The Other, Bigger Part of the Mueller Report That No One is Talking About

So the Mueller Report is out, and for reasons I can’t understand, a lot of Trump supporters have bought into Trump’s whole “It’s a hoax thing.”

Mostly it’s because Fox News and Trump himself have been touting the erroneous Barr summary of “No collusion, no obstruction.”

But there’s another part to the Mueller Report that no one seems to be disputing, mostly because no one is talking about it.

That part is this: the Mueller Report proved, conclusively, that Russia was behind the interference in the 2016 election.

Why is this significant? Because for years, Trump has maintained that it was NOT Russia. Most famously, he said he believed President Putin with his now famous “I don’t know why it WOULD be Russia?” Remember, he tried to walk that one back with “Oh, I meant to say WOULDN’T.”

No, you didn’t, Donnie. Not even close.

He has never come out and condemned Russia for the interference.

And since the Mueller Report dropped, it’s all been a lot of “DID TO!” and “DID NOT!” from both sides, but the press and Congress (including the Republicans, if they had ANY guts) should be asking him: Will you now condemn Russia for interfering in the election? Will you reimpose sanctions on them as punishment for this?

Mueller proved that it was a lot more than $160,000 spent on Facebook ads, and everyone knows that – only Kushner and Trump don’t want to admit it. Maybe they didn’t direct it, and maybe they didn’t cut a check, and maybe they didn’t even know it was happening. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt (although they don’t deserve it).

But now, we know for a FACT that Russia interfered.

When is Trump going to stand up to Russia and demand them to stop interfering in our elections?

The answer is never. Because he doesn’t have to. And that means that ole Pooty Poot will just do it again – maybe even more – in 2020.

Russia interfered in the election, and Republicans at best turned a blind eye towards it and now refuse to publicly acknowledge that fact. Saint Ronald Reagan, the most exalted patron saint of GOP everywhere, must be rolling over in his grave. (If there’s an earthquake in Southern California, I guess we’ll know where the epicenter is.)

The Mueller Report has been released

So, the Mueller Report has finally been released.

Far from the “No collusion and no obstruction” that Trump has been trying to gaslight the nation with, there are a number of startling disclosures.

Summarized, the report basically says these two things:

On collusion: The Russians definitely interfered with the election to help Trump, and the Trump campaign was aware of this. While they did not actively coordinate the interference activities, they also did nothing to stop it.

Here’s the meat of Mueller’s conclusion on collusion: “Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

On obstruction: Trump was afraid that the investigation would pick up on some possible crimes committed by his campaign and took steps to obstruct justice. The only thing that definitely saved him was the people underneath him deciding not to do anything illegal.

In Mueller’s own words: “Fourth, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice , we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards , however , we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President ‘ s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

You have to ask: If Trump is as innocent as he claims he is, why did so many people lie to cover for him. If his campaign was so innocent, why are so many who worked on it in prison or facing charges.

And just because of the tired “Lock Her Up” chant about Hillary’s emails, there’s this tidbit from the report: “Further, the Office learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated–including some associated with the Trump Campaign—deleted relevant
communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records.
” Does this mean we can start chanting “Lock Them Up” when we see the Trump Campaign? Why would they delete them, if they had nothing to hide (taking a page from the Trump Hypocrisy Playbook)?

And finally, you have to ask – if the positions were reversed, and it was Hillary Clinton turning a blind eye to known Russian interference and then attempting to undermine the investigation, would the same Republicans be chanting “No collusion”? I believe they would. They need to put the politics aside and do what is right for the nation and seriously reconsider the man who leads their party – and our nation.

American Culture

I’ve been thinking about American culture amid all this talk about Steve King defending his views on white nationalism and calling himself an “American nationalist” as well as Donald Trump’s recent tweet taken from an editorial by Pat Buchanan that says we have to stop the immigrants at the border:

….Border is eventually going to be militarized and defended or the United States, as we have known it, is going to cease to exist…And Americans will not go gentle into that good night. Patrick Buchanan. The great people of our Country demand proper Border Security NOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019

In Pat Buchanan’s article that Trump quotes, Pat also says this: “The more multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual America becomes — the less it looks like Ronald Reagan’s America — the more dependably Democratic it will become.”

