen years. He could best serve the country by resigning to prevent further political turmoil over that conflict of interest.
124by Glenn Reynolds