You can clearly see all the lines being drawn here – the Wall is needed to prevent the country from being multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, and multilingual. Because all of those things go against what “America” is really about.

Which made me think: What is American culture?

For some, it’s cowboy hats, pickup trucks, apple pie, hamburgers, and rock and roll. However, for me, it’s different.

To explain, I need to tell a story about when some friends of mine were visiting from Greece.

It was March, and they were going to head to Chicago for the weekend. It was still not quite spring, and they weren’t sure what they were going to do, but after a long Minnesota winter, they wanted to get away to the big city. It just happened that they would be in Chicago on March 17th.

“Holy crap, you guys can go to the St Patrick’s Day parade! There’ll be green beer, lots of live music, and they even dye the river green!”

The Greeks, however, did not share my enthusiasm. “But we’re not Irish.”

And it was at that point I had a revelation.

I’m not Irish, but I celebrate St Patrick’s Day. I’m not French, but I celebrate Mardi Gras. I’m not Mexican, but I’ll celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I’ll celebrate any holiday – any excuse for a party.

And that’s the thing. Most Americans aren’t necessarily those cultures, but that won’t stop us from finding an excuse to celebrate them. It’s an inherently American thing to take stuff from other cultures and embrace it as our own and celebrate them.

This week, Donald Trump served hamburgers (or as he might call it, “hamberders”) to the visiting Clemson Tigers and said “It’s all good stuff. Great American food.”

But for me, the greatest American food is the street taco. I mean, you take a tortilla, stuff it with barbecue beef, and top it with kimchi. A perfect meld of Mexican, American, and Korean cuisine in one. Do you think you’d ever find a street taco in France? England? Russia?

In conclusion, for me at least, it’s our multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, and multilingual culture that makes us strong. It’s what makes us American. And we don’t need a wall – a real one at the border or a perceived one in the minds of Americans – to prevent that.

A Challenge for President Trump

Trump likes to make all sorts of ridiculous arguments, like the fact that Obama has a fence around his house makes Obama an advocate for “the wall.”

Okay, then, here’s a semi-serious one for you, President Trump.

If you so surely believe that walls are 100% effective, here’s my challenge to you: Waive all secret service protection while you are in residence in the White House.

If you think that drones, sensors, and anything else non-wall related are just “bells and whistles,” remove those as well.

You have fences (“beautiful steel slat walls” as you refer to them) around the White House, and you allege that they are “100% effective.” Okay, then, go ahead and prove it to the American people. Get rid of all the security personnel and all of the “bells and whistles” and live in safety behind your 100% effective wall.

When you travel outside the “wall,” then by all means, you can have your secret service protection, but while in the White House, they won’t be necessary, because you’ll be protected by “the wall.”

Imagine the savings we could realize. No need to pay for those “guys with machine guns” around the clock. After all, they would be totally unnecessary, as you have a wall, right? 100% effective, right?

Please, Mr. Trump, take me up on my challenge. If you forego your security detail and show the people of the United States just how effective your wall can truly be, then everyone would see that absolutely we would be justified in building one along the Mexican border.

Do it for your wall. Do it for America. Cancel the Secret Service protection to make America great again.

Using Trump Logic on the Caravan

So, there’s a lot of debate about the need for the wall, and a lot of people concerned about immigration and fear-mongering about the dreaded “caravan of immigrants.”

I had never heard of MS-13 before Trump became president, but now, he’s using that as the boogeyman for immigration. So I decided to look into MS-13.

MS-13 is a criminal gang of narco-terrorists that originated in the US in the 70s and 80s, and maintains a huge presence in Central America, mostly in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. These are facts that I doubt Trump would disagree with.

MS-13 is terrible in those countries. Among other things, they target not only enemy gangs, but all the families associated with enemy gangs. They target police and government officials. They force children into their gangs. They are nothing short of a terrorist organization. And I believe Trump will still agree with this assessment.

But now knowing all that – MS-13 runs rampant in Central America, causing bloody chaos and killing all over the place – what about the families who live there? What about the parents who want to protect their children from these narco-terrorists? What can they do?

Well, they get together, form a caravan, and make their way north. They head to a country known for its freedoms and security. They head to the United States of America.

If you followed the caravan, they weren’t full of drug thugs heading to bring cocaine to our borders; most of them were families trying to flee the violence and chaos in Central America.

And where did the caravan go? Did it head to the wide open desert in the middle of Arizona, where the thousands of them could flee, unchallenged across the open border? No. They went to Tijuana.

When they interviewed these people in the caravan – and you have to give them the benefit of the doubt, just like I am doing with President Trump right now – they all came here wanting to plead their case for asylum. And based on what I have shown above, pleading their case for asylum seems like a slam dunk when their homeland is overrun with narco-terror gangs.

But what President Trump has done is to turn them away, and NOT allow them to make their case for asylum. “Sorry, America is closed to you. Go home.”

I think if given the choice, most of these undocumented immigrants would choose to come here legally and within the system. However, it’s been made clear to them they we don’t them here.

If we really want to cut down on immigration – without having to build a wall that we will constantly have to monitor, maintain, and repair – then here’s what we really need to do:

  1. Allow some immigrants with legitimate security claims to seek asylum within our country. If they haven’t committed a crime, why not take them in if they really want to be here?
  2. Bolster their governments at home to cut down on corruption and fight against groups like MS-13 in Central America. It worked with the war on terror to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS on their territory, so why don’t we do the same thing with groups like MS-13?
  3. Provide jobs for the people in their country. There’s a big reason illegal immigration started dropping after NAFTA: you no longer had to make a dangerous and illegal trek to America – there were good paying jobs in Mexico where you could earn a decent wage and take care of your family. We should be looking to expand free trade to these other countries, not cutting it off altogether.

Of course, this all works except for two things: we’re still sending jobs outside the country, and we’re still letting some Central Americans into the country.

If, after all that, you still think we need a wall – and to turn a blind eye to the evils occurring in Central America – then maybe you really have other problems. If you can’t look at the caravan and think that maybe some of them have a point for wanting to come here – and even considering that maybe of the hundreds of people at least some of them might have a valid reason to be let into this country – then maybe you’re just racist and xenophobic.

The Saudis are our friends?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – as those tanks left Kuwait in March 2003, they should have headed south instead of north.

The Saudis are NOT our friends.

Let’s just set aside that they killed a journalist in a consulate. We’ll cover that in a minute.

First, let’s not forget that the Saudis are working to make Qatar a pariah in the region, with the Saudis getting allies to cut off all ties with Qatar. Even President Trump supported them on this. The evidence for which the Saudis allege that Qatar should be cut off is flimsy at best and likely fabricated, but it was enough for Trump to jump on the Saudi bandwagon.

You might have heard of Qatar; it’s home to Al Udeid Air Base, home of 11,000 American troops fighting ISIS and trying to maintain stability in the region. You might also want to look up why the troops are there and NOT at Prince Sultan Airbase, where they were located during Desert Shield/Storm, and when that happened.

That’s because the move occurred just after 9/11/2001. And that’s the big one we can’t forget – 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. They weren’t Afghani or Iraqi; nope, they were our “friends” the Saudis.

Now, let’s get back to the killing of the journalist. He was a US resident who entered a Saudi consulate and never exited. President Trump would have us believe that “rogue killers” just happened to accidentally kill him in the consulate and the government knew nothing about it. That could be a believable story if it happened at a nightclub; but this was on politically protected soil in a government building owned and operated by the Saudi government!

So what is the life of a journalist worth in President Trump’s eyes? Apparently less than $110 billion. Trump said he doesn’t want to scrap $110 billion of arms sales over this.

For the reasons I laid out above – and the mere fact that any country who is willing to resort to such drastic measures to silence their critics is certainly not our “friend” – perhaps we shouldn’t be doing business with them – and certainly NOT selling them a crap load of hi-tech weapons.

Trump and McCain

In a new low for even him, Trump refused to talk about John McCain, and then in an act of total cowardice, ordered the flag to be returned to full staff in the ultimate middle finger to the departed senator.

I expect that Trump will become even more incensed over the next few days due to one simple fact: No matter what he does, Donald Trump will NEVER be as beloved to the American people as John McCain.

I’ve had my differences with John McCain, particularly in 2008 when he sold his political soul to the conservatives and Evangelicals in his failed bid to win the White House. (Oh, if only the 2000 John McCain could have run in 2008!) He did redeem himself in the end when he finally referred to Obama as a “good man” and didn’t play into the “Obama is a secret Muslim” hype (are you listening President Trump?).

(In fact, as an aside, have you noticed that no one is talking to Sarah Palin about John McCain? Not that I mind – her fifteen minutes was up years ago. Just, sort of interesting.)

John McCain was all about sacrifice and service. These are things that Donald Trump claims to know about, but we all know that while McCain was being brutally tortured in Vietnam, Donny was suffering from bone spurs (funny how that doesn’t seem to affect his golf game). Donald Trump knows nothing about real service and sacrifice. And this was proven again yesterday in his own self-serving acts in raising the flag to full staff instead of leaving it at half staff to respect a veteran and patriot – the same ones he continually praises and invokes at his rallies as he claims to support.

One final thought: When the NFL players take a knee, I know they are protesting what they see as injustice. I know they aren’t protesting the veterans. However, Donald Trump continues to try to stoke that saying the players are “disrespecting veterans,” and his base eats that up.

Yet yesterday, when he raised the flag to full-staff, as a final “eff you” to John McCain – clearly disrespecting a veteran – that same base was noticeably quiet.

John McCain, you were a hero of mine. I wish you were President in 2000. You lost your way for a bit in 2008, but I was glad you found your way back to being the maverick you always were. I hope you inspire a whole new generation of mavericks who know what it means to put country above self, country above politics, and standing up for what you believe rather than what is politically expedient.

Giuliani defends the Russia Investigation

Well, sort of.

Rudy Giuliani, in trying to argue against the Russia investigation, further concreted its necessity with his now infamous quote “Truth isn’t truth.”

It’s just the latest attack in the Trump Administration’s war with the truth.

First came this one from Kellyanne Conway in January 2017: “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts” when confronted about evidence of Trump’s crowd size.

That was followed up by this Orwellian quote from Trump himself on July 24, 2018: “Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

And then now, on August 19, 2018, we can add to it “Truth isn’t truth.”

I mean, it’s one thing to hear Trump lie – he does it all the time, and of course his political operatives spin it as “He’s exaggerating, don’t you understand sarcasm, it’s just hyperbole…”

But to hear them lying about the TRUTH? That’s just a whole other level of lying.

So what do they really believe?

One of my favorite podcasts is the In the Name of God – The Podcast!. Each week, Matthew the Apostle goes over all of the crimes committed each week by religious leaders. I bring this up, because this week, the Catholic Church was again in the news for covering up the abuse of over 1,000 children by over 300 priests.

This has led me to wonder – what do these people who commit these crimes REALLY believe?

These are the same people who are opposed to gay marriage because the Bible condemns it as a sin, but seem to have no problem with inappropriately touching kids or looking the other way when someone else does.

To which I really want to know: Have they lost their faith and are just putting on an act? That’s the only thing I can come up with for why, with all of their belief in a powerful judgmental God who sees all, hears all, and knows all, they would then go and commit this sin against God and expect Him to not be completely judgmental of them.

I would really love to interview one of these fallen leaders and ask them: do you still really believe in a judgmental God who will send you to eternal damnation, or do you think it’s BS, you can do what you want, and go through the motions for the purposes of appearances?

Either way, take a listen to the podcast. He’s been doing for years, and the news this week from Pennsylvania doesn’t even come close to what these people (from ALL religions) do week after week. And if that gives you pause, consider this – Matthew’s podcasts are only the tip of the iceberg. He only has 30 minutes each week to cover these “crimes for God” and there are many more that he doesn’t even have time to get to